- Other views on the narrative pause war
Richard Betts of the UKMO rightly detects L2015’s implausible case, unsurprisingly incorporating this as support for the above orthodox message. Both Betts and Ben Pile, a challenger of climate orthodoxy, spot the gate left wide open by L2015, i.e. the mechanisms would work far more strongly for the Consensus. Yet different biases for each prevent them entering the garden of knowledge beyond. See Appendix 1 for Betts and Appendix 2 for Pile. Helpful for Appendix 2 and general context, Appendix 3 lists basic pitfalls regarding memetics.
- More on what Lewandowsky doesn’t say
Unsurprisingly, Lewandowsky never mentions that memes work for the Consensus too. Nevertheless, he is still walking a dangerous path in highlighting bias mechanisms and the influence of memes. For instance what could be a more striking example of ‘stereotype threat’ than the effect of the highly emotive ‘denier’ meme? To see this we just mirror-image three words (retained as strikethrough) in the above quote from the executive summary of L2015: “Thus, when scientists are stereotyped as ‘alarmists’ ‘deniers’, a predicted response would be for them to try to avoid seeming alarmist anti-science by downplaying the degree of threat uncertainty.” Even the milder stereotyping as an advocate for inaction, works strongly for the Consensus.
Lewandowsky has a series of papers (with associated authors) that warn of powerful bias effects. These include the ‘third party effect’, plus others he does not evoke in L2015 yet most certainly apply in the overall CAGW narrative competition. My series at Watts Up With That here, here and here demonstrates using these papers, plus support from other solidly Consensus sources and quotes (hence entirely without skeptic sympathies), that the climate Consensus itself is pretty much soaked in bias due to these potent effects. Arbitrary CAGW memes overwhelmingly dominate the narrative competition.
- The ‘next best candidate’
The NOAA/NCDC Karl et al paper, discussed here at Climate Etc, presents GST analysis that challenges the very notion of ‘a pause’. Both the promotion and objection to Karl et al are dominated by ‘pause obsession’. It appears that the narrative struggle matters much more than the minor trend difference that may or may not truly exist in reality, yet is just enough to cross a line. Whether they know it or not, NOAA / NCDC are engaged in the same battle against ‘pause’ memes as Lewandowsky, and both are backing the ‘warming continues unabated’ candidate to win. As noted above this candidate is risky. In Karl et al significant risk appears because the consequence of demonstrating some upward trend within the hiatus period, is as Mosher points out, a lowering of the overall warming trend, which undermines that other core icon, catastrophe.
Lewandowsky and Oreskes raise the prospect that via the agency of memes, the climate Consensus with its high certainty of danger, could be a socially generated artifact and not a scientific fact. They still have significant influence within orthodox climate circles. Hence this possibility has been placed as a seed concept within many otherwise inaccessible minds, a feat skeptics could never have achieved. This bodes well for the future; the seed may grow into realization that the certainty of CAGW is a social artifact.
Meanwhile notwithstanding a second candidate, ‘warming continues unabated’, and hence tension within the Consensus, ‘pause’ memes prevent fatal damage to the CAGW narrative. They enable a proclamation of ‘nothing has really changed’, which also minimizes the emotional threat for mainstream adherents.
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