I Would Talk to You, but Hitler Was a Vegetarian

I have a post I planned to run today about a topic which arose from a recent post of mine. It needs a bit more work to finish it up, but I think it is interesting both for it's "big picture" meaning and some of the technical details which are involved. The thing I find most interesting about it is there's a question in it I can't figure out an answer to. I was hoping some public discussion might produce an answer.

But I can't run that post today. As much as I'd like to have a substantive discussion, I just can't since I see an article which came out yesterday which included any number of lines like, "Wind power was all the rage among Nazis, many of whom shared the party's fanatical commitment to the environment." This statement, and many more like it, come from James Delingpole, a prominent member of the global warming Skeptic movement.

This is the same Skeptic movement which likes to freak out any time someone calls them "deniers" because of how that's supposedly comparing them to Holocaust deniers. Why that would be beyond the pale while comparing people to Nazis would be okay is a mystery I could never hope to solve. All I can do is note I can't find a single Skeptic who has spoken out about Delingpole's article. Nor any previous article of his, as I have since discovered Delingpole has made this same comparison a number of times in the past. A remark like:

What Darwall demonstrates is that the ideology driving the current climate scare originated in Hitler’s Germany.

Ought to have caused some concern, but not even:

The Fuhrer, in other words, was as big a Gaia worshipper as even Naomi Klein or Emma Thompson or Leonardo di Caprio.

Caused anyone in the Skeptic community outrage. When Delingpole's later article says things like:

But it has taken until now for the Nazis' dream of a world powered by wind to become even remotely plausible.

And:

As those Nazis believed in the Thirties, so today's Greens — and the attendant climate industry — would have us believe today: that wind is the kinder, cheaper, cleaner, more natural solution to our energy problems.

Not a single Skeptic seems to be speaking up to say, "Hey, uh... maybe comparing people to Nazis isn't something we ought to do in a polite society." After a bit of searching, I've found over a dozen different times Delingpole compared the "left" to Nazis, but I've been unable to find a single case where Skeptics spoke out against this. Quite the opposite. Skeptics seem to have embraced this approach, with people like Anthony Watts running articles like:

Author: current environmentalism/climate alarmism has roots in Nazi tactics

On his site, Watts Up With That, the single most popular site within the Skeptic movement. Using the word "denier" to refer to Skeptics throws Watts into conniption fits, provoking reactions like:

Well yesterday, the former senator insulted the Jewish race with the tired old “denier” label

Even though he actively defends calling people he dislikes deniers, as seen in cases like this one where he said there was nothing wrong with an article he run which included remarks like:

Even the Pope denied the deniers by excluding them from his climate conclave...
Sadly he doesn’t know enough to know who the real deniers are...
Either way they are the real deniers.
Here are just a few, but sufficient to expose the deniers.
The phrase “cherry-picking” is all too familiar to those following the history of the real deniers.
Logic says it’s those who want to stifle debate, to silence individuals and groups, who are the real deniers.
It appears the President is the denier in chief.
Further proof of who the real deniers are is found in...
In the case of the real climate deniers, they ignore the demonstrable facts and compound their denial by changing the record.

According to Watts, all of these were okay. I suspect if the president at the time had been Donald Trump instead of Barack Obama, he'd have felt differently. Similarly, i am sure Watts would never have tolerated this post which, amongst a number of other offensive things, try to smear a person because a person's father supposedly fought for the Nazis, if that post were about someone he liked. But he doesn't like the person it was about so he not only tolerated the attempt at smearing ap erson with Nazi references, he wrote a blog post specifically to promote it.

The worst part of all this is I found a small glimmer of hope when researching the history of what Delingpole's Nazi smears. I found a post by Watts where he seemed to realize Delingpole's behavior was wrong. Five years ago, Watts responded to similar rhetoric by Delingpole (showing just how long Delingpole has been doing it) to say:

We don’t need either side of the climate debate invoking Godwin’s Law on any level, as it is ugly and pointless, yet here we are again.

I’m growing weary of this.

When I first went to write this post, I was going to praise Watts for this. I wasn't even going to comment on the seemingly strange conclusion of his post:

My point is, no matter who says it, in whatever context, it will turn into a shouting match no matter how many qualifiers or caveats you attach to it, and we simply don’t need it, because all it does is polarize the tribal nature of the climate debate even further.

To Delingpole, take a cue from Dave Roberts at Grist: fix it and apologize.

Assuming it was poor wording, and Watts really did recognize Delingpole's behavior as offensive and disgusting. Only, then I saw a follow-up post from him which clarified his position:

I wasn’t suggesting James apologize to Dr. Mann, nooo, I was suggesting that James apologize to climate skeptics.
...it is we individual climate skeptics who are the ones having to fight those rhetorical battles in the blogospheric trenches. We’ll now be in a defensive position over Delingpole’s article.
My issue with James Delingpole simply had to do with handing our opponents another tool to beat us up rhetorically with.

That's right. It's not that Watts thinks it is outrageous to compare people to Nazis. It's not that he thinks it's offensive and rude. Calling people deniers is insulting the entire Jewish race and something Watts will yell and scream about because it (supposedly) compares people to Holocaust deniers, but directly comparing people to Nazis is fine by him. That is, as long as doing so is tactically sound.

This is not the sort of thing I wanted to talk about today, but it's also not something I can ignore. I never followed Watts Up With That, visiting it only on rare occasions. I also never followed Delingpole, having long since concluded he was a pathetic hack who said nothing worth listening to. Given that, I didn't notice just how offensive Delingpole is or how hypocritical Watts is. If I had, I never would have gotten involved with Watts.

Quite frankly, I wish I had never gotten involved with the Skeptic community at all. Global warming advocates have done all sorts of inexcusable things, to the point the entire movement promoted fraud at the highest of levels. They have done plenty of offensive, disgusting and terrible things which I felt ought to be condemned. I still do. I just can't see anything about the Skeptic movement which paints it in a better light.

22 comments

  1. And... wow. Delingpole also writes articles which include lines like:

    The wind-farm business is bloody well near a pedophile ring. They’re ****ing our families and knowingly doing so.

    A line he attributes to some unnamed individual but endorses, because apparently comparing people to pedophiles is a cool thing to do.

  2. "Why that would be beyond the pale while comparing people to Nazis would be okay is a mystery I could never hope to solve."

    It doesn't strike me as mysterious.

    These kinds of ideological struggles are full of self- victimization mixed in with demonization of otters (identity-aggressive and identity-defensive cognition).

    I was a bit surprised at the ubiquity when I first started observing the "climate-o-sphere, " but after a while I realized that in the bulk of the "climate-o-sphere, " identity protection is actually the underlying goal. As such, the kind of double standard you describe should very much be expected.

    Comparing otters to Nazis while being "outraged, outraged I say" at being targeted by denigrating comparisons oneself is only a small subset of the phenomenon.

  3. Joshua, simply calling people hypocrites or things like that doesn't seem to resolve the mystery to me. Presumably, people have some rationalization for their double standards. What that rationalization might be is what I find to be a mystery. I can't solve that just by saying, "People suck," even if that answer is correct.

    Sven, I had a classmate in high school who wound up with the nickname "otter killer" because of the negative things he said about them. Joshua ought to be careful 😉

  4. Brandon -

    A semantic point. The point, for me, is not about "calling people hypocrites." We all engage in such hypocritical behaviors, employ these types of double-standards. The simple fact of engaging in hypocritical behavior is not sufficient, IMO, to characterize someone as a hypocrite (or if it is, then everyone is a hypocrite).


    Presumably, people have some rationalization for their double standards

    Although the prevalence of such behaviors might be relatively high in the "climate-o-sphere," it is not remotely unique to that context. Although participants in the climate wars are outliers in some respects, they largely share the same kinds of behaviors as found in a representative sampling, IMO.

    IMO, such behaviors are pretty much fundamental to the human condition - behaviors that lie at the convergence of human cognition (the pattern-finding nature of how we reason) and human psychology (our need to affirm our identity).

    That is why we see these behaviors so frequently in so many forms, imo. As such, the rationalization seems rather clear, to me. "There is no double standard here because what I and my group do is fine because we are good and smart and honest people with good intentions and what otters do is not ok because they are bad and dumb and dishonest people with bad intentions."

    For example, "There's no problem if we compare them to Nazis because they really are like Nazis. It's not ok for them to compare us to Nazis because we aren't anything like Nazis and they're only making that comparison because they are bad and dishonest people who will victimize us to achieve their goals."

    Or, "It's OK for us to call them 'deniers' because they clearly are just denying facts - we aren't usually comparing them to holocaust-deniers when we call them 'deniers.'. But if we are comparing them to holocaust-deners that's fine, because they really are like holocaust-deniers (because they share the same malignant intent and low moral standing). But we aren't denying any facts, so when they call us 'deniers' they are obviously trying to victimize us by fallaciously comparing us to holocaust deniers. And besides, we clearly aren't like holocaust-deniers because we are of a high moral standing."

    Go over to Lucia's crib and compare how SteveF or David Young describe "alarmists" and "the left" as people who are categorically different from themselves and those they align with ideologically. Such phenomena reflect parallel processes along different ideological axis (I'm not implying that similar patterns don't play out among their ideological counterparts).

    I'm guessing from your comment above that those don't qualify as rationalizations, but if so, 1I don't understand why you wouldn't think they do.

  5. It's a mistake to assume that there is a "skeptic movement." There is no such thing in the sense that there is no equivalent to the consensus enforcement arm of the alarmist movement, which is much better organized with paid pseudo-academics leading the charge and has its own organizations and is supported by such powerfully funded political propaganda arms as the Center for American Progress. The problem here is that to the extent that scientists get involved in politics, the level of mean, nasty, and sometimes libelous dialogue increases exponentially. Politics now is actually nastier than at any time since the 19th Century, which was actually vastly worse.

    It's best in dealing with this issue to ignore the political noise as its a "what about" issue and rather meaningless. It is more troublesome when senior scientists go political and get involved in the mudslinging. That deserves some sanction I think.

    A recent example here is Dessler vs. Lewis and Curry. It looks like Dessler is simply a less careful and consistent scientist who is overconfident in his science and misstates things on twitter.

  6. Joshua, Your analysis is something I would have thought when I was a young and inexperienced college student. There is no equivalence between all points of view. Some are closer to the truth than others. Your time will be better rewarded by trying to find the truth so you can accurately judge the underlying issues. "What aboutism" is just a partisan political tool to drive contributions.

    We arrive at truth by vigorous technical arguments. That's hard to do but as you mature, you will get better at it.

  7. Joshua, I'm not sure why you think I wouldn't consider those rationalizations. I would. I'm just not convinced they are the ones at play here. They might be, but I have no way to look into people's minds to know. Even if I knew it were true for one person, I wouldn't know it was true for other people. Different people might raiontalize things in different ways.

    Anyway, I don't agree this is behavior everyone engages in. This is probably too related to past exchanges we've had which were unproductive, but I think there are people who don't behave this way. Take me, as an example. I have no problem believing there are examples of such bias in my behavior in the "heat of the moment," but I am confident there are no examples in any long-term sense.

    Fun fact, as a kid I believed Santa Claus was real much longer than i probably should have. The reason was people always told me lying was bad.* I didn't think society as a whole would agree lying was bad yet also agree to lie about something like that. I couldn't do that. I still can't. It's not like lying about Santa is done to protect people. (Even as a kid, I understood doing something "bad" like lying to protect people could be "right.")

    Which is probably a reason I shouldn't be around young children. I'm the kind of person who would tell them Santa isn't real.

  8. David Young:

    It's a mistake to assume that there is a "skeptic movement." There is no such thing in the sense that there is no equivalent to the consensus enforcement arm of the alarmist movement,

    I assume nothing. I speak from experience. Skeptics have certainly formed a group, complete with tribe mentality, and they do resort o the same tribalistic enforcement tactics. I could detail numerous examples, and even provide direct quotations from e-mails in which I was told continuing to speak out about X would be bad for my future in the blogosphere.

    There is a difference between Skeptics and Warmists in this regard, but it is one of scale not type. It's not that Skeptics are better people. It's not that Skeptics are more ethical or honest. They just don't have the same resources and influence. That's the only real difference.

  9. I agree broadly Brandon. But the issue of power is very important. We have all kinds of fringe groups in the world. Without much power, they are just irrelevant. With the levers of power comes a higher standard I would argue.

  10. I can't agree. Good and bad don't change simply because a group becomes more popular. Right and wrong aren't dependent upon how successful your group is. I don't see it as being less wrong for a local sheriff to be corrupt than for an FBI official to be. I don't see any reason I should view one more favorably than the other, even if one does have a greater impact on the world.

    If I stretched hard enough, I might be able to accept that perspective if Skeptics were content with being a fringe group. If Skeptics said they were a small group nobody cares about, and they're content with that, then maybe I wouldn't care about them being disingenuous hypocrites. But Skeptics aren't okay with being ignored. Skeptics rant and wail about how people don't listen to them. They do so even as they behave in ways which make it so people shouldn't listen to them.

    Even if I didn't care for moral or ethical reasons, I'd certainly care for practical ones. If Skeptics behave exactly like the people they condemn, why should anyone listen to them over the people they condemn?

  11. Brandon -

    It's a mistake to assume that there is a "skeptic movement." There is no such thing in the sense that there is no equivalent to the consensus enforcement arm of the alarmist movement,

    What perfect timing. David creates vapid distinctions between his group and the other group so that he can maintain an elevated status for himself and his group.

    They might be, but I have no way to look into people's minds to know. Even if I knew it were true for one person, I wouldn't know it was true for other people. Different people might raiontalize things in different ways.

    Sure. Drawing firm conclusions for any particular individual requires a high standard of evidence - a standard that is often lacking.

    But IMO, the pattern is striking in its ubiquity. We can predict these patterns in all manor of ways that pan out. For example, we could easily predict that self-identified "skeptics" and "realists" alike would fabricate distinctions between their groups, respectively. And sure enough, when we read the climate-o-sphere we see evidence of such, even from people who are trained and experienced in controlling for bias when doing analysis. I thank David for reinforcing the point.

    But your comment that I originally responded to seemed to me to be within the more general framework.

    "Why that would be beyond the pale while comparing people to Nazis would be okay is a mystery I could never hope to solve."

    Yes, for any particular individual who gets concerned about being compared to Nazis and yet makes the same facile comparison with others, and we see an accompanying ideological or partisan association, we can't know for sure that the rationalization I described is on play.

    But I think we see evidence enough of such a rationalization in play that I am not particularly surprised or perplexed when I see such behavior. In fact, I don't find it surorising at all. If we had evidence that such a mechanism was not in play for a to en I do visual, then I might certainly be stumped as to the rationalization mechanism in play.

    Perhaps your are an exception to the general pattern. I doubt it, but have said before thst I think that among those who are heavily engaged in the blogoshowric bickering over climate change, you are one of those who more frequently argues across the standard battle lines. That is interesting evidence. Other interesting evidence is that I have seen you argue points, and hang on to those arguments in ways the I think are irrational because it seems to me (and others) that they are poor arguments. As such, I think that you aren't particularly immune from a similar pattern of identity-protective rationalization, even if it doesn't take the same shape as what we can see more frequently

    My sense is that these patterns of "motivated reasoning" in the broad sense take different specific form largely in association with individuals' attachment to various components of identity - and for some people, an individualistic identity is more important than a group identity, relatively speaking.

  12. Joshua:

    But your comment that I originally responded to seemed to me to be within the more general framework.

    If I can't know what rationalization an individual uses, I can't know it is the rationalization an entire group uses. It may be the rationalization the group uses. It may just be a rationalization the group uses. There could be many others at play as well. Personally, I suspect there are a number at play for each individual.

    Saying it's a mystery doesn't mean I think I have no pieces of the puzzle. It means I can't solve the whole puzzle.

    That is interesting evidence. Other interesting evidence is that I have seen you argue points, and hang on to those arguments in ways the I think are irrational because it seems to me (and others) that they are poor arguments.

    Yeah, but try looking at actual examples which support your view. I'd wager 80% of cases you can find a person saying I'm doing this sort of thing are ones where you'd say they were wrong. I consistently get that sort of response from people who... let's just say aren't exactly being open-minded. Heck, half the time a person says it about me, another person who said the same thing about me on a different occasion will disagree with them.

    My experience is most times people say that sort of thing, it's because they don't have any way to actually dispute what I say. On occasion, they are right though. And that's why I referred to the "heat of the moment" above. I don't claim to be perfect. Upon sober reflection, I've acknowledged I made mistakes that like that.

    Which is a reason I suggest people find examples rather than rely on vague impressions. I think most accusations like this are wrong, but for the ones that aren't, I'd like to correct matters. I find very few people are willing to attempt this though. Most people wouldn't even consider it. I suspect on some level that's because most people realize a lot of their impressions about people/things are wrong. I've seen that plenty of times on purely factual matters. (There was a perfect demonstration of this sort of thing over at CliScep just a couple weeks ago.)

  13. Brandon -

    If I can't know what rationalization an individual uses, I can't know it is the rationalization an entire group uses.

    I think it would be a pretty tall order to determine what rationalization an "entire group" uses, unless the determination of "group" is, effectively tautological (i.e., "the group of people who use that rationalization").

    It may be the rationalization the group uses. It may just be a rationalization the group uses. There could be many others at play as well. Personally, I suspect there are a number at play for each individual.

    Sure.

    Saying it's a mystery doesn't mean I think I have no pieces of the puzzle. It means I can't solve the whole puzzle.

    Sure.

    But once again, it doesn't strike me as mysterious when someone displays (at least on the surface) what could well be that kind of rationalization. If, indeed, I found evidence for a particular case that someone acted in such a way but in fact, didn't employ such a rationalization process, then I might very well then consider it to be mysterious.

    Yeah, but try looking at actual examples which support your view. I'd wager 80% of cases you can find a person saying I'm doing this sort of thing are ones where you'd say they were wrong.

    Yes. Or maybe more. You aren't often wrong, IMO (although I think that more often than you are wrong, you focus on points that I think aren't terribly germane to the more salient issue at hand).

    I consistently get that sort of response from people who... let's just say aren';t exactly being open-minded.

    I agree.

    Heck, half the time a person says it about me, another person who said the same thing about me on a different occasion will disagree with them.

    Yes, it's funny how that works. Such inconsistencies are, IMO, another sign of the larger phenomenon I'm talking about. People will largely judge the validity of your (or others') reasoning not on the internal logic, but with how they line up with the conclusions that you're arguing in favor of.

    My experience is most times people say that sort of thing, it's because they don't have any way to actually dispute what I say.

    I disagree, in general. In my observation, people almost always find a way to dispute conclusions that they don't like. And as a parallel pattern, I think that people very frequently dismiss conclusions they don't like by just telling themselves that the person who is disagreeing with them is doing so because they don't have any way to dispute the arguments they don't like.

    Which is a reason I suggest people find examples rather than rely on vague impressions.

    Sure. That is a good rule of thumb. On the other hand, though, sometimes focusing on specific examples, IMO, can get pedantic and miss the more important issues at hand. It can sometimes be a balancing act, IMO.

    I think most accusations like this are wrong, but for the ones that aren't, I'd like to correct matters. I find very few people are willing to attempt this though. Most people wouldn't even consider it.

    I would suggest that you probably have more power over such interactions than you exercise - if the goal is to correct matters.

    I suspect on some level that's because most people realize a lot of their impressions about people/things are wrong. I've seen that plenty of times on purely factual matters.

    People do have a natural tendency to react defensively. I think it is particularly true of a certain type who like to engage actively in blogospheric exchanges. It can be very difficult to overcome that tendency. However, it is possible, I believe, to conduct oneself in such a way that enhances openness in others, relatively speaking, if that is one's goal.

  14. Joshua:

    But once again, it doesn't strike me as mysterious when someone displays (at least on the surface) what could well be that kind of rationalization. If, indeed, I found evidence for a particular case that someone acted in such a way but in fact, didn't employ such a rationalization process, then I might very well then consider it to be mysterious.

    It might not seem mysterious to you. It does to me though. Even if I can repeat these words a person might use to rationalize something, I still don't understand it. Saying the words doesn't remove the cognitive dissonance for me.

    I disagree, in general. In my observation, people almost always find a way to dispute conclusions that they don't like. And as a parallel pattern, I think that people very frequently dismiss conclusions they don't like by just telling themselves that the person who is disagreeing with them is doing so because they don't have any way to dispute the arguments they don't like.

    When I said "dispute," i thinking "refute." I didn't think to account for people disputing something with untrue claims. That can always be done. What I was meaning to get at it is when people can't come up with a good response, this is one of the go-to arguments they use to avoid having to consider the possibility what they read/heard is actually correct.

    Sure. That is a good rule of thumb. On the other hand, though, sometimes focusing on specific examples, IMO, can get pedantic and miss the more important issues at hand. It can sometimes be a balancing act, IMO.

    I would agree to an extent, though I don't think the "balancing act" as you put it can exist without any examples at all. If people have different impressions of a number of situations, I don't see how they could hope to resolve those disagreements without considering any specifics.

    I would suggest that you probably have more power over such interactions than you exercise - if the goal is to correct matters.

    There is always more a person can do to try to affect a situation. As one example, a person could always beg and grovel to try to get a person to be more responsive. My experience is it rarely makes much difference. The people who have expressed outrage over how I treat them were just as non-responsive/disingenuous when I disagreed with them more civilly.

    I try to always start off being civil/nice when I first "meet" a person. But if that doesn't work with someone, I don't see much reason to keep trying at it. Especially not when every person I have ever seen complain about how I treat them routinely treats people worse than what led to their complaints. I imagine you've seen plenty of the same in your own life. Some people will just look for any excuse to take offense.

    One of my favorite examples comes from a guy who goes by JD Ohio. He likes to rant about "lefties" and how dumb and dishonest they are, having an entire post there for just that. He also really dislikes me. In one of his many efforts to paint me as a terrible person, he cited this post of mine and went all, "How dare you call that building sick!" Or something like that. It was really weird and incoherent. I wish I could post a link to it, but lucia blocks the web crawlers used by sites like Google so I can't (easily) search her site for it.

  15. Joshua, What you are arguing here is it seems to me a form of prejudice in which you assign people to groups and then ascribe tribalism to the group and to those individuals. That's kind of bigoted don't you think? Each person is different. Group dynamics sometimes do dominate a given person's thinking, but that's partly a function of modern insertional theory where people are told what they must think based on their "group" and are shamed and attacked if they think independently.

    Generally, it is quite clear that consensus enforcement is a much powerful force than skepticism and causes more harm. In medicine, its not as big a problem because the community is so diverse that its impossible to do effectively.

    Science in general is infected with severe problems that even the house organs of science acknowledge (Nature several times, the Lancet, etc.). The consensus enforcement project requires denying this well established fact. One such article stated that "the literature is infected with severe positive biases". That was based on a prominent funder of large studies requiring preregistration of trials and more importantly measures to be used (what outcomes were you going to look at). Positive results went down over a 15 year period from a vast majority to I think 8%. Consensus enforcement in this environment is particularly dishonest.

  16. Brandon:

    "Even if I didn't care for moral or ethical reasons, I'd certainly care for practical ones. If Skeptics behave exactly like the people they condemn, why should anyone listen to them over the people they condemn?"

    I would argue that you should judge the arguments on their truth and the evidence rather than by the "behavior" (whatever that means) of those making the arguments. Total jerks are sometimes right and saints are sometimes often wrong.

  17. David Young, if a person engages in the very behavior they criticize others for, people will tend not to listen to them. It doesn't matter if those complaints are right. People tend to be turned off by hypocrisy (if they perceive it). That's true even if you think they shouldn't be.

    Beyond an observation of what happens, I'd further argue it should happen. A person who is opportunistic in criticizing a type of behavior is untrustworthy. It shows they're pretending to hold a standard they don't actually hold. It's dishonest. If a person is being dishonest when they say something, people are right not to trust what is being said. A person who acts without integrity is not a person who you can count on giving an accurate portrayal of things.

  18. Brandon, Yea, This is the old hypocrisy card. It's not a worthy argument on any factual matter. There are moral judgments of people and then there are scientific or factual matters. It will help you navigate the real world to realize there is a difference.

    Also, there is the matter of judging the totality of a person's actions and output. Focusing on a few small matters that you emotionally react to is not a successful life strategy and is itself hypocritical as everyone has made mistakes in factual and moral judgment. The best strategy is focusing on truth vs. error and investigating the hard questions we all face and using all the human resources available to do so.

  19. David Young, your response is bizarre. And dumb. That people take into account a person's integrity/honesty when deciding how much consideration to give them in no way suggests they are unaware of the difference between moral judgments and factual matters. I'd say more, but... seriously, your response is just too stupid.

  20. David -

    Joshua, What you are arguing here is it seems to me a form of prejudice in which you assign people to groups and then ascribe tribalism to the group and to those individuals. That's kind of bigoted don't you think?

    I said that I can't make an evaluation for any given individual, absent a high standard of evidence. And I'm saying that I don't find it particularly surprising when people display hypocritical behavior in these realms, because it seems to me to be a relatively banal reflection of basic human behavior.

    Each person is different.

    I said that I don't assume a judgement for any particular individual on the basis of more general behavior - although, I do think that general behavior tells us something about the probabilities in how individuals behave. Ignoring those probabilities wouldn't make any more sense to me than assuming that those probabilities can lead to a dispositive conclusion.

    Group dynamics sometimes do dominate a given person's thinking,

    ??? I never suggested that "group dynamics dominate a person's thinking." I honestly have no idea where you got that from.

    but that's partly a function of modern insertional theory where people are told what they must think based on their "group" and are shamed and attacked if they think independently.

    Right. Everything is bad because of people who you disagree with ideologically. Got it.

    Generally, it is quite clear that consensus enforcement is a much powerful force than skepticism and causes more harm. In medicine, its not as big a problem because the community is so diverse that its impossible to do effectively.

    Really? Given the progress that has been made, through decades, of consensus agreements on myriad manners - including along with the existence of various levels of "consensus enforcement" - I would love to see evidence for how you evaluate "causes harm." Of course, your terminology seems extremely vague to me, and likely the product of selective assessments of what qualifies as "consensus enforcement" and "causes" and "harms."

    Science in general is infected with severe problems that even the house organs of science acknowledge (Nature several times, the Lancet, etc.). The consensus enforcement project requires denying this well established fact.

    Problems exist, and a great number of people involved acknowledge that problems exist. Again, your assessment seems to me to be fatally flawed by vagueness and bias confirmation.

    One such article stated that "the literature is infected with severe positive biases".

    Biases exist. That doesn't equate to "causing more harm," whatever that means. In fact, I think it's entirely possible that hand-wringing from snowflakes about the "harm," in pursuit of an agenda, is likely to cause harm - although I wouldn't hand-wring about that because, I think, it will come out in the wash in the long run.

    That was based on a prominent funder of large studies requiring preregistration of trials and more importantly measures to be used (what outcomes were you going to look at). Positive results went down over a 15 year period from a vast majority to I think 8%. Consensus enforcement in this environment is particularly dishonest.

    It seems entirely possible to me that a growth in technology and the growth in the % of people who are engaged in various forms of empirical analysis, it seems entirely plausible to me that there has been a growth in the % of studies that lead to spurious findings (that aren't identified as such). While I think that if so, that would be a problem, that doesn't mean that we are worse off for it, because even as there might be a relative increase in spurious findings, there can be an increase, in an absolute sense of, (1) information (incorrect information is useful) and (2) important findings that aren't useful.

    At any rate, I know that you're fully committed to banging on this issue to justify your ideological views, and as such, I'm not going to engage with you on the topic more here. There is nothing for me to learn in doing so.

  21. Joshua, You have no idea what is motivating my comments here or elsewhere for that matter. Your assumption about my ideology motivating my views shows your immaturity. Mind reading is a pastime for those with little else to offer. My main motivation is to help in some small way to fix science. It's a serious problem everyone should be concerned about, especially scientists themselves.

    On the preregistration of trials I mentioned, the funder published a peer reviewed article stating that your explanations are implausible. The main cause of the dramatic reduction in the percentage of positive findings was due to the preregistration protocol.

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