Posts filed under “UnScience”

Special report: Living in denial

New Scientist: Special report: Living in denial:

(Image: Woods Wheatcroft)

STATE OF DENIAL

From climate change to vaccines, evolution to flu, denialists are on the march. Why are so many people refusing to accept what the evidence is telling them?

In this special feature we look at the phenomenon in depth. What is denial? What attracts people to it? How does it start, and how does it spread? And finally, how should we respond to it?

DEFINING DENIAL

When a sceptic isn’t a sceptic

(Image: Joseph Eid / AFP / Getty Images)

There are clear lines between scepticism and denial, but telling them apart can be tricky in the real world, says Michael Shermer. Read more

WHOSE CONSPIRACY?

Why sensible people reject the truth

Good story, shame about the evidence (Image: Chris  Casciano)

Denialism satisfies deep emotional needs. That makes it easy to encourage and hard to counter, says Debora MacKenzie. Read more

SMOKESCREENS

How corporations manufacture doubt

Producing a smokescreen (Image: Andrei Pungovschi / AP /  PA)

If the truth is inconvenient, put up a smokescreen instead. It works wonders for big business, argues Richard Littlemore. Read more

PLAUSIBLE FALSEHOOD

Unleashing a lie

Think diseases spread fast? Lies are faster (Image:  Saturn Stills / SPL)

It’s easy to send a lie flying around the world, and almost impossible to shoot it down, says Jim Giles. Read more

THE D-WORD

Questioning science isn’t blasphemy

Is "denier" just another insult? (Image: Rodger  Bosch / AFP / Getty)

Michael Fitzpatrick argues that calling an opponent a denier is illiberal, intolerant and ineffective. Read more

FIGHTING BACK

The truth is our only weapon

How should we deal with denialists? (Image: Francis  Miller / Contributor)

We must let denialists be heard, and respond with patience, vigilance and tireless rebuttal, says Michael Shermer. Read more

Category: Psychology, UnScience

How Bad is BP Deepwater Horizon?

Here is a decidedly contrarian viewpoint, from University of Alabama Professor Dr. Roy Spencer. Prof Spencer notes that the general commentary regarding the BP spill as “the worst environmental disaster in history” is wildly overblown. His graph below is designed to put this spill into perspective. Now, before you wail that he is a global…Read More

Category: Contrary Indicators, Energy, Science, UnScience

Solving the Climate Debate

Here is a fascinating suggestion — from an economist, yet — on how to reconcile the debate between those who believe Global Warming is real and man-made, versus those who don’t: “To end this political stalemate, Dr. McKitrick proposes calling each side’s bluff. He suggests imposing financial penalties on carbon emissions that would be set…Read More

Category: Science, UnScience

WSJ: Are Humans Responsible for Climate Change?

Wow, the results of this WSJ poll was surprising: > chart courtesy of WSJ > And they teed up the poll with this description: This decade is on track to become the warmest since records began in 1850, and 2009 could rank among the top-five warmest years, the U.N. weather agency reported on the second…Read More

Category: Really, really bad calls, UnScience

Jared Diamond: The Evolution of Religions

Jared Diamond, professor of geography at UCLA, received the Pulitzer Prize for non-fiction in 1998 for Guns, Germs and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies. In 1999, he received the National Medal of Science. His most recent book is Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed (2004).

Professor Diamond argues that religion has encompassed at least four independent components that have arisen or disappeared at different stages of development of human societies over the last 10,000 years.

Category: UnScience, Video

Agnotology

Fascinating discussion via Wired‘s Clive Thompson, and Stanford historian of science Robert Proctor, on Agnotology: “When it comes to many contentious subjects, our usual relationship to information is reversed: Ignorance increases. [Proctor] has developed a word inspired by this trend: agnotology. Derived from the Greek root agnosis, it is “the study of culturally constructed ignorance.”…Read More

Category: Psychology, Really, really bad calls, Science, UnScience

Was There Really a Financial Crisis ?

Hale “Bonddad” Stewart is a former bond broker with several regional firms. He currently writes for Bonddad Blog, the Huffington Post and practices domestic and international tax law

Website: http://www.bonddad.blogspot.com/

Law office: http://halestewartlaw.com/

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A recent paper by the Minneapolis Federal Reserve has gotten a lot of attention. The paper is titled Facts and Myths About the Financial Crisis of 2008 and it argues there was in fact no credit crisis. Several people have used this paper to argue that Wall Street overstated the severity of the credit crisis in order to get a bail-out they didn’t need. What these commentators have failed to heed is this paper was widely criticized within the financial community, even drawing a rare rebuke from a sister Federal Reserve Bank. In short, to argue there was no credit crisis — to say we were “punked by Wall Street” — flies in the face of every available fact on the crisis.

First, let’s provide some background for this debate. As of this writing 311 lenders have “imploded.” The XLFs — the ETF that tracks the financial sector – is down almost 70% from a high in the summer of 2007. Total credit losses at the world’s financial institutions have totaled 1 trillion dollars:

The gauge is down 46 percent in 2008 as credit losses and writedowns at the world’s largest banks surpassed $1 trillion and the U.S., Europe and Japan entered the first simultaneous recessions since World War II.

In other words, the financial sector’s economic position is terrible at best.

But the evidence runs deeper. About every six weeks the Federal Reserve issues a paper titled “The Beige Book.” This is a book complied from anecdotal evidence from the Federal Reserve Districts on the general economic environment. Every Beige book issued in 2008 has indicated credit conditions were tightening and loan demand was decreasing.

Read More

Category: BP Cafe, Credit, Derivatives, Finance, Really, really bad calls, UnScience

Attack of the invisible hand of the free market!

Hat tip The Mess That Greenspan Made via Salon

Category: Digital Media, Humor, Markets, UnScience

Updating ATLAS SHRUGGED for the Financial Crisis

Friday flame bait: Has ever a more pedantic, tedious tome been penned by any theorist before or since Atlas Shrugged? The odious combination of ideological rigidity and academic purity makes for a compelling manifesto for the naive and weak-minded. The work has become the Das Kapital of the 20th century . . . Both were…Read More

Category: Bailouts, Humor, UnScience

Goal: Increase Minority Homeowners by 5.5 Million in a Decade

Here’s the deal: I have a hundred more speeches and clippings from George W. Bush about setting goals for minority home ownership. If the wingnuts insist, I will roll out a speech aday until january 20th, 2009.

Category: Politics, Taxes and Policy, UnScience