Preconceptions and the Cost of Losing the Information War

From six years ago today:

I wasn’t expecting to see such a sarcastic headline and opening paragraph from the Heritage Foundation:

Well, I Guess Obama Hasn’t Healed the Planet

When Barack Obama won his party’s presidential nomination in 2008, he proclaimed that “generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children that… this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.”

The 840-page report from the National Climate Assessment has been answered with a vigorous response from those who dispute its findings. There are many examples to be found in the new media, such as this one from William Sullivan, who writes that:

… nothing I can find in the material provided for mass consumption offers convincing links between the report’s observations (or its outlandish predictions) and the potentially underlying causes. It seems nothing more than mere presumption that the cause of the observations and predictions is carbon and fossil fuel proliferation. You’re simply to assume that it’s true because they say so. Think no more.

As effective as so much of these articles are (see recommended reading list below), as is the case with all the other debates, how many of the uninformed and misinformed are actually hearing from both sides? Polling data in recent years has been providing evidence that the public isn’t buying the argument represented by the Obama Administration when it comes to “climate change.” It certainly wouldn’t surprise me if those polls sparked the writing of this NCA report. The political left never says die — and we all know their message reaches the masses.

In a post titled, “The Party Of Science Has Absolutely No Clue What It’s Talking About,” Andrew Quinn gets to the real problem which results when our side fails to connect with people. There is a universal tendency, Quinn writes, that people champion the evidence “that gels with their intuitions but shrug off data that disrupt them.”

This phenomenon knows no party, as the psychologist Jonathan Haidt demonstrates. All humans are inclined to rationalize backwards from our preconceptions.

We all know which side is responsible for forming most of those “pre-”conceptions. The political left owns the dominant media, pop culture, and most of the k-college education system. If our fellow citizens don’t turn on the right cable news channel, the right talk radio shows, or find the right websites, they remain low information voters.

For example, how many people heard about this?:

One of the world’s most eminent climate scientists — for several decades a warmist — has defected to the climate skeptic camp.

Lennart Bengtsson — a Swedish climatologist, meteorologist, former director of the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in Hamburg and winner, in 2006, of the 51st IMO Prize of the World Meteorological Organization for his pioneering work in numerical weather prediction — is by some margin the most distinguished scientist to change sides.

You can read about it at Breitbart London.

How many people know about the great work being done by NIPCC and the Heartland Institute on the science behind “global warming,” “climate change,” or, if you like, “climate disruption”?

The think tanks produce the studies, the new conservative media and commentators analyze the information to the Nth degree, and then what? I’ve been arguing on behalf of the “then what.” In order for Republicans and conservatives to stop losing the information war, the “idle army” must be activated – and it’s all hands on deck.

Conservatives need new pipelines for information to flow — and they need to get aggressive about utilizing (as much as is possible) all of the old pipelines. The political right can’t just continue to produce their own studies and debate endlessly among themselves how things need to be phrased. Let us turn the focus to practical matters: how can we reach more eyes and ears with our written and spoken words?

Recommended reading:

Climate Change Is Real. Too Bad Accurate Climate Models Aren’t.

NIPCC Report ‘Poking Very Large Holes’ in Climate Alarmist ‘Consensus’

The ‘Cure’ for Climate Change Is Far Worse than the Disease

Global Cooling Underway

That Old Time Religion; That Old Time Science

Dissenting Scientists Label White House Climate Report As ‘Pseudoscience’