I have just posted/reblogged the WUWT article on how, in the 1970’s, climate “experts” were espousing serious global cooling and maybe having to eliminate democracy in order to facilitate the control of “pollution”. Of course, they wanted to control the world, but the “pollution” was, as carbon controls now are, the scapegate to fool the people that the controls were necessary.
This has set me thinking about how people so readily operate in a polarised manner.
There are many factors but the fact remains that, in just about any area of human experience, polarization occurs. Opposite ‘sides’ readily form. Liberals and Democrats, Hawthorn supporters and Collingwood supporters, Republicans and Royalists etc.
Them and us, ‘warmists’ and CO2 villain ‘deniers’ (NOT global warming ‘deniers’), etc.
The same data is available to all, yet its interpretation or conception becomes radically different. Of course, some of the data is scientifically valid, yet still misinterpreted, there seems to be two ways of looking at it. Similarly some data is not valid, yet acceptable to some people, not to others.
Another example is the global financial CRISIS. What is seen to be the madness of bailouts and austerity programs by some, are seen by others to be, not perhaps the best, but certainly worthwhile solutions.
In both of these cases, probably all cases of this polarized behaviour, there is much deliberate decision making based on a particular agenda. In other words, a decision is made not on the data/evidence itself, but on the required end result that is preferred.
This is not quite what I am discussing – more the human thought process that without agenda and maybe even without any bias, a person decides they know enough about an issue to reach a conclusion that happens to be opposite to that of another person. Same input material, two ways of looking at it.
One can be right, the other wrong. Both could be wrong. If opposed though, they cannot both be right. (In politics and football, the right and wrong are somewhat arbitrary, so I am thinking about more substantial subjects).
One factor that seems evident is that people are reluctant to change their mind admitting they were wrong. Again, this is different to having become polarized in the first place.
Another factor is that there seems sometimes to be a filtering of input information, a sort of permeable shield that deflects certain inputs but allows through others.
Just a meandering of thoughts for the fun of it.
So it becomes easy for a lot of people to conclude, or at least think and/or say, “you are stupid”, with the reasonable inference that they (think they) are not. This is not intelligent discourse because it is immediately emotive. Emotive thought processes are inevitably biassed and unthinking. Another area not really relevant to my theme.
Name calling is a result of irrational thinking and inability to make effective argument.
So, what has rationality and intelligence got to with polarized thinking?
Probably quite a lot but one needs to be careful to not hurt others feelings if introducing that question.
If half of the debaters have say IQ’s above 100, and another group are 100 and below, are they likely to be polarised in a discussion in step with their IQ?
Obviously, an above-average IQ person can still be affected by emotional baggage and have ingrained prejudices, things that interfere with rational thinking. But are we talking about baggage and prejudice?
A person of less measured IQ might be more rational and have more commonsense.
But with technical subjects like climate science, one would imagine that the higher scale persons would have an edge on the others in reaching rational conclusions. Not to say that such a person would not be subject, if not more so, to vested interests and make decisions not based on science.
So, I named people who advocated catastrophic cooling problems in the 1970’s, AND those who now advocate catastrophic warming or some such inconsequential name, either ignorant, charlatans or both. So there, I did one of the things I suggested here is irrelevant and otherwise negative. Just to prove that I am human too.
Anyway, that’s what set me going on this polarization theme.