Survey participation invited: Does fear of CO2 cause extreme voting?

Please note updates below

A few weeks ago, U.K. writer, James Delingpole declared that he would be running as an independent “anti-windfarm” candidate in a forthcoming by-election. He recently summarized his position:

If there were a single plausible argument in favour of wind power, my task would be a much harder one than it is. But there isn’t. The wind industry is so wrong in every way that to be against it ought to be no more contentious than being against paedophilia. Where wind is concerned we need to stop being Nimbys and learn to be Niabys: not in your back yard, not in my back yard, not in anyone’s back yard.

Delingpole is an eminently readable writer whose irreverent tone might not be appreciated by all. While his popular book, Watermelons is sometimes over the top (as are some of his blog posts), I found it to be an enjoyable read. But in the over the top department, Canadian climate modeller, Andrew Weaver beats Delingpole by a country mile.

In 2007, Weaver declared that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)’s Fourth Assessment Report would reveal climate change to be a “barrage of intergalactic ballistic missiles”. Very “conservative” and a perfect illustration of the “evidence-based” science on which his preferred policies, i.e. the urgent need for a war against Carbon Dioxide (CO2), should be implemented.

Weaver, who has rarely chosen to hide his political activist lights under bushel, has now declared that he will be a Green Party candidate in British Columbia’s spring 2013 provincial election.

Not surprisingly, Weaver failed to correct the reporter at the Victoria Times-Colonist who mistakenly conferred on Weaver and his fellow IPCC authors the “Nobel Peace Prize”. In reality, the actual recipients of this increasingly devalued award in 2007 were Al Gore and the IPCC.

The IPCC is quite amorphous. This “Panel” is supposed to be comprised of the governments, not the scientists and modellers who do the much exalted “work”.

Although, in support of this particular “redifinition”, no doubt Weaver would heartily endorse fellow IPCC-nik Myles Allen’s November 2011 slip of the tongue:

The IPCC or us scientists, so to speak

Weaver has a long history of high-ranking authorship of IPCC reports, including that of Lead Author of the forthcoming Fifth Assessment Report (AR5). In this latest edition of the “climate bible“, Weaver’s contribution will be to Working Group 1 Chapter 12: Long-term Climate Change: Projections, Commitments and Irreversibility.

In light of his declared very green-striped political candidacy one wonders if he will have the decency to declare his obvious bias and conflict of interest and withdraw from participation in AR5 authorship. Any bets?!

For all that the general public have clearly indicated that “climate change” is very, very low on the priority totem pole, activist “scientists” such as Weaver – and more recently “psychologists” such as Stephan Lewandowsky – (not to mention anti-free-speech acolytes and lesser lights whose fear factory is currently in overdrive as a consequence of PBS having had the temerity to interview Anthony Watts) [Edit: completing this thought/sentence] continue to delude themselves that if they could only find the right communication path, the public will fall into line.

It is also worth noting that the MSM have been dutifully churning reports in which “climate change” is declared as the “cause” of the recent spate of “extreme” weather events. What is not mentioned in such reports (nor in the copious profliferation of “scientific” papers over the last twenty years) is that – apart from computer simulations and projections (which can hardly be considered as “evidence” for anything except a reflection of the modellers’ inputs) – there has been no empirical evidence provided which would even begin to suggest that human generated CO2 is the primary cause, driver – or in CliSci-speak “forcing” – of climate change aka global warming aka the greatest threat to the future of our planet.

I would be extremely surprised if Weaver would ever declare that human generated CO2 is anything less than the equivalent of a “barrage of intergactic ballistic missiles”. I would be equally surprised if Delingpole would ever declare that CO2 – whether generated by humans or mother nature – is anything less than crucial for the survival of our planet.

What I’ve always found extremely annoying about election run-up political polls is that if at first they don’t succeed in getting you to declare your preferred candidate, they always insist on following up with well, OK … but if you might lean towards a candidate who would you choose (OWTTE).

If an election slate were to be limited to Delingpole vs Weaver, it’s probably not too much of a stretch to suggest that those who might favour one or the other would consider the opponent as “extreme”. But I wonder if there is a correlation (if not causal relationship) to be found in fear of CO2 and “extreme” voting.

So, with all of the above in mind, and inspired by Lewandowsky’s (highly unscientific) survey techniques …

I invite you to step outside the earth bound voting booth and imagine a virtual constituency for which an election is pending. Your slate of candidates is limited to James Delingpole and Andrew Weaver. But – unlike any other pre-election poll in which I’ve ever been asked to participate – you may also choose “neither”. Please select the option that most closely resembles your views.

You may only “vote” once and you may only choose one option.

This poll will remain open until September 29**. By all means please don’t take my word for any details about the candidates and (unlike Lewandowsky) please do your own due diligence prior to casting your “ballot”.

** UPDATE 09/22/2012 05:06 PM PDT: Now that I’ve read the PollDaddy fineprint (and since I am using their “Free” account) the above should read “September 29 or 200 responses, whichever occurs first”.

But please vote, and invite your friends (and even some of your favourite enemies) to do likewise. No pressure ;-)

UPDATE: 09/29/2012 12:40 AM PDT OK, so when I looked at the PollDaddy fineprint (please see UPDATE above) I may not have noticed that I even had a “Survey” option. Poll results passed my anticipated auto-closure at 200 responses, which was exceeded earlier yesterday. In order to preserve my integrity (and that of my poll data) I have now closed the poll (sorry to disappoint those who arrived late and would have voted).

Analysis of the poll results is now underway … Details coming soon to a monitor near you.

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19 thoughts on “Survey participation invited: Does fear of CO2 cause extreme voting?

  1. I had to chortle as I did the poll. Still, unlike the bizarre questions in Lewandowsky’s “research” your responses are mutually exclusive and fully define the domain.

  2. There’s another poll ‘Climate Prat of the Year’ on Pointman’s site. I’ll mention yours on there too. We need a little light relief from time to time!

    • Well, don’t be shy, Jim. Unlike Stephan Lewandowsky, I welcome constructive feedback.

      So please do tell me how you would have “laid out” such a survey in order to accommodate those who might be somewhat challenged by their less than basic optimal reading comprehension skills.

    • Interestingly, the sum of all votes containing CO2-yawn is about 97%. Where have I seen that # before?? ….

      And 2.5% vote Weaver and CO2-yawn? Ooo how I pity such dissonance-wracked brains! But it would be amusing to listen to perhaps a minute or two of their desperate rationalizations. ;)

  3. ummmm do you think it would be wiser to post your link on more than just denier sites? Also, making the poll tally available such that it can be viewed before casting a vote invalidates it due to potential bias. For example, now i can see which way it’s going, i could be tempted to post the link on my site and direct my followers to vote in a certain way, completely skewing your results. There are no checks and balances that you could put in place to detect that sort of behaviour. You may criticise Lewandowsky but any conclusions you draw from your poll could potentially be worse. Finally, the language you have used in the lead in to the poll is also potentially biasing. All in all, this is a very amateurish effort.

  4. I just thought of something else. I didn’t vote because your use of the word “believe” precludes me from voting and I am confident that many others like me would be the same. “Belief” is akin to faith. As a scientist, I would be more likely to vote if you used the term “accept the evidence for”. Also, the vast majority of people like me don’t view CO2 in such a black or white way. We see CO2 as a forcing agent, one of many, and a fine tuning knob. While I could probably see myself voting in the “neither and do not believe”, i would be concerned that the “do not believe” part could be misconstrued to not accurately reflect my understanding of the science. This survey of yours is looking dodgier by the minute. Sorry.

    • I suspect you will be somewhat disappointed, mr/ms pseudonymous one; however, while you may call yourself a “scientist”, I am not inclined to take your word for it. But that aside, perhaps you’d care to explain what it is that you do not understand about the phrase, ‘PRIMARY cause”.

      As for your second “critique” … perhaps you hadn’t noticed the update in my post: I’m using the “freebie” version of PollDaddy. So with a maximum of 200 responses, I don’t expect to be able to “conclude” anything. As I had noted in my post, this survey was inspired by Lewandowsky’s “joke“. Perhaps, as Booster Bostrom has suggested, you would be wise to not take yourself so seriously, too.

      Btw, here’s a helpful hint from Hilary mr/ms pseudonymous one: I long ago learned not to take seriously the opinions of anyone who uses the derogatory “denier” label. Those who choose to use it are merely demonstrating their ignorance of history and of the valid questions pertaining to the purported effect(s) of CO2 on climate that remain unanswered.

  5. Pingback: When amateurs attack. | uknowispeaksense

  6. To my unscientific eye, it looks as though you might have got fewer “spoofed” results than Prof. Lewandowsky did. Although I’d be very curious to learn about the world view of someone who voted for the option at the top of the list! :)

    • Yes, they certainly look fairly genuine to my equally unscientific eye … except for the one you noted, which struck me as being an “outlier” :-)

    • The normal way to analyse your survey would be to fit a model to the observed counts for each category in a contingency table using maximum likelihood. The only problem with your “outlier” is the sensitivity of maximum likelihood to outliers. How are you going to compensate for that?….oops. I forgot you have no idea how to do this sort of thing. Apologies.

  7. The pseudonymous self-declared “scientist” seems to have overlooked my response to her/his earlier missives:

    I long ago learned not to take seriously the opinions of anyone who uses the derogatory “denier” label. Those who choose to use it are merely demonstrating their ignorance of history and of the valid questions pertaining to the purported effect(s) of CO2 on climate that remain unanswered. [emphasis now added -hro]

    I would add that this label seems to be used most frequently as a rhetorical weapon by those whose view of “the science” is dominated by unquestioning adherence to the tropes ‘n factoids generated by one or more of the branches of the Fear Factory™.

    In her/his latest over-zealous pontification, s/he declared:

    The normal way to analyse your survey …

    Hmmmm ….If s/he did a little preliminary “research” on PollDaddy’s freebie survey options, s/he’d realize that s/he’s taking her/himself far too seriously.

    Then again, perhaps s/he counts her/himself among those whose fear of CO2 completely overwhelms the possibility of rational thought … to the point that every day is a poor reading comprehension and a bad humour day!

  8. You could spoof the PollDaddy limits by including a last option for “None of the above” and duplicating the poll but varying the wording of that last option each time. Then just discard those responses from all versions.

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