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It’s okay to tweak science for a cause, say journal authors

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Here:

It appears that news media and some pro-environmental organizations have the tendency to accentuate or even exaggerate the damage caused by climate change. This article provides a rationale for this tendency by using a modified International Environmental Agreement (IEA) model with asymmetric information. We find that the information manipulation has an instrumental value, as it ex post induces more countries to participate in an IEA, which will eventually enhance global welfare. From the ex ante perspective, however, the impact that manipulating information has on the level of participation in an IEA and on welfare is ambiguous. -Fuhai Hong and Xiaojian Zhao, Information Manipulation and Climate Agreements, American Journal of Agricultural Economics

They conclude,

This article offers a rationale for the phenomenon of climate damage accentuation or exaggeration on the part of the international mainstream media or other pro-environmental organizations. Forming a binding IEA to curb climate change is a matter of urgency (see, e.g., Beccherle and Tirole 2011). The IEA literature generally takes the pessimistic view that an IEA has little chance of success in resolving the climate problem because strong free-riding incentives prevent a sufficient number of countries from participating in that agreement. Using a modified IEA model with two states and asymmetric information, we show that the aforementioned exaggeration of climate damage may alleviate the problem of insufficient IEA participation. When the media or pro-environmental organizations have private information on the damage caused by climate change, in equilibrium they may manipulate this information to increase pessimism regarding climate damage, even though the damage may not be that great. Consequently, more countries (with overpessimistic beliefs about climate damage) will be induced to participate in an IEA in this state, thereby leading to greater global welfare expost. In essence, overpessimism mitigates the problem of underparticipation that is caused by free-riding incentives. However, because people update their beliefs using the Bayesian rule, such information manipulation has a negative externality on the other state when climate damage is really huge, in which case the aforementioned information provider will not be sufficiently trusted even if it indicates the true state. As a result, the participation level falls further in this situation. Overall, information manipulation has an ambiguous effect on IEA membership and global welfare from the ex ante perspective.

The basic idea isn’t new. Well-known science writer John Horgan has said similar stuff about whether it is right to lie for global warming:

Kant said that when judging the morality of an act, we must weigh the intentions of the actor. Was he acting selfishly, to benefit himself, or selflessly, to help others? By this criterion, Gleick’s lie was clearly moral, because he was defending a cause that he passionately views as righteous. Gleick, you might say, is a hero comparable to Daniel Ellsberg, the military analyst who in 1971 stole and released documents that revealed that U.S. officials lied to justify the war in Vietnam.

But another philosopher my students and I are reading, the utilitarian John Stuart Mill, said that judging acts according to intentions is not enough. We also have to look at consequences. And if Gleick’s deception has any consequences, they will probably be harmful. His exposure of the Heartland Institute’s plans, far from convincing skeptics to reconsider their position, will probably just confirm their suspicions about environmentalists. Even if Gleick’s lie was morally right, it was strategically wrong.

I’ll give the last word to one of my students. The Gleick incident, he said, shows that the “debate” over global warming is not really a debate any more. It’s a war, and when people are waging war, they always lie for their cause.

Okay, so on this subject, we won’t believe John Horgan.  But can we believe any media now, even the journals?

Oddly, none of these people think the rest of us are capable of figuring out that they aren’t telling the truth.

They’re going to have to manipulate a LOT of news systems … and corrode  a lot of memories.

Note: Is it relevant that the Darwin-in-the-schools lobby recently added a climate change desk?

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13 Replies to “It’s okay to tweak science for a cause, say journal authors

  1. 1
    Dionisio says:

    Why should one care about telling the truth? If there are not any absolute moral standards, and there is not any absolute supreme authority that can judge our acts according to such standards, then one can do whatever we deem convenient or profitable for our own benefit, regardless of how it may affect others.

  2. 2
    Joe says:

    So now there is a choice- get tweaked and then do science or do science and then do some tweaking. Nice to know…

  3. 3
    tjguy says:

    Reminds me of the “useful lie” that chimp genome is 99% similar to humans. John Cohen quoted someone who called this a useful lie for their side.

    The article is behind a pay wall, but the title of it is RELATIVE DIFFERENCES: THE MYTH OF 1% and it is found here: Jon Cohen, News Focus on Evolutionary Biology, “Relative Differences: The Myth of 1%,” Science, 29 June 2007: Vol. 316. no. 5833, p. 1836, DOI: 10.1126/science.316.5833.1836.

    Here is a quote from the article taken from this webpage: http://creationsafaris.com/crev200706.htm

    What’s most remarkable about this confession is how certain evolutionary biologists are evaluating the claim in hindsight. In the 1970s, it was considered a “heretical” view that our genomes could be that similar, but Cohen comments, “Subsequent studies bore their conclusion out, and today we take as a given that the two species are genetically 99% the same.” But “Truth be told,” he begins in the next sentence, the inaccuracy of the statistic was known from the start:

    But truth be told, Wilson and King also noted that the 1% difference wasn’t the whole story. They predicted that there must be profound differences outside genes—they focused on gene regulation—to account for the anatomical and behavioral disparities between our knuckle-dragging cousins and us. Several recent studies have proven them perspicacious again, raising the question of whether the 1% truism should be retired.
    “For many, many years, the 1% difference served us well because it was underappreciated how similar we were,” says Pascal Gagneux, a zoologist at UC San Diego. “Now it’s totally clear that it’s more a hindrance for understanding than a help.”

    At the end of the article, Cohen quoted Svante Paabo, who said something even more revealing. After admitting he didn’t think there was any way to calculate a single number, he said,

    “In the end, it’s a political and social and cultural thing about how we see our differences.”

    This is a very disturbing article. We have basically caught the Darwinists in a bald lie that has hoodwinked the world for over 30 years. Gagneux says, “For many, many years, the 1% difference served us well” – stop right there! Who is “us”? Was it the millions of school children and laymen who were lied to? Was it the majority of people who believe God created mankind, suffering under an onslaught of lies told in the name of science?

    No! “Us” refers to the members of the Darwin Party, the dogmatists who shamelessly lied to advance their agenda. They had a strategy to portray humans and chimpanzees as similar as possible, in order to make their myth of common descent seem more plausible. Now, 32 years later, they have come clean, without any remorse, only because the usefulness of that lie has run out, and needs to be replaced by new lies. They had a political, social and cultural agenda that, in many cases, worked for 32 years. “Truth be told,” he said. Too late. These guys wouldn’t know Truth if it bit them on the lips. Truth that evolves, or that is an emergent property of material particles, is not the Truth.

    For other examples of the Useful Lie tactic used by Darwin propagandists, see 05/02/2003, 07/25/2003, 11/19/2004, 03/02/2006, 02/01/2007, 05/31/2007 and many others under the chain links Darwin and Education that have been exposed on this website. Liars, we bare. Buyers, beware.

    See the web page for links to further examples.

  4. 4
    jstanley01 says:

    I’m pretty darn sure that, in order to lie effectively, you have to keep the fact quiet. Rather than, you know, publishing about it, along with the results you expect, on the worldwide web.

    Like I say, I’m not a hundred percent positive, so don’t quote me. But it could be, if you publicly admit that you’re lying, people may just wise up.

  5. 5
    bornagain77 says:

    Hey tjguy if you put #20070629a on the end of that link it takes you right to the old Creation Safari page:

    http://creationsafaris.com/cre.....#20070629a

    you can use that on all the old Creation Safari pages, the first numbers are the date of course and then the a, b, c, at the end will take to whichever article of the day.

  6. 6
    Robert Byers says:

    The two authors had chinese names showing the recent surge of Asians in science professions.
    Well is china the origin for modern North american morality??
    China is a flop because of moral problems.
    Telling the truth is not just a Christian american, CAnadian trait but its the foundation of enquiry into investigation into anything.
    AHA. it shows what they think and expect people to think.
    the cause justifty’s the means to get ones way.
    One can then say everything is suspect until rock sold proven.
    Including why Asians have a right to come here and/or get more then their share of the high things in North america.
    Thats the greatest moral contracts of all almost.

  7. 7
  8. 8
    tjguy says:

    Thanks Ian and BA.

  9. 9
    Mapou says:

    O’Leary:

    Oddly, none of these people think the rest of us are capable of figuring out that they aren’t telling the truth.

    Well, they are emboldened by the fact that they have gotten away with it for decades if not centuries. A lot of what passes for science is just a pile of BS. Spacetime, Big Bang, black holes, infinity, parallel universes, wormholes, evolution, abiogenesis, global warming, free market, democracy, you name it. It’s all a bunch of BS. They get away with it by convincing the masses that they are too stupid to understand science.

    Now I realize that you, O’Leary, has bought into the Big Bang lie, hook line and sinker, but it is still a lie, sorry. There is something about reality that the powers that be in the scientific community don’t want us, the people, to figure out. But now there is a crack in their armor. Their biggest enemy is free speech, a problem exacerbated by the arrival of the internet. The next couple of decades are going to be very interesting.

  10. 10
    Querius says:

    Thanks, tjguy.

    I didn’t know that the 1% myth had been exposed for at least seven years. And some arrogant and dismissive people posing as “experts,” are still touting this lie.

    The “experts” told us that forest fires are bad in the 1950s, that we are entering a new ice age in the 1960s, that cooking with aluminum was safe, that butter is bad but margarine is good, that high fructose corn syrup is fine along with various additives such as red 40 food dye and so on. Oh, and eggs were bad for a while. Anyone remember how great kudzu was going to be? How about introducing new species to control pests in Hawaii? Where are all these experts now? Let me guess.

    They’re onto bigger and better things. Supposedly, they are Our Only Hope ™ for saving this planet! Wow!

    We’re told that CO2 is a “pollutant” and that we need to do something about it now! Some of these people are advocating “iron fertilization” to create a huge phytoplankton bloom in the world’s oceans that will absorb enough CO2 to change the composition of the Earth’s atmosphere! We are assured once again that the science is settled and there will be no unintended consequences. They guarantee it!

    My question who will save us from these people when they come up with a solution for rescuing the Earth from the ice age that follows, let alone an unforeseen cascade that suffocates all life in the oceans?

    -Q

  11. 11
    Jon Garvey says:

    Getting science wrong is once thing. Exaggerating it is just futile, because the scientists aren’t as good at it as the politicians, and never will be. The latter, twigging that the science is not pure, will shrug, say that everyone plays the Machiavelli game, and factor it into diluting policies on conservation even more.

    So there’s an arms race of lies that maintains cynicism about politicians, destroys science as a good road to truth, and quite probably doesn’t do the planet and its people much good either.

  12. 12
    bornagain77 says:

    Of related note to the ‘useful lie’ of 1%, is that other ‘useful lie’ of the march to man cartoon:

    “We have all seen the canonical parade of apes, each one becoming more human. We know that, as a depiction of evolution, this line-up is tosh (i.e. nonsense). Yet we cling to it. Ideas of what human evolution ought to have been like still colour our debates.”
    Henry Gee, editor of Nature (478, 6 October 2011, page 34, doi:10.1038/478034a),

    Paleoanthropologist Exposes Shoddiness of “Early Man” Research – Feb. 6, 2013
    Excerpt: The unilineal depiction of human evolution popularized by the familiar iconography of an evolutionary ‘march to modern man’ has been proven wrong for more than 60 years. However, the cartoon continues to provide a popular straw man for scientists, writers and editors alike.
    ,,, archaic species concepts and an inadequate fossil record continue to obscure the origins of our genus.
    http://crev.info/2013/02/paleo.....hoddiness/

    New York Times Inherits the Spin, Republishes Darwinists’ Error-Filled “Answers” to Jonathan Wells’ – 2008 Excerpt: And all three of these textbooks include fanciful drawings of ape-like humans that help to convince students we are no exception to the rule of purposelessness.
    Some biology textbooks use other kinds of illustrations ,,,
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....10581.html

    Paleoanthropology
    Excerpt: In regards to the pictures of the supposed ancestors of man featured in science journals and the news media Boyce Rensberger wrote in the journal Science the following regarding their highly speculative nature:
    “Unfortunately, the vast majority of artist’s conceptions are based more on imagination than on evidence. But a handful of expert natural-history artists begin with the fossil bones of a hominid and work from there…. Much of the reconstruction, however, is guesswork. Bones say nothing about the fleshy parts of the nose, lips, or ears (or eyes). Artists must create something between an ape and a human being; the older the specimen is said to be, the more apelike they make it…. Hairiness is a matter of pure conjecture.”
    http://conservapedia.com/Evolu.....thropology

    “National Geographic magazine commissioned four artists to reconstruct a female figure from casts of seven fossil bones thought to be from the same species as skull 1470. One artist drew a creature whose forehead is missing and whose jaws look vaguely like those of a beaked dinosaur. Another artist drew a rather good-looking modern African-American woman with unusually long arms. A third drew a somewhat scrawny female with arms like a gorilla and a face like a Hollywood werewolf. And a fourth drew a figure covered with body hair and climbing a tree, with beady eyes that glare out from under a heavy, gorilla-like brow.”
    “Behind the Scenes,” National Geographic 197 (March, 2000): 140
    picture – these artists “independently” produced the 4 very “different” ancestors you see here
    http://www.omniology.com/JackalopianArtists.html
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....-disorder/

    “There’s nothing so absurd that if you repeat it often enough, people will believe it.”
    William James (1842-1910) The father of modern Psychology

    One can see that ‘artistic license’ for human evolution being played out on the following site.

    10 Transitional Ancestors of Human Evolution by Tyler G., March 18, 2013
    http://listverse.com/2013/03/1.....evolution/

    Please note, on the preceding site, how the sclera (white of the eye), a uniquely human characteristic, was brought in very early on, in the artists’ reconstructions, to make the fossils appear much more human than they actually were, even though the artists making the reconstructions have no clue whatsoever as to what the colors of the eyes, of these supposed transitional fossils, actually were.

    Evolution of human eye as a device for communication – Hiromi Kobayashi – Kyoto University, Japan
    Excerpt: The uniqueness of human eye morphology among primates illustrates the remarkable difference between human and other primates in the ability to communicate using gaze signals.
    http://www.saga-jp.org/coe_abst/kobayashi.htm

    Are humans the only primates that cry? – 2003
    Excerpt: In sum, if we define crying as tearful sobbing, then we know that humans are the only primates that cry.
    http://www.scientificamerican......only-prima

  13. 13
    jstanley01 says:

    Maybe Hong and Zhao think that publishing in English in an online Oxford journal is more akin to publishing in a Communist Chinese journal, with an intra-party and intra-discipline audience, than it actually is.

    Hahaha, no.

    The former, what plebs may pop out of the woodwork to wag their heads — in as irritating a manner as they can possibly muster — becomes anybody’s guess.

    “Welcome to America!”

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