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Sunday
May082016

Hey everybody -- take the cool CCP/APPC "Political Polarization Literacy" test!

Because we, unlike certain other sites that I won’t deign to identify, actually listen to our 14 billion regular readers, CCP Blog is adding yet another member to its stable of wildly popular games (which, of course, include MAPKIA!, WSMD? JA!, & HFC! CYPHIMU?): the CCP/APPC “Political Polarization Literacy” Test! 

Official game motto: “Because the one thing we all ought to agree on is what we disagree about!”

Ready . . . set . . . open your test booklet and begin!

Match the policies on this list . . .

 

 

to the plotted lines in this figure:

Take your time, no rush.

Keep going.  

Scroll down when the proctor declares that the exam is over.

If you finish early, feel free to click on the random ass pictures that I've inserted to prevent you from inadverently spotting the answers before completing the test!

On their way to Canada, possibly?

Time’s up!

Okay, here’s what I’m going to do.  First, I’m going to start by showing you the “answer key,” which consists of the original figure with labels.

Second, I’m going to tell you how to score your answers.

To do that, I’ll display separate figures for (a) policies that are strongly polarizing; (b) policies that are weakly polarizing; (c) policies that reflect bipartisan ambivalence; and (d) policies that reflect bipartisan support. In connection with each of these figures, I’ll supply scoring instructions.

So . . .

“Answer key”

 

Point-score figures

1. Strongly polarizing

 

Award yourself (or your child or pet, if you are scoring his or her test) 1 point for each policy that appears in this set and that you (or said child or pet) matched with any of these five plotted lines regardless of which of the lines you actually matched it with. 

Got that? No? Okay, well, e.g., if you matched “stricter carbon emission standards to reduce global warming” with the “magenta” colored line you get 1 point; but you also get 1 point if you matched it with red, blue, midblue, or cyan-colored lines. Same for every other friggin’ policy in this set—okay?

Good. Now give yourself (et al.) a 3-point bonus if you matched “Gay marriage (allowing couples of the same sex to marry each other)” with any of the plotted lines depicted in this figure.

2. Weakly polarizing

 

Award yourself (et al.) 1.5 points for each policy in this set that you (enough of this) matched with either of the two plotted lines in this figure.

3. Bipartisan ambivalence

 

Award yourself 0.75 points if you got this one.

4. Bipartisan support

Award yourself 3 points if you matched “Approval of an amendment to the U.S. constitution that would allow Congress and state legislatures to prohibit corporations from contributing money to candidates for elected office” with either of the plotted lines in this figure.

Subtract 5 points if you failed to match “Requiring children who are not exempt for medical reasons to be vaccinated against measles, mumps, and rubella” with one of the two lines in this figure.

Subtract 5 points if you matched “Gay marriage (allowing couples of the same sex to marry each other)” with either of the two lines in this figure.

Grade:

17: you are a cheater and are banned from this site until Pete Rose is inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, Hell Freezes Over, or Donald Trump is elected President, whichever happens first.

14.75: you are either a “political polarization genius,” pr = 0.25, or a liar, pr = 0.75.

10-14.74: Damn! You are one of the 14 billion regular readers of this blog!

5-10: Meh.

0-4: Not awful.

-10: You win! Obviously you have better things to do with your time than waste them viewing the sad spectacle of unreason that our democracy has become!  (But what the hell are you doing on this site?)

Now, some explanation on the scoring.

It was done by a Hal9001 series super computer,  which designed the “game” (obviously if you missed anything, that is due to human error).

But note that the Hal9001 put a lot emphasis on two policies in particular:

“Requiring children who are not exempt for medical reasons to be vaccinated against measles, mumps, and rubella”

“Gay marriage (allowing couples of the same sex to marry each other)”

The reason, I’m told by Hal9001, is that getting these ones wrong is a sign that your child or pet (obviously, we aren’t talking about you here!) is over-relying on heuristic, Political Polarization System 1 reasoning.  As a result, your child or pet is succumbing to the extremely common “what everyone knows syndrome,” or WEKS, a bias that consists in, well, treating “what everyone knows” as evidence. 

Or more specifically, treating as evidence the views of the biased sample (in a measurement sense, not necessarily a cognitive or moral one) of people who one happens to be exposed to disproportionately as a result of the natural, understandable tendency to self-select into “discourse communities” populated w/ people who basically have relatively uniform outlooks and motivations and experiences.

For sure WEKS biases people’s opinions on public opinion vaccines.

There is overwhelming empirical evidence of public support for universal immunization across all political, cultural, religious, etc. groups. Yet commentators, treating each other’s views as evidence,  keep insisting that either one group or another (“the conservative don’t-tread-on-me crowd that distrusts all government recommendations,” “limousine liberals,” blah blah) is hostile to vaccines or even  more patently false a “growing distrust of vaccinations” among  “a large and growing number” of “otherwise mainstream parents.”  And lots of people assume, gee, if “everyone knows that” it must be true!

Same on gay marriage.

In the sources that people on the “left” consult, “everyone knows that” there has been an been “an astounding transformation of public opinion.”  They constantly call for "replicating the success of marriage equality" on climate change, e.g.

Actually, the “transformation” on gay marriage was primarily just a bulging of public support among people on the “left.” Support among people who identify as “liberal” grew from 56% to 79%, and among those who identify as Democrat from 43% to 66%, in the period from 2000 to 2015; among self-identified “conservatives” and Republicans, the uptick was much more modest--from 18% to 30% and 21% to 32% respectively.

That’s a shift, sure. But 79%:30%/66%:32% is . . . political polarization.

The “how to replicate gay marriage” on climate change meme rests on a faulty WEKS premise or set of them. 

One is that Gay marriage isn’t as divisive than climate change. It is.  Or if it isn't, it's only because  there is still a higher probability that a “liberal Democrat” and a “conservative Republican” will agree that gay marriage shouldn’t be legalized than they will agree that the U.S. should or shouldn’t adopt “stricter carbon emission standards to reduce global warming.” 

Maybe climate change advocates should "replicate the success" of gun control advocates and affirmative action proponents, too?

Another faulty premise has to do with the instrument of legal change in gay marraiage.

Legalization of gay marriage occurred primarily by judicial action, not legislation: of the 37 states where gay marriage was already legally recognized before the U.S. Supreme Court decided Obergefell v. Hodges, 26 were in that category as a result of judicial decisions invalidating apparently popularly supported legal provisions (like California’s 2008 popular referendum “Prop. 8”) disallowing it.

Those judicial decisions, in my view, were 100% correct: the right to pursue one’s own conception of happiness in this way shouldn’t depend on popular concurrence.

But I don't think it's a good idea to propogate a false narrative about what really happened here or about what today’s reality is.   False narratives, underwritten by WEKS, lead people to make mistakes in their practical decisionmaking.

Indeed, WEKS-- the disposition of people to confuse the views of people who share one's outlooks, motivations, experience as “evidence” of how the world works—on public opinion and other topics too is one of the reasons we have polarization on facts that admit of being assessed with valid empirical evidence.

One of the reasons in other words that we are playing this stupid game.

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Reader Comments (24)

Fascinating. WRT Gay marriage and WEKS, my intuition is that conservative elites tipped from emphasizing gay marriage as a core identity marker (W/Rove et al in 2004) to deciding to deemphasize it post-2012. So there may be two phenomena here: the lack of change in conservative people's position that you identify but also a strong shift in their leaders' priorities leading to less intensity, which may mean the WEK-ing has some basis in reality along the orthogonal dimension of intensity (they are mistaken that more conservatives accept gay marriage, but not mistaken that fewer conservatives are focused on it).

May 9, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterSam Penrose

==> ...in the period from 2000 to 2015;

Hurrah for longitudinal data!

==> The “how to replicate gay marriage” on climate change meme rests on a faulty WEKS premise or set of them.

No doubt, there are some folks who point to gay marriage, as an example of change resulting from advocacy (and an example that could be used to guide advocacy on climate change) who would be surprised by your data...but I think that many of those folks are also often, at least partially, referring to change in attitudes more generally towards homosexuality.

Do you have data that show change over time, more generally, in attitudes towards homosexuality?

May 9, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

==> Legalization of gay marriage occurred primarily by judicial action, not legislation: o

This is also a bit more complex than how your seem to be concluding about the ramifications. It isn't as if changes in public opinion, which may have been influenced by advocacy, is completely independent from changes in judicial findings on gay marriage.


==> But it isn't a good idea, in my view, to propogate a false narrative about what really happened here or about what today’s reality is.

Perhaps you should be more specific about what false narratives you're pointing to, otherwise you're bordering on targeting strawmen by overly broad generalizations?

For example, which of the strategy recommendations in the article you linked as an example of "The[m] constantly call[ing] for "replicating the success of marriage equality" do you think are dangerously ill-informed by a mistaken belief in a widespread shift in public opinions about gay marriage -- as opposed to a correctly-informed beliefs about the influence, via shifts in public opinion on homosexuality brought about through advocacy, on changes in court decisions)?

May 9, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

Dan -

An interesting link from the article you linked.

http://www.bloomberg.com/graphics/2015-pace-of-social-change/

Scroll down a bit to look at the graph on same-sex marriage.

Are you of the opinion that the picture that those data paint is completely uninformative to how advocates might approach advocating for policies to address climate change -- because the data only track court decisions on gay marriage as opposed to public opinion on gay marriage?

May 9, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

I think that Hal9001 series super computer needs to expand graphical abilities to portray views on a multi-denominational scale. Borrowing a quote from Robert Reich:

"If you came to the political understanding in the '60s or '70s or '80s ... the assumption was that politics was laid out on a long continuum from left to right. Democrats were on the left, Republicans were on the right, and the center was the center — and you wanted to go to the center, because that's where all the votes were."
http://www.vox.com/2016/5/5/11581940/robert-reich-ezra-klein

But I don't think that today's candidates, let alone voters and potential voters, plot out well on such a scale. In my opinion, this has a lot to do with why people's ideas regarding WEKS are all messed up. They don't even know who those other everybody's are, those they agree with and also those they think they disagree with, let alone how they think.

According to Reich things are better described as: " Do you feel the game is against you? Or are you among the riggers of the game?"
But I think that still doesn't get to which aspects of gaming you think are important and who you think is to blame for rigging it against you.

With regards to the statement: "False narratives, underwritten by WEKS, lead people to make mistakes in their practical decisionmaking." I also think more attention needs to be paid to those feeding in false narratives and what their motivations are. I don't think that people are just making "mistakes" I think that carefully motivated messaging is feeding distortions into the WEKS system. As I think The Donald would say, it's just too disgusting.

So no, I haven't taken the test yet. I'm not sitting down until we agree on the correct shape of the table.

May 9, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterGaythia Weis

Specifically looking at the endpoints of this graph, it lumps together "Very Liberal" and "Strong Democrat" and at the other end, "Very Conservative" and "Strong Republican". I challenge Hal9001 to come up with placing our current Presidential Candidates on these axes.

May 9, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterGaythia Weis

@SamPenrose-- you are right for sure that Rs stopped using GM as a "wedge issue" in national elections. That's significant, to be sure.

But WEKS narrative attributes gay marriage legailaztion to "transformtation" in public opinion/norms. In fact, at state level the issue continued to be contentious right up until Obergefel. There were 11 states that legalized gay marraige by legislation or referenda after 2004, but 11 that passed referend banning after 2004, too, including Wisc. (2006), Fla (2008) & Calif (2008).

It's pretty clear from listening to them, that those who invoke "transformation in public opinion" on gay marriage as model for climate change not only don't know what public opinion looks like today but don't know what the popular-democratic decisionmaking landscape looked like before Obergefell.

The change was that was once a nonissue became a really important one for many many people & as a result & the focus of significant contention in democratic politics. That's a transformation, yes!

But what's interesting to try to figure out why so many on left think there is bipartisan support for gay marraiage today and that such support explains why today gay marraige is legal throughout the US

May 9, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterDan Kahan

@Joshua-- I think what I've said is clear. Go ahead & tell me what you think or think those whom I have characterized as holding a misconception about public opinion think & I'll assess whether I should revise my own understanding.

May 9, 2016 | Registered CommenterDan Kahan

Dan -

==> Go ahead & tell me what you think or think those whom I have characterized as holding a misconception about public opinion...


The article you linked pointed to real legislative success and judicial reform. They linked to the Bloomberg article which had a nice graphic displaying significant judicial reform.

The article you linked had the following:

States helped lead the nation on pot and gay marriage. Here in Washington, we passed citizen referendums on same-sex marriage and marijuana legalization in 2012. Five more states followed on gay marriage in 2013 alone, and three (including DC) have followed Washington and Colorado on pot. When one state leads, others will follow. Progress spreads.

They pointed to referendums that reflect significant change.

You derisively use air quotes to mock those changes as reflecting "success of marriage equality." Now personally, you may not a huge growth in judicial reform and referenda passing as "success," but I do consider them success of marriage equality, and I don't think that if they want to affect changes in policies related to climate, it would be unreasonable for them to use that success as a model.

As I made clear, I think it may well be that at least some of them have a misconception about the level of change in public opinion, related to marriage equality specifically (as opposed to views on sexuality more generally), and I think that is a useful question to explore, but I also think that your characterization is hyperbolic to the point of being inaccurate.

I'll leave it there, but feel free to actually address the points that I made rather than just wave them away.

May 9, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

Dan -

I'll tell you what...how about just answering the question I asked earlier about whether the article you linked pointed to real "success of marriage equality" or just a misinformed delusion of "success of marriage equality?"

Are you of the opinion that the picture that [the graphs in the Bloomberg article] paint is completely uninformative to how advocates might approach advocating for policies to address climate change -- because the data only track court decisions on gay marriage as opposed to public opinion on gay marriage?

May 9, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

@Gaythia--

I agree w/ you-- pretty much.

Which of the issues in the test do you think could be better explained w/ a more discerning framework for characterizing or measuring political identity? Some of the ones w/ "flatter" lines?

May 9, 2016 | Registered CommenterDan Kahan

@Joshua--I think you can find the answer in what I've written.

May 9, 2016 | Registered CommenterDan Kahan

Dan, in attempting to start answering your question. I think it depends on the objective. If I really had this figured out, and could scrape together the millions of dollars necessary, I'd just run for President and fix everything myself.

So I think that politics is the place to start. Clearly, we have a 2 party system that is very well embedded. (Too bad, we need a third party headed by a clone of Trudeau. ) For matters of public policy demanding governmental action, only those registered to vote matter. Both Trump and Sanders were not part of the party establishments, but there is enough about the party alignments that it was obvious which Party made sense for each to join. About a third of the electorate is not in either party, and they could be off either far end, in the middle, or just rejectors of organized groups.

Therefore, I don't think that we can simply line up the voters from left to right along a line. This primary season is showing definite clusters, scuh as by education, economic demographic group, age, and race. People may identify themselves as R, D, or I, but that does not measure the intensity of their tribal loyalties. I think that this identity might be episodic (more apparent nearing an election) and its connection to registration has a passive retention for those that do not change their address. It gets retained beyond the person's connection to the party ideology. For example it was not until Reagan than most Dixiecrats financially gave up their "D" and identified with the party that way, way back had been Abraham Lincoln's, the Republican Party. Reagan also utilized another attribute of party affiliation. Despite identifying as D or R, many people want to reject things that are too politicized and value politicians who are outsiders.

For vaccination, people who reject participation in government or government led initiatives might be the most important to reach of all, and they would be unlikely to register to vote.

I think that more emphasis in these discussions needs to go to motivated messaging. In politics, those seeking political office have their own personal agendas, positions they've adopted to get funding, positions they may have adopted or at least chosen to emphasize (or not) because of their linkage to key constituent groups. Then of course there are the special interest groups that want to cut through the noise and catch people's attention.

In a previous post, you talked about "Scaredy-cat risk disposition". IMHO, people do not actively run about to collect these worries, and then carefully categorize them in neat filing cabinets. These pour in at them from various sources and stack up here and there. The ones that are bright and shiny or on the flip side seem covered in hooks, may get the most attention. Others slip by unnoticed. Twitter, Facebook, and other sources give nudges, Did you see?? Did you see? Did you see? All of your friends see this, what is wrong with you?

Ideas can be like that too. As far as I know, only one person conceived the notion that the thing to do was to "Build a wall and make them pay for it" This could be used as a polling question to categorize people now, but would have made no sense before Trump uttered this phrase.

Here is a graphical representation that I think might work for Scaredy-cat risk disposition. Or maybe how political parties evolve and change with new issues?: Mountains out of Molehills: http://www.informationisbeautiful.net/visualizations/mountains-out-of-molehills/

May 10, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterGaythia Weis

Dan -

Since it looks like the interest in the other aspects of your post has died down...I'll go back to the issue I was trying to discuss with you (without any luck).

You say:

@Joshua--I think you can find the answer in what I've written.

This?:

==> Those judicial decisions, in my view at least, were correctly decided:/i>

That doesn't answer my question.

My question was whether you think the dramatic growth in pro-marriage equality decisions (in your view corrected decided) is informative, as a measure of "marriage equality success," for environmental advocates to use in advocating for policies to address climate change?


Or perhaps this?:

==> Legalization of gay marriage occurred primarily by judicial action, not legislation: of the 37 states where gay marriage was already legally recognized before the U.S. Supreme Court decided Obergefell v. Hodges, 26 were in that category as a result of judicial decisions invalidating apparently popularly supported legal provisions (like California’s 2008 popular referendum “Prop. 8”) disallowing it.

Do you think that a dramatic transformation of legal standards happened independent changes in public opinion (be they towards homosexuality generally, if not only to gay marriage more specifically)?

Just to clarify, in case you misunderstood my question I wasn't asking what your opinion was on the court rulings.

Maybe I'm just not smart enough to understand. Dumb it down for me. What is the answer to my question?

May 11, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

Joshua, doesn't this depend on the position that the courts are likely to take?

If I were answering the question, I'd say take a cynical look at what seems to be the balancing act between judicial or governmental actions supposedly based on law, and the surrounding political climate as to what is feasible or even necessary.

The Corps of Engineers for example, stalled and then once it was pretty clear that nobody wants to have coal exported to them anyhow, came down firmly on the side of Native American treaty rights: http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/environment/tribes-prevail-kill-proposed-coal-terminal-at-cherry-point/

With careful attention to the judicial venue chosen, and perhaps a judge with an eye to the future, a group of children win a redefinition of environmental law (backed by University of Oregon Law professor Mary Christina Wood, author of Nature's Trust, Ecological Law for a New Ecological Age; and others). See: http://ourchildrenstrust.org/page/247/media-coverage-youth-atmospheric-trust-legal-actions-july-2-2012-current. Not likely to make it through today's Supreme Court, but is it, as intended, an action that will change ideas about environmental law in the future?

The EPA, thanks to loopholes in water quality regulations pushed through by the Bush administration, is in the opinion of many, so fearful of losing possible lawsuits that it has hamstrung environmental evaluation of fracking hazards: http://cleantechnica.com/2016/05/09/new-fracking-lawsuit-already-nailed-by-koch-bros/.

My measure of attitudes towards homosexuality is linked to an odd peripheral personal issue. As a child, my family addressed me by a nickname of "Gay". In Junior High school, I came home to announce that only I was only willing to be addressed by my full first name, forevermore. And my mother did not understand what the heck I was talking about. Awareness of homosexuals has change monumentally.

Early in my career, I had a job at a semiconductor plant in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. The need for an analytical lab was apparently an afterthought, and so they stuck it in the basement. This area was otherwise piping, tanks and controls that were worked on by collar facilities technicians. All male. It also did not occur to the company that a women's restroom might be needed. The solution was to refit the Men's room as best as possible, since due to the layout, the entryway could not be split. This involved removing the urinals, and putting locking solid doors on the toilet stalls and shower areas. The sinks were shared. We all coped well with this, as far as I could tell. In answers to inquiries from upstairs people as to how this worked, the stock answer from my colleagues (to my face at any rate) was "Girls don't belong here at all anyway, shrug". They did make it clear that since there were many of them and only one of me it was unfair of me to hog the shower at times of peak use. Since it never occurred to anyone to make this a tribal issue involving transexuals, it never was. There were plenty of other risks in the basement, involving semiconductor manufacturing operations including arsine gas and hydrofluoric acid. And plenty of isolated corners. I saw no reason to focus sexual assault concern on the restroom. And certainly not the guys I hung out with all the time at work.

So, for better and worse, I think that court decisions and public opinion feed upon one another.

Dan?

May 11, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterGaythia Weis

Gaythia

Interesting comment...

==> Joshua, doesn't this depend on the position that the courts are likely to take?

Yes, I would agree. I think that the related issues are complex (and that's why I think they shouldn't be simplified inaccurately, as I think that Dan may have done).

The question of whether court rulings or referenda are "success" should not be assumed at face value, and yes, as you say " court decisions and public opinion feed upon one another." And perhaps, some court decisions that environmentalists might deem to be a measure of "success" could well serve to be counter-effective towards their goals in the longer time frame.

My interest in this comes from having discussions with climate change "realists" about the effectiveness of their advocacy. Sometimes, when I have suggested that their stridency is ineffective if not counter-productive, they have brought up the question of whether other social movements were positively influenced by strong advocacy. One example is civil rights. Another is societal acceptance of homosexuality. As an example, when questioned about the effectiveness of calling people "deniers" they have argued that "calling out" racism where it exists has had a long-term, beneficial effect. An interesting question, IMO.

So beyond the question of whether some environmentalists are trying to leverage the "success" w/r/t marriage equality based on a misperception of the scale of change that has manifest in public opinion, there are other questions here that I think are interesting. For example, what is the historical precedent for understanding the relationship between court action and public opinion? Did one clearly precede the other when we look at the progress with civil rights? I suspect that the answer is no, and that the interaction was not clearly in only one direction or necessarily always a positive influence.

But all that given, is role of activists in the "'success with marriage equality" a useful example for environmentalists? I think that in some ways, yes.

May 11, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

@Joshua--

I'd say exactly what I said: in 26 of 37 states that had gay marraige before Obergefell v. Hodges, courts had deemed popular laws to the contrary unconstitutional.

11 had enacted gay marraige by laws by legislation or referenda.

As I pointed out in earlier response to another comment, 11 states in period between 2006 & 2008 gay marriage, including Fla & Calif.

There was a federal law that permitted states w/o gay marraige not to recognize out-of-state gay marriages. It was overtruned by the US S Ct in 2013. Anyone who things that it woudl have been overturned by Congress between 2013 & today is smoking crack.

Today poublic opinion on gay marraige is as polarized as it is on cliamte change, affirmative action, gun control, & health care. It hasn't been "transformed" by judicial opinions, which were themselves countermajoritarian (as cases enforcing constituational rights tend to be).

*As I said*-- you are just making me repeat myself-- when commentators dscribe change in legal status of gay marraiage as resulting from “an astounding transformation of public opinion," and as furnishing a template the "replication" of which will help advance public engagement with climate change, it seems clear that they actually aren't aware of any of these things. They have formed a false picture of reality b/c of odd social influences on public opinion w/i ideologically homogenous groups.


But still, if you have an account that makes what they are saying conform to the facts and supply an intelligegible, determinate guide for action on climate change, I'm eager to hear it.

May 11, 2016 | Registered CommenterDan Kahan

Related (and timely)

http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/gay-marriage-won-but-other-liberal-causes-might-struggle-to-copy-its-success/

Dan -

==> ,you are just making me repeat myself-

Well, I'm just confused, because as far as I can tell, you simply repeated a non-answer to my question. It appears that repeating the question and explaining how it doesn't seem to me that you answered it isn't having any effect. So I guess there's nowhere else to go with this.

May 11, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

@Joshua--

the answer is that the material you are pionting me to is WEKS.

Pure unadulterated WEKS.

Okay?

I think I shouldn't have to tell you that; that it should be obvious to you that you are citing things that fit exactly the thing I described-- b/c everything I could say about those sources I've said already. NOw more than once.

Don't ask me to "prove" that the Bloomberg thing is ridiculous & the 538 thing not much better -- b/c then I really will think you are not trying hard enough.

I've supplied my evidence. If you think that i"m misting something, just tell me.

May 11, 2016 | Registered CommenterDan Kahan

But why is it that some material gets WEKS-y and some doesn't?

My test taking dodging entry of the day is this report: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-05-12/stop-hyping-stem-cell-science-say-stem-cell-scientists.

Which leads to this research article on the Hype Pipeline: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22488464

"This paper maps the complex array of social forces that contribute to the phenomenon of hype, including the pressure to publish, the increasingly intense commercialization agenda, the messaging emanating from research institutions, the news media and, even, the public itself."

Somehow the author leaves out funding, and the influence of large corporate donors.

May 12, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterGaythia Weis

Dan, I think that the answer to your dispute with Joshua is to be found in changes in public awareness, and use of a item of belief as a hot button issue by which tribes could be defined. As you've noted on previous posts, for something to be meaningful in polls, people have to actually know something about it.

Society has phased in and out of sexual discussion repressed Victorianism. In my opinion, Oscar Wilde would have been perfectly aware of what a "gay blade" was, my own mother thought of "Gay" as a name directly equivalent to that of one of my friends, whose name was "Merry". I recently learned that our founding fathers ran Presidential campaigns with a lot more in common with Donald Trump than I ever dreamed possible:

" Things got ugly fast. Jefferson's camp accused President Adams of having a "hideous hermaphroditical character, which has neither the force and firmness of a man, nor the gentleness and sensibility of a woman."

In return, Adams' men called Vice President Jefferson "a mean-spirited, low-lived fellow, the son of a half-breed Indian squaw, sired by a Virginia mulatto father." "
http://www.cnn.com/2008/LIVING/wayoflife/08/22/mf.campaign.slurs.slogans/

(I always thought that the issue with Jefferson was not with whom he was the son of, but rather the father).

It is also true that there is a horrible suicide rate among LBGT teens just as they reach puberty. Especially in the past, some individuals encounter feelings that they had no name for, and little or no realization that there might be others like themselves out there. More awareness can lead to support, http://www.itgetsbetter.org/. But it also means that teasing in early years, in which children might have used labels like "tomboy" now may involve slurs on another child's gender identification. Thus tribally enforcing greater rigidity in gender roles.

So in liberal parts of the country, and only within the last decade really, LBGT people can publicly live their lives as they are. Huge positive change. Parents are more likely to see their children's emerging gender identification as something to be supported. In other areas, formerly innocent seeming activity, (ie, people of the same gender sharing an apartment) might be called into question. Parents might be wary of any activities by a child that seemed outside narrow gender norms as a threat needing redirection. Mostly negative, but at least a kid entering puberty can look on the internet and realize that they are not alone.

Also, thanks to gerrymandering and the polarization of political candidates, I think that what Congress thinks cannot be conflated with what the public actually thinks.

May 12, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterGaythia Weis

@Gaythia--

agree it is a fascinating question why some issues get WEKSy & others don't (indeed, why people form exaggerated sense of disagreement between their group & another on some issues & exaggerated sense of agreement on others).

Also agree that there have been very meaningful changes in norms relating to same-sex relationships that aren't captured in surveys. Do they give us any guidance on what to do on *climate change*? I doubt it.... But at least that's a real phenomenon, so it's a good place to start

May 12, 2016 | Registered CommenterDan Kahan

My starters:

1. I am madly Gelmanizing. I think Joshua can sharpen his argument by boning up on penumbra: http://www.stat.columbia.edu/~gelman/research/published/hansen_paper_2.pdf, p. 1.

"As political scientists, we are interested in groups not merely themselves but in what we call their
penumbra, the number of family members, friends, and acquaintances of people in the group; see
Figure 1. The size and the shape of the penumbra can relate to the political salience and influence
of a social group."

"Recent immigrants and gays/lesbians have about the same numbers in the United States, but
the penumbra of gays and lesbians is much larger, which could have political repercussions, as
suggested by the rapid gain in acceptance of same-sex marriage in recent years."

My point being that the numbers of gays and lesbians we now know is large and getting larger as national media and families and acquaintances feel more comfortable in identifying openly as such. At the same time, this prompts a clampdown by those who now feel that their way of life is challenged (and, more significantly, that way of life's cultural dominance on the national stage.) Their solution is to make life miserable for those who are LGBT. Sort of like the KKK sprang up after the loss of the Civil War. We didn't openly fight about this when it was a topic not discussed in 'polite conversation".

I also am digesting this article on multiverse analysis, which I think can be transferable to analytical chemical work: http://www.stat.columbia.edu/~gelman/research/unpublished/multiverse_R2_submitted.pdf

But I still like this graphical approach: http://www.informationisbeautiful.net/visualizations/mountains-out-of-molehills/

I've also saved this one; http://www.stat.columbia.edu/~gelman/research/published/Pathways_Presidential_Public-Opinion.pdf, because I think I will probably quote it here and there.

2. On climate change. I recently attended a Oil and Gas forum hosted by a Republican/Industry group, and featuring the Congressman representing Eastern Colorado, Ken Buck. Ken is usually described as a climate denialist. But like a similar politician, State Senator Doug Ericksen of Washington, now describes himself as simply doubtful that warming is human caused. I think that it is very important to note that both of these politicians get substantial support from Oil and Gas interests. And both have other Tea Party base appealing views on social issues. Ken Buck immediately turned the conversation to one of whiners and nay sayers.. He pointed out that it had been said that we would run out of gas after Prudehoe Bay, but now look at us, we have more oil and gas than we know what to do with.

I think that the problem with communicating climate change is that there are several very differing world views, And in Western Culture, a strong thread of "there's always something else." The idea of Discovery is connected to implementation of science, but also world exploration and domination. Use things up and then move on, or take things to another level. And for the Christian fundamentalist religious, an end in a fiery Armageddon. Alternatively, humans can see existence as a spiral of good and bad karma, or something in which changes should not be made without pondering their impacts 7 generations out. Can we advance without succumbing to the short term greed?

What we need is a map for a way forward, not brick bats of anti-science claims. Here's a horrible example directed at Ken Buck: https://www.barackobama.com/climate-change-deniers/ken-buck-colorado/. None of the examples cited could scientifically be attributed to anthropogenic climate change.

Ken actually was defeated by Mark Udall in his US Senate challenge. The Republicans then ran a younger, more personable candidate, Cory Garner, with no polarizing political history. Mark Udall lost using a supposedly base appealing attack on right wing, anti women and civil rights. After the fact analyses said that his more unifying "Mark Udall is Coloraodan, and future looking advertisements actually had more appeal. More like Obama in 2008.

But then there's the appeal of Trump.

May 12, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterGaythia Weis

Quite a bit of multivariate work on such things as species distribution and Climate change is being done in the Alps, which are a nice fairly enclosed unit with research universities sprinkled all the way around: http://www.unil.ch/ecospat/home.html

It ought to be possible to make a multivariate ideology surface from which slices could be printed as graphs. But I still wonder about the x-axis. There wouldn't be a point to political parties if some things weren't polarizing. So the polarizing things are confounded with the definition of left and right.

May 12, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterGaythia Weis

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