Are you enjoying our ongoing series (here and here) of sneak-peek leaks from this year’s academic überconvention, the Vienna Circle Institute’s 2018 Konferenz für die Kommunikation des Konsenses der Wissenschaft des Wissenschaftliches Konsenses, which is German for VienCircSciConCommConCon2018, which is English for BiMonSciFiCon, which is German for WienerSchaft ’18?*
Here are some more highlights from the draft program.
PRO JOURNALISM How to Write Like Conservatives
with Peter Gleick B. Ethics (Hons), PhD
Day 4, 1300–1400
Pacifica Room, Mezzanine
Assumes knowledge equivalent to completion of Session 5001: Spotting Fake Documents with Fake Expert John Cook.
ROUNDTABLE “ID: The Intelligence Deficit Hypothesis”
Day 2, 1530–1700
Hochbrauerei (Highbrow Room), Level 3
Hosted by Richard Dawkins, ‘World’s Brightest Man’
with guest host Stephen Hawking, ‘World’s Smartest Man’
Panelists will include ‘World’s Most Savant Woman’ Marilyn Vos Savant and ‘World’s Smartest Michael Mann’ Michael Mann.
In the 21st century, all war will be information war. The winner is the side that knows what the other is up to even before it does.
If we’re engaged in what Distinguished Professor Mann has dubbed the Climate Wars, then there’s little question ‘our’ ‘side’ has overwhelming firepower, 97 per cent of the personnel, and all the logistical and economic support a modern army could ask for…
but is losing the Intelligence Race.
A panel of massive intelligence nerds will talk…
▪ Skeptics: how do they keep snatching victory from the jaws of defeat?
▪ (It’s the intelligence, stupid!)
▪ Where do they get their superior intelligence from?
▪ The 10 Dumbest Mistakes Caused by our Lack of Intelligence So Far, And Why We Probably Won’t Learn From Them
▪ Closing the intelligence gap by Fighting Smarter, Not Dumber
▪ What might a ‘smart’ science of climate change look like?
…and talk, occasionally getting lost in the hedge-maze of their own erudition. But for anyone with a crush on the theatre of ideas, the time will fly by as the best-brained, most-trusted brains-trust on our dying planet hashes out the biggest questions ever assembled in an enclosed space. Few who are privileged to be in the same room will notice, and fewer still begrudge, when the panel overruns its allotted hashing time by 16 minutes.
For better or worse, this means the Q & A component will have to be pared down to an answers-only format. Professor Dawkins will back-handedly, smart-arsedly apologize in a half-hearted way to “the handful of purists out there who actually enjoy the groan-inducing, attention-seeking questions we always get from the floor at these [conferences].” He’ll invite them to meet up at Brandauers Weltberühmtes Schlossbräuhaus afterwards, where he swears to “listen to all the statements-dressed-up-as-questions you’ve got, and I won’t say a word.”
According to patrons of the bustling Viennese beer hall, Dawkins keeps his promise, communicating entirely by sighs and yawns. And that’s why ‘Brandauers’ will come to be known simply as ‘The Pub Patronized by Richard Dawkins.’
PLATINUM DINNER A Climate Communication Masterclass with Al Gore
Day 3, 2100—late
The Imperial Dining Room
Ask your Maître d’Hôtel about tuxedo rental
HRH Prince Albert Gore, Jr. of The Asturias and Americas will host a thirty-course degustation banquet followed by iced creams and withdrawal, with gentlemen guests, to the Archducal Smoking Room. Platinum Pass Attendees should register their interest in what’s sure to be an educational and culinary experience to tell the great-grandchildren about, if by some miracle they survive climate change.
Let the world’s most revered environmentalist teach you the secrets of his success against a backdrop of unforgettable Alpine splendor.
It’s like having Mr Gore in your own Imperial Dining Room—if your estate overlooked the Matterhorn and your wife cooked at a Michelin-hat level.
Get ready to…
▪ learn what Congressman Gore calls the Climate Communicator’s Primary Rules:
[N]ever allow the public to cool off; never admit a fault or wrong; never concede that there may be some good in your enemy; never leave room for alternatives; never accept blame; concentrate on one enemy at a time and blame him for everything that goes wrong; people will believe a big lie sooner than a little one; and if you repeat it frequently enough people will sooner or later believe it.
▪ understand what these principles mean; why they’ve guided the entire global-warming leadership for two decades; and how they can help you “supercharge” your own climate education efforts.
▪ discover the 5 MORONIC MISTAKES all successful Science Evangelists avoid.
▪ learn the One “WEIRD Trick” that will raise your clicomm skills to an intensity you WON’T believe!
Normally you’d expect to pay USD $150,000 for an evening this intimate, and even then Mr Gore might not say anything remotely useful.
So register for this Masterclass without delay. Only the first 45 applications will be considered. The exclusive nature of the evening ensures Mr Gore is able to give each and every student one-on-one, personal eye contact.
Not sure if this opportunity is right for you? Consider these words of wisdom:
Do you really want to look back and regret the things you didn’t do, the doors you didn’t open, the days you didn’t seize? Wouldn’t you rather regret the ones you did?
—Al Gore, Jr.
PLATINUM TIP Just shaken hands with the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and vowed you’d never wash the élite extremity again? What if you could maintain basic personal hygiene without betraying the memory of that sacred, flesh-on-flesh moment?
Let our Artist in Residence culturecast® the hand that grasped Mr Gore’s, preserving for centuries to come the ’signature’ of your skin’s ecosystem just seconds after contact with his. Your unique agar sculpture comes with a 200-year warranty of freshness. As you grow frail, sicken and die, your nutrient-rich effigy will bloom on, immortalizing the best experience of your life in all three dimensions of microfloral glory—a living keepsake your heirs will treasure more than any trust fund or hover-car. To own your artwork today, ask the Seneschal to arrange a sitting.
Artist’s fees not included in the cost of your Platinum Conference Pass. But when was price an object for our most discerning guests?
PAPER 100% Of Scientists Support Science, Implicitly or Explicitly
Day 2, 1100-1200
PAPER Learning from the Chinese Experience: How Non-Democracies have Avoided the Problem of Skepticism
Day 2, 1200-1300
KEYNOTE PAPER Was It Something We Said?
M. A. Schroll, H. Walker, J. Kuriansky, L. Buzzell, C. Chalquist
Day 1, 1400–1600
Wintergarten (Winter Garden), Ground Floor
If you care about science, your eye must have been caught in January by a headline that read something like:
Climate psychologists now less trusted than Dalai Lama, pediatric nurses, immediate family by ordinary Americans, says explosive new study
In today’s Keynote Session we’re honored, at last, to reveal the story behind the bombshell.
It started like any other day in the Psychoecology Lab.
We’d recruited 178 college students with an ad offering $100 “for volunteers to test a new line of confectioneries and snacks.” On arrival, they were informed that the payment had been reduced to $20, which could be collected after a “routine” hearing test. Instead we administered a written battery of 16 word-association items, pairing role-nouns like Mom, Pope, ecopsychologist and psychoclimatologist with positive, neutral or negative descriptors. To ensure subjects didn’t guess the purpose of the study, we had sprinkled these questions amidst 80 ‘distractors’ relating to personal traumas and disappointments, sexual experience, criminal record, credit history, sexually-transmitted disease status, etc.
A one-way mirror behind the subjects allowed us to secretly record them, gather response-time data and intervene, where necessary, to break up those seen conferring or cheating. At hourly intervals, a professional actor introducing himself as “Dr Humbert, one of the researchers” would enter the exam room offering cups of “refreshments,” which alternated randomly between cold water and identical-looking concentrated saline.
On the pretext of a “quick post-test weigh-in,” we then assembled all the participants in a central area for debriefing. The video An Inconvenient Truth was shown. Next we asked each student, in turn, how much they would like to deduct from the following student’s payment as a donation to Save Our Polar Bears. (Two of the authors are directors of this charity.) Finally, after reading out the names [see Data Supplement] of 14 students flagged for followup by an HIV-STI counsellor, we allowed everyone to collect what was left of their payments (if anything) and thanked them for their six or seven hours.
At first, the responses to the questionnaire seemed unremarkable. Our data echoed previous studies in showing high Trust with low hesitancy for parents, revered religious figures, and the caring professions.
Towards eco-psychologists like us, however, the respondents exhibited a bizarre degree of suspiciousness and antipathy. On a Modified Dislikert Scale, they rated us particularly high for such items as May Have Ulterior Motives [HUM] (mean 4.3, sigma 1.2), Not Telling The Whole Story [NTWS] (mean 4.0, p < 0.05) and Not A Real Science [NRS] (median 10.3, N = 178).
This irrational perception is best explained, we argue, as a “negative halo effect” from the confected “Climategate” scandals. (Future research may identify other disciplines whose good name has also been poisoned, in the popular imagination, by association therewith.)
Finally we discuss the viability of a range of tricks† by which our colleagues, and those in similarly maligned professions, may be able to trick‡ the public into trusting us [again]. These invariably require communication skills, however, placing them beyond our competence as scientists.
We therefore recommend a ‘watchful waiting’ approach with no particular modification to our behavior, unless a follow-up poll in 5 to 10 years’ time indicates that the public is still paranoid about us.
†The “Climategate” inquiries define trick as ‘a clever way of solving a problem.’
‡See previous footnote.† ■
* You’d better be enjoying it, because I’m catching 32 flavors of heck from the friend whose email I’ve been non-consensually blogging. Today, in an attempt to guilt the Internet into stymieing the Seepage, she appealed personally to me et al.:
“You’d never look at an accidentally-disseminated pic of Kim Kardashian’s ass, would you? If a former Disney starlet sent her boyfriend a mirror-length selfie certifying that she was All Grown Up, and mistakenly CCed it to Gawker, Mr Skin and Defamer, you’d have enough reverence for the sanctity of the BF-GF bond to avert your eyes, wouldn’t you?
“Is this so different? Do you not respect—nay, adore—my employment as Unconventional and Stealth Marketing Consultant [to Europe’s top player in the Consensus Science convention space], which is a totally real job?
“These rhetorical questions are just between me and you, Brett—obviously.”