Groupthought for the Day 3: It’s Another WienerSchaft Miracle!

 

alps-wood-penis

For centuries, this pre-Christian phallus nestled deep in the Alps [phallus-y object at centre left] had defied satisfactory explanation. On Tuesday, however, Austria’s GruppenGedankGruppe GmbH admitted it was an “adolescent marketing stunt gone horribly well” for WienerSchaft 2018. Similar erections have been seen popping up across the country as the conference approaches.

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.

—B.K.


PRO JOURNALISM How to Write Like Conservatives

with Peter Gleick B. Ethics (Hons), PhD

Day 4, 1300–1400
Pacifica Room, Mezzanine
Contents TBA

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?
▪ (Discuss.)
▪ 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
Glacierview Library
Contents TBA


PAPER Learning from the Chinese Experience: How Non-Democracies have Avoided the Problem of Skepticism

Day 2, 1200-1300
Glacierview Library
Contents TBA


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.”

—B.K.

29 thoughts on “Groupthought for the Day 3: It’s Another WienerSchaft Miracle!

  1. It will be worth all of the considerable cost just to learn that “one WEIRD trick!” Thanks for posting this, Brett!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yes, Leni Riesenpilz is one of the most underrated 20th century photographers of all time (or at least of the 20th century). Her haunting studies of African giant mushrooms not only planted the spores of L’art Ethnomycologiste, but exerted a seminal influence on Mapplethorpe—yet he gets all the glory. Meanwhile Leni’s name is blackened forever by her brief, youthful association with Ecofascism.

    There’s a glaring double standard at work here. Nobody thinks any less of the works of male artists—like Richard Wagner, Albert Speer, Günter Grass—just because a certain failed Austrian watercolorist happened to like them.

    Like

  3. Hi Beth,

    as a non-STEM Humanist you couldn’t have been expected to understand all the gory details, but Jim Hansen didn’t really “turn off the air conditioning” when he infiltrated the Senate Hearing Room on the eve of his historic Alarum for Policy Makers. That’s a media simplification.

    To put it so einfach vie möglich für die Muggeln, what Dr Hansen actually did (armed with derivations from the Kopacz-Schneider Equations) was to set the thermostat to exactly the right balance between honesty and effectiveness.

    Sorry if I’ve confused you, which I obviously have—it’s an occupational hazard for science communicators, I’m afraid. Anyway, think of it as a bit like turning off the air conditioning… if that makes sense?

    No, I still need to dumb it down a bit more, don’t I? OK, just think of it as overrepresenting the facts [h/t: Albert “Al” Gore, Jr., Chairman, Tennessee Tobacco Unconcern, Inc.].

    Liked by 2 people

  4. As I see it Brad, ‘turning off the air conditioning,’ a nice add-justment by way of
    the Schneider-cli-sci-double-ethical-bind-anxiety-sindrome, ( I think …)

    Liked by 2 people

  5. beththeserf says: 23 Mar 18 at 6:19 am
    “As I see it Brad, ‘turning off the air conditioning,’ a nice add-justment by way of
    the Schneider-cli-sci-double-ethical-bind-anxiety-sindrome, ( I think …)”
    Thank you Beth, Do you have any influence on Brad? I need lotsa help over on the Christopher Monckton thread; not with my concepts, but the valuable Brad conversion of my dull words; into proper Sprechen Sie! 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  6. “You do okay, Will. 🙂 ”
    Perhaps in my old age, no more excellanti as brad does with no effort! I tink Kitten Shadow loves me: but perhaps, I gots all da cat’z food! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Yes beware cupboard love, that is very real. Scottie dog loves me most ahead of meals and walks and I accept my duties. Have you experienced the Scottie stare? I have no need of a clock, three times a day (like clockwork) the “stare” appears and I hasten to perform. I’m dreading when the clocks change.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Brad. “but extered(sic?) a seminal influence on Mapplethorpe—yet he gets all the glory.” Could you not have come up with a less expressive word than “seminal”.

    Like

  9. Jest WHO is Kitten Shadow, ?
    Kitten Shadow ist cute pregnant ball of black fur. She was spaYEd with all remnants removed! US$120. She remains my now third nightmare! As I have new belief: Shadow ist way way smarter than I! Eliminating earlier dispicable , deplorable, denier! Previous was only “I believe I will sleep today” unt “I believe I will have another beer” Oh Whoa are we! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Alan Kendall says 23 Mar 18 at 11:25 am

    “Brad. “but extered(sic?) a seminal influence on Mapplethorpe—yet he gets all the glory.” Could you not have come up with a less expressive word than “seminal””

    Yes Brad can but why?. if the only intent is to deride than destroy!

    Like

  11. Will.
    “Yes Brad can [come up with a less expressive word than “seminal”] but why?”
    Because it would avoid sending impressionable minds, like mine, down unwanted paths – like all those homoerotic orchids and calla lilies- so O’Keeffian!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Alan Kendall says: 23 Mar 18 at 12:28 pm
    Will. “Yes Brad can [come up with a less expressive word than “seminal”] but why?”
    “Because it would avoid sending impressionable minds, like mine, down unwanted paths – like all those homoerotic orchids and calla lilies- so O’Keeffian!” What cloistered nonsense from you academia!
    All the rest of us Earthlings want no more from the academic!! We are tired of being lead by academia down the same dirt road leading only to the same corporate swamp! Capiche maybe? You Alan are a gonner,! unless you can demonstrate some useful talent! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  13. “cloistered nonsense from you academia!”
    What piffle. I spent time working for industry describing and interpreting evaporite cores whilst an academic. Cores that were taken in preparation for natural gas storage caverns or for the new potash mine on the Yorkshire Moors. Some cloisters!
    But it is true: I am a gonner, my legs are a gone and my eyes dim. Only some memories remain bright and who knows what has gone. I think it is rather unkind of you to remind me of my current status, but that perhaps accompanies your apparent dislike of academia. I on the other hand enjoyed all my time working as a government employee, employed by industry (particularly the high salary, responsibility and travel) and as an academic.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Guys, guys, guys,

    let’s cloister the nonsense of infighting, shall we? Compared to our common cause (the mockery of ecneics), the details that divide us are aca—are insignificant.

    More outfighting, please!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Brad Gee, I thought “Ecneics” was one of your made_up words (or spelling blunders). Wikki refused to acknowledge it, but fortunately I Binged the word and found”
    “Professor Ecneics Tseddam is a Scientist currently employed by the Marines. He possessed remarkable skills in both the environmental and mechanical fields and is called upon for various operations by the World Government.”
    I acknowledge your vast knowledge but fail to understand its relevance. Are you threatening to Tseddamize us?

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Have you heard of the pastime called reccos, Alan?

    It refers to a Welsh sport whose goal, no pun intended, is for a special member of each team (the “eilaog”) to throw a spherical llabtoof at the head or feet of the nearest opposing player such that it bounces back, past himself (the eilaog), into a net called the laog, awarding the opposing team one point. Whichever team causes its opponents to score more points wins.

    The word ecneics originated by analogy with reccos.

    Like

  17. Brad, you must think me backward. But I have no intention of mocking ecneics. Some stsitneics do however deserve all they get.
    Nala

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Alan, to clarify, I only consider you backward relative to me, because I’m so far ahead of the mean on measures of forwardness.

    Ecneics is, nevertheless, a deadly serious conceptual schema for describing the inverted [per]version of the scientific method practiced by our enemies in the Ahypothetical Prediction Industry. They, who mock the Method, deserve a combination of mockery and contempt. I won’t pretend it’s easy to find the right balance.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Wait, sorry Alan, that message was for your confused Palingänger, Nala. Never rest until you’ve wrested control of your keyboard back from her.

    Like

  20. “The word ecneics originated by analogy with reccos.”
    Common Brad, we gots wonderful ecneic birdies without reference to nasty Rhinoceros with stomping about and pissing everWare! 🙂

    Like

  21. Will,

    Did you get your species conflated? I’m not the common Brad, I’m the greater golden-tongued variety, bradytachis chrysoglossus rex.

    Like

  22. From: Clusterfuck, Snafu & Phukit
    To: bradytachis chrysoglossus rex.

    Altering your name by deed pole (bradytachis chrysoglossus rex, well really!) will not aid nor abet you. My clients (unlike you, still remaining nameless) still demand you undertake to cease and desist from broadcasting a Mr R Istvan’s alleged “e-ravings”. Until reassurances to this endeavour are received you (in your multiple guises) remain in contempt.

    Squash 9.30pm Tuesday?

    Like

  23. Alan Kendall says:27,Mar,18:7:09

    From: Clusterfuck, Snafu & Phukit To: bradytachis chrysoglossus rex. Altering your name by deed pole (bradytachis chrysoglossus rex, well really!) will not aid nor abet you. My clients (unlike you, still remaining nameless) still demand you undertake to cease and desist from broadcasting a Mr R Istvan’s alleged “e-ravings”. Until reassurances to this endeavour are received you (in your multiple guises) remain in contempt.

    Mr. Rudyard L.Istvan’s, alleged “e-ravings”. Remain well appreciated by each and every devout CLIMATE CHANGE DENIER; capiece?
    All the best!-will-

    Like

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