I love this. The numerous anti-science forces are so used to getting their way by simply repeating their lies and distortions over and over until they're believed as "conventional wisdom." That was a technique invented by Goebbels and now being used widely by politicians promoting their own interests as the "public" interest.

And now we've got something that can repeat the truth over and over until it sinks in. Maybe, if we're really lucky, it might make a difference among those who have a mild appreciation reason, logic and critical thinking, instead of the ideological religions of pseudo-science.

I, for one, would be delighted to simply see a web page with this guy's database, or a database kept current, that offers a list of links to all the published studies, organized by talking-point, refuting each one of their popular talking points, one by one. That would end up on my bookmarks for sure.


Chatbot Wears Down Proponents of Anti-Science Nonsense


When he tired of arguing with climate change skeptics, one programmer wrote a chatbot to do it for him.

Nigel Leck, a software developer by day, was tired of arguing with anti-science crackpots on Twitter. So, like any good programmer, he wrote a script to do it for him.

The result is the Twitter chatbot @AI_AGW. Its operation is fairly simple: Every five minutes, it searches twitter for several hundred set phrases that tend to correspond to any of the usual tired arguments about how global warming isn't happening or humans aren't responsible for it.

It then spits back at the twitterer who made that argument a canned response culled from a database of hundreds. The responses are matched to the argument in question -- tweets about how Neptune is warming just like the earth, for example, are met with the appropriate links to scientific sources explaining why that hardly constitutes evidence that the source of global warming on earth is a warming sun...

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Replies to This Discussion

The most pervasive "frame" being War.
War on Terror, War on Drugs, War on Poverty, the Atheists War Against God, and so on.
War against anything conservatives don't agree with, which is hard to discern since they seem to disagree with just about everything, which is not an easy POV to maintain.
They have a big problem. They are trapped in the "frame" of their own ideology. Conservatives are of a mindset premised on the idea of disagreeing with everything. A mindset that's become so deeply ingrained that they even disagree with ideas from their own ranks. They have made themselves victims of their own solipcism.
They want political life to return to what it once "was". I find that idea amusing because it reminds me of Bill Clinton saying with a straight face: 'it depends on what your definition of what the word "is" is'.
I have yet to hear a rational explanation of what they believe "was", as opposed to what actually was. I stress the word rational because the explanations they give seem more like fiction rather than anything in comportment with what ever "was".

Commenting on a book I haven't read is a bit hazardous, of course, but from the excerpt you quoted, it sounds like "deep frames" is basically what I am referring to as unconscious motivations. While there is value in what Lakoff is saying, I think it is a bit of a stretch for anyone to suggest that he has really nailed it. It sounds, however, like he is coming close to understanding the true nature of conservatism; i.e., its desire to preserve an older order - one based on the power and privilege of a ruling elite, which the conservative admires and aspires to being (however unrealistic that dream).

That stems from the very origins of the word "conservative," which, I am told, is from the French Revolution. The "conservatives" sought to preserve the old order, including the power and privilege of the monarchy and the landed gentry. It was explained to me (and I am not certain of the accuracy of this) that they typically sat on the right hand side of the aisle in the assemblies of the people, and away from the "great unwashed" - who sat on the left (hence the terms "right" and "left" as political adjectives), and sought to implement the values of the Enlightenment - the principles of liberté, egalité and fraternité - which of course, became the motto of the French Revolution, and which ran against the grain of everything the right stood for.

I think that Lakoff is calling this deep distrust of the ability of the people to govern themselves his "deep frame" that is guiding conservatism. But it is also my experience that there is no small element of selfishness, either, in that conservatives have a deep, unconscious belief that in the "land of liberty" they can somehow rise to the status of the elites and enjoy the power and privileges - but only if elitism itself is preserved. How do you aspire to equality? The elitist argument, of course, is the motivation created by inequality - make everyone equal and motivation is destroyed, so inequality must be preserved. And their secret aspirations to elite status is why that argument has such deep resonance with conservatives, quite apart from any conceptual framework. The elites play on this endlessly, of course, and the book "The Sovereign Individual," deeply flawed though its arguments are, instantly became a bible for conservatives, especially corporate libertarians, for that very reason. The fundamental premise of the book is, as one political philosopher of my acquaintance put it, an "argument for a return to feudalism."

While Lakoff has given us some useful ideas with regards to his framing concept, I think it is important to keep in mind that the concept has some serious limitations with regards to understanding underlying motivations for those frames, quite apart from the perceptions he so ably describes. I think that is the principal limitation to the usefulness of his work, and I think that Progressives would do well to keep that in mind. Understanding perceptions is nowhere near enough - it is the underlying motivations that bring them all into focus.
@Scott- Back to the original premise here:
Does this have anything at all to do with trying to build a program(machine...whatever)that can pass a Turing Test?
I've always wondered if they've ever succeeded. I've read comment threads on FB that wouldn't seem to pass. It's always seemed a bit unclear to me what would actually constitute passing it.
The saddest part is that so much of our political discourse with conservatives wouldn't.

No this chatterbox is pretty far from a system that might pass the usual type of Turing test. It can't answer a series of questions and doesn't have the broad knowledge base that contenders usually build. Some of the limits on this sort of knowledge and reasoning have been pushed by the Loebner Prize. Some systems (e.g. a recent one called Elbot ) have gotten close to winning it, but there is still a gap. And the Turing Test is pretty flawed in its simple form which doesn't involve the system being embodied and interacting with the world. It is a pretty abstract test.

BTW, people fail the test in the sense that judges rate them as non-human based on their responses. No data on whether these are more conservative folks. :-)
The Onion has a funny piece on Global Warming.



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