Nonsense: “the supervolcano is ready to blow and WIPE OUT life on Earth”

Really?

YELLOWSTONE volcano has been struck by 1,400 earthquakes in recent weeks, leading to fears that the supervolcano is ready to blow and WIPE OUT life on Earth.

Source: Fears that deadly Yellowstone supervolcano about to BLOW after 1400 earthquakes hit | Science | News | Express.co.uk

Click the link and play the video with am ominous and scary musical sound track to really drive home the point – IT’S GOING TO BLOW AND KILL US ALL!

This story does not even need a fisking. Buried in the last sentences:

“However, seismologists state that there is nothing to be concerned about yet.

Jamie Farrell at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City told New Scientist: “This is a large swarm but it is not the largest swarm we’ve recorded in Yellowstone.”

This is similar to serial fiction publisher Newsweek’s previous report on the Yellowstone earthquake storm.

The above fiction story is passed along by a newspaper publisher as real news for the purpose of generating clicks and eyeballs for advertisers.

Like much propaganda, this fiction is designed to hook the powerful emotion of fear.

But is that fake news story any different than this one?

More than 150,000 people could die as a result of climate change each year in Europe by the end of the century, shocking new research has found. The number of deaths caused by extreme weather events will increase 50-fold and two in three people on the continent will be affected by disasters, the study – that serves as a stark warning of the deadly impact of global warming – found.

Source: Extreme weather could kill 150,000 people each year in Europe by the end of the century, say scientists | The Independent

The study was a scenario generator based on assumptions – it is not a prediction, not a forecast. Instead, it says if our assumptions are correct, and if our model is correct, then this is one possible outcome. Right off the top, however, the assumptions used in their scenario are absurd and ridiculous.

Viewed standalone, did you apply  System 2 thinking when you first saw the second story? Or did you just let System 1 say “Oh My God, We are all going to die!

The second story is as absurd as the first, above. But most of us probably thought the latter is a true and honest portrayal of the future because of the consensus view (“Get on the bandwagon”) of climate change.

The purpose of both of these fictions is to hook the most powerful of propaganda techniques: fear. Whether it is for advertising click bait or to encourage you adopt someone’s agenda, this is propaganda messaging.

In the area of climate science scenarios alone, the past weeks have seen a slew of scary “scenario” stories.

  • Over the last 30 years 59,000 India farmers committed suicide due to climate change
  • Climate change will cause protein deficiencies in humans as a result of lower protein content of grains
  • Humidity will rise and kill many in Asia in 100 years
  • Climate change will make pathogens more dangerous, and so on.

All of these are scenarios, not predictions, based on assumptions and a model, and sometimes based on correlations (correlation does not equal causation). Each of these scenarios has issues with the assumptions they have made to arrive at their conclusion. The first one is easy to point out – agricultural yields in India have risen strongly, contrary to the idea that climate change is destroying crops on aggregate basis.

You do not need to fisk these stories in detail. The primary clue is their use of propaganda techniques – usually fear – to convey the message. Learn the basic propaganda methods and your System 1 quick and intuitive thinking may start to recognize how pervasive propaganda has become.

And learn the difference between scenarios and scenario planning – and various types of predictions and forecasts.

 

 

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