Climate Change And The Ikea Effect

As someone who considers himself to be driven by data (particularly with technical problems), I have struggled over the past few years with the Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) cult scientists and their inability to see the forest for the trees.  But now I realize why.

Full disclosure – I am not a climate scientist and the AGW cult leaders Michael Mann, Gavin Schmidt, et al. have spent orders of magnitude more time studying climate science that I have.  But I do have bachelors and masters degrees in Electrical Engineering so I do have a good grasp of quantum physics and electromagnetic waves which is really what the heart of AGW theory is about.  I understand the AGW theory and have written a blog post about here.

For a theory to gain acceptance it must 1) stand up to repeated experiments, 2) be validated on large scales and 3) have its model predictions observed in the real world.  For the past 5 years I have studied the theories behind AGW and compared the predictions to the measurable data and it’s obvious to me the main theory has a very inconvenient problem.   As I’ve shown before, although atmospheric CO2 concentrations are continuing to rise, global temperatures are not rising accordingly.

cru temps

cru temp vs co2

Besides this obvious data, the evidence against the AGW cult is legion.  There are other scientific ways to disprove AGW as shown at Real Science.  Real Science also showed how the AGW climate scientists have manipulated the data to ‘prove’ their theory.  Even the climate models, the sacred cows of the AGW cult, have failed.

So why do so many climate scientists, and especially the cult leaders, still shill this easily falsified theory?  For certain, people like Al Gore are in it for the money but scientists who are plugging away in labs and universities don’t see these large sums of money.  They do get grants, publish papers and justify their existence but most scientists I know are more interested in understanding Mother Nature and discovering ways to improve life on Earth.  Why do they still write papers in support of this AGW theory?

My answer to this question came when I heard this story on Morning Edition during my commute to work this morning and I finally realized why AGW scientists cling so bitterly to their easily dis-proven theory.  They suffer from the Ikea Effect!

From the NPR story, here is what the Ikea Effect is (emphasis mine):

“The name for this psychological phenomenon derives from the love millions of Americans display toward their self-assembled furniture (or, dare we say it, their badly self-assembled furniture) from the do-it-yourself store with the Scandinavian name.”

“Imagine that, you know, you built a table,” said Daniel Mochon, a Tulane University marketing professor, who has studied the phenomenon. “Maybe it came out a little bit crooked. Probably your wife or your neighbor would see it for what it is, you know? A shoddy piece of workmanship. But to you that table might seem really great, because you’re the one who created it. It’s the fruit of your labor. And that is really the idea behind the Ikea Effect.”

“Most of us intuitively believe that the things we labor at are the things we love. Mochon and his colleagues, Michael Norton at the Harvard Business School and Dan Ariely at Duke University, have turned that concept on its head. What if, they asked, it isn’t love that leads to labor, but labor that leads to love?”

“In a series of experiments, they have demonstrated that people attach greater value to things they built than if the very same product was built by someone else. And in new experiments published recently, they’ve discovered why it happens: Building your own stuff boosts your feelings of pride and competence, and also signals to others that you are competent.”

That’s it!  The AGW scientists, who’ve invested years in support of this theory, are incapable of seeing the inherent flaws with their work.

As an engineering professional, I once had the unfortunate privilege to spend 2 years developing a product that had to be cancelled because the design could not be scaled up in high volume manufacturing.  I get it, it was incredibly demoralizing when I realized that 2 years of my professional career was wasted and amounted to nothing.  But in the end, I had to confront the brutal facts that this design (aka theory) was flawed and didn’t work in the real world.  It’s tough to reach that conclusion but that is how science works and you move one.

Think about the AGW cult leaders who have spent decades working on their models, predictions and blog posts.  Since they are victims of the Ikea Effect, they will not be able to confront the brutal facts because they look at their labors and while everyone else sees a broken table, they see a priceless, perfect piece of furniture.

Since the dawn of Man, the climate/weather system has confounded us because it is so complex.  If AGW scientists believe they have cracked the code and found a way to predict future climate then that is a very good feeling they have.  When confronted with data that threatens their hubris, they will dismiss it out of hand because they don’t want that good feeling to go away!

Yes, AGW scientists suffer from the Ikea Effect and while I sympathize with them, as a man of science who values following the data, I implore them to put their egos aside and confront the brutal facts.

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6 Responses to Climate Change And The Ikea Effect

  1. garret seinen says:

    Cute ….and there may even be a grain of truth….

  2. tomwys says:

    You’re on to something, but IKEA hasn’t yet learned to give prizes, awards, special recognition, and appointment to well paying panels for its defective furniture builders. Once IKEA figures that out, they will be on par with the AGW crowd!!!

  3. abcinsc says:

    If it were just a matter of “scientists” stroking their egos and writing papers to impress one another, that would be one thing. But spending billions of taxpayer dollars to support what is essentially a “scam”, that’s criminal theft.

  4. blaine says:


    There are a whole host of empirical studies in psychology on this subject. Lord, Ross and Lepper (1979) called this “confirmation seeking.” People look to find confirmation of their beliefs and will not look to disconfirm their beliefs. When they do “see” something that contradicts their belief, they will discount it. Sound familiar?

    Whether science, religion or politics, this always leads to polarization. It’s really hard to keep an open mind.

    You will find this fascinating.

    • cosmoscon says:

      Thanks Blaine, I’ll check out that link. I see this ‘confirmation seeking’ with Climate Science on both sides. And I have no doubt I do it to with other issues, for Climate Science I entered with a bias toward skeptic but was open. I actually remember the day that I saw a post on and it floored me. It referenced a few papers that was the ‘evidence’ I needed to accept the AGW theory. For days I was in shock that I had been fighting something that was real. But then I dug deeper and actually read the published papers (instead of SkC opinion) and found out the results that were posted on the website came from portions of the paper that showed results that had been altered/filtered through climate model programs. The raw data showed the opposite conclusion! So I’m still a skeptic and learned not to read just the highlights of published journal papers but to read the actual paper!

  5. Pingback: Climate Change And Blizzards | cosmoscon

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