Friday, 23 September 2011

Reverse Verification

I had never heard of the term reverse verification before reading the blog post Reality, climate change and reverse verification. It's an interesting concept and explains a lot. To quote the above blog:
Says Rosen: “Verification, which is crucial to journalism, means nailing down assertions with verifiable facts. Verification in reverse is taking established facts and manufacturing doubt about them, which creates political friction, and the friction then becomes an energy source you can tap for campaigning. It’s a political technique.”

As he points out, this is the modus operandi of Rick Perry, Republican nomination for president. We also see it here in Australia, especially with the debate on climate change.

Julia Gillard takes a position on responding to climate change. Based on the science, we need to do this to achieve that by then. By adopting quantitative targets, she risks being seen as out of touch with reality. If she admits the science is meaningless, she’s hammered for imposing a regime of questionable worth (which is happening anyway).

Conversely, those that cast doubt on the numbers, something more easily done from opposition, can gain political credibility by appealing to our intuitive sense that reality cannot be quantified.

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