How can climate change denialism be explained?

Discussion in 'Science & Society' started by James R, Dec 12, 2011.

  1. Aqueous Id flat Earth skeptic Valued Senior Member

    *Squawk* You obviously have little or no insight into what I think. Do you really think climate scientists attribute all climate change to human causes or are you just trolling?
    Unlike you, mine never ended.
    You mean you have no respect for authority when it has evidence that will convict you. Sounds plausible.
    Maybe. Sometimes it's more basic, like the natural aversion to tripe sushi.
    I wonder what ever gave them the idea to worry about the environment.
    Hmmm, let's see: ...torries? No. ...Tea Party? No. ...oligarchs? No.
    Maybe we should just eat crow and settle on liberals.
    You mean like Chinese electronics?
    Who are you? Ivan the Terrible?
    Greenhouse gases have been steadily increasing since first recorded in the era of WWI. Connect this conspiracy with the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand and you might make a believer out of me.
    I imagine the Chinese, Mexicans, Brazilians, Indians, Italians and Japanese members of the IPCC are ROFLing over that. And let's not forget the Russian armchair liberals either.
    Do you mean why not throw gasoline onto the fire?
    Ah, so Russia, China, India, Japan and South Africa moved out West (and Mexico and Brazil moved North)? Sounds expensive. No wonder they've committed to IPCC--obviously it's all about vested interest. Good thing you nailed Manne so we could figure that out.
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  3. recidivist Back behind bars Registered Senior Member

    You managed to contradict your own argument in the same sentence.

    Next your going to tell me that solar energy and biogas are cheaper for Africans than their own fossil fuels.
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  5. psikeyhackr Live Long and Suffer Valued Senior Member

    The Earth is not at risk.

    Millions and possibly billions of people are at risk plus uncountable animals and possibly entire species.

    The Earth survived the impact that wiped out the dinosaurs. It will survive whatever we do. It is just a question of how bad we make things for ourselves in the mean time.

    We have lots of people who believe what they prefer and politicians who will get elected telling them what they want to hear and will probably lose if they say what the dummies don't want to hear. Blame it on the incompetent science education plus a lack of imagination engendered by our so called educational system.

    It requires some degree of imagination to conceive that the future will be really different. They didn't read enough science fiction as kids.

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  7. Aqueous Id flat Earth skeptic Valued Senior Member

    Is it education or religion that is detracting from science?
  8. wroberson Registered Member

    My answer to the question, "How can climate change denialism be explained?"

    Climate Change isn't the root cause of melting glaciers. It the very core, is overpopulation.

    World Population Estimate: 7,015,723,781 at 00:01 UTC (EST+5) May 26, 2012.
    The trend is 1 billion new people every twelve years.

    It's not the factories at fault it's the human need for 99 cent plastic toys.

    The naysayers and non-believers
  9. Cavalier Knight of the Opinion Registered Senior Member

    An easy explanation for the climate deniers trumpeting their own correctness may be the Dunning-Kruger effect, which happens to have pooped up on Ars Technica recently:

    Non-experts are so non-expert that they can sometimes lack any meaningful criteria to judge their own competence at things like climate science, so they come to believe they understand the topic very well.
  10. Aqueous Id flat Earth skeptic Valued Senior Member

    Hey, that was great. You could apply this to so many other threads, too.
  11. Cavalier Knight of the Opinion Registered Senior Member

    Here's a recent and fascinating study.

    The authors looked 1,540 Americans' views on climate change and compared that with the subjects' logical/mathematical reasoning ability and levels of scientific literacy. What they found was a weak correlation between HIGHER scientific literacy and reasoning ability and LOWER levels of concern about climate change. So there was a negative correlation.

    That is so counter-intuitive, but then again I am generally surrounded by those who are highly concerned with climate change (and the assumption among them is that it's ignorant people, who reject science, who are in the unconcerned camp..
  12. spidergoat Liddle' Dick Tater Valued Senior Member

    Not only cheaper, but accessible, especially in the case of biogas. While their fossil fuels are dominated by foreign development and they don't see any of that.
  13. Cavalier Knight of the Opinion Registered Senior Member

  14. spockster Registered Member

    it's called "being a republican", think it has something to do with bad parenting I belive
  15. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    It's common to see references to fact denialism on "both sides" or "both the left and the right" and so forth.

    It's less common to see actual and significant examples of fact denialism on the left, to compare with the numerous and flagrant examples on the right (speaking here of the US situation) that surround us and dominate our discussions.

    If we had such a comparison ready to hand, we would be better equipped to discover whether the mechanisms described above are as universal as claimed, and operate in the same way among adherents to disparate ideologies, and have a neutral or evenhanded presence across the various media, and so forth.
  16. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    I think that native intelligence and intellectual sophistication probably are correlated with questioning attitudes about things that others often accept on faith.

    Conceiving of that as "denialism" is probably misleading. The implication with that word is that the intelligent thing for people to do is to simply believe whatever they are told to believe.

    I prefer to use the term 'skepticism', rather than 'denialism'.

    And skepticism tends to rise as the subjects under discussion become increasingly politicized. People start to get the impression that what they are hearing is as likely to be partisan political rhetoric as objective and disinterested science.
  17. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    That doesn't explain the apparently greater tendency of the better educated to fall for politicized stuff - to be less adept than others at sorting out a political nitfight.

    Maybe the content of the education should be examined in better detail than merely "science" vs "not science".
  18. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    The educated have no monopoly on the ability to be mesmerized by "politicized stuff." They are just more likely to be easy prey for leftist politics, while the people with less education are more easily attracted by rightist propaganda.

    It's easy to see why. Today's rightist agenda seems custom-tailored for people who stopped learning at age twelve.

    Let's ship all of the country's jobs off to China. That way the poisonous crap you buy at Walmart will be even cheaper! You can't possibly do the math to realize that when nobody in America has a job, you and everyone else won't be able to buy anything.
  19. twr Registered Senior Member

    1. The first concerns the influence of vested economic interest.

    You don't think there are "greenies" with vested economic interests, too? China churned out a solar billionaire recently, which is far more than most oil magnates take in from their activities. There's big money to be made in energy everywhere.
  20. Cavalier Knight of the Opinion Registered Senior Member

    It's not that uncommon to see fact denialism on the left. Outside the U.S., the USSR rejected evolution for decades, officially, while pushing Lysenkoism as actual science. But there are plenty of U.S. domestic examples:

    • Despite the fact that gun control laws have no impact on crime rates or violence (and in some cases make things worse), many on the left still advocate for gun control laws.
    • For decades in the early-to-mid 20th century, many people on the left were in denial about the lives of people in the USSR (and then there were also China apologists).
    • There were and still are those who denied that there is cognitive and physiological differences between men and women (in fact, when the president of Harvard, Larry Summers, made a comment about the differing achievement levels of women versus men in science, he was castigated, despite being "technically" 100% absolutely correct).
    • The rejection of vaccines and claims that they are linked to autism, despite all the evidence, is a left wing phenomenon. Paul Offit invented a vaccine that will save half a million lives a year, and people threaten the lives him and even his children for it.
    • Despite the clear fact that closing down sweatshops hurts the workers in poor nations (its not as if for every sweatshop closed, a high-0wage shop opens fact its just a net loss of jobs) and continue to feel they are "helping" people.
    • Despite the weak evidence that organic food is safer (or better tasting) than non-organic, certain people on the left continue to claim that it is.
    • Despite the lack of clear evidence that GMO or irradiated "frankenfoods" (the science denialism in built into the very tagword) are in any way dangerous, many on the left are so sure they are, they ignore the facts.
    • The "herbal cure" craze for things like Echinacea seems to disproportionately affect the left.
    • Despite the data to the contrary, many on the left are uncomfortable admitting that there is a statistical differential between the IQs of Americas who self-identify as "black:" and those who self identify as "white."

    The big difference is that the two biggest right-wing denialist positions have worked their way into the GOP platform. Still, that the anti-vaccination fear mongers are less entrenched in the Democratic Party that their right-leaning counterparts are in the GOP doesn't make them any less dangerous to public health.
  21. Syzygys As a mother, I am telling you Valued Senior Member

    The answer is pretty simple, if you understand human nature:

    1. First people are generally idiots. The subject of climate change isn't that difficult to understand, but to prove it is a little harder, specially the man-made characteristics, since there is no comparison and you can't run experiences. So that actually gives a valid reason to doubt it, at least the man-made part.

    2. When people/interest groups have a different interest than what the data/facts shows, they will question the data. Personally they might believe in it, but openly they will question and attack it, because that is in their best interest.

    For any responsible government, they should start to take measures against the longer term effects of climate change. But it has 2 major problems:

    a/ They cost money, and the return on the investment can be measured only generations later.

    b/ Tends to be unpopular with the voters. Politicans don't really like that.

    So when something is against your short term interest and the solution's result only way, way down the road, a nicely worded denial seems as a better solution...
  22. The Marquis Only want the best for Nigel Valued Senior Member

    I wouldn't necessarily agree with that, Fraggle. Granted, you may be speaking from an American point of view, with all the attendant experience, but the less-educated seem to be vulnerable to any propaganda.
    In the end, it comes down to acceptance by a peer group. It always has.

    And the left tailored for those who stopped at 18.
    Either way, it isn't exactly a case of the left being more "honest" about their opinions.

    This is humanity, Fraggle. It has little to do with how one leans, politically or philosophically speaking.
  23. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    Interesting list - a fairly clear demonstration of the damage to reasonable discussion we have suffered from the media operations behind this "both sides" fallacy.

    1) What actual facts are denied by the specifically leftwing gun control advocates? On one hand, the lack of correlation between gun ownership and violent crime (other than suicide) is recognized by the left in general, and gun ownership by ordinary citizens was something the early European Marxists (Engels, say) recommended. The gun control advocates on the left now, in the US, are authoritarians, just like the ones on the right (in my town, the police and other rightwing authorities, say) - they are the same faction, from that point of view. It's not a left/right issue.

    2) A large and significant fraction of the political left in the US was for many years in denial about the situation in the USSR. Factual denial. But consider: that was many years ago; the reality did change their minds in general and eventually (no facts have been denied for a very long time now); and what clear facts there were at the time were buried in a huge mass and barrage of lies and propaganda by the US military/industrial complex. That's not quite the same as the unforced, freely adopted, uncorrupted counterfactual denials we see today. On "one side". Such as the fact that the USSR was not a serious military threat to the US. The Right is still in factual denial about the Cold War.

    Or compare the rightwing counterpart - Holocaust denial. Still with us, ineradicable and influential.

    3) Rejection of vaccines in the US is not a "left wing" phenomenon. Lefty groups and political advocates universally and consistently promote vaccines, water flouridation, and other public health measures. The closest you can come to lefty vaccine opposition are the efforts to take vaccines out of the hands of private corporations, regulate them for safety rather than low cost (get the mercury out of them), and so forth. These are not fact-denial efforts.

    4) It's not a "fact" at all, let alone a "clear" one, that banning corporations from setting up sweatshops in poor nations hurts the people who live there.

    5) The safety of GM foods is not an established fact, and there is quite a bit of evidence and argument indicating considerable risks and harms both serious and likely, direct and indirect, from them in their current modes of deployment as private corporation profit centers. Denial of that is fact denial - not the other way around.

    6) The identification of all fads, crazes, and other irrationalities, such as Echinacea, with the left, is common rightwing media propaganda. Identification of the actual people involved usually changes the pictures considerably - as with the fundie religious involvement in the vaccine controversies. And the role of fact denial in them, the current topic, is not clear.

    7) Putting aside your perception of discomfort in other people, which I would sort of credit to your imagination, very few if any people of any political persuasion deny the fact of the IQ score gap between US blacks and US whites. That is not an example of fact denial.

    Neither do any significant number of people, of any ideology, deny the likely existence of physiological differences between men and women, possibly including some bearing on cognition. The controversy is about their nature, and many people deny that Larry Summers knows what they are - but that is not fact denial. Larry Summers is not a repository of incontrovertible fact in this matter.

    So from that list, we have one solid example of lefty fact denial - the nature of Stalin's government of the USSR. And that is not only somewhat - a little bit - excusable in the bizarre US propaganda circumstances of the Cold War, of historical interest mainly, but is gone: nothing like that is operating now, or has been a significant factor since fifty years ago.

    You had to go back to the early days of the Cold War in the US to find one example on the left of what we have been barraged by, swamped, inundated, drowning in, from the Right in the US for thirty years and more.
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2012

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