Discussion in 'Biology & Genetics' started by sculptor, Aug 13, 2019.

  1. billvon Valued Senior Member

    A few things, I think.

    One is a way to shirk responsibility. If you deny there are any problems with climate change, you will not feel an obligation to try to prevent it. Similar to how heavy smokers often compile a list of anecdotes about the guy who lived to be 100 smoking two packs a day. That way they don't feel the need to quit - and don't feel guilty about continuing to smoke.

    A second is party loyalty. For whatever reason climate change denial has become a right wing "thing." I think this goes back to the 1960's, when the environmental movement started, and the right wing came out strongly against it - because environmentalism was harming profits on some of the GOP's largest donors, like tobacco, coal and chemical companies.

    A third is a bit of an anti-science thing. Many people (especially Trump supporters) see science as a tool used by arrogant elitists to claim that they are smarter than someone else. Scientists use science to say "the Earth is round" or "vaccines prevent disease" or "the climate is warming" and 'regular' people feel that they should be able to say the opposite and be taken just as seriously, because they are just as wise and important as scientists. Telling them "no, the science really is right" robs them of power. So they object to it.

    Lastly there are people who simply like to be contrarians. They like to claim that 9/11 was an inside job or that the Moon landing didn't happen. Sometimes they actually believe that. Often they enjoy the attention they get when they say something that goes against science. They then are able to feel that they are special; that they share a special insider knowledge that all the "sheeple" do not.

    Sometimes you see all of them at work at once, but more often people will glom onto one or two and go from there.
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  3. parmalee peripatetic artisan Valued Senior Member

    It's kind of unfortunate that there is so much revisionist history out there which depicts the Y2K "scare" as a joke, when, in fact, it certainly was potentially catastrophic. Even worse, in order to fabricate such a sanitized re-telling in the first place, one very likely uncovers the more accurate--and truthful--account--so it's an entirely deliberate deception.
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  5. billvon Valued Senior Member

    Yeah, that sort of denial is unfortunately common. "Y2K was a big joke." "There was never a problem with the ozone layer because it's improving." "We don't need vaccines because almost no one gets measles."
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  7. exchemist Valued Senior Member

    All you say is true but I think there is something more basic here.

    Action on any environmental issue requires society to take coordinated action, as a collective act.

    A lot of people on the political Right, especially in the USA, react galvanically to any suggestion of collective civic action (apart from going to war, for some reason), accusing the people who propose it of communism or similar.
  8. billvon Valued Senior Member

    That's a good point. So perhaps some of the denial comes not from a feeling that the science isn't valid, but that the mitigation will require collective action, and they don't want that. And by denying the science, they obviate the need to take that action before it even becomes an issue.
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  9. parmalee peripatetic artisan Valued Senior Member

    I see this as an aspect of "shirking responsibility." At the heart of particularly extreme forms of American "rigged individualism" is the notion that your neighbors are entirely responsible for themselves, and your own actions (or inactions) are wrong if and only if they harm or impede your neighbor in the most blatant and direct manner conceivable.
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  10. exchemist Valued Senior Member

    I'm sure that's true.

    But it's interesting. I recall at school being sceptical of the prophets of doom in the 1970s - people like Rachel Carson and Paul Ehrlich. They way they wrote seemed to be nannying and I resented being nannied. In general I remain a sceptic about a lot of the scare stories we are exposed to. But with climate change, the evidence and the level of conviction of practically all climate science, seems overwhelming.

    I suspect it is natural for all of us to resist nannying, especially when there will be effects on the way we like to live. But the Right has elevated this natural inclination into a sort of ideology, impervious to facts that are are staring us in the face.
  11. parmalee peripatetic artisan Valued Senior Member

    I read Yahoo! News strictly for the comments sections. The other day I had this moment that was very much like Mia Farrow's revelations in the third act of Rosemary's Baby. I rearranged the letters and it spelled out, "All of them Russian trolls." Comments are overwhelmingly some form of ad hominum, the underlying sentiment being that of resentment towards the very notion of being, well, informed--about anything and everything. In this particular case, the article was simply recapping some of John Oliver's remarks on the NRA from a recent episode of Last Week Tonight. But, of course, we are not to take anything Oliver says seriously because:

    a) he's British
    b) he's a "sub-beta male" (???)
    c) he's gay (he isn't, actually)

    Of several hundred comments, not a single counter or rebuttal to anything that Oliver actually said.

    While I'm aware that most/some/all? of the comments weren't actually from Russian trolls, they very well could have been. Russians, and others intent on influencing and undermining the political system, have long been aware of this particular weakness of Americans--that we really don't like to be told anything that challenges any of our behaviors or long-standing assumptions. And while these non-arguments "arguments" are incredibly insipid, even nonsensical, they're also incredibly effective.

    These responses and reactions are particularly insidious because, for the most part, they're not really based in blatant lies, falsehoods, and misinformation; rather, they're bullshit--and bullshit is incredibly difficult, if not impossible, to refute. Trump is an utterly inept liar--most three year-olds can "out-lie" him--but he's a master bullshitter; Boris Johnson, on the other hand, seems quite skilled with both lies and bs.
  12. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    And all twelve of those people are a nuisance, if one has the misfortune to run into one of them.
    Meanwhile: what drives the millions who will seize on any excuse, however feeble or irrelevant, to dismiss both AGW and the concerns of those who know the most about it?
    And yet they claim to be adults?

    That's all bullshit.
    Nobody has to deny research and slander the researchers, deny the analysis and slander the analylis, because somebody somewhere is "hyperbolic catastrophizing".

    They are denying AGW, and their reasons aren't any better than anyone else's.
  13. RainbowSingularity Valued Senior Member

    like the cold war ?
    reds under the bed and McCarthyism etc ?

    would you like me to catastrophise that for you ? (it sells much better & you get a free 50% discount of your add on insurance premium upgrade)
    duck n cover commy americans playing alarmist over the end to oil and corn stock futures ?
    no ducking allowed
    grease your geese before it goes fowl

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    alarmist timer set to consumer market mode

    "i like mine with a little catastrophe on the side"
    "thats nice, let me turn the Tv to fauxpews for you....they just reported a black person was seen applying for an open carry permit in the south... it's positively UN-american, i think they were talking to a Mexican also... the end is nigh ! the end is nigh !

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    Last edited: Aug 15, 2019
  14. LaurieAG Registered Senior Member

    It's just a natural human trait where pessimistically envisioning the worst, as opposed to optimistically envisioning the best, is a positive experience when your worst expectations are not met but negative when you fail your best expectations.

    This natural bias is reflected in weather forecasts when the maximum forecast temperature is not reached and the actual temperature is 1, 2, or 3 degrees (C) below forecast (about 3/4 of the time) while the forecast is rarely even 1 degree below the actual temperature (1/4 of the time).
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  15. RainbowSingularity Valued Senior Member

    vaccinations = catastrophisation ?
    insurance sales = catastrophisation ?
    health insurance = catastrophisation ?
    military = catastrophisation ?

    has alarmism become a normalised metaphor to disengage critical thinking ?

    who is buying the cool-aid ? the consumer ?

    whos money is it ? the tax payer ?
    who has control over the money ?
    who wants control over the money ?
    who doesn't want to be accountable for having control of everyone else's money ?

    is this called the "costa-rica-game" of dont blame us we are only running your country ?

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  16. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    The researchers whose findings are being denied and whose persons are being slandered and whose careers are being threatened and damaged by powerful political entities are not "envisioning the worst" in their published research and analysis, and never have been.

    The IPCC, for example, has been notably unwilling to discuss the tail ranges of possibilities under AGW, and their modeled likelihoods. They release as their forecast, instead, the least dramatic numbers they can justify to the scientific community based on the data. They actively avoid "envisioning" even the somewhat bad that shows up at 20%, 25% likelihood - let alone the disasters that hide in the 1% to 10% range, itself a product of purposely restrained assumptions.

    That's one reason the reality has been coming in consistently worse than the IPCC projections of the past.

    But the absence of alarmist exaggerations from AGW researchers has not prevented the hyperventilating US rightwing corporate media feed from floodlighting all kinds of wild claims about AGW and its researchers, of fraud and conspiracy and "world government" agendas and miserable poverty and big government coming for your freedoms. How many times have we seen some Murdoch minion setting their hair on fire over some sober and thoroughly supported research analysis they have labeled "junk science" - such as the OP issue of this thread?

    We see actual Congressmen, full grown men, backed by that kind of media flailing in their voting districts, bringing snowballs unto the floor of Congress as evidence of - of - what, exactly, they don't seem to know, except that involves "alarmists", like the rest of AGW.

    It's not just AGW, although that's a big one and under severe political pressure. It's getting to where most major scientific journals published in English have been running articles and moderating discussions on the topic of how to protect research in progress and the data already accumulated from some Republican campaign clown's judgment that it is "alarmist" conspiracy and government overreach

    and should therefore be discontinued, any findings of analysis destroyed, and Republican PR folks put in charge of all media communications. (Example: page 628 of the May issue of Science, people trying to figure out how to protect the FDA from political intrusion into its scientific research and findings.)
  17. sculptor Valued Senior Member

    Are we to assume that you are ignoring or discarding or disregarding the sudden rise in temperatures at the beginning of the holocene, or the several DO events of the previous 9o,000 years, or at the end eemian wherein the temperature rose several degrees C in a few decades?
  18. billvon Valued Senior Member

    Nope. But the lack of vaccines can be a catastrophe, as we have seen many, many times in our history. Ask any epidemiologist; he will describe what a catastrophe (for example) the Plauge of Justinian was. So he's a catastrophizer.
    No. Becoming alarmed is a realistic reaction to a dangerous situation.

    According to you, I am an alarmist. I was once doing a tandem and opened up with a lineover. I became alarmed, cut away the main and opened the reserve. I am sure you would consider me an alarmist for taking such an extreme, dramatic and expensive action, but since it saved my life (and that of the student) - I could really care less what you think.
    In part, yes. We all pay money to improve our lives. It's right there in the constitution - Congress has a duty to provide for the general welfare of the United States. So maintaining roads, preventing epidemics, preventing climate change and raising an army to defend the US all fall under that umbrella.
  19. billvon Valued Senior Member

    Of course. But if your aircraft's engine is on fire, you best pray that your pilot is pessimistically envisioning the worst (and working to mitigate it) rather than optimistically envisioning the best and continuing the flight. No matter how that feeling is reinforced later.
  20. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    Potential climate change? Open your eyes. Look around you.

    There's really no room for doubt that the current global heating trend is already having negative outcomes for millions of people. You can argue whether we're at a stage you would consider catastrophic yet, of course. I get the impression that you're not very aware of the effects of global heating. Do some research. It's happening under your nose.

    What's the relevance of those questions? Do you know the answers? Are you saying that the melting of the west Antarctic ice sheet is not a problem? Or what?

    Sure, and some people will no doubt survive this one. Also, a hell of a lot of people will die, not to mention all those species that are being driven to extinction right now while you complain about "catastrophising".

    The difference between climate change this time and the previous times within human experience is that, this time, it's our fault. What will you tell your children or grandchildren when things are far worse than they are now? What did you do when you knew we were wrecking out planet for future generations, grandpa? Tell me you didn't do nothing.
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2019
  21. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    You ought to move out of your comfortable first-world house and try living in somewhere like Bangladesh for a while. The reality check might do you good.
  22. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    Because they hope that all the catastrophizing will motivate people to embrace a radical social change program. It isn't an accident that most of the global-warming hysteria didn't begin until after 1990, then the collapse of communism left many left-wing academics adrift in search of a new cause. So they switched from waving a red flag to waving a green one. The ultimate goal is the same as it ever was: to destroy "capitalism". (Even if that requires a return to a medieval village economy.)

    The evidence that I've seen indicates that since the industrial revolution in the 19th century, the world as a whole has experienced a net temperature increase of about 1.6 degrees C.

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    That increase seems pretty small and doesn't seem to even remotely justify the "extinction level event" rhetoric that we so often hear.

    It's also interesting to look at when these temperature increases appear to have occurred.

    During the 19th century, Europe's "age of coal", temperatures seem to have remained pretty flat.

    Then from maybe 1910 to 1940, we see an increase of about 0.5 degrees C. I'm just speculating, but assuming that it is anthropogenic, it might be associated with the introduction of the automobile.

    Then from about 1940 to 1980, things seem to have been pretty flat again. Then a more dramatic increase of about 1.0 degrees C since 1980.

    So what was happening since 1980 that might have driven the more rapid increase (in red on the graph above)? This was generally a period of deindustrialization in the Western world. Factories were closing everywhere and once thriving areas were turning into rust belts. (Britain once had world-class steel, shipbuilding, automobile and aircraft industries, believe it or not.) It was a time in which much stricter automobile emissions standards were introduced in the US and Europe.

    Meanwhile, we see the rise of China and its rapid industrialization since 1980.

    Yet most of the global warming activism never really addresses China. It's all about turning back the industrial revolution in the US and Europe. (Basically leaving China the world's only industrialized power and handing world domination to them on a platter.)
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  23. billvon Valued Senior Member

    Sorry - nope.
    How China overtook the US in leading the battle against climate change
    Beijing has shifted from being the world’s worst polluter to the biggest power everyone’s now counting on to steer the fight against global warming

    Sarah Zheng Julia Hollingsworth

    Published: 11:00pm, 1 Jun, 2017

    China was once the bad boy of climate change. But with US President Donald Trump on the verge of pulling out of the Paris climate agreement, it’s now poised to be the global leader.

    The United States and China are the top two polluters in the world, although Chinese carbon dioxide emissions are double that of the US – China released over 10 million kilotons of carbon dioxide in 2013.

    With the United States’ exit from the historic climate deal seeming increasingly likely, we take a look at the two countries’ changing climate policies.

    In recent years, China has been pouring cash into low-carbon industries at home, and taking a leadership role on climate change agreements abroad.

    China plans to spend over US361 billion on renewable energy by 2020, and has made low-carbon growth one of its top priorities. Last year it invested US88 billion in renewable energy, the highest amount in the world, and spent a record US32 billion on renewable projects abroad.

    During the 2015 Paris Climate Change Conference, China helped negotiate the world’s first comprehensive climate agreement, prompting former US president Barack Obama to thank Chinese President Xi Jinping for his help.

    Earlier this year, Xi defended the Paris climate agreement at the World Economic Forum and called for stronger international cooperation.

    China has promised to cut its carbon emissions by 40 to 45 per cent from 2005 levels by 2020 and reach peak emissions by 2030 or earlier. Experts believe the goal is within China’s reach.

    How has that changed?
    Over the past 30 years, China has shifted its climate change stance from completely unaware, to climate change denier, to a major leader on global warming action.

    Before 1988, China had no specialised climate change researchers or government department for monitoring and controlling greenhouse gases.

    After China was classified as a major emitter of greenhouse gases by the General Assembly of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that year, China started to make changes.

    In 1990, China set up a governmental group for climate change issues and a research programme to look into its impact.

    China signed the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in 1992, which had a “common but differentiated responsibilities” principle that gave leniency to countries that were still developing. It was seen as a win for China. . . .

    China started to show an interest in engaging when the Clean Development Mechanism was introduced in 2007. The mechanism allowed countries to earn emission reduction credits when they established projects to cut emissions in developing countries.

    After 2011, when climate change deniers were gaining traction in the United States, China’s era of climate denial stopped and a new strategy of taking steps to address the problem began.
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2019

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