On Aug 18th ThinkProgress put up a short note titled “Global warming deniers forced to cancel meeting due to Tropical Storm Fay” . Shortly after it got posted at Digg titled “Global warming deniers forced to cancel mtg due to Fay” In less than 48 hrs it has gotten 130 comments, many of them denying any link between climate change and storms, or the existence of climate change at all.
One problem, the article never actually mentions climate change or global warming as a factor in causing the storm, or anything else for that matter.
The article does mention that “Koch Industries, with an agenda of attacking ‘global warming alarmism‘”, and there is a link a the bottom “More on how global warming intensifies tropical storms here.” which is suggestive, but makes no actual claim or indication of a link between Fay and climate change.
There is nothing else, nada, zip, zilch, nothing, gar nichts. It is nothing but a short note that a meeting was cancelled because of a tropical storm, c’est touts.
I know, I know, it is a shocking revelation that Diggers don’t “Read The Article” (RTA), but the whole thing is actually interesting for a couple of reasons.
The first and obvious interesting thing is how many people project their assumptions and expectations onto the article. The fact that the title specifies ‘Global warming deniers’ cues people that the author accepts climate change science and frames the story around climate change, obviously creating an expectation that the story will somehow relate to climate change. Regardless, the fact is the story does not, so there is no claim to refute, debunk, or deny. That doesn’t stop the denials from disputing claims that were never made though.
Multiple posters protest that the cancellation is not ironic, is not an example of irony, etc. The story does mention irony so clearly these posters read it at some level, but still somehow missed the obvious absence of any mention of climate change as a cause for the storm. Here again those commenting are projecting their expectations onto the post.
This failure to even read the article, to take in what is actually says seems to be symptomatic of the Denier crowd. How can there be any real dialogue if the very mention of climate change triggers such knee jerk rejection?
The second interesting, and also typical thing to note is that none of those denying climate change make any attempt to provide any evidence or substantiate their claim with citations or reference. They often demand evidence, but never provide any. They clearly feel that simply stating climate change to be false should be good enough.
This Digg post is like a Rorschach test where people project their fears. It is almost as if ThinkProgress created a petition that reads: I, who commented below
i) Probably did not read the article;
ii) Deny any evidence of climate science without ever checking to see if there even is any evidence of climate science;
ii) Knee-jerk comment without the slightest idea what I am talking about;
iii) Never provide evidence or citation for what any claims I make;
Here again, is rational debate even possible with such people? Their motivation is not to extablish what is true, but rather to proselytize their political agenda. I suspect not, but it is necessay to engage them publicly and refute their claims at every opportunity. The members of the public who are confused about climate science need to see that at least one side does have evidence and can respond rationally to challenges.
Here are some excellent resources to allow you to counter the Deniers wherever you may encounter them
How to talk to Global Warming Skeptic http://gristmill.grist.org/skeptics
Climate Change: A guide for the perplexed http://environment.newscientist.com/channel/earth/dn11462
Response to common contrarian arguments http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2004/12/index/#Responses
Climate change debate summary http://www.nerc.ac.uk/about/consult/debate/climatechange/summary.asp
Climate Change Myths http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/corporate/pressoffice/myths/index.html
Skeptical Science http://www.skepticalscience.com/
http://www.logicalscience.com/skeptic_arguments/skeptic-arguments.html Common Arguments from Global Warming Skeptics
http://www.sierraclub.ca/national/programs/atmosphere-energy/climate-change/ten-myths.html TEN Popular Myths About Global Climate Change
Slamming the Climate Skeptic Scam http://www.desmogblog.com/slamming-the-climate-skeptic-scam
Climate change controversies: a simple guide http://royalsociety.org/page.asp?id=6229
The skeptics, who are they http://www.davidsuzuki.org/Climate_Change/Science/ …
Who funds them? http://www.enn.com/ecosystems/article/37379
The denial industry http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2006/sep/19/ethicalliving.g2
Exxon Secrets: Denier Funding http://www.greenpeace.org/usa/campaigns/global-warming-and-energy/exxon-secrets
Manufacturing Uncertainty http://www.scienceprogress.org/2008/05/manufacturing-uncertainty/
All of my claims about “typical” behaviour is easily verified by clicking on any poster and following thier behaviour through multiple posts.
Thanks to ThinkProgress for an interesting experiment …