Simple people,people who don’t exist,prefer things which don’t exist,simple things.
i) The internet has proven to be a far more useful tool for the climate change Deniers than it has for the science fact community. This is undoubtedly because it is easier to tweet simple things such as “If
evolution climate change is real, why are there still monkeys snowstorms?” than it is to understand the facts.
Not that the explanation is that complex, just that it takes more than 140 characters to say and a bit of actual thinking to understand.
ii) What we are witnessing is not an “Assault on Reason”, it is the wholesale abandonment of reason. Democracy requires dialogue, a dialogue that simply isn’t happening, and quite possibly cannot happen when one of the camps has chosen paranoid delusions and willful stupidity as their coping mechanisms.
In their ongoing crusade to believe simple things that don’t exist the Republicans are seeking to do away with the EPAs’ authority to regulate CO2. To that end they called five “expert witnesses” to testify about the science of climate change, an economist, a lawyer, a professor of marketing, and two scientists (both self-styled “skeptics”).
When one of the hand picked scientists failed to read the script that the GOP had spelled out and instead referred to actual science the Denialopshere immediately began disparaging and dismissing him. As Krugman reports:
“But what we had, instead of high seriousness, was a farce: a supposedly crucial hearing stacked with people who had no business being there and instant ostracism for a climate skeptic who was actually willing to change his mind in the face of evidence.”
“So on second thought, I was wrong when I said that the joke was on the G.O.P.; actually, the joke is on the human race.”
“I think the joke is on… I don’t know who the joke is on, really. I don’t even know if there is a joke.”
There is no joke
There is much discussion in the climate science community about where the messaging went wrong and what can be done to get it back on track, eg:
- The First Rule of Climate Science…May Be to Talk About Climate Anti-Science
- Downplaying or remaining silent about climate change was and is a blunder for progressives
- How we begin to rebuild public support for climate action …
These and the countless other articles by bloggers, scientists, activists and pundits make many good points. Some important ones are mentioned in the posts I cite, such as the necessity for simplifying the message without being misleading or overly simplistic, being clear and frank about just how dire the emergency actually is, talk and keep talking about it (does the Right ever shut up about a message just because people are tired of hearing it?), we need to be listening to peoples’ concerns and engaging them, and many more.
This is all predicated on the fact that while the Deniers are loud and shrill, they are not a popular majority (and barely so even within the GOP). The broader public may be unconvinced about climate change, but at least they are potentially open to reason.
Even so, there is a good chance it is too late for that, or that alone at least.
We have known that the threat of climate change is a real, significant and immediate one beyond reasonable doubt for almost 20 years and have done next to nothing to deal with it. We have known that we face an immediate climate crisis for five years and only the rhetoric sped up and took on new force.
The Denier camp is motivated by fear, hence those things often cited as “their reasons” are in fact their rationalizations. They “explain” their incoherent rejection of basic facts in ways that are patently ridiculous, but which are obviously more palatable to them than acknowledging “I can’t deal with reality so I am going to pretend it doesn’t exist.”
At heart these discussions are about how we improve a dialogue that largely doesn’t exist. To the extent that there is a dialogue all of the points being made are important, and to the extent that we can create that dialogue they will be vital. However simply tweaking what has proven insufficient will not make the difference, and certainly not quickly enough to matter.
The methods and approaches being suggested and discussed do need to be implemented, but I submit it will not be enough. We no longer have the luxury of years in which to nurture a public dialogue, and experience suggests that as the crisis deepens the Deniers will escalate their efforts accordingly. Further, as the crisis deepens more people will become frightened.
Continue reading at News Junkie Post
We give our consent every moment that we do not resist.
It is worth knowing and abiding by whether you comment on this blog or not.
- The “Mostly” Open Thread” is for general climate discussion that is not relevant to a particular post. Spam and abuse rules still apply;
- The “Challenging the Core Science” Comment Thread is for comments that purport to challenge the core science of anthropogenic climate change.
- The “Spam” Comment Thread is for comments that think they can ignore site policy.