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Posts Tagged ‘psychology of climate deniers’

Does this face look bovvered?

BPSDB Sometimes it takes a cartoon character to help understand a cartoon.

Recently I was introduced to the comic character Lauren Cooper,  a fictitious character created and performed by British comedic actress Catherine Tate.

While I enjoyed the comedy I was also struck by how much Lauren’s conflict dynamic mimicked that of many climate change Deniers.

Divorced of its’ normal context I found I was able to get much more analytical about what might actually be going on psychologically for the individual Denier. Possibly much more interesting, I was led to ask myself  “Why do I like Lauren even though she is a caricature of annoying people who make my life difficult?” and of course, what clues are there for how to deal effectively with Deniers?

Lauren Cooper, climate change Denier?

Lauren is an aggressive, obnoxious, poorly educated, self-absorbed, lower class 15 year old. Naturally her success as a comic character is because she parodies behaviour that we recognize; good comedians have to be keen observers of human behaviour.

No, Lauren is not a climate change Denier (I doubt she would even know what that meant), but she is interesting in that her argumentative dynamic uses the same basic pattern as the Deniers. Relative to everyday life Lauren is an outrageous, over the top caricature. Compared to some of the more familiar Deniers she is pretty average.

A Lauren Cooper sketch follows the same basic formula. First Lauren is caught out having done something “well bad” (ie stupid) and her mates remark on it. Often she will baldly deny it even happened at all despite the obvious fact that it did.

At some point she will attack the questioner with a Gish Gallop of shifting goal posts and red herrings that completely ignore the original issue “Are you disrespecting me? are you saying my mother is a prostitute? are you saying I’m stupid? are you saying my father is a wino? are you saying I’m a pikie?

Always she will express her total indifference to what others think or have to say by repeatedly asking “Am I bovvered?”

At no time will she ever admit to any error, acknowledge the validity any criticism, nor will she respond to what the other person is actually saying (on the rare occasions that she even detects that they are saying anything).

Sound familiar?

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BPSDB

I admit it, I have underestimated the virulence of the climate change Deniers.

I had thought that they were merely  politically motivated, close minded, frightened people egged on by a corporate driven profit agenda.

Increasingly I am convinced (by them) that we are dealing with a hysteric, desperate, terrified mob driven by ideologues.

My post Love, blood and rhetoric really got the Digg Patriots into a froth, so I used the opportunity to see if I could cajole/goad/bait anyone of them into making a single relevant, rational comment about the post. I wasn’t hoping for much, just about anything that referred to what was actually said and responded with something that made any sense would have done.

No luck. Several of the commenters even took took pride in their certainty that what I had written was treasonous, dangerous propaganda despite their not having read a single line of it. Several threatened to (and supposedly did) report me to the FBI/Homeland Security even though they hadn’t actually read the piece. Wow!

Which led me to rereading a Sun Magazine interview with Chip Berlett, and realizing that I had failed to appreciate the full significance of something he said.

“Barsamian: The virulence of language on the Right is acute. Everything is Armageddon, apocalypse, or a “nuclear option.”

Berlet: That’s because it’s portraying the political opposition not as people with whom you disagree but as a force of evil with whom there can be no compromise. How can you compromise with Satan? How can you compromise with the people who want to destroy America?

Brewing Up Trouble: Chip Berlet On The Tea Party And The Rise Of Right-Wing Populism by David Barsamian

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BPSDB

Argumentum ex bardus

Omnologos cannot logically exist

The lottery fallacy

Standing on their heads

Dark Minds

Potentia ex verum


Getting to the point of this post requires walking through some rather tedious Denier thinking and I apologise for that. I ask you to bear with me because I believe the walk through is rather revelatory and I think of some value. Even so, I will try to keep it short and to the point.

Argumentum Ex Bardus

Through October and November Omnologos created a list of events and circumstances related to climate change and climate science that he considered improbably coincidental, and as such offered it as clear evidence as to Why AGW Is Logically Impossible.

Discarding all of the points that are obviously false, pure conjecture, value laden subjective opinion, completely irrelevant and/or just silly (ie most of them) one is left with a small collection of arguably objective facts about our current moment in history. (I should note that whether you chuck any out or not changes nothing … as will be shown it’s all a load of idiotic rubbish regardless.)

His argument is that since these coincidences are extremely improbable, their existence is proof that anthropogenic climate change is not real. Here are three of his examples:

  1. Relatively widespread availability of computer power is just enough strong to simulate the right climate projections on a multi-decadal scale
  2. Climate science is developed just beyond the minimal level needed to understand how to simulate the right climate projections on a decadal scale
  3. Novel statistical approaches devised just in time, and correct from the get-go, for Mann’s Hockey Stick to emerge from the jumble of dendro- and other proxy data

Omnologos cannot logically exist

The flawed nonthinking of this argument is easily shown by applying the same lack of logic to a perfectly mundane subject, eg the existence of Omnologos.

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