How Deep the Climate-change Denialism Rabbit Hole Goes

I think he attributes too much influence to the right-wing noise machine in terms of eroding respect for institutions generally, but I liked the conclusion of this piece by David Roberts: The right’s climate denialism is part of something much larger.

Consider what the Limbaugh/Morano crowd is saying about climate: not only that that the world’s scientists and scientific institutions are systematically wrong, but that they are purposefully perpetrating a deception. Virtually all the world’s governments, scientific academies, and media are either in on it or duped by it. The only ones who have pierced the veil and seen the truth are American movement conservatives, the ones who found death panels in the healthcare bill.

It’s a species of theater, repeated so often people have become inured, but if you take it seriously it’s an extraordinary charge. For one thing, if it’s true that the world’s scientists are capable of deception and collusion on this scale, a lot more than climate change is in doubt. These same institutions have told us what we know about health and disease, species and ecosystems, energy and biochemistry. If they are corrupt, we have to consider whether any of the knowledge they’ve generated is trustworthy. We could be operating our medical facilities, economies, and technologies on faulty theories. We might not know anything! Here we are hip-deep in postmodernism and it came from the right, not the left academics they hate.

26 Responses to “How Deep the Climate-change Denialism Rabbit Hole Goes”

  1. NorthernLite Says:

    I really liked this. I’ve said before it’s pretty sad when you have people like Rush Limbaugh trying to discredit science. It’s because of science that the fat bastard is still alive.

  2. shcb Says:

    This seems to be a really hot topic right now, is it because of Dinesh D’Souza’s brilliant piece or was his article a reaction to a sentiment that was already in progress. I think you’re overstating what Rush Limbaugh and others like him are saying, it isn’t that they have a sudden aversion to science, they just see a problem with the politics of science, and even then only in one small area of science. I don’t think Rush Limbaugh has a problem with the science that led to him being able to hear again or any other science that is being done properly. Isn’t the whole idea of the peer review process to ensure that politics and greed do not encroach on the purity of the scientific process.

    I think it is funny to hear someone complain that the folks in flyover country have lost their respect for academia, and think they are arrogant and elitist, all they have to do is read the pages of this blog and see how elitist liberals really are. Hardly a day goes by where the intelligence of conservatives isn’t impuned.

    I have recently read quite a few interesting pieces on this subject by conservative commentators, probably the best was Victor Davis Hanson’s “We Are Ruled by Professors”. I don’t quite understand why when people don’t trust the elitist class but do trust the police and the military that they are somehow being led around by the noses by people like Rush Limbaugh. Isn’t it possible that perhaps the reason they don’t trust the elitist class is because much of what they do doesn’t work, but the reason they trust the police and the military is because much of what they do does work. I know it’s a foreign concept to those in academia and those that have come from that environment but to most people getting the job done, getting results, is really what matters. It may not only be pretty, it may not be classy, and it may get ugly and dirty, but at the end of the day it’s all that matters.

  3. Smith Says:

    Oh look, a conservative advocating a militarily controlled police state. What a surprise.

    “they just see a problem with the politics of science”

    Hmmm… Conservatives did everything they could to politicize the global warming, because they have no facts to support their position. Now they are complaining that “global warming is too politicized”. Neat trick. It’s like taking a shit in someone’s living room and then telling them their house stinks.

  4. shcb Says:

    How did you stretch my statement to a “militarily controlled police state” You been helping Knarly finish off that bottle of wine? (Enky will use that line for months “SHCB, you are the one one that advocated a militarily controlled police state”)

    There are quite a few facts to support our position, you choose to ignore them but they are there. Which I’ve always thought was interesting, people like JBC seem to ignore some pretty glaring anomalies in the process and then claim it’s pureness simply because others do the same, all in the name of science. It seems the scientific mind would want to get to the bottom of it all just for the thrill of the hunt if nothing else. Almost seems religious in nature.

  5. shcb Says:

    You see, this is how these two little boys play the game, I simply said people trust police and the military more than the elite in academia because for the most part they are doing a good job. I didn’t say they were turning America into a police state, but with stroke of his exaggerated pen Smith has turned it into something it wasn’t, now his little chicken hawk can take it and run. And they can do it all under the guise that “that is the only way to deal with conservatives”. Because as we all know, conservatives are below us non elite liberals, just because.

    I read an article the other day, don’t remember who wrote it, about how the British aristocracy held onto their power long after it was deserved simply because of who they were, not because of what they had done. He also talked about how the bigotry in the south was and probably still is held onto lastly by the poor whites, because as long as they can point to another group as inferior for simply being a member of that group they don’t have to come to grips with their own personal failures. He then expanded those thoughts to modern liberalism, how it has failed over and over and yet must continue to be propped up, the easiest way to do that is to simply anoint oneself as superior.

  6. enkidu Says:

    wow, talk about denialism…

    to have wwnj lecture *anyone* on “personal failings” after all the racist, wrong headed, misinformed bilge that sprinkles wwnj’s every post is beyond irony. We’ll have to invent a word for it. I hear refudiate is already taken.

    Your immense sense of self-superiority (combined with a hard right wing elitist viewpoint) makes your last couple posts verge on comedy gold. Shine on you crazy angry old diamond (and by diamond, I mean lump of excrement).

  7. shcb Says:

    No arguments there, I’m a pompous ass, but that doesn’t lessen my broader point.

  8. Smith Says:

    Your broader point seems to be that we should eschew thoughtful policy in the interest of an authoritarian goal of getting things done by force. It may not be pleasant, but it gets results, eh? I am reminded of a quote about a certain leader making the trains run on time. Turn about is fair play, n’est-ce pas?

  9. enkidu Says:

    Smith, small correction: non è?
    (via babelfish, so it might actually say something different :)

    shorter wwnj: the end justifies the means (see torture, illegal wars, tax cuts for the wealthiest, racism, elitism, mormonism and moranism etc)

  10. shcb Says:

    Sometimes it’s force, sometimes it’s hard work, sometimes it is simply the realization that the problem can’t be fixed, it can only be mitigated. It certainly isn’t always force, the police for instance certainly use force when needed, but they also use a kind word, toy drives during Christmas (thank you KYGO) and educational programs to schools and communities, on balance it works enough for people to have faith in these institutions.

    Elitist institutions haven’t always been scorned, and their popularity isn’t at zero, it is just dropping, they can fix the perception people hold, they just have to change their attitude.

  11. Smith Says:

    “Elitist institutions haven’t always been scorned, and their popularity isn’t at zero, it is just dropping, they can fix the perception people hold, they just have to change their attitude.”

    Or, they could just tell idiots to go fuck themselves. Just because you are content to suck Limbaugh’s “hockey stick”, doesn’t mean the scientific community should pretend to give a rat’s ass about him and his legion of ignorance. A better way to fix the disconnect between scientists and uninformed individuals, like yourself, is to improve education. Bring the stupid up, don’t weigh the intelligent down.

    Enjoy your “kind and gentle” fascist utopia. You can round up all the educated and lock them in “happy camps”. I assume you’ll store them near the “mud huts” and the “n!ggers”.

  12. Smith Says:

    “that is the only way to deal with conservatives”.

    Oh, and this is not how I deal with Conservatives, but it is how I deal with idiots. It just so happens that you are both a Conservative and an ignorant racist. It is possible to be a Conservative without being dumb; however, that is not the case with you.


  13. shcb Says:

    So there you go, you’ve been privileged to see the entire process, not in six months or a year but in just a couple days, and in only a dozen or so comments. Go back up and look at these two, twice now in just a very few entries they have exaggerated what I said beyond recognition. Now of course they don’t think it was beyond recognition because they listen to what they want to hear or not to what I say. And it wasn’t that I didn’t give them enough maternal to work with, I made some fairly provocative remarks that they could have ran with. For instance, I stood up for Rush Limbaugh saying he isn’t opposed to science per se, but he is religious and believes that God created man. That would have been a slam dunk, but they are so infatuated with putting me down for the sheer sport of it that I really don’t think they read what I say.

    In the end they both simply resorted to just getting nasty. And as has been pointed out recently by a plethora of talented conservative commentators they have nothing left but to elevate themselves above the huddled masses simply because of who they are.

  14. shcb Says:

    One other thing Smith, if I’m as stupid as you say, an idiot I believe were your words, why do you feel it so necessary to exaggerate and misstate my words. It would seem someone is well-educated and intelligent as yourself could simply squish me like a bug without ruining your reputation as you do.

  15. Smith Says:

    “ruining your reputation as you do.”

    Oh no, not my precious e-honor. Whatever shall I do? The idiot on the Internet has cast aspersions upon my character.

    Putting aside shcb’s fascist fantasy land for a while, I found this quote fitting:

    “Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.” — Isaac Asimov

  16. shcb Says:

    Hmm, so maybe the reason you feel the need to exagerate my points is because my knowledge is at least as good as yours? That is probably why we are a Republic.

  17. Smith Says:

    The quote was directed at the topic of jbc’s post, not at our exchange. Perhaps you could not figure that out for yourself. Ask your local gestapo for assistance in the future.

  18. NorthernLite Says:

    If some right-winger can prove to me that 98% of the worlds scientists, science academies and journals are involved in some sort of conspiracy involving climate change I’ll take an honest look at it.

    Over to you, Rush.

  19. shcb Says:

    You mean 98% of the most prolific writers of a certain sampling of scientists in a very small section of science.

    Why do they have to be involved in conspiracy? Is it not possible their conclusions are just wrong? Like the conclusion of some of these same people in the ’70s that we were heading for a nuclear winter because of these same gasses? Back then these same people thought the blanket would keep the heat of the sun out!

  20. shcb Says:

    I was there, I remember :)

  21. enkidu Says:

    No need to exaggerate your posts wwnj: you do a fine (nut)job of spouting right wing talking points, extremist ideas, racist bon mots, ill-informed ‘critiques’ of real science and despising anyone to the left of Ronny Raygun [who, btw, is currently too far to the left to win a GOP primary).

    Just keep shouting ‘(neo?) sociamalism! also!’ and whining about how Obama is doing his job. Throw in some racist bilge, some false superiority over the little chickhawks (u sure u aren’t gay? u sure talk like leftymcfruitloop) who laugh at your schtick and a sprinkle in few folksy anecdotes. There, now we can all skip wwnj posts for the foreseeable future.

    Isaac Asimov, the second greatest scifi writer, like, evar…

  22. Smith Says:

    “I was there, I remember :)”

    And yet all you could produce when pressed on this matter was one short Newsweek article that cited “some meteorologists” as its only source. Oh, and an incorrectly attributed claim by Carl Sagan that was actually about potential short term cooling in the early nineties due to fires resulting from the Gulf War. It seems to me that if a comparable consensus existed back then, you could provide evidence of substantial journals published by named sources, rather than a one page throw away article in a general interest magazine that provided no real sources for its claims. Of course anyone with half a brain has realized that expecting you to produce facts to support your claims is a waste of time.

    Anyone else bored reading nonsense shcb invented but cannot support?

  23. shcb Says:

    Maybe that article about memory is right, I can remember Sagan making his predictions when I was in high school in the mid ’70s.

    It would seem I supported my assertion of the Newsweek article, I don’t recall making any claims that 98% thought the earth was cooling back then or anything that silly. Are you going to take up Enky’s habit of constantly sliding the bar I have to meet so it is always just out of reach? If I find 1 peer reviewed paper you will want 3, if I find 6 they won’t count because the universities the authors were being paid by were too small, or took a donation from an oil company somewhere in their history. If I someday find more I will toss it out there, but you can take this to the bank, it will never be enough.

  24. enkidu Says:

    Ah yes, that paragon of scientific research peer reviewed journalism.

    Hey I hear TIME magazine has a new venture!,17950/

  25. Smith Says:

    “Like the conclusion of some of these same people in the ’70s that we were heading for a nuclear winter because of these same gasses?”

    You have not yet supported this claim. Newsweek does not support this claim. “Some meteorologists” is not equivalent to your statement. Stop being a dumb ass. There is no sliding scale. You made a claim that the some of the same people who support global warming today also supported global cooling in the past. Newsweek has no named sources. Find me some evidence that someone said both, or just admit that you are pulling lies out of your ass. So far you have not even shown that one qualified person believes it. “Some meteorologists” could easily mean “local weathermen for channels 2 and 5 in Bumfuck, Idaho” and absolutely no one else in the entire universe.

    “some of these same people”
    “some of these same people”
    “some of these same people”
    “some of these same people”

    Please learn to read your own comments. I swear you are getting dumber by the minute.

  26. NorthernLite Says:

    Ok whatever, 98% of people who have spent thier entire careers studying the issue. Show me some evidence of a conspiracy or how they are all wrong.

    Generally, people who have spent decades studying an issue and have all come to the same conclusion tend to not be wrong on that particular issue. They know a hell of a lot more about it than Sarah Palin or Rush Limbaugh.

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