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View Diary: Some dolts who don't trust scientists finally agree that global warming ain't no hoax (80 comments)

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  •  I have a problem w/"idiots" (0+ / 0-)

    We become self-delusional, in our ability to deal with these denialist groups, if we think of them as "idiots".  There are lots of reasons 'why' they deny science. (See here for a quick thumbnail guide to differentiating skepticism from denialism.)   Many of these are quite "bright" / "intelligent" people who are convinced that global warming is not real or is not driven by humanity due to their ideology or religion or financial interests or ...  They aren't 'dumb' or 'idiots' even as they are wrong and, in too many cases, outright dangerous.

    Blogging regularly at Get Energy Smart NOW! for a sustainable energy future.

    by A Siegel on Fri Dec 14, 2012 at 12:50:41 PM PST

    •  I don't think many of the people identified... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      A Siegel the poll as not trustful of science fall into the groups of bright people you're talking about. These aren't the movers and shakers. As I said:

      The problem isn't this small remaining cohort of know-nothings who are slowly changing their minds. It is rather with the malicious elected obstructionists and self-interested corporatists.

      Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

      by Meteor Blades on Fri Dec 14, 2012 at 09:14:18 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The corporatists are already making plans (0+ / 0-)

        to drill in the Arctic under the melting ice.

        But there aren't enough of the 1% to win elections, so they pollute the intellectual atmosphere to mislead the legions of low information voters.  The limit of that approach occurs when people see with their own eyes weather outside their previous experience.

        There's no such thing as a free market!

        by Albanius on Fri Dec 14, 2012 at 11:15:22 PM PST

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      •  Doing a VENN diagram (0+ / 0-)

        finds that these characteristics end up with a significant percentage of global warming deniers:

        1. Educated (university+)
        2. Faux News watching
        3. Wall Street Journal reading
        4. Religious (fundamentalist -- evangelical)
        5. Republican

        Have those five circles in overlap and we're talking about near unanimity of denial.

        They use their education to self-confirm in their denial -- with their sources of information ('news') reinforcing their false understanding of science.

        See discussion here re this Venn diagram and the military (officer corps / retiree community).

        Blogging regularly at Get Energy Smart NOW! for a sustainable energy future.

        by A Siegel on Sat Dec 15, 2012 at 06:57:22 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  There is a variation of the HL Mencken (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      A Siegel

      saw about not asking a question of somebody whose job depends on the answer.

      Think about all of the Americans who live in suburbia, drive to work, etc, etc.  Think about the Americans who build the cars that are driven to work, build the highways, build the fast food joints, run them, etc.

      It's probably too late to avoid serious problems because of CO2 concentrations, but, if it's not to late, avoidance requires severe costs, life changes, and displacement of an awful lot of livelihoods.

      Carl Sagan used to say that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.
      I would add a corollary: Extraordinary demands require extraordinary evidence. Plainly put: If you're asking me to turn my world upside down, I'm going going to demand that you show me the need in a very clear and indisputable way.

      LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

      by dinotrac on Sat Dec 15, 2012 at 09:00:21 PM PST

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      •  Your corollary is quite good ... (0+ / 0-)

        We already have serious problems because of CO2 concentrations and it is already too late to avoid having them get much worse.

        "Severe costs" is not necessarily the term that I would use re avoidance even though you are right that, at least for some, there are "displacement of livelihoods".

        So, if the last sentence is 'you', what is the "very clear and indisputable way" that you require and how to deliver that convincing "indisputable way" when $billions are being spent to muddy the water with false information?

        Blogging regularly at Get Energy Smart NOW! for a sustainable energy future.

        by A Siegel on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 03:33:59 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  For me personally, I've invested a lot of time (0+ / 0-)

          trying to understand the problem.  Unemployment helped provide some time, and professional experience with statistics and modeling didn't hurt.

          And still -- I'm not satisfied that I understand the issues very well.

          This stuff is a lot harder than people like to pretend.

          Calling people who are very reasonably afraid for their livelihoods and those of their children idiots and deniers because they aren't convinced is an approach for true idiots.

          The real deniers are the vested interests -- petroleum and coal producers, concrete, etc.  They're smart enough to understand the dynamics and smart enough to feed  comforting "information" to people who really want to hear it.

          I'm not a paragon of virtue in this -- human beings lose patience, and there really is a certain segment of the population that will never being convinced of anything -- but I generally try to address claims in a friendly and "just the facts, ma'am" manner.  I spend way too much time googling claims and learn a few things in the process.

          And, honestly, it's not just for people who haven't bought in. There is an amazing lack of knowledge among people who accept human-caused global warming as well.

          Which is ok.
          This stuff really is hard.

          Though not as hard as figuring out what to do about it.

          LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

          by dinotrac on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 06:24:26 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  ... (0+ / 0-)

            1.  Just we're on 'same page', reminder that this thread started w/my comment about discomfort re use of word "idiots".  Question on this: did you click through to look at the (draft) typology discussion?

            2.  Actually, I have to disagree on this: "This stuff is a lot harder than people like to pretend."  Whether or not humanity is having an influence on the climate and whether or not this is a serious risk is perhaps dealt with by looking to scientific / expert authority.  (How to judge authorities is well dealt with in What's the worst that can happen?) And, well, the case is about as 'closed' as science can get that (a) global warming is real, (b) humanity is a major (if not the driving) factor, and (c) it creates very real threats.  Unless one is qualified in the science (and I don't rate myself there) and able to enter seriously into the debates/research/examination of which are the forcing factors / what are likely future paths / etc, the real question is what are the right things 'we' should be doing (debate about right policy / targets / otherwise choices).

            3.  Re 'amazing lack of knowledge':  We cannot be experts in everything. The world system is incredibly complex. I can be a pediatric surgical expert and expert at building bridges and able to make judgments about school curricula and know when is the perfect time to plant beans and ...  What is more valuable, as per [2], is to know how to judge expertise and assimilate the expert opinion/judgment into one's perspectives / choices / etc ...  Again, the 'expert' scientific opinion is pretty damn clear that we are creating a serious problem (set of problems) when it comes to climate change.

            Blogging regularly at Get Energy Smart NOW! for a sustainable energy future.

            by A Siegel on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 06:47:43 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I know that form prior posts of yours. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              A Siegel

              You are not the problem.
              From what I've seen, you are part of the solution.

              As to harder than people pretend, I cannot bring myself to treat scientists as a priesthood. I've known too many of them.  Good people who know a lot of stuff and have a lot of opinions.

              But -- even accepting scientists as authoritative, you find that consensus breaks down once you get past the main points tha we are doing very bad things by dumping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere and humanity's very survival may depend on doing something soon.

              Did we pass the point of being able to prevent catastrophe when CO2 ppm went past 350? Is 400 the number, or can we tolerate 500?

              Sea levels are going to rise, but how much and how fast?
              Is the best case, median, or worst case scenario most likely to happen?

              These things start to matter a lot once you get past the "Yes, this is a giant problem and we can't keep doing this" phase.

              If it's to late to prevent catastrophe, we need to push survival up ahead of mitigation. We may need to take the massive risks associated with geo-engineering.

              On a national level -- we need to think about where we're going to put all those people who live out in suburbs once they can no longer drive their cars -- and what to do with all those people who build,sell, and fix cars, not to mention those folks who build and maintain the roads they run on and all of the people who work in businesses along the roads they run on, etc, etc, etc.

              And -- will it all make any difference at all if China keeps increasing its CO2 emissions by 10% a year? Think things are bad now? Within the next 5 years or so, China is on pace to triple US CO2 emssions.  The rest of the world will not cut back enough to offset that, and the US couldn't offset that if our emissions fell to 0.

              All very hard stuff.

              LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

              by dinotrac on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 07:03:56 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Couple things ... (0+ / 0-)

                1.  I do like how "What's the worst that can happen?" lays out how to treat authority and to judge things. It isn't a "they say so" but a path to rating/judging how much to listen to various voices when in a domain where one is not expert.

                2.  Yes, there is meaningful debate / discussion / uncertainty / etc in specifics and details. The 'uncertainty', however, looks to be suggesting that things could be far worse than 'consensus' seems to be saying.

                3.  Re mitigation vs adaptation, while we need to be investing in adaptation, if we aren't working to mitigate we are inevitably going to be chasing a constantly worsening situation. There are many 'adaptation' measures that are also mitigation measures (such as renewable energy distributed power generation and increased energy efficiency in the built environment ...).

                4.  Re geoengineering, we need to be emphasizing 'no regrets' approaches to geoengineering along with more limited research / experimentation on more extreme paths.

                5.  And, I agree that we need to be working re the 'how do we move forward that enables people to live lives and have improved lives' rather than 'F-U' statements to large portions of the populace.  Re 'exurbs' and 'suburbs', would be nice if (at a minimum) we started to have land-use policy that started stopped increasing the problem(s) and started to move us toward solutions.

                6.  Absolutely. If PRC continues down ever-increasing emissions path, we are s----d for certain.  That path, however, is far from certain.  As I, with some decent amount of reason to back it, believe that working to address climate change in a serious way has huge economic value associated with it, I believe that the PRC is well-positioned for a significant shift in this regard to strive to 'catch up' if the US makes a determined push to a sustainable economy.

                Blogging regularly at Get Energy Smart NOW! for a sustainable energy future.

                by A Siegel on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 07:34:24 AM PST

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                •  I almost feel like I'm conversing with myself here (0+ / 0-)

                  I also think that a sustainable future is doable and that great economic benefit can result.

                  I just don't believe that it will happen automatically -- that we have to make it a priority to have a sustainable future that meets the ideals of our country's founders -- which is inclusion of all people in the pursuit of happiness and all that implies.

                  It requires sharper pencils and more thought, I'm sure, but it's obligatory if we are to take our humanity seriously.

                  I liked your post on geo-engineering, btw.

                  LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

                  by dinotrac on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 08:31:07 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

        •  Thought you'd like this: (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          A Siegel

          It was a real head-scratcher from a Glenn Beck listening relative.

          She sat in my living room and proclaimed that windmills contribute to global warming.

          I didn't even know how to respond, except to ask "How?"

          Here reply, of course, started out with "Scientists say,"  and was followed by "Scientists!", but the gist of it was that windmills make the area beneath them warmer.

          That I could imagine because they are basically big old propellers disrupting the normal flow of and removing energy from the air.  Sure enough, on Googling, I learned that a windfarm can warm the ground it rests on by about three quarters of a degree C, and low-lying air by something less than that.

          That has nothing to do with global warming, of course, just  a matter of moving thermal energy around from one place to the other, but it was new knowledge for me, and a reminder that everything we do has unexpected side effects.

          LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

          by dinotrac on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 06:46:10 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

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