Jesse Singal reports in New York Magazine that true believing global warmists are dismayed because conservatives doubt in man-caused climate change.
No significant change in environmental policy can take place, climate change crusaders, without the support of conservatives. They imagine that everyone, including conservatives, must jump on their bandwagon, lest it get stuck in the climate change mud.
This means that conservatives need therapy. But, you knew that already.
But, how to change hearts and minds without using a couch?
Liberal psychologists—that would be nearly all of them-- are hard at work conjuring up ways to persuade conservatives to take climate change seriously. They are undeterred by the fact that the climate has not changed very much in the last two decades. They are happy to ignore the fact that reputable scientists, writing in peer reviewed journals, have questioned whether climate change, such as it has been, is caused by greenhouse gasses or other, non-human influences.
Environmentalists divide the world into those who grasp the scientific truth of climate change and those who deny it. The latter group presumably rejects scientific fact. It prefers to wallow in superstition.
Moreover, conservatives are morally deficient for not feeling the appropriate guilt for colluding with polluters to destroy the planet. Absence of guilt would than count as a sign of psychopathology.
Environmentalists believe that therapy will help conservatives to overcome their denial and buy into yet another massive guilt trip.
Psychotherapy has not come a very long way at all.
One suspects that the zealots have gotten it backwards. Their blind love for the Goddess Nature has caused them to embrace a dogmatic belief, while mistaking it for scientific fact. There is nothing scientific about their “settled science.”
Rather than brand conservatives as deniers, why not say that they are skeptical. Since they are closer to the real world than to the fictional world of environmentalists, perhaps they are right to ask about the cost, in human life, in human progress, in economic development of implementing the programs that environmentalists hold dear.
One might argue that environmentalists are dogmatists borne aloft on religious fervor while conservatives are more scientifically minded.
In point of fact, scientific truth does not depend on how many people believe it. Only within a religion or a cult does it matter that everyone embrace the same dogmas wholeheartedly.
After all, as I keep repeating, after Wittgenstein, there is no such thing as a scientific fact about tomorrow.
Moreover, there is no such thing as settled science.
For the edification of the global warming dogmatists I quote the words of Nobel prize-winning physicist, Richard Feynman:
It is necessary and true that all of the things we say in science, all of the conclusions, are uncertain, because they are only conclusions. They are guesses as to what is going to happen, and you cannot know what will happen, because you have not made the most complete experiments. . . .
Scientists, therefore, are used to dealing with doubt and uncertainty. All scientific knowledge is uncertain. This experience with doubt and uncertainty is important. I believe that it is of very great value, and one that extends beyond the sciences. I believe that to solve any problem that has never been solved before, you have to leave the door to the unknown ajar. You have to permit the possibility that you do not have it exactly right. Otherwise, if you have made up your mind already, you might not solve it.
So what we call scientific knowledge today is a body of statements of varying degrees of certainty. Some of them are most unsure; some of them are nearly sure; but none is absolutely certain. Scientists are used to this. We know that it is consistent to be able to live and not know. Some people say, ’How can you live without knowing?’ I do not know what they mean. I always live without knowing.
Or else, philosopher John Gray described Charles Darwin’s approach to scientific truth:
Hesitant, doubtful, and often painfully perplexed, Darwin understood science as an empirical investigation in which truth is never self-evident and theories are always provisional.
For environmentalists, it’s not about the facts. Being zealots and cult followers they select out only those facts that prove their argument. They ignore all facts that would contradict their beliefs and dismiss all scientists who do not accept their narrative.
In this case, too, they are not within the realm of scientific inquiry. Richard Feynman also pointed out that true scientists report all the facts, all the data and all the information... especially those that would appear to disprove a hypothesis. True scientists do not cherry-pick only the facts that prove their point.
So, the environmentalists have gotten it backwards. But, you suspected that already, didn’t you?
Singal offers an astute observation:
It’s worth pointing out, of course, that for many conservatives (and liberals), the current debate about climate change isn’t really about competing piles of evidence or about facts at all — it’s about identity. Climate change has come to serve as shorthand for which side you’re on, and conservatives tend to be deeply averse to what climate crusaders represent (or what they think they represent).
But, if the debate--being led, as it is, by the climate change crusaders-- does not concern facts and evidence, it is not about science. It is, quite correctly, about identity.
To be more precise, it’s about the identity that some people gain by belonging to a group of true believers who want their beliefs to be accepted as dogmatic truth by everyone. Apparently, dissent threatens their identity… as cult followers.