Paul Biegler has some words of wisdom in The Age, but unfortunately he mixed up a few vital terms up in his pop-psychosocial-analysis.
Once again, the projection of the alarmist’s own inner headspace is rampant. Those without the ability to reason keep “finding” that inability in those who can. (It makes sense, a brain needs to use logic to recognize logic)*. Not surprisingly, surveys also show that skeptics are more literate and numerate than believers.
Those who adopt fashionable ideas to impress their friends assume their opponents behave in the same unscientific way. I have to sympathise with them. How else can they explain the mismatch between their chosen prophets and their busted prophecies?
The corrected version of this article in The Age. I’ve taken some savage edits of the article (colored like this) and corrected the terms.
sceptics alarmists might just be captive to basic emotions”
Instant gratification is a powerful, but flawed, human motivator.
Searching for that perfect Christmas gift for your climate alarmist friend? You could do worse than slinging them a book like
Emotional Intelligence, Plimer’s, Carter’s or Bookers. Why? Research is mounting that your friend is the victim of a brain glitch. More particularly, he has been derailed by an emotional response and has capitulated to the pleasure of the here and now. He wants to fit in with his peers, to be fashionable, and to look “smart”. How better than to parade his moral superiority by adopting the notion that man-made global warming is real, and he is a saint because he recycles The Age to save the planet? How better to look smart than to pour scorn on “skeptics”?
The bad news is, all fashions change, and cheap tricks will come back to bite him. Because he did no research before he derided “deniers” he didn’t realize what an idiot he would look like when the deniers turned out to be professors, nobel prize winners, engineers, number crunchers, and other savvy people who’ve been on the Earth for decades. It’s time to warn him there will be no fashionista points soon in looking like the dupe who swallowed bizarre lines about coal miners causing cyclones. I mean, really?
scepticism alarmism is a strong candidate example of temporal discounting — people taking the easy road to get instant gratification now, and avoiding the cost. Hundreds of scientific papers and notable scientists point to reams of evidence that natural cycles are more likely to be warming the planet. Yet, doing the research and speaking of your skepticism will cost you real pleasure now. For starters, research takes time, it’s hard work to actually form your own opinion rather than just be a parrot. Then if you admit your skepticism publicly, people will look at you in disdain. Indeed you’ll lose friends. There’s no reward in being exiled.
Your friend will protest that taking action to save the climate is the painful thing, but let’s get real, so far that kind of “pain” amounts to picnic-type protests where you might meet hot girls; you’re not dishing out many dollars to save the world, nor are you cutting the miles per gallon and not going on the weekend jaunt to Beechworth, Bali or Bermuda or where-ever. When it comes down to it, you’re not voluntarily paying a lot more money, you’re asking everyone else to share the cost. And since you believe all the Green fairy forecasts that solar will be cheap as coal by 2020, you’re not really expecting it to cost a lot anyway eh? You’re buying the “Mr Superior” Badge dirt cheap. Indeed you may have called it a no-brainer to believe the foreign committee forecasts of doom, and in a sense, you were right. Being gullible takes no-brain.
In the climate realm, fabrication is rife. Enthralled by their emotional biases,
sceptics alarmists mouth desperate appeals to the corruptibility of scientists authority, and blindly ignore the fallibility of climate prediction models.
To err is human and we should forgive many their inability to constrain the draw of the emotions. But this failure to get independent checks and audits and to think for themselves is inexcusably egregious in our politicians, our academics and our journalists.
The creeping sloth of fashion-think and name-calling in place of polite reason and debate must be stopped before we sell our children’s quality of life to Goldman Sachs, throw away efficient energy, and swap medical research and real jobs for pointless circles of bureaucrats.
“Paul Biegler is Australian Research Council postdoctoral fellow in bioethics at Monash University.”