I think I’m too stupid to understand climate modeling well enough to understand the theories and data about it – and I have a high opinion of my own cleverness! Only because I’ve been around microbiologists since the 1970s (via an older cousin who got her PhD in 1972, and a lab and professorship years later), and was professionally involved in bioinformatics in the 1990s and 2000s, do I consider myself barely smart enough to claim a slight understanding of evolutionary biology.
Is it possible that people who deny human induced global climate change and who deny the process of evolution by natural selection are too stupid to understand them and the consistency of data which we have in support?
Like most people, I accept the theory of anthropogenic global because I accept statements of many qualified and respected scientists and spokespeople who do, more than I accept statements by a smaller number of less respected and qualified people. If there is, as some of AGW’s opponents claim, a vast conspiracy of the UN, NASA Goddard, Al Gore, the Nobel Committee, etc, to hoax me the rest of the world, it’s succeeded. My experience with how difficult it is to pull off a hoax of much more modest scale, however, leads me to believe it vanishingly unlikely.
I agree with HBond’s comments on optimism and pessimism, the psychology of fear, and that some people are motivated by a sense of calm optimism to be skeptical of extreme change in reaction to the predictions of climate science.
Global warming is real. But the future is analogous to a glass of water that can been seen as being half empty or half full. The consensus sees the glass half full of gloom and doom. The fear causes one to want immediate action. Fear is based on the fight-flight reaction and is the strongest emotional potential. It needs quick action to reduce fear as fast as possible.
Global warming also has a bright side, which analogous to the glass being half full. This side of the coin is not stressed. The lower emotional potential is longer acting in time, which is why some appear to drag their feet. It is denial, but in the sense of denying consensus fear in favor of a calmer emotional potential.
I think it’s critical, however, to understand that many, I suspect most, people who self-identify as “denying global worming”, are motivated not by acceptance of climate science predictions and the belief that climate change can be beneficially managed, but by a distrust, often promoted by religious and political leaders, of science in general, and fear that measures to reduce carbon emissions will cause economic and political trouble that will hurt or kill them. There is also clear, undisputed evidence that many individuals and organizations strongly and vocally opposed to such measures are paid supporters of companies and trade groups of companies that stand to be economically disadvantaged by regulations to implement and pubic opinion in favor such measures, as well as strong anecdotal evidence that such businesses are unwilling or unable to consider the long term consequences of their policies. In short, I don’t believe that people who deny global warming are more rational than people who accept it, or that business can be trusted to put public interests ahead of their own, even when such a policy is advantageous to them in the long term.
HBond, can you support this claim with any links or references?
One of the differences between conservative and liberals is time scale. Conservatives, like the name implies is long term or long time cycles. Liberal is more short term, and rapid change, so I can see the basis of the dividing line, with fear more appealing to a lower time scale set point.
Although I know of no poll or behavior study correlating self identification as conservative vs. liberal with beliefs about the future, but believe there is a well-supported correlation between self-identifying as “conservative” and believing that a supernatural end of the world will occur within their lifetime, and a correlation between self-identifying as “liberal” and believing that many future generations of humans will continue to live on Earth with successively better physical and social conditions. Thus, I don’t agree that “Conservatives … is long term ... Liberal is more short term.”, nor believe that there the terms “conservative” and “liberal” are useful as a major psychological classification scheme.