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Backlash: when denialist prayers are not answered

February 21, 2010

It appears that deniers are suffering from a terrible misapprehension. They really appear to have convinced themselves of something remarkably silly: that some intemperate emails, a refusal to respond to vexatious requests that abuse the FOI system, some commented out code and the inclusion of a spurious date in an IPCC report would somehow stop scientific research into climate change. A triumph of hope over experience, common sense, everything. An almost religious faith, one might suggest.

Yet this insistence, against all logic including their own, is not backed up by any facts, any more than denialism is backed up by science. And peculiar it is too how there are 32,000 ‘scientists’ (or 600 – depending on who you listen to) who disagree with AGW yet not a single one has managed to produce any actual science to support their contrarian opinions. Never mind, I guess there’s no need to produce science when one ‘knows’ the theory of ACC is wrong. Certainty is so reassuring, although another name for it is hubris.

The incoherence of the denialist arguments is fascinating, assuming one has an interest in psychological inconsistency. As I’ve been informed repeatedly, no deniers would argue that the climate is changing (we’ll just ignore the deniers who argue exactly that, shall we, for the sake of convenience?) So, we’re all agreed the climate is changing, and since the principle evidence for this is a load of melting ice, I think we can rule out global cooling for now.

What then is the denier’s position? To find out what is causing the climate to change? Apparently not, since they seem to want all research into this matter to cease forthwith and its wholly discredited findings to jump into the coffin of AGW that is now made entirely of metal, so many ‘final’ nails having been hammered in over the last decade. Odd this: world threatened by unknown phenomenon and no deniers seem to be interested in what’s causing it. Perhaps if we ignore it, the problem will go away, right?

But let’s not lump all deniers together, for this would do a disservice to all those who hold a different view – that is, those who agree the climate is changing and the earth is heating up, but who feel the best way to respond is to carry on pumping CO2 into the atmosphere regardless, despite the incontestable physics that says that more CO2 will cause some additional heating of the atmosphere. A suitable analogy would be that we know a car is dangerous, and our response would be to drive at the same high speed, or even go faster. Very logical, this.

To deniers everywhere, I say this. Science doesn’t stop because you don’t like what it finds. The questions have been asked, and they are important questions: what happens when we put massive amount of sequestered carbon back into the carbon cycle, and in doing so create vast amounts of a greenhouse gas? Why, if in doing so, would the earth not heat up? And since it is heating up, if it isn’t CO2, what the hell is causing it?

Far from this issue being settled, it is just getting started. We need more research, more money, more satellites, more comprehensive and large-scale studies, and more time. Unfortunately, the only theory we have that fits the evidence also tells us that time is the one thing we don’t have much of, unless we are prepared to take the most enormous gamble with our future, with our standard of living, with distant lives and livelihoods.

And one last point: since deniers love to remind us that the science is never settled, bear that in mind next time you insist that climate change is dead, over, finished, done for, killed, maimed or mutilated. You are right: science is never settled, which is why climate change is alive, well, and coming to a planet near you anytime soon. Get used to it girls and boys, because prayer isn’t going to kill climate change any more than dull, repetitive propaganda, although there may be a connection between the two. Denialists seem incapable of understanding that their utter certainty is only the first of many signs that their arguments are as flimsy as their evidence, as thin as toilet paper and exactly as disposable.

If the science isn’t settled, then certainty is a luxury none of us can afford. Not even deniers.

One Comment leave one →
  1. TheGreatMongInTheSky permalink
    February 25, 2010 1:39 am


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