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Conspiracy Theorist + Global Warming Denialist: The Missing Link Defined?

July 8th, 2012 · 6 Comments

When questioning media elite about how they give strong voice toALUMINUM FOIL HAT_small anti-science global warming denialism, one of my (and others’) favorite analogies has been with those who believe the moon landings were faked in the desert. As per a years-ago letter published in the Washington Post,

This brings to mind the fact that about 15 percent of Americans believe that the Apollo moon missions never occurred and were staged on movie sets in the desert. Would The Post, in reporting on the space program, seek to be fair and balanced by giving this 15 percent a voice equal to that of astronauts, astronomers and academic experts? Why, then, give prominent voice to global-warming deniers, who are similarly at odds with facts?

This morning, while reading the (near final editing) draft of another excellent peer-reviewed study from Stephen Lewandowsky, I was struck by how this line of questioning is so close to the truth.

Lewandowsky’s paper, just accepted for publication in Psychological Science, is based on a survey of >1000 people active in the blogging world — both climate science oriented and climate deniers and a range of people in between.

Why that blogger focus?

Although nearly all domain experts agree that human CO2 emissions are altering the world’s climate, segments of the public remain unconvinced by the scientific evidence. Internet blogs have become a vocal platform for climate denial, and bloggers have taken a prominent and influential role in questioning climate science.

As for what the survey found, the title might just suggest why I’d see a link between the study and my LTE:

NASA faked the moon landing—Therefore (Climate) Science is a Hoax: An Anatomy of the Motivated Rejection of Science

From the abstract:

Paralleling previous work, we find that endorsement of a laissez-faire conception of free-market economics predicts rejection of climate science (~= .80 between latent constructs). Endorsement of the free market also predicted the rejection of other established scientific findings, such as the facts that HIV causes AIDS and that smoking causes lung cancer. We additionally show that endorsement of a cluster of conspiracy theories (e.g., that the CIA killed Martin-Luther King or that NASA faked the moon landing) predicts rejection of climate science as well as the rejection of other scientific findings, above and beyond endorsement of laissez-faire free markets. This provides empirical confirmation of previous suggestions that conspiracist ideation contributes to the rejection of science.

Conspiracists are much more likely to reject the standards-based work from scientists and to reject the global scientific c

onsensus as to climate science.

If being a hard-headed Ayn Rand libertarian aligns withbeing a climate denier and predicts embrace of tin-foil conspiracy theories, what makes one more likely to accept science?

Acceptance of science, by contrast, was strongly associated with the perception of a consensus among scientists.

Thanks to Lewandowsky and his colleagues for another excellent piece of work that I look forward to reading in Psychological Science.

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Tags: climate zombies · global warming deniers

6 responses so far ↓

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  • 5 Abu // Jul 22, 2012 at 10:47 pm

    JamesSeptember 27, 2010Don’t worry Keith you need not have made all that effort. An uontrdunate competition, both underwhelming and pointless. This can’t be caused by human induced ghgs no that would implicate you, me, us? No, not you. The atmosphere is just another sink, a bloody big one, but one no less. It would stand to reason that if you pump enough garbage in, should you be at all surprised that there are unfortunate side effects. How much is too much, tricky but you are an engineer you know how much don’t you?a0You eat lots of ocean fish these days do you? A tuna man, or are you more keen on salmon? I loved tuna. You smoke? Why not, it doesn’t kill you? Were you outraged when the government replace leaded petrol for another toxic petrochemical? Happy to live in an asbestos house with lead water pipes? Probably would not bother you if we still spayed out crops with DDT? You must be tougher than me.a0The Thames used to be a sewer, the Great Lakes lit up the shore and Sydney Harbour stunk, still is full of dioxins, probably naturally occurring eh? All smaller sinks, different circulation dynamics. I’m sure that there were plenty of people that used to think that the run off from a few tanneries and the bed pan from my house wouldn’t make much of a difference. Six billion bed pans Multiplication is the name of the game but you are an engineer, you know how that works. Me I just hate long division. a0There is no difference between your endless and tiresome arguments (and my tireless diatribe) and each of the similar pseudo-debates which surround our present tragedy. The only difference seems to be one of imagination, or lack there of. I am rather worried that it is catching, a bit like a flu. a0When Rachel Carson wrote Silent Spring the objections were put forth, the same objections. Tiresome eh? What is a vested interest? An economist in a straight jacket? Or are they the pale lumps that lurk just out of my vision, you think you see them but they are fast. They often change their professional’ bodies too. Very tricky to track down but inevitably are chained to an old fossil. They can usually be identified by their want to only critic others findings never by publishing their own, or not in major peer reviewed journals unfortunately this was not meant to mean peers of the realm as reviewers. a0a0a0This is not a debate anymore it is just a mis-information campaign. Like watching a Chevron ad on tele. Nor has my garbage intended to add to the great debate, or confirm or deny anyones belief system. But, if you plan to believe in fairies at the bottom of the garden, either write some poems like Blake did, or please keep it to yourself. Don’t use your award as an engineer to shame a proud profession.a0a0a0a0a0

  • 6 Conspiracy Theorist Rush Dominates Media Coverage of Climate Change: Wonder why so many Americans are confused re science? // Aug 21, 2012 at 2:35 pm

    […] guest post comes from Richard Myers. Simply put, when conspiracy theorist buffoon, anti-science syndrome suffering, anti-clean energy oxycontin lover, guru of the Grand Oil […]