Tag Archives: Denialism

An Anatomy of Denialism, Part 2

As you must remember from Part 1 (unless you’ve repressed it because you don’t like the lifestyle implications):

  • Denialists make up virtually the whole retired-white-male half of the Earth’s population.
  • To a very close approximation, everyone on the left is a believer, while everyone on the right isn’t. What better proof could there be that the climate issue is really about politics—not science—for deniers?
  • Our Conservative cousins are understandably, if not forgivably, less-than-eager to acknowledge any problem that can only be solved by abolishing national sovereignty, erecting an omnipotent United Nations and legislating the very act of organic metabolism.
  • Anti-scientists are continually pressing for a scientific debate.
  • That’s because they can’t debate the political reality: that climate change necessitates a new world order. They’re left with no choice but to attack the weakest link—the science—instead.
  • On “our side” we have credible sources like RealClimate, SkepticalScience and Deltoid.
  • What do deniers have? Blog science.
  • Unlike the mainstream half of the populace, deniers only trust experts they believe.
  • That’s why they don’t think (or know) the Earth has more and more heat all the time; it’s us; and it’s bad.
  • They say it’s paused, it’s the sun, it’s not the first time, it’s land use, or it’s not bad.
  • As you can see, they use short words.
  • A lot, *laugh out loud!* [Source: John Cook.] Which makes them sound like kids—just dumb kids.

Let’s resume our tireless struggle to understand—and maybe, just maybe, with time and luck, begin to see the basic humanity of—our enemies in the fiendishly-complex question of the likely thermal responses of the planet’s fluid envelope to a myriad of natural and supernatural signals.

McCright, A.M. & Dunlap, R.E. (2011). Cool dudes: The denial of cli­mate change among con­ser­vative white males in the United States. Global Environmental Change 21 (4) 1163–1172.

Gratuitous questioning

There’s nothing wrong with asking questions. Science welcomes questions!

But you have to ask them in good faith. This means, for example, you can’t demand information which has already been debunked.

Unfortunately, when a denier asks something, their faith tends to be questionable. Search long enough and you’ll often find their question has already been refuted somewhere on the Internet!


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An Anatomy of Denialism, Part 1

Look around you. According to climate anthropologists, 1 in every 2 people you see* is a denialist.

That’s almost half of all people.

But which half? And how can you be sure it’s not you?

You can’t.

There’s only one way to know, scientifically, whether you’re a denialist: by reading the following post, in which I reveal the telltale characteristics of denialism.

*How many are deniers are truly unique, and how many are just aliases of a small handful of individuals—created, funded and coached by vested-interest lobbies to give an exaggerated appearance of disagreement—is a fascinating question. But it’s been explored elsewhere by researchers like John Mashey and Steve Lewandowsky, who pioneered the fields of climate paranoia and conspiracy ideation. So we’ll leave it aside for now.


Given that denialists make up 50% of the world’s people, they can obviously be found in all shapes and sizes.

Notwithstanding this, deniers are almost always white males aged 60+.


Wait a minute, I hear you ask: wasn’t this supposed to be a scientific debate? Is it really any of our business how the other side votes?


Those of us who accept the science are now openly, if belatedly, explaining that for us the issue has always been more political than scientific.

So it stands to reason that the people who most adamantly oppose all our ideas feel the same way. (As in any other subject, projection is an incredibly powerful heuristic that almost never leads to bad assumptions.) Continue reading