Worrying About Climate Change

There’s an article over at the Huffington Post I found to be very revealing about the attitude some have towards climate change. This attitude tends to come primarily from a liberal political ideology, and it reveals, not just what they think and believe, but the contempt they have for those who don’t agree with them (especially conservatives who support a free-market system).

The article is disguised as an attempt to understand why so many people aren’t concerned about climate change- even when they know it’s real, and what to do with those idiots who don’t believe it. Seriously.

Psychologist Sander Van der Linden of Princeton University was interviewed and asked questions like, “Why is there a gap between recognizing the danger of climate change intellectually and feeling motivated to address it”, or “What would you advise those who want to ‘convince’ themselves to take climate change as seriously as they know they should”, and “What’s going on in the brains of climate change deniers?”

The article is chock-full of mistakes; and it begins with the premise that climate change is real, and we need to worry about it and take action. There’s no indication that they’ve considered they could be wrong and that there’s nothing to be alarmed about. It appears they haven’t considered any evidence to the contrary.

I take the position that anthropomorphic (human caused) climate change/ global warming/ global cooling (or whatever term one wishes to use) is nothing to be overly concerned about. Climate change is normal, and has been happening since the beginning of creation, but we don’t need to blame human beings and demand political action. Humans simply need to adapt as they have since the beginning and help those who have been adversely affected by natural disasters. Simple.

The article describes its fellow believers as reasoned and intelligent citizens who’ve studied the data, know the threat of global warming is real, and roll their eyes at climate change deniers; but they’re also bothered by the fact that they’re not as worried as they should be.

Van der Linden tries to psychoanalyze these people and says something that encapsulates one major reason why I reject the global warming hysteria. He says, “Unfortunately, because climate change is a statistical phenomenon that cannot be experienced directly, it presents a unique challenge for the human brain.” Amazing- he actually admits that climate change is based on statistics rather than real-world phenomena. And, unlike our response to touching a hot stove, he describes climate change as something we can’t readily see, hear or experience. No kidding? He explains that our brains have a hard-wired alarm system that won’t go off because we perceive no immediate threat, and it doesn’t help that our neighbors, friends and family aren’t alarmed either. Hmmm.

And this type of explanation is somehow supposed to motivate us to become alarmed and take political action? I think not. On the contrary, it affirms and reinforces what I’ve already learned about global warming- it’s not about science at all, but is a political movement and part of an alternative religion.

Next he addresses those who do believe in climate change but need help convincing themselves to be alarmed and take political action. Nice. But he makes assumptions that must be believed by faith. He claims these people need to believe studies that attribute climate change to making the weather events around the world more extreme. He claims the drought in California and other floods and hurricanes have been exacerbated by global warming, and this should lead us to be concerned about the poor, and then we’ll be motivated to take action.

Of course he doesn’t mention that those studies he refers to cannot possibly prove that carbon dioxide produced by humans and consumed by plants and trees for food are making these weather conditions worse than they would be if humans didn’t exist. No scientific experiment can substantiate this claim, so it must be believed by faith. The fact of the matter is that the earth is so robust and self-sustaining that we don’t need to believe we’re going to destroy it by normal human activity.

But what about extreme human activity? Believe it or not there are some people who returned to Chernobyl shortly after experiencing the world’s worst nuclear accident 30 years ago. One man, 78-year-old Yevgeny Markevich, for example, claims he’s never been ill despite eating vegetables grown in soil contaminated by radiation all these years. Now I’m not trying to justify humans polluting the world, but pointing out how amazing and resilient the earth is and how human beings are able to overcome some of the worst environmental disasters without a lot of extra effort and despite living in poverty.

Van der Linden also concedes that some people worry too much about climate change, and that’s unhealthy. I wholeheartedly agree. Yet that seems to be what the alarmists desire; it’s almost as if they want to make people so alarmed that they’re willing to let the government take whatever drastic action they wish, and, in my opinion, that’s one of the worst things we could allow to happen. We need smaller government. Not bigger government that can’t be held in check.

Then Van der Linden addresses “climate change deniers”- as if anyone denies that the climate changes (I don’t know anyone who does). He explores the psychology of the social constructs we belong to and concludes that the deniers are motivated to deny climate change and resist government change; and he blames this on our accepting a free-market ideology. Of course he doesn’t explore the worldview and ideology of climate alarmists that motivates them to believe in something that can’t be measured while demanding government mandates just in case they’re right.

The final mistake he makes is encouraging alarmists to “emphasize expert consensus”- as if science is about consensus, which it’s not. Science isn’t up for a vote; what scientists believe today may change tomorrow based on new evidence. Nonetheless, the alarmists conveniently ignore the experts who disagree with them in order to maintain the idea that there is a consensus. The fact is that there is no consensus on climate change. That’s part of a self-serving myth. So the alarmists must frame the argument in their favor in order to gain converts, and that should be enough to question their motives and beliefs. Further, here’s a list of 31,487 American scientists who reject anthropomorphic climate change.

Now one of the things that troubles me most in this article is the disingenuous appeal to helping the poor and needy. Preying on the poor and needy to advance a political agenda is a common ploy to control behavior. It makes the case that “you must comply and do as I say if you care about the poor and needy, and if you don’t do what I want you to do, then you’re cruel and heartless!” And no decent person would want to be accused of being cruel and heartless, right?

Let’s turn this around. I would contend that the alarmists are not helping the poor and needy with their call to political action, but are in fact harming them. First, they must somehow convince enough people that the damage caused to a poor person’s home was worse as a result of human activity, and it wouldn’t have been nearly as bad if humans weren’t using natural resources like gas, oil or coal. Secondly, if the cost of living increases due to political mandates, the poor won’t be able to afford necessities like food. We’d be forcing them to buy things they can’t afford- forcing them to spend money to comply with federal mandates. So if anyone wants to make the case for helping the poor and needy, those of us who are climate skeptics are able to help them the most by supporting a free-market system, which creates competition and makes the cost of living affordable to those who need it most.

The bottom line is that we don’t need to be alarmed about a changing climate. That’s natural. There are more important things to be worried about. There’s all sorts of violence happening in the world right now; we’re better off spending our resources reducing violent crimes and addressing world conflict than promoting an unsubstantiated ideology that will do more harm than good.

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3 thoughts on “Worrying About Climate Change

  1. Pingback: Things I have read on the internet – 32 | clydeherrin

  2. To be honest, this only perplexes me all the more, because I only recently relented and accepted that anthropogenic climate change is a real issue. Someone put the evidence in front of me — the parallel rise of extreme weather with radical climate shifts and human industry — and it seemed persuasively true. I had previously been under the impression that the belief in anthropogenic climate change was essentially politically driven as well as based in a human-centric egotism, but now I am certain that those are only unfortunate vices in a legitimate and valid concern. That is all to say that I am perplexed and when I have a chance I will need to read more from that petition you hyperlinked to above.

    Thank you for writing this, Jon!

    – M. C. Fox

    • I do like honesty, so you’re thoughts are indeed welcome.

      I’ve read from those who once believed in global warming and were invested in it, but have since recanted (so to speak). None of the global warming predictions have come to fruition. Most of the data is based on computer models that are yet to make any accurate predictions. Much of the data has been cherry picked and can be interpreted differently. Those invested in it tend to live their lives as though it’s not real. The politics behind it is troubling. Carbon dioxide is a natural and essential part of the environment, necessary for plant and tree growth. And even supposing it’s a real phenomenon, many have suggested it’s already too late to make a difference. But we also have done more than other countries, like China, who likely won’t make any changes themselves.

      In addition, I believe God has created the earth to sustain however many human beings he wishes to create. If man is going to bring about the destruction predicted by the experts (the end of human civilization), then how does that square with God’s plan? God created the earth to be self-sustaining, and while humans can abuse the environment, God has made the oceans, currents, moon, atmosphere, ozone, and other features to protect the earth. So it’s difficult for me to take the doom-and-gloom seriously.

      But having said that, please feel free to share some of the specific evidence others have provided you. I’d be most interested to examine it.

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