Thursday, August 18, 2016

SciAm article gets climate science deniers to shout denial about their denial...

Sou | 2:12 AM Go to the first of 17 comments. Add a comment
Over at WUWT Eric Worrall has posted his take on an article in Scientific American (archived here). The article is by Margaret Hetherman, and she's written about climate change. Her article is about how we are reacting and coping with it, wondering how future generations will regard us, and speculates about why deniers think climate change is a hoax.

Eric wrote above a slab of copy and paste:
Scientific American thinks we are all so worried about climate change, our minds have snapped – that we’ve all turned to “climate denial” as a coping mechanism.
I read the article and there was no talk of snapping minds, or melting brains.

He highlighted this quote from "psychiatrist and climate activist" Lise Van Susteren, M.D.
“Denial is something that allows us sometimes to get through the day,” says Dr. Van Susteren. “And in some cases that’s really good, that’s adaptive, but in other cases it’s going to kill you . . . and this one’s going to kill you.” 
The article was structured as five stages of grief as described by Dr. Elisabeth K├╝bler-Ross. However the writer reports that Dr Van Susteran doesn't think that's what's happening.  In the "grief" section, Ms Hetherman wrote:
But the future grief on our planet will not be like that of a natural disaster, according to Dr. Van Susteren, when there is a low point and then the worst is over— when people grieve, work together and then pick up.

The article is fairly light weight. It's not an academic paper, but it should prompt some introspection. Not from WUWT deniers, though. They react in their usual knee-jerk, contradictory fashion. Eric claimed he isn't in denial about climate change, while at the same time admitting he is in denial about climate change. He wrote:
Few credible skeptics ever claimed humans have absolutely no influence on climate, but there is a huge gulf between predicting a mild, almost undetectable climatic nudge, and predicting an immininent planetary emergency.
 After which he gabbled on about how he thinks the exceptional climate models have "failed" - um no they haven't. He seems to be using the silly denier argument that because all the ice hasn't melted yet, it never will. He thinks that unless the rise in temperature accelerates that means climate change isn't happening. The incessant rise in surface temperature isn't enough for him. It's called shifting the goal posts.

Finally, his personal incredulity (another logical fallacy) emerges, when he writes:
Claims that previously unanticipated “inertia” is preventing the manifestation of all these apocalyptic events, in my opinion is a frantic last ditch effort to defend broken theories from falsification.

It's quite remarkable that a day after it was announced that we've just had the hottest month ever recorded, making it ten consecutive "hottest ever" months (for the respective months), after two in a row hottest ever years on record, and four consecutive hottest decades on record - that people like Eric Worrall and the crowd at WUWT are still in denial. Perhaps it's all that gets him through his day.

Margaret Hetherman wrote that James Hansen thinks that science denial is on the wane. It looks as if she agrees, writing:
While many in the denial camp have now set their tents up elsewhere, stragglers remain, buttressed by a heavily financed machine that has deliberately cultivated and preserved that pesky first stage of mourning.

Watch this space

I've been asked to write about our newly famous climate conspiracy theorist, Malcolm Roberts. Yes, there's an article in the works about that and more. Coming soon.

From the WUWT comments 

As I said, the reaction by the stragglers of hard core deniers at WUWT was a jerk of the knee, which is an appropriate reaction from a bunch of jerks. They all doubled down on their denial as if they want everyone to know that they haven't progressed beyond denial, though there is a fair bit of anger on display. Here's a sample:

Greg isn't just in science denial, his confirmation bias shows through. The article didn't say anything about deniers being mentally ill.
August 17, 2016 at 1:20 am (excerpt)
Yeah, right. never mind that facts, just stick with the insults. Now it is not a scientific debate it just that anyone who can’t see the “truth” is mentally ill.
Perhaps in a follow up paper Dr. Van Susteren could tell us all about projection. Attaching the your own faults which you are blind to on others.
Those who have been shouting “deenyerz!” for years are the ones in psychological denial. They can not come to terms with the unacceptable reality that the climate is not falling apart as they had ( bizarrely ) hoped it would.
A lot of deniers think that normal people want disasters. They interpret warnings as celebration. Some deniers are very odd, and perhaps don't have capacity for empathy or understanding. Andyj  wrote a topsy turvy comment, implying that people who don't want to see the world destroyed want to see the world destroyed:
August 17, 2016 at 4:45 am
The Armageddonist Environmentalists. They pray for Doomsday to wash away the evil that is mankind! Their anti-humanism is so blatant.

Bob Cherba (@rbcherba) is another one who thinks that the article said deniers were mentally ill. It didn't. And he thinks some imaginary person wants to send him to jail. His comprehension skills are non-existent.
August 17, 2016 at 6:45 am
Now that skeptics are being labeled as mentally ill, Sen. Whitehouse and his friends can begin shipping us off to mental institutions like they did (do?) in the USSR (Russia). They’re already pushing to put us in jail.

There's the mandatory ice age comether, BFL, wrote:
August 17, 2016 at 6:38 am
Wait till the cyclical cold starts sitting in, then we will see real denial from the grant abusers and other climate hoaxers.

spangled drongo is in complete denial, not just a little bit of a denier:
August 16, 2016 at 9:52 pm
With NO sea level rise [not just no acceleration] in geodetically stable areas and measured warming at the rate of half natural variability, ACO2 could be cooling us.
But either way I refuse to insure the house at a premium that is twice its value.
Per year.

benofhouston replies, showing that he's only a "little bit" denialist. (Sea level has been rising at 3.4 mm a year since 1993.)
August 16, 2016 at 10:16 pm
Nah, it’s pretty constant at ~2 mm/yr. We are still recovering from the last ice age, remember. Don’t make claims that are easily disproven by anyone with an internet connection. 

philincalifornia is abjectly mindbogglingly stupid:
August 16, 2016 at 10:25 pm
Talking to myself here but PS, How is it even remotely possible that a writer for Scientific American doesn’t know how a greenhouse works ??
The abject stupidity of these people is mindboggling. 

Paul Westhaver's denialist reaction is to accuse the author of being psychotic.
August 16, 2016 at 10:15 pm
Psychological projection: from wiki…
is a theory in psychology in which humans defend themselves against their own unconscious impulses or qualities (both positive and negative) by denying their existence in themselves while attributing them to others. For example, a person who is habitually rude may constantly accuse other people of being rude. It incorporates blame shifting.
I think the psychosis lies within the author at Scientific American. 

Dave N thinks he has the answer. Pity he doesn't go further and explain why he thinks deniers are still in denial. Could he think that they are just insane?
August 17, 2016 at 12:28 am
Attempting to explain skepticism as a coping mechanism, is a coping mechanism for alarmists who are troubled that people don’t believe them 

References and further reading

Are We Feeling Collective Grief Over Climate Change? - article by Margaret Hetherman in Scientific American, August 2016

From the HotWhopper archives


  1. I'm happy to see that Bob Cherba is worrying about going to jail for being a climate change denier. At the very least those people who took money from the fossil fuel industry in return for betraying the futures of billions of people, and those in the industry who paid them to do so, should be heading that way.

  2. There are already two articles on Malcolm Roberts humiliating himself in public.


    After match.

    1. Roberts appears like a political wing of Ian Plimer, the mining consultant aspect gave me that idea.

  3. Eric Worrall asked me on my blog: "How do you know the climate didn't actually cool?". (After mentioning the lines of evidence, he was no longer interested in the discussion.)

    That suggests he is not one of those "credible skeptics".

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. @ Victor

      Thanks, I read that exchange

      Their mind-set is extraordinary

      and the exchange shows a simple example of bad faith JAQing, with no real attempt to understand the answers you provided

    3. I had an exchange with Eric where I asked him what it would take for him to accept Climate Change. He replied, "If the ice totally melts in the Arctic". This shows the level of idiocy we are dealing with. If he was in a leaky boat, he wouldn't accept the boat was in trouble and do something about it until it had already sunk, and it is far too late.

  4. It's the same reaction they had to Lewandowsky et. al. Once a psychologist is involved, trying to get to the bottom of why deniers are in denial, they throw the "you're calling us mentally ill!!1!!" card.

    1. Let me be frank here for any deniers who may be lurking.

      Whereas I'm hardly qualified to assess the finer points of your individual pathologies in the DSM V sense - and not much interested, frankly - I sincerely believe you are all, collectively, intellectually dysfunctional; that your ideological commitments are literally insane in the vernacular sense; to be blunt, that you are all hopelessly maladapted to the realities of life in the 21st Century, and that you represent one of the gravest threats that civilization faces in the course of it.

      I suspect strongly I'm hardly alone.

    2. bill said:

      I suspect strongly I'm hardly alone.

      I largely agree with you as far as the leaders of the AGW deniers go, but it's not that clear cut with the followers. The right wing authoritarian follower types (which comprise probably 90+ percent of the LOL WUTTers) will agree with anyone who promises to cut their taxes, damned be to those who think that's not the best for all of humanity. And they apparently don't see far beyond that.

      A small portion of the rest of us, and I include bill in this assessment, are a little bit more empathic than that, and all the rest... I hope.

    3. Imagine what would happen if the red necked gun toting dupes ever realised that they had been conned into destroying the futures of themselves and their own children. If that ever happened the 'leaders of AGW denial' would need protection from their former followers.

    4. I reckon that's not how it works, Millicent.

      It'll be all our fault - we should have found a route to tiptoe around their implacable, bloody-minded stupidity! If only we'd been had the forethought to be the kind of people they find plausible, and hadn't clung tenaciously to facts that their world view could simply not be expected to countenance. We just weren't reasonable...

      And, anyway, the last tenacious limpets still clinging to the rusting hulks that are the WUWTs, JoNovas and Bishop Hills of this world will go to their watery graves full of a Malcolm-Ieuian: Roberts style shiny-eyed conviction that they were right all along, it was only reality that chose, inexplicably, to let the side down...

    5. I see what you mean: if only the damn scientists had stuck to the science instead of getting political blah blah blah. Its a shame but you might be right: I had a happy dream of a tearful Anthony having to hide out at Victor's place (Victor seems more forgiving than most) and sleeping on his sofa.

    6. Well, if the ever-patient Victor does ever have to open his own Witless Protection Program / Secure Twilight Home for the Terminally Deluded I'm sure we'd all chip in for the upkeep fees! ... ;-)

  5. So let Me get this straight , the mentally disturbed anti-science climate denier brigade are getting upset because They've been outed as mentally disturbed anti-science climate deniers ? When can We have them committed , not just for their own safety but the safety of the planet ?

  6. I can see the analogy with the idiocy shown by the uneducated to be only informed by Fox News and other right wing outlets of fiction. They live in a bubble of misinformation. It has totally misfired as a rank outsider has taken all these carefully groomed idiots as his supporters. They have been told repeatedly that the main stream media lies. The GOP establishment cannot stop this train wreck as they have lost control!

    I will not use his name as he is the greatest at whatever he does. His hands are guilty!

    The trouble with useful idiots is that another demagogue can steal them from you.

    This sort of insanity is not as endemic in Australia yet. Where low information voters vote for people who are not at all interested in their own wellbeing by being misinformed.

    Sou does a very good job of eviscerating deniers. We should not give them the status of martyrs.

    Deniers are just poorly informed nutjobs! Their more knowledgeable leaders are criminals by their acts and intent.

    I could go on to show that nothing has changed over millennia. Many religions in the past have murdered countless humans to satisfy their rites. This is still happening!
    The Aztecs were quite brutal with their human sacrifice where they would ....

    Maybe they deserved the Spanish along with their pox!
    If I have offended anybody I hope so!

  7. re the Fox News - whilst on hols I watched an interesting documentary that looked at the US right wing media from a very personal perspective called "The Brain Washing of my Dad


    it featured (quite heavily) a guy called David Brock - wow, quite a strange looking fellow!!!!


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