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We are a worldwide social network of freethinkers, atheists, agnostics and secular humanists.

This is an interesting blog from James Hrynyshyn, who is a communication expert who writes a science blog called Class: M. I guess I never viewed it this way, but it is intriguing. The idea is that a human effect on climate is hard to believe because it runs counter to thousands of years of human belief, not just biblical but in other cultures as well, that climate is something so huge and beyond our human purview that it is totally counter-intuitive to accept that we could indeed be having quite a large impact on climate. It makes sense to me because I see a parallel with evolution, it is also counter-intuitive to accept that life's diversity could have occurred by simple natural processes and deep time (another completely counter-intuitive concept), and that humans are just a type of ape. It is easier to believe in a process of creation and design that one of evolution by random variation and selection. This is why I think science education is crucial, it opens to mind to countre-intuitive ideas, models, explanations, etc.

 

What do you guys think? Is this a possible good explanation?

 

Why it's hard to change a climate denier's mind

Category: Communication and Politics
Posted on: March 3, 2011 9:27 AM, by James Hrynyshyn

Four years after Al Gore unleashed his army of slide show presenters on the planet in an attempt to spread the word that climate is something we should be worried about, the polls show public opinion has budged hardly at all. If anything, opposition to climate-change mitigation strategies has only hardened. Why?

Some, like Chris Mooney, have turned their attention to the idea that there's a link between political ideology and psychology. There could be something to that, although it's unclear what's the cause and what's the effect. But University of British Columbia geographer Simon Donner has what seems to me to be a more powerful explanation. In a presentation to the American Meteorological Society at a recent conference titled "Making the climate a part of the human world" he argues:

It is unreasonable to expect a lay audience not armed with the same analytical tools [available to professional climatologists] to develop lasting acceptance of a scientific conclusion that runs counter to thousands of years of human belief in a one hour public seminar.

On the one hand, it's most frustrating to learn that people with no scientific training would dismiss the convictions of thousands of scientists who have devoted their entire professional lives to the study of the subject at hand. What hubris! But what Donner is saying is that that's entirely predictable, given how strongly embedded in the fabric of our culture is the idea that changing the climate is beyond the capacity of us mere mortals.

Donner isn't just talking about the Bible. His experience among Pacific Island cultures suggests that this notion -- that climate change is by definition the purview of forces greater than ourslves -- is near universal, predating the Judeo-Christian canon and deeply embedded just about everywhere we go.

He suggests that any communications strategy designed to shift public opinion on global warming literacy "needs to include the full history and development of human thinking about climate."

Great. So culling the collection of 380 slides that Gore painstakingly assembled down to something that fits into a 45-minute show isn't enough. Now I have to add another 100 slides on the religious and cultural forces that shaped our collective consciousness.

Of course, isn't the story of civilization one example of overcoming the biases of tradition after another? Donner likens the challenge of communications climate change to that of evolution, which still faces considerable opposition in this country and elsewhere. (A similarity that has not gone unnoticed by others.) The difference here being that rising global temperature averages imply a unique degree of urgency missing in other battles against historical prejudice. If Donner is right, then we may not have the time we need to overcome the primary obstacle to generating public support for the policy necessary to avert catastrophic climate change.

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THE SCIENCE OF WHY WE DON'T BELIEVE SCIENCE

Chris Mooney in Mother Jones:

Truth_425x320"A man with a conviction is a hard man to change. Tell him you disagree and he turns away. Show him facts or figures and he questions your sources. Appeal to logic and he fails to see your point." So wrote the celebrated Stanford University psychologistLeon Festinger (PDF), in a passage that might have been referring to climate change denial—the persistent rejection, on the part of so many Americans today, of what we know about global warming and its human causes. But it was too early for that—this was the 1950s—and Festinger was actually describing a famous case study in psychology.

Festinger and several of his colleagues had infiltrated the Seekers, a small Chicago-area cult whose members thought they were communicating with aliens—including one, "Sananda," who they believed was the astral incarnation of Jesus Christ. The group was led by Dorothy Martin, a Dianetics devotee who transcribed the interstellar messages through automatic writing.

Through her, the aliens had given the precise date of an Earth-rending cataclysm: December 21, 1954. Some of Martin's followers quit their jobs and sold their property, expecting to be rescued by a flying saucer when the continent split asunder and a new sea swallowed much of the United States. The disciples even went so far as to remove brassieres and rip zippers out of their trousers—the metal, they believed, would pose a danger on the spacecraft.

Festinger and his team were with the cult when the prophecy failed.

More here.

Polar Explorer Who Worked With Pawlenty ‘Baffled’ By His ‘Reckless’...

Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) was once a champion of policies like cap-and-trade to combat global warming pollution, but he now calls his past climate leadership “stupid” and a “disaster.”

The polar explorer who worked with Pawlenty to “convince the skeptics” and find solutions to greenhouse pollution from oil and coal, Will Steger, is now “baffled” by Pawlenty’s reversal. In an interview with Mother Jones, Steger says that he believed “morally we were on the same level” when they met in 2006, and praised the governor’s acts of leadership in 2007 to build “unity in this community” around a clean energy economy. Now, however, Steger — who has conquered both the North Pole and Antarctica — feels defeated by Pawlenty’s “reckless” abandonment of our children’s future:

“I’m baffled by that—did he actually say that?” says Steger, when asked about Pawlenty’s recent statements. “I’m baffled by that. But I think he’s getting information from the wrong source and it’s really too bad for our children. It’s reckless.”

“A lot of environmentalists think I want to dump on the governor because he changed around,” Steger told Mother Jones. “No, I respect the governor and I’m thankful that he did what he did do. It’s too bad that he couldn’t carry the flag, but in that party, you don’t carry that flag.”

Climate Change Is Not Interested In Who Deserves What 

My colleague Brad Johnson has noted that the tornadoes devastating the American south recently are yet another example of the kind of havok wreaked by severe weather events—severe weather events that only become more common as we pump more and more climate pollution into the atmosphere.

 

 

An outraged Tabitha Hale accused Johnson of “adopt[ing] the Pat Robertson model and claim[ing] Divine Justice for those redneck Republican climate change deniers in the south.” But Brad did know such thing, he merely noted that climate change happens—and kills—whether or not politicians want to acknowledge it.

Indeed, precisely the crux of our problem is that climate chaos isn’t divine retribution for pollution. If severe weather specifically afflicted the individuals responsible for pollution, then polluters would need to weigh the costs and benefits of generating additional pollution. The result would be an efficient equilibrium. But in the real world, the costs of the pollution don’t fall specifically on polluters. The result is that engaging in extra polluting activity is often profitable even when the costs far exceed the benefits. That’s precisely why we need a regulatory solution, ideally featuring a system to charge polluters for polluting and bring the system into equilibrium.

My a-hole neighbor has landscapers working at their house again at 8 AM using leaf blowers and lawn mowers without mufflers.

They likely pour 100's of gallons of water on their lawn and poodle trimmed box hedges per week along with whatever fertilizer is being used to give the landscapers a reason to come back and cut their terrible looking 'manscaped' plants and yard.  

I doubt they know, or care to know what climate change is.  They certainly don't have consideration for the neighbors.

Conspiracy Theorists Claim Hurricane Harvey Is a 'Weather Weapon' (...

It should be called an act of Nature rather than an act of god.

Act of God” is a legal term used to refer to natural disasters that occur outside of human control. Usually invoked when denying insurance claims, the phrase signifies that no single person is responsible for the damage wrought by say, a tsunami, earthquake or hurricane. “God” in this instance does not refer to a deity, but rather the complex set of naturally occurring phenomena that come together to produce acts of unmitigated destruction. Following events like Hurricane Harvey, however, more and more people are starting to seriously doubt the existence of this metaphorical god.

On Sunday, after days of torrential downpour, the National Weather Service declared that Hurricane Harvey was "beyond anything experienced.” With total rainfall reaching an estimated 50 inches in a place that usually receives just slightly less than that in an entire year, it’s understandable that people should question what could have precipitated such a large amount of, well, precipitation.

While most sane people point to climate change as a likely contributing culprit, a growing online community is presenting a conspiracy theory called the "Weather Wars.”

According to lore, it all began with a meeting that took place in 1945. During the gathering, explains the wiki, "the possibility of using several weather manipulation schemes to America’s advantage during war was discussed." In the following decades, the American government supposedly continued to pour funds into "further research on the topic," in an attempt to use weather "as a secret weapon against enemies.”

Today, that story continues, the enemy has become the American people. Mike Adams of NaturalNews recently explained the thinking behind this theory, noting that "a growing number of observers, websites and analysts are concluding that Hurricane Harvey was "engineered" and made into a “weather weapon” through a combination of ground-based temperature manipulation tools and "'chemtrail seeding'... to inflict economic damage and achieve psychological goals involving terror and death.”

Claim that the U.S. government would attack its own citizens are familiar territory for conspiracy theorists. In this instance, the more interesting question is, how are such entities supposedly controlling the weather?

One conspiracy theory claims that there are massive vapor generators that can literally produce storm clouds. Here Adams quotes Sofia Smallstorm, the moniker belonging to the author of the site responsible for trafficking such theories, WeatherWar101.com. "Denying the reality of these daily manmade weather events is akin to denying the existence of the combustion engine, and it is just as easy to prove," Smallstorm boldly claims.

How? If you're really interested, watch the following 14-minute video on Smallstorm’s site, which goes into great detail. (Sidenote: apparently Hurricane Harvey hit Texas exactly 25 years to the day that Hurricane Andrew hit Florida. Coincidence, or carefully planned attack? The truth, as they say, is out there.)...

More Here

Video of kook saying that the government has a secret plan to cause hurricanes with cloud seeding and 'chem trails'

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