Ugh, a friend of long standing has gone full-on wingnut, and regularly e-mails me links to the now-regular AGW denialist screeds in the UK tabloid press, accompanied by gleeful triumphalist rhetoric. Hilariously, he even sends articles he doesn't read, which have provocative headlines, but refute his talking points in body of the text. In one of his responses to a debunking e-mail I sent him, he wrote:
what happened to the ozone hole? global cooling? the K-capacity theory of human population maxing out in 1965? all nonsense.
Now, of course the "global cooling" red herring flogged by denialists has its basis in a Newsweek magazine article published in 1975- an article that did not reflect a widespread scientific consensus.
As far as the "K-capacity Theory" he mentions, note the date he cites. Of course, the carrying capacity of the planet is subject to many factors, such as agricultural modernization, and previously unexploited foodstuffs. Futhermore, the Spectre of Population Control is a common Conspiracy nut bugbear, much like Climate Change denialism.
Well, that leaves the ozone hole. What about the hole in the ozone layer? Well, I sent him the link to the NASA website with a note:
Just because you have decided to become a Flat-Earther, does not mean that the Southern Hemisphere has ceased to exist.
This guy is an intelligent adult, but he is victim, not of a misinformation campaign, but a malinformation campaign. The crux of the problem is that there's a process of "cognitive osmosis" that takes place... a selectively permeable "membrane" (in his case, the Drudge Report) is in place, limiting his intake of data and keeping out any facts not conforming to his preconceived notions. This is accompanied by a tendency to project- in this case, he thinks that he's the one hip to a conspiracy promulgated by politically and economically motivated shysters (funny, he doesn't mention Ian Plimer anymore).
It's pretty depressing shooting down somebody's talking points, and having them keep up the weird proselytizing (what's with righties and poorly sourced e-mails, anyway?). The difference between the reality-based community, and the dogmatic science deniers brings to mind the lyrics to folk-rockers The Waterboys' Whole of the Moon:
I spoke about wings
You just flew
I wondered I guessed and I tried
You just knew
So as not to end on a depressing note, here's a video for said song: