Monday, February 22, 2010

The Bastard and the Denialist

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:

12 comments:

Adorable Girlfriend said...

I saw one of the AGW crowds best letters in USA Today, today. (It was free and I am traveling.) I nearly cried from how off their rocks these people are.

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

I wonder if the letter is on the USA Today website...

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

I got some fiends like that too, BBBB.

My current coping method: If 8 years of Bush and Cheney couldn't wake their brains up, nothing I can say will.
~

Smut Clyde said...

Nigel Calder was pushing the global-cooling idea in The Weather Machine back in 1974. Basically he was being a contrarian, and reacting to the consensus that had emerged by then about global warming. Six years earlier when Calder edited Unless Peace Comes, it was not yet a consensus, though one contributor mentioned the growing concern among scientists about the greenhouse effect from all that CO2.

I wouldn't be surprised if that was the foundation of the Newsweek article.

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

The thing that kills me is the constant proselytizing, and the weird triumphalist tone which accompanies the blatherskite- what the hell is that all about.

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

I wouldn't be surprised if that was the foundation of the Newsweek article.

Well, that, and the amount of particulate matter in the atmosphere, cutting down on the amount of light hitting the earth's surface.

Another Kiwi said...

the weird triumphalist tone is the kicker all right. As Brett pointed out at Riddled "What if we made the world a better place, for nothing?" These people do not want to make it a better place and seem keen to make it worse.
It is rooted in "For us or against us" bushism. IMO.

Substance McGravitas said...

My mom is a big talking-point spewer. I always counter because I don't want mom to be a crazy liar.

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

The weird triumphalist tone is all about the "pissing off the libruls" meme. It's one of the right's only consistent principles anymore, but it covers almost everything they do.

Of course, the prime movers in this are making money off of not changing the status quo. Oddly enough, if the heads of McHugeCo were more proactive, they could leverage their power and money to get control of alternative energy markets ( it seems China and India are moving this way) and dominate the field, increasing their own profits in the long run.

However, Change takes effort, and risk. Better to just obstruct,I guess, and continue cashing those checks. The Rich Boys have the same resistance toward allowing the proles to have a little more money, when it is demonstrable that the rich do better when they share the wealth. I don't understand the mentality, but then I ain't rich.

In any case, I love the Waterboys.

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

Oddly enough, if the heads of McHugeCo were more proactive, they could leverage their power and money to get control of alternative energy markets ( it seems China and India are moving this way) and dominate the field, increasing their own profits in the long run.

That's another thing that chaps my ass- they don't even look beyond the next quarter.

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

That's another thing that chaps my ass- they don't even look beyond the next quarter.

Nope. Not gonna do it. Wouldn't be prudent.
~

guitarist manqué said...

From '86 to '88 I played in a band called the Ozone Holes. I believe that your friend is the only one that misses them.