I just read an essay about climate change deniers and the approach most “science types,” including me, take to refute them. We science types assume that this is a scientific debate and that what is in dispute are the facts or the interpretation of the facts. The essayist argued instead that the vast majority of deniers are quite unfamiliar with the facts and are even more unfamiliar with the interpretations. Instead they are operating in a world in which they are receiving a meme (from politicians, Fox (sic) News, etc.) that they are being fooled by people with an axe to grind. Socially, there is little cost in believing such memes because if they are wrong, well those individuals could really do nothing about solving that problem anyway, but if one confronts ones peers about the meme, they could lose social standing or even contact with their group.
Even as a science type, this sounds like a quite valid argument to me, so in an attempt to shift the debate I offer the following:
Psst, You Are Being Manipulated, Pass It On
You’ve all heard about climate change and are wondering whether or not it is real. I am writing this to confirm that you are being manipulated, used as a pawn in this debate.
On one side of the debate are all of those scientists who make a sort of okay living doing science on the atmosphere. Apparently 98% of them are in agreement that we all are part of the problem. On the other side are a group of very rich individuals and corporations that make money, very large amounts of money, creating carbon based pollution that is causing the problem.
Now, I know you are being manipulated, but I am not sure by whom: do you think it is the bunch of scientists from all over the world or a bunch of rich people and corporations who don’t want to pay for changes in the way they do business.
Which do you think it is?