Article by Judith Curry on her website:
Abou a recent conversation (HERE) between Adam Corner, a psychologist, and Geoff Chambers a noted AGW-skeptic about “Understanding climate scepticism”. There’s been a lot of dicussion about it both on Curry’s blog and at Bishop Hill. Curry links it to an additional study by Sonia Akter, Jeff Bennett Michael Ward, whose abstract reads in part:
Public scepticism surrounding climate change is an obstacle for implementing climate change mitigation measures in many countries. However, very little is known about: (1) the nature and sources of climate change scepticism; and (2) its influence on preferences for climate change mitigation policies.
The general conclusion of Akter et al – and Corner is – wait for it – not all Deniers are funded and fueled by Big Oil after all!
Noooo, turns out some of them are just deluded.
(Sorry, I’m forgetting my Psychobabble – I mean they are driven “by motivated reasoning processes – rooted in ideological differences”)
Yay! Let’s hear it for informed open-minded, non-Orwellian social science!
Judith suggests dialogues and studies like this are “a step in the right direction” towards an acceptance of skepticism as legitimate. If she really thinks so, and isn’t just being brilliantly ironic (I’m sort of assuming she is for now), I fear she might be missing something meaningful.
It might do to reflect, for example, that authoritarians tend to not only demonise unwanted opinions but pathologise them too. In dictatorships and oligarchies dissent is often equated with disease as a means of de-legitimising alternative POVs. And while climate science isn’t quite an oligarchy, I don’t see how it’s really going to be more possible to have dialogue with people who’ve decided you’re crazy rather than simply corrupt.
And what about J’s last para?
“Much of the climate community continues to view AGW skeptics as anti-science, fossil fuel funded troglodytes (Mike Mann’s book is a prime example of this view).”
Surely that’s not quite right? Surely a better summary would be that a vocal subsection within the “climate community” (not really sure how that’s defined actually) are endeavouring to make it appear AGW skepticism is anti-science? Surely it’s also true this is completely impossible to sustain with any reference to data or within any accepted norms of scientific conduct? That it’s a construction designed to conceal the fact that AGW theory is not the Absolute Truth it’s been marketed as being to the non-scientific community where people like Corner get their info?
So, the best way to deal with the likes of Corner and others of the “vocal army of the complacently uninformed” is to point this “inconvenient truth” out to them – and maybe also add that a soft science degree and a subscription to Greenpeace does not entitle someone to patronise people who have looked a little more closely at this subject than the average psychologist.
If Skeptics are going to ‘dialogue’ with people who can willingly surrender judgment to jargon then don’t make polite noises and try to accommodate their smugness, just ask them for the science that justifies viewing doubt as a DSM IV category.
And then ask ’em again about who’s deluded.