Critical Thinking about Climate Change

 

Sadly, misinformation has become ubiquitous in modern society. Whether its politics, climate change, vaccination, 911, or even the complex arguments concerning evolution or religious belief, we are bombarded with a dizzying flood of conflicting messages. How do we make sense of this information overload?

Well, after the aliens abducted me the truth became very clear. That’s another blog for another time.

Back to reality… the problem with the age of information is that when we consider research finding accurate scientific information, this information can be cancelled out by misinformation (see Dr. Fauci).

When people are confronted with two conflicting messages the tendency is to align the discussion with what fits that person’s internal narrative. This “internal narrative” usually is based upon hear-say, their environment, a lack of education, or comfortable compliance.

However, for critical-thinking people, we must weigh the origination of the idea related to that source’s agenda, political affiliation, and money paid for that opinion. The risk with most people is that, if there are two conflicting messages, and no way to¬† resolve the conflict, many people disengage.

This means that the best efforts to teach science can be potentially undone by misinformation. There is a solution to help critical thinkers determine whether the hypothesis is based on myth, fact, or complete fiction. That solution involves equipping people with the skills to resolve the conflict.

Inoculation theory is a branch of psychological research that offers a way to achieve intelligent resolution. Just as exposing people to a weakened form of a virus builds up their immunity to the real virus, similarly, exposing people to a weakened form of misinformation builds up their “cognitive antibodies” so that when they encounter real misinformation, they’re less likely to be misled.

We deliver misinformation in a weakened form by explaining rhetorical techniques used to mislead, like explaining the sleight of hand in a magician’s trick. Consequently, as well as how we teach the science of how climate works, it’s also important that we teach how science can be distorted.

Fake experts, logical fallacies, impossible expectations, cherry picking, and false evidence to promote an agenda (see Al Gore). Most critical thinkers have a low worry about climate change as they look to nature rather than human causes.

In James Delingpole’s book, “Watermelons, The Green Movement’s True Colors” Delingpole promises to show that the man-made global warming is a fraud, one that has already cost billions of dollars and is a clear and present danger to our liberty and democratic traditions… and ironically, to the environment itself.

Delingpole was among the leading journalists who reported the “Climategate” scandal, in which he analyzed e-mails among the leading climate scientists that had been hacked and posted on the web. He discovered a pattern of purposeful and coordinated efforts to:

    • Manipulate the data supporting the claims of a sudden and dangerous increase in the earth’s temperature.
    • Not disclose private doubts about whether the world was actually heating up.
    • Suppress evidence that contradicted the hypotheses of Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW),
    • Disguise facts around the Medieval Warm Period, when the earth was warmer than it is today.
    • Suppress opposition by squeezing dissenting scientists out of the peer review process.

Normally, disclosure of fraudulent behavior on this scale would throw the proponents of any position into disrepute and spell the end of their scientific or political power. Not so with the advocates of global warming.

The reason: Global warming is not about science, but about politics expanding the power of elites using the coercive instruments of government to control the lives of people everywhere.

Just as the governing class embraces ineffective Keynesian stimulus spending to justify expansion of government, they now extol AGW as the basis for increasing their power to rule over the rest of us.

I remember in the ’70s, “scientists” had used computer models to “prove” that the increase in industrial activity was about to trigger another ice age. The villains and solutions were the same as with global warming: Economic growth, rising living standards, capitalism and increased economic activity were going to destroy the planet.

Then, as now, reduction in the use of fossil fuels, de facto restrictions on the use of automobiles, higher taxes and forced reductions in living standards were the recommend policy responses.

What makes AGW different is that this time, the alleged pollutant is carbon dioxide – an odorless, colorless gas that is the basis of all life and human activity. Regulation of CO2 is the gateway for those who control government to regulate all economic and most human activity.

With the stakes this high, it should not be surprising that those who seek power have simply ignored the fraud and continue to press forward with their agenda to regulate “carbon” emissions. The emissions they seek to regulate are not dirty, sooty carbon, but carbon dioxide, that harmless gas that we exhale with every breadth.

It’s obvious that with each alert the government sends to protect us from ourselves we are losing our constitutional freedoms. Unfortunately the majority of our fellow Americans are only focused on the latest music, sports team, and drug that will distract us as we slip farther away from our inalienable rights as Americans.