February 24, 2014

Are anti-Climate Change arguments are just part of group/follower thinking?

Yes, I think so.

First, because Climate Change really is the scientific consensus, and it's the international consensus: even oil exporters like Russia and Saudi Arabia concede that it's valid.  China concedes it too, and they're working harder on it than the US.  China has more than enough scientific expertise to independently review climate science, and plenty of motive to disagree, yet they don't.

2nd, there's a really obvious difference between political parties in the US: the Democrats follow the scientific and world consensus, and Republican's don't. There aren't any leaders of the Republican party that are willing to support Climate Change.

3rd, the republican rank and file generally agree with their leadership.  Now, you can't really argue that those republican followers have all read all of the Climate Change science and come to an independent opinion - it's quite obvious that most of those who hold anti-Climate Change opinions are doing so because of they identify as part of a group that holds that idea. There's a striking correlation with other anti-science ideas as well: most republicans don't believe in evolution.

So, ask yourself,  Do I hold this idea just because I belong to a  group that believes it?    Do *any* of my friends disagree with me?  Do any of the websites I like to read disagree with me?

February 21, 2014

Climate Change - the Tribal debate

There's a fascinating debate about Climate Change going on over at Econbrowser.com (their 1st post for 2/17/14) – it’s like watching warring tribes in Papua New Guinea.

Climatology is relatively new – not like astronomy or biology – but it seems to provide a new intellectual litmus test. In the past, one could identify someone who was unable to rise above their tribe's beliefs to think scientifically by asking them if they thought the earth was round, or if evolution was valid. Now, one can identify them by their inability to agree that Climate Change is a serious problem.

In the future, if I read a comment on Econbrowser by someone who appears to be guided by ideology, I can confirm (or disprove) my suspicion by referring back to these comments and seeing where they stood.