Oh, the horror! Climate denial meets conspiracy theory

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Last November I wrote a piece on the successful passage of the carbon price legislation through the senate here in Australia. That particular piece of legislation has caused howls of protest amongst the deluded, the dishonest and the easily-led. The sky was going to fall in.

Well, true to all predictions of those with any common sense, the carbon price has come in, and guess what? Barely a ripple. Apart from a few unscrupulous traders trying to jack their prices up and blame the carbon tax, it’s been all quiet (well done ACCC on naming and shaming those businesses). Alas, the nay-sayers continue to bleat – reminiscent of the two old hecklers in the Muppet Show.

In that article, I also referred to one Richard Muller, a sceptical climate scientist, who had changed his mind and now believed in man-made climate change, since confirming a 1.5C rise in average global temperatures since the 50′s.

Well, Muller has continued his work, and has done a bigger, better study which has not only confirmed his earlier findings, but he has now concluded that the predicted temperature rises will be more than those predicted by the IPCC report. Key quotes from this article are:

Our results show that the average temperature of the earth’s land has risen by 2½ degrees Fahrenheit over the past 250 years, including an increase of 1½ degrees over the most recent 50 years. Moreover, it appears likely that essentially all of this increase results from the human emission of greenhouse gases,” Professor Muller wrote in an opinion piece for The New York Times.

The team of scientists based at the University of California, Berkeley, gathered and merged 14.4 million land temperature observations from 44,455 sites across the world dating back to 1753. Previous datasets created by NASA, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Britain’s Meteorological Office and the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit had gone back only to the mid-1800s and used five times fewer weather station records.

Needless to say, confirmed denialists continue to nit-pick and try to find flaws in the work. But they’re just body-surfing in tidal wave of science. They will grasp any flimsy argument to bolster their ideology – their certainty that they’re right. What they don’t seem to realise is that it is not a battle of ideologies. It is not a philosophical discussion. The findings from the science are not an ideological outcome – they are simply a reflection of reality, to the extent that we can describe it.

This trenchant refusal to budge is emphasised in this article which quotes some sceptic as saying:

“I’m not convinced that he [Muller] was ever a sceptic although, of people I respect, there is a couple who do have a decent opinion of him”

While giving Muller some grudging support, it seems they want to disown him now. Funny about that. It’s a lot like the christian community wanting to disown Anders Breivik – “he was never a real christian”. How convenient.

However, what’s new in this second article is reference to the ‘Galileo Movement‘. This tawdry little group is basically a right-wing ‘axe-the-tax’ mob, featuring all the usual suspects, most of whom I’ve had a crack at on this blog over the journey – for example, Andrew Bolt, Alan Jones, Monckton (I refuse to call him a Lord), Bob Carter, Ian Plimer, Jennifer Marohasy so on and so forth. And I must say I object to them appropriating the name Galileo for their slimy purposes. Yes, yes, I know he was persecuted for his views. But there are 2 key differences between the big G and this little kindergarten playgroup. Firstly, Galileo was doing SCIENCE and was sticking up for the facts (“and yet, it moves”). Secondly, these fools are not persecuted in any sense. Ridiculed, yes, persecuted, no. It is they who accuse scientists of being dishonest. In fact, if we are drawing parallels, this movement is much closer to the Catholic Church of the time – driven by ideology, and unwilling to be persuaded that their beliefs may be false – choosing to remain ignorant of the fact that the earth does move around the sun. The irony in that choice of name is therefore obvious.

Just going to the main page of this site is instructive – front and centre is ‘Beat the Deceit’. Yes, they’re still bleating about the manner in which the carbon price was introduced. They go on to deploy every trick in the book to denigrate the science and pump up their ideology. These are the truly deluded; blinded by their ideology in a big way.

However the biggest surprise (or maybe not) was at the end of that article which quoted a Malcolm Roberts, the manager of the movement as saying:

” .. climate change science had been captured by “some of the major banking families in the world” who form a “tight-knit cabal”.

Mr Roberts said he understood that the group’s views might sound strange, but claimed they were increasingly popular. “It does sound outlandish,” he said. “I, like you, was reluctant to believe it [but] there are significant things going on in Australia that people are waking up to”.

So what do we have here? Oh boy! It’s the New World Order conspiracy! Is that what these people are waiting for?

Although I’ve not written too much about it, I’m aware of this sub-genus of nutters who believe that a new world order is coming, as a group of powerful bankers (led by the Rothschild family) and the ‘Illuminati‘ take over the world, for some purpose. It seems the Galileo Movement is a member of this species, at least according to its manager.

Apart from the obvious nuttiness in maintaining this position, the hypocrisy is breathtaking. Here is a bunch of right-wing mouthpieces, who will yell from the roof tops about making government smaller, and allowing big business to do its thing, and yet, if a big banking enterprise is trying to get bigger (for the good of employment and prosperity of the little guy of course), they suddenly accuse it of all sorts of nefarious purposes. I say, all power to the Illuminati if it supports continued economic growth, right?

But seriously, how typical is this whole scene? To use a mathematical expression:

RW = f (immovable ideology, religion, denialism, economic rationalism, conspiracy, …).

What this means is that right-wing is usually a function of immovable ideology, religion, denialism and so forth.

We see it time and again, and I suspect it is just human nature. Perhaps we should round them all up and put them in prison camps. That way, they would have a real conspiracy and tangible persecution to talk about, rather than a manufactured enemy.

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13 thoughts on “Oh, the horror! Climate denial meets conspiracy theory

    @blamer said:
    July 31, 2012 at 3:13 pm

    You’ve highlighted something I’ve been suspecting more and more. Something along these lines…

    The values of an organisation seem tethered to the psychological make-up of its members.

    Leaders who’re to the right of centre-Right will tend to seed their groups’ identity with their personal “conservative” moral values, groupishness, loyalty… which leads that collective to tend towards hierarchical-individualism and autoritarianism.

    Those politized groups then (I submit) cannot help but cast in a CONSPIRATORIAL light any completing “progressive” groups who’re insist on contrasting facts or value judgments.

    Their leftwing critics incite bold reactions because they seem ethically wrong, not merely factually mistaken.

    The outcome is rhetoric from such fringe groups is disproportionately demonising of those advocating more “liberal” values, including following the advice of modern academia. That is, today’s professorial consensus, the scientific facts of the day, underpinned by its “evil” values of egalitarianism, communitarianism, social liberalism, secularism, godlessness, etc.

    @blamer said:
    July 31, 2012 at 3:17 pm

    *by “bold reactions” what I’m really wanting to say is “polarization”

    Dan Rea said:
    August 1, 2012 at 9:09 am

    I think that’s a pretty fair analysis @blamer.
    It probably applies to the anti-medicine holistic-new-age bollocks too. I watched a Penn Gillette ramble yesterday; he was discussing how a few different nuts have called him a CIA agent, and a mouthpiece for ‘big-pharma’ simply because he dares to criticise their conspiracy theories.
    He made a good point that I;ve heard many times before; If they couldn’t even cover up the Watergate scandal (which could have just involved a handful of people) how could they keep such a MASSIVE conspiracy under wraps?
    Tim Minchin has a funny line: “You know what they call ‘alternative medicine’ that really works? … ‘Medicine’ “.

    rationalbrain was right when he said it’s just human nature to be suspicious. However as ‘rational’ people we are capable of change our opinions when the evidence contradicts us; exactly how much evidence would the anit-vaxers, 911-truthers or NWOs need to put their fears to rest?

    That being said we all know the world is run by fat cigar chomping billionares; that’s not a conspiracy, it’s just today’s way of doing things. At least people have the right to bitch and moan and hold plackards. I like to picture the Occupy protests happening in the middle ages like a Monty Python sketch:

    hehe, never gets old! XD

      rationalbrain said:
      August 1, 2012 at 9:20 am

      Yes, good one.
      The “help, I’m bein’ repressed” seems to be the catch-cry of the various denialists and conspiracy mongers doesn’t it?
      Anyway, what’s with the sub-titles on that clip?

        Dan Rea said:
        August 1, 2012 at 10:41 am

        I am lazy. It was the first search result on Youtube.

        rationalbrain said:
        August 1, 2012 at 11:16 am

        No, I didn’t mean ‘why did you present a clip with subtitles?’, but rather, why would anyone subtitle english with english?

        Dan Rea said:
        August 1, 2012 at 2:39 pm

        HA! A good point! I totally missed that. Maybe it’s so people can learn the English language using the best works of Python?

        rationalbrain said:
        August 1, 2012 at 2:44 pm

        Or perhaps Americans have trouble with the accent (with apologies to US readers!).

    Katy said:
    August 1, 2012 at 1:32 pm

    I have just received my new gas bill (for June and July) and it has tripled since the last bill. Ok, I may have used the heater more over Winter, but not to the point of my bill tripling. When I rang to enquire about the excessive increase, they blamed it on the carbon tax.

      rationalbrain said:
      August 1, 2012 at 2:43 pm

      OK – I would call the ACCC. That’s just absurd.

      Dan Rea said:
      August 1, 2012 at 9:38 pm

      There could be a combination of many unfortunate factors… do you live in a giant house (with a chimney) located in a place where it snows that had an especially harsh winter? Even if you do it’s a big difference… The gas company should be happy to inform you about all of this; if their response was really a concise “blame the carbon tax” then I’d suspect a rat.
      I should add that power and gas companies must detail the carbon tax in their bills to consumers:
      http://www.liberal.org.au/Latest-News/2012/03/29/Power-and-Gas-Bills-Must-Detail-Carbon-Tax.aspx
      They cannot just say “your bill is higher because of the carbon tax”; they must say the exact amount they are adding on. Gas prices are only expected to go up 9%… not 300%.

      Speaking of rats, how low can you go? This is a report about a funeral home that tried to add $55 bucks onto their fee due to the carbon tax.
      http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/carbon-tax-cost-added-to-familys-funeral-bill/story-e6freuy9-1226420545281

        Dan Rea said:
        August 1, 2012 at 9:43 pm

        hmm, about ‘marked on the bill’…. I may have jumped the gun on that one. Probably not true.
        Hey, I’m sleepy; give me a break!

    Rolling the dice on climate change « rationalbrain said:
    August 8, 2012 at 1:08 pm

    […] on the heels of this fresh data analysis by Richard Muller to which I referred in this discussion, here is another damning analysis which should give climate change deniers pause for […]

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