The Science Deniers

Quote below from Uncommon Descent, Talking To “Science Deniers”? How About A Bit Of Self-Reflection First?

—<Quote begins>—

Commenting on a new book, How to Talk to A Science Denier, by Harvard philosopher Lee McIntyre — one of our moral and intellectual superiors — Unherd’s science editor Tom Chivers comments,

How to Talk to a Science Denier

Even with climate change scepticism, sure, there are people who literally don’t believe that anthropogenic greenhouse gases are warming the planet. But those people are relatively rare. People who believe that anthropogenic greenhouse gases are warming the planet, but that the emissions are going to be hard to stop because of economic growth in the developing world and it would make more sense to concentrate on adaptation rather than mitigation, are much more common. Are they “deniers”? Certainly they’re often called deniers. But McIntyre himself acknowledges that China is by far the largest emitter of greenhouse gases and that the IPCC says the sweeping global changes required to cut emissions sufficiently to avoid a 1.5°C warming are unprecedented.

McIntyre constantly wants to make a clean distinction between “science deniers” and non-deniers. So, for instance, he says that there are five “common reasoning errors made by all science deniers” [my emphasis]. They are: cherrypicking, a belief in conspiracy theories, a reliance on fake experts, illogical reasoning and an insistence that science must be perfect. If you don’t make all five of those errors, you’re not an official McIntyre-accredited science denier.

Hang on, though. A “belief in conspiracy theories”? McIntyre spends a lot of time talking about the tobacco firms who manufactured doubt in the smoking/lung cancer link, and the oil firms who did the same with the fossil fuel/climate change link. He says that the spread of Covid denialism through the US government was driven by Republican desire to keep the economy open and win the election. Aren’t these conspiracy theories? …

It’s mainly a book designed to tell readers that people they already think are dumb are, in fact, dumb. It is, really, How to Talk to A Contemptible Idiot Who Is Kind of Evil.

Tom Chivers, “How not to talk to a science denier” at Unherd

Thus, the book will doubtless have just the reception we might expect. If people want to spread a message, contempt for listeners and failure to listen oneself is not exactly a recipe for success.

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Oddly enough, people don’t care to be talked down to by their contemptuous Betters.

Now, this doesn’t actually matter right now: the Inferiors are politically weak, and the Betters are politically strong. As is usually the case in history.

The problem is, things change.

When the treats run out, and Our Betters can only offer sticks to an increasingly hostile, and rapidly growing, subset of Inferiors?

Many aristocracies have fallen in history. One more tossed into the pile is not a great surprise.

What is important is that we don’t replace one tyrant with another, but work for a peaceful, locally-rooted social order. Local leadership, resolving local problems, arising from the local population, with local support and within a spiritual/intellectual framework the locals are comfortable with. All done peacefully and lawfully, with respect to the ordinary man, his property, and his liberty.

That’s the way forward. Not some increasingly incompetent aristocracy of Above-the-Law Darwinian elitists from the Ivy League.

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