Not so sceptical my brains will fall out

Tim Dean has written a wonderfully reasonable and thoughtful piece on why conservatives are more likely to be climate change sceptics. I am somewhat more suspicious of their motives.

As you can imagine, this article provoked a flood of outraged, incendiary, irrational commentary from conservative climate change deniers.

Indeed, many climate deniers say their inability to face the facts of human-induced climate change stems from the most enlightened spirit of scientific rigour and critical thinking. As commenter ‘Unconvinced’ puts it:

You forgot the most important attributes of conservatives – the ability to think for themselves, and self-determination. Most of us will try to look at the evidence for ourselves not just blindly follow someone claiming authority.

That’s right folks, we should tip our hats and thank our lucky stars for contrarian free-thinkers like Unconvinced who bravely stand against the tide of public opinion and overwhelming evidence in the pursuit of truth, justice, Australia and cheap electricity.

Isn’t it simply breathtaking how many of these  über-intelligent experts in assessing scientific evidence choose to grace us with their wisdom in online comments? And how they all say exactly the same thing in exactly the same way, almost as though they’re reading from the same few sources?

You really have to marvel at the irony in the way they decry those who believe in climate change science as gullible sheep, even as they uncritically put their faith in unscientific climate-denier propaganda.

As Bernard Keane observes in Crikey:

Scepticism connotes a healthy willingness to be convinced if the evidence is sufficient, whereas of course no amount of evidence will ever convince critics of climate science, even as the evidence mounts and the numbers remorselessly add up to a warming planet. They’ll explain them away, make up their own data, reformat their graphs and cherrypick whatever data or explanations they can find — exactly as AIDS denialists and genocide denialists do.

Co-opting the language of scientific scepticism or contrarianism isn’t going to cut through the stench of those steaming piles of irony they’re trying to bury us under.

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