Home > Economics - General > How can we convince rightwingers to accept climate science …

How can we convince rightwingers to accept climate science …

August 21st, 2014

… persuade them to stop being rightwingers[1]

I have a piece in Inside Story arguing that the various efforts to “frame” the evidence on climate change, and the policy implications, in a way that will appeal to those on the political right are all doomed. Whether or not it was historically inevitable, anti-science denialism is now a core component of rightwing tribal identity in both Australia and the US. The only hope for sustained progress on climate policy is a combination of demography and defection that will create a pro-science majority.

With my characteristic optimism, I extract a bright side from all of this. This has three components
(a) The intellectual collapse of the right has already proved politically costly, and these costs will increase over time
(b) The cost of climate stabilization has turned out to be so low that even a delay of 5-10 years won’t render it unmanageable.
(c) The benefits in terms of the possibility of implementing progressive policies such as redistribution away from the 1 per cent will more than offset the extra costs of the delay in dealing with climate change.

I expect lots of commenters here will disagree with one or more of these, so feel free to have your say. Please avoid personal attacks (or me or each other), suggestions that only a stupid person would advance the position you want to criticise and so on.

fn1. Or, in the case of young people, not to start.

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  1. Patrickb
    September 3rd, 2014 at 00:16 | #1

    @Jack King
    Thats gold! The creator, who left no direct evudence of their handywork, decamped to parts unknown and is assumed not to be coming back to answer questions at a writers festival. These dieists are taking credulity to new heights. It’s religion without all the colour and movement. Vegan faith. Respect.

  2. Julie Thomas
    September 3rd, 2014 at 06:42 | #2

    It is performance art; that must be what Jack the King is doing here.

  3. Jack King
    September 3rd, 2014 at 07:21 | #3

    @J-D

    If the professor actually said what you report him as saying, then it was a carelessly clumsy distortion of the truth.

    No it wasn’t! He was teaching exactly what the current understanding was about the origins of whales. But as far fetched as the thesis was, when probing a number of the scientific geniuses in this group, they all felt it was completely credible….at least until I revealed to them that the whole lineage had been thrown out.

    I have never heard of any scientist who believes that it is possible for a fish to evolve into a man.

    Of course you did. The belief is that we all came from the ocean. JD, I don’t believe any of it…you do.

  4. Jack King
    September 3rd, 2014 at 07:30 | #4

    @BilB

    You need to show this to J-D….he’s the one that doesn’t buy it.

  5. Jack King
    September 3rd, 2014 at 07:32 | #5

    @Julie Thomas

    As long as you are happy and entertained, That’s cool with me Julie. Life can be so boring some times.

  6. Jack King
    September 3rd, 2014 at 07:35 | #6

    The creator, who left no direct evudence of their handywork,

    The evidence is all over the place.

  7. Julie Thomas
    September 3rd, 2014 at 07:43 | #7

    “the scientific geniuses” – this is a theme that seems to come up often as Jack reveals his self to us through his bravura performance.

  8. Julie Thomas
    September 3rd, 2014 at 07:43 | #8

    @Jack King

    It is perhaps a shame that you find your world so boring Jack. I never am bored.

  9. BilB
    September 3rd, 2014 at 07:52 | #9

    J-D has you nailed, Jack King. Jack is the nick name for John which shortened becomes, Jo,….. JoKing. That is as clever as it gets for you. The rest is just garbage as you have not made a single useful contribution. However researching answers, which is what we do here, has led me to look into a number of areas that I find interesting, particularly the lobe fish. There is no hope for you daggett. If the lobe fish is beyond your comprehension, then the fact that your most distant ancestor is a single celled bacteria will drive you totally nuts. Oops, too late.

  10. J-D
    September 3rd, 2014 at 08:32 | #10

    @BilB

    I am well aware of the radical differences between Cambrian craniates and modern fish, but that’s beside the point. No individual modern fish has ever evolved into a man, and no individual Cambrian craniate ever evolved into a man either.

    The word ‘evolve’ can reasonably be used to refer to something that happens to an individual organism, but that kind of evolution is not the kind of evolution with which the Darwinian theory of evolution is concerned. Blurring the distinction is typical of the kind of imprecision that obstructs Jack King’s understanding.

  11. J-D
    September 3rd, 2014 at 08:39 | #11

    @Jack King

    I don’t believe that you or I or any individual living human being literally came from the ocean. It is not part of the theory of evolution that individual human beings literally came from the ocean. Any account that says that is either using language in a loose figurative way or a distortion resulting from misinterpretation.

    I do not accept your word that the account you gave earlier is endorsed by any evolutionary biologist as a literally accurate account of the evolution of whales. I don’t believe you can produce corroboration for that. Again, if there is any account of the evolution of whales that matches the account you gave, it is either characterised by loose figurative use of language or a distortion resulting from misinterpretation.

  12. BilB
    September 3rd, 2014 at 10:05 | #12
  13. Jack King
    September 3rd, 2014 at 11:38 | #13

    @J-D

    I don’t believe that you or I or any individual living human being literally came from the ocean. It is not part of the theory of evolution that individual human beings literally came from the ocean.

    Of course not…as I state in an earlier post, even a 5th grader knows that. But science believes that man certainly had ancient Chordate ancestors from the sea. We are in the same phyla.

  14. Jack King
    September 3rd, 2014 at 11:58 | #14

    @ZM

    There is a figure with curves for the various things like resources, population etc on that page too. It shows a convergence to collapse a bit before 2100 on the axis.

    You are totally wrong. This is precisely how I remember it. Let examine in detail Figure 35 on pg 124. We see food per capita and industrial output per capita collapse together around the 1st decade of the 21st century. You also see the steep drop in resources in the same time frame. You clearly don’t know how to interpret raw data.

  15. Jack King
    September 3rd, 2014 at 12:02 | #15

    @ZM

    To sum up, models just don’t work. It is a huge mistake to set long-term policy on this kind of data.

  16. BilB
    September 3rd, 2014 at 13:12 | #16

    You can only speak for your own performance, Jack. Your models don’t work, and that makes you a bit of a fraud, doesn’t it. It is a good thing that you are retired and out of the way.

  17. Jack King
    September 3rd, 2014 at 19:30 | #17

    @BilB

    You can only speak for your own performance, Jack. Your models don’t work, and that makes you a bit of a fraud, doesn’t it.

    My models?! These are the models used in “Limits To Growth”. I must say that it is very hard to communicate ideas when one is straining to force some sort of understanding into a vacuum.

  18. BilB
    September 3rd, 2014 at 20:04 | #18

    Are you claiming to be Dennis Meadows now? Jack?

  19. J-D
    September 3rd, 2014 at 20:09 | #19

    @BilB

    Why do you suggest I browse through that? What is it that you think it will tell me that I don’t already know?

  20. BilB
    September 3rd, 2014 at 20:10 | #20

    Ah there is reference to a Jack King interview in 1995. If that was you Jack, do you have a transcript? In your own words?

  21. J-D
    September 3rd, 2014 at 20:12 | #21

    @Jack King

    Yes, human beings are descended from organisms that lived in the ocean. Maybe you have difficulty accepting that, but your personal incredulity does not constitute a flaw in the theory of evolution.

    (Incidentally, I know that your inability to distinguish between singular and plural is not relevant to this discussion, but it does make it even harder for me to take you seriously: a flaw in me, I know.)

  22. BilB
    September 3rd, 2014 at 20:17 | #22

    I really do not follow your position J-D. The discussion, any meaningful discussion is not about modern fish turning into whales, it is about the one creature from 400 million years ago, which at the time was in the likeness of a fish, that carried the genetic code of the bone structure for all mammals and reptiles alive today. Are we on the same page, or am I missing something here?

  23. Jack King
    September 4th, 2014 at 00:34 | #23

    @J-D

    your personal incredulity does not constitute a flaw in the theory of evolution.

    And you haven’t been any help in assisting me over my “evolution block”. You haven’t said anything efficacious about the two issues I have raised here. But don’t feel bad. Some of the finest minds in the field also don’t have an answer.

  24. Jack King
    September 4th, 2014 at 00:39 | #24

    @BilB

    Are you claiming to be Dennis Meadows now? Jack?

    It’s Donella Meadows.

    Ah there is reference to a Jack King interview in 1995.

    Have no idea what you are talking about, but I’m sure there are a lot of Jack Kings on this planet.

  25. J-D
    September 4th, 2014 at 07:06 | #25

    @BilB

    I have been discussing the fact that Jack King’s assertion that there are serious flaws in the theory of evolution is unsupported. In what way do you think that the evolution of tetrapod bone structure is relevant to that discussion?

  26. J-D
    September 4th, 2014 at 07:09 | #26

    @Jack King

    I haven’t been any help in assisting you over your block because I haven’t been trying to assist you over your block. Why should I? I’m not going to assist you to wipe your nose, either. Like the waggoner in Aesop’s fable, if you want my help you’re going to need to make an effort to help yourself first.

    The fact that you can’t get all the answers you want to all the questions you care to ask is not a flaw in the theory of evolution, because the theory of evolution is not supposed to give you all the answers you want to all the questions you care to ask.

  27. Jack King
    September 4th, 2014 at 07:17 | #27

    @J-D

    I haven’t been any help in assisting you over your block because I haven’t been trying to assist you over your block. Why should I? I’m not going to assist you to wipe your nose, either.

    LOL…it’s because you don’t have a clue.

  28. BilB
    September 4th, 2014 at 07:23 | #28

    As I recall it, J-D, King’s assertion was based a hand wave scoffing that a fish could give rise to a whale, with the notion failing his idea of a “sniff test” as his primary evidence. The lobe fish connection is relevent as it is the only visible path in the fossil record for the mammalian bone structure from lifes origins to the present. If that connection is true then King’s claim that a fish cannot possibly give rise to a whale is false.

  29. Collin Street
    September 4th, 2014 at 07:35 | #29

    > And you haven’t been any help in assisting me over my “evolution block”.

    Well, you have to want to help yourself, don’t you.

    [end-of-the-day, you can't expect that having things explained to you to your satisfaction will lead you to correctness, for the reasonably obvious reasoning that equating "to your satisfaction" and "correctly" is an implicit claim of infallibility. The human potential for error means not only that you can/will be wrong, but that you'll be wrong for reasons you don't and can't understand.

    ... most of the time, sustained error comes not from there being things you don't know, but from the things you know that aren't true. Identifying them and walking them back requires an... attitude of humility, a sustained "maybe I'm wrong here let me check" as an ingrained part of your personality; thinking is in large part a skill, something you learn, and that means you can learn it either well or badly.]

  30. Jack King
    September 4th, 2014 at 07:47 | #30

    @BilB

    If that connection is true then King’s claim that a fish cannot possibly give rise to a whale is false.

    Idiot… Jack King rejected the theory about 30 years ago. The scientific got around to rejecting it about 5 years ago.

  31. J-D
    September 4th, 2014 at 08:06 | #31

    @Jack King

    Laughing out loud is not evidence for your assertion.

  32. J-D
    September 4th, 2014 at 08:11 | #32

    @Jack King

    The expression ‘snowball effect’ was in use — long before the ‘Snowball Earth’ thesis was developed — as a metaphor for any form of positive feedback. Therefore, the expression ‘ecological snowball effect’ is a metaphor for any form of positive feedback in an ecological system.

  33. BilB
    September 4th, 2014 at 08:13 | #33

    Jack, your “rejection” of anything is of zero consequence as you have not said a single thing here that either makes sense or is supported by evidence. I cannot find any reference to you in the “Limits to Growth” credits or the extended credits so your claimed involvement has to have been to do with the Roneo machine. Now you claim that the scientific has rejected the …..”theory”. What theory, who is the “scientific”, and where is the evidence of such a “theory” rejection.

    Patrickb (I earlier said J-D, my mistake) had you pegged properly, Jack.

  34. J-D
    September 4th, 2014 at 08:20 | #34

    @Jack King

    Your assertion that Anomalocaris, Wiwaxia, Hallucigeia, and Opabinia are more complex than annelids is uncorroborated, and your unsupported word is not good enough.

  35. Collin Street
    September 4th, 2014 at 08:34 | #35

    > more complex than annelids

    Note that annelids are pretty complex; mesoderm, coelom, organs, etc.

  36. Julie Thomas
    September 4th, 2014 at 09:00 | #36

    @Jack King

    It’s a case of pearls before swine Jack?

    You probably need to find a more intelligent group to appreciate your ability to know stuff.

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