How can we convince rightwingers to accept climate science …

… 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.

436 thoughts on “How can we convince rightwingers to accept climate science …

  1. @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.

  2. @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.

  3. 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.

  4. > 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.]

  5. @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.

  6. @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.

  7. 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.

  8. @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.

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