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Climate scientists all around me

by Greg Krehbiel on 30 January 2014

I’ve thought for a while that the main point of a political (aka “news” or, when they’re more honest, “analysis”) show today is not to educate, but to make sure people are cocksure of “the right” opinions. A Maddow, or a Hannity, or an O’Donnell isn’t interested in explaining why their position is right. They just need to exude an infectious confidence.

“All sensible people believe this way.”

I see this sort of thing all the time, but I most often notice it in the confident attitudes people have towards global warming.

“Oh, some people think this cold spell contradicts global warming, but … no, that’s just the way it works.”

Sure. And the person saying that doesn’t know the difference between celsius and kelvin, believes there was “an ice age,” and that CO2 is higher today than it’s ever been.

It’s not reasonable to expect normal people to be experts on everything. We all have to rely on other people, and sometimes it’s hard to know who you can rely on. I get that. Everybody is being led around by the nose.

But I wish people at least recognized that’s what they’re doing — i.e., simply parroting the party line they’ve heard from “their sources.”

-- 2014-01-30  »  Greg Krehbiel

Talkback x 3

  1. smitemouth
    30 January 2014 @ 1:26 pm

    Oh, people certainly do take things like that on faith–whether they are quoting Nader or the fat cigar smoking oxy addict from Cape Girardeau.

    My pet peeve is when I hear someone talking about getting back on the gold standard. I want to say, “Hey, STFU. You do not know WTF you are talking about. You are only parroting something you heard from someone you imagine is smart.”

  2. Greg Krehbiel Greg Krehbiel
    30 January 2014 @ 1:34 pm

    I’ve taken oxy — after knee surgery — and I can see why someone would get addicted. I’m very happy my docs were strict about refilling my prescriptions.

    I don’t say that to excuse Rush, but once you’ve experienced the pull of something like that (even a little) you get a different perspective on drug abuse.

    Anyway, yes … for every science ignoramus who spouts ignorant AGW stuff there’s 25 other ignoramuses spouting on other issues — from the left and the right.

  3. DSM
    30 January 2014 @ 4:51 pm

    “Infectious confidence” says it well. People like to identify with a group, and programs which make you feel good about who you are — even if it’s only that you’re smart enough to watch that program unlike the other fools who don’t — have a natural appeal.

    One way to maintain a feeling of solidarity with a group is ritual denunciation of the Other, such as in phrases like “Faux News”, “Fundamentalist fascists”, and “fat cigar smoking oxy addict from Cape Girardeau”. Those descriptions aren’t meant to persuade, they’re meant as signals and reinforcements.

    It would be both juvenile and rude to talk like that; but I talk like that, which means either I’m bad or my opponents are bad enough that they deserve to be spoken of that way; and it’s more fun thinking that other people are bad, so they must be. The act of condemnation of your opponents itself strengthens your conviction in your position.

    Some of my least favourite memories are when I was mean to someone and tried to justify it to myself by arguing that they were bad enough that they deserved it. But realizing that they didn’t, I had to increase my bluster and pretend that I was the one who had been wronged to cover my embarrassment. So I’m intimately familiar with the process, unfortunately.