What do creationism, climate change denial, vaccine denial and AIDS denial have in common?
Apart from their opposition to the scientific consensus on the variety of their topics, much of their worldview could be described as conspiratorial. Even when claiming they are not “conspiracy theorists”, the movements basic premise is that scientists are deliberately misleading the world on climate change in collusion with the UN, IPCC, international finance and various governments and political parties.
With some people no amount of evidence or reasoning will persuade them from believing there is a conspiracy by “warmists” to panic and alarm the world into accepting climate change. However, it is very likely that many people either sitting on the fence or only half-heartedly subscribing to the idea of a conspiracy because they “heard someone say it” or “read about it in the paper”. These are the individuals whose intellect you want to engage.
But how do you do that? Introduce them to Occam’s Razor.
Occam’s Razor: how to counter the “It’s a conspiracy!” argument
Occam’s Razor is a general principle applied in the sciences. It is attributed to William of Ockham, an English logician and theologian writing in the 13th century. Famously, he declared:
Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem
Or to translate:
Entities should not be multiplied unnecessarily
I put the Latin original in there because, well, it’s sound cool (say it out loud in a deep, magisterial voice). Simply put it means do not multiply your explanations, as the simplest one is usually the most correct. Occam’s Razor is used as a “rule of thumb” in the development of theories in science.
Occam’s Razor is a great tool for discounting conspiracy theories, especially the ones promoted by the denial movement. Let’s give it a go.
The claim put forward by the deniers goes along these lines:
Climate change is a fraudulent science whose finding are manufactured by scientists in order to facilitate the creation of a world communist government. The means to to establish this “new world order” is via a new tax. It is supported by the UN, IPCC, world governments, scientists, mainstream media and green activist. They have been doing this since the end of the cold war.
So how does one Occam’s Razor apply to the claims of the denail movement?
Firstly consider the the multiple agendas and diverse political views of the every global government in the world. The governments in the US, Europe, China, India, Russia the UK and Australia (and pretty much the rest of the world) would need to agree.
Scientists, who are normally fiercely competitive would need to put aside their professional rivalries in order to create false data. The UN and IPCC would then need to act as coordinating agents.
Secondly, how is the plan implemented? Surely there would be disagreement as to how to implement the ‘da conspiracy”? Why would it be necessary to even create such global government?
And so on… every piece of the conspiracy puzzle requires a separate, and often contradictory rationale. In order to account for the actions of the IPCC, we need to consider the actions fo the US government. Then we need to consider the actions of scientists, and so on.
We are multiplying explanations beyond necessity.
Any mature adult who has worked in government or business knows trying to establish common goals in a single division or team is an incredible challenge. But to do this on a global scale?
No, the simplest explanation happens to be the one that is true.
Climate change is real.