Climate deniers: making the world safe from bankers? (guest post)

Tim at New Anthropocene has posted an article exploring the strange nexus between conspiracy culture, belief and climate change denial. It is a good extension of some of the conversation that has been focussed on conspiracy ideation.  It is part of the growing awareness that parts of the climate change “sceptic” movement employ motifs and tropes typical of conspiracy culture, some of which extend back decades. Enjoy, Mike @ WtD.

In rejecting evidence contrary to ones values we’re left with an obvious question; what is it about the value that leaves it immune to reasoning?

In The Moral Landscape, Sam Harris provides such an answer to religious conviction with a fear of death. As discussed in my previous post, this clearly spills into other subjects, such as evolution and climate change, which ultimately question a given doctrine adhered to by an individual. Without meaning to, by challenging the creation myth or omnipotence of a super being (in controlling our climate), we bring the theology into question and with it, one’s immortality. It’s simply unquestionable to such people.

On the other hand, what can we make of the mantra of people like Dr David Evans and Christopher Monckton (associated and apparently shared views with The Galileo Movement)? An outline of this was spotted by Mike at WtD and highlighted in the post, A cabal of bankers and Sister Souljah: Lewandowsky versus the extreme sceptic fringe. I suggest you read through the full article, but for the sake of this post, I’ll mention a few key features.

Basically, dating back to the Middle Ages, there has been a developing class of invisible people growing rich on making money out of thin air, leading us down a path of endless debt to this secret group, siphoned from communities via taxes and interest (bared on, money imagined into existence). It gets weirder in that this invisible enemy is working to develop a single world government that one gets the impression would be oppressive.

Even involuntary commitments, such as only being able to purchase high-efficiency light globes (I suspect fluoridation of drinking water as well – especially if it’s deemed to be costing us) are taken as evidence of the build-up to this new government. Nova provides a caricature of these fears (which she obviously shares).

It reads like Hubbard’s Dianetics.

This doctrine, like its religious counterparts, is far older than the “debate” over climate change and is not really focused on the science of climate change at all (ie. it’s more about the use of fuel to power their dreams and taxes that propose to restrict climate change – the scientific evidence is just a victim to all this). It is an extremely conservative ideology, manifesting its own boogiemen to drawn the necessary conclusions. It justifies (and indeed, exaggerates) a core conservative value: individualism. As Sam Harris puts it in Free Will;

“Liberals tend to understand that a person can be lucky or unlucky in all matters relevant to his success. Conservatives, however, often make a religious fetish of individualism. Many seem to have absolutely no awareness of how fortunate one must be to succeed at anything in life, no matter how hard one works. One must be lucky to be able to work. One must be lucky to be intelligent, physically healthy, and not bankrupted in middle age by the illness of a spouse…

“And yet, living in America, one gets the distinct sense that if certain conservatives were asked why they weren’t born with club feet or orphaned before the age of five, they would not hesitate to take credit for these accomplishments.”

Now, to bring this back to the opening point; what is it about this ideology that leads one to reject compelling contrary evidence? I suspect the principles of individualism ultimately let such people down and they need a scapegoat.

To return to the Harris quote, such individuals believe beyond all doubt, that it is the individual alone that is responsible for their successes and failures in life. We of course tend to far more easily acknowledge our personal successes than the shortcomings of our actions. In the case of extreme conservatives, the only thing that ought to stand between themselves and the riches they can obtain (or deserve) is, well, themself. Why then, are they not rich/powerful/etc?

It is those who “steal” their money – the banks and governments. It is the “powerful” (which, in most cases, doesn’t seem to stretch to the CEO’s and players on Wall Street within this ideologies – rather, such people are the example they wish to emulate) to blame.

Accepting the compelling evidence against reckless resource exploitation and climate change leads to changes in behaviour necessary to ensure increased sustainability into the distant future (and look how this is portrayed in Nova’s caricature). This ignores the core principles of individualism while amplifying the fears that governments and bankers are out to take your hard-earned money.

Just as with the religiously minded who hears you challenge their doctrine when confronted with conflicting evidence, these extreme conservatives hear mindless puppets to a secret world order, threatening their way of life; their pursuit of personal wealth. It also touches on a sensitive nerve already imbedded to explain their failed attempts to emulate their heroes of success.

It would explain the venomous behaviour we encounter in such “debates” and the overall tone of works, such as Nova’s second handbook.

The only course of action, I suspect is, firstly, keep your distance. Secondly, ask questions (as mentioned in the previous post). Questions such as, “Who is behind the multigenerational “hoax” of climate change?” or “What hard evidence do you have of this secret banker society, their desire for a new world government and involvement with climate change?” or “Why have they been hiding for more than 500 years, waiting to take over – surely they could have in the great depression or at countless other times in history – why wait so long in hiding?”

Nut it out – dig into the rabbit whole. By exposing it to the light, one would hope they would start to see the many unanswerable questions to their ideology – the great lengths they go to make it fit reality. They may start to feel a little silly with the increasingly odd conclusions they have to draw (again, I direct you back to the post at WtD for a more detailed look at it).

The thing to remember is that you’re not arguing with such people over the validity of the scientific evidence regarding climate change. You’re nowhere near it. For that reason, you need to aim the conversation instead to what it really in question; how valid is the idea of hidden bankers out to take over the world?

17 thoughts on “Climate deniers: making the world safe from bankers? (guest post)

  1. To add to this wonderful article, it can also be said of extreme individualists that they find it impossible to believe mere Nature could be hindering their efforts (no ,only humans are smart enough to do that.)

    Bad weather never holds up their plane – its another airline company trying to make their airline look bad or because the pilot seeking an extra night in bangkok and arranged it all with the airport weather person etc etc.

    If nature and god’s providence or sheer happenstance ( good or bad) are rejected, a priori, as possible causes, than one is almost FORCED to blame it on other humans. Who or what else is left ?

    But when no evidence turns up of human evil-doing, this is not seen as a hint to look at Nature or Luck or God instead, but rather provides a new reason to see a very clever hidden human conspiracy behind it all, once again.

    A set of a priori assumptions leads these people down a rabbit hole into a netherworld of watermelons under the bed drinking fluoride and water !

  2. It is a very good article, but I also note a lurking “sceptic” has given it one star. Lulz!

  3. George Papadopoulos says:

    In recent times I have been labelled a “liberal”, “coal miner”, “climate change denier” and similar – even a “Origin Energy” person.

    The cause for all these labels has been my opposition to wind turbines, not because I question climate change, or question the need for renewable energy sources, but because of the way which they create low frequency noise and occasionally create an unbearable humming vibrational sound, particularly at night time. I don’t live close to the them, but believe it or not 35km away. Predictably, I have no difficulty comprehending why people at close range complain so much about them.

    It is important that people stop looking for motiffs of conspiracy and instead look for motiffs of logic: few are against solar panels but a large minority, particularly in rural areas are against wind turbines. Ever guess why?

    • We’re not talking about those claims: that’s a separate discussion. It’s about that segment of the sceptic community that state bankers are manipulating events behind the scenes.

      What is your view on that specific cliam George?

      We can discuss this later point under the recent post on Japan’s move to renewable energy.

      See here:

      https://watchingthedeniers.wordpress.com/2012/09/16/japans-renewable-future-dropping-nuclear-investing-500bn-in-renewable-energy/

      This is off topic, so let’s focus on what the above post states.

      But – under the terms of this blog’s guidelines – I’d suggest you state your view on the idea of a centuries long conspiracy by banking families to use climate change as a vehcicle to implement a one world government.

      • George Papadopoulos says:

        On the specific claim you make about bankers and the push for one world government, my point is that there is no point in people associating ALL opposition to wind energy with such conspiracies. I don’t say that you specifically said that, but it is an attitude which unfortunately prevails.

        That is why I have been made a victim of conspiracy theories – blanket tautology of one specific motiff of expression and political ideology to anyone that dares to express even the vaguest irrelevant similarities to such extremes.

        It is much like saying that anyone who is anti-abortion must belong to to the “fanatic extremists” of the Roman Catholic Church. But likewise they could be anything but that, including muslims, jews, buddhists etc. They could even be atheists…

      • john byatt says:

        You are correct George, while every climate change denial site is anti wind and into the OWG crap, that does not mean that every one that is against wind turbines denies the science or believes in a one world government hoax.
        Your thoughts on dealing with the replacement of fossil fuel would straighten that out

      • Moth says:

        Where in the post above does it state that all committed sceptics believe in such a delusion? If anything, it’s hinted that the article relates to extremist fringe groups.

        More directly, I pose the question (the opening l sentence): “In rejecting evidence contrary to ones values we’re left with an obvious question; what is it about the value that leaves it immune to reasoning?”

        I have to say, I agree with Mike; you’re providing a sideshow.

    • Watching the Deniers says:

      George, you’re behaving as predicted. I’ve made it very, very clear: this is the view of one section of the sceptic community.

      My predictions were:

      1/ You would not answer the question
      2/ You would continue your line of argument about wind farms etc.

      If you don’t want to be associated with the absurd claims about banking conspiracies a simple, declarative “No, that’s not my view!” would suffice.

      That will ensure you don’t fall victim to such broad brushed stereotyping: the power is in your hands George.

      Can you please provide that?

      Now, over to you… Yes/No to the question I’ve asked you.

      Prediction: in the dozens of times I’ve asked sceptics this question they dodge it, talk about everything else and try and steer the conversation away from the simple question they’ve been asked.

      I suspect George will do the same: I’d be delighted to be proven wrong!

      • George Papadopoulos says:

        Well let’s see whether you too behave in predictable fashion: Do you call upon the Gillard Government to implement last year’s Senate Enquiry recommendation into wind turbines and health?

        If not, then on what basis? Does shedding a bit of light on industrial horizontal wind axis turbines and health problem hurt?

        Meanwhile I will allow you to torment your mind about my personal opinions about banking conspiracies and the one world government.

        All I can say is that perhaps a one world government may appear inevitable – we may be almost there. However we can keep on guessing about who is going to run it if it eventuates. There are lots of volunteers, perhaps even a resurrection of the old Caliphate?

        Do you have any ideas yourself?

        • Watching the Deniers says:

          Lol!

          Exactly as predicted: please take the time to go back and read what I said how you’d respond. So that’s a “Yes” I believe in the one world government and the bankers may be one of those groups scheming to take over”.

          You’ve also thrown in comments about Islam and the Caliphate. Which is standard textbook denial tactics and meant to distract the conversation. Did you memorise the “Denial 101” playbook or what!

          Here is my prediction: when asked to give a YES/NO answer in regards to a position on real world facts, deniers dissemble, distract and avoid.

          BTW, there is no proof of wind turbine sickness or what ever it is called. It’s crank medicine. Unless of course you have some evidence – the medical profession rejects the idea.
          Prediction; here comes the a) unsupported claims from blogposts b) claims based on the “work” of pseudo-expert Nina Pierpont MD.

          Here is the view form the medical profession: http://theconversation.edu.au/wind-turbine-syndrome-a-classic-communicated-disease-8318

          “Wind farms have existed in Australia long before the first claims about health ever surfaced. The Ten Mile Lagoon wind farm near Esperance, Western Australia has been operational for 19 years. Victoria’s first, the Codrington wind farm, just celebrated its 11th birthday, and has 14 turbines each capable of producing 1.3 megawatts. And yet health complaints are relatively recent, with the few in Codrington post-dating a visit to the area by a vocal opponent, spreading anxiety.

          In this sense, “wind turbine syndrome” (which incidentally produces zero returns from the United States National Library of Medicine’s 23 million research papers) is what we can call a “communicated” disease: it spreads via the nocebo effect by being talked about, and is thereby a strong candidate for being defined as a psychogenic condition.”

          Wait, wait… here it comes!

          The medical “establishment” is part of the the conspiracy!

        • George Papadopoulos says:

          Well, you clearly assume a lot but answer so little. So why should I bother answering your questions? You too have just proven your inclinations towards conspiracy theories about people raising the matter over wind turbines issues with health.

          You clearly don’t seem anymore virtuous than your climate sceptic opponents.

        • Watching the Deniers says:

          Oh George, you really should learn the meaning of “Give them enough rope…”

          But in all seriousness: if you have any serious evidence from the scientific community that contradicts the consensus view please feel free to post.

        • George Papadopoulos says:

          I am not attacking the consensus on climate change. I am pointing out that one specific solution to carbon emissions has some serious defects – and I experience this first hand: low frequency noise.

          Your labels are proving nothing, and frankly neither are my discussions with you. Bye bye for now.

        • Watching the Deniers says:

          Thanks George…

  4. john byatt says:

    George must have a cute earring

  5. […] have been online, in blog threads, from committed sceptics (have a look under the alfoil hat or George from this post from WtD for example). No good scientist, indeed no respected scientist, gets to such accolades […]

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