Climate change and evolution denial (guest post)

From the blog uknowispeaksense:

Not so long ago, the LNP state convention in Queensland put forward the proposal that climate change not be taught in Queensland schools. A ridiculous idea that thankfully hasn’t been implemented by the LNP parliamentarians….yet.

It’s an idea so rooted in the 1950′s mindset of the crusty old farts that run the conservative party in Queensland it would set education standards back 50 years. What next? ”Get out the slate boards and chalk kids, for Science today we’re going to discuss talking snakes and original sin.”? OTT?

Yep, maybe so, but not really as far-fetched as it sounds, at least in principle. Here is a very recent talk by Eugenie Scott from the NCSE in the US discussing some of the parallels between climate science denial and denial of evolution. It’s a long one, so settle in.

I’ve long argued there is a connection between evolution and climate change denial: indeed, they are the product of the same anti-Enlightenment forces of creationism and right-wing popularism.

There is a great deal of convergence and cross over between these two movements. Tim at New Anthropocene also picks this up on his piece on the conservative-Christian Cornwall Alliance.

Great video: watch and note the deep connections.

2 thoughts on “Climate change and evolution denial (guest post)

  1. Eric Worrall says:

    Conflating ideas such as evolution denial, moon landing denial and climate “denial” is a ridiculous strawman argument. Such a claim suggests that anyone who disputes the alarmist view of climate change must be a nutcase.

    The ridiculousness of suggesting any dispute with the alarmist position is due to mental imbalance can be illustrated by probing the edges of the climate alarmist position.

    Richard Lindzen, who is often cited as a denier, estimates climate sensitivity is around 0.5c / doubling of CO2, with an upper limit of around 1c / doubling. .

    The IPCC claims a climate sensitivity of around 3c / doubling, +/- 1.5c per doubling.

    This means the IPCC lower estimate of 1.5c / doubling is only half a degree away from Lindzen’s upper estimate.

    The difference in opinion hinges on what happens to water vapour. Alarmists believe water vapour is a strong amplifier of the CO2 climate forcing. Lindzen suggests that increased water vapour is likely to form more clouds, which would act as a strong negative feedback on global warming, by reflecting more sunlight back into space.

    Does this 0.5c per doubling really represent a sharp binary division, between climate denial and legitimate climate science? Or is it more reasonable to interpret this as an academic difference of opinion, in an area of research over which substantial uncertainties remain unresolved?

    If Lindzen were to increase his upper estimate to 1.5c, would this place him on the outer fringes of legitimate science?

    Given that the IPCC lower estimate has been revised down in some recent reports, if the next downward revision intersects Lindzen’s upper estimate, does Lindzen automatically move from being a “denier” to being a legitimate scientist?

    Is it possible he might simply be wrong, rather than insane? Or, given that the IPCC estimate covers such a broad range of possible values, isn’t there at least a small chance that the IPCC might be slightly wrong?

    If you admit to either possibility, then you must also admit that some people who disagree with your views could be as rational as you are.

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