Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Rules of Denialism

How does a denialist think? In my opinion, it's indisputable that the most vocal denialists begin with a conclusion. However, pinning down that conclusion is difficult. Do they believe that the earth isn't warming? If it is demonstrated that it is, do they then shift to the claim that the warming isn't anthropogenic? That it's solar forcing, and nothing more? That it's cosmic rays?

Even in the unlikely event that a denialist will admit that warming is happening, and that it is human-caused, they have prepared further lines of defense: Global Warming is good for you! Of course, this completely ignores that massive economic and social disruptions are hardly ever good for anyone.

Or, the denier can skip all of these, and accuse you of holding an irrational "religious" belief in anthropogenic global warming.

I'm finding that my instincts toward civility are being eroded quickly by these interactions with denialists. Of course, I almost always return insults in kind, though I do know that is rarely a productive tactic. As I saw in my argument with H.H, a denier can open a discussion with a pointed personal insult:

That there is a strong correlation between easily managed subjects and the same constituency being liberal and increasingly dependent upon society for their sustenance seems to be more than a coincidence;
and yet be completely oblivious to the fact that this may be offensive. When the insult is returned, rather mildly in my opinion, the denier has a hissy fit:

i do find it interesting how you immediately try to disparage and otherize one who presents you with critical, contrary thought. objective scientists don't rely on such pathetic personal attacks; only those without substantive arguments.

Would it be too much to conclude from this that denialism is often associated with narcissism? I'm not a psychologist- however, it seems to me that this is the product of a psyche with an outsized, yet extremely fragile, ego.

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