Why Is Climate Change Denial Still A Thing?

Why Is Climate Change Denial Still A Thing?

Science denial is nothing new, it's just never been the ideological platform of an entire political party.

Global warming, evolution, plate tectonics, and helio-centrism; all fairly abstract scientific theories that must be believed without necessarily being seen. Strange, given that fact, that the primary critics of such landmarks in our human understanding tend to be religious. The catholic church murdered astronomers for saying that the sun was the center of our solar system. Christian “scientists” even today refute claims that our planet’s crust migrates, or that we are part of the same broad genetic tree as Chimpanzees. Although a theory may be essentially “fact” whether we like it or not, most scientific breakthroughs as game-changing as global warming are going to have some socio-political birthing pains before the public accepts it. Unfortunately for the U.S., climate change is one that has been too politicized, its denial too mainstreamed, for it to be a quick delivery.

Recent evidence from NASA’s Gavin Schmidt, pointed to in an article on Think Progress, shows that as much as “It is extremely likely that 74% of all warming since 1950 has been as a result of human activity.” Climatologist Kevin Trenberth thinks that the actual percentage is probably much higher…like say 100% of all warming in the last 60 years is from human activity. Koch Industries, a private petrochemical empire whose owners have invested very heavily in climate-change denial research, backed famously skeptical climatologist Richard Muller. After enjoying two years as the darling of climate-change deniers, even being invited by House Republicans to testify to Congress, he concluded his study in March. The results? The world is definitely getting warmer faster, and it’s probably a result of human activity. Deniers were appalled, Koch broke ties, and Muller’s research has been dismissed by the community that had so admired him.

Climate change deniers, anti-evolutionists, and Christian scientists are not guided by fact and no amount of research will change their mind. Their arguments are representative, and their motives are emotional; two qualities that are antithetical to scientific research. Deniers arguments are primarily made up of refuting what evidence there is in opposition of their case, while only a fraction consists of evidence “supporting” it. Their motive is to protect a religious, economic, or political point of view; not a search for the empirical truth. For that reason, their defense often appeals to the emotional and the qualitatively prejudicial. Science is in essence skeptical of these things, and scientists are perpetually attempting to recreate research in order to weed out anything that is representative, prejudicial, or misrepresented.

Unfortunately, the argument has too long been framed ideologically, and climate science is now less about science and more about politics than it ever has been. The Republican brand has adopted climate change denial as a badge of honor, which has translated to a complete incompetence of logic in the legislative process where it comes to addressing climate change with policy. As Muller’s findings illustrated, scientific research is not enough to convince deniers. The deniers don’t follow logic, and they certainly don’t “trust” science. Instead, that segment of public opinion seems to adhere to the “one true god”, The Church of the Right. “Believing in what one can not see” in its most perverse form.