A recent Larvatus Prodeo thread on the demise of the recent Copenhagen Climate Change talks bought out a few denialists eager to dance on the grave of COP15 and by extension (in their minds) the AGW hypothesis, now estimated at > 90% certainty by the IPCC.
We had a good stoush. It was like the old Usenet days.
Denialist A said that AGW was hokum and that Global Warming was explained by the Solar Intertial Motion hypothesis. I had great fun researching and refuting that argument, especially as Denialist A like the noted Denialist Ian Plimer, provided a list of references to support his argument, which references actually contradicted it.
Denialist B was much more extreme than his offsider. To my amazement he actually wrote that the planet would not be worth saving if Climate Change mitigation led to a One World Government.
This is beyond the infamous Vietnam War insanity of the US Major who commented that it was necessary to destroy the provincial capital of Ben Tre, killing who knows how many, in order to save it… from becoming Communist. Denialist B is actually willing to let the whole planet become uninhabitable in order to “save it” from Communism.
Here’s his quote:
if it meant the end of democracy, the surrender of national sovereignties, the universal hegemony of the UN and its dutiful scientists, it’d be worth it, wouldn’t it, to save the planet?
No. It. Wouldn’t.
A more extreme position is unimaginable.
The Truth Behind Climate Change
Both D1 and D2 provided the same explanation for why AGW is the dominant viewpoint in Climate Change Science: A Leftist Fascist neo-Pagan cabal has utilised the research of greedy/fraudulent/compliant/frightened Climatologists to produce a Climate Change scare with the objective of forcing a One World Government. The full version appears below complete with fuzzy timeline and a cast of reprehensible characters.
I don’t think AGW is a conspiracy. I think it started innocently enough, around 20 years ago, as a hypothesis which seemed, at that time, to have potential legs. The world was warming, and it was feasible that humna activity had something to do with it. There were problems from the beginning. For example, some scientists objected that the AGW models did not take into account the behaviour of clouds, which were known to have profound effects on climate, but about whose dynamics almost nothing was known. From the start, too, there were suspicions (I certainly shared them) that the whole thing was a glossed-up post-modern version of medieval apocalyptic: we have sinned (against the new God, nature); we are being punished; we must repent our sins; else we will die. In short, a modern version of the sandwich-board man, who wears on his front the message, ‘The End is Nigh’, and on his back, ‘Repent Ye of Your Sins’.
The Greens, and more broadly the radical (i.e. non-rational) left, were eager and early adopters. They had been dismayed by the failure of the 20th century’s light on the hill – socialism – as evidenced by the collapse of the Soviet Union and, later, its unfortunate victim/satellites. They needed another beacon to light on another hill to demonstrate just how bad for us capitalism really is, if we only but realised it. If socialism wouldn’t do it, what would? The AGW hypothesis, appearing at exactly the right historical moment, was fully fit for purpose. So, enthusiastically, they built the bandwagon, and piled on board.
After ten years, the engine – ‘the science’ – ran out of puff. The world stopped warming. What on earth to do? The bandwagon had grown to gargantuan proportions, and was obviously unstoppable. But the tracks had faded out, or the road was occluded by mist. I’ll give the CRU scientists the benefit of the doubt. Some of them, at least, were genuinely dismayed. They recognised that they had built a house of cards, and the unsympathetic winds of reality were picking at its edges. A young and immature science – climatology – had emerged from obscurity, been hugely funded as the world’s salvator, and now, doggone it, it had all gone terribly wrong. Careers built were going to be ruined; funding, once secure, was in peril; whole departments and power bases, built from the sand that now appeared to be AGW, might be de-institutionalised. ClimateGate broek – and was desperately ignored. Political leaders had nailed their colours to the AGW mast – what would happen to them? The answer was: press on regardless. The result? Copenhagen, where all the skeins unravelled.
Looking at the explanation in summary and totality I wondered what the genre of the story was and if any others existed like it. Gatekeepers of the dominant paradigm in societies, groups and ages past have continuously suffered assaults on their privilege, comfort and ideological certainty. There must be quite a library of similarly outrageous ‘explanations’.
A quick Google gave me the answer, which should have been obvious. The genre of D2’s story is myth
As this extract from ‘Social and Cultural Anthropology: The Key Concepts’ by Rapport and Overing explains, following Durkheim, the function of myth is not to convey metaphysical truth, but to
reinforce social cohesion and unity by presenting and justifying traditional order
So, while the content of the myth may be ‘irrational and untrue’, even though related to some social reality, the purpose of the myth and its symbols is to maintain a given social order.
The myth presented in this post, the work of AGW denialists – i.e. that AGW is the product of a Leftist, Fascist neo-pagan plot in conjunction with greedy, fraudulent and/or frightened Climatologists – is a superb example of such myth making.
AGW is a death threat to Capitalism as a doctrinal system.
For those who have fully invested themselves into the belief that Capitalism is the best of all political systems, the possibility that it might be invalidated by any consideration is deeply emotionally and psychologically unsettling. That a Green cause, Climate Change, might be the proximate cause of the invalidation of Capitalism is, for the true believers, literally unthinkable, because Green Parties have always been regarded by them as hypocritical, irrational and unrealistic.
The death of Capitalism for so many represents a death of self, because of the intensity of their belief in the Capitalist system.
No-one wants to die.
So AGW must be denied.
Hence the development of myth to explain why the social order must stay exactly as it is with Capitalism the dominant paradigm and Green issues relegated to the fringe. And that’s why these myths emphasise the received truths about Green Parties – their hypocrisy, irrationality and so on.
That the myths should intensely disparage Communism and Socialism is also to be expected as these were considered defeated and discredited foes following the collapse of Eastern European Communism. It is shocking beyond acceptance to the believers that the true faith of Capitalism should again have to face a challenge from Statists who advocate centralised international action on Climate Change such as that discussed at COP15.
So AGW is not accepted. No matter the Science.
No matter anything.