Why does climate change “denial” matter in a “post-truth” society?
From Clare Foran at Atlantic: The entrenchment of climate-science denial is one of the ways the United States appears to be exceptional relative to the rest of the world. A comparative 2015 study of nine conservative political parties in countries such as Canada, Germany, and Spain concluded that “the U.S. Republican Party is an anomaly in denying anthropogenic climate change.” Meanwhile, Americans were least likely to agree that climate change is largely the result of human activity in a 2014 survey of 20 countries, including China, India, Australia, and Great Britain.
Clare Foran, meet Julie Shaw: A scientist on the benefits of a post-truth society: I’m a factual relativist. I abandoned the idea of facts and “the truth” some time last year. I wrote a whole science book, The Memory Illusion, almost never mentioning the terms fact and truth.
The comments focussed the issue of fact vs. post-fact and truth vs. post-truth. But we must also look at consequences:
From Seversky at 1:
It depends on whether AGW denial is based on reasonable doubts about the weight of evidence in favor of the claim or on an instinctive distrust of “elites” – of people who are not seen as “one of us”. Having doubts about Darwin’s original theory because he was not able to provide an adequate mechanism of inheritance was reasonable. Dismissing it as the self-serving fantasy of some “old Brit toff” is not.
From Barry Arrington at 3:
“It depends on whether AGW denial is based on reasonable doubts about the weight of evidence . . .”
Evidence for what Sev? Facts? Truth? If facts and truth do not matter, why does evidence matter? They matter only if Shaw is wrong.
Seversky at 1, Barry Arrington at 3: What Seversky does not understand is that Julie Shaw is attacking the very legitimacy of Clare Foran’s approach to science.
And the damage is done whether either Shaw or Foran (or Sev?) is intellectually capable of understanding the problem.
Can human beings be morally certain* that we have judged a set of available facts correctly? On Shaw’s showing (and on that of anyone who espouses a Darwinian view of the mind), even if we had such a certainty it would just be another illusion for survival and reproduction. But Foran writes as though we could have such a certainty and must act on it.
Why does Foran believe that? Is she not a Darwinian?More.
In order to justly depriving others of liberty, one needs moral certainty. But if one lives in a post-truth world, one can never have moral certainty, only the desire for power.
And that post-moral desire is precisely what raises so much suspicion in North America about the climate zealots.
See also: Why does climate change “denial” matter in a “post-truth” society?: Clare Foran, meet post-truth, post-fact scientist Julie Shaw. (It’s probably old-fashioned of us to think that only one of you can be right…)
Bill Nye would criminalize dissent from human-caused global warming claims.
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