Why Do Climate Change Deniers Reject Sound Science? A New Paper Has Some Theories September 26, 2016

Why Do Climate Change Deniers Reject Sound Science? A New Paper Has Some Theories

Denying the reality of climate change is a lot like denying evolution. It’s not just a one-off belief. There are far too many pieces of evidence backing it up — from disparate fields, no less — and rejecting those theories means you’re also denying several other scientifically sound ideas.


For example, you can’t say “Future climate cannot be predicted” and believe “We are heading into an ice age.” You also can’t say “temperature and CO2 are not connected,” as one author did, and then say “CO2 keeps our planet warm,” as that same author did later in the same book.

Those are the sorts of contradictions explored in a new paper, published in the journal Synthese. The authors attempt to understand what’s going on in the minds of deniers and why they reject sound science:

The paper comes with the fun and enticing title: “The Alice in Wonderland mechanics of the rejection of (climate) science: simulating coherence by conspiracism.”

Why Alice? Because, as the White Queen admitted: “Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”

One reason the authors give for why some people have a hard time accepting reality is that the consequences of taking action would go against their interests:

Accepting the scientific consensus would likely see increased levels of regulation, which challenges their identity as free-market advocates. So instead, the authors argue, the only options open are to either deny the consensus or try and discredit it.

Moral of the story: A lot of deniers aren’t coming from a place where evidence matters. They have ulterior motives for rejecting the facts that come their way. It’s a mindset that should sound familiar to anyone who’s ever thought about why people continue to believe in a God…

(Image via Shutterstock. Thanks to Matt for the link)

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