Monday, 7 December 2009

Amanda Knox, climate change, and the human mind

Amidst all the publicity concerning the trial of Amanda Knox, the thing that interests me is the fact that Miss Knox's family and friends are convinced that she is innocent, while the parents of Meredith Kercher feel that the guilty verdict was correct.

You are not surprised, are you? Confronted by pretty much the same evidence, people not only come to different conclusions, but you can pretty much guess which people are going to come to which conclusions.

So it is with Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW), or "climate change."

Take my parents. The circles they move in are largely church circles - and in particular, church circles where people have an interest in Africa and in development projects. They are interested in the environment and 'green issues'. They rely for news almost entirely on the output of the BBC. You know what they think, don't you? But I'll tell you anyway. Despite (or because of?) the fact that neither of them have a background in science, they regard disbelief in AGW as about astonishing as believing that the earth is flat.

Libertarians are a different breed. As I wander around the wilderness of the blogosphere, dropping in on blogs - generally libertarian in outlook - I rarely encounter any true believers in AGW. It seems that almost every libertarian in the world is a climate change sceptic. I can't think of a single libertarian true believer in AGW.

I cannot believe that this is a coincidence. Nor can I believe that all these libertarians have pored objectively over the evidence and come to one conclusion, and every green has pored over the evidence and come to the opposite conclusion. Is this not puzzling?

I think that the Heresiarch, over at Heresy Corner, has pretty much got the answer:
Scepticism about the science of global warming is informed by scepticism about the means being proposed to tackle it: regulations, targets, interventions, the shadow of global governance, top-down control. Free-marketeers naturally hate the artificial mechanisms that are beloved of meddling politicians.
Or, to put it another way, freedom lovers can see that if everybody accepts AGW, then we are going to get a huge number of intrusive laws, so they hate AGW's acceptance among the political classes. Greens can see that if everybody accepts AGW, we will get a huge number of laws that force everybody to be green, so they love it when the political classes accept AGW . And so both freedom lovers and greens form their conclusions about the truth of AGW accordingly.

And so I conclude that men's brains are truly slaves of their passions.


Stuart said...

You are right of course.

I absolutely detest the global warming religion and would call it a hoax, but know it to be more sinister than that.

Am I a scientist....nope. Do I look for all of the blogs and websites that verify my view....yep.

Why do I do this?

Because I know that the 'elite' will hijack this, whether it be true or not, to further impose their controlling mania and ideology on the populace and further erode our freedoms.

Stuart said...

Having said the above, it doesn't mean we are wrong though!

Copenhagen climate summit in disarray after ‘Danish text’ leak – Developing countries react furiously to leaked draft agreement that would hand more power to rich nations, sideline the UN’s negotiating role and abandon the Kyoto protocol

bethyada said...

I am not so sure. I think libertarians have learnt to be more sceptical of claims in general. I find them able to disagree with people they otherwise have some affinity with. And one sees asymmetry in other areas, such as the willingness of sceptics to link to sites they quote but disagree with, yet it can take some internet searching to find an antagonist reference if one is on a pro-AGW site.

And while there are thinking people who subscribe to AGW, there are also the non-questioning masses. In my experience I have not met many people who oppose AGW who do not think thru the issues.

And libertarians disagree on many other issues amongst themselves also.

I do not see the sides as particularly similar at all.

Young Mr. Brown said...

Hello Bethyada.

Sorry if I stepped on your toes. I did not (and do not) have any intention of impugning your integrity.

"I think libertarians have learnt to be more sceptical of claims in general."

Fair comment. Most people who become libertarians are, I suspect, very disenchanted with mainstream orthodoxy - and hence inclined to start questioning everything that the mainstream is saying. So most libertarians are sceptical.

The thing that I find puzzling is just much unanimity there is. Some will have looked at the evidence and weighed it dispassionately. Others (and I would put myself in this category) are open-minded sceptics, who have doubts about AGW, but are not dogmatic. But it seems to me that a lot of sceptics (including libertarians?) are just a little bit to dogmatic, a little bit too certain that AGW is not taking place.

Your comment that libertarians are more sceptical of claims in general would also seem to imply that a lot of libertarians, even those who make no religious profession, would be somewhat sceptical about neo-Darwinism - another scientific orthodoxy which is passionately held by mainstream scientists. But that is not the case!

I still suspect that there a lot of libertarians whose views on AGW are shaped by non-scientific factors.