I don’t think that you need an environmental science degree to engage in a sophisticated conversation about science. But, if your knowledge of the field exclusively amounts to TEDtalks or Wikipedia; and the majority of scientists disagree with your reasoning, you better stop talking.
And, yet, in the US, a substantial amount of Republican politicians have done the exact opposite, and kept affirming that climate change is a hoax. Incidentally, this comical stubbornness makes me think of Al Franken a former comedian, most notably on SNL, turned senator, who used to say: “ You know, denial ain’t just a river in Egypt”.
A good analogy of this attitude would be for you to imagine if I disagreed with the an author’s interpretation of his own book.
Moreover, it is the arguments used to explain this denial rather than the denial itself that make climate change scepticism inherently hilarious. Aside of the constant conspiracist disagreement with scientific fact, I recently learned about the growing number of Republicans who compare themselves to Galileo in their disagreement with general consensuses.
Let us examine the major differences involved that explain why Republicans are talking out of their you know whats with that asinine comparison:
- Galileo was a scientist, Republicans aren’t
- The Catholic Church weren’t scientists, and scientists are (if you hadn’t guessed)
- Geocentrism was an incredibly old, hence outdated scientific concept
Finally, incentive is the crucial difference in this issue. The Holy Roman Catholic Church endorsed 1800 year old scientific theories because these fit their interpretation of the Bible. In other words, geocentrism wasn’t based on objectivity: it was ideological. Furthermore, the Church being so politically, economically and socially dominant in 17th century society implied that it could make general consensus a view that wasn’t entirely based on rational thought.
As for incentive in climate change scepticism, the incentive to deny is on the Republicans’ side. As it pertains to this issue, money naturally has its say. In fact, I don’t think that their attitude emanates from stupidity; in fact, an article by The Guardian states that “Fossil fuel barons have invested more than $100m in Republican presidential Super Pacs”. Ted Cruz, for example, has received more than a million dollars from fossil fuel companies. 600,000 for Señor Ryan. Same for Señor Rubio. You get the point.
In a nutshell, Republicans’ using of pseudo rationality to repudiate reality is but a particularly weak façade that fails to conceal financial incentives.