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It's always amusing to read the Sunday Star-Ledger op-ed pages, and today's didn't disappoint. They reprinted a Washington Post column by Brian Palmer entitled "How to convince your friends to believe in climate change. It's not as hard as you think."
Hint, it's not about science. Oh no, taling about science is a "loser" according to researchers who are working on finding ways to convince people that climate change is real.
There's an extensive body of research on how to persuade those who view science with suspicion — it's called the science of science communication. Much of the work centers on climate change.
They say "communication," I say Brainwashing.
"Speak openly of your personal ownership of your convictions," he notes. "Say, 'This is what's important to me, and this is why.' Don't get caught up in the scientific discussion. You're not a scientist, and evidence doesn't persuade people who reject climate change. What carries power is your personal conviction as a friend, colleague or neighbor."
Don't worry about why! Ignore your lying eyes! Join the Cult of Climate Change! All the cool kids are already here!
Better yet, gang up on the "denier," and pound him with peer pressure!
Climate change communications research suggests that a person's views are formed in large part by their social network. When a climate change rejectionist finds he is surrounded by believers, it eases the path toward changing his mind. Say that you, too, were once reluctant to accept the idea of climate change. It helps your audience identify with you.
Go ahead, tell me that isn't creepy.
Now you'll need a compelling argument to explain why you came around. As Marshall notes, communications research shows that "because scientists say so" is a loser. (President Obama made this mistake last week in his State of the Union address, when he bluntly declared that "climate change is a fact.")
Climate Change is Truth, don't be misled by facts.
The "compelling argument" is, of course, FUD, as in sowing doubt. "You buy homeowners insurance even though your house probably won't burn down. So if there's even a slight chance of rising sea levels, why not do something Right This Minute?"
Um, maybe because insurance has a proven risk-reward curve, and climate change hysteria doesn't? The oceans aren't dramatically rising ("yet, say the cultists). Nevermind that a scant 40 years ago these very same alarmists were 100% certain we were entering a new ice age. As climate scales go, 40 years is less than the blink of an eye.
I look out the window and see 2/3 of the United States covered in snow. Anybody wanna revisit that ice age theory again?
Then, OK, if we won't buy the FUD, it's onward to the circular reasoning! "The Pentagon is on board the Climate Change Express, why aren't you?"
People who reject climate-change science often find the views of the Department of Defense persuasive, and the Pentagon is extremely concerned about climate change.
"Large areas of the world will be submerged," Lewandowsky explains, "and residents of Bangladesh and Pacific island nations won't drown silently: They will migrate. Refugees sow the seeds for conflict." The Pentagon is already considering the need to shift resources from traditional combat to humanitarian operations to address these scenarios.
Um, who ordered the Pentagon to "consider" the impact of Climate Change? Why that would be the Climate Change Cultist in Chief! The Pentagon is following orders, which not to put too fine a point on it, is just what you're supposed to be doing you Gaia-hating gas-guzzling greenhouse-gas-emitting goober. Get with the program already!
No thanks. I used to trust the Pentagon. Until Obama started purging all the top Generals and Admirals, replacing them with administration sycophants. Now it's a hotbed of political correctness, social engineering, feminut orthodoxy, and junk science. Plus, the civilian command structure under both Leon Panetta and Chuck Hagel is full of political hacks who've never worn a uniform.
They've manged to bungle our victory in Iraq, leave Afghanistan and Libya in shambles, turn Egypt over to the Muslim Brotherhood, embolden Syria and Iran, and sold out Israel. If the political leadership at DOD can't fight a conventional war, what makes anyone think they can lead our fight against the chimera of Climate Change?
The cultists realize they have their work cut out for themselves.
Finally, don't get your hopes up. Changing someone's mind is a slow, laborious process. Your obstinate uncle, neighbor or colleague isn't going to slow-clap you out of the room after your irresistible climate-change argument. All you can do is plant a seed. So go do it.
I can't plant any seeds. The ground is frozen solid. But since you agree that "changing someone's mind is a slow, laborious process," why not try a little introspection of your own? Maybe this climate change thing isn't something we can control. Maybe nature is more powerful than we are. Maybe we should be looking for ways to adapt rather than trying to maintain an untenable status quo.
I think that's called Evolution. Perhaps you've heard of it.
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