In the past, you may have found climate change Denialism rather humorous. Hearing older family members scoff at news reports on climate change may not have bothered you too much. In fact, you might have tended to agree with their stance. Famed psychologist Stephan Lewandowsky penned an intriguing article on why the human mind will choose to reject the science of climate change. He also has an eye-opening explanation to general denialists. He points out the impact “identity-protective cognition” can have on one’s ability to happily engage with the issue of climate change. It involves resistance to change due to long-held practices and ideals.
Climate change is an issue that requires both mental and physical change, which is a rather difficult thing to ask of people. However, from personal experience, one can choose to accept the fact that climate change exists but not do anything about it. For example, we have asked friends and family why they don’t install solar panels. They reply with the fact that they are rather costly. Instead, the money that can be used for solar panels will be spent on a trip to the mall. This is how we view the workings of denialists. They are not necessarily focusing on conspiracies or myths. Rather, they have done well to tone down the urgency and necessity to have all people engaged and actively aware of its threat. Which is why effective communication and media correspondence is essential to gaining and spreading awareness of the issue.
Lewandowsky goes on to concisely explain what it means to deny climate change:
“Climate denial is therefore perhaps best understood as a rational activity that replaces a coherent body of science with an incoherent and conspiracist body of pseudo-science for political or psychological reasons.”
Of course, expert deniers will continue to say things like the pseudo-scientific goose chases associated with man-made global warming hurt legitimate science.
Now, if you’re wondering what on earth pseudoscience is, it falsely presents non-scientific claims as scientific. Non-scientific claims arise out of the basic rejection of the scientific method. That is, no actual scientific observations, experiments, or the recording of data took place. In this case, climate change deniers will take their firm beliefs and simply run with it under the guise of “science”.
However, climate change denial as a form of pseudoscience is a vast topic which we will be covering in depth in a later post, so stay tuned.