The peculiar tribe of climate change deniers have two major characteristics as far as I’m concerned.
- They prefer to avoid understanding science to the point that they don’t read the actual science papers that they refer to. So when they refer to a paper you can pretty well guarantee that the one person who read it didn’t really understand it and simply extracted a few words out of the scientific context.
- Having gained a invalid idea, they will then proceed to inflate it (while never linking to it as that might help people making their own judgement) by each blogger misquoting what the previous blogger/journalist said (also usually without links). The end result of this is a story that has no relationship to the actual paper that they are referencing floating around the nets steadily inflating like an alarmed blowfish.
It is all rather hilarious to watch exactly how stupid people can expend so much effort to not read the source document and to try to understand the actual science in it. If they spent even a fraction of the time reading science that they expend propagating self-referencing bullshit, then those of us to actually do read and understand science wouldn’t get so frustrated with them. But it appears that your average climate change denier (CCD) is far more concerned with inflated gossip than actually understanding science.
Bryan Walker at Hot-Topic points out this great recent example of both traits in “It isn’t the sun”
. The video on the same topic by PotHoler pokes some gentle fun at the inflated failings of CCDs.
The recent CERN paper in Nature on cosmic rays and cloud formation has caused considerable excitement in the denialist world. Canadian columnist Lawrence Solomon in the Financial Post declared “The new findings point to cosmic rays and the sun – not human activities – as the controller of climate on Earth”. For what the paper really said readers can turn to the welcome and discussion it received on RealClimate. There’s also a useful response to Solomon’s claim on SkepticalScience.
It’s a complex picture, but today I came across this short video which sets it out straightforwardly and with a light touch. (Thanks to The Carbon Brief website.) Put together by Australian science journalist Potholer, it is both an explanation of the science and a picture of how misinterpretations travel in the denialist community.