“Despite the fact that we live in an ‘information age’, and are finding out more and more about the universe, some people seem determined to reject knowledge. For example, in the 1950s, tobacco companies knew, from their own research, that tobacco smoking was both addictive and terribly dangerous to health. When scientists and doctors began to say this publicly, the companies hired other scientists and PR people to argue that there was still doubt. Millions died as a result.
More recently, energy industries have attempted to dispute that humans are responsible for climate change. Other people won’t accept that vaccination protects against disease.
It’s hard to understand these deniers, but it seems they are driven by a small number of motives, and they use a pretty standard set of arguments to defend their views. One motive is corporate greed. Another may be religious fanaticism. And almost always they suspect scientists and governments of some sort of conspiracy. It’s fascinating.”
Dr Martin Bridgstock is a senior lecturer in the School of Natural Sciences.
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After coming across an article called The Global Warming Petition Project (http://petitionproject.org/gw_article/Review_Article_HTML.php) offered by a denier in a discussion, supposedly to “formally put the question [of anthropogenic global warming] to rest”, I would also have to add fervent patriotism mixed with a unhealthy dose of national persecutory delusion to the motives list.
In the Petition Project there is a section entitled “World Temperature Control”. In this section the authors proffer that if global temperatures become too hot then this could be addressed “with relative ease” by using commercial airliners to seed the upper atmosphere with solar blocking particles.
After reading that section I had to look a bit further into the authors. Seemingly the key sponsor of the article is the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine (OISM); two of the authors are employed at this facility. Visiting the website (oism.org) uncovers links to such material as “Nuclear War Survival Skills”, “Homeland Civil Defense[sic]”, and “Doctors for Disaster Preparedness”. Exploring these links is like opening up the porthole to a rich paranoia. Under these links one can find articles such as “Zombie Climate Change”, “War and Energy”, “The Green God is Mammon”, and you can even find articles arguing DDT is safe and it should be brought back. Supposedly these are articles by, and endorsed by, physicians or at least doctorate holders. Personally, I would have hoped for more learned topics and articles from such educated people.
There are also links between the OISM, Dr Arthur B Robinson, and a doomsday circular called the Phoenix Project supposedly authored by Gyeorgos Ceres Hatonn (http://www.phoenixarchives.com/html/information.html#hatonn).
There are further developments, but I will leave it there. With such strong views about “homeland defence” as those developed in the various links from the OISM, downplaying science with the belief of protecting one’s national energy supplies and economy would seem an easily justified cause, without needing any financial incentive. Perhaps this could be why there are so many organisations in the US promoting climate change denial?
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