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Author Topic: Polar Vortex and Climate Change Misinformation  (Read 1032 times)

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Offline Question MarkTopic starter

Polar Vortex and Climate Change Misinformation
« on: January 09, 2014, 07:14:48 PM »
Hello good peoples of Elliquiy.

Although I am left-of-center politically, I try to follow as many American conservative outlets as I can so I can not only keep abreast of current right-wing escapades, but also so I can try and see the world from their perspective.  In general, it's been an educational experience.  It can be truly enlightening to see how the other side of the aisle thinks.  Unfortunately, it can also be incredibly frustrating.  Consider the recent cold snap that's struck the continental USA these past few days, coined somewhat incorrectly as the polar vortex.  For those of you not in the know, last week a destabilized jet stream pinched off a mass of arctic air from the real polar vortex, a massive system of frigid atmosphere that rests near the north pole.  This bubble traveled south and proceeded to freeze most of Canada and the USA, and even some parts of northern Mexico.

Seriously, it's been goddamn COLD.  Not that I mind, I love the cold.  And after these past two lackluster winters, it's about damn time we got some proper winter weather.  No, it's not the cold that bothers me, it's the sudden wave of climate change deniers going, "It's cold outside today where I live.  Thus, global warming is wrong."  Since I follow a number of conservative outlets, and since denying the evidence of anthropogenic climate change is a common conservative position, I've been flooded with all kinds of misinformation, scientific illiteracy, and general idiocy these past few days.

And it has been infuriating.  It seems the position of the deniers is made up exclusively of one of two different kinds of people: those who know they're wrong, but are motivated by money/politics/corporations to continue spreading misinformation, and those who haven't done their research and simply repeat what the first type says.

That's what this really boils down to: misinformation.  People with the power to spread it have either the intellect or the contacts to know the truth, but they are motivated to lie.  Others without the time or ability to investigate the truth of the topic consume this misinformation and come to believe it.

Consider this video, where a man from a conservative outlet asks for signatures on a petition to end global warming on a record-low temperature day in DC.

Exhibit A: Capitalizing on Common Misconceptions


Not only is he doing a horrible job of pretending to be an actual petitioner, but he also deliberately spreads one of the most common misconceptions regarding global warming and climate change: if it's abnormally cold where you live, then the earth isn't warming.  Anyone who spends a couple minutes reading up on climate on Wikipedia can immediately poke numerous holes in this postulation.  Global warming refers to global averages.  On average, temperatures are rising.  This DOES NOT mean cold is going to vanish.  It just means that, on average, global temperatures will be higher.  Which they are.  Hell, just check the weather forecast in Scandinavia and Siberia: they're experiencing anomalously warm temperatures, and the southern hemisphere is in the middle of an unusually hot summer.

What really disheartens me, though, are the comments filled with people saying...  You know what?  I'm not even going to say it.  Their comments speak for themselves.  It's horrifying and disgusting, like watching a cow being led unknowingly into a slaughterhouse.  How can so many people be so willfully ignorant of reality for so long?

Exhibit B: Using "Global Warming" and "Climate Change" Incorrectly



It's a common misconception that climate change is being used to replace global warming.  In reality, they're two separate things.  Global warming refers to rising global temperature averages, where-as climate change refers to the resulting changes in regional climates as a result of global warming.  This means that a lot of outlets will misuse the terms, such as the above image that claims the liberal media invented climate change because it can be used more flexibly than global warming.  I.e., the liberals are changing their story, so it must be false.

Exhibit C: General Misinformation



Not only is this image unverified and unsupported by actual research, it is incorrect in its estimate.  A simple google search will show that nearly all articles mention the somewhat ironic nature of the trapped research vessel's mission.  In addition, the implication relies on the same misinformation as in Exhibit A: it's cold, therefor global warming and climate change are a hoax.

This image was lifted from the same website that created Exhibit B, the Media Research Center.  It's on the far right end of the conservative spectrum, and on the low end in terms of reputability as a journalism watchdog.  Despite this, they have almost 700,000 likes on Facebook, and their base grows daily.


I suppose you might be wondering why I made this thread.  I'll be honest, it's primarily a rant at the sheer amount of ignorance and scientific illiteracy I've been exposed to these past few days, and damn has it been cathartic.  However, I also want to spark a discussion about the general state of science and intelligence in America and the industrialized world in general.

So I ask this: how can we fight this?  I've tried arguing against the misinformation on Facebook threads and political forums to no avail.  I'm usually shouted down, ignored, or banned, even when I provide sources and am civil.  I've tried presenting the facts to friends and family who deny climate change, only to be superficially rebutted or even ignored.

Has anyone else tried?  Did you succeed?  Is anyone reading this a denier, and if so, why?  I'll admit, the media I've presented here is the dregs of the anti-climate change barrel, so if you something more scientifically and logically sound to present, I'd love to see it.

Thanks for reading.

Offline TaintedAndDelish

Re: Polar Vortex and Climate Change Misinformation
« Reply #1 on: January 09, 2014, 09:15:18 PM »
The news media really isn't the right place to get an education about what's going on in the world. It's fine for getting an opinionated, clueless whiff about what's new, but sadly, that's about it.

Much of the news sites that I frequent seem to be far more interested in grabbing clicks and serving ads than anything else given their inattention to detail and one sided reports -not to mention that many of these articles seem to be targeted towards an audience with the reading level of an 11 year old.

With today's computers, it doesn't take much skill to make your own professional looking website and hence "newspaper". It takes little more skill to take a video camera, dress up professionally and make your own fake-news youtube videos with a scrolling headline bar at the bottom. He'll, there's probably a free app for this.

Solution?

I don't know... when I read, I ignore anything that appears to be the opinion or teachings of the reporter and just focus on the quotes and facts they they are reporting. If it's interesting, I'll start looking to credible sources for more information and validation.


Offline NotoriusBEN

Re: Polar Vortex and Climate Change Misinformation
« Reply #2 on: January 11, 2014, 04:49:11 AM »
You try to persuade people to your line of thinking.
Marketing does this to persuade you to buy their product, you debate with people to try and bring them to your line of thinking.
and its bascially the only thing you can do besides pointing a gun at somebody and saying 'You will believe this thing." "Yes of course you are right."
that's why a democracy is strong is because you can communicate ideas and such without using brute and baser forces of coercion and not fear being retaliated against.

But man, if there are not a lot of days where you just want to beat the stupid of people...


just because you *can* say something, doesn't mean you *should* say it.

Offline vtboy

Re: Polar Vortex and Climate Change Misinformation
« Reply #3 on: January 11, 2014, 06:46:49 AM »
According to an Associated Press poll conducted in late 2011, 77% of Americans believe in angels. An earlier Baylor University poll reported that about 55% of respondents professed the belief they were protected personally by guardian angels. The Texas School Board has approved biology textbooks which portray intelligent design as scientific theory. Six term U.S. Representative Todd Akin famously announced that the bodies of rape victims "shut down", preventing pregnancy.

And these are not matters that have a significant effect on our economy.

Global warming denial fits comfortably with the small government, anti-regulatory, free market ideologies of the right, and with the interests of the moneyed players who sell those ideologies in service of their own ends. Is it really any wonder that, in a society which so venerates anti-intellectualism and magical thinking, people tend to swallow the most comforting and aggressively promulgated lies?

I don't mean to suggest by this that the right enjoys any sort of monopoly over contempt for fact and reason or mendacity.
« Last Edit: January 11, 2014, 07:16:50 AM by vtboy »

Offline Neysha

Re: Polar Vortex and Climate Change Misinformation
« Reply #4 on: January 11, 2014, 08:00:47 AM »
The belief of angels is somehow surprising considering the predominant religion in the country? I'm not sure what that poll(s) mention were supposed to add in relation to the thread about climate change.



What really disheartens me, though, are the comments filled with people saying...  You know what?  I'm not even going to say it.  Their comments speak for themselves.  It's horrifying and disgusting, like watching a cow being led unknowingly into a slaughterhouse.  How can so many people be so willfully ignorant of reality for so long?


Well there's your problem. You're reading the Youtube comments. I personally, find Youtube comments hilarious for consistently achieving such a low level of dialogue regardless of content, that is until Google came by and decide to ruin another little part of my liberty filled internet life by policing Youtube comments. Jerks.
« Last Edit: January 11, 2014, 08:08:31 AM by Neysha »

Offline Question MarkTopic starter

Re: Polar Vortex and Climate Change Misinformation
« Reply #5 on: January 11, 2014, 01:47:14 PM »
Well there's your problem. You're reading the Youtube comments. I personally, find Youtube comments hilarious for consistently achieving such a low level of dialogue regardless of content, that is until Google came by and decide to ruin another little part of my liberty filled internet life by policing Youtube comments. Jerks.

The YouTube comments are indicative of what I see elsewhere: on News sites, on Facebook, in face to face discussions with deniers.  I know they're a hive of scum and villainy, even more so now that Google has decided to do its best to drive people away from YouTube, what with it's hilariously bad comments system and the completely broken and illegal Content ID catastrophe.

Offline TaintedAndDelish

Re: Polar Vortex and Climate Change Misinformation
« Reply #6 on: January 12, 2014, 01:11:50 AM »
Regarding news comments, I just can't bear to read them. More often than not, they're a horrendous embarrassment to humanity in general. The idea of letting people comment on news sites sounds good in theory, but aside from sites like slashdot, I have yet to see much value.

*cough*  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/50_Cent_Party  *cough*


Offline DTW

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Re: Polar Vortex and Climate Change Misinformation
« Reply #7 on: January 12, 2014, 01:52:51 AM »
Regarding news comments, I just can't bear to read them. More often than not, they're a horrendous embarrassment to humanity in general. The idea of letting people comment on news sites sounds good in theory, but aside from sites like slashdot, I have yet to see much value.

*cough*  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/50_Cent_Party  *cough*

Damn it. I thought this was going to lead me to an American Political Party that wanted to get Curtis Jackson elected President.


That man loves america like a fat kid loves cake.


He could fix the economy by bringing us all to the candyshop. Let us get a lick of that lollipop...till we hit the spot.



I'm going to stop now because I could literally spend all day  making 50 cent lyric puns in this thread.

Offline vtboy

Re: Polar Vortex and Climate Change Misinformation
« Reply #8 on: January 12, 2014, 02:35:44 PM »
The belief of angels is somehow surprising considering the predominant religion in the country? I'm not sure what that poll(s) mention were supposed to add in relation to the thread about climate change.

Sorry for burying the point. It was that in a culture so addicted to superstition and myth it is hardly surprising a large part of the population will seek to deny difficult conclusions, even when they are compelled by overwhelming evidence and careful thought.

Offline Ironwolf85

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Re: Polar Vortex and Climate Change Misinformation
« Reply #9 on: January 17, 2014, 05:38:30 PM »
Sorry for burying the point. It was that in a culture so addicted to superstition and myth it is hardly surprising a large part of the population will seek to deny difficult conclusions, even when they are compelled by overwhelming evidence and careful thought.
I note your position, but I don't see how people believing in what amounts to angelic guardian spirits, is incosistant with having a rational worldview. It might seem like such at first glance, but many eastern philophies have done it suprisingly well, and I know many christians who are along the same lines.

Weighing in on this, I just point out the basic facts and either people alter their view or storm off, but I do it in person, the internet is a poor place for making idological discussion, facebook and youtube are worse by far. because on the such sites most arguements do not rely on facts, they rely on drama and an enticing story. they are rife with yellow journalisim.

for example a comeback after someone starts proppagandizing for example "I'd rather be in Siberia, at least they get to have a heat wave."
this tends to result in a "wha?" moment, then you tell them a few other impactive bits, get them looking at the facts on their own, stuff like.
"because the roads are frozen in Texas, and Siberia's having forest fires."
But don't get intelectually superior on people, that's what irritates them, not that people believe somthing, but the "I'm right and you're a dumbass" attatude.

Offline DTW

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Re: Polar Vortex and Climate Change Misinformation
« Reply #10 on: January 17, 2014, 05:47:59 PM »
Sorry for burying the point. It was that in a culture so addicted to superstition and myth it is hardly surprising a large part of the population will seek to deny difficult conclusions, even when they are compelled by overwhelming evidence and careful thought.




You know technically there is no overwhelming evidence that Angels don't exist. Since you can't prove a negative.
Absence of evidence is not  evidence of absence. Then you get into the whole  Ignosticism thing where depending on your religion and that views you  have  of it , your own personal definition of angels varies. So technically it would be impossible to have overwhelming evidence that disapproves Angels because Angels are not a uniform construct so evidence that proves that non-existence of one type of Angel does not disprove that existence of another sub type.


Then again I'm an Ignostic Pantheist so yeah...you can take what I say with a grain of salt.


Offline vtboy

Re: Polar Vortex and Climate Change Misinformation
« Reply #11 on: January 18, 2014, 08:51:27 AM »
I note your position, but I don't see how people believing in what amounts to angelic guardian spirits, is incosistant with having a rational worldview. It might seem like such at first glance, but many eastern philophies have done it suprisingly well, and I know many christians who are along the same lines.

To be sure, one may believe in angels but, in other respects, be receptive to empiricism and the teachings of science. There are also profoundly religious people who are persuaded the evidence that climate change is real, that is very likely the product of human activity, and that government action is necessary to avoid global catastrophe.

That said, in the U.S., climate change denial tends to be more characteristic of those who identify themselves as Christian evangelicals (a group, in my view, especially prone to disparagement of science and resistant to fact and reason) than it is of those who identify themselves as unaffiliated religiously or affiliated with groups espousing less fundamentalist religious views. Evangelicals tend to be among the least likely of these groups (right behind Mormons) to believe climate change is occurring and to support environmental regulation (http://www.pewforum.org/2009/04/16/religious-groups-views-on-global-warming/) (http://religions.pewforum.org/comparisons#). And, Evangelicals make up over a quarter of the adult U.S. population (http://religions.pewforum.org/affiliations).

So, no, in a country in which so many prefer Genesis to Darwin and believe that angels (or god) may trump physical laws, I am not surprised that a large portion of the population seize on the recent, temporary frigid temperatures in North America as proof that careful studies of global temperatures and weather patterns over decades are wrong.   

Offline Zeitgeist

Re: Polar Vortex and Climate Change Misinformation
« Reply #12 on: January 18, 2014, 11:32:30 AM »
While I remain reticent on Global Warming science, I am nevertheless in favor of many of the remedies. That is, I don't have to buy the whole story to be in favor of: recycling, energy efficiencies, reuse and repurposing, localization of resources as well as looking to a cafeteria of energy options. I don't however, and never will, buy into so-called Environmental Justice and the forced (or coerced) transfer of wealth and resources to those deemed less fortunate by some vague and arbitrary means. We all need to take responsibility for ourselves and our impact on the world around us. For a self described Libertarian Republican, I think that is a reasonable position and well, it is all anyone is going to get out of me.

Offline Ironwolf85

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Re: Polar Vortex and Climate Change Misinformation
« Reply #13 on: January 18, 2014, 12:47:44 PM »
Actually the right wing version of the Evangelical movement is on the rapid decline in the united states, losing the "culture war" so badly many have moved to uganda africa. Especally with many young christians promptly not giving a damn about stopping gay marrage.
Check the documentary "God loves Uganda"

Offline Zeitgeist

Re: Polar Vortex and Climate Change Misinformation
« Reply #14 on: January 18, 2014, 12:53:10 PM »
Actually the right wing version of the Evangelical movement is on the rapid decline in the united states, losing the "culture war" so badly many have moved to uganda africa. Especally with many young christians promptly not giving a damn about stopping gay marrage.
Check the documentary "God loves Uganda"

Forgive me as I am not a forum cop, but I wonder what any of that has to do with Global Warming or the Polar Vortex.

Offline gaggedLouise

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Re: Polar Vortex and Climate Change Misinformation
« Reply #15 on: January 18, 2014, 05:00:54 PM »
Well, just saw in the newspaper that it's now -40 degrees in Karesuando, Lapland, and there's actually been sizable amounts of snowfall down here of late and more coming, so things look the way they should be a normal winter. The cold has switched to this side of the Atlantic.  :-)

Offline Neysha

Re: Polar Vortex and Climate Change Misinformation
« Reply #16 on: January 18, 2014, 06:39:17 PM »
Forgive me as I am not a forum cop, but I wonder what any of that has to do with Global Warming or the Polar Vortex.

Well someone brought up angels and we managed to derail it from there. :)

Offline Question MarkTopic starter

Re: Polar Vortex and Climate Change Misinformation
« Reply #17 on: January 18, 2014, 06:50:34 PM »
You stinkin' kids and your derailin' antics these days!

*caneshake*


Offline Oniya

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Re: Polar Vortex and Climate Change Misinformation
« Reply #18 on: January 18, 2014, 09:20:43 PM »
I thought that was meddling kids and their dogs?

*flees*

Offline Hemingway

Re: Polar Vortex and Climate Change Misinformation
« Reply #19 on: February 25, 2014, 09:15:24 AM »
I study ( and wouldn't mind working with ) issues related to climate change, and I have to say it's difficult to be optimistic about our chances of dealing with the problems we face. It's not just the YouTube or newspaper comments, either. I live in a country that, in so many ways, is so far ahead of so many other places. But still we have a party in government - which has declined considerably in recent years, but still remains one of the largest in the country - which until very recently officially denied anthropogenic climate change. I can't help but wonder what that says about our actual stance on global warming.

I feel I should be optimistic, though. Because as difficult as I find it to be optimistic personally, changes are taking place. Denmark is very exciting to me - not just because it's the place I intend to study after I finish my current degree. While my girlfriend tells me that Denmark's environmental image is somewhat misleading, the projects I've read and written about are interesting. Because what they're doing - what my country should be doing - is demonstrating how cities around the world can become more environmentally friendly - and more resilient to a range of problems at the same time. I think maybe that's one of the ways we can work to preserve the environment, by developing technology and infrastructure that is not just better for the environment, but better in general. When it no longer inconveniences people to be environmentally friendly - when it actually benefits them - hopefully then we can implement some large-scale changes. Because at that point, it doesn't really matter what you believe.

Unless you believe climate change is an Illuminati/NWO/reptilian conspiracy to enslave all humans - then there's no hope.