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.