Gullible ignoramuses

By October 3, 2019Science

There are many people in parliament and elsewhere who deny various aspects of science: creationists deny evolution; flat-earthers deny most of physics; antivaxxers deny biochemistry and immunology; and AIDS deniers deny microbiology. There are lots of other denialism targets in science and history. For instance: people deny the holocaust, in which up to 6 million Jews and others died; the moon landing in which several spacecraft transported a few blokes to the moon and back; the link between smoking and lung cancer; the age of the earth, as well as numerous other facts1.

While some of these seem simply silly and largely harmless, others have been devastating. South African President, Thabo Mbeki’s denial that that HIV caused AIDS prevented many thousands of HIV positive mothers in South Africa receiving anti-retroviral drugs so that they transmitted the disease to their children. His health minister, Manto Tshabalala-Msimang, rejected evidence of the efficacy of anti-retrovirals, instead advocating treatment with garlic, beetroot and African potato. This has been estimated to have caused the premature deaths of up to 330,000 people. It was ironic that Mbeki’s departure from office coincided with the award of the Nobel Prize to Luc Montagnier and Françoise Barré-Sinoussi for their discovery that HIV is indeed the cause of AIDS2.

Those who deny climate science probably have already caused some deaths, and may well be responsible for millions in future. There are many who are paid by fossil fuel corporations and other organisations to deny climate change is happening, and they are guilty of a crime against humanity, and should pay for that crime by facing justice3, but they are not my concern here. However, there are many who have no financial interest in denying climate change but still deny vehemently that it could happen. They are simply exceptionally gullible and will believe anything they want to hear. Some deniers I have bumped into seem to think that it is impossible for so many people to be that gullible (‘we aren’t stupid, you know’[?]). To understand how gullible people are, all you have to do is realise that, across the western world, people in their tens of thousands fell for the Nigerian scam. Just think of what they believed: ‘I am a prince (or politician, wife of dead politician, bank chief), and I have millions of dollars I want to hide; if you let me hide it in your bank account, you can keep a proportion of it; so, give me all you bank account details’. That some people could fall for this, when it was so obviously a scam, demonstrates how supremely gullible they are. When you couple such gullibility with an abstruse field such as climate science and the constant manufacturing of doubt by the fossil fuel industry and their purchased politicians, you have a recipe for large-scale denial.

Most of these gullibles denying science have absolutely no understanding of how science works. They seem to think that a scientific consensus is simply the opinion of a group of scientists, and that a contrary opinion is just as valid. What these people do not understand is the huge amount of evidence that it takes to achieve a scientific consensus. That is the same lack of understanding that allows creationists, flat-earthers and antivaxxers to believe they have something sensible to contribute to humanity. What these gullibles are effectively saying is that their ignorance is as valid as others’ deep knowledge of a subject. The 21st century is an age of information, and to be ignorant is a choice. That is what makes people such as these gullibles beneath contempt.

Sources

  1. https://www.theguardian.com/news/2018/aug/03/denialism-what-drives-people-to-reject-the-truth
  2. https://academic.oup.com/eurpub/article/19/1/2/463780
  3. http://www.blotreport.com/environment/the-crime-of-ecocide/

2 Comments

  • Russell says:

    There is a malign, cunning source of the frustrating popular gullibility and lack of desire/intention to get a grip on (honest) climate science. Clearly the world is at a perilous stage politically, as well as climatically. The structures in Western societies are now far from democratic; enormous power is held by mega-corporations, which use the WTO and (mainly) the rogue United States pompous imperialist government to keep the planet safe for exploitation and plunder. Surprise, surprise, many international companies each worth hundreds of billions, are in fact oil, gas, coal, and other precious ore mining giants. They absolutely need to manipulate public opinion on climate change, as the new wave of the global economy is increasingly in renewables and recyclable (rather than throw-away) production. GROWTH MANIA IS ALREADY DEAD except in the loony minds of economists (= idiot obsessives in tandem with private capital). The elites of the forementioned resources-energy monster corporates will stop at nothing to keep the status-quo, pressing forward to oblivion of life on Earth. This makes them insane murderers of Nature in its entirety just to justify a religion of private profit. Driven by neo-liberal rubbish ideology, the demon companies destroy any democracy they can, by hiring BOTH centre-left and conservative parties to peddle their madness as if it were unchangeable. permanent. These soulless political opportunists spruik anti-science publicly, some pretending all the time they are concerned for ecology etc. The irony is that big corporations could not, without the best science, dig up and refine masses of metallic ore or crude oil into products making them untold profits. Pity that almost all oil-based items ever produced by humankind, are toxic if released in bulk into land-sea-and-air, and man-made poisons have unleashed huge natural chaos and mass death for two centuries. No wonder people don’t accept the overwhelming evidence for global warming when the evil influence operating on them – fake news, disinformation by mass media like Murdoch’s gruesome Big Brother thing, hired polly help telling ‘alternative facts’ (lies) to millions on the subject. It’s little short of brainwash, a gargantuan swindling of citizens’ thinking in our now farcical “dem-autoc-racies” ( – USA, Aust, Canada, Britain I mean! ). And only smallish groups vigorously oppose such gross media and economic power: a hundred thousand truthful scientists and a host of decent green activist bodies striving for ecological sanity. Obviously a pack of disparate underfunded NGOs etc, get far less access to voters’ minds than the global climate wreckers. Therein lies the rub. Even so, I see welcome incipient change, as bigger numbers begin now to experience real, nasty results of a defunct political economy, and of global warming; even at barely 2 degrees increase. It takes disasters to wake the mass of people from this embedded trance of the growth economy, this bizarre set of ideas achieved via intense media-political propaganda and bad schooling (total miseducation). Then more time is lost as we organise en masse, finding a way to boot out ALL the filthy whores (Morrison, Albanese, Trump, Bolsonaro etc) of the corporate giants – some who know they are low deceivers. How to encourage a radical, angry wake-up and cure the brainwash before doom sets in for all life, that is the primary question!

    • admin says:

      Russell,
      I think it will happen and there are indications that the danger is starting to dawn on even some very conservative people. I suspect the climate protests will keep getting larger and larger until the participants can be abused no longer. Then what happens is anyone’s guess. Ideally, you’d like someone in the government parties to stand up and say ‘enough!’, with an election to ensue, but I suspect that would require backbone in a government parliamentarian, something I have not witnessed in a long time.

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