Ben Goldacre has another excellent Bad Science column – this week looking at Climate Science – and the truly depressing vile mixture of denialism and conspiracy theories that’s swirling around it. As Ben says, "the same rhetorical themes [are] re-emerging in climate change foolishness that you see in aids denialism, homeopathy, and anti-vaccination conspiracy theorists". Add to that the fact that Zombie arguments are stalking the land of public discourse in droves:
‘arguments which survive to be raised again, for eternity, no matter how many times they are shot down. “Homeopathy worked for me”, and the rest. Zombie arguments survive, they get up and live again, immortal and resistant to all refutation, because they do not live or die by the normal standards of mortal arguments. There’s a huge list of them at realclimate.org, with refutations. There are huge lists of them everywhere. It makes no difference’.
I get very depressed when I read the comments of people who constantly reiterate these Zombie arguments. Rationality has seemingly gone out the window with them. Mind you, I have also little hope that Copenhagen will produce anything of value. At best, it will be a case of too little, too late. Not that this will affect me much – I’ll almost certainly be dead before the more drastic effects of climate change will impinge on me. But my great-nephew is almost twelve, and there seems little doubt that his life will be greatly affected by the changes. He and others of his generation will be quite justified in cursing us for being people who wilfully stuck their heads in the sand and partying like there was no tomorrow. Which, when you think about it, might well turn out to be the case, at least for civilisation as we know it.