Why Arguing with Climate Deniers Using Logic Will Never Work

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In American society, there is a debate raging on the legitimacy of global warming and to a further extent whether it is anthropogenic or not.  This seems to be uniquely American, like so many other things are.  The whole world came together, from the poorest nations to the wealthiest nations to the ones whose whole economies are built upon the current energy system to agree to shift the energy system away from the current paradigm to a more sustainable one.

This should tell you something about the cause and legitimacy of global warming.  To many Americans, it doesn’t matter, though.  They have heard, from their friends, relatives, coworkers and other trusted sources of information that global warming is a myth perpetuated by those looking to profit from a change in energy supplies.  This narrative goes along well with the narrative of the system being rigged against them.  “These greenies want to change energy, make it more expensive, and therefore harder on me for their own benefit.  Enough is enough.  Energy is already too expensive.”

I have a few simple questions for those people.  Whose livelihood depends on or who benefits the most from the current system?  Are these the same people who are questioning global warming?  Are there any connections between the questioners and the beneficiaries of the current system?  Remember, the successful and those in power benefit the most, since they have already succeeded, by keeping things the same. Why would anyone want to go against the norm or the current system like the majority of climate scientists are doing?  People want to fit in.  They crave to. Going against the current system and current society must be driven by something.  These scientists went into science not to get rich, but to do what they dream of.  If they wanted to get rich, they would go to wall street.  So there must be something that drives them.

This is a list of questions to use when talking to someone who who denies the legitimacy of anthropogenic global warming. Logic will never work.  It doesn’t because the people they receive their incorrect information are trusted individuals in their lives.  Coming in as an outsider you have an incredible disadvantage compared to them especially when you are directly contradicting and challenging their trusted sources of information. In many cases, their trusted sources of information have even warned them about your tactics and your logic and have sowed enough doubt in your logic, in a subject they are not experts on as well, that they will never believe your logical arguments.

This methodology, instead of doing the same thing as their sources of information are doing by telling them how and what to think, will try and get them to think on their own.  You will never win fighting what they percieve as trusted logic with untrusted logic, regardless of its superiority. You are going against evolutionary psychology and our tribal tendencies in doing so.

Anyways, green food for thought.

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2 thoughts on “Why Arguing with Climate Deniers Using Logic Will Never Work

  1. Cindy Beck

    Those who doubt climate change should look at the town in Alaska that is dying because there is no more ice surrounding them and their town is flooding. Or the town in Louisiana that is no longer liveable because of climate change. It is a real concern for these people – they have no doubt about it because they are living it. And the towns affected by it will become more numerous as time goes on.

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    1. I don’t disagree whatsoever. But as in all things human, our beliefs are driven by the people we surround ourselves by. Surround yourself with people that agree with your beliefs and you only amplify them – however wrong they are.

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