This video comes via Junkscience.com.
George Marshall, who presents the video, is from the head-shrinking school of ‘climate change communication’, and a campaigning colleague of Adam Corner, whose
propaganda ‘research’ was discussed in the previous post. He believes that values are transmitted socially, and thus the way to ‘speak to a sceptic’ is to effect a kind of charm… And Lo! See how they suddenly see the world through your eyes.
It’s very silly of course, because, as has been discussed here previously, even if there is an extent to which values are socially-transmitted, to imagine that somebody holds a view because of the circles they move in, presupposes that they haven’t engaged with the issue rationally. To effect a chummy demeanour, simply to convince a family member, acquaintance, or colleague with whom you don’t have a great deal in common, simply out of some kind of evangelical zeal, is to approach them dishonestly. Like so many attempts at ‘communicating climate change’, Marshall’s instructions are to make instrumental use of people, to turn them into means to an ends. Most genuine friendships are ends in themselves. Friends do not treat friends as means.
What is more, if it is true that values are socially transmitted to the extent that Marshall believes, then what is true of sceptics is true of ‘warmists’.
But the thing which most struck me about Marshall’s lecture is that he himself simply refuses to engage with sceptics. Try leaving a comment on his blog; it won’t get published, even if it’s nice and polite. He tells the world to stop calling people ‘deniers’ and to call them ‘dissenters’, but his own blog is called climatedenial.org. Doesn’t that hint at the fact that Marshall isn’t being upfront?
Hopefully, Marshall’s strategy would back fire. For if his flock of evangelical environmentalists do somehow manage to suppress the anger and hostility that seems to characterise many of them (it’s not climate sceptics who have been closing down debate all these years), maybe they will be forced to actually listen.
Here are some more of Marshall’s video lectures on ‘denial’.
I love the bit in the video, where Marshall is trying to explain how climate change denial is ‘socially constructed’ (but presumably climate change alarmism) isn’t), and uses an example of someone losing the plot at a dinner party, to accuse his friends of destroying the planet. Marshall then tries to understand the reaction to the outburst psychologically, rather than as a polite way to respond to somebody who has been a bit of a prick.
It’s interesting to see Marshall tie himself up in relativistic knots here. Political ecologists were the first to absorb scientific evidence of climate change, he says, because their ideologies were the most amenable to it. Thus, the climate story got absorbed into the broader environmental narrative of doom. It looks like honesty, but it presupposes that everything he believes in is ‘science’.