11 July 2008

What's in it for hyperskeptics?

I listen to lots of science radio on my iPod while I'm walking to work. Dr. Karl's phone in show on Triple J is an interesting case. When you listen on a regular basis, certain themes and questions emerge over the weeks. For instance, the question of "What would happen if you drilled a hole all the way through the Earth and dropped something down it?" is something that way more people are concerned about than I ever would have expected.

I'm interested that on a fairly routine basis, some listener has a go on climate change, expressing doubts about some aspect of the scientific consensus.

This puzzles me.

In understand why people dispute accepted science on medical issues. Their health or the health of loved ones are often at stake. That's a powerful motivator.

I understand why people dispute accepted science on evolution. It conflicts with some religious beliefs. That's a powerful motivator.

I understand why some people in the energy industry will dispute accepted science on climate change. They have vested interests and make their living from fossil fuels.

I don't understand why the average person on the street, so to speak, would feel compelled to dispute accepted science on climate change. What's in it for them? Which of their beliefs does man-made climate change challenge that compels them to "push back," so to speak?

1 comment:

Garry said...

If accept the premise then they must change their actions, in some ways the hyper skeptics are holding a defensible moral position - consider the obverse, they do not want to accept climate change otherwise they (implicitly) would have to accept the need alter behaviour. Whilst many of us accept the existance of climate change but don't alter our behaviour. Maybe that's too positive a reading of their position but its certainly part of it.