by E. Worrall, May 4, 2023 in WUWT
“… Climate change deniers simplify the spectrum of possible scientific consensus into two categories: 100% agreement or no consensus at all. If it’s not one, it’s the other. …”
The thinking error that makes people susceptible to climate change denial
Published: May 2, 2023 10.13pm AEST
Jeremy P. Shapiro
Adjunct Assistant Professor of Psychological Sciences, Case Western Reserve University
Cold spells often bring climate change deniers out in force on social media, with hashtags like #ClimateHoax and #ClimateScam. Former President Donald Trump often chimes in, repeatedly claiming that each cold snap disproves the existence of global warming.
From a scientific standpoint, these claims of disproof are absurd. Fluctuations in the weather don’t refute clear long-term trends in the climate.
Yet many people believe these claims, and the political result has been reduced willingness to take action to mitigate climate change.
Why are so many people susceptible to this type of disinformation? My field, psychology, can help explain – and help people avoid being misled.
The allure of black-and-white thinking
Close examination of the arguments made by climate change deniers reveals the same mistake made over and over again. That mistake is the cognitive error known as black-and-white thinking, also called dichotomous and all-or-none thinking. As I explain in my book “Finding Goldilocks,” black-and-white thinking is a source of dysfunction in mental health, relationships – and politics.
Climate change deniers simplify the spectrum of possible scientific consensus into two categories: 100% agreement or no consensus at all. If it’s not one, it’s the other.