[Vision2020] System Justification, the Denial of Global Warming, and the Possibility of “System-Sanctioned Change”

Paul Rumelhart godshatter at yahoo.com
Sun Dec 12 16:25:20 PST 2010

The whole underlying assumption that global warming or whatever they are 
calling it these days is some sort of universal truth and that anyone 
who disagrees must be denying that truth is indicative of just how 
politicized this topic has become.

There are a set of hypotheses having to do with changes in climate, CO2, 
and future consequences that have been proposed.  The onus is on them to 
convince us that they are correct.  By not being convinced, I'm not 
denying some universal truth, I'm just not convinced.  I have real 
problems with how they have modeled feedbacks, for example.  It's up to 
them to convince me that they have indeed handled them correctly, 
preferably by showing how well their models have fit observations. 

The fact that the authors put the phrase "denial of global warming" in 
the title of their paper makes me shake my head at how the science has 
been flushed down the toilet.  Analyzing why people don't believe your 
hypothesis is not the way to convince other scientists that it is 
correct.  Neither is gaming the peer review system or making it 
career-damaging to support other hypotheses, but that's an argument for 
another day.


Ted Moffett wrote:
> http://psp.sagepub.com/content/36/3/326.abstract
> System Justification, the Denial of Global Warming, and the
> Possibility of “System-Sanctioned Change”
> Irina Feygina
> New York University, New York, NY, irina.feygina at nyu.edu
> John T. Jost
> New York University, New York, NY
> Rachel E. Goldsmith
> Reed College, Portland, Oregon
> Abstract
> Despite extensive evidence of climate change and environmental
> destruction, polls continue to reveal widespread denial and resistance
> to helping the environment. It is posited here that these responses
> are linked to the motivational tendency to defend and justify the
> societal status quo in the face of the threat posed by environmental
> problems. The present research finds that system justification
> tendencies are associated with greater denial of environmental
> realities and less commitment to pro-environmental action. Moreover,
> the effects of political conservatism, national identification, and
> gender on denial of environmental problems are explained by
> variability in system justification tendencies. However, this research
> finds that it is possible to eliminate the negative effect of system
> justification on environmentalism by encouraging people to regard
> pro-environmental change as patriotic and consistent with protecting
> the status quo (i.e., as a case of “system-sanctioned change”).
> Theoretical and practical implications of these findings are
> discussed.
> ------------------------------------------
> Vision2020 Post: Ted Moffett
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