The Right Now Prefers Conspiracy Theorists at Pravda Over The Work of Scientists

I’ve often noted (such as here) the propensity of many right wing bloggers to accept and spread any story which casts doubt upon global warming, regardless of how weak the article is or how much it relies upon junk science. The mind set is that the more claims you have to back up your beliefs, regardless of how weak the evidence, you can claim some sort of victory.

John Quiggin examines such denialism, writing:

I’ll start with some facts that are, if not indisputable, at least sufficiently clear that I don’t intend to engage in dispute about them

(i) All major scientific organisations in the world[1] endorse, in broad terms, the analysis of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change which states that the world is getting warmer and that, with high (> 90 per cent) probability, this warming is predominantly due to human action

(ii) Most prominent politicians[2], thinktanks, activists, commentators and bloggers on the political right in Australia, the US and Canada (along with a large section in the UK) reject, or express doubts about, this analysis. The uniformity of views is particularly notable among conservative thinktanks.

Quiggin speculates on reasons for global warming denialism including influence from “powerful economic interests such as ExxonMobil” and “tribal dislike of environmentalists which translated easily to scientists as a group.” I believe the two strongest reasons are an understandable but misguided desire that the problem not exist to avoid the costs of responding and the matter in which this plays into conservative paranoia. Although the ideological battle with communism and socialism  is long over and current liberals are often stronger supporters of the free market system than conservatives, many conservatives still live with the mind set of an old Ayn Rand novel. They are easily susceptible to ridiculous arguments that the left desires to undermine the free market system and place all industry under government control, and that scientists have joined them in a plot to use global warming as an excuse.

The Daily Doubter points out the extents some on the right will go in accepting any report which might be used to cast doubt upon climate change.

Given PRAVDA‘s 80 year history as the official Soviet Communist propaganda outlet and the psuedo-conservative extreme dislike for all things communist, one might be inclined to think that such conservative” websites would be pretty skeptical about anything published under the name PRAVDA.

Unless, that is, Matt Drudge happens to link to an article up on PRAVDA claiming that anthropogenic global warming is bad science and that the Earth is in fact “on the brink” of an ice age. In which case you get sites like these eating it up without a critical thought. Newsbusters called it “a study … published by Pravda” and speculated that since cooling is on the way we need to start building more oil refineries and doing more off-shore drilling. Imagine that.

The post concludes by advising that it is far better to receive  “climate science info from, say, Discover or Scientific American or New Scientist as opposed to an on-line variant of a post-Soviet state tabloid.”

Yet another point made is that the author of the artile in Pravda is also a 9/11 conspiracy theorist. Tim Lambert notes that “this doesn’t bother NewsBusters’ Noel Shepherd one little bit

How delicious that an America-hating Truther who contributes to Pravda has a firmer grasp of  climatology than Nobel Laureate Al Gore, James Hansen, Gavin Schmidt, and most of the folks at the IPCC.

Yes, the right wing denialists don’t care at all why they quote as long as it supports their biases. The rest of us are far more likely to trust the work of scientists at the IPCC rather than a conspiracy theorist writing for Pravda.

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  1. 1
    Fritz says:

    Ron, I do not quote Pravda.  I find that to be a pretty silly source.  And, yeah, conservative commentators who are doing so are being rather pathetic. 

    But I don’t think it is ridiculous to believe that “the left” (or, more accurately, people who want a tightly-regulated economy) want thorough industrial policy.  That’s almost tautological.  Fears of global warming are a convenient horse for them to ride right now.

    Scientists want more grant money.  Nothing wrong with that, of course.

    It is rather dubious to tack “Nobel Laureate” in front of Al Gore’s name in order to make him more authoritative.

    BTW — good job on driving more hits to your blog.  🙂

  2. 2
    Ron Chusid says:


    “But I don’t think it is ridiculous to believe that “the left” (or, more accurately, people who want a tightly-regulated economy) want thorough industrial policy. That’s almost tautological. Fears of global warming are a convenient horse for them to ride right now.”

    Two problems with this. First, the right greatly over-estimates the number of people who want a tightly-regulated economy. Secondly, even if this was desired by political writers, it is a real stretch to think that the scientific community would participate in such a conspiracy with “the left.”

    “Scientists want more grant money.”

    Scientists want grant money in all fields, but we do not usually see this strong a scientific consensus.

  3. 3
    Fritz says:

    Ron, I guess we are in a “time will tell” state about whether you or I have a better estimation of how many people (or, more precisely, how many political elites) want a tightly-controlled economy.

    I don’t think of much of this as a conspiracy. 

    People who want to regulate the economy will find whatever is handy as an argument for doing so.  This year it’s polar bears.   So if a company wants to build a power plant in Texas, people in DC can stop it because of polar bears in Alaska.  That’s a heck of a lot of power.

    Scientists like to have money for their research.   I don’t think I am being overly cynical when I believe that scientists notice that research with alarming predictions and downplayed error bars gets more attention and attracts more funding.  That’s only human nature.

    FWIW, I do think humans have changed and are changing the climate.    But I don’t think the changes can be reversed and I think our models are still way too crude for use in heavy-handed policy. 

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