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Opposition to New Ideas

18 June 2012
Inside science

At www.thunderbolts.info/forum/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=6069 … there is a post by an Electric Universe enthusiast who has experienced problems in converting others. He can't get his side of the story across – people are not listening to him. Perhaps he is proselytising. He explains that attempts to discuss EU usually end up with attacks on the people behind EU – namely, accusing them of being cranks, purveyors of pseudo-science, and that kind of thing, without actually addressing the issues involved. He has reached the conclusion that many of these people virulently opposed to the concept of the Electric Universe have never read a book on plasma physics – or have no more than a notional comprehension of what it is all about. He compares it with trying to debate evolution with a Creationist who has limited knowledge of biology. The same of course applies to sceptics when trying to get across criticism of climate models and temperature data adjustments. Many people on the CAGW side are simply clueless. Very often it is psychologists and social scientists who are at the forefront of pushing the agenda. These people will continously cite 'the science' of climate science yet have never explored alternative ideas. They simply 'know' the sceptics are wrong and the science is right – but they themselves can't actually be bothered to check it out. 

How does this kind of mental abberation occur? Do they read the slurs against sceptics and just accept such ad hominem attacks are deserved – without any attempt to understand the meme they dislike. Or do they just have the need to demonise people – and sceptics are a convenient target. One tactic familiar within the CAGW debate is to accuse anyone in opposition to their grand doomsaying message as being addicted to material consumption, or they are oil shills (filling their pockets with fossil fuel bribes), or right wing redknecks, cranks – and most of all, 'why aren't they published in peer review?'. This is the same kind of tactic used by people like Thomas the Tank Engine, who blows a lot of steam at his blog. His ploy is to bracket Electric Universe ideas with Creationism, and tarnish them accordingly (in their eyes). This tactic is overtly political as it plays on the anti-religion sentiments of some sections of the population. The most vociferous and vocal in opposition to conventional religion (in the West) are proponents of 'isms' – and we all know what tragedies were caused by 'isms' in the 20th century. They have an in-built self destructive mode in them, and fulfil the role of substitute religion. You only need to read some of the stuff in the current issue of Nature Climate Change to realise it has reached the bottom of the sweet jar (see for example http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/06/18/natures-ugly-decision-deniers-ente… and http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/06/18/expansion-of-forests-in-the-europe…).

The Thunderbolts forum then goes on to explain another anti-EU tactic – making false claims. This tactic is being employed right now against the proponents of the YDB event – muddying with false allegations regarding the work in progress (see http://cosmictusk.com). In the Thunderbolts piece the target for obfuscation are the cosmic observations regarding red shift – and the impression that the idea of an expanding universe is 'real' science rather than an opinion that has become established by reason it has been repeated over and over again, and must therefore be a factoid.

Annaconda compares opposition to new ideas with the pecking order – with origins in early human tribalism. In this, argument by authority can be seen to be primitive and quite unlike the way academic scientists perceive themselves as somewhat superior and firmly above such base behaviour. They are way above those not in academia as far as the pecking order is concerned – but those within the system invariably choose to staunchly 'defend' the Faith (the consensus of whatever). Somebody like Leroy's bosom pal is a sort of middle ranking member of the pecking order, ensconced somewhere on the rungs of the ladder – real, or in his head. Hence, vociferous activity by such 'toadies' is meant to put down upstarts – people who have fresh ideas they consider unworthy of the attention of the people in the higher ranks of the pecking order. The last thing anybody in a middle ranking position would want is somebody from the lower ranks to come up with a bright idea and leap frog over them in the pecking order. It's a great theory – don't know if it is true. However, if you look at the authors of the two papers in Nature (above) it is useful to view them as caricatures of you know who – trying to reaffirm the pecking order.

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