Note: The terms used here are alarmists or believers for people who support and otherwise believe that global warming is caused mostly by man.
Sceptics is used as people who are sceptical that man has a “large” impact on climate and tend to believe that Global warming is either caused partially or “very little” by man or is too small to detect to no impact at all.
Projectionism is defined as attributing one’s one thoughts, feelings or behaviors onto another person or set of people to prove a point. There could be a point that this is done all the time in politics as a “pre-emptive” attack on the other side to stop the other side from insulting said person. In that case, it seems like a case of sour grapes when someone is just insulting back with the same insult and this tool is used rather successfully in politics. Any insult or derision given to one side is often (but I should caution and say not always) more appropriate for the person making such remarks. Although there are many cases of this in the media and elsewhere, the same is true in global warming or climate change politics which I will remind people is no longer about science but more about politics and religion now where it takes a “leap of faith” to believe in the science or not.
Pictured: Michelangelo’s painting of God; A very appropriate picture for an essay on projectionism.
The denier argument is the most frequently used in this and to boot has ties to the “Hitleresque” beliefs and otherwise fascist behavior from where this term was first used. This goes back to its origins as comparing people who are sceptical of the science behind global warming (man-caused) to the same people who deny the Holocaust ever occurred. It is also used as an insult as someone today as someone “who refuses to believe in the science of Global Warming.” But the reverse is really true. Sceptics as a rule understand the science behind global warming more so then the believers of such. In this regard, the sceptical argument is simple and concise mainly saying: “the warming we have experienced is natural and in conjunction with the scientific method, we must accept the null hypothesis that said warming is natural until proven otherwise.” To explain further, this has never been proven that the warming is not natural or as claimed caused by man’s emissions of CO2. The denier label therefore would be more appropriate to an alarmist who assumes the science which does not follow the scientific method is correct without actual proof. They are denying that the climate can change naturally and without said proof, they are more true in this case then the sceptics are. Therefore, in this case as in any other case of political rhetoric gone wild, it would be more true to call “alarmists” deniers then sceptics. This label makes more sense for people who blindly follow science which does not follow the scientific method. In this case, its more like a religious argument.
The religious aspect of this can also be seen in the case of the other label most often given to “Deniers” by believers and this insult is obviously calling them creationists. This goes to public perception and since most people in the US and elsewhere do not agree with the beliefs of creationists and often think of these beliefs as “nutty” or “way out there” the insult is meant to drive a wedge between the people who are sceptical of the science and normal people who are supposedly people who belief in the faulty science. I should add that this is also another reason as using the denier term, but that is neither here nor there. This is obviously a political trick to trick people not up to speed on the arguments that all sceptics are nutty when that is far from the truth. Many of the most notable sceptics are on the left end of the political spectrum including Donna Laframboise and Steve McIntyre who among other sceptics are more left-leaning in their politics. In that sense, the sceptical movement is a very diverse movement with a majority of the people being on the right or libertarian in nature, but a large enough portion is also left-leaning meaning that comparing sceptics to “nut jobs” is rather wrong and in addition, this insult would be more appropriate given to believers of global warming who as a rule are left-leaning and rather radical in their beliefs including beliefs that the only way to combat global warming is through a “socialistic like” system where all the costs are passed onto everyone with no choice given.
The projectionism does not end there. Creationists as many people know are people who believe that the world is roughly 6000 years old and that the bible is a literal attempt at telling the true story of God’s people and Jesus. Any evidence that scientists for instance find that pokes holes in this is rather ignored and buried and is later reinterpreted as meaning something else. Dinosaur fossils are explained as “being those animals that Noah did not get on the ark before the flood” and radioactive dating is “called a fraud” if not just simply ignored. Global warming believers for instance believe that the current modern temperature record is all we have. They ignore any time periods of the past and historical truths that cut holes into their theory if not calling these truths “local events that do not tell the entire story.” We see this all the time today when we are told the “arctic is melting faster than ever before with record low sea-ice levels or record ice-melt” and this is with just 30 years of satellite data. The temperature readings for instance are only a little over 100 years old world-wide and this is the litmus test for “human caused climate disruption.” But the truth is much stranger being that the world is not 30 years old, or 100 years old, or 1000 years old, the planet is billions of years old and to understand natural climate factors one has to scientifically understand the climate for at least a good portion of that time period. In this sense, by pounding in certain salient points about how this year is “the hottest year ever” or the “weirdest weather ever” is completely missing the entire story kind of similar to how creationists behave. I am never going to call a global warming believer a creationist myself because frankly I think everyone is entitled to their opinion, but mainly my point here is that the term would better label these people who do not look at the entire story and just at the bits and pieces that confirm their theory. In another story, this is probably part of the issue in the science being rather broken on this particular issue since the scientists believe this is happening, and so they make it happen either on purpose or inadvertently (I am not making accusations in that sense) but whichever it is, they are in the wrong for continuing the science which is at best just a giant waste of taxpayer money.
We could go on to other insults often used by alarmists but I think for now the point stands that alarmists in general tend to project their own problems or beliefs onto the other side either because they do not understand what they are doing and see themselves everywhere out in the world (the case of the thief who is always scared of being robbed) …. or perhaps because it’s a political tool used to gut and otherwise cut up the opposition. The world is never black and white, and as the political rhetoric in global warming among other places gets heated up, we will see more of this issue as emotions will continue to drive the arguments until people are willing to step back, look at all the available evidence and points, and make up their mind without resorting to logical fallacies. Until that happens and these projectionist insults are stopped being used, the rhetoric war will continue because what is at stake is rather large. What is at stake is the future of our science which also drives how well people live and work. In that instance, this entire argument that gets rather heated at times is about how we view our universe: Do we view it through a short time-span and simply assume everything is bad and the sky is falling? Or do we use the scientific method properly and refuse to resort to projectionism and other political tools when our arguments fail? If people do not escape the trap of projectionism on every side, we will degenerate further and the rhetoric will always get worse. Eventually as history shows us, there will come a time when this turns violent and the only way of stopping violence is to put a stop to the rhetoric shows. Projectionism in itself is probably the worst part of this, but it is also not the start or end.
From Post-Modernism that ask,what is truth? to Projectionism that ask,what is real.