Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Psychology of global warming

  1. Nov 30, 2004 #1
    After writing this essay I decided to stop fighting the global warmings.


    Recommendations For Global Warming Skeptics, an armchair analysis
    by Andre

    Apparently, one of the instincts for survival of a social species like Homo sapiens is social group building. Consequently the function of that group is survival against any threat, ultimately improving the quality of life. It appears that cause and effect are interchangeable. If there is a threat, the group bonds will strengthen to counter it. If there is no threat, the group tends to loose coherence and this is undesirable, as it opposes to the social instinct. But this problem can be countered by finding a new threat or create one if required.

    Most often, threats emerge from the same species. This mechanism can be observed in primary schools already. Pestering individual children is more often the work of a group, the main culprits usually being those who desire the leadership of the gang, eager to show that they are well prepared for that job. The victim is the threat, the enemy that justifies the forming and reinforcing of the group. At adulthood the principle doesn't change, only the scale. The threats are now the Huns, the Barbarians, the Capitalists, the Commies, the Heathens, the other religion, etc. Threats can also be non-human: hurricanes, meteorite impact, flooding, etc, or even abstract: dragons, devils, global warming, etc. It may even be possible to capture this effect in a numerical expression (soon to be known as Andre's law of conservation of concern) :biggrin:

    Tr=Th + Tn + Ta=ln(N)/Cc

    Tr= total threat required
    Th =total human threat
    Tn = total natural threat
    Ta = total abstract threat
    N = number of individuals in the group Cc = civilization coefficient

    Studying past and present civilisations can be used to test this hypothesis. Assuming that Tn, Cc and N are constant, then the sum of Th and Ta should be constant as well. In other words, the safest, most unchallenged communities from human threats should have the most dangerous devils and dragons.

    Now, as the relatively safe modem western civilization suffered a severe loss of human threat (Th) with the demise of Communism, it sought compensation in increasing abstract threat (Ta). For identifying that new emerging Ta-threat we only need to synchronize possible candidates with the weakening of the Th-threat. As the credibility of a possible devil and dragons threat has declined considerably, obviously Global Warming remaines as possible candidate to take over the threat role of communism in the early 1990ies. And we see that the timing is exactly right. And with every former communists country, joining western organizations, the threat of global warming increases proportionally. Before that period, it did lead a meager existence, fighting the new ice age that was coming. Now, the impact of global warming on society equals the burden of the previous communist threat.

    As observed on the schoolyards, those who have the highest desire for the acceptance, approval, love, and ultimately the leadership of the group, show this by brave, heroic behavior against the threat. If the threat is human, the ultimate consequences of seeking dominance of the group this way, can be disastrous, and initial enemy image building, "Capitalists", "Commies", etc, accumulates into revolutions, wars and massacres. How about non-human threats and abstract threats? How about the global warming?

    Obviously, those who seek a higher social status can do so by showing the determination to fight any threat of the group and become heroes. But it doesn't work if the society is either not aware or not convinced of that particular threat. So the "enemy image" must be build first and an insistent information campaign is required with a deluge of alleged evidence of Global warming. This is easy since there are many shrewd prospective heroes, well capable of making a case. One cannot help comparing this tendency with similar information campaigns against threats in the past (a.k.a. propaganda), the human enemy image building, which ultimately ended in tragedies. But this actually explains also, how social group mechanisms ultimately lead to such tragedies. Well, in the case of global warming, an imaginary abstract threat (Ta) cannot suffer; only their fierce, heroic fighters and their followers could, albeit a lot less compared to the tragedies resulting from creating a human threat image (Th).

    So what is the lesson of this little observation exercise from an armchair for the skeptics of global warming? Being right and being wise is not the same. Perhaps its better to leave the Global Warming alarmists alone and not to expose the non-existence of the threat. The ultimate outcome of falsifying Global Warming could be opposite the desired result.

    First of all, as already experienced, deniers of threats must be traitors per definition, who will be banished from the group, marked with tar and feathers. Secondly, social groups required threats as a constant factor. It’s a human requirement; we do not like to lose our dearly beloved enemies. An abstract threat image like global warming is a lot less dangerous than a creating or intensifying another human enemy image. So when the alleged global warming threat is taken away, the focus may shift again to assumed human threats, consequently risking the development of more conflict tragedies. The global warming dragon devil may even replace the enemy image that other civilizations have about the west and thus helping to prevent future human tragedies. This outweighs the importance of the truth

    Global warmers are to be commended for their selection of a harmless enemy. Hurray for global warming

    Andre o:)
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 30, 2004 #2
    Yes, we are social (group) animals having evolved as hunting-gathering groups for millions of years. Yes, we do thrive on "pulling together" in the face of threat. We rally around what we perceive as a strong leader. It is innate to us. But it seems to me that global warming was a particularly poor example. Of all things, why take such an antagonistic, insulting attitude to what happens to be the scientific concensus?

    Why did you overlook the "war on terrorism"? That has clearly replaced Soviet Marxism as the "threat." Indeed, the 9/11 attack brought about such anger and fear that the environmental threats all faded from public concern. Only now, years after the attack and with fear and anger a little lessened, the environmental concerns are creeping back a bit. Did you take global warming instead of terrorism as your example because you did not dare treat terrorism as lightly as global warming? If so, you have made my point. At this rate, it will take years before global warming has regained enough concern to compete with terrorism. Then, we will surely have another major attack. Indeed, the government does every thing it can to provoke such an attack. Why else did our troops storm Falugia mosques and kill unarmed people? Why else do we "all-but-torture" torture prisoners? Why did we attack Iraq in the first place? The government of North Korea is far worse and a REAL threat---not a phony one. A term for it is that our Religious Right has an "antagonistic alliance" between it and non-secular Islam to the unwritten effect that each grows in power at the expense of the secular world by attacking each other---just as the Jewish Religious Right and the Palestinian militants have long had such an antagonistic alliance and, so, both stay in power and religiousness grows.

    There is more on this subject at http://humanpurpose.simplenet.com

    Charles Darso
  4. Nov 30, 2004 #3
    Holdit, Global warming was there well before 9/11. That's way too young to compete with global warming. The tide may be turning.

    Have you ever wondered why you are so very very sure of global warming?

    The thread is specifically about the problems with global warming. I'm trying to comprehened the mechanism of the fanatics of global warming. Everybody rolling over each other outshouting how bad things are.

    And those who shout hardest are our heroes. How dare I attacking them.
    I'm not attacking. I'm admiring their work.

    Well read the threads in Earth science.
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2004
  5. Nov 30, 2004 #4
    You must be a fan of Rush Limbaugh. He has long denied global warming. The physics is solid. CO2 concentration is rising in the atmosphere. You can measure it. CO2 absorbs heat trapping it in the atmosphere. You can measure the temperature of the night sky and it is hotter. This world wide heat source has to warm the earth and that has been measured. The ice caps are melting, glaciers are shrinking, and satellite measurements show that the earth is generally warming. Horrible things are going to happen unless the USA decreases its emissions by 60%, an unlikely possibility.
  6. Dec 1, 2004 #5
    About the soundness of the physics check this thread.
  7. Dec 3, 2004 #6
    How soon would global warming if true have truely devestating effects?
  8. Dec 3, 2004 #7


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Gold Member

    The first thing that would likely happen, if the world really did warm up, is that plant species (which rely heavily on on a relatively predictable environment) would migrate away from the equator (that is, temperate species would retreat toward the poles and tropical species would proliferate). If this happened fast enough, it could seriously disrupt the ecosystems from which the plantlife flees. Extinctions of other plant species and animal species that rely on them could ensue if these species are close enough to extinction to begin with. In general, populations of certain species would greatly decrease.

    The worst thing that could happen would be for sea levels to rise, wiping out low-lying coastal land and islands and such. That would take a lot, though. Most of the melting we've already seen has taken place on floating ice-caps, and as we all know, when ice that is floating in water melts, the level of the water does not go up. Glaciers that are still on land would have to melt for us to see any rise. This would take a more severe increase in global temperature, as cold parts of the world are generally even colder the farther you get from large bodies of water.
  9. Dec 3, 2004 #8


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Gold Member

    Oh, you said how soon could this happen. Beats me. I do know that certain tree species on the east coast have largely disappeared from the southern states and become greatly more prominent in the northeastern states. Of course, the temperature increase necessary for this to happen isn't much. All in all, we do know that global temperatures have gone up. Anyone can see that new records are being set for highs every summer and lows every winter in temperate parts of the northern hemisphere. What's causing this to happen and whether there is any real cause for concern is the question. When I lived in New Jersey a couple of years ago, we had one of the worst winters in history, but it wasn't followed the next year by an equally bad or worse winter. Similarly, that same year, here in California there was a near-record hot winter. Now we're having a near-record cold winter this year. I have no idea whether there is any real trend there.
  10. Dec 3, 2004 #9


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Hey Andre, how about we start a campaign that the only real natural threat is those pesky, extraordinarily difficult to detect rogue Oort cloud KT killer comets? :smile:

    We could get billions diverted to *a planet-wide network of LSSTs *a dozen JWSTs *a fleet of deep space probes that make the Pluto Express look like matchbox toys.

    Alternatively, we could foster the idea that we must be protected against GRBs, so we need a hundred GLASTs.

    Just think of how much high quality astronomy would get done along the way!

    Seriously, your model needs some serious, heavy duty modification. For example, the vast majority of Chinese and Indian farmers no doubt couldn't give a hoot about global warming (not to mention ~>60% of those living in Africa), even if you translated the IPCC's most weighty tomes into their mother tongues. This means your thesis morphs all too quickly into some kind of elitist, prissy, male (no doubt), western plot to deceive the masses of honest workers, peasants, and petty bougoursie (sp?) and divert them from their revolutionary duty to overthrow the blood-sucking, fat-cat imprerialist overlords! (and the fact that Dubya couldn't spell 'clathrate' to save his life only adds to the case).

    So, hat's off to the geophysics, oceanographers, climatologists, etc who are the recipients of the munificent bounty of research funding that this 21st dragon has bestowed! o:)
  11. Dec 5, 2004 #10
    Wow, Nereid, You’re good at arm chair analysis and indeed I must pay you compliments Chardonnay is an excellent choice.:wink: Personally I would have preferred to have blended in a little Merlot and perhaps some Bordeaux Cabernet to increase the “nez” significantly and also for fading the profound tannins slightly. Although under these conditions a Gewurztraminer or Tokay Pinot Gris from the Alsace, raised to adulthood on the Bollenberg of Orschwir, would be the real secret of savoir vivre. :approve:

    BTW there seems to be a slight misunderstanding. This thread is neither about global warming nor about clathrate, this is the wrong place. It’s about Andre's first law of conservation of concern, also known as the law of maintaining misery. I would appreciate some of those generously donated pecunia too to substantiate this research.

    Anyway that enigmatic Cc, Civilisation coefficient and enemy image building. Let me give an example about destroying enemy image.

    Today – 5 Dec - is Sinterklaas’ birthday. Perhaps I have to clarify this first. The Anglo Saxon Santa Claus is a mysterous perhaps illegal offspring of this sacred bishop of Myra who nowadays restricts his generosity to the children of The Netherlands and a few surrounding villages, giving them small presents in a very special way. He trots around on the roofs of the houses with his white horse while his coworker, zwarte piet (black pete – no ethnic animosity intended) crawls down the chimneys and deposits the presents in the shoes of the children, that were put around the fire place for that intend.

    Now, The other day a dozen Dutch “zwarte pieten” entered a mosque where the Muslims were gathered -bare feed- for their religious service and filled the empty shoes in the hall with small presents from Sinterklaas. After the service the Muslims were utterly surprised but after that they were elated and the mandatory clash of the civilizations was totally forgotten. This is how to improve the Cc factor and reduce on the total threat required. There may be some day that we don’t need global warming anymore, let alone the killer comets :tongue:
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2004
  12. Dec 6, 2004 #11
    Oh and not to worry about the peasants. They don't need global warming indeed. Their numbers (N) are small hence their total threat required (Tr) is limited. Likely, they have enough evil spirits and rivaling tribes.

    Furthermore, I'm happy too that the the geophysics, oceanographers, climatologists, etc, share the loot. They don't know that they work for me, as I collect their evidence to substantiate my ideas. :biggrin:
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?

Similar Discussions: Psychology of global warming
  1. Global warming debate (Replies: 6)

  2. Global warming (Replies: 3)