Alarmism vs. Skepticism

How we judge global warming depends on 3 factors: the media, the politicians, and the scientific data that is filtered down to us. These three factors contribute to our views on anthropogenic climate change. It takes two to fight, so there are obviously 2 sides to the argument. On one extreme there are the alarmists, those who wish to scare us into believing in global warming. On the other hand, there are the  skeptics who are not willing to listen to any side of the global warming argument. Some of the alarmists and skeptics are quite famous while some are universally hated. The fact that these people have such a heavy presence in the public mind only adds to the confusion of the general public.

And confusion is exactly what the oil and gas companies need to prove their point that global warming is just a theory not a cold, hard fact. This uncertainty furthers their profits and makes the consumer feel less guilty about the impact of the purchase of the oil and gas company products.

On the other end of the spectrum, the alarmists aren’t helping further the cause of ending climate change. They are making it look ridiculous. Take for instance the BBC documentary, Hot Planet. It makes a complete laughingstock of global warming. The film shows scenes of cities being wiped out by floods. While this event may occur in the distant future, this representation is clear misinformation because this future is extremely improbable in the near future. And while alarmism may work on some people, it only strengthens the arguments of the skeptics.

What the public needs is cold, hard facts, not watered down reports or exaggerated accounts.  The public needs the truth.

If all the American people know all of the facts they will never make a mistake.

-Ronald Reagan

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5 responses to “Alarmism vs. Skepticism”

  1. vickyz0017 says :

    Yeah, I agree. If only the general public really knew what’s going on. It’s actually kind of frustrating not really knowing.

  2. granta0017 says :

    Before I begin I noticed in the 4th line of your post there is an error, those wh0, but thats not the point. I really enjoyed your point about the general public need to know about global warming and they are just so unaware.

  3. omarim0017 says :

    Thanks to you faizanb, the type of publicity global warming is getting is much clearer. Again, I thank you for that. You bring up a really good point about alarmists scaring the general public into believing global warming. I agree that most likely this is a valid point, but I want your opinion on something. Do you think that there is a limit to scaring someone? Is there a point to where people are just so overwhelmed with horrifying facts that might even be wrong that they become petrified and decide to do nothing because they feel that nothing can be done?

    • faizanb0017 says :

      The problem with scare tactics is that you create a mass hysteria in the public mind. Scare tactics work only in a weak public with not a lot of time to research. Unfortunately, while the public in the developed world has the capabilities to research the problem, the time to research it is taken up by your job, your familial responsibilities, and other activities. This is why we rely on the media to give us truthful information. Many countries have recognized the power of the media and have therefore taken over it. This is not a new idea. Adolf Hitler used it in an extreme way to denounce the Jewish people as greedy misers who had destroyed the German economy. Through mass propaganda distributed through the radio, pamphlets, and the educational system, he spread “the Big Lie (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Lie)”. So, in the context of global warming, the people will receive some alarmist propaganda. One of two things could happen. Either the propaganda is so ridiculous that the people will laugh it off as craziness. Or it could be subtle, showing facts mixed with a little exaggeration. This is the most dangerous kind of propaganda as the people may believe it. However the scenario you state where the people are too scared to do anything could happen IF enough of the media was stating these opinions. However, due to humanity’s general attitude of disagreeing with everything, this will probably not happen.

      Thanks for the input,

      faizanb

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