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Erickson's proud ignorance: RedState's founder doesn't believe those lying climate scientists

Erick Erickson challenges the climate change movement with his Grand Unified Theory of LOL Science Whatever


Simon Maloy
August 27, 2014 9:25PM (UTC)

Erick Erickson doesn’t care about climate change and doesn't believe the science behind it. And his lack of interest in the issue is so acute, so firmly woven into the very fiber of his existence that he wrote an angry jeremiad explaining just how much he doesn’t care.

The arguments Erickson brings to bear in support of his Grand Unified Theory of LOL Science Whatever can be broken down into two broad categories:

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  1. Scientists are liars.
  2. Humans can “adapt.”

Glib nihilism of this sort requires a bit of exploration, and since Erickson posed these arguments but refused to develop them in any meaningful fashion – remember, he doesn’t care – we’ll have to do the job for him. Reacting to the latest draft report from the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which warns of global catastrophes in the next few centuries owing to climate shifts caused by the emission of greenhouse gases, Erickson writes:

Folks, I do not care. Let me assure you that the world is not going to end and we are not going to cause ourselves to go extinct. This report is written by a bunch of people who believe in the evolution of humanity, but somehow think mankind is unable to adapt to changing circumstances.

It’s tough to discern exactly what he’s saying here. He seems to be arguing that even if climate change were happening, then humans would just roll with it because that’s how evolution works (note: This is not how evolution works). That would be a curious argument for him to make since Erick Erickson himself does not believe in evolution. “I reject that we evolved from anything other than God’s own mind. We were created in his image. We did not evolve into it.” The more likely explanation is that he thinks he’s cleverly defeated the climate scientists by deploying their own faith in science against them. Take that, nerds!

More to the point, the IPCC report says that humans will have to adapt to what are now the inevitable consequences of spewing carbon into the atmosphere. The question is how painful we'll make the process for ourselves. Per the New York Times: "Lowering emissions would still slow the expected pace of change, the report said, providing critical decades for human society and the natural world to adapt."

Erickson seems determined both to cede this argument to the climate scientists and also dismiss it:

Let the seas rise. Let the wind blow. We can adapt. And in another decade we can all wonder where the heat went as things cool down.

So are climate scientists wrong? Or are they right and it doesn’t matter? Both? Neither? As it turns out, the answers to these questions are immaterial:

We are all going to die. Just not today.

And in the meantime, I simply do not care about this issue.

Whatever the arguments, his whole “I don’t care about climate change” hypothesis is undone by the fact that he obviously cares enough to have put some thought into the matter. Well, maybe “thought” is too strong a word. He’s formed some opinions, let’s say:

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Frankly, I think global warming is a religion of a secular left that rejects the God of creation in favor of worship of creation. I think many of those involved in the science of global warming oppose capitalism in general and the United States in particular. I think they are manufacturing a panic and their solutions are designed to hinder economic progress. More so, the hysteria over global warming has now increased at a rapid pace because a new breed of entrepreneur and huckster have found new ways to get rich off these idiots using your tax dollars.

Just to spell this out, so there’s no misunderstanding, Erick Erickson believes that an entire scientific discipline was manufactured out of nothing as part of a decades-long anti-capitalist conspiracy designed to create panic and get rich off the ensuing chaos. And this is the intellectual foundation for his bold decision to not care about climate change.

This is the end-product of years of closed-loop conservative thought on climate change. They’ve thoroughly convinced themselves (with the help and generous funding of oil companies and anonymous conservative billionaires) that the science is wrong, the scientists are hucksters, the world is actually cooling, and a warming globe would actually be a good thing. Thus, for the right, the most logical explanation behind the climate change movement is not the crushing weight of scientific evidence pointing to real and lasting calamity caused by the burning of fossil fuels. Rather, in Erickson’s words, it’s “all orchestrated left-wing crap that a bunch of private jet setters and twitter liberals can worry themselves over.”

So it’s not quite accurate for Erickson to say he doesn’t care. Rather, he’s declaring that he’s proudly incurious and is perfectly content to let absurd, ideologically satisfying fantasies guide what limited understanding he has of the issue.

Meanwhile, he’s determined to focus on things that truly matter, like the optics of President Obama’s golf game.

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Simon Maloy

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