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More Republicans believe in demonic possession than global warming

Yeah.

Alternet reports on a Public Policy Polling Hallowe’en poll (pdf) and cross-references this poll on global warming:

A staggering 68 percent of registered Republican voters stated that they believe demonic possession is real. Meanwhile, only 48 percent of self-identified Republicans believe in another equally if not more scary natural phenomenon: climate change.

I would say it’s more scary, because it’s real. And the evidence provided by actual scientists is ironclad.

The scientists are unanimous, as long as you include actual climate scientists and not geologists or meteorologists or other pretenders at authority on the complex subject of climate. And yet, only 45% of all people agree that scientists generally agree about global warming. The misinformation efforts by liars like “Lord” Christopher Monckton are working.

To make matters even worse, 49% of Democrats also believe in demonic possession, even while 85% of Democrats say there’s solid evidence for global warming. It’s not that they’re smarter, it’s that they’re only marginally less prone to superstitious belief and more prone to trusting scientific evidence.

I’d say “let the mouth-breathers secede”, but it’s not like they’re all Republican secessionists.

Comments

  1. says

    The scientists are unanimous, as long as you include actual climate scientists and not geologists or meteorologists or other pretenders at authority on the complex subject of climate.

    I would go so far as to say that it doesn’t matter whether scientists are unanimous or not, within or without the climate science discipline.

    What does matter is that the multiple, consilient lines of evidence are unambiguous – and it is this convergence of evidence that has led to the expert consensus. IMO it’s not really that complicated at the big-picture level:

    (1) From the physics of the radiative properties of atmospheric gases, and the empirical studies of paleoclimate, we know that changes in the atmospheric concentrations of IR-trapping gases, whether acting as forcings or feedbacks, change the climate.

    (2) From studies of paleoclimate and recent evidence (last 100 years or so), we know that humans are primarily responsible for changing the concentration of IR-trapping gases in the atmosphere since the Industrial Revolution, and further that we are doing so at a rate which is almost without precedent in geological history (and such precedents which do exist are unpleasant to contemplate).

    (3) From physics & meteorology, recent evidence and continually-improving, physically-validated projections (those pesky models that pseudoskeptics love to hate) we know that recent climate changes and their knock-on effects have mostly been deleterious to ecology & economy, and that future changes will be worse.

  2. Tualha says

    The Halloween poll is from PPP, not Pew.

    Seriously, any country where 57% of the people believe in demonic possession, in 2012, is in serious trouble. And when that country is the world’s largest nuclear power, the rest of the world is in pretty deep shit, too.

  3. says

    I’d say “let the mouth-breathers secede”, but it’s not like they’re all Republican secessionists.

    Are you kidding?? The country they’d create would singlehandedly drive so many trucks and eat so much factory-farmed beef that they’d counteract everything the rest of the world does to curb climate change. At least here we can keep an eye on them somewhat. :P

  4. says

    It’d also really, really, really suck for those of us who don’t want these assholes unchecked by the constitution. I’m pretty sure I’d have to move again or be swinging from a pole, all legal-like.

  5. Gvlgeologist, FCD says

    I would also have to point out that as a geologist, I attended the Geological Society of America national meeting last week, and as far as I can tell, there is nearly complete acceptance of AGW among attendees. In fact, (considering that GSA was in Charlotte, NC), the topic of sea level increase caused by AGW was the subject of a great many talks and posters. Only one that I know of did not completely support the consensus (and I didn’t see it personally, so I don’t know first hand).

    So even among this group of non-climate scientists, the consensus is virtually unanimous.

  6. smrnda says

    I’m also worried about secession and what would happen to all the people in those states who aren’t “real Americans.” It’s fun to laugh at the idea of Texas seceding, but I wonder how my friends in Austin would fare under the new regime.

    But seriously, demonic possession? I’ve always thought that once you take the idea of supernatural intervention in the physical world seriously, all logic and reason is out the window since you’ve got these unfalsifiable, supernatural explanations just waiting to be pulled out of thin air to explain anything.

    I wonder why these people believe in it, and to what extent they suspect it is common.

  7. Reginald Selkirk says

    I’m going to recommend a book to you: The Fakers by Danny Korem and Paul D. Meier (F. H. Revell Co (1980), ISBN-13: 978-0800711306).
    This is a skeptical book on various paranormal and pseudoscientific phenomena, such as you might find written by James Randi, Martin Gardner, Benjamin Radford, etc. Except that it’s written from an Evangelical Christian perspective. Korem is a magician, and Meier is a psychiatrist. Meier recognizes the effectiveness of medication in treating mental illness, and has never witnessed a case of demonic possession. But he still believes in it, because the Bible says so.
    It’s a hoot.

  8. Aliasalpha says

    Maybe you could use that, get them around to the idea that anthropogenic climate change is caused by demonic possession and then as they accept the science you can slowly edge them away from the demonic possession idea.

    Kind of like having a spider on your leg, you gently tease it off onto a bit of cardboard until its completely off whereupon you can drop it to the ground and jump up and down on it screaming “DIE! DIE! DIE YOU OCTOPEDAL BASTARD! RAAAAAAAAAGH, ALIAS SMASH!!!!!”. That or put it outside.

  9. F says

    Aliasalpha

    That’s not coal or oil, that’s concentrated evil! If you burn it, you let the demons out.

    Jason

    I would say it’s more scary, because it’s real.

    No. More dangerous because it’s real. The most scary things are frequently imaginary. They are the things that allow people to have marginally less scary and horrible things happen to them for real, for protection from the imaginary scary things.

  10. roxchix says

    Did you really just call geologists not “actual climate scientists” and “pretenders at authority on the complex subject of climate”? You mean like Louis Agassiz? Nicholas Shackleton? Wallace Smith Broecker? Lest you think that the pioneering exceptions prove the rule, how about the statements from GSA (of America) (http://www.geosociety.org/positions/position10.htm), The Geological Society (London) http://www.geolsoc.org.uk/climatechange? Since the AAPG has changed it’s position statement to one of non-committal (due in part to so many of it’s members threatening to leave if it maintained it’s anti-AGW position), no legitimate professional geoscience organization maintains a denialist position.

    You do realize that a huge bulk of the paleoclimate research and interpretation is produce by geologists? All the geophysical models done by number crunches at their computers need the actual data taken from the geologic record. How do you think that we know what atmospheric carbon dioxide was a million years ago? During the Eocene thermal maximum? Most paleoclimate and paleotemperature thermometers were developed in large part by geologists, for example, see Kate Huntington, U. of Washington and the new clumped isotope paleothermometry method.

    Individual skeptics not-withstanding, geologists are among those on the forefront of research and public outreach on global climate change (Michael Mann, Naomi Oreskes, etc).

    Disparage individual geologists if you want, although many of the geologists that are skeptical of AGW, are true skeptics, demanding what they see is the need for better research, rather than irrational denialists. If you want to discard the contributions of geologists though, you’ll be left with a very bankrupt field of climate research and modeling.

  11. says

    roxchix:

    Disparage individual geologists if you want, although many of the geologists that are skeptical of AGW, are true skeptics, demanding what they see is the need for better research, rather than irrational denialists. If you want to discard the contributions of geologists though, you’ll be left with a very bankrupt field of climate research and modeling.

    I’m sure you can provide some specific examples of these “true skeptic” geologists and their validated criticisms.

    Also, I’m sure you can provide some high-quality articles from the literature showing how climate research & modelling is “bankrupt”.

  12. Paul W., OM says

    The other set of numbers in the PPP poll that I found most interesting were about ghosts.

    The percentage of people believing in ghosts goes down a lot with age, which is not something I’d expect. I’d sorta expect that older people, who tend to be more religious, would also tend to believe in ghosts at least as much.

    But then, belief in paranormal and superstitious crap is common among “irreligious” people, who don’t have religious nonsense to obsess about, so maybe that’s a bad expectation.

    Still it’s striking how much it goes down with age—from 44 percent (among 18 to 29 year olds) to 23 percent (for the over 65 group).

    What’s even weirder is the percentage of people who say they’ve seen a ghost, which goes down from an amazing 49 percent among the youngest adults to 15 percent among the oldest.

    WTF? All other things being equal, that number should go up, or stay stable unless only young people ever see ghosts for the first time. As you get older, you have more chances to see a ghost.

    But no, apparently as people get older, more than two thirds who think they’ve seen a ghost decide the ghosts they saw weren’t ghosts after all.

    Or maybe it’s a cohort effect—maybe it’s the current crop of young people who see more ghosts than older people.

    Is there an epidemic of ghosts, overwhelmingly revealing themselves to young people? Has it gotten worse and worse for several decades, since each cohort claims more sightings than thge next older one?

    In a few more decades, will all the kids see ghosts?

    And there’s one really odd pair of numbers—among the youngest group, more people claim to have seen a ghost (49 percent) than say they believe in ghosts (45 percent).

    So one in twenty young adults doesn’t believe in ghosts but nonetheless claims to have seen one?

    Gotta wonder how people interpreted the questions on this poll.

    Kids these days. Hmph.

  13. roxchix says

    composer99 says:

    composer99 says: I’m sure you can provide some specific examples of these “true skeptic” geologists and their validated criticisms.

    Also, I’m sure you can provide some high-quality articles from the literature showing how climate research & modelling is “bankrupt”.

    Wow, way to completely miss the point of my post. Do you know any of those names I quoted? Did you bother to look up any of them?

    Hopefully every geologist ever reviewing a paper before publication is a ‘true skeptic’. I bet the authors of this paper (http://retractionwatch.wordpress.com/2012/06/11/paper-claiming-hottest-60-year-span-in-1000-years-put-on-hold-after-being-published-online/) wish that they had had more skeptical reviewers to catch their data error before Steve McIntyre did.

    How much do you know about climate modeling? For one thing, the instrumental temperature record is insufficient data to determine the key climate sensitivity variable. If the climate community were to lose all the paleotemperature data painstakingly gathered by geologists and geochemists, the models would indeed be ‘bankrupt’. And the role of ‘true skeptics’ here? Paleotemperature determination using ‘standard’ isotope fractionation is an undetermined problem, you have one measurement and two variables, temperature and reservoir composition. If a modeler doesn’t understand that, and doesn’t understand how reservoirs can be spatially and temporally variable (the realm of geologists), paleotemperatures can be easily misinterpreted. Paleotemperature determination is neither simple nor clear-cut. You need a complete (geological) understanding of the system, not just an instrumental reading. The clumped isotope system I mentioned in my first post is a cutting edge development (by geologists) to reduce that source of error in the data by using rare isotopologue systematics that allow you to calculate (absolutely) both the temperature and the reservoir isotopic composition from geologic samples.

    The climate models require high resolution geologic data showing how CO2 levels and the other temperature forcings have co-varied with temperature in the past prior to instrumental readings in order to calculate the climate response to increasing CO2. It’s not a linear response. Without the geologic record and geologic understanding, climate research and modeling would indeed be ‘bankrupt’.

    Any further questions?

  14. jaytheostrich says

    See, this is a problem with doing polls on Halloween.. the demons are wandering the streets, fully interacting with the public! Of course they exist.. mind you, most of them are troublingly short for such fearsome opponents of God-fearing people..

  15. says

    roxchix:

    Reviewing your initial comment (#16), I have misinterpreted your statment and I apologize for that. I, alone, ignored the content & context of the majority of your comment and I, alone, misread your final paragraph.

    I was not objecting to your claim that geology is a key part of climatology – indeed, climatology as a science is really just a subset of geology (IMO).

    My criticism of your comment was off-base and unequivocally incorrect. The error is mine and I apologize.

  16. says

    I think probably roxchix’s totally valid points about geology are my own fault. I simply tossed out an off-hand bomb about self-proclaimed climate skeptics who do not do paleoclimate or other climate-related studies but who are geologists are claiming authority to undermine their entire field — a field that, yes, provides a parallel line of evidence that converges on the point of climate change being real. All of that nuance was lost in my derision. My point — that climate skeptics are never actually in agreement with their fields, and as far as I can tell never themselves climate scientists — stands, though.

  17. bradleybetts says

    “The scientists are unanimous, as long as you include actual climate scientists and not geologists or meteorologists or other pretenders at authority on the complex subject of climate.”

    I don’t understand why you would discount the opinions of Geologists and Meteorologists. Meteorologists study weather patterns after all, and I was taught that climate is simply the average weather conditions over a region over a time period of decades, especially with regard to temperature, rainfall, and wind conditions.

    And I’m a Geology graduate, and not only did we learn alot about palaeoclimates and the processes involved in climate change and viewed alot of evidence about past climate change in the rock record, and thus are in a position to understand it, I have never met a Geologist who would contest that climate change is happening. So I don’t understand your point there.

  18. bradleybetts says

    Ah, I see the subject has already been covered fairly comprehensively by Roxchix. My bad.

    I will say though that the reason some Geologists are skepical of AGW specifically (as I said I’ve never met a single one who said they were in any way skeptical of GW as a whole) is that the subject they study provides them with numerous examples of previous warming periods which can in no way have been caused by humans due to the rather damning fact that we didn’t exist. It’s also clear from Geological evidence that, like ice ages, warming periods are cyclical. To someone who knows all that, studies it for a living, and who tends to view humans as fairly insignificant in the grand scheme of things (it’s hard not to when studying Geology) it’s hard to believe that we puny humans can have had a significant effect on the planet, and most of my lecturers would happily argue amongst themselves as to what extent humans had sped the process up. But not a single one of them denied that climate change was happening or that human industrial activity had had some effect, no matter how small they may personally believe it to be.

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