Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Zombie ideas

Paul Krugman today wrote about zombie ideas.  These are ideas that circulate among us which have no basis in fact.  The one he's describing is the one brought into existence by an
infamous 2010 letter accusing Bernanke of debasing the dollar
in which
none of the people who signed that letter admitted to having been wrong or even a hint of reconsidering
now four years later.  Despite all evidence to the contrary, not even are they able to admit to reality, they continue to believe the zombie idea is still alive.

The discussion of climate change is filled with zombie ideas, ideas that refuse to die in spite of all evidence against it.  A characteristic of a global warming denier is that they seize upon an idea that seems true at the time and packs that idea around like a warm blanket.  They don't follow how that idea is doing in climate science.  They don't really read any more about the idea to see if it stands up. Instead they bring that idea out whenever the topic comes up, And they use that idea as an all purpose weapon against climate change without at any time considering the idea in a larger context.

A list of climate change zombie ideas can be found here.  For example,
"[Ice] is expanding in much of Antarctica, contrary to the widespread public belief that global warming is melting the continental ice cap." (Greg Roberts, The Australian)
Even though disproven, the idea keeps going on, zombie-like.