Conspiracy Theory

Conversation With a Cultist

UPDATE: My interlocutor’s ingenuousness has taken a turn for the questionable again, with a sudden return to It-Might-Be-Parody Land:

Where in all of the facts out there, does it say that we’ll be fine? Trust me, I WANT to see the facts and information that tells me that we’re fine. nothing is going to change, the icecaps aren’t melting, the jet stream isn’t slowing down, the coral reefs aren’t dying, we’re not going to lose all large ocean life by 2050, 21 cities in India aren’t going to run out of groundwater by next year, the ogallala aquifer won’t run out of water in the next couple decades, the bees won’t be extinct by 2035, and we’re not heading for 4 c and hotter temps by 2060….

Taken literally, he would appear to think science works like Homer’s False Alarm. What do you think, have I been ‘had,’ or had I better proceed as though un-had?


I hope you’ve all read by now the Australian Broadcasting Corporations’s morbidly fascinating blog post Breaking up over climate change: My deep dark journey into doomer Facebook. (It even quotes a tweet by Stuart Capstick of On the Couch fame.)

Thulsa Doom 4

Pictured: Contemplate this on the tree of woe.

Thereunder, things have been getting real for yours truly. Over the last couple of days I’ve been exchanging comments with someone called Kevin Stevens, who purports to be writing from the darkness of the Doomer bunker itself. I’m speaking figuratively, or at least I think I am, about Kevin’s location. It’s probably just a mindset, but it might as well be a barbed-wired compound. A tight-knit vanguard of True Believers claims to be holding a sort of countdown as they mark off human civilization’s last remaining years, with straight faces, on their clock of doom.

Andy West will surely get a kick out of the cultural-identity-protective behaviors Kevin is engaged in, centred around abusing anybody who dares suggest we’re not actually living in the End Times. For me it’s like being an Anthropologist on Mars, or in the Anthropocene.

It might be a while before a research opportunity like this comes around again.

I’m reposting the thread to date, as follows, in case it inspires you to join my little expedition—or you simply have a request or strategy or opinion to offer regarding the next conversational move I should make. The italics are mine.

[Another option worth worth exploring, I think, would be to place someone inside the cult itself—the Near Term Human Extinction Support Group (NTHESG) on facebook—provided we can get past the paranoid bouncers. —BK]


Kevin Stevens

I’m all about a 3rd option. Let’s hear it.

With all the putting down of the NTHESG, I never once heard a valid point against the premise of the group.

I liken the group to be like a support group for people with terminal cancer

We’re the realists We know what’s coming, we just accept it, and anyone who tells us anything other than what we know as truth, isn’t welcome.

What is so hard to understand about that?

Giving false hope should be criminal, but instead, it’s looked at as “humane” . Hope is dumb.

There’s fact, and there’s fiction.

If everyone grasped that concept, we wouldn’t be having this discussion, because we would have looked at the facts, and fixed the issues before they became a serious problem.

The fact is simple It’s too late to do anything about climate change.

The fact is, it’s much worse than is being reported.

The fact is, we’re fucked.

I really don’t see what’s so hard to understand about that.

LikeReply16d

Brad Keyes

“The fact is, it’s much worse than is being reported.”

Except by you, you mean.

Thank God the truth can now be found—not in the scientific literature of course, but in Facebook threads.

Reply4d

Kevin Stevens

lmao. If you want to believe that, go right ahead. ( and no….I don’t mean by me, btw.) I’m not here to educate you. That’s really funny! “Not in the scientific literature”

SMDH.

Reply4d

Brad Keyes

I see. So the fact that it’s much worse than is being reported is, in fact, being reported? In the “scientific literature,” no less?

Well then, don’t keep me in suspense. I’m dying (I don’t mean that literally! Or do I?) to know where exactly in “the scientific literature” I might find this… finding.

Because if it’s true, I may need a support group to help me deal with the emotions it triggers.

Preferably one that is hostile to, and openly wishes to criminalize, outsiders who dare dispute the scientific reality that “we’re fucked.”

One more thing: why are the world’s scientists conspiring against your group by keeping quiet about the imminent climate clusterfuck by which the planet will soon be rapestormed into uninhabitability?

Why does the IPCC fail, year after year after year, to report the awful truth of which you are one of the lonely few custodians, Kevin?

Reply1d

Kevin Stevens

For starters, the IPCC doesn’t fail to report it, you just fail to listen to it, and secondly, aren’t smart enough to know that by the time the IPCC comes out and issue a statement, the data that they’re using are already at least 10 years old.

Third, obviously nothing I can show you, is going to convince you, because you’ve already shown that you don’t listen to what you’re already being told.

In 2018, the IPCC issued a report saying that we have 12 years, (now 10) to fix climate change, or face catastrophic consequences.

And again, using common sense, the data used to come up with that conclusion are 10 years old.

The Arctic is going to be ice free by 2025, or sooner, based on current observed trends, (actually got pretty close this year) and you have to look no further than watching Paul Beckwith on YouTube to find that out. He’s an actual climate scientist who is not tied to the fossil fuels industry.

But, meh you don’t care. You know everything you need to know.

LikeReply1d

Brad Keyes

You say that “using common sense, the data used to come up with that conclusion are 10 years old.”

1) if you’re talking about the IPCC, no, the cutoff date for papers to be considered for inclusion in the panel’s reports is a few months in advance, not a *decade.*

2) if data are 10 years behind reality, you can’t possibly know whether things got worse or better in the intervening decade. Assuming privileged psychic access to the truth of the universe is pre-scientific, not prescient.

You fascinate me, Kevin. Your naked resentment towards anyone who dares tell you things might not be as bad as you think is counterintuitive.

What emotional preparations have you made for the eventuality that the world *fails* to be brought to its knees according to your hoped-for timetable? (In the literature that studies cults, such non-apocalypses are often called The Great Disappointment.)

Have you set a date by which, if no armageddon has occurred, you promise yourself to cut your losses and get out of your doomsday sect? I’d suggest you do so, and make sure you stick to that date, without making excuses, because otherwise it’s all too easy to get sucked into a cycle of despair and spend your whole life hoping for one Ragnarok after another that never arrives.

Do you really want to still be ten years away from an ecological holocaust when you turn sixty?

70?

80?

LikeReply4h

Brad Keyes

Where in the thousands of pages of IPCC AR5 can I find the revelation that we’re fucked, by the way?

LikeReply4h

33 thoughts on “Conversation With a Cultist

  1. Brad, thanks, that insightful post had escaped my notice. Are you sure you haven’t been ‘had’? I mean, the bit about the near-term extinction group being a lifeline???

    Anyway, I don’t do Facebook, but regarding your request for suggestions, there is one comment from Pappy about radical depopulation that seems to be calling for an “eat the babies” modest proposal.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks Paul.

    Indeed, it all seemed a bit ridiculous to me at first, hence my mocking opening salvo to Mr Stevens. But the long and growing interval between actual jokes convinced me that this was either the most inept possible parody, or not a parody at all.

    Likewise, the comment by Pappy, while ridiculous, risible and laughable, strikes me as too humorless to be an attempt at—well—humor.

    In your opinion, how does it compare to the one I left

    Climaphobia is one of the four well-known types of Overpopulation Denialism. When we project our feelings of complicity in the planet’s literal annihilation onto the odorless, invisible CO2 (carbon pollution) molecule we are letting the real evil—us—off the hook.

    The science is no longer in debate: unless we drastically and immediately reduce our numbers on this planet, people are going to start dying. I’ve been raising awareness of this iron law since the Usenet days and what’s fascinating is how it only tends to trigger denial in people who have no genetic investment in the future. To those who laugh at the science of responsible population husbandry, I politely suggest: come back to me when your youngest daughter has had twins and *then* tell me it doesn’t matter if we bequeath them a sardine-packed planet.

    …?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is brilliant…!!..Thanks for this Brad…I have engaged a few face to face..they were not as far gone as the peanut you were chatting with…

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This Kevin guy is the poster child for the tragic results of being an ignorant reactionary.
    The Arctic got nowhere even close to ice free this year or any other year in the several hundred.
    You rightly point out how the IPCC has not claimed anything like what he asserts, as well as it’s cutoff date. However to prove he truly is an ignorant reactionary, Kevin simply ignores those inconvenient facts.
    At least in most religious cults the apocalypse is followed by a paradise.
    In the climate bullshit cult, doom is followed by….

    Liked by 1 person

  5. He’s hardly alone, albeit his small minority is way-out into the wacky. So, do you think many other CAGW supporters who are far less wacky, or indeed many who appear not wacky at all, may nevertheless share some of his biases and apparent blindness to challenging information? Why?

    Like

  6. Why do we refer to people as CAGW supporters? They are hardly in favour of it – unless they belong to the wakiest of the wacky.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. “Why do we refer to people as CAGW supporters?”

    Excellent point, but who’s we? I’m fastidious about using ‘believer’ (in CAGW) or ‘proponent’ or ‘advocate’ (of the hypothesis of CAGW, or of CAGWism). It always amuses me when people on Our Side are called ‘opponents of AGW,’ as if in unwitting acknowledgement of the pro-warming sentiment on the Other Side.

    PS the superlative of ‘waky’ is ‘wokest.’

    Like

  8. Andy,

    He doesn’t appear blind to challenging information—just averse to it, as everyone is to some extent, particularly after having invested themselves publicly in a certain position.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. ALAN KENDALL
    If you read the ABC article, you’ll see that “CAGW supporters” is a reasonable description of people whose life is built round a cast iron belief that they’re going to die, (which of course they are) and who are stricken with panic if they hear a countervailing argument.

    It’s more complicated than that, since it’s about doomers, who believe in doing nothing to prepare for catastrophe, and preppers, whose preparations from the photo seem to consist of digging a hole in the ground in a lush green field. There’s no livestock or evidence of crop growing, so they seem a bit like squirrels in the desert. The author of the article considers himself a reasonable person compared with these nutters. He’s with Extinction Rebellion, and there’s a photo of a Rebel at the top of the article. It must have taken him hours to do his makeup.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. “Excellent point, but who’s we?”

    You’re over-thinking this 0: ‘we’ is just readers of this post. I should have said, ‘readers’.

    Like

  11. Brad:

    “He doesn’t appear blind to challenging information—just averse…”

    Whether it’s blind or averse we can’t actually know without being in his head. Either way he appears incapable of processing it. The question stands.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. “Hey, that’s me!”

    In short order they would spot that you don’t embrace catastrophe, and that your doing nothingness is a false cover for a fatalistic doing nothingness, hence throwing you out on your butt. You’re probably wearing the wrong make-up too.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. “But who’s we” well I’ve mistakenly written about CAGW supporters in the past so “we” was deliberately used to place myself well and truly on the naughty step.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Andy,

    I’d feel better about venturing an opinion as to Kevin’s tractability (or otherwise) to reason if I’d actually given him some information worth ignoring. So far I’ve merely been having rhetorical fun with him, which is somehow unsatisfying on this particular occasion—perhaps in light of the potentially major psychopathology involved. I’d like to do something more serious.

    So let’s think about this together. (This is an open invitation.)

    What shall I say—or anyone else say who cares to follow the link and join in—that demands acknowledgement or ‘processing’ on Kevin’s part? What evidence can we present him such that, if he doesn’t change his position at all, we can declare for sure that he’s either ignoring or at best/worst pretending to ignore it?

    I’m not sure whether I’m proposing an experiment or a humanitarian intervention here. Either way it’d be better than simply toying with him for the sake of an amusing blog post, as I’ve been doing thus far. (I never imagined I’d recognize a higher imperative than humor, but there ya go! I never thought I’d encounter someone like Kevin either.)

    Like

  15. Brad, Pielke Jr had a short simple summary somewhere of the AR5 tech chapter position for droughts / floods / hurricanes / etc, plus overall expected financial impact for CC. Ditto for SR15, I think, but I never saved links to these. Absolutely not apocalyptic.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Thanks Andy, that’s excellent. I’m really pressed for time today but I don’t want to lose Kevin now that I’ve got him on the hook, so to speak, so I think I should reply as soon as possible. Can you help me draft my next message to him?

    Like

  17. Brad: right now I’m entertaining a guest, plus I didn’t save the links and not to mention that physical climate is not my thing. But I did save the twitter link to this…

    “The UN Climate Panel estimates that the impact of global warming — if we do nothing whatsoever — by the 2070s will be equivalent to a reduction in average income of 0.2-2% (and by then, we’ll be 100-300% richer)”

    …from Bjorn Lomborg, for which the twitter link is this:

    …which in turn links the assessment. The problem is, per our other ruminations, that if he sees Bjorn Lomborg as a source, he will go into full-on rejection that’s the spawn of the devil mode, in about a split second. Whereas what we’d prefer is to see what happens with a more perceived neutral or direct IPCC source (so ‘mainstream science’). This may be doable if you follow the link, which uses original IPCC data, but I don’t have time for more…

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Brad, maybe I can step in. When these people say – as per your update – that they really want to hear the good news, they are being (in the words of Douglas Maraun in my favourite climategate email) “not especially honest”.

    In fact, when you quote them chapter and verse from the Good News according to the holy book of the IPCC, they will argue against it, say it is out of date, say that you are cherrypicking. I guarantee that your mate Kev will do this! I’ve seen it loads of times on twitter, reddit, quora…

    Anyway here is the link that I think Andy 6.59pm is referring to, where Pielke summarises what the IPCC says about extreme weather events.

    http://rogerpielkejr.blogspot.com/2013/10/coverage-of-extreme-events-in-ipcc-ar5.html

    “Current datasets indicate no significant observed trends in global tropical cyclone frequency over the past century”

    “In summary, there continues to be a lack of evidence and thus low confidence regarding the sign of trend in the magnitude and/or frequency of floods on a global scale”

    One guy didn’t even believe these – he thought Pielke had fabricated these quotes, because when he googled them, he only found them on “denier sites”!!!

    More in a minute…

    Liked by 2 people

  19. If you want the actual source it is chapter 2 of the AR5 WG1 report (2013),

    https://www.ipcc.ch/site/assets/uploads/2017/09/WG1AR5_Chapter02_FINAL.pdf

    Just search that for floods, droughts, cyclones, hurricanes. One thing you’ll see is that that report AR5 dialled back on some of the claims from the previous one. For example
    “AR4 conclusions regarding global increasing trends in drought since the 1970s were probably overstated.”

    As I said, one thing the Kevins say in response to this is that 2013 is ancient history and that since then the science has moved on. As if a massive treasure trove of data on historical storms and floods has suddenly been discovered since 2013.

    So you can refer them to the IPCC SR15 report, published in 2018. Again Pielke has a good summary, but being 2018 it’s now a thread on twitter:

    It’s much the same story, but there’s this:
    “Numerous studies towards and beyond AR5 have reported a decreasing trend in the global number of tropical cyclones and/or the globally accumulated cyclonic energy”
    Yes, decreasing. That’s not a typo.

    Liked by 2 people

  20. OK I’ve now had a look at some of the comments from our Kev. If you haven’t yet tired of shooting fish in a barrel (what’s the Ozzie equivalent of that phrase?) you could try these

    > In 2018, the IPCC issued a report saying that we have 12 years, (now 10) to fix climate change, or face catastrophic consequences.

    Err, no, the IPCC said no such thing. That was a fake claim by a Guardian headline writer that the rest of the idiot media just copied. But don’t take my word for it. Here’s a blogpost on exactly this point, from a mainstream but honest climate scientist (yes, there are a few) Patrick Brown:

    https://patricktbrown.org/2019/01/04/does-the-ipcc-say-we-have-until-2030-to-avoid-catastrophic-global-warming/

    > you have to look no further than watching Paul Beckwith on YouTube

    > Did you check out Paul Beckwith? I’m sure not

    ROTFLMAO. Yes, I did check out Paul Beckwith. Here he is saying the Arctic ice is all going to disappear by 2013:

    https://thenarwhal.ca/arctic-sea-ice-vanish-2013/

    He wrote two posts on this for Sierra Club in 2013. Comically, one of them was called “Adult discussion please”. Beckwith and/or Sierra Club have tried to delete them because they are so embarrassing, but you can find them elsewhere such as the link above or the internet archive.

    Why Arctic Sea Ice will vanish in 2013

    Liked by 2 people

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