I’m no scientist, but I trust scientific consensus. I also trust that the data and research that I’ve read about various subjects related to science is accurate. I apply this trust to most subject matter that’s studied and tested by people who have the proper credentials. It’s how we’re able to function as a civil society.
When I read the recommended dosage on the back of a bottle of Advil, I don’t declare to myself, “I don’t believe this.” That would make no sense. I trust the science that went into developing Advil will most certainly prevent me from sustaining liver damage, or even death. When I get the flu shot, I don’t worry that I’ll become “vaccine injured” as so many gullible parents fear these days. I know the history of the effectiveness of vaccines and the science that goes behind them. Does science always align with the public interest? No, but it has a pretty good track record. That’s why when I see someone go all in on denying the credibility of established science, I’m amazed at how fraudulent the logic is. During an episode from his podcast late last month, Joe Rogan exposed that fraudulence brilliantly during an interview with conservative firebrand Candace Owens.
Owens, according to what I’ve read, was once a liberal. Through some sort of self-transformation, she’s become a spokesperson for the conservative group Turning Point USA and is now an avowed Trump supporter. She rocketed to fame while piggybacking on Kanye West’s recent pro-Trump social media campaign. Now she has a platform as a voice for young conservatives and black people taken for granted by the liberal political machine. Apparently, saying “I don’t believe in climate change” is now required of her.
Whether her disbelief in climate change is genuine or not, it’s her stated position. As she declares to Rogan during the May 31 interview, “Do I believe in climate change? No.”
When pressed by Rogan, she rattled off some nonsense about how the term “climate change” came to be, then declares that she thinks it’s some sort of scam to “extract dollars from Americans.”
It’s a sloppy example, but it illustrates a key trait about climate change deniers: they’re conspiracy theorists. The conspiracy theory has a few variations, but it boils down to a massive plot by interest groups to bribe scientists ($$) into saying climate change is real. This belief system mirrors the beliefs of anti-vaxxers and other similar purveyors of quackery who think shadowy organizations that have a black-hand type control over science/governmental agencies are utilizing greed to enact their shadowy agendas. That’s the basic framework of climate change denial. When certain people with room-temperature IQs convince themselves the framework is true, it gives them the confidence to dismiss established science because they can just incorporate it into the conspiracy.
In one portion of the interview, Rogan forces Owens to confront the fact that her disbelief in climate change is incoherent. “This is an incredibly complicated subject,” Rogan says. He then asks her if she’s done any kind of research or if she simply just has a “flippant opinion based in the party line.”
When Owens says that the “disparity in the science” is enough to make her reject it, Rogan points out that the disparity is “very little.”
“Most scientists — most — the vast majority, agree that human beings are negatively affecting climate change,” Rogan says.
“The vast majority,” he clarifies, staring directly at Owens.
“Yeah, I just don’t think so,” she replies.
When Rogan shows an example of the documented scientific consensus, Owens counters, “What website is this?” Rogan’s sidekick tells her that it’s Scientific American, one of the oldest and most respected science publications in history.
“Yeah — dot com though?” Owens asks.” Because that means it’s making money. I don’t trust that. If it was a dot org I would probably take that, but this is just a random website.”
Scientific American is not a random website.
“Yeah, I don’t believe this, like, at all,” she says.
Regardless of the futility, Rogan nails it perfectly: “Why have a belief?” he asks her.
“What do you mean?” Owens asks.
“Why have a belief as to whether or not global warming is real or not real?”
Rogan’s point is simple yet powerful: Owens’ rejection of climate change is nothing more than an uninformed choice inspired by a conspiracy theory.
Rogan: “It’s a pretty broad consensus.”
Owens: “Who are they, um, polling?”
After Owens protests that climate change has been “politicized,” Rogan gets to the heart of the matter, reminding her that climate change denial is an “ideological right-wing point.”
“You don’t have to have a formed opinion on everything. What you do have to have is the ability to know when you don’t know what the f*ck you’re talking about.”
Owens has no idea what she’s talking about. The Trump cult she’s aligned herself with will make sure she avoids accountability for taking on the role as a spokesperson for a movement, all while being an intellectual fraud. Rogan’s perfect exposure of her won’t matter to her fans, but it’s a shining example of what happens when the conspiracy of climate change denial is confronted head-on.
Watch the full exchange in the video below:
Featured image via screen grab