A Link Between Climate Denial and Autism? Inquiring Minds Want to Know!

You too can be a denialism/autism truther.

Let’s start by being candid and admitting that the jury is still out on this one.  Still, there are reasons for concern about the possibility that climate denial can be associated with autism.Anyone who says this is false is just being dogmatic.  We should at least openly acknowledge the existence of scientific uncertainty.

Just consider the mounting body of evidence:

1.  To begin with, there isn’t a single peer-reviewed study definitively disproving the existence of a link.  Not one!

2.  Climate deniers  tend to repeat exactly the same statements over and over again, despite being shown the real evidence, and even when it’s off-topic. Just like Rainman!

3.  Climate deniers have trouble understanding other people’s motives, like those of the hardworking scientists they suspect of perpetrating a vast hoax. Same as autistic people on TV dramas!

4.  My cousin had a friend who knew a climate denier who seemed a bit autistic to the friend, who knows a lot about autism from a cable show.

Obviously, it would be premature to say that this evidence actually proves the existence of a link. More research is needed, maybe by people who actually know something about autism. In the meantime, however, news coverage of the issue needs to present both sides of the debate.  In order to properly educate our children, the schools should at least “teach the debate” over the autism/denialism link.  I’m only asking for fair and balanced public discussion of the issue.

Maybe you think this isn’t a serious issue.  But look at all the people who are willing to expose their kids to illness because they think, based on even less evidence, that vaccinations might cause autism.  I say, let’s give equal time to the growing debate about autism and climate denial!!

Oh, and did I mention that I’m available for network interviews to provide balance whenever climate deniers are interviewed?  It’s only fair to present both sides, after all.

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Reader Comments

2 Replies to “A Link Between Climate Denial and Autism? Inquiring Minds Want to Know!”

  1. I wonder at so many people who have no scientific education or experience having strong opinions about climate change theories. For instance, most environmental lawyers have little or no science and technology education or experience. My legal experience informs me that most lawyers, and certainly most judges, were liberal arts majors. Most are probably technophobes.

    So-called “climate scientists,” who are probably better described as climate change advocates, don’t focus much in their discussions about methods of proof. They tend to sensationalize their observations and try to persuade people that their observations constitute proof.

    Climate change happens on a time scale involving hundred, thousands, and millions of years. No human observations have yet covered any significant period of time.

    “Climate experts” typically equate correlations they “observe” with causation, a basic fallacy of reasoning. They also believe that they have appropriately dismissed any other driving force, other than human-generated greenhouse gases, as possible causes of anthropogenic global warming, or of climate change.

    They believe that because their models work best to reproduce the data they believe to be true, when human-caused increases in CO2 in the atmosphere are plugged into their models, that this proves something.

    If experiments could be conducted to “prove” the AGW theory was correct, that would require experiments on a global scale, conducted over decades or centuries, at the least, experiments with all other inputs to climate change being held constant, and with deliberately varied inputs of increases or decreases of CO2 in the atmosphere, and measuring the results. If those results matched what was predicted by mathematical expressions of their theories, then they would have something.

    If a significant number of such experiments could be conducted, and if the data supported the theories, as expressed in mathematical terms, then a measure of proof would have been established.

    What “climate scientists” have done, however, is to recreate temperature records from proxy data, and build models that will reproduce the data when they plug in their expectations as to the forcing of CO2 in the atmosphere.

    What “climate scientists” have also done, is to take temperature measurements for a little over a century, correlate slight increases in globally averaged temperature measurements, with increases in CO2 released to the atmosphere, and think that they have proved something.

    They have decided that they can “dismiss” other causes and driving forces, things such as solar activity, cosmic radiation variations, volcanic action, earthquakes, gaseous releases in the oceans, cloud formation, and numerous other forces. They have stated they can’t imagine what else could be driving the climate change they think they are observing, and they equate their lack of imagination with proof of causation.

    If they can’t run the global climate change experiments which would be required to prove their theories, and they can only observe and measure, they will need to observe and measure for another century, and then for another, and for many more, while other important driving forces are remaining constant, to test their theories. If their correlations hold up over different starting conditions, over many periods of observation, then they may be onto something.

    In the meantime, humility is a strong virtue in any scientist. Anyone who advocates a theory, should be aware of the pitfalls of arrogance. Anyone who believes they understand the processes involved in global climate change, and that they can express the relationships among the numerous variables involved, and that they can dismiss the sun and the stars as driving forces, is hopelessly arrogant.

    You can easily spot a global climate change advocate who is not a scientist – he or she is demanding that other people accept their views, he or she is attacking anyone who doesn’t accept their views, he or she is trying to scare people into following them.

    Human beings have not been measuring climate attributes, or observing change, for any significant period of time. If you live on an island, and you see the water level rising, year after year, you may be worried that your world is coming to an end. You may want to blame someone. But islands have been sinking and rising for millions of years. Worried “experts” need to chill out, breathe slowly, and watch what develops. Things change, that is the nature of the world.

    Temperature measurement, CO2 measurement, ice core studies, tree ring studies, coral studies, lake sediment studies, and a thousand other cool areas for study, are all brand new in the scale of earth’s history. Seeing things change scares some people, many may want to make the change stop, but climate change has been occurring since the beginning of earth’s history. Just keep watching, it will keep changing.

    And for heaven’s sake, don’t panic and ask the governments of the world to do something to stop the world from changing. They can’t do it. Governments rely on force, they use guns to force people to do things, or to stop doing things. They act on fear, they threaten violence, they commit acts of violence. That’s not a formula for adapting to climate change.

    Let free and creative people figure out what we need to do to best adapt to whatever climate change nature sends our way. Human survival depends on our adaptation.

    1. Actually a lot of attorneys I have met have substantial background in the sciences and/or engineering, though this may be a bit slanted because of patent / IP types (who have to have a science background), and admiralty, (who are mostly naval architects or marine engineers). That said, one P.I. / products guy I worked with extensively had an advanced degree in physics and worked at Lawrence Lab before switching to law, as an example, and others were engineers.

      Finally, note that anyone can easily calculate that without any CO2 in the atmosphere the earth’s average temperature should be -18C, but because of the historic levels we have, it is what we see now. So, if we double CO2, we should not be surprised if something untowards happens. This may not give us the details, but even a dog knows the answer is “Ruh Roh”.

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About Dan

Dan Farber

Dan Farber has written and taught on environmental and constitutional law as well as about contracts, jurisprudence and legislation. Currently at Berkeley Law, he has al…

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