Denial of extinction crisis

I try not to get too close to politics on the forum but I thought this was important.

This piece cites a new perspective article in Nature Ecology and Evolution, which you may or may not be able to access (?):

That article proposes an interesting classification of denial into three categories: 1) “Literal denial”–refuting objective data. 2) “Interpretive denial” – not refuting the facts but reinterpreting them in a misleading way. 3) “Implicatory denial” – acknowledging the facts but inflates the value of targeted/technological solutions while downplaying the much larger issues (i.e. habitat loss and climate change).

I have to remind myself that if it weren’t for the Endangered Species Act and the hard work of so many conservation biologists things would be much worse.


Conservation biologists and scientists are paid to get the results the employer wants them to get and not necessarily the results they actually get.

Science is not science any more and is more science fiction than actual science.

Personally, I don’t believe anything any scientist ever has to say and i’m a scientist. I rely solely on my own research because if it’s one thing that college, university and job searching in my field of work has taught me, is that science and scientists cannot ever be trusted for any reason what so ever and everything science related in any shape or form is fake and corrupt.

Now, ordinary non science people are just as skeptical and honestly I don’t blame them.

I am not a “denier” by any means. I believe in extinction and to be quite honest, I believe that everything will in fact go extinct because the environment and humans can no longer co-exist. We never really could.




“everything” was an improper word choice. Perhaps most would of been a better choice word.


I think it is important for us to remember that people ‘deny’ serious situations they have little control over not out of malicious intent, nor even because they want ‘business as usual’ to continue, but because the situation is truly terrifying and beyond their control. Throughout most of our evolution as a species, when negative information reached us, we were generally able to act immediately, but in our technology-drenched, social media society of today, our ability to act, especially as individuals on global issues, is next to nothing. One of my biggest problems with media reporting on serious ecological issues is that it relays mostly negative information, instead of encouraging people to do good things.
Shouldn’t we act because we love this Earth and all of its life, not merely out of fear?

That said, thank you for saying this, as I was unaware of ‘extinction denial’ as being something widespread - I just haven’t encountered it myself.


I’m going to mull that one over for awhile, but not for too long.


It must be nice to have that luxury. Not every one has the resources, knowledge, time or ability to conduct their own independent research on all subjects.


I was an academic scientist for 20 years, and agree there’s lots of bad practices and distorting influences. But almost all the scientists I know were idealists desperately trying to get a better understanding of the world (while competing for funding and fame and somehow surviving the brutal winnowing process). One thing to keep in mind is that science is collaborative, so these distorting influences have (some) chance to cancel out, provided diverse voices and funding sources are in play.

I like the idea of relying on personal validation over received wisdom – but my own chances of error are high, and the error of the mean of many expert viewpoints is likely to be smaller. In general, I think the expected error of my unreviewed, individual analysis is almost always larger in magnitude than the standard error of the mean (plus residual bias) after averaging across scientific publications.


I feel the same way, especially since I’m one just beginning the career path on being a scientist. Though I’m not an extinction denier and I will devote myself to doing anything necessary to save a species or two, my peeve against today’s scientists is climate change. And I think that way because my older sibling is a degreed geologist who can confirmed that everything that is happening now is completely natural and in fact, since the 1980’s when North America outlawed heavy toxins from oil plants, the ozone has significantly healed with the addition that CO2 is more beneficial to the environment than most think.


I’m sorry, but this is blatantly untrue. There is so, so much evidence out there supporting anthropogenically driven and accelerated climate change

This certainly has an element of truth to it, but you ignore two key points here:

  1. This effect saturates. The benefit of increasing CO2 for plants has diminishing returns, so while there certainly may be a ‘fertilisation effect’ in the short term, it plateaus fairly rapidly.

  2. Most importantly, a small benefit from increasing CO2 is meaningless when contextualised within the many other (negative) impacts on plants driven by climate change. Increasing atmospheric CO2 is a major contributor towards increasing temperatures. As temperatures continue to increase, more and more plants (especially in e.g. arid regions where it is already hot) are moving towards their thermal limits. A small benefit from CO2 is meaningless if the average ambient temperature in your system is 40°C. So indeed many of the benefits of increased CO2 for plants are meaningless given the other associated impacts of climate change.

Also worth noting is that increased CO2 actually decreases the nutritional content of many crop species, so this has a further negative impact from a human perspective


hmmm. well in my free time I make sure to study everything that ever was and has been and have thus become science incarnate.


I don’t know how to adequately express my concern here, so I’ll just say


I don’t. I did one independent study when I as stranded because of covid with absolutely no resources or funding.

I’m also just starting out although I’ve been studying practically everything to do with nature since I was a kid. I agree with the climate change thing and there seems to be two versions of climate change.

When I went to university last year for biology and environmental sciences, we were basically told to blame climate change on all the reports we had to do. Whether it was untrue or not. If we didn’t, they failed us. They literally didn’t even mark my papers or exams.

That to me is a huge red flag and is what turned me off of climate change and your right, climate change is a natural occurring process of the planet and probably other planets as well.

That’s why geologists are being silenced. The research they do doesn’t fit a certain narrative.

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Gotta say, I’m a bit surprised by the level of science denial taking place in the responses to this post, both on the climate site and on the general anti-science side, even by self-avowed scientists.

Speaking as a conservation ecologist working in the field on the sharp end of the extinction issue and having worked on climate issues on the past, as well as having a long-standing interest and background in environmental change, some of the statements made in the comment thread are just blatantly wrong , at best, poorly informed, and at worse intentionally misleading.

I honestly expected better from people in the iNat forum.


Citizen anti-science has a much longer history than citizen science, so I guess I’m not too surprised to find it even here … on a website built on and dedicated to scientific inquiry. Disappointed, but not surprised.


Could you please be kind enough to elaborate on which ones specifically and as to why? Would be much appreciated.

Most of us don’t have this luxury. Even after going in debt $90+ k following this climate and extinction thing in hopes that we can help. Nobody will let us people in. We can’t even get close. Another red flag.

Yet another red flag. We are not even allowed to have a different opinion.

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Sure you are. You made yourself very clear.


Not allowed to have a different opinion ≠ not being liable for criticism of those opinions when they fly in the face of established science

Also, you are conflating opinions with facts


I’m not going to target individuals here, that’s not really in the community spirit. Just read through the comments, and think a bit out some of the things you yourself wrote as well.

That is just nonsense. Like with any field, you have to work to get into it. No-one “lets you in” to be a fireman, a doctor, a banker, or any other field either. You have to put in the work, look for opportunities, and be willing to make sacrifices to do any job, and especially field-based conservation work. It’s no more a red flag than not letting people off the street into an emergency room operating theater is a “red flag”.

Differing opinions are excellent to have, indeed that’s one of the primary drivers of advancement in the sciences and in other fields, but they have to be informed opinions, otherwise they’re worse then useless, they’re actively detrimental.

And yes, we can help as this recent publication indicates (and yes, as one of the people asked to contribute to this paper I have some issues with it and feel that it paints a bit too rosy of a picture, but it does show that the efforts we make can and do make a difference):

Unfortunately, conservation work is not the most effective way of dealing with the various problems we face. I used the examples of firefighters and doctors earlier intentionally as conservation workers are like EMTs and firefighters, rushing about trying to mitigate damage that has already happened.

What we need are not more people in conservation as a field, but people in politics, education, business, law, agriculture, restaurants, etc who have a conservation and ecological ethic to their behavior.

Think of it a bit like making seat-belt and helmet laws for cars and motorcycles, or building codes. Those pieces of legislation make it so that road accident fatalities drop and injuries are less severe, and make it harder for fires and injuries to happen in the home, making the job of EMTs and firefighters much easier.

Complaining that “no-one will let you in” is utterly ridiculous, you make the opportunity to take part, if not out in the trenches then where you can in your own field.


beautifully stated. also I think it goes without saying, science is not some elite secret circle—it’s a community. your actions and work determine how you fall into that community.