Denial of extinction crisis

Has it? I thought part of the problem was people weren’t modifying their behavior when it first came to the US.


Toilet paper and corona beer. Need I say more.

Ah, I see. I thought you meant in response to controlling the spread. Panic buying could be considered a separate issue, since it happens in other scenarios and is almost never related to an actual shortage.


To anyone who denies the scientific agreement about the extinction crisis or climate change, I have extremely simple questions for you:

What piece of evidence would you need to see before you accepted that rapid climate change is happening and is caused by anthropogenic emissions?

Likewise, if you don’t agree with the biologists that say extinctions are happening at an unnaturally fast rate, what evidence would you need to see to convince you?

Proposing specific observations that would support your theory or refute another’s theory is fundamental to science.

If you can’t provide answers to these questions then you need to ask yourself whether your beliefs are based on evidence and reason or faith and opinion.


Hey all, just jumping in here to remind you to please stay on topic, and to criticize ideas, not people. Please don’t put anyone down, please refrain from sarcasm, and if you’re feeling emotional take some time before replying. Thanks!

Oh, and if you have thoughts about forum categories, you can start a discussion here.


Cape Town is embroiled in heated discussions about our urban baboons. Politicians think baboons are a joke. Scientists are …disappointing. Humans / businesses don’t manage their food waste. There are no laws or regulations enforced.

I suppose similar issues around bears in the USA. In a conflict with problem animals, it is the baboon which is killed. The problem animal keeps probleming right along!


I haven’t updated it in a while, so some of the links are likely dead, but I have a conservation job hunting page on my sadly neglected nature blog.


I think I could probably guess what field your geologist sibling actually works in.

This is just a mish-mash of gibberish.

  1. The ozone layer was being depleted due to chlorofluorocarbons, refrigerants which would leak when refrigerators or air conditioners were disposed of. These are themselves extremely intense global warming gasses (much more so than CO2, so they have a significant effect despite being a miniscule fraction of the atmosphere), but the ozone hole itself has almost nothing to do with climate change. Also the ozone-safe replacement refrigerants, hydrofluorocarbons, are also potent heat trapping gasses.

  2. The soot particles that used to be emitted from oil and coal burning are terrible for human health, but they actually played a part in reducing the effect of warming. Instead of being completely burned, some was put out as soot which reflected sunlight and thereby reduces the amount of heat reaching the ground. With better pollution controls, fewer people die from smog, but not only is there less soot, those carbon particles are being completely burned to CO2 releasing even more greenhouse gas.

  3. Growing plants in a high CO2 environment can be beneficial (though not always). Making the whole planet like that is not. A few plants might grow better in a few places, but more likely they will simply become more limited by nutrients like most are already. And sure, it might become warm enough to grow tomatoes in the Arctic. But the growing season is still too short, and meanwhile much of the tropical zones will become uninhabitable.

  4. Nothing about what is happening now is natural. There have been natural changes in the past, but rarely so fast. It typically takes hundreds to hundreds of thousands of years to shift as much as it has in the past 25 years. Also, the similarly abrupt climate changes that have happened within recent human history (due to the long end of the ice age) are associated with massive disruption in human civilization. Are you ready for that?


Who is “us” and “we”?

Yes it’s hard to get into science, not least because it’s massively underfunded and there are a lot more people who want to do it than there are jobs available. I’m lucky enough to have a job in conservation, but I can’t get one in the field I’m trained in. I’m sorry about your situation, but rejecting scientific evidence because you can’t get a job in the field is a red flag for anyone hiring for a science position.


Care to expand on that wild statement, cite a quality study or two? Document your evidence and thinking that led you to that conclusion independently?

Or is it not meant to be a “scientific” statement, and is rather art expressing how you feel? Interpreting it as art, I see it as cry for help in dealing with the strain of facing the extinction crisis bravely.

Because yes, that is hard to do. It is hard to not just give up, get mad at people asking us to care, and choose to muddy the waters so we don’t have to look too closely instead. All because there doesn’t seem to be a way for each of us, as individuals, to miraculously fix it.

Given that you didn’t really mean to say “every” part of science is wrong, what are the criteria you use to decide about rejecting or accepting certain findings, and how does that relate to your conclusions here?

About your personal situation, I hope you find more support of some kind somehow. That is rough and nobody should have to live through it.


There you go. This is why we speak of scientific consensus. This is also why there is peer review (or, as a certain pseudoscience contingent calls it, “an evolutionist conspiracy”).

Yes, flawed science exists. But best practices and peer review are pretty good at filtering out most of it. For every actual flawed science that gets through, there are numerous sound studies that are called “flawed science” by people who do not like their conclusions.

Yes, I am aware of that quotation about the three kinds of lies: “lies, damn lies, and statistics.” But I am also aware that most of the people who repeat that quote are mainly just upset that the statistics refute one of their core beliefs.

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I’ve been there. Bachelor of Science in Environmental Studies, 1996. A few seasonal field tech jobs, none of which had the potential to lead to permanent. Master of Science in Biology, 2010. No real change in my life. Of my classmates from undergrad, I know of exactly ONE who went on to be a conservation biologist; the rest are doing other things not related to conservation.

I used to be on the ECOLOG-L listserv for ecology professionals, and we had this conversation: the number of permanent jobs will never be enough to absorb all the hopeful seasonals, most of whom will therefore go on to different professions or survival jobs. It’s worse for those internships in developing countries – you work at your own expense, maybe even pay for the privilege of doing so, and only then discover that the only jobs in the field are more of the same.

You are not alone in that feeling.


…and post the YouTube link as if it had the same weight as a peer reviewed paper. I tell you, if I was an educator, I would construct my courses – in whatever subject – to make heavy use of Carl Sagan’s essay, “The Fine Art of Baloney Detection.” It is a good primer on how to do critical thinking.


Natural? Countries spent the second half of XX century destroying glaciers with their bombs of different kinds, now they’re like oh, we don’t know what happened with ice!


baloney detection should be taught at school.


Fortunately, Logic (which I think would include baloney detection) is taught in some schools.

Unfortunately, I think it’s usually only a semester long, and only an elective in most K-12 schools (and not required for many higher ed degrees).

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This is a mile off topic but we crossed that bridge a while back. We did part of a semester on logic as part of a course called Functions and Relations in secondary school, which was 5 years in Ontario at that time. It was a fifth year course and considered to be university-entry. The most important thing I learned in the course is how difficult logic is for some people. If it comes naturally to you, count yourself lucky; many of my classmates struggled with it.

I did a full year (2 semester) course in logic at university. Part of the grade was a weekly journal in which the logic of newspaper editorials, magazine pieces, letters, cartoons, etc. had to be analysed for their logical structure and a critique prepared outlining whether the logic was valid, sound, etc. I have been grateful for that course many times.

I think that the way to teach logic to kids is to build it into other course work. Beyond the basics, the formal rules actually require some thinking power that only comes with age. Little kids can’t do calculus and formal logic would not work for them either. However, the building blocks for critical thinking should be part of every education and they are not.

One of the things about people that a lot of folks miss is that we are hardwired for emotion but not for rational thought, which is a potential that has to be developed.

We are emotional. You cannot choose not to be, even if you learn to control what you feel.

We have the ability to be rational. We can easily choose not to be and many people do.


I feel an obligation to personally research topics I care about that have become politicized because I feel like the polarization of politics has resulted in everyone cherrypicking studies, producing false dichotomies with no nuance which seems quite unrealistic. When that happens it’s really hard to tell what the scientific consensus is (my impression is that it’s often undecided or somewhere in between). The good news is that doesn’t apply to the vast majority of topics, which were either settled ages ago or don’t matter enough to be relevant. The bad news is that each topic is complex enough to spend ages researching…

I agree, this is huge. Any normal person can see that there are still birds and bugs all over the place (if they care that birds and bugs exist in the first place). It takes more familiarity and experience to recognize that you never hear whip-poor-wills anymore or get your windshield covered in insects when driving at night. I’m pretty sure almost every location on Earth has these types of stories.

The third form of denial is “implicatory,” arguing for example that technological fixes and targeted conservation interventions — rather than comprehensive changes to socioeconomic systems — will overcome extinction.

From the original article. I’ll need to do some research now to see if this classifies me as an extinction denier. :)


We can put some blame on Arctic icebreakers too. Might create a summer path through Nunavut but the weakened ice can be fractured more easily.


Since we’re already off topic I’m going to tell a logic-related story that may or may not have a connection to substance abuse. A friend of mine took a single-credit logic course called Critical Thinking the year after I completed Logic. He enjoyed it as much as I had and we used to sit around and tear apart stuff from the news using our new Logic superpowers. Another favourite pastime was making up new logical fallacies. My personal fave was The Fallacy of Going For Too Much.

Yeah, I know. What can I say? Some people spend their leisure time performing acts of petty vandalism and getting in fights, you know?