I just noticed this morning that someone wrote the following on the whiteboard in the tearoom (I won’t use a photograph so as not to identify the writer):
As inextricable fascination with something you hate.
eg. Andrew Bolt’s writing.
It’s the kind of thing that I sometimes come by that makes me wish that I had more interesting in languages as a child. More importantly, it struck up two thoughts that have since brewed away in my head, until the lunch break opportunity to pen them down.
Firstly, maybe this is part of the problem we face discussing the science within the public debate over climate and sustainability. I’ve heard a number of people make sport analogues, even some of the more childish deniers refer to, “my side” / “your side”, yet this strikes me as even closer to the mark to such nonsense.
Is it that we are naturally drawn to hathos or is it’s existence a sign of a weaken culture, susceptible to such a virus? Either way, hathos runs wild within the public climate debate, to the point that it seems the drug that many of the contributors are hooked on.
Many of the more trolling characters, that time and time again write the same debunked denial arguments appear to be employing this technique simply because they realise that it will gain them attention. For instance, if any of us were to venture to any given science related blog and write, “Climate change is a myth developed to create a one world government! You all need to grow up!” and link to either Jo Nova or Anthony Watts bag of hot-air, we can be assured to get a response.
It doesn’t take a genius (as I’m sure none of the deniers are) to work out that employing hathos can be a useful tool for gaining attention if you’re feeling isolated.
Likewise, if you have a distaste for any form of establishment, you’re very likely going to dislike discussions over how we must alter our activity to simply endure (behavioural change required for prosperity is so great that it’s not even worth mentioning to such people). Hathos will be the root as to why you just cannot leave the science blogs alone… damn those warmists! …I wander what they’re up to today…
The emotionally fuelled noise, in many respects devoid of intelligent debate (that is to say, it takes two for a debate, so even if one provides the science, the other is in most cases deaf to reason) that energises this public debate is, as I’ve long said, a sideshow form of entertainment, that I now believe is the result of hathos.
Secondly, clearly the distaste for the hack writing of Andrew Bolt goes far and wide among the academic community!