Monday, February 10, 2020

'Settler Colonialism Is Behind Climate Denial'. REALLY?



Welcome to the first episode of Skeptic TaraElla, where we take a stand against unscientific beliefs that not only defy facts and logic, but also make effective political consensus and action difficult. Subscribe if you are interested.

Today's topic is a reply to a recent video from British left-wing media outlet Novara Media, titled Settler Colonialism Is Behind Climate Denial. Basically, the video mainly discussed Australia's bushfires, and the fact that Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison hasn't been taking climate change seriously. That part of the video I can agree with. Scott Morrison's attitude towards climate change is certainly pretty bad, and he should be taken to task for it. We should be unrelenting about our demands for science-based policy.

But then, the video didn't talk much about science. Instead, it took a weird turn, and began discussing 'settler colonialism'. The video attempted to link the British colonization of Australia, which occurred way before anyone knew anything about climate science, to the current climate inaction of the Morrison administration! Without taking away from the suffering of the indigenous Australians associated with colonization, I guess we can still acknowledge that the two issues are clearly separate. Climate change is a science issue with clear scientific evidence, and we should not complicate it with cultural baggage. Morrison's climate policy is clearly a function of political convenience at the present moment; it clearly does not have any link to the actions of British colonists in the past! I don't care what fancy postmodern or critical theory you use to justify your point of view; facts are facts, and it is clearly not logical to link the voluntary actions of a current government to completely unrelated historical wrongs.

So why am I so worked up about this? Because it complicates the scientific issue of climate change, making effective action more difficult. What these people are doing is that they are taking an issue with clear scientific evidence and science-based solutions, and muddying it up with cultural analyses based on postmodernism and critical theory. They are thus making climate action less acceptable for many people. They are effectively willing to risk the future of humanity, to promote their radical cultural agenda. This is clearly irresponsible.

Of course, this is also a part of a bigger picture. Critical theory and postmodernism are clearly anti-science in their orientation. These ideologies almost always de-center the objective science, making everything about social construction and cultural critique. Wherever the tentacles of these ideologies reach into, objective scientific discussion becomes impossible, and everything is turned into a culture war. We saw it with LGBT issues, we saw it with so-called gender studies, and now we're seeing with climate science.