Vocal Climate Change Denialism

We recently came across the following Web page:


2013 MSSI Seed Funding Project: Climate Change Deniers

Coordinating Investigator: Dr Raymond Orr, Social & Political Sciences, Arts

Project Team:
• Prof Robyn Eckersley, Social & Political Sciences, Arts

We propose a pilot study on the attitudes of vocal climate change deniers. Through the use of a Q Study we will conduct an in-depth examination of the epistemologies of climate deniers in order to determine whether their claims are falsifiable according to their own knowledge-frameworks and what informs their environmental knowledge. The study will contribute to the growing research on climate change denialism and strongly position us for funding towards a larger project that examines the statistical representativeness of different types of denialism among political elites compared to the general public.

(Wikipedia states: Q-methodology is used in clinical settings for assessing a patient’s progress over time.)

Could this be the first step toward listing VCCD, Vocal Climate Change Denialism, in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5)? So far there appear to be no qualified psychiatrists on the project team but surely that it is only a matter of time once funding becomes available.

It has been suggested that VCCD is closely associated with VCD, Vocal Communist Denialism. VCD was once widespread in the Soviet Union. It became so virulent that Stalin’s doctors found it necessary to incarcerate patients in psychiatric institutions for their personal safety.

Note the inclusion of the word “vocal” in the definition. It will not be sufficient to front up to your GP looking for a sickie with the words “I don’t believe in climate change, Doc”. The symptom has to be an impulsive, Tourette-style, vocal outburst like saying “Climate change is crap” while on national television.

This promises to be a very fruitful field of research. There are ample historical precedents, viz.:
vocal phlogiston deniers, vocal phrenology deniers, vocal aether deniers, vocal astrology deniers and vocal Lamarck deniers.

We include a diagram of the solar system once widely used in the treatment of VGDs (vocal geocentric deniers) in the sixteenth century in much the same way that graphs of global average temperature and CO2 concentration are used in the treatment of VCCD today.

The Solar System according to Ptolemaic astronomy.
The Solar System according to Ptolemaic astronomy.


2 Replies to “Vocal Climate Change Denialism”

  1. How did we get to this point? A key driver has been the discipline’s enthusiastic embrace of the alarmist orthodoxy, both nationally and internationally. The Australian Psychological Society’s Climate Change Reference Group and Public Interest Team became concerned about climate change – “this profoundly important environmental and social issue” – several years ago.

    Determined to get a slice of the multi-billion dollar climate Magic Pudding, it released a position statement: “to emphasise the urgency of climate change as a global problem with significant psychosocial and health implications; to advocate for government, businesses, and organisations to develop effective strategies to minimise climate change impacts; and to position psychologists as a professional group with expert knowledge, skills and resources that can help in climate change science, including mitigation and adaptation(my italics).

    The statement, unsurprisingly, stressed how APS research could contribute to understanding “the psychological dimensions of global climate change”, including “how psychologists can assist in limiting climate change” (my italics).

    For some, this ambition has a sinister dimension, as blogger S Ender suggested:
    The psychologising of the climate-change debate betrays two things about its proponents; firstly, an attitude towards sceptics that is deeply cynical, contemptuous and patronizing; secondly, a belief that subliminal psychological techniques (brainwashing, in all but name) [Lewandowsky et al’s “de-biasing”] can and should be used to make sceptics change their minds – a belief that is perfectly Orwellian in its sinister implications.

  2. If this comes off and vocal climate change denialism is officially listed as a disorder, will we see V.D. (vocal denier) clinics attached to all our major hospitals?

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