RealClimate : “Denial is apparently caused by our lizard brainstem”

Furthermore, denial is not the same as being skeptical, either, and Washington and Cook argue it is quite the opposite. Hence, the term “skeptics” for these deniers can be described as Orwellian “doublespeak”“newspeak”.

Denial is apparently caused by our lizard brainstem. What coincidence then, when talking about fossil fuels from plants from the era of huge long dead lizards (the fossil fuels are not made of the dinosaurs), that denying evidence for anthropogenic global warming (AGW) is linked to that lizard part of the brain.

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22 Responses to RealClimate : “Denial is apparently caused by our lizard brainstem”

  1. Latitude says:

    Wonder if it also helps man lie with a straight face……………..

  2. Dave N says:

    In which case, the folks over at RC are being lizard-brained, since they’re in denial about there being a cause for significant warming other than CO2, that weather events aren’t any more extreme than they have been in the past, etc etc etc.

    • Jimbo says:

      The real deniers will be outed as climate changes. A cooling world will kill their dreams of a warmer world and expose them to the sunlight just like Harold Camping of Rapture fame.

  3. Anything is possible says:

    I presume they are referring to the denial of 21st. century climate being possibly affected by natural variability……

  4. Jimbo says:

    Be careful what you wish for.

    Posted Mon May 16, 2011
    “Poor autumn rainfall blamed on climate change”
    “The weather bureau says South Australian farmers waiting to sow crops might not get decent rainfall until next month.”
    ABC News

  5. Andy Weiss says:

    The alarmists’ pretense of intellectual superiority is sickening, especially given the fact that they have been totally wrong with their past forecasts.

    • Jimash says:

      You’re just thinking with your lizard brain there Andy.
      It takes a well developed set of frontal lobes, to digest the true/false nature of the AGW .
      We just aren’t there yet.
      Once you are able to process true/false statements, and warm/cold weather,
      and increased/decreased snow, wet/dry, and rising/falling sea levels, it will all start to make sense.

  6. Sleepalot says:

    Who is “Rasmus” and what is his area of expertise? If he’s an expert on brains (which is still a largely “grey” area) he won’t be in a position to tell fact from fiction in climate science, and conversely if he’s an expert in climate science, he’s not likely to know much about brains: either way, he’s probably speaking outside his area of expertise.

    One can only be “in denial” wrt _facts_: matters of opinion, theory or belief are of necessity open to refutation. When “Rasmus” accuses us of “denying evidence for anthropogenic global warming”, he gives the game away: he does not have the _facts_, he only has “evidence”: evidence is maleable and contradictable by competing evidence.

    “Rasmus” is in denial about his lack of facts, and is projecting his own denial onto others – also a classic human trait which serves as a defence against cognitive dissonance.

    • rw says:


      Anyone who brings up this lizard-brain business (which goes back to some questionable notions of P. McLean built upon the obvious fact that the brainstem evolved before the forebrain) in this way doesn’t know much about neurology or the vertebrate CNS. Denial – of any kind – depends on understanding propositions, which is not something the brainstem is particularly proficient at.

  7. Al Gored says:

    No. My extensive research today finds what the Team might consider slamdunk proof that it is true. I asked the garter snake in our garden if he accepted the theory of AGW and he refused to respond. Barely even moved. I took that as obvious denial.

    Or maybe it was too cold.

  8. Amino Acids in Meteorites says:


  9. Tom Harley says:

    …that denying evidence for anthropogenic global warming (AGW) is linked to that lizard part of the brain.
    I’m not ‘denying’ the evidence for AGW, just having trouble finding it. Models are not evidence.

  10. Squidly says:

    Huh? … I don’t get it…. Does somebody out there still read … if so, why?

  11. pwl says:

    If they would provide some independently verifiable extraordinary evidence for their wild co2 climate doomsday claims that sure would be nice.

    I’d love to have something to deny, but so far there isn’t anything that can be independently tested to show their wild co2 doomsday claims have even a half chance in hell of coming true. Nature keeps falsifying their hypotheses and they keep ignoring that fact, oh pardon me they keep “denying” that Nature has falsified their “doomsday prognostications”. Oh dear.

    It doesn’t matter if some people are denying this or that. Really that is irrelevant as the purpose of the scientific method is to bypass all human bias with the use of independently verifiable or refutable evidence or experiments. The fact that they resort to the silliness of calling people “deniers” means that they simply don’t have any good evidence to stand upon. That is made worse by their attempts to keep the science as secret and closed as they can. Hiding data. Not explaining their manipulations of the raw observational data. Making manipulations of the raw observational data. Using statistical methods to fabricate data out of thin air using interpolation and extrapolation and calling such things “irrefutable” when they are in fact fraudulent and terrible science. Then when they get caught red handed they call people “deniers” rather than saying “oh you got us” and “we’re sorry we’ll correct that mistake”…

    Nature doesn’t care, she just does what she does. It’s also interesting that the climate systems are those types of systems that generate internal randomness which has the nasty outcome that in order to know what is going to happen one must actually observe it in real time. This makes predicting the future, well, impossible if you care about accuracy at all. Oh right they don’t care if Nature falsifies their hypothesis, er, doomsday prognostications.

    Hansen I don’t know if you noticed but NYC isn’t under 20ft of water, nor are the oceans rising by what you’ve claimed, nor has Scenario A, B, or C happened with Nature coming in well below all of them. Had you been right Hansen, we’d be up near A or B by now but you were not right and we’re below your C prognostication. Considering that your C prognostication was if we curtailed co2 significantly you sure missed the boat.

  12. It’s worse than we thought.

    They have started finding something subhuman in skeptics.

    It’s a short step to CO2schwitz.

    • suyts says:

      It wasn’t very subtle. Misanthropy the a hallmark of alarmist blogs and autophobes are the cheering section. It’s really a strange dynamic.

    • PhilJourdan says:

      You are dead on Maurizio. I am not surprised as the calls to kill skeptics has been going on for many years now. Dehumanizing those who disagree with you – that you cannot debate in the arena of honest debate – is the natural next step.

  13. suyts says:

    I’ve gotta say, I’m not very pleased by them attempting to hi-jack our Orwellian connection to the climate debate, that said…. imitation is the greatest form of flattery.

  14. Russell C says:

    Same old crumbling IPCC science, different shell game to distract the public from hearing about those faults – our AGW friends delight in armchair psycho-analysis of why we can’t see the planet burning up right in front of our eyes. The central figure of all my research into the origins of the smear of skeptic scientists blessed us with his thoughts on this, seen at a reproduction of a 2007 Boston Globe article ( ):

    As Ross Gelbspan, author of “The Heat is On,” says, “when people are confronted with an overwhelming threat and don’t see a solution, it makes them feel impotent. So they shrug it off or go into deliberate denial.”

  15. DirkH says:

    So, by denying AGW, i prove that the lizard part of my brain works O.K. I think the rest is also fine. Hansen & Romm should see a lizard brain doctor; something’s wrong with their brain stem.

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