2011-08-13 10:58:03Talking the Talk.


Much of what I see from the climate change deniers-in-chief - especially Monckton - has major hallmarks of the products of propaganda machinery.  It is a mistake to try to counter propaganda with factual evidence if your effort  comes across as mere counter-propaganda.

Linguistics can give very useful insights into how people come to adopt or reject new ideas.  Communication isn't a one-way street: it's a two-way street with distracting signboards, potholes, chicanes and with barricades set up by agendists.


Here are two papers on communication, with specific application to climate science.

For those of you who have never studied linguistics: a couple of terms explained.

Semiotics refers to signs.  In the sense that scientists interpret signs and formulate theories, science may be said to not just use a semiotic language, but a semiotic method.

A narrative is not just a story or script.  As Shakespeare said: "all the world's a stage ...".  If you take a fairly literal view of that, then each of us acts out a part in a narrative every time we engage in a group activity.  Science is a group activity, as is science outreach.  The science narrative is not, then, just a history of discovery but a play being enacted here and now, with all of us as players.

With just those two insights into the linguist's way of seeing things, SkS contributors will, I hope, get enough out of the two papers that I link below to elbow aside the Moncktons of this great drama and take front stage.


The Semiotics of Global Warming: Combating Semiotic Corruption, Arran Gare



Narratives And The Ethics And Politics Of Environmentalism:
The Transformative Power Of Stories, Arran Gare