First off, they failed to engage. Instead. they resorted to name calling by labeling skeptics as “deniers” or worse. Then there is their exaggeration of what they see as the dire consequences of climate change. These exaggerations have led them to falsely predict that New York City would be under water and that the polls would be ice free. When that did not happen people like Al Gore lost credibility.
Fundamentally their “scientific” projections have been deeply flawed grossly overestimating the consequences of increased CO2. One of the principals of projections is that when they failed to be realized it is because they relied on invalid assumptions. This is true of financial projections and scientific projections.
In the case of the projections of the consequences of climate change, I suspect that they are overestimating the impact of CO2 on global temperatures. One reason I believe that is because they struggle to explain why they got it wrong and they do not want to admit which of their assumptions is invalid.
There is also the hysteria on the left when their beliefs are rejected. It is almost like the response of radical Islamist to the rejection of Islam. They act like the rejection of their point of view is blasphemy rather than an argument to overcome.
I think there is also the suspicion that the real objective of the left is to institute control freak government and climate change is their latest excuse for doing so since communism has been rejected.
To be fair, “failure to engage” can occur for two reasons. It may be because those who don’t engage are wrong, or because they’re right and have forgotten what Eugenie Scott has said about discussing evolution: “We’re educating a parade”.
Yes, if you have the facts in order, you may have to keep teaching them to each next person. And if you throw a fit and refuse to teach, you run the risk of looking like you don’t have anything to teach.
Source: How to spot an ideologue
So how do we recognize the language of “ideology” and distinguish it from a “principled position”? One common clue is that those who hold a principled position welcome arguments; they welcome having their position tested and possibly corrected. A principled position always has room for increased subtlety and greater complexity.
Holders of an “ideology,” on the other hand, will tend to eschew argument or any examination of the ideology’s underlying presuppositions or premises, often refusing to concede that greater subtlety may be required to apply the principles to real-life situations. Ideology disdains argument; people with principled positions embrace it warmly and engage in it gladly.
Ideology Makes Blanket Claims and Makes Ad Hominem Attacks
When people make blanket claims about a group (“white people are like X;” “black people never do Y”), they are expressing an ideology, not using words tailored to fit reality. Human beings are simply too diverse and complicated to fit into such universal categories. If you hear someone summing up the “state of the Russian mind” or “what the American people want” or claiming that politician X shows sure signs of a social pathology, but there is no evidence of research nor of any time spent personally examining the psychology of the individual, then you’re dealing with quackery; the person is a fake.
Such people will check their scientific methodology at the door in order to gain a place in the arena of modern media’s ideological shouting match. They are welcomed by groups that want a certain sort of “voice”—not a quiet, calm, thoughtful voice, but one that will provide pseudo-intellectual “cover” for all the prejudices that group already possesses.
If, rather than trying to glean evidence from observable reality, a person seems more intent on forcing reality into the categories of his or her system, then you’re dealing with an ideologue. If evidence supporting a theory is trumpeted loudly and repeatedly, and evidence that may refute it is ignored repeatedly, then it’s an ideology, not a principled position. If every bit of data, no matter how contrary, is taken as evidence of the truth of the theory, then it’s ideology, not science.
If you often find yourself dismissing your interlocutors as fools or scoundrels, and you hear the words “we need more dialogue” coming out of your mouth, at least be honest with yourself. When you complain about the need for more dialogue in this way, without showing the patience and respect needed to engage in it, your statement can mean nothing more than “more people should listen to me and people who think like me.” I assure you, everyone else feels that way—including your opponents.