Grist: You Don’t Care About Globull Warming Because Your Brain Is Wired Wrong

The headline at Grist is an attention grabber: Maybe no one cares about climate change because we’re wired for extinction. Yet, the article doesn’t really support that, as George Black goes on a tear that our brains are wired wrong

In my unending (and thus far, I have to confess, largely fruitless) attempts to figure out why Americans aren’t more alarmed about climate change, one of the more intriguing ideas I’ve heard recently was put to me by a psychologist named Andrew Shatté.

Well, it’s easy to understand: you’re hypothesis is a bunch of mule fritters, ripe with lies, distortions, hysterical crystal ball pronouncements, idiotic talking points, little actual scientific method, scare tactics, and you say everything is called by Mankind’s release of greenhouse gases, from drought to flood to hot to cold to snow to no snow to….you name it. Most people aren’t that stupid. They catch on to reality. At one point Pet Rocks were the hot thing, then people realized they were paying $3.95 for a …… rock, which they could find outside for free.

Anyhow, after a discussion of some extinct Irish Elk, we get

So why are we like the Irish elk? The problem is the human brain, Shatté says. Our evolutionary development has not yet caught up with the change in our circumstances. More specifically, the problem is our brain’s fear triggers. Our instincts are still paleolithic; our fear reflexes respond to all the wrong things. They lie dormant in the face of climate change, no matter how ominously scientists predict its probable consequences. But we’re programmed to pump adrenalin at the sight of spiders, snakes, and other mortal threats slithering into our caves. We still run a mile from snakes, although they only kill about five or six Americans a year. The most recent annual figure for fatalities from lightning strikes is 58, but would you go anywhere near a golf course in a storm?

See? It’s because our brains haven’t caught up enough to be scared from the climate changing into a warmer one. Or, perhaps, we have a collective remembrance of what it was like during all the cool periods back to the last glaciation period, and the hardships, pestilence, and crop failures that resulted. Na. Your brain must be stooooopid.

Of course, American brains are even worse, because Americans believe in “climate change” even less than the rest of the world. You should read the whole hilarious thing, way to much to excerpt without creating a massive post, but, hmmmm

I don’t really buy that. I spend a fair amount of time in the West, which is experiencing at least three spectacularly visible impacts of global warming: prolonged drought, raging forest fires, and the destruction of forests by the mountain pine beetle. Sit on your front porch in Wyoming or Idaho and you can almost see the trees dying in front of your eyes — and then hold your breath to see if they will burst into flames come summer. The conundrum, though, is that these states are among the reddest in the country, the most likely to distrust the science on climate change and the most hostile to any government effort to reduce carbon emissions.

The rest is funny, especially the part about trees spontaneously combusting, but, focus on the bold part, and let’s see who George is

OnEarth’s executive editor has reported from five continents, chronicling civil war in Central America, the democracy movement in China, and climate change in countries from Bangladesh to Peru. His next book, Empire of Shadows, to be published by St. Martin’s Press in Fall 2011, …is on the 19th century exploration of Yellowstone.

So, apparently, George’s brain is wired wrong, because he is certainly killing Gaia by using trees to publish his next book, and taking unnecessary fossil fueled flights around the world, which apparently doesn’t scare the daylights out of him.

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