Are there cultural differences between those who accept and generally understand the current consensus on climate change science and those who don’t? One gets the sense that there is, but it is possible to explore this in more detail.
I took the public Twitter profile descriptions, written by individual Twitterers, from two different Twitter lists that I maintain, and made word clouds out of them. The first is a list of “Global warming deniers.” People get on this list when they actively deny climate change science in Twitter exchanges with me (or that I observe). There are 309 members as of this writing. The second list is “Climate Change Science,” and includes climate scientists, scientists in cognate areas, and journalists or science communicators, a few activists, etc. That is the go-to list if you want to keep up on current climate science related news. There are 236 members as of this writing.
I made these tag clouds at the suggestion of Michael Mann, who thought that it might be interesting to look at the differences, if any, in how the two groups tend to characterize themselves.
Here is the word cloud for the “Global Warming Deniers” list:
Here is the word cloud for the “Climate Change Science” list:
I could comment on these two word clouds, but what would be the point. Word clouds kind of speak for themselves. So just gaze at them for a while.
Well, OK, I will comment on the word “love” in the denier cloud, to provide some context. Members of this list indicated that they love golf, cooking, this great country, Labradors, wine, ale, Jesus, family, church, shooting, all things scientific, restaurants, Fox News, Reagan, sea urchins, various spouses, and other things to drink or do. For “hate” we have liberal lies and big government, but there wasn’t enough hate to show up in the tag cloud.
Professor Mann pointed out to me that this may be understood in the context of the Yale Project on Climate Change Six Americas Study (see graphic at the top of the post). That study is summarized in this video:
So, these word clouds summarize the Six Americas in simplified form, which we could call, I suppose, “America A” and “America B” to avoid confusion.
Other posts of interest:
- How to get rid of spiders in your house
- Why is your poop green?
- Is there really a plot hole in Harry Potter Goblet of Fire?
- Is blog ever really blue?
- Has Global Warming stopped?
Also of interest: In Search of Sungudogo: A novel of adventure and mystery, set in the Congo.
3 thoughts on “Climate Science vs. Climate Science Denial in Word Clouds”
Interesting. I’ve no idea what a word cloud is. Deniers of the evidence for human-caused climate change work hard to mask why the deny the evidence, citing bogus reasons and in my experience *NEVER* citing the actual reasons except by accident. In Usenet I have seen deniers accidentally admit they reject the evidence out of religious “my god(s) wouldn’t let it happen” beliefs, usually the Christian gods.
A word cloud takes the words used in some source and scales them based on how common they are, (commonly removing words like “the” and “and”). It creates a visual way of seeing what the person/people creating the content talk about a lot.
It’s similar to the tag cloud Greg has on the sidebar: He tags many posts with things like “Climate Change” and “Charles Darwin” and comparatively few with “cats” and “diet”.