Science denial apparent in many ways.

The Editor,  The Dom Post,  Wellington

30/08/ 2020

Dear Editor:

Incredibly there is still wide conversation and support in NZ (Wellington!) for more roads even though one of the best known facts of public policy globally is that building more roads increases congestion.

But when you look at the longer and deeper cultural/historical period we have come to, where denial of the fundamental change required to address the worst of climate change is rampant, it may not be such a surprise.  This denial illustrates a distrust of science.  In NZ, we also see the health sciences distrusted in conspiracy theory type accusations against the motivations of the government’s approach to Covid-19.  The denial is worse in the USA with accusations of the so-called “deep state” (what does that even mean?).  More subtly, the science of high rise building collapse is still denied in the NIST ‘official’ explanation of how the World Trade Center Building #7 came down on 9/11/01, as revealed in a recent study from The University of Alaska.

These are all examples of science denial in this Post Truth Era.  We must look deeply into our larger cultural/historical context to understand the times and craft a courageous determination to make the fundamental changes required to address climate change.


Richard Keller



Swarbrick and Salmon in the print media main stream

The Editor,  The Sunday Star Times,  Auckland

Great to see Chloe Swarbrick’s editorial in the SST (05/04) and Dame Anne Salmond’s philosophical analysis in the Dom Post (02/04). Read the rest of this entry »

Time to release mosque murderer’s ‘manifesto’ for examination

The Editor,  The Dom Post,  Wellington
29/03/ 2020

Dear Editor:

Now that the mosque murderer, Brenton Tarrant, has pleaded guilty, and the Dom Post has reprinted an Australian article (originally August, 2019) it is time for us all to examine the so-called ‘manifesto’ which he posted at the time of the attacks.

Much is made of the Identitarian nature of his philosophy which is very much culture based. We need to be aware of the similarities of white supremacy in Identitarianism with the colonialism which has been so much a part of the cultural history of New Zealand. But we must not let that put us off a recognition that culture is an important part of who we are as individuals.
Sometimes we are not aware of the influences emerging from our historical / cultural background (or backgrounds). In times of great change and fast change like we are in today, cultural insights can pop up out of our subconscious and surprize us, even terrify us. We must have humility and bravery to confront them. In this case, what is it in Tarrant’s manifesto which the authorities don’t trust us to exhibit bravery and humility about?

Richard Keller

Post Truth is a cultural not generational phenomenon

The Editor,  The Dominion Post,  Wellington
24 November, 2019

Dear Editor:

A lot of intergenerational snipping currently in the papers after Green MP Chloe Swarbrick flicked ‘OK Boomer’ at parliament the other day. It is good climate change got some publicity but the Post Truth Era where denial has become mainstream is not primarily generational in origin, but rather cultural.

The exploitative ideology toward the eco-sphere goes hundreds of years back, perhaps thousands. How many generations is that? Whether boomers or millennials, or any other, we all share that heritage. No generation is immune from that influence.

On a mostly subconscious level our culture is working through a momentous decision whether to change fundamentally, adjusting to the new realities of a warming world, or to mostly stay the same and take our chances. It may be fun to watch boomers and millennials snip at each other, but it is a distraction from our real task of examining ‘who we are’.


Richard Keller

Baby Boomers, GenZ and millennials all in our culture together

The Editor
The Sunday Star Times
13 July, 2019

Danielle McLaughlin (7 July, US Freedom) like so many others makes the mistake of describing climate change denial as a generational characteristic (“ruling class of baby boomers”). Read the rest of this entry »

Westland and Coromandel instinctively know changes required to combat climate change will be fundamentally challenging

The Editor,  The Herald,  Auckland

08 April, 2019

Dear Editor:

So often, the climate inaction debate rests on the assertion that it is a generational dispute. But in its deepest fundamentals it is not.  Read the rest of this entry »

Shock of climate change reality produces denial widely

The Editor,  The Dom Post,  Wellington

13 October, 2018

Dear Editor:

In his rambling diatribe against the apparent racism of NZ First’s so-called ‘Respecting New Zealand Values’ bill, Joel Maxwell (8/10 Dom Post) suggests that people are born racists and must try very hard, and sometimes be lucky as well, to overcome that natural tendency.  Read the rest of this entry »

Response to Elizabeth Kolbert, psychologist, in her New Yorker article Feb, 2017.

“The Enigma of Reason,” “The Knowledge Illusion,” and “Denying to the Grave” were all written (Elizabeth Kolbert), before the November election. And yet they anticipate Kellyanne Conway and the rise of “alternative facts.” These days, it can feel as if the entire country has been given over to a vast psychological experiment being run either by no one or by Steve Bannon (emphais ed.). Rational agents would be able to think their way to a solution. But, on this matter, the literature is not reassuring. ♦

“This is how a community of knowledge (emphasis ed.) can become dangerous,” Sloman and Fernbach observe.


My response to Ms Kolbert:

Do you not see that this thought takes your discussion dangerously close to sociology and culture and sliding away from psychology? (“vast psychological experiment”)               It sounds like you do but how is the ‘academic psychology community’ taking this?

The Elephant in the Room by A.C.Stark (WordPress UK)

Reposting by permission from A.C. Stark WordPress account: Read the rest of this entry »

Response to A.C. Stark’s post on the existential crisis of climate change

Right on the money, A.C.  (sort of a pun, perhaps?)  This ‘existential crisis’ which you describe is necessary to understand the politics of the day in New Zealand.  Read the rest of this entry »