Update: Science of Doom has responded to the feedback his article got. You can read his comment here. It's very good and not just because he acknowledges that not everyone views the term as he did. (h/t verytallguy)
Science of Doom has a great blog explaining many aspects of climate science, with an emphasis on the underlying mathematics (and some of the physics). If you want to learn the maths and physics underpinning the greenhouse effect and lapse rates and adiabatic processes, you'll probably at some stage come across an article by Science of Doom.
A day or so back, for some very strange reason (ostensibly because he was reading a book), Science of Doom decided to fan the flames of climate science denial, unwittingly I would think.
An appeal to emotions
Science of Doom has written a very long article decrying the use of the word "denier" when applied to those who deny climate science. He drew on graphic word imagery of the WWII Holocaust to boost his argument. It was clearly an appeal to emotions. Apparently he wants the plain English word "denier" reserved for the very small number of people who deny that there were millions of people, mostly Jewish, who were massacred by Nazis around the time of the second world war.
I'm not objecting to his decision to not use the word "denier" when describing people who wilfully reject climate science. That's his prerogative. What I don't like is that his ill-founded article just gives ammunition to climate science deniers. And I don't agree that the word "denier" when used in any context other than WWII, equates with the Nazi Holocaust. It doesn't. In the context of climate science it refers to a person who wilfully rejects the science. There is no intent, for most of us, of linking it to any other context in which the word is used.
The definition of denier
A denier is defined as a person who denies something. The word "denier" was around well before the second world war. These days one would hardly see it used in that context, compared to its use in relation to climate science (or HIV/AIDS). Arguably the most accepted authority on the English language, the Oxford Dictionary, defines it as follows, illustrating the definition by reference to denial of global warming:
What makes a person reject climate science?
The worst you could say is people who don’t accept ‘consensus climate science’ are likely finding basic – or advanced – thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, heat transfer and statistics a little difficult and might have misunderstood, or missed, a step somewhere.
The best you could say is with such a complex subject straddling so many different disciplines, they might be entitled to have a point.
- they think it requires mitigating action that conflicts with their world view or personal self-interest
- for ideological/political reasons in general
- it's their job (eg they work for the Heartland Institute or the IPA or CFACT).
Interviewer: "What bothers you the most about the arguments that there is serious global warming?"
Watts: "They want to change policy, they want to apply taxes..."!
Joining the bandwagon
The language police
If your objective is to get more people seriously engaged with the climate change issue, you probably want to avoid unwittingly antagonizing them with derogatory language. And by them, I mean the lurkers and fence-sitters in the mushy middle who tune in and out of the volatile climate discussion.
- Climate science denier (or denier/denialist/deniosaur or similar in this context): A person who rejects climate science in general
- Fake sceptic: as for climate science denier. This is to highlight the silliness of deniers claiming, contrary to evidence, to be "sceptics"
- Climate science disinformer (or disinformer in this context): a person who knowingly promotes wrong information about climate science with the intention of deceiving
- Climate hawk: a person who actively campaigns for action to mitigate global warming
- Normal person: a person who does not wilfully reject climate science.
A humourous anecdote
"Climate change deniers, delayers and fake skeptics are so boring and predictable"
Moby, how about stopping the name calling? If that's what you think of fellow posters, why not find somewhere else to post where people agree with you?
|Source: Hot Copper, Science and Medicine Forum|