Here’s an amusing article I found in the Skeptical Inquirer. It says that 48 fellows of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry are urging the media to stop referring to climate skeptics as ‘climate skeptics’ and start referring to them as ‘climate deniers’.
Obviously this is a very politically convenient way to control the language used by the media, and it could work. The media largely is on board with the global warming initiative, so I don’t think it would be hard to imagine that some news outlets would be complicit.
The climate statement that was issued in December proclaims that “Deniers Are Not Skeptics.” The committee’s adherents are apparently worried that some politicians and others, describing themselves as skeptics, have rejected the belief of anthropogenic (man-caused) global warming. They argue that only those who are guided by the ‘scientific evidence’ should be referred to as skeptics.
It’s always interesting to see how words are used in politics to persuade others to either join the cause, or to create opposition. And it’s not unusual for such descriptions to misidentify the true nature of a cause. In this case the committee is attempting to stack the deck in their favor to marginalize any opposition.
The statement begins, “Public discussion of scientific topics such as global warming is confused by misuse of the term ‘skeptic.’” But such a statement is filled with self-serving rhetoric. Who says that global warming is a ‘scientific’ topic? I think it would be better described as a political topic because it has little to do with science. And who gets to decide if ‘skeptic’ is not an appropriate description? If there are two sides to an argument, then do we really want one side to receive preferential treatment? Well, if you take a side before the debate even begins, then you might be tempted to stack the deck in your favor. But if one is serious about seeking truth and knowledge, then you don’t want a stacked deck, yet that’s exactly what these people are doing. They’re not interested in debating facts, discussing science or having a sincere public discussion; no, they want the victory handed to them with the least amount of effort. They want the media to comply with their efforts and frame the argument in their favor.
I was surprised that the statement explained that the proper use of the term ‘skepticism’ “promotes scientific inquiry, critical investigation, and the use of reason in examining controversial and extraordinary claims.” Well, if it’s true that skepticism promotes scientific inquiry, then they shouldn’t be opposed to the scientific evidence presented by climate skeptics who want nothing more than critical investigation of these controversial and extraordinary claims. I was also surprised when they admit that ‘denial’ is the a priori rejection of ideas without objective consideration. That’s exactly what they’ve done. There’s no indication that they’ve objectively considered the evidence against anthropogenic global warming. From what I’ve seen, these people who signed the statement- including Bill Nye the Science Guy- are ridiculing and mocking anyone who doesn’t agree with them without understanding the counterarguments they’re opposed to.
The climate statement specifically singled out Republican Senator James Inhofe as an example of someone they want to label a ‘denier’ because he referred to global warming as “the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American People.” Well, I happen to agree with Senator Inhofe that global warming is a hoax, so I guess that puts me on the naughty list. The fellows go on to claim that Inhofe’s claim is extraordinary and requires extraordinary evidence, and that he has never provided such evidence for such a conspiracy.
How is claiming that global warming is a hoax considered an extraordinary claim that requires extraordinary evidence, but the claim that civilization would end by the year 2000 is not? Seriously, back in 1970 Harvard biologist George Wald promised that “Civilization will end within 15 or 30 years unless immediate action is taken against problems facing mankind.” Well, that never happened, yet these people still want to be taken seriously and wonder why we call it a hoax.
To begin with, climate skeptics have been submitting mounds of evidence to reject human caused global warming, but that evidence is purposely ignored without objective consideration. Secondly, the climate statement is evidence of such a conspiracy; the 48 members who conspired to sign the statement in an attempt to marginalize their opponents have unwittingly made their request public, thus exposing their conspiracy. Thirdly, they don’t seem to be opposed to any politician who blindly agrees with their brand of science, so they’re completely hypocritical.
Another false claim they made is that they are “aware of political efforts to undermine climate science.” No, climate skeptics are not trying to undermine climate science; they’re trying to promote real science while opposing alarmist opinions that have little to do with science. These fellows have so much animosity towards their opponents that they can’t imagine that their own deeply held opinions could be wrong.
Lastly, these 48 climate alarmists are basically trying to put the media in a position where they are compelled to label anyone who rejects the extraordinary claims of global warming as climate deniers, and not call them ‘skeptics’ unless approved by them. Nice.
Of course I’d love to see the 31,3487 scientists who signed a petition rejecting global warming submit their own statement to the media, urging them to refer to global warming alarmists as alarmists, and to refer to climate skeptics as skeptics.
As a climate skeptic myself, I think it’s important not to allow the alarmists to bypass the scientific process by having the media do their bidding. The evidence in favor of global warming is based on faulty computer programs, not indisputable evidence. All their grand predictions have been falsified. The world is in political chaos, but we’re not in danger of the famines or flooding predicted by the alarmists. The real threat we face is from Islamic terrorists, and those committing similar atrocities, and it would be in the best interest of America to put our resources towards those threats, rather than an imaginary foe.
I like your point that the climate statement engages in precisely the denial that they are accusing others of. That’s too funny, and it highlights the logical absurdity of the statement itself, as it is then self-refuting.
Thanks, you’re exactly right.
Great point Jon. Definitely a case of “stacking” the deck.