Welcome to “science journalism” at The New York Times where climate forces are not so much about sunlight and cloud cover, but about “deniers”, “doubters”, and “disinformers”. While our climate is supposedly the crisis the world must face, the NY Times solution is not to investigate and debate the leading ideas, but to ask what names we toss at Nobel Prize winners who don’t endorse the approved establishment line. Pravda would be proud.
Most surveys and polls show 50% of the population are skeptical. A real newspaper that was leading and shaping the public debate would find the most informed views from both sides and put them forward, shaping and hammering out the public debate. Instead, the NY Times discusses petitions pushing namecalling.
Justin Gillis asks: What to Call a Doubter of Climate Change? What indeed, I wonder? Does any single real person doubt that the climate can change? I have not met such a person (though many believers of the dominant government-endorsed paradigm seem to think the climate was stable and perfect before emissions of man-made CO2). The UN redefined the boringly obvious term “climate change” to be a coded shorthand for “man-made global warming”. Justin Gillis has fallen for that cheap rhetorical trick (as the UN knew many gullible “reporters” would). Who needs a dictionary when you can just blindly repeat agitprop?
If Gillis used accurate English, he might wonder what to call people people who were unconvinced of the hypothesis that humans control the climate. The only term is “skeptical”. Those who support the theory can be called “scientists” if they provide empirical evidence — how about some observations of strong positive water vapor feedback for starters? Alas, there are no “scientists” who can provide this evidence. Even the IPCC admits there is “high confidence” that most models overestimate this largest feedback factor, and explains the gap between observations and predictions as an “elusive” bias.
Until a scientist names observations to back their theory, skeptical scientists remain skeptical, and the scientists with broken models, faith, and hope should be called “unskeptical scientists” (as I’ve been saying for five years). Hey, it’s accurate English, if you care about that sort of thing.
Maybe “opponents of climate science” are those who call people names instead of discussing the evidence? Just a thought.
Gillis ought to learn how to Google
“The scientific dissenters object to that word [denier], claiming it is a deliberate attempt to link them to Holocaust denial. Some academics sharply dispute having any such intention, but others have started using the slightly softer word “denialist” to make the same point without stirring complaints about evoking the Holocaust.”
Some skeptics do object to the Holocaust allusion (which is exactly how some name-callers use it), but this skeptic just objects to the abuse of English (Defining “denier”. Is it English or Newspeak?). In this science debate, a denier ought to deny something — I’ve been asking for evidence for five years. What observation do “deniers” deny? Be my guest Justin, lay it right out. You can have a guest post on my blog. Please.
Gillis refers to those who ask questions about government publications as “opponents of climate science“, as if climate science itself is defined by government press releases rather than logic and evidence. But the opponents of climate science are those who want to stifle real debate by declaring the debate over before it starts. The only point of promoting the activist’s namecalling petition is to stop debate by denigrating alternate opinions. It’s a cheap smear article designed to let readers know they are not permitted to ask questions, lest they be seen as a brainless crank, right wing ideologue, or reprehensible “denialist” (aka rock-for-brains or a fan of Hitler).
Those without evidence preemptively call themselves the winners, and toss childish names at their opponents. Real science is about observations and logic, not ad hominem attacks. Obviously, if Gillis could find the scientific observations to back up his devotional faith, and win a real debate, he wouldn’t namecall to denigrate opponents.
An enlightened discussion of the petition could discuss the scientific method instead. But Gillis just uses it as a mindless label:
“The petition asking the news media to drop the “climate skeptic” label began with Mark B. Boslough, a physicist in New Mexico who grew increasingly annoyed by the term over several years. The phrase is wrong, he said, because “these people do not embrace the scientific method.”
Since the scientific method works by discussing observations rather than discussing names, it’s Mark Boslough who doesn’t embrace it. It is the exact opposite of the scientific method to accept a hypothesis on the authority of an opinion poll of experts and Bill Nye the Science Guy.
Gillis — bringing you the news ten years after it happened (the “olds”?)
“It is perhaps no surprise that many environmentalists have started to call them deniers.”
Started? Environmentalists have been calling anyone who disagrees with their religion a denier for more than a decade. Perhaps he’s heard of George Monbiot, who was tossing out the term in the media in 2005? Desmog blog started in 2006 and hasn’ t missed a day of denier namecalling since.
Readers, help me, when did the denier term start? Is Gillis ten years late, or twenty?
Evidence doesn’t matter anymore?
But hey, there are some partial truths in the article:
“To groups holding such views, “evidence just doesn’t matter anymore,” said Riley E. Dunlap, a sociologist at Oklahoma State University. “It becomes possible to create an alternate reality.”
Dunlap is right, evidence doesn’t matter anymore in the mainstream press, and Justin Gillis lives that dream. It doesn’t matter what evidence skeptical scientists raise, “it’s possible to create an alternate reality” using climate models instead of observations. Absolutely. Gillis thinks “climate change” is synonymous with man-made global warming; he presumes there are observations to back up the models because lots of people with appointments and grants that have “climate” in the job description say it’s true. It’s not like we’d expect a science journalist at the NY Times to check that sort of detail or ask those hard questions, is it?
Mixing up cause and effect, Gillis?
Here’s a claim Gillis repeats without any research.
“As a first step, it helps to understand why they [skeptics] so vigorously denounce the science. The opposition is coming from a certain faction of the political right.”
If Gillis bothered to read the top ranking skeptical blogs, or the surveys, he’d see that the opposition is coming from hard scientists, PhD’s, and especially graduates of engineering and geology. (See the qualifications of hundreds of the readers of this blog here.) He’d know that leading skeptics came from the political left as well as the right. He’d know that the discussion points are about science first, then politics.
New York Times What to Call a Doubter of Climate Change?
h/t Pat and Handjive