A couple of weeks ago Associated Press (AP) decided to change the way it refers to the imaginary monsters called “climate change deniers”. Apparently after years of namecalling, they think maybe “climate doubters” would be better. (Hands up all the people out there who doubt we have a climate? Exactly.)
Maybe one day AP will start to write in accurate English?
Why now? After a relentless decade of petty illogical names, AP are not dropping the term because it’s insulting, baseless, or an abuse of any literal English language definition. Instead, they have only just noticed the nasty implications of holocaust denial? Really?
… those who reject climate science say the phrase denier has the pejorative ring of Holocaust denier so The Associated Press prefers climate change doubter or someone who rejects mainstream science.
Perhaps the real reason they stopped using it is because they finally realized how the unscientific poisoned term is making believers look … unscientific. Can anyone find me one homo sapiens denialia? Who’s a political activist then, and not a scientist? To the Guardian and Slate commentators who protested the loss of their favorite insult I say, yes, please, keep the “climate denial” coming. It is so overdone, it helps skeptics. Don’t stop now!
The AP StyleSheet wants reporters to use the term climate scientist and climate doubter. The Jo Nova stylesheet will stay accurate: there are skeptical scientists, and there are unskeptical ones. Anyone who believes a model can measure the climate better than a satellite is not a scientist.
We’re keeping the name skeptic
But as AP stops “denier” and swaps it for “doubter”, they’ve also said they won’t use the more accurate and correct term “skeptic” for climate skeptics. In a backhanded way, the AP are conceding that skeptics have won back the term skeptic, and what really worries the herd-followers is that they are looking unskeptical. As I said in 2009, what’s the opposite of skeptical? — Gullible. Look out, here come the suckers.
When I first started blogging, skeptic was a term of disdain, people would write to me regularly telling me to avoid the term and call myself a climate realist. But I would have none of it. We wanted the word skeptic back. (Now we are coming after the term scientist. )
Here’s how AP tries to justify not calling skeptics “skeptics”:
Some background on the change: Scientists who consider themselves real skeptics – who debunk mysticism, ESP and other pseudoscience, such as those who are part of the Center for Skeptical Inquiry – complain that non-scientists who reject mainstream climate science have usurped the phrase skeptic. They say they aren’t skeptics because “proper skepticism promotes scientific inquiry, critical investigation and the use of reason in examining controversial and extraordinary claims.” That group prefers the phrase “climate change deniers” for those who reject accepted global warming data and theory.
The fake skeptics
AP wants to call fake skeptics “skeptics” but not allow skeptics to use the term.
Some of the most unskeptical people on the planet call themselves “real skeptics” and meet in clubs to bravely denounce spoon benders and astrologers. I tangled with one called Skeptico in my early blogging – I naively thought real skeptics would not use argument from authority, and would be interested in empirical evidence instead of popularity contests. Instead I discovered that there is a class of people out there who desperately want to think they are independent thinkers, but on pretty much every topic they side with mainstream progressive opinion. These are a fake skeptics who trumpet their membership as if it makes them terribly clever, but swallow the fashionable approved line on any topic that has actual political importance. We can usually find them on the same side as “political correctness”. Repeat after me: the government is always right. These are the people who talk about logical fallacies, who know what they are, but use them ad lib, and the make up excuses as to why it’s OK. They’ll tell you argument from authority is poor reasoning, but then use it themselves and say it’s a legitimate way to do things in science.
The Committee for Skeptical Enquiry are just such a group. They write about “near death experiences”, and solve politically hot mysteries like the truth of the “Daedalus Sea Serpent”. Bravo, eh! (Think Bill Nye, James Randi, Dick Smith, and Richard Dawkins).
But while they pretend to fight for reason, they advocate the namecalling term “denial” of those “who refuse to accept the reality of climate change”? Here’s news for AP: no one denies the reality of climate change (except the drones who say the climate was perfect before the T-Model Ford was invented). The reality is that 28 million weather balloons say the climate models are wrong, and 35 years of data from two satellite systems agree. Not to mention countless proxies from every continent on Earth and 6,000 boreholes sunk below the worlds oceans. The models can’t model the past climate, why would any skeptic think they might work on the future?
The “reality” the CSI are fighting for is one defined in unaudited committee reports and based on computer simulations, not reality as defined by observations.
My recommendation to AP: call real skeptics skeptics, and call those who believe everything big-government says “believers“.