Guest post : Label the behaviour, not the person

This is a guest post by Richard Betts who is Chair of Climate Impacts at the University of Exeter and Head of Climate Impacts in the Met Office Hadley Centre. The post is about the use of the terms denier and denial and how they influence the dialogue about climate science. Since it is Saturday afternoon and I could do without moderating a contentious comment thread, maybe we call all think about what we might choose to say. Richard’s post starts now:

Here what I think about the D* word(s) – the personal label ‘denier’ and the behaviour descriptor ‘in denial’.

I think the phrase ‘being in denial’ can be appropriately applied to a dogmatic insistence* that anthropogenic climate change is not an issue**. [NB see below for definitions before succumbing to knee-jerk reactions!] ‘In denial’ is quite a common phrase in use for other situations, eg. someone who is unable to acknowledge a problem with their health, relationship, business or whatever. A period of being in denial can be quite a natural reaction to very bad news.

However, the use of ‘denier’ is different, and the offence and distraction that it causes makes it difficult to use the former phrase now.

The reason that ‘in denial’ and ‘denier’ are different is that the former labels the behaviour while the latter labels the person. Most training in education, communications, management, negotiation etc, advises that when dealing with conflict situations, it is important to address difficulties but to focus on what is being done/said and not the person themselves. Labelling the person makes things more emotive and distracts from discussing the real issue. Anyone who’s done teacher training in the UK the last couple of decades will recognise this.

The situation is even worse for the label ‘denier’, because it been used by some in connection with holocaust denial, eg. http://www.populartechnology.net/2014/02/skeptics-smeared-as-holocaust-deniers.html. So not only is this making the mistake of giving someone a label as a person, but the label is associated in people’s minds with something horrific. They will understandably find it deeply insulting. If labelling the person rather than the behaviour is poor communications practice, then giving them an extremely insulting label (whether intended or not) is clearly even worse.

The trouble is, it’s now hard to go back to just describing behaviour as ‘being in denial’. With things having been taken too far with ‘denier’, this has built an association in public consciousness and makes it more difficult to go back to using language that might actually be more appropriate. ‘Being in denial about anthropogenic climate change’ might well have been OK as a descriptor of certain behaviour if it wasn’t now linked with the offensive name-calling of ‘denier’.

I think the whole climate conversation would be better off with the word ‘denier’ being dropped completely, and with ‘being in denial’ only being used very judiciously, when it really is appropriate.

Label the behaviour, not the person, and even then take care to do so only when justified.

*NB I specifically say ‘a dogmatic insistence that anthropogenic climate change is not an issue’ as distinct from questioning whether it is an issue – these are different. Questioning is fine, and indeed this is another reason why both ‘denier’ and ‘denial’ are problematic – they are sometimes very widely applied, to include questioning whether there is an issue and not just insisting that there definitely isn’t. If anyone thinks I am saying they are ‘in denial’, please reflect on whether you are questioning or insisting – if you’re questioning then I don’t have a problem with that, but if you are insisting, then I think you are dismissing large swathes of scientific research. We are not 100% certain that climate change will definitely cause huge negative impacts, but there’s enough reason to think that there is a major risk.

**Also, when I say it’s ‘an issue’, I mean it’s something that we probably need to respond to in some way, through some mix of mitigation and adaptation – I’m not pre-judging opinions about the balance of these potential responses, I’m just talking about recognition of the issue.

Disclaimer: this is my personal opinion, not necessarily that of the blog host, my employers nor any organisations I am associated with.

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404 Responses to Guest post : Label the behaviour, not the person

  1. Thanks for the post, Richard. Let me make a comment to get things rolling. I don’t have a particular issue with being careful with the use of “denier” and “denial”. I try not to use them and don’t have a problem with avoiding using them in future. Less labelling would be good. Overall, though, I think my general views are quite similar to those presented by Michael Tobis.

    There are, however, a number of issues I have with the current episode. It seems to me that there are a number of people who object to the use of “denier” who are essentially using the Holocaust to score points. They seem to be insisting that people should denounce the use of “denier”, and that if they don’t then they’re condoning the comparison of climate denial with Holocaust denial. Not only is this similar to the “When did you stop beating your wife” tactic, it also seems at least as appalling as what they’re claiming others are doing. I’ve also encountered some who’ve used “denier” (“pause denier” being one example) who then complain about others using “denier”. Either the word shouldn’t be used, or it’s fine to use. We can’t have one rule for some and not for others.

    Another issue relates to controlling the narrative. If we all try to stop using “denier” and “denial”, then all that will probably happen is that the criticism will move onto something else (“must denounce Michael Mann or else we can’t take you seriously”, for example). This doesn’t mean that it’s not worth trying to improve the dialogue, but – IMO – if we all really wanted to do so, we could do so without imposing conditions one side. That these conditions are being imposed, doesn’t give me confidence that there’s a real desire to improve the dialogue. More than happy to be proven wrong, though.

    At the end of the day, it’s my view that you aren’t defined by your label. Ignoring genuinely discriminatory labels, if the label fits and you don’t like it, maybe you should consider how you behave. If it fits and you believe your behaviour is fine, then just own it. If it doesn’t fit, then maybe the person doing the labelling is an idiot and you should ignore them. I’m not defined by how people label me; I’m the only person who can define me. Those who are complaining about labelling should maybe bear this in mind.

  2. Joseph says:

    I don’t see the term going away anytime soon in the broader internet/blogosphere, but It would be nice if those on the “skeptical” side dropped the use of the term “alarmist” as well. It has some connotations that aren’t that flattering as well.

  3. Joseph,
    I doubt it’s going to disappear, but I don’t have an issue with not using it myself. I agree, though, that it would be good if there was some desire to also stop using “alarmist”, “warmist”, “warmunist”,….

  4. Joshua says:

    Richard –

    ==> “The trouble is, it’s now hard to go back to just describing behaviour as ‘being in denial’. With things having been taken too far with ‘denier’, this has built an association in public consciousness and makes it more difficult to go back to using language that might actually be more appropriate.

    (1) I’m not sure that it would ever have been realistic to have such an expectation. Labeling someone’s behavior is very likely to come across as labeling them. For example, suppose I said that I think that you are lying, or I think that your argument is idiotic.

    (2) even saying that someone is “in denial” as a description of someone’s behavior, likely requires insight into motivations and/or psychology that you don’t have. As such, I find the use of the term as reflective of poor reasoning – “motivated reasoning” if you will.’

    It is best to stick to discussion of the topics at hand, and not label (either people or their views). Labeling is, to some extent needed. It’s hard to discuss these issues without categorizing viewpoints into some kind of matrix. But we should recognize the subjectivity in how the terms are defined and applied and try to make agreement on definitions a prerequisite when it is feasible.

  5. Joshua says:

    What was it this time? “Liar?”

  6. BBD says:

    Here we say ‘dissimulating’ because it is more civil, innit?

  7. Joshua says:

    Anders –

    ==> “I doubt it’s going to disappear, but I don’t have an issue with not using it myself. I agree, though, that it would be good if there was some desire to also stop using “alarmist”, “warmist”, “warmunist”,….

    That’s what kills me. Practically all of this hand-wringing about the use of “denier” comes from folks who call someone a McCarthyist or Lysenkosist or Stalinist, or totalitarian or Genghis Khan,k etc. at the drop of a hat. And sometimes even, the most prominent hand-wringers use the freakin’ term (or its derivative) themselves:

    kkloor Mod DavidAppell • 10 hours ago
    You don’t see it because you’re in d.nial, plain and simple.

    and

    curryja | October 14, 2014 at 5:45 pm | ReplyYes, they confuse extreme weather events as being caused by anthropogenic global warming. I would call them extreme weather deniers – they seem to be in denial that these are caused naturally.

    If they were really were making an argument on principle, that labeling is counterproductive (or evidence of a losing argument), then they wouldn’t be such habitual labelers.

    The hand-wringing about “denier” should be seen in that context. The hand-wringing is a rhetorical ploy. The hand-wringing about its use is just as exploitative of any “holocaust connotation” as is the use of the term as a label.

    The whole thing is very Kafaesque. IOW, it’s sameolsameol

  8. Blair says:

    I have suggested at my blog that “denialist” provides a one-word term that gets around the language debate. I also provide context for those of you not from North America and therefore not familiar with why many North Americans have a strong reaction to the word “denier” that may not be familiar to our European friends.

    http://achemistinlangley.blogspot.ca/2015/01/does-climate-change-debate-need-reset.html

    Ultimately, there will be terms that may have few connotations in one region that have much stronger ones elsewhere. This is one such term and the lack of recognition of this fact by a lot of younger writers (not contemporaries to the original debate) and regional writers continues to cloud the discussion. For individuals of a certain age, the term cannot be heard without it bringing its original meaning to the table.

  9. The hand-wringing about its use is just as exploitative of any “holocaust connotation” as is the use of the term as a label.

    Exactly, that’s one of my problems with this whole episode. We are essentially allowing one group to use the Holocaust to score points by claiming that another group is using the Holocaust to score points (especially as the latter group rarely mention the Holocaust and typically deny – okay, this is a real minefield 🙂 – that they are referring to the Holocaust when challenged)!

  10. Joshua says:

    Blair

    ==> “I have suggested at my blog that “denialist” provides a one-word term that gets around the language debate.”

    Using “denialist” would change nothing, IMO. You can’t “get around” the language debate because the language debate is an intrinsic part of identity politics. It isn’t to be gotten around, IMO, but dealt with.

  11. Blair says:

    Joshua, what you fail to recognize is that to use that term to those of us who lived through the 1980’s, at least in Canada, will get nothing but negative feedback. Your point will be ignored by the anger incited. As a secondary point, it will also turn off potential progressive allies who worked so very hard to make that word actually mean something.

  12. Joshua says:

    Anders –

    ==> “We are essentially allowing one group to use the Holocaust to score points by claiming that another group is using the Holocaust to score points..”

    It seems to me that in order to “allow” something to happen, you have to have some measure of control over cause and effect. So this is where I part ways with you, I think, and BBD and Tom Curtis, I think.

    I can’t agree with the idea that not using the term is somehow allowing them to “define language” or ceding ground. I don’t think that continuing the use of the term will sway public opinion. I think it’s unrealistic to believe that some group of “lurkers” or relatively uninvolved members of the public are going to have their views on climate change policy significantly influenced by the use of he term denier. It isn’t like they’re going to say, “Oh, someone calls them a denier, so they must be ignoring the truth of climate change.”

    I just don’t see that happening, and worrying about handing “skeptics” some kind of a victory looks, to me, like tribalism – holding on to some meaningless conceptualization of a substantive battle where something of impact will be lost or won.

  13. Blair,
    Why would “Holocaust denial” be specific to North America? Also, I don’t really buy the whole hand-wringing about “denier” being associated with the Holocaust. Yes, some have done so explicitly, but if someone says “climate change/science/global warming denier” how is that immediately associated with the Holocaust? I know you can claim this to be so, but that’s just your view – I don’t see how this is necessarily true. Of course, it might be true that you personally make this association, but claiming that those who are using it are doing so is something you can’t prove unless they make this association explicit.

    As I said above, it’s my view that those who are going around at the moment complaining about “denier” and making the link to the Holocaust are essentially doing what they’ve criticised others for doing.

  14. Willard says:

    More generally:

    https://andthentheresphysics.wordpress.com/2014/07/12/play-the-ball/

    The only problem is to decide how to carve the man and the ball in an objective manner.

  15. Joshua,

    It seems to me that in order to “allow” something to happen, you have to have some measure of control over cause and effect. So this is where I part ways with you, I think, and BBD and Tom Curtis, I think.

    Okay, yes, I agree. I just mean that if we accede to the demands that it no longer be used, that we are then allowing them to use the Holocaust to gain some kind of victory (“us”, “them”, not ideal but am struggling to find better words). I’m not arguing that we shouldn’t do so, or that the outcome can’t be positive, but I still think that – in some sense – we’re allowing one group to use a horrific event to influence others. That doesn’t mean that it couldn’t end up being a positive outcome, though (although I am skeptical of that being the case).

  16. I feel such debates are a victory for those who question the need to do very much about climate change, diverts energy into trying to find the least upsetting label. The most offensive, aggressive irrational and angry tweets I have ever encountered on twitter came from the defenders of neo-liberalism, which is why I blocked most of them. It is a shame because sometimes they have some useful things to say, which have helped me clarify my thinking.

  17. Joshua says:

    Blair –

    ==> “Joshua, what you fail to recognize is that to use that term to those of us who lived through the 1980’s, at least in Canada, will get nothing but negative feedback.”

    I’m not suggesting to continue using the term “denier” as the alternative to using the term “denialist.” I’m just saying that in practical terms, they will have essentially the same interpretation.

    ==> “As a secondary point, it will also turn off potential progressive allies who worked so very hard to make that word actually mean something.”

    What does it actually mean? Do we know? We know how combatants on both sides define it (diametrically). But people who are heavily engaged are the minority, and using language that makes one side feel vindicated is likely to make a relatively similarly sized number on the other side feel justified in feeling victimized, and most folks just won’t really care. I have no idea how the vast, less-identified public, interprets the term and even more importantly, whether it does anything at all to influence their views on climate change policy, and how that influence might be described

    This argument largely takes place inside a bubble (or a vacuum – can a bubble be a vacuum?)

  18. Christopher,

    I feel such debates are a victory for those who question the need to do very much about climate change, diverts energy into trying to find the least upsetting label.

    Yes, I think that is a valid point. An awful lot of the online climate debate revolves around behaviour and trust, rather than actually addressing what is actually important.

    It is a shame because sometimes they have some useful things to say, which have helped me clarify my thinking.

    Indeed. It is a pity that things end up being so tribal that it becomes virtually impossible to have any kind of meaningful discussion with people who may well have interesting things to say.

  19. Blair says:

    Holocaust denial is not unique to North America, but unlike our British cousins the battle wounds of the Holocaust Denial wars are still fresh here. My understanding, from my actual cousins, is that you never had the level of debate in Britain that we did in Canada. It may be that we do not have societal memory of the Second World War that the British have because we were so distant from the actual horror (no blitz in BC). Thus in parts of North America, which were not hard hit by the war, the lessons were not well learned.

  20. Willard says:

    > [W]hat you fail to recognize is that to use that term to those of us who lived through the 1980’s, at least in Canada, will get nothing but negative feedback.

    The sentence starts by attacking Joshua’s mind. It ends by saying something I can attest is not true in all cases. I therefore conclude it is a comment that I could describe as being silly.

    If I did, would it meet Richard’s criteria?

  21. Joshua says:

    Anders –

    ==> ” but I still think that – in some sense – we’re allowing one group to use a horrific event to influence others.”

    I get the point, but again, how do you “allow” something that you have no control over? “Skeptics” will hand-wring about “denier” – and in so doing exploit holocaust denial – no matter what non-“skeptics” do.

    I could try telling them that I’ll punish them if they continue – but I’m not sure that would work. 🙂

  22. Joshua,

    I get the point, but again, how do you “allow” something that you have no control over? “Skeptics” will hand-wring about “denier” – and in so doing exploit holocaust denial – no matter what non-“skeptics” do.

    Oh sure, but I was considering the hypothetical scenario where we all stop using “denier”. Maybe “allow” is the wrong word, but I can’t really think of another one.

  23. Badgerbod says:

    Thanks for this reasoned piece Richard. My knowledge of the scientific detail is limited (as ATTP will agree) but my observation of the “discussion” particularly on blogs and the twittersphere has pertinence to my own background. I think your point about being “in denial” is valid when it is recognised that, (for the sake of not offending let us try) non-skeptics may also be perceived to be “in denial”. They are in denial of a body of scientific reporting and evidence that suggests CO2 is not the only nor the primary driver. I have heard from many scientists who suggest there is more (or sometimes less) going on than we understand but they are dismissed out of hand as “deniers”. To challenge the climate science orthodox with doubts appears to be taken as an insult to the integrity of the scientist. However, scientists in the orthodoxy appear (at least to my observation) to be doing exactly the same by dismissing any work that is not in line with the “accepted” view and attempting to discredit those scientists. The situation with Dr Willie Soon recently is a good case in point.

    Science has to continue to evolve but by dismissing science because it challenges a level of understanding within a controlling elite is not conducive to scientific advancement. The only result seems to be a bunkered approach of name calling and point scoring that goes nowhere.

    I think it is very good that scientists are now talking about behaviour and how they deal with each other, journalists and the general public (where I sit). It is beholden on all of us to refrain from “mud-slinging” but all the great scientific leaders have an opportunity to lead from the front and to show how science retains professionalism, integrity and argue opinions based on the evidence and research.

    I won’t hold my breath though and I will continue to ask questions (as I am suspicious of blind acceptance) in the hope I learn something and I don’t get insulted too often. Last time I made a contribution on this blog I didn’t fair well (naivety I guess) but at least this particular post is on a subject I think I can have an opinion on, if ATTP allows it through.

    I agree with Joshua, it is best to stick to discussion on the topic at hand. Thanks Richard

  24. Blair says:

    Willard, under your criteria, something that is not right in all cases cannot therefore be right in ANY case? Once again your pedantry reveals itself.

    What I find amazing in this whole debate is that people all agree that regional dialects exist in sports and culture. After all in BC I watch football, only here it is the Seahawks playing the American style and the Lions playing Canadian style, while I watch the Whitecaps play soccer. But these people claim that words in other topics cannot have important regional meanings. When I talk about a footy in BC I am talking about my child’s foot and not an Australian game.

    Last week I read an interesting article about swearing in England and discovered that terms no one would dare utter even as a curse in a Canadian group are only considered mild curses in Britain. So maybe if this is true for cursing, might it not also be true for this debate?

  25. On the net we see only comments, we do not meet the person.

    There’s no need to label the person or even to directly say anything about the person. Everything that needs to be said can be said about the text that we have seen. If we feel strongly about the text we can tell that clearly. We can even be very rude while commenting only the text.

  26. badgerbod,

    Last time I made a contribution on this blog I didn’t fair well (naivety I guess) but at least this particular post is on a subject I think I can have an opinion on, if ATTP allows it through.

    I don’t wish to rehash old news, but something you seem unwilling to consider is that you happily promotes views that are fundamentally insulting, while complaining of being insulted. Promoting Jo Nova’s post today claiming that the Met Office graph is intentionally misleading is a prime example. There are many ways to present that information. The data is not hidden. They can’t present it every single possible way. Just because they chose to present it in a way that Jo Nova doesn’t like, doesn’t mean that their intent was to mislead and suggesting that it was is an insult.

  27. Let’s face it, everyone is going to be upset by any label ‘the other side’ gives them, whether its ‘warmist’, ‘denier’, ‘alarmist’, or ‘fake-skeptic’. Any of those labels, by definition, will wrap up everything one feels about the behaviour of the other side. So I guess what I’m saying is that if you ban certain titles, any titles deemed acceptable now will in time carry just as much baggage.

    Here’s a challenge for Richard and anyone else, whichever side of the divide they think themselves to be on: come up with a short snappy descriptor that encapsulates your position and that you would be happy to be described as—and that the other side wouldn’t find objection to using.

    Personally, apart from the connotations it’s accumulated, I never really minded being called a ‘warmist’, if by that we mean someone who accepts the consensus position on climate. Maybe we could reclaim it by starting to use it to describe ourselves?

    BTW, as Richard knows, I’ve never used the term ‘denier’, though I’ve often accused others of being ‘in denial’. For that matter we’re all in denial over some things: if you’ve a pile of unopened bills on the hall table it definitely includes you!

  28. Pekka,

    We can even be very rude while commenting only the text.

    Indeed, but it does take some skill 🙂 . I agree, however, that it is possible to illustrate someone’s flaws in a way that isn’t necessarily explicitly rude, but is implicitly insulting.

  29. Blair,
    You may want to give what Willard says a bit more thought. You may choose not to, of course.

    Here’s the problem I have with your general argument (Michael Tobis’s post that I linked to in the first comment says something similar). I think it’s perfectly reasonable for an individual to ask not to be labelled in a particular way. If someone said to me “please don’t call me that, I find it personally offensive” it would be rather unpleasant of me if I were to ignore what they ask. However, to argue that some generic terminology (the existent of climate science deniers without specifically naming anyone, for example) should not be used because in your part of the world it’s seen as offensive, is a more difficult argument to make. Unless, it’s being aimed at people from your part of the world specifically, then why should someone in a different part of the world stop using something just because some group doesn’t like it? Of course, I’m not arguing that we shouldn’t be aiming to avoid labelling people. I think labelling is a poor way to engage in dialogue. I’m just not convinced by your particular argument.

  30. Willard says:

    > [U]nder your criteria, something that is not right in all cases cannot therefore be right in ANY case? Once again your pedantry reveals itself.

    Are you suggesting that beating one’s wife can be good from time to time, Blair?

    You have yet to respond one of my comments without creating a strawman by asking a loaded question.

    Don’t forget to speak about the pedantry of my position, by the way. It would be offensive to talk about my pedantry.

    Your backtracking the scope of your claim from Canada to BC is duly noted.

    Thank you for your anecdata.

  31. Jim Hunt says:

    @Richard – Fresh from a robust “debate” with the likes of Jo Nova on Twitter, where our host has been under attack today from a WUWTian direction, I’d like to make a not entirely flippant point. “Denier” takes up less of one’s allotted 140 characters than “Pseudo-skeptic”, “Contrarian”, or even “In denial”:

    What language would you use to describe those currently calling Anders a variety of names in public?

    @badgerbod – Personally I wear the “Sceptic” badge with pride! We’re still waiting for you to contribute to the debate over on the Arctic Sea Ice Forum, where the latest “Shock News” reveals a freshly calved large iceberg sailing into the sunset off the King Baudouin Ice Shelf in Antarctica:

    http://forum.arctic-sea-ice.net/index.php/topic,622.msg44875.html#msg44875

  32. Jim,
    Thanks for putting in some defense over on WUWT (which I’ll admit was highlighting one of my less fine moments). I read through some of the comments and I was somewhat impressed that they weren’t as bad as I had initially expected, and that some people were even questioning the motives of the post. I gather that I can expect more from Anthony, though 🙂

  33. verytallguy says:

    Pekka,

    We can even be very rude while commenting only the text.

    Go on, I dare you 🙂

  34. @Jim Hunt: “Denier” takes up less of one’s allotted 140 characters than “Pseudo-skeptic”, “Contrarian”, or even “In denial”

    And that’s why each ‘side’ needs to agree on short, snappy uncontentious titles for members of the other, so that the red mist doesn’t descend before we get round to reading what our opponent has to say.

    The way I see it, if an uncommitted member of the public sees me being rude about someone else, they could well assume I’m the one in the wrong. Therefore I’d rather a ‘skeptic’ comes back to me with the first insult. That way I win in the PR stakes. Or is that a ‘Climateball’ win?

  35. Blair says:

    Willard, I can attest from personal experience that the range extends to Eastern Canada, as far as the Quebec border. I have not worked further East and cannot comment thereon.

  36. Interestingly holocaust deniers deny that they are deniers. They argue over how many were actually killed, rather than the killing itself. Kinds of reminds me of the sensitivity ‘debates’. I think I will stick with deniers or charlatans, depending on how many characters I have left.

  37. dmcrob says:

    “I also quipped: “Will we have to wear yellow badges to climate science conferences?”. That’s a reference to the Yellow badges imposed on the Jewish population of WWII, to separate them from the rest of the populace. It is a sad footnote of history but not unlike the PNAS paper’s attempt to separate skeptics from the rest of the scientific community.”

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/06/28/badges-the-we-dont-need-no-stinking-badges-contest/

    They are obsessed with maximising their sense of victimhood.

    This is not a debate. This is a group of conspiracy theorists who are being fed talking points by think tanks associated with libertarian or fossil fuel donors. Do people like Professor Betts imagine that being polite has never occurred to people before? Does he imagine that his new mates will all suddenly agree that climate science is not a giant international scam if everyone is jolly nice to them? Its some big misunderstanding that a nice cup of tea will sort out?

    This debate is not polarised because of one or two names. It is polarised by people with a great deal of money and political clout are, with malicious intent, doing all they can to reduce public support for legislation that will harm their business interests or run against their core political ideologies. It is polarised because people are being told that science is a corrupt conspiracy aimed at imposing a Marxist\ Agenda 21\UN\etc world government. It is polarised because bloggers are deliberately and with malice aforethought presenting the science as so obviously wrong that only corruption could keep it going.

    This is not an honest discussion between two branches of science.

    They are squealing about the word denier because they have eff all science to back them up.

  38. Mal Adapted says:

    The English word “denier” has meant simply “one who denies” for over 500 years, so it’s probably a good idea to be explicit about what is being denied when calling someone a denier,. I’m more careful to prepend “AGW-” in online conversations lately, I hope. OTOH, when the discussion is about AGW, it should be clear that “AGW-” is implied when “denier” is used without a qualifier. It’s unlikely I’d label someone a “Holocaust-denier” in that context, but if I did I’d use the qualifier. I agree with Joshua: anyone who insists that the “denier” label is nothing more than name-calling, or that it has to mean “Holocaust-denier”, is using a rhetorical ploy to deflect attention away from their AGW-denial. Of course, while it’s semantically accurate, “AGW-denier” also has pejorative connotations. After all, it’s really not defensible to dispute the scientific consensus for AGW anymore!

    [Mod : Just removed the latter part of this comment for tone.]

  39. Jim Hunt says:

    @Anders – The pleasure is all mine! Can you see my latest comment at WUWT yet? 😀

  40. OPatrick says:

    The use of ‘in denial’ only captures one aspect of what people often mean by ‘denier’. The other behaviour is an active denial, rather than the passive (for want of a better word coming to mind) denial of bad news that is implied by ‘in denial’. Is it acceptable to accuse someone of ‘actively denying’ aspects of the evidence for climate change or the consequences we face from it?

  41. I don’t care what ‘fake-skeptics’ think of me and I don’t want to debate with them. But more than that what I really don’t want is uncommitted, lay, bystanders thinking that there’s any equivalence— that both sides are slinging mud at each other because they’re both ideological. We need to defeat them with science, not insults (however deserved they are).

  42. Pekka,

    We can even be very rude while commenting only the text.

    Go on, I dare you

    For some reason I still remember, what I wrote about a manuscript as a reviewer. That went about as follows:

    Essentially everything in the manuscript is wrong, at what little is correct has already been published elsewhere.

    (That was the conclusion after some more detailed discussion of the errors.)

    I have also commented written somewhere that it’s impossible to tell what leads to a comment like that, but I can see only two possibilities: Either the author knows nothing about the subject, or he is not honest. That gets already pretty close of being personal, but is explicitly based on a specific comment.

  43. Jim,
    No, I don’t think it is there yet.

  44. Michael 2 says:

    dmcrob says:

    They are obsessed…

    doing all they can

    They are squealing…

    Group maintenance, in other words, with you here to report on them just in case anyone here hadn’t already noticed these behaviors. Anyway, it sounded a bit conspiratorial 😉

  45. Willard says:

    > I can attest from personal experience that the range extends to Eastern Canada, as far as the Quebec border. I have not worked further East and cannot comment thereon.

    Blair, I can attest to you that wherever I’ve been, I could tell my friends they’re “dirty bastards” and they would appreciate it, and that I could compliment my enemies and they would rip off their shirts in return.

    I can also attest that to address someone you barely know either with “you’re a denier,” “you’re a denialist” or “you’re in denial” will be infelicitous, if what you want is to exchange. It brings the transaction to a close. Ask any psychologist about how to prepare an intervention with someone in denial.

    Language is a social art.

    ***

    Now, ask yourself who has more to win from having the conversation everyone presumably wish to have, and who’s gerrymandering using victimhood. While I can accept that using the D word is offensive, I see little reason to deify WWII to the point of tolerating everything else, including unjustified accusations of pedantry. Since I accept that we’re playing ClimateBall, I could not care less if what I saying right now reaches you or not. As if I forgot your own previous efforts to refuse my criticism of your Damascus moment by parsing a textbook about which you failed to show any acumen.

    In a nutshell, your argument is irrelevant, and RichardB is clinging to a dichotomy that fails to take into account psychological, pragmatic, and strategic facts.

  46. Joshua says:

    –> “and RichardB is clinging to a false dichotomy that fails to take into account psychological, pragmatic, and strategic facts.

    ??? explanation?

  47. Michael 2 says:

    I don’t mind being labeled.

    What I am to you is whatever you believe I am. To someone else I will be something else and labeled differently; but that’s okay. The labels you use identify your areas of interest.

  48. Willard says:

    > ??? explanation?

    “In denial” doesn’t work, people identify themselves to the positions they hold, and contrarians are the ones who should lead by example.

  49. Michael 2 says:

    johnrussell40 says: “And that’s why each ‘side’ needs to agree on short, snappy uncontentious titles for members of the other”

    Short, snappy, uncontentious titles already exist: “Us” and “them”.

  50. BBD says:

    Sorry Willard, but I don’t follow this either, unless you mean that contrarians should be more properly sceptical?

  51. Michael 2 says:

    Jim Hunt says: “Denier takes up less of one’s allotted 140 characters”

    That’s why I have no use for Twitter.

  52. Joe Public says:

    What’s wrong with the term “Realist”?

  53. Joshua says:

    ==> “What I am to you is whatever you believe I am.”

    Kind of boils down to that, doughnit? Anders said as much also.

    At the end of the day, it’s my view that you aren’t defined by your label. Ignoring genuinely discriminatory labels, if the label fits and you don’t like it, maybe you should consider how you behave. If it fits and you believe your behaviour is fine, then just own it. If it doesn’t fit, then maybe the person doing the labelling is an idiot and you should ignore them. I’m not defined by how people label me; I’m the only person who can define me. Those who are complaining about labelling should maybe bear this in mind.

    Labeling is generally sub-optimal. Too bad The Academy doesn’t hand out Oscars for drama-queening in a leading/supporting role.

  54. Joshua says:

    C’mon… What was it this time? doughnit? boils? Oh, wait, maybe….

    ==> “What I am to you is whatever you believe I am.”

    Kind of boils down to that, doughnit? Anders said as much also.

    At the end of the day, it’s my view that you aren’t defined by your label. Ignoring genuinely discriminatory labels, if the label fits and you don’t like it, maybe you should consider how you behave. If it fits and you believe your behaviour is fine, then just own it. If it doesn’t fit, then maybe the person doing the labelling is an idi*t and you should ignore them. I’m not defined by how people label me; I’m the only person who can define me. Those who are complaining about labelling should maybe bear this in mind.

    Labeling is generally sub-optimal. Too bad The Academy doesn’t hand out Oscars for drama-queening in a leading/supporting role.

  55. I think I’d be happy for the other side to call me a ‘conscencist’. And as I coined the word I declare it means that I accept the scientific consensus on climate change. I don’t think any fake sceptic could reasonably object to calling me that.

    Now it’s up to ‘the other side’ to think up a snappy, self-descriptor that a conscencist would accept and which doesn’t yet have a dictionary meaning.

  56. Joshua says:

    Got it willard…

    Rachel/Anders – please delete the duplicate. I tend to be impatient. 🙂

  57. @Joe Public

    ‘Realist’ is a word that both sides claim. It has a meaning which one side earns and the other side covets.

  58. Jim Hunt says:

    Anders – I don’t think so either. And there was me thinking it wasn’t in the least bit controversial. I certainly didn’t call anybody any names!

  59. verytallguy says:

    FWIW, my views on denial/er

    It’s almost always counterproductive to resort to name calling.   But unless possessed of the patience of Job, it is inevitable sometimes in the climate debate.

    Clinate denial/er is a perfectly legitimate label generally associated with its rather more sinister holocaust cousin by those seeking victimhood rather than those labelling opponents.  Although the list linked in the SoD thread including Monbiot and Pauchari using it in exactly that way did give me pause.

    So, avoid it by preference but don’t pay too much attention to the faux outrage of those labelled.

  60. Joseph says:

    However, to argue that some generic terminology (the existent of climate science deniers without specifically naming anyone, for example) should not be used because in your part of the world it’s seen as offensive, is a more difficult argument to make.

    Right, it’s my experience that the term “denier” is most often applied to a group and not an individual person (e.g Deniers say this or say that..), and if it is directed to an individual it is not said directly to the person. To me it is usually up to individual “skeptics” to decide whether or not that term and context applies to them.

  61. Joshua says:

    Instructional video.

    42 seconds in…

    Check out the “overembelished reaction” to the legitimate foul, a reaction to marginal contact that is inconsistent to the level and direction of contact.

    Where’s the ref?

  62. Joseph,

    Right, it’s my experience that the term “denier” is most often applied to a group and not an individual person (e.g Deniers say this or say that..),

    Yes, and that’s why I always find it surprising that people who claim not to deny climate science get so upset whenever it is used to simply describe some generic, unnamed, group.

  63. Steve Bloom says:

    ‘many North Americans have a strong reaction to the word “denier”’

    But then North America is reduced to a fraction of Canada? Go figure.

    Y’know, Blair, I too recall the minor kerfuffle in the ’80s about Holocaust denial. Canada isn’t all that culturally isolated from the U.S., and I think I would have noticed had the discussion there been notably different. Holocaust denial did get some attention then, in part because it was a newish thing for white supremacists to promote but mainly because those opposed to white supermacists decided to highlight it to make sure the former would be regarded as laughingstocks to an even greater degree than before and of course to make sure Holocaust denial didn’t spread by means of patent lies. I live, and lived then, in a pretty liberal area (although I grew up in the conservative upper midwest, not very culturally distinct from the prairie provinces) and no one here has the association you claim. I doubt it’s actually any different in western Canada. So as you have provided no evidence for your views beyond your personal anecdotal impressions, until such time as you do so I will assume you’re just making stuff up.

    [Mod : Let’s keep UK politics out of this one.]

  64. aTTP:

    That’s because they know unconsciously that they’re part of that group (QED, they’re in denial).

  65. Joshua says:

    Anders –

    ==> “Yes, and that’s why I always find it surprising that people who claim not to deny climate science get so upset whenever it is used to simply describe some generic, unnamed, group.”

    One more comment and then I’ll get off the dance floor.

    (1) I think the reaction should be expected – not surprising. How many times have we seen it?
    (2) I think the reaction should be expected because using “denier” is a deliberate use of a pejorative to assign guilt-by-association. It is part of identity-aggression/identity-defense. I don’t buy the “but it’s just an accurate description defense,” none the least because “skeptics” so often use that exact same defense for their pejorative used to assign guilt by association.

    To be clear, I am not defending the “so upset” aspect of the response. I think it’s’ bogus. While Tony Parker-like arm flailing is pretty damn funny – it’s not the kind of basketball I prefer to watch.

  66. john,
    Okay, that’s getting a bit too circular for me 🙂

    Joshua,

    It is part of identity-aggression/identity-defense.

    Yes, I think this does play a big role in this topic.

  67. BBD, Joshua, everyone,

    Sorry. Was in a rush, and had to go in a minute. Will explain later.

  68. dana1981 says:

    I don’t use “denier” only because somebody invariably starts an argument about it, which distracts from the content that I’m talking about. So I use contrarian instead.

    That said, “denier” just refers to somebody who denies something. It’s just a descriptive term that has nothing to do with Holocaust denial, except that both are forms of denial. As others have said, complaints about linkage to Holocaust denial is just a point scoring game. “Those in denial” is fine, but linguistically awkward. When talking about denial, we should be able to use these terms.

    It’s also worth noting that although they’re a vocal group, those who are in denial (deniers) are a pretty small segment of the population. They’re also a segment that’s unreachable, so from a practical standpoint it really doesn’t matter if they’re ‘polarized’ by being called “deniers”. They’re already polarized.

  69. Blair says:

    Steve, to suggest that the conservative upper mid-west was not very culturally distinct from the prairies demonstrates a woeful confusion between geography and politics. Our prairie provinces in the 1970s and 1980w were the birthplace of the CCF, socialized medicine, the Wheat Board and much of the politics you would only attribute to the most liberal democrats of the modern era. The land may have been similarly flat, but the politics could not have been more dissimilar. It could be argued that modern Alberta (and western Saskatchewan) share a political bent with their southern neighbours, but that sentiment did not predate the original oil booms of the late 1980’s early 1990s which involved an in-migration of libertarians into the oil patch.

    I won’t even go into the demographics of the historical populations that formed the basis of the initial influx into Western Canada, because your earlier comment clearly demonstrates I need not go that deep. Suffice it to say that the Canadian experience in this regards was distinct from that of an affluent resident of the upper midwest of the era.

    As I mentioned to Willard, I can attest to experiences both in Central Canada and Western Canada of the era and can assure you that 20 minutes of research, on your part, will show where I am coming from. Start by Googling Keegstra, Zundel, Doug Collins…and then work your way up to the fact that these stories actually reached our Supreme Court….

  70. dana,

    It’s also worth noting that although they’re a vocal group, those who are in denial (deniers) are a pretty small segment of the population.

    Well, according to what I’m seeing on Twitter, I’ve managed to ban everyone who holds views different to those who normally comment here. Of course, given the theme of this post, I don’t know if they would be those in denial or not, but if I’ve managed to ban all contrary views, either I’ve banned an awful lot of people (I haven’t) or they’re a small vocal group (rather confirming the 97% result, one might argue 😀 ).

  71. Blair,

    to suggest that the conservative upper mid-west was not very culturally distinct from the prairies demonstrates a woeful confusion between geography and politics.

    If you’re going to start every comment with an implied insult to the person to whom you’re responding, this isn’t going to go well. Could you stop doing it, please.

  72. John Hartz says:

    ATTP: If someone characterizes another person as a “denier” is that passive-aggressive behaviour or agressive-aggressive behaviour?

    PS – How many angels do fit on the head of a pin? (:

  73. > As I mentioned to Willard, I can attest to experiences both in Central Canada and Western Canada of the era and can assure you that 20 minutes of research […]

    If you’re here to brag from a vintage point you presume being alone in having, Blair, you might as well go all the way. Tell us about how many languages you master. Do you speak French, by any chance?

  74. The D word is so offensive it sells book:

    http://www.amazon.ca/The-Deniers-Lawrence-Solomon/dp/0980076315

    Notice where the author comes from, Blair.

  75. John Hartz says:

    Willard: To the best of your knowledge, has any mainstream Jewish organization in Canada, the USA, the UK, or Australia ever publicly weighed-in on this matter?

    Shalom (:

  76. TinyCO2 says:

    It doesn’t matter what name you use if the sentiment is still the same. If every post drips with hatred then it doesn’t matter what word you call people. The shortest distance between innocent enquirer and a denier can be a single question. Tobis sets out at least one of his taboo subjects, there are more. What a pity people don’t understand the rules and think they can have their own questions. I’m sure if they knew there was an approved list of questions they’d never dare to have any others. Of course, not being converted after two or three questions also automatically relegates you into denier territory.

    You’re right ATTP, there are very few vocal people to ban on twitter. Instead of taking pride in that, it should demonstrate how few people care about climate change. Do you really think that drastically cutting CO2 can be done from a position of disinterest? I know some dream of presidents and prime ministers sweeping their countries into decisive action, regardless of public opinion, but do you?

  77. [Mod : Not really interested. Still waiting for you to back this up. Oh, and I mean “offensive”, not “insulting”, “a smear” (which – from what I can tell – you define as any criticism whether true or not), or “hostile”; and the standard definition of “offensive” not some definition you’ve made up to suit whatever it is you’re supposedly trying to illustrate.]

  78. Michael 2 says:

    johnrussell40 says: “That’s because they know unconsciously that they’re part of that group (QED, they’re in denial).”

    How could anyone participating here not know their own labels? Anyway, I suspect you overestimate my concern to not be in this group you disrespect. Should it happen that you pick up a nuance or two at the thrift store you’ll fine-tune your sense of what exactly any particular person is “denying” but that only creates a huge problem of making new labels that accurately describe this person’s catalog of acceptances and denials as distinct from that one.

  79. Tiny,

    You’re right ATTP, there are very few vocal people to ban on twitter. Instead of taking pride in that, it should demonstrate how few people care about climate change.

    I wasn’t really taking pride in it. You may – though – have a point. However, the number of people who are interested doesn’t really mean anything with respect to physical reality.

    I know some dream of presidents and prime ministers sweeping their countries into decisive action, regardless of public opinion, but do you?

    No. I would much rather that the public and policy makers were properly informed and that any decisions that are made are made democratically and are informed and evidence-based. However, being informed doesn’t necessarily mean that we know what to do. Whatever our policy makers decide to do, some will be happy, some won’t, and some decisions will be stupid, and some won’t. That’s kind of how democracy works. I just hope that we don’t end up regretting whatever it is that we do decide to do, or not to do.

  80. dmcrob says:

    ” If every post drips with hatred then it doesn’t matter what word you call people”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychological_projection

    If you are reading every post as hatred, then perhaps the hatred is more in your head than in the person doing the posting.
    “I know some dream of presidents and prime ministers sweeping their countries into decisive action,”
    “Support levels for individual renewable energy sources were lower than the previous
    wave but comparable to that reported at this time last year (Wave 6) which may be
    indicative of a seasonal effect; off-shore wind (72%), biomass (60%), onshore wind (67%), wave and tidal (73%) and solar (82%). For all technologies there was an
    increase in those that neither supported nor opposed these developments. ”
    https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/342426/Wave_10_findings_of_DECC_Public_Attitudes_Tracker_FINAL.pdf

    Others dream of the government enacting the will of the people.

  81. Blair says:

    ATTP,

    When someone makes a statement that is demonstrably wrong, not just slightly wrong but completely and utterly wrong, is it not acceptable to say so openly? Mr. Bloom suggested that the politics of the American mid-west, in that era, was comparable to that of the prairies. As I pointed out (and detailed) the politics of the two regions in that era could not be more different. What you read as an implied insult, I meant as something that was demonstrably true.

    Were I to claim, without apparently doing any research, that gravity was not a feature in Aberdeen Scotland, I would expect no less from you.

  82. Joseph says:

    Of course, not being converted after two or three questions also automatically relegates you into denier territory.

    .

    Tiny, have you every personally been called a denier? If not, why do you believe that people are referring to you when that term is used?

  83. Blair,

    When someone makes a statement that is demonstrably wrong, not just slightly wrong but completely and utterly wrong, is it not acceptable to say so openly?

    Let’s remember that I don’t think highly of how you interpret what others have said. Also, most of what you’ve presented is your opinion dressed up as fact. If you want to illustrate that someone is wrong, you can do so by providing evidence, not by being insulting and condescending. I’m the only one allowed to be condescending here 🙂

    As I pointed out (and detailed) the politics of the two regions in that era could not be more different.

    No, you stated this. I have no idea, from what you’ve presented, whether you’re right or wrong.

    Were I to claim, without apparently doing any research, that gravity was not a feature in Aberdeen Scotland, I would expect no less from you.

    Yes, because this would be bonkers. I don’t think this is quite the same scale as disagreements about public opinion in parts of North America.

  84. graemeu says:

    Perhaps Climate Bigot could be applied to anyone who has stopped thinking about the evidence and pushes their extreme viewpoint at either end of the spectrum. However, if commentary here at ATTP is correct some who are In Denial are paid to be, that makes them professional Deniers, or professional bigots, if the hat fits…. It’s part of human nature to label and pigeon hole but changing the label doesn’t change perceptions of what the label stands for. As those who are doggedly in denial have hi-jacked the label correctly applied to those who examine and question the evidence, Skeptic, they should not be too quick to take offence at a label that perfectly describes their position.

  85. dana1981 says:

    It’s also worth mentioning that some deniers like Lindzen and Milloy have explicitly stated they prefer to be called deniers.

  86. Charles Kinsley says:

    This is unusual for me to say, but I think all of you, the OP and all commenters, are wrong.

  87. Blair says:

    Willard, I am not bragging, I am pointing out a point of view shared by myself and many like myself. I’m not sure why you find this hard to believe.

    I honestly do not understand a lot of the people on this blog and that is probably because I do not share your world-view/histories. Why you presume to know mine and those of my peer group I cannot guess. As I have said before and will say again. The use of the term has a strong negative connotation amongst a group, in particular among progressives of a certain age, who should be your natural allies. Instead by using the term you insult their memories and their cultural heritage.

    It is pretty impressive, being able to take possible friends and not just turn them into opponents but actually get them to actively loath you. Were you to take your show to the North Shore Jewish Community Centre, in West Vancouver BC (a bastion of the most progressive pro-climate folks you would ever meet) I could not attest to your getting out unscathed. To be clear, I am in no way threatening you, what I am saying is that you appear unclear how strongly that term is held in certain communities.

  88. Joseph says:

    Tiny, and following what Dana said, if you have been called a denier, why do you find it offensive? Is it the Holocaust?

  89. Blair,

    Why you presume to know mine and those of my peer group I cannot guess.

    This isn’t complicated. Noone is suggesting that you and your mates don’t associate the terms “denial” and “denier” with the Holocaust. The suggestion is that your apparent claim that you know the views of a large number of people in a particular region of the world is being presented without any evidence and that their own experiences – in regions and periods similar to yours – is different. I’m struggling to understand how you seem to think that you’re presenting some kind of coherent, evidence-based argument.

    To be clear, I am in no way threatening you, what I am saying is that you appear unclear how strongly that term is held in certain communities.

    Again, I think some are disputing your claims. Responding with “no you’re wrong” isn’t particularly convincing.

  90. Blair says:

    ATTP,

    I did provide evidence. The politics of the Canadian prairies are a matter of historical record. From the Winnipeg Strike, the rise of Tommy Douglas, the birth of the CCF, the creation of the Wheat Board? These are not opinions, they are the history of my country and my family (as my mother grew up in the prairies and my parents met in Alberta). You use the word “bonkers” to describe my theory of Aberdeen gravity. Well Mr. Bloom’s theory of prairie politics is similarly “bonkers” to anyone born and bred in Canada’s west.

  91. John Hartz says:

    In response to a question I had posed to Willard, dmcrob kindly provided a link to the following news release issued by the Andi-defamation League of Atlanta on Feb 26, Feb 2014.

    ADL Condemns Spencer’s Nazi Analogy

    The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today denounced remarks by University of Alabama – Huntsville professor Roy Spencer who wrote on his blog that those who refer to him as a climate change “denier” should be called “global warming Nazis” and that they “are supporting policies that will kill far more people than the Nazis ever did — all in the name of what they consider to be a righteous cause.”

    He also claims those who advocate for policies to slow global warming are “like the Nazis” in that they are fascist and anti-capitalist. The post is also accompanied by an image of a swastika.

    Shelley Rose, ADL Southeast Interim Regional Director issued the following statement:

    University of Alabama-Huntsville Professor Roy Spencer’s analogy of proponents of global warming to Nazis is outrageous and deeply offensive. This analogy is just the latest example of a troubling epidemic of comparisons to Hitler and the Holocaust.

    It has become too common to use comparisons to the Holocaust and Nazi imagery to attack people with opposing views, whether the issue is global warming, immigration or stem-cell research.

    The six million Jewish victims and millions of other victims of Hitler deserve better. Their deaths should not be used for political points or sloganeering. This type of comparison diminishes and trivializes the Holocaust. There is no place for it in civil discussions.

    http://atlanta.adl.org/news/adl-condemns-spencers-nazi-analogy/

    As far as I am concerned, Case closed!

    BTW, my wife is Jewish and has never expressed concern when I use the term “climate denier.”

  92. Jim Hunt says:

    @Richard – My most recent comment at WUWT on the ATTP bashing thread was ultimately “snipped” in its entirety apart from one word. “Denialosphere”. It would seem to be a badge they wear with pride over there.

  93. Blair,

    I did provide evidence. The politics of the Canadian prairies are a matter of historical record.

    So what? You haven’t actually provided any evidence. You telling me that it exists and what it says is not the same as actually providing it. And if you don’t get the difference between whether or not gravity acts in Aberdeen and whether or not your interpretation of public opinion in the prairies is correct, then I can’t really help you. I don’t think anyone is disputing what you yourself may or may not have experienced, some are disputing what you have inferred from your experiences.

  94. BBD says:

    The problem with people traducing the Holocaust dead by tactically playing the victim in all their names has been aired. Let’s not shy away from this. If someone says ‘you are equating my denial of the scientific evidence with Holocaust denial’ then agree with them.

    Holocaust denial is counter-factual. Climate change denial likewise. There is an equivalence.

  95. John Mashey says:

    How about
    “warmista” or “warmista attack dogs” or “warm-monger” or other phrases exposed in the SalbyStorm.
    Agenda 21; anti-human garroting of science.; assassination {character, etc}; brainwashed by these people; cabal; Clique – (~ The Team?); Conspirac {-y,- ies}; CSIRO; devout believers; dirty lying verminous mendacious hypocrites; elitist; enforcers for the Warming dogma have their most outspoken critics publicly drawn and quartered. They mount their heads on pikes; envirostalinist; fascist; freaks; goose stepping, alarmist, fascist, progressives march along; Greenist; hate group known as the EPA; high priests and political masters of AGW; hooligans; labor lefties; “liberal” today actually means “selfish,” “callous,” “dishonest”, “control freaky”, “sociopathic”. ” “reactionary” and “fascistic”; Luca Brazi (from The Godfather); Marx {-ist, -ism}; megalomaniacs; modern form of slavery;
    Nothing is more illebral than “liberal”. (sic); Progressives; satraps of climatism. (in courts); scaremongering; smear {campaign, sites}; Soviet; squealing warmist weasel; statists; thought police; thug {-s, -ery}; totalitarian; warmers; warmist or warmista; warmista attack dogs;
    warm-monger; watermelon (green outside, red in).

    Perhaps someone should tell Lawrence Solomon to change the name of his book The Deniers(2008), although to be fair, a few people complained about being misrepresented.

  96. David Young says:

    There is dynamic going on here that is really very obvious. In any basically political controversy there is competition to stand out from the crowd. One way to do that is to use more extreme language than others. This dynamic for example was at work with McCarthyism. The only way to break the dynamic is for more responsible members to call out and shame the extremists on their side. It takes courage to do that, but it is unlikely to happen here among those with essentially no scientific credentials or knowledge.

    Translation, Richard Betts is exactly right and courageous to say it publicly.

  97. That Lindzen and Milloy prefer to be called “deniers” can’t revise an history of climate taking heads comparing AGW denial with H denial. Claiming that Roy Spencer’s “misinterpretation has no basis in reality” may amount to the denial of facts Richard Betts documented above.

    To borrow Joshua’s analogy to basketball, it’s quite obvious that Roy has flopped. We should not infer from that there has never been any physical contact. Roy embellishes something that did happen, that does happen, and that will happen.

    ***

    However, there are other ClimateBall ™ players who do flop for no reason whatsoever, e.g.:

    [W]hy did you ruin a good word?

    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/collideascape/2015/02/04/climate-communication-undermined-inflammatory-language/#comment-1837735789

    For the same reason alarmists beat their wives, one must presume.

  98. DY,

    One way to do that is to use more extreme language than others. This dynamic for example was at work with McCarthyism.

    You see, the problem is that it’s hard to believe that people are trying to engage decently and honestly when some choose to characterise others as McCarthyites.

    Richard Betts is exactly right and courageous to say it publicly.

    Richard is probably correct that labelling makes any discourse difficult and that “denier” and “denial” are polarising. The more interesting issue is whether or not there’s any real point in trying to reduce polarisation. That you choose to appeal to McCarthyism makes me think that there isn’t!

  99. BBD says:

    David Young

    The only way to break the dynamic is for more responsible members to call out and shame the extremists on their side.

    If we are still discussing the specifics of describing scientific evidence denial as denial, then what is extreme about this?

    We can agree that indiscriminate usage of denial and its derivatives causes offence but not that the term itself is inappropriate.

  100. John Hartz says:

    The most germane (to this discussion) sentence of the ADL news release that I posted above is:

    It has become too common to use comparisons to the Holocaust and Nazi imagery to attack people with opposing views, whether the issue is global warming, immigration or stem-cell research.

    The right-wing nuts in the US have discovered that playing the “denier” card is a way to mddy the waters and stir-up the base. The tactic is pure political propaganda. If Richard Betts choses to ignore this reality and wring his hands, so be it. I will continue to use the word “denier” without any misgivings or qualms.

  101. Joshua says:

    David –

    ==> “One way to do that is to use more extreme language than others.”

    And

    ==> “This dynamic for example was at work with McCarthyism.”

    Your deep concern about the polarizing extremism as seen in the use of Nazi analogies is duly noted.

    I must say, your deep concern is quite remarkable.

  102. John Hartz says:

    ATTP: Please insert “” after the single sentence quote in my prior post. Thanks.

  103. Blair says:

    ATTP,

    Apparently we are at an impasse. In the absence of time travel technology the study of history is limited to the review of documentary records. Since neither of us want me to fly to [Mod : edit for consistency] to read you Canadian political history, I thought the next best option was to provide you with a series of keywords for appropriate Google searches. Having studied the subject myself (and lived some of it), I can assure you that a review of available documentary evidence would more than support my statements. You are welcome to challenge this, but providing some basis for that challenge would seem appropriate would it not?

  104. > You are welcome to challenge this

    https://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/burden-of-proof

    So, Blair, what about your French?

  105. Blair,

    Since neither of us want me to fly to [Mod : edit for consistency] to read you Canadian political history, I thought the next best option was to provide you with a series of keywords for appropriate Google searches.

    Didn’t you read my earlier comment about who was allowed to be condescending here?

    You are welcome to challenge this, but providing some basis for that challenge would seem appropriate would it not?

    I don’t particularly care. If you don’t wish to lay out an actual argument, but would rather argue from some kind of personal authority, I have no great interest in challenging it whatsoever.

  106. ATTP

    The more interesting issue is whether or not there’s any real point in trying to reduce polarisation.

    Yes indeed this is an interesting issue.

    As I said the other day, I think that one benefit of reducing polarisation would be to allow more people (working climate scientists in particular) to enter the discussion. For example, every day I sit surrounded by 150 climate scientists, but hardly any of them ever comment on this blog or others, despite having huge expertise in the topics being discussed.

    Probably the main reason is that many scientists are just not bothered about discussing their work on blogs, but conversations I’ve had do suggest that there is also an element of being put off by the hostility. While much of this comes from the contrarian side, some comes from the other side too. For example, my colleagues the likes of Steve Bloom apparently trying to undermine me by ascribing motives which he has simply made up (see his comment above).

    (Incidentally Steve, did you not see my footnote, that my post was my own opinion? This post is nothing to do with the Met Office, I don’t get asked to engage on blogs not do I need to seek approval for what I write.)

    I expect there will be responses saying that it’s ‘the other side’ who maintain the polarisation and hostilities. Well, history is littered with examples of conflicts which rumbled on and on because each side continually blamed the other. These things only come to an end when somebody has the guts to rise above the tribalism and say enough is enough.

  107. Blair says:

    ATTP,

    How do you propose I lay out my argument. I provided keywords for a Google search. I can provide a list of political history texts for you not to read? Otherwise, lacking a willingness on your part to actually consider the documentary evidence I have provided you with I’m not sure how to proceed.

    Willard,

    As my mother’s family are Fransaskois, yes I can indeed speak French….

  108. dmcrob says:

    “Probably the main reason is that many scientists are just not bothered about discussing their work on blogs, but conversations I’ve had do suggest that there is also an element of being put off by the hostility. ”
    So biologists are put off discussing their science by the mutual hostility between evolutionists and creationists?
    Epidemiologists are put off discussing vaccines by the hostility between those who favour vaccines and antivaxxers?

    “I expect there will be responses saying that it’s ‘the other side’ who maintain the polarisation and hostilities”
    Am I supposed to genuflect to creationists when they declare the Earth is 7000 years old?

    Do you think you are the only science or scientist in the middle of a politicised maelstrom?

  109. David Young says:

    McCarthyism is the example that came to mind. There are many others. The GMO debate is an example for example. Joe Romm and perhaps Sou though are pretty extreme in their offensive language and are tolerated by a lot of more respectable people. The least you can do is ignore them completely if you are afraid to criticize them. You do know of course that McCarthyism ended well once people were courageous. The situation is not hopeless.

  110. mt says:

    I’ve encountered some grumbling behind the scenes about Richard’s article, but I can’t say I disagree with Richard. This is very much along the lines of what I said in my related article ( http://initforthegold.blogspot.com.au/2015/02/the-d-word-and-s-word.html )

    Insofar as Blair’s claiming High Canadianism as a form of identity politics, I will add that I grew up in a Holocaust refugee community **in Canada**, which in the context of this discussion would appear to trump his identity politics. I think my people would say that denial is denial. Holocaust denial is a particularly virulent form of denial, but I don’t think people who share my perspective on the matter believe Holocaust denial is unique merely insofar as it denies. There are other denials.

    Being forced to euphemisms is hardly the worst possible outcome, but it won’t change the facts.

    I agree with this article. Calling someone a “denier” is not conducive to exchange of ideas and should be reserved for extreme situations, but calling a set of beliefs held in opposition to evidence “denial” is all too necessary all too often.

  111. John Hartz says:

    ATTP: I cannot help but wonder if everyone’s views on the OP is colored by which country the commenter is living in. For example, It may be that Betts’s position resonates better in the UK than in the US due to differences in the political/cultural environment.

    Are vaccinations and stem cell research,political issues in the UK? Canada? Australia?

    Is there home-schooling in the UK? Canada? Australia?

  112. Vinny Burgoo says:

    Blair: Is Kurt Wallersteiner one of the people you’re thinking of re North Shore and fighting Holocaust denial?

    (Mods: A totally OT question, I know, but I’ve long been fascinated by Wallersteiner and would love to know the answer. If you let this stay I’ll point to someone who is both a climate change d̶e̶n̶i̶e̶r̶contrarian and a Holocaust denier – though you might not thank me. He’s a prolific blog commenter and would probably come here and act all crazy.)

  113. mt says:

    A relevant article from five years ago from a non-combatant (h/t Bart vH) http://skeptico.blogs.com/skeptico/2009/02/global-warming-denial.html

  114. Bobby says:

    CO2 warms the Earth as a GHG. We’re increasing CO2 by burning fossil fuels. Increased CO2 has increased surface temps by ~0.8C and paleo/models both tell us that temps will rise further (see range from IPCC). Ocean heat will keep increasing. Increased CO2 is also acidifying (yes, that’s the right word) the oceans, reducing arctic sea ice and increasing sea level. If somebody denies the data supporting the above, they are in denial, but don’t call them deniers because it upsets them…wait, what? I agree with mtobis – Godwin’s law violation is usually in the eye of the denier, and I agree with ATTP’s comments that the offense is usually to score points. I’ve never tone trolled because someone called me alarmist, watermelon, etc. Thus, I’m tired of talking about the conversation (in bad faith) rather than having the conversation (in good faith).

    I believe Richard and SOD mean well, but the result is a distraction. This is exactly what those spreading misinformation want. I agree with Richard’s point that we shouldn’t stop the conversation with those asking questions in good faith. For those that are not…sorry, but denier works just fine although I’m partial to crank, crackpot, and pseudo-skeptic. And you can tell quickly whether someone is asking questions in good faith.

  115. > As my mother’s family are Fransaskois, yes I can indeed speak French….

    Then show me you spoke to Québécois about denialism or the D word.

  116. Ian Forrester says:

    Blair seems to be confusing geography, politics and history. He is trying to equate the politics of the 1930’s, CCF, CWB and Tommy Douglas, with the politics of the 1980s. There has been tremendous change in the political landscape on the prairies in that 50 year period.

    Jim Keegstra was a laughing stock and it was only because his lawyer Doug Christie was as much of an extremist that this case went to the Supreme Court.

    Blair is also wrong when he states that:

    I also provide context for those of you not from North America and therefore not familiar with why many North Americans have a strong reaction to the word “denier” that may not be familiar to our European friends.

    It seems to me that there is just as much “holocaust denying” in Europe these days, especially Germany.

  117. Joshua says:

    Blair –

    Just perusing your blog and came across this:

    If you actually look at the debate you have lukewarmers, like myself, who suggest that the likely range of climate sensitivity is going to be at the lower end of the IPCC range; you have “warmists” who think it is going to be in the middle end of the range; and you have “alarmists” who think the higher end of the range is the most likely.

    […]

    The critical point that appears to be completely missed by the alarmists is that their language actually hurts their cause.

    I find it interesting that you just skip over that two of your three labels are pejoratives – the two that you say don’t apply to yourself. Coincidence? Somehow I think not.

    I also notice that you think that the (pejorative) language of “alarmists” hurts their cause, but not your own pejoratives.

    Interesting logic, that.

    Reminds me of David Young’s thinking about the merits of analogizing someone to a holocaust denier versus comparing someone to McCarthy.

  118. David Young says:

    McCarthyism is a behavior pattern and a social phenomena, and not a label for persons.

  119. Andy Skuce says:

    For what it’s worth I lived in Alberta for thirty years and I never got the impression that the word “denier” used without qualification was generally taken to mean “Holocaust denier”. Doing some quick Googling (denier Alberta), it seems that “denier” is always qualified with “Holocaust” when referring to the recently deceased teacher James Keegstra. Evidently, journalists and writers there don’t feel “denier” stands by itself to mean a Nazi apologist.

    But such assertions and shallow research are anecdotes, not data. I admit the possibility that “denier” used out of context might imply “Holocaust denier” to some people, so I would urge everyone to always make it clear that they write “climate-change denier” or “pause denier” to ensure that they don’t confuse people.

    I choose not to use “denier” at all in fora where its meaning might be confused or deliberately misconstrued. That’s a choice I made based on expediency rather than principle. Among friends, the d-word works just fine.

    And I would urge everyone to resist drawing analogies between the climate crisis and World War Two. No comparisons, please, with Nazis, Holocaust denial, the Holocaust itself, appeasement, Munich, Churchill versus Chamberlain, or Hiroshima. Almost everyone (me too) who cares one way or another about climate has misused WW2 metaphors at some point and they invariably fail, because they are overloaded.

  120. Blair says:

    Willard,

    I specifically noted that my view of the topic stopped at the Quebec border. Not surprisingly since the debate is moot when you change your language to French….funny that…..it is almost as if the word is an English one…..

  121. > I specifically noted that my view of the topic stopped at the Quebec border.

    Perhaps I misread:

    Willard, I can attest from personal experience that the range extends to Eastern Canada, as far as the Quebec border. I have not worked further East and cannot comment thereon.

    I thought “further east” was further than Québec, since Eastern Canada is comprised of Québec.

    ***

    > Not surprisingly since the debate is moot when you change your language to French.

    You’d be surprised. Don’t forget that this other nation comes from France, which has a long tradition of bickering over terminologie:

    http://www.imprescriptible.fr/dossiers/ternon/negationnisme

    “Révisionisme climatique” is too soft, but “négationnisme du changement climatique” may be too strong, etc.

  122. Joshua says:

    ==> “McCarthyism is a behavior pattern and a social phenomena, and not a label for persons.”

    That’s what they say about denialism.

    You behave like McCarthy, but of course, I’m not labeling you.

  123. Joshua says:

    ==> “McCarthyism is the example that came to mind.”

    Yes, That’s true. Lysenkoism. Stalinism. Maoism. Pol Potism. Hitlerism. Mussolinism. Genghis Kkanism.

    They are also examples that come to mind.

    Hell, for the hell of it, let’s just add in Jeffrey Dahmerism, Anders Behring Breivikism, Saddam Husseinism, and Osama Bin Ladinism, while we’re at it!

  124. Blair says:

    Willard,

    Yes you did mis-read. Had I meant to say Quebec I would have.

    While many in Quebec argue about climate change, they do not concern themselves with English language debates of this type.

  125. Jim Hunt says:

    Re: Richard Betts says: February 7, 2015 at 11:55 pm

    It’s ‘the other side’ who maintain the polarisation and hostilities! Have you examined the evidence I acquired earlier this very day. Or perhaps that should now be yesterday (GMT)?

    At the risk of repeating myself, what language would you use to describe those currently calling Anders a variety of names in public? What language would you use to describe those currently delaying, deleting and mangling my words in order to call me a variety of names in public?

  126. > Had I meant to say Quebec I would have.

    You did say “Quebec.” It just happens that Quebec shares a border with Ontario, and another one with New Brunswick:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eastern_Canada

    Since you only meant Ontario, perhaps you should have said “Ontario”.

    ***

    > While many in Quebec argue about climate change, they do not concern themselves with English language debates of this type.

    The debate over “révisionnisme” correlates with the one over the D word, and is still going on, as you can read in that article I linked above. Here’s a relevant paragraph:

    Le mot « négationnisme » est récent. Il apparaît pour la première fois dans le livre de Henry Rousso, Le syndrome de Vichy, paru en 1987: « Le révisionnisme de l’histoire étant une démarche classique chez les scientifiques, on préférera ici le barbarisme, moins élégant mais plus approprié, de “négationnisme”, traduction du No Holocaust américain ». Henry Rousso complète son propos en ajoutant au substantif « négationnisme » un autre substantif : « négationniste » et un adjectif : « négationniste ». « Négationnisme » vient également à propos traduire le mot anglais denial dont « négation » ou « dénégation » rendent mal le sens. Ces initiatives sémantiques visaient à dépouiller l’entreprise révisionniste que dénonçaient depuis dix ans les historiens de la Shoah de son argument pseudo scientifique et à qualifier leur démarche : le négationnisme est un mensonge ; il ne se fonde ni sur un doute légitime, ni sur une interprétation des textes permettant de réviser une vérité établie, mais sur une manipulation perverse et malveillante. A l’origine donc, l’usage du mot « négationnisme » est limité à un contexte bien défini : la négation des faits constituant le génocide des Juifs, une négation conduite à distance de l’événement par des néonazis auxquels vint ultérieurement se joindre une secte de l’ultra-gauche. Comme l’a écrit Nadine Fresco, le négationnisme est une des formes de l’antisémitisme et le négationniste est un antisémite. Or, la pertinence de ce mot appelle à un usage plus large, mais cette extension du sens comporte un risque de banalisation. S’il paraît approprié d’élargir le sens de ce mot, il est tout aussi nécessaire de fixer les limites de son emploi à la négation des génocides. C’est cette problématique qu’il convient de circonscrire.

    http://www.imprescriptible.fr/dossiers/ternon/negationnisme

    [EDIT. Copy-pasted the wrong bit.]

  127. Kevin O'Neill says:

    Re: The Bush II administration, today Paul Krugman writes The Fraud Years

    We were lied into war; torture became routine; raw dishonesty about everything from national security to the distributional effects of tax cuts became the norm.

    Lied? Torture? Dishonesty? Poor Paul apparently hasn’t been following this discussion. On the other hand, there is a simple honesty and lack of pretension in calling a spade a spade.

    If you don’t want to be called a liar – don’t lie. If you don’t want to be called a torturer – don’t torture people. If some dislike being called deniers, then I suggest they stop denying the science.

  128. Blair says:

    Wiillard,

    Based on your responses both here and at my blog, you find much of what I write objectionable. I would have guessed there is enough that I have actually written for you to complain about without you needing to attribute things I have neither written, nor said, to my repertoire.

  129. Mal Adapted says:

    [Mod : Sorry, I’m going to try harder to stick to my “no discussing moderation rule”. Sometime it’s just easier to not have something said, even if it may be true. Bear in mind that I may be the one who has to back it up when challenged.]

  130. > Based on your responses both here and at my blog, you find much of what I write objectionable.

    Don’t be shy, Blair. Provide linkies:

    > Having seen behind the curtain, my innocence has been lost and I no longer accept appeals to authority in this field.

    A list of the fields from which you accept appeals to authority might be nice.

    My hypothesis is that for each of in that list, I will be able to make you lose faith in a few seconds search.

    http://achemistinlangley.blogspot.com/2015/01/on-appeals-to-authority-climategate-and.html

    As you can see, I took objection to one sentence in your Wizard of Oz story. An interesting metaphor considering the actual topic of this thread, don’t you think?

    In return, you gave me one “scientific” field: mathematics. Mathematics, Blair. This is worse than the use of “Eastern Canada” to refer to Ontario.

    You also gave me the Journal of the American Chemical Society, the Canadian Journal of Chemistry, plus “pretty much everything from the NRC Research Press.” Nice fields.

    Then you took objection to my use of “Damascus.”

    ***

    Methinks the part of Canada over which you claim special authority is a bit big for one man.

  131. Blair says:

    Willard,

    Methinks you know not of what you speak….when a Westerner, given my blog name that is an easy one, says going east as far as the Quebec border that doesn’t mean the one with New Brunswick…but then a Western Canadian would know that.

  132. Michael 2 says:

    ATTP says “The more interesting issue is whether or not there’s any real point in trying to reduce polarisation.”

    There is for those who think there is, otherwise not. Points do not exist in orbit around the sun just waiting to be discovered, they exist in the minds of advocates.

    Persons wishing for representational governments to make huge social changes must accept as a necessity persuading their opponents. If purity of thought is more important, then quite frankly avoiding other points of view is to be preferred, a thing sometimes found in religion where having any kind of contact or conversation with infidels, non-believers, apostates (etc) is forbidden.

  133. Forgot to add that this is incorrect:

    > While many in Quebec argue about climate change, they do not concern themselves with English language debates of this type.

    There are still Anglos in Quebec. One of them said above:

    Insofar as Blair’s claiming High Canadianism as a form of identity politics, I will add that I grew up in a Holocaust refugee community **in Canada**, which in the context of this discussion would appear to trump his identity politics. I think my people would say that denial is denial. Holocaust denial is a particularly virulent form of denial, but I don’t think people who share my perspective on the matter believe Holocaust denial is unique merely insofar as it denies. There are other denials.

    https://andthentheresphysics.wordpress.com/2015/02/07/guest-post-label-the-behaviour-not-the-person/#comment-47093

    Then MT only talks about his own community. That can’t beat Blair’s intimate knowledge of ad mare usque the Outaouais river. A mere 3,000 miles or so, after all.

  134. Michael 2 says:

    David Young says “call out and shame the extremists on their side.”

    Please understand this is ineffective for rather a large segment of society that doesn’t care about shame and/or doesn’t even know what it is (libertarians for example). It is a herd animal that can be compelled into compliance by mere “shame”. The sentence immediately preceding this is an example — are you ashamed of being a herd animal? If not, then you’ll see the truth of it; if so, you will react in some way, usually doing whatever I tell you so as to prove you are not a herd animal.

    I used this technique in the Navy when I was a lowly sailor and wished to have my way with a master chief. I was amazed at its effectiveness.

  135. HarryWiggs says:

    “….perhaps Sou though are pretty extreme in their offensive language and are tolerated by a lot of more respectable people.”

    Please do show examples of this “offensive language” that Joe Romm and/or Sou employ: Seems we’re reading completely different blogs. I’ll wait…..then, we can excerpt stuff from the comments at Curry’s Corner, WUWT, and Delingpole’s.

  136. Joshua says:

    ===> “.then, we can excerpt stuff from the comments at Curry’s Corner, WUWT, and Delingpole’s.”

    I vote not to.

    I say let it suffice that David thinks that comparing people to McCarthy is conducive to productive discussion.

  137. David Young says:

    Harry, I’m not interested in the game of whose team is worse. For Romm, there is a long track record of political hack behavior and ethical questions as well.

    http://thebreakthrough.org/archive/climate_mccarthyism_part_i_joe

  138. Harry, I’m not interested either. Here:

    The New Eugenics from the Looney Left: In all seriousness, if you want to know something about the pathological politicization of science in the US, consider that [science writer Chris] Mooney (who holds a bachelor’s degree in English, and is probably a swell guy) is on the Board of Directors of the prestigious American Geophysical Union and is frequently hired by the National Science Foundation to teach scientists how to communicate… . Sorry Chris, you deserve all the mocking you are getting, and will continue to get, for advancing such utter nonsense though it may help to sell books, I’ll give you that!

    http://grist.org/article/111-ways-nate-silver-hire-roger-pielke-jr-doesnt-like-you/

    “Looney” is a word Joshua may appreciate.

  139. Tom Curtis says:

    Seeing I have spilled millions of pixels on this topic, I might as well spill some more.

    So, first, and above all, what Joshua said (or at least, what he said in that one comment ;)).

    Second, it is a shame to see Richard Betts linking to PopTech. As with his list “peer reviewed papers”, PopTech’s list of invidious climate/holocaust denier comparisons includes a large number of ring ins. Most of the ring ins are in the form of benign comparisons, where the comparison is explicitly with regard to methods of reasoning and there is no imputation of moral equivalence. At least one is an out of context quote of somebody objecting to the use of the term denier in the climate debate. Granted, some of the quotes are genuine moral comparisons, and some are utterly offensive in the form of the comparison, so the list does illustrate his point. But linking to it without disclaimer is poor form by Betts – particularly given Poptech’s general history.

    Third, for Joshua, the reason to hang onto the word denier is not out of fondness for that term. Nor do we gain a victory by so doing. Rather, the deniers have gained a victory by describing themselves as “skeptics”, a complementary term that they singularly fail to deserve. If we allow them that term without dispute, they by imputation have gained the ability to claim that they are practicing “skepticism” in the best traditions of that term. If, however, we are not going to follow them in the use of their self chosen label, we require another label and “denier” is as good as any and has the virtue of being an accurate description.

    Now, if we abandon that term, and try some other term that draws attention to the general poverty of their argument, they will kick up just as much ruckus about that term as they currently do about “denier”. So, if we are going to have that fight anyway, there is no point confusing the issue by a succession of retreats whereby we invent new terms only to appear to concede their false arguments about that term by choosing another, then another term as they raise their fake objections time after time again.

    Fourth, with regard to Richard Bett’s argument, there is little point in trying to avoid animosity with those he are bent on maligning you. To give an example, this is from Christopher Monckton’s blurb for Ian Wishart’s Air Con:

    “”The UN, Mikhail Gorbachev, Jacques Chirac, and other world government wannabes are plotting to establish nothing less than a global, bureaucratic-centralist dictatorship under the pretext that it is necessary to ‘Save The Planet’. Ian Wishart’s book demonstrates that there is not the slightest scientific reason for the new, quasi-religious belief that The Planet needs Saving. The new religion is merely an excuse for world government. World government will not, repeat not, be democratic government.

    “The ‘global warming’ debate is not really a debate about climatology – it is a debate about freedom. It is the aim of the growing world-government faction amont the international classe politique to take away our hard-won freedom and democracy forever. I commend [Wishart’s] book … . Those who read it will will help to forestall the new Fascists and so to keep us free.”

    He wrote that in 2009. Now I would argue that anybody who could write such offensive rubbish is not going to suddenly become all pally just because we drop the term “denier”. Nor are his mates, who have known what sort of rubbish he spews for years now, but still regularly provide him a forum in which do do so.

    I would certainly like the “debate” to be less antagonistic and acrimonious, but the use of the term “denier” has literally no bearing on the extent to which it is. And if you doubt that, I refer you again to Joshua’s comment linked above; or to Anthony Watt’s persistent description of “dragon slayers” as “deniers”, which given his comments on the use of the term means he is deliberately drawing a moral equivalence between those benighted fools and the benighted, racist and totalitarian fools of the holocaust denier set.

  140. miker613 says:

    https://andthentheresphysics.wordpress.com/2015/02/07/guest-post-label-the-behaviour-not-the-person/#comment-46981
    “come up with a short snappy descriptor that encapsulates your position and that you would be happy to be described as—and that the other side wouldn’t find objection to using.”
    I think this is quite a challenge. I don’t know of a name for either side that I think both sides would be comfortable with. I’ve tried “pro-AGW”, though of course that’s kind of silly. “Skeptics” is obviously not acceptable to pro-AGW people, as they tend to convert it to “fake-skeptics” or the like. “Pro-censensus” isn’t bad for the first group, though they include a lot of people who seem to believe things that the IPCC considers Unlikely or Very Unlikely. Anyhow, quite a challenge.

    Nice to see Richard Betts posting. I always appreciate what he writes. [If others want to influence people on the “skeptical” side, they may want to study his gentlemanly technique. Isn’t that why people post, to influence others?]

  141. Steve Bloom says:

    Blair, notice that I referred to culture and you answered with references only to politics. How dull. But even re politics, you may want to to look up the history of the DFL.

    Also, I notice you haven’t really addressed the obvious fact that the book Willard pulled up couldn’t have had that title, nor could the newspaper columns it was based on, if the word was as offensive in western Canada as you claim.

  142. Steve Bloom says:

    Richard, that was a very badly constructed argument, noting that all the disclaimers in the world don’t bar you from advocating for the interests of the organization you work for. The question is whether what you say does or does not represent those interests. I’d say they do, and rather patently. If you want to explain how that’s not the case, I’m all ears.

    [Mod : last paragraph removed.]

  143. Steve Bloom says:

    “Well, history is littered with examples of conflicts which rumbled on and on because each side continually blamed the other. These things only come to an end when somebody has the guts to rise above the tribalism and say enough is enough.”

    Hmm. Example?

  144. Willard says:

    Some epithets that may appeal to Western Canadian sensibilities:

    Hoax:

    http://www.edmontonsun.com/2013/09/16/climate-change-hoax

    Science-fiction:

    http://www.ezralevant.com/climate_change_report_science/

    Jedi mind tricks and linguistic Trojan horses:

    http://www.pressprogress.ca/en/post/video-sun-tv-smears-preston-manning-speaking-out-climate-change

    Religion, paganism, conspiracy:

    An unprincipled receptacle of foreign funds and propaganda:

    https://songofthewatermelon.wordpress.com/2012/03/23/on-ezra-levants-victimhood/

    But the D word.

    ***

    Come to think of it, ain’t Mark Steyn from Toronto?

  145. Marco says:

    “If others want to influence people on the “skeptical” side, they may want to study his gentlemanly technique.”

    Any evidence that Richard has influenced people on the “skeptical” side?

  146. Eli Rabett says:

    Taxonomy tells us that there are those who

    Deny the scientific results from studying the climate
    Reject the scientific results from studying the climate
    Revise the scientific results from studying the climate

    Perhaps the revisionists, the Lomborgs and Currys are the worst.

    And yes, Eli knows, but there is no sanitized word describing obdurate disbelief of reality.

  147. Blair,

    How do you propose I lay out my argument.

    I propose that if you can’t lay out your argument in a convincing fashion yourself, that you present it as your opinion, rather than a self-evident truth – and don’t immediately insult those who may disagree. I actually find it hard to understand how someone who claims to be a scientist can’t see that there is enough uncertainty about this topic that presenting your view as fact seems a poor way to engage in this discussion.

  148. DY,

    McCarthyism is the example that came to mind. There are many others.

    Then it would seem that your position is hypocritical. If we should be avoiding making associations with appalling past events, that should apply to all, not just to some. If you, and others, are happy going around making links to McCarthyism, Lysenkosim,…. then any attempt to improve the dialogue will be a complete and utter waste of time. The argument “my insult is a valid insult and yours isn’t” seems rather weak.

  149. Richard B.,

    I expect there will be responses saying that it’s ‘the other side’ who maintain the polarisation and hostilities.

    I do agree broadly with this, hence my willingness not to use “denier”, for example. I don’t see any reason why people who would like to be decent trying to behave in such a way irrespective of how others behave. However, I do think that there has to be some pressure put on others too. I don’t believe that some like me trying to be less hostile will change things unless there’s pressure on others to do the same. Also, I don’t see the point of reducing hostilities if we simply become more pleasant while people continue to promote scientific ideas that are simply wrong.

  150. Jim Hunt says:

    “Also, I don’t see the point of reducing hostilities if we simply become more pleasant while people continue to promote scientific ideas that are simply wrong.”

    Hear, hear!

  151. Blair,
    In fact your involvement here seems remarkably ironic given your from “trust me” to “show me” post. If anything this seems like a classic example of the problem with this debate. It’s always other people. You need those you distrust to “show you”, but when challenged you appeal to “trust me”. One of the biggest things that would help this debate would be for people to just try and be more consistent.

  152. [Mod : It’s as if you think I care. Still waiting for you to back up your earlier claims, ideally using standard definitions of words, rather than your own special definitions of words. Of course, if you really want to make your case, you have your own blog. You could write something offensive like this one, or you could write something infantile like this one, or you could try something novel and new, and write something thoughtful and insightful.]

  153. geronimo says:

    Surely the words don’t matter provided they’re accurate. So, if you decide someone is a “denier”, of indeed is a “denials” they must be denying something that is a self-evident truth, like the Holocaust. If they aren’t then they’re being gratuitously insulted for having a view you don’t share. Why would anyone want to do that? It’s a sign of deeply held beliefs and a complete and utter inability to understand that two people can look at the same set of evidence and draw different conclusions from it.

    So, by all means call people “deniers”,, but you might want to understand what they’re denying first. In the current debate, actually there isn’t any debate, so shall we say, “exchanges”, people are labelled “Climate deniers”, and “Climate change deniers”. Does anyone know what that means? does it mean that those claiming to be from the “Scientific” side of the debate believe those not on their side deny there’s a climate, or there’s any climate change?

    So what are the deniers denying?

    And while you’re thinking about it ( which I doubt) have a little think about the fact that not one problem forecast by scientists since time immemorial has ever come to pass. Richard believes there is enough scientific evidence, albeit “highly uncertain”, to prove there will be problems for society in the future. I personally don’t believe you can foretell future problems (and they’re always problems) arising from of a chaotic system,, even with models, with the least reliability. My belief is based on the empirical evidence of nobody being able to do it either now, or in the past, and the the IPCC saying that you can’t foretell the future state of a a chaotic system. Who could deny that you can’t foretell the state of a coupled non-linear chaotic system, especially as it’s interacting with other coupled non-linear chaotic systems.

    This isn’t about science it’s about politics, I believe the scientists are exaggerating the outcomes of warming – if indeed we are warming – but that doesn’t matter to me at all. What matters to me is, if they are right, can we do anything about it? The only solution provided is is for 7Bn people to reduce their output of CO2 to get us back to pre-industrial levels/keep the rise in temperature below 2C. The technical solution is to use wind, solar and biofuels, which ain’t gonna work guys. Nuclear is out because the greens don’t like it, and fracking is out because the greens don’t like it. It isn’t going to work and anyone saying it will is in denial.

    This particular denier would have accepted the scientists at their word on the publication of IPCC TAR and disbanded the IPCC, diverting all the money now being wasted to prove the climate is warming and it will be dangerous into a cold fusion nuclear programme. Imagine where we’d be now if we’d spent the $100bns on nuclear research for low CO2 solutions since 2001.

  154. Steve Bloom

    Example? Northern Ireland. Years of being stuck in a rut, with countless innocent people dying, until eventually through an extremely delicate process, the leaders were able to rise above what had gone before and come to the table together. Admittedly this is a rather grandiose comparison, but it serves to make the point.

    ATTP

    I don’t see the point of reducing hostilities if we simply become more pleasant while people continue to promote scientific ideas that are simply wrong.

    We should push back on the promotion of incorrect science. The point is to make it more difficult for wrong scientific ideas to be promoted, by not leaving yourself open to be easily dismissed.

    As a tiny , tiny example (which I am definitely not lauding as a New Dawn or anything), David Rose’s statements on Arctic sea ice have changed over recent months.

    September 8th 2014:

    And now it’s global COOLING! Return of Arctic ice cap as it grows by 29% in a year
    ….
    the belief that summer Arctic ice is about to disappear remains an IPCC tenet, frequently flung in the face of critics who point to the pause.

    Yet there is mounting evidence that Arctic ice levels are cyclical.

    January 31st 2015:

    Al Gore repeatedly suggested that the Arctic would likely be ice-free in summer by 2014. In fact Arctic ice has recovered in the past two years, and while the long term trend is down, it looks likely to last several more decades.

    (my bold)

    The second is more scientifically accurate than the first, and is consistent with IPCC AR5. OK this is buried deep within a long article, and it’s not even the main point of the article, but I take some small encouragement from the fact that David does seem to have begun to listen to Ed Hawkins, Tamsin and myself on the science. But it’s early days, let’s continue to see how things pan out….

    Unfortunately he was still able to make the case that previous predictions of rapid sea ice loss were over-blown, because this was indeed the case – even though those were not from the scientific mainstream. (This is another example of how over-hyping the situation has backfired.)

  155. Geronimo,

    Surely the words don’t matter provided they’re accurate.

    Sure, but if we continue to use what we believe to be accurate charaterisations that are regarded as insults by those being characterised, then we get nowhere. This isn’t about justifying the characterisations, but about whether or not we should reduce the labelling so as to improve the tone.

    And while you’re thinking about it ( which I doubt) have a little think about the fact that not one problem forecast by scientists since time immemorial has ever come to pass.

    I don’t really want to get into a lengthy debate about this, but this seems self-evidently incorrect. If we’re talking climate science specifically, then most of the risks are in the future, so it’s clear that they cannot yet have come to pass.

    This isn’t about science it’s about politics, I believe the scientists are exaggerating the outcomes of warming

    Except that most scientists don’t think they are. Also, what I think people like yourself might want to consider is that accusing scientists of intentionally exaggerating (as you seem to be doing) is an insult. If the tone is to improve, then I think those who would like to engage in discussions should stop throwing around these implicit insults.

  156. Richard B.,
    Okay, David Rose’s description does appear to be more accurate now that it was in the past. Of course, now we have Christopher Booker still promoting that temperature adjustments are fraud and James Delingpole promoting Nic Lewis’s recent ClimateAudit blog post claiming that Marotzke & Forster is wrong because their argument is cyclical. In fact, it might be interesting to get your view on that as it seems to me that NIc Lewis’s argument isn’t correct; unless the initial estimates for the external forcings in Forster et al. 2013 have a problem. If you have reliable estimates for the external forcings, then using these to estimate the externally and internally forced trends should be fine, even if the temperatures were used to estimate the external forcings in the first place.

  157. Pingback: Guest Post – Label the behaviour, not the person – Professor Richard Betts (Met Office) | Unsettled Climate

  158. Jim Hunt says:

    @Richard B – Now you’re drifting onto my specialist subject (i.e. David Rose’s repeated Arctic inaccuracies)!

    We “persuaded” The Mail and The Telegraph to grudgingly “row back” the grossest of their errors back in the summer of 2013:

    http://GreatWhiteCon.info/2013/09/the-mail-makes-modest-amends/

    We’re currently pursuing Mr. Rose about his 2014 “misleading statements” via IPSO:

    http://GreatWhiteCon.info/2014/08/has-the-arctic-ice-cap-expanded-for-the-second-year-in-succession/#Jan24

    Contacts at both Exeter University and the Met Office have suggested to me that you’re the ideal person to assist us in our endeavours. Any chance of that?

  159. TinyCO2 says:

    Joseph says “Tiny, and following what Dana said, if you have been called a denier, why do you find it offensive? Is it the Holocaust?”

    Of course I’ve been labelled a denier, both personally and as part of a group. I’m not offended by it, except as a nod to Jews who deserve to keep the term for those who deny the Holocaust. Climate denier now outweighs Holocaust denier by a huge margin. One issue is a cast iron fact the other is a massive field with a myriad of issues that can and should be debated. I’ve also been called a shill, a flat earther, a concern troll and countless others that are bandied about with abandon.

    Denier? I quite like it. When my opponent does very little but insult me, I know they’ve got no real arguments. I am a denier, I deny you the right to bully me into your point of view. However, as someone who accepts that AGW is real and could be catastrophic, I’m furious that the issue is treated like a play ground football. If ever there was an issue that deserved the best, most grown up debate, it was AGW and what we do about it.

    Imagine my surprise in the early noughties to discover the debate was over. I thought I was keen on science, how could I have missed it? Apparently I was supposed to hand over my intelligence, cheque book and future, to people whom I wouldn’t normally trust, on the say so of scientists who refuse to be cross examined. The climate bandwagon rings alarm bells usually set for conmen at every level. Climate scepticism isn’t one killer fact, it’s a tidal wave of small annoying flaws and lies.

    While part of me applauds his attempt to cool the frictions between sceptics and [insert preferred name for consensus supporter], I think it’s a band aid on a gaping, possibly fatal, wound. The conflict exists for important reasons. Whether you like it or not, many sceptic issues are genuine and need to be addressed. Sticking your fingers in your ears, yelling denier or not, will not move you closer to success.

    A good example of what’s fundamentally wrong is “Nic Lewis’s recent ClimateAudit blog post claiming that Marotzke & Forster is wrong because their argument is cyclical.” I don’t know if it’s true or not but I’m 100% sure that blog posts or peer review won’t tell me the answer. Why, five years agter Climategate, is there no system better than peer review for resolving issues with the science?

  160. Joshua says:

    geronimo –

    I agree with your first paragraph – which is why “is in denial” would be just as insulting as “is a denier” – because the target thinks that they aren’t denying something and thus will be insulted. If the goal is to avoid insulting someone, neither approach will work.

    But consider this:

    So, by all means call people “alarmists/warmists/Lysenkoists/behaving like McCarthy” but you might want to understand what they’re saying first. In the current debate, actually there isn’t any debate, so shall we say, “exchanges”, people are labelled “alarmists/warmiss/Lyseknoists/as behaving like McCarthy”. Does anyone know what that means? does it mean that those claiming to be from the “Scientific” side of the debate [which “skeptics” claim is the case] believe those not on their side deny there’s any [uncertainty] or there’s [not] any [reason to evaluated the costs and benefits of action taken]?

    Note – that is not a defense of using “denier” or using “is in denial” but to point out why the concern about “extreme” rhetoric – as displayed by David Young in this thread, is actually a rhetorical ploy in the service of identity aggression/identity defense.

  161. jsam says:

    Climategate? A a nine times lost manufactroversy somehow invalidates peer review?

    Try again.

  162. Tiny,

    A good example of what’s fundamentally wrong is “Nic Lewis’s recent ClimateAudit blog post claiming that Marotzke & Forster is wrong because their argument is cyclical.” I don’t know if it’s true or not but I’m 100% sure that blog posts or peer review won’t tell me the answer. Why, five years agter Climategate, is there no system better than peer review for resolving issues with the science?

    Partly, because peer-review is bit like democracy. It’s the worst possible system, apart from all other possible systems. There are clearly things we could do to improve peer-review, but it’s hard to something completely different that would be fundamentally better.

    You’ll hate to hear me say this, but what you describe is one reason why understanding the consensus can be important. Whether or not Nic Lewis is right, at the end of the day we want to understand the general view about a topic, not whether or not a specific paper is right or not (and, often “right” and “wrong” don’t really apply to these complex topics). Marotzke & Forster might be wrong (I don’t think it is) but that doesn’t change that our current understanding is that internal variability plays more of a dominant role over short timescales than over long and that it could explain the discrepancy between the forced models trends and observations. Finding a possible error in one paper, doesn’t necessarily change our understanding of the topic.

  163. matt says:

    geronimo
    > “not one problem forecast by scientists since time immemorial has ever come to pass.”

    SLR+storm surge, heatwaves, bushfires…

  164. Joshua says:

    geronimo –

    ==> “I’m not offended by it, except as a nod to Jews who deserve to keep the term for those who deny the Holocaust.

    As a jew – I appreciate the concern, but I think it is misplaced. I’m not concerned about the term being trivialized by being directed “skeptics,” at least not any more than I am concerned that “skeptics” are trivializing the term by leveraging holocaust denial to score points in the climate wars.

  165. John Hartz says:

    geronimo: You state:

    “Imagine where we’d be now if we’d spent the $100bns on nuclear research for low CO2 solutions since 2001.”

    Please document the source of your claim that “$100bns” has been spent on climate change research since 2001.

    Also, if research on cold nuclear fusion is so critical to the future of mankind, why hasn’t it fared better in the compettion for scarce reasearch dollars?

    Why is the expendidture trade-off on cold nuclear fusion research limited only to climate science research?

  166. Willard says:

    > While part of me applauds his attempt to cool the frictions between sceptics and [insert preferred name for consensus supporter], I think it’s a band aid on a gaping, possibly fatal, wound. The conflict exists for important reasons.

    One reason is the calculus of good ol’ identity politics, for instance:

    I’m with you. While in theory I’m a lukewarmer, I vote sceptic because the whole bandwagon is a dirty mess. I suspect that Rose is trying to give light to the idea that climate change is not black and white.

    http://bishophill.squarespace.com/blog/2015/2/1/rose-on-green-thuggery.html

    David Rose, a man of many shades.

    Can “bandwagon” be a preferred term?

    A nice title from our beloved Bishop.

  167. John Hartz says:

    Willard: It depends upon the tunes being played.

  168. John Hartz says:

    geronimo: Please put this into your peace pipe and smoke it…

    A new report by the Climate Council of Australia says it would have been “virtually impossible” for 2013 to be the hottest year in the country’s record without man-made emissions in the atmosphere.

    2013 record heatwave ‘virtually impossible’ without climate change, Climate Council of Australia report says by Stephanie Anderson, ABC, Feb 7, 2015

  169. miker613 says:

    “Any evidence that Richard has influenced people on the “skeptical” side?” Uh-huh – he influences me. Any time I start to feel that the public face of climate science is nothing but snark and partisan politics, and I can’t trust _a thing_ out there because the people saying it are just politicians who used to be scientists. He reminds me that there are scientists behind the public face, doing their jobs.

  170. Lars Karlsson says:

    I think that using the word “denier” is simply poor communication. Some people may genuinely find it offensive. Other are simply taking the opportunity to play the victim card, which is one fo the favourite cards of the contrarians/obscurantists. In either case, attention is diverted from the actual message.

  171. Willard says:

    > It depends upon the tunes being played.

    You’re quite right, JH:

    Moderator Response:
    [JH] Your comment appears to be a thinly-disguised attempt to castr a shadow on the information presented in the OP. If so, please cease and desist playing such a game on this website.

    Upon further review, this comment is retracted.

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/climate-climate-models-overestimate-warming-unfounded.html

  172. Willard says:

    I thought you were only lukewarm regarding sensitivity, MikeR. Why are you suggesting lukewarmism is on the “skeptical” side?

  173. Joshua says:

    miker –

    ==> “Any time I start to feel that the public face of climate science is nothing but snark and partisan politics, and I can’t trust _a thing_ out there because the people saying it are just politicians who used to be scientists. ”

    On both sides of that pattern, IMO, you are relying on deeply fallacious reasoning – that such a widespread characterization is reasonably applicable and that one example would reverse such a widespread characterization.

    Since it seems from your statement that happens to you often, perhaps you should examine why you lean towards such an extreme view of the situation rather than look to one example, in the form of Richard, to correct your misinterpretation?

  174. Willard says:

    > I’d say they do, and rather patently. If you want to explain how that’s not the case, I’m all ears.

    https://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/burden-of-proof

  175. Brandon Gates says:

    In online debates I try to follow these personal guidelines:

    1) Use non-loaded labels to distinguish between groups of people.

    2) Use negative labels only to describe arguments or actions.

    3) The more negative the label, the less declarative and more explanitory my surrounding text: “That’s a stupid argument because x and y don’t add up to z … they’re not even numbers for shit’s sake …”

    4) Define my labels whenever asked.

    5) Not insist that mine is the only correct definition.

    6) Expect mud to be thrown at me even when I’m not throwing mud and then either:
    a) throw some back in roughly equal quantity and intensity
    b) sidestep it and contine on

    7) Don’t complain when I’m throwing mud and someone throws it back.

    8) Almost always de-escalate whenever offered. If not offered but desired, de-escalate by action not request — see (7).

    9) Almost always apologize for offending my host even if I think they’re a hypocritical arsehole for asking it of me.

    10) Generally apologize to my interlocutors if something I wrote offended them.

    As (10) can be difficult to do, and (9) can be very unpleasant, I look to (1) and (2) as the best tactical way to minimize having to make those choices … unless by (6) simply saying “hello” is enough to stir up a good portion of the natives.

  176. Willard says:

    Joshua,

    MikeR’s comment underlines what may be the most pervasive label of ClimateBall:

    Scientist

  177. Joshua says:

    Willard – there are certainly a lot of contenders.

  178. David Young says:


    For Romm, there is a long track record of political hack behavior and ethical questions as well.
    http://thebreakthrough.org/archive/climate_mccarthyism_part_i_joe

    For David Young, there is a long track record of scientific methodology alarmism.

    http://ContextEarth.com

  179. TinyCO2 says:

    ATTP, climate science and its procedures were fine for a backwater little science. Consensus was fine for alerting the world to the issue but those things are not good enough for the most important, history changing issue ever. Muddling along is for amateurs.

    I’ve tried before now to impress upon you the difference between being right and being convincing. It doesn’t matter how accurate climate science is, if it comes across as slap dash. Or implausible. Or biased. Or corrupted. Or… just a consensus. The average of poor is still poor. Climate science needs to be the absolute best it can. It needs to be better than the sceptics on every front. Instead of worrying what David Rose writes, Richard Betts needs to worry about what inaccuracies are said or written on behalf of the consensus. Every mistake or lie that goes unchallenged is an opportunity for others to become cynical about AGW. Just because he’s not a climate scientist, Obama and his ilk are those who you’ll be judged on if you don’t correct them.

    Isn’t it a scandal that from the President downwards, few people can put their finger on what is supposed to be the consensus or not? Whose falt is that?

    The more that is asked of people the harder they’ll question everything about the climate bandwagon. And yes Willard, regardless of any core truth to AGW, there is a bandwagon attached. Quite literally when you consider the CO2 spewing concerts that were spawned to publicise it. Those in charge of the issue have been careless about what it’s been used for. Money has been frittered and even stolen in the name of reducing CO2. Instead of vowing to crack down on that, there seems to be more concern about whether the Koch brothers (whoever they are) or Exxon are funding sceptics. It’s not hard to dismiss people with such a warped perspective.

  180. Willard says:

    Lots of contenders indeed:

    Bill Maher, the comedian and host of his own HBO show, is God’s gift to conservatives. Nobody makes liberals look likes asses more than Maher.

    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/collideascape/2015/02/08/bill-maher-unscientific-beliefs

    How journalistic of Keith.

    How comedian of Bill.

    I thought Bill considered himself a libertarian.

  181. Tiny,

    I’ve tried before now to impress upon you the difference between being right and being convincing. It doesn’t matter how accurate climate science is, if it comes across as slap dash.

    And I think I’ve tried to impress upon you that you seem to be suggesting that scientist/climate scientists should learn how to market their work better than they are now. If you think this would make them somehow more trustworthy, I think you’d be mistaken. It might seem that way, but it’s not clear to me that it would mean that you could trust the science more than you do know.

  182. Joshua says:

    It’s hilarious that in the previous thread, Keith was very concerned when I pointed out that his habit of name-calling undermined his argument about “Climate Communication Undermined by Inflammatory Language”

    So concerned that he kept calling me a troll for pointing it out!

  183. John Hartz says:

    TinyCO2’s description of the state of climate science is patently absurd!

    I challenge him to name any other field of scientific endeavor that comes close to the global international IPPC process.

    If TinyCO2’s primary objective is to insult the intelligence of just about everyone particpating in this comment thread, he has succeeded.

  184. Willard says:

    > Muddling along is for amateurs.

    “Amateur” is an interesting label. It started as a meliorative epithet. It still is, sometimes. Sometimes, it’s pejorative: those who are not professional scientists are often labeled as amateurs. “Professional” can be meliorative, neutral, or even pejorative, depending on context.

    “Amateur” has often been used in ClimateBall to distinguish from “scientist.” The two epithets are not dichotomic: one can be a professional scientist and an amateur blogger, for instance. No, I’m not thinking of anyone here.

  185. Willard says:

    > And yes Willard, regardless of any core truth to AGW, there is a bandwagon attached.

    I agree, Tiny, but that was not my question, which was: could we use “bandwagon” as a label?

    There’s a contrarian bandwagon too: notice how Nic gets peddled here and there. Just look at MikeR’s contributions. It’s a tinier bandwagon, a reactionary bandwagon circling around the Green menace, but there is still one.

    One may even argue that they’re better at circling, if circling implies recruiting:

    http://initforthegold.blogspot.com/2015/02/the-d-word-and-s-word.html

    Could we speak of insurrection? It’s been called an “army of Davids” after all.

  186. PhilipK says:

    Label the behavior is a good approach, but the phrase “In denial” has its own negative connotations. Someone who is “in denial” obviously does not understand that their own thinking is twisted and distorted in some way. Also, it is a non-falsifiable statement. How do you prove that your are NOT in denial. Saying “I am not in denial” is normally taken as proof that you are.

    Maybe we could start calling the “Sophists”.

  187. Blair says:

    Steve, Re:47134

    Of course I refer to politics, because politics are based on culture and in the cases presented we deal with politics that were the result of a massive cultural consensus.

    You don’t start a movement like the CCF out of thin air. You don’t redesign a society in the form of socialized medicare (which was strongly objected to by the doctors at the time) and the Wheat Board without a wide-ranging political and social consensus that allowed it all to happen. In the absence of a time machine all you can do is look at the documentation from the era and the outcomes. Both clearly support my premiss. If you have actual examples/data that disprove or challenge my premiss, well I’d love to see it.

  188. Blair,

    Both clearly support my premiss.

    Maybe you could remind us what your premise is, because I’ve rather lost track. Holocaust denial in Western Canada in the 1980s lead to the introduction of the Wheat Board?

  189. jsam says:

    Labelling the behaviour, not the person, is all well and fine. The man who kidnapped, not kidnapper? The man who murdered, not murderer? It’s a bit like this old joke,

    http://www.bofh.org.uk/2005/12/01/you-shag-one-lousy-sheep

    It’s political correctness gone mad. 🙂

  190. Steven Mosher says:

    A while ago some people who view climate change differently than I do, started to refer to the blog SkepticalScience as “SS”.

    even the looniest of those folks could agree that it was not advantageous to apply this label.

    its pretty sad when a group of anti science nut jobs shows more common sense than folks who are more educated.

  191. Joseph says:

    For example, every day I sit surrounded by 150 climate scientists, but hardly any of them ever comment on this blog or others, despite having huge expertise in the topics being discussed.

    I am afraid that as long as climate science has contentious policy implication that there won’t be much of a reduction in hostility between the two sides on the internet. Go to most political blogs or news sites and you will see the same type of behavior.

  192. John Hartz says:

    If our goal is to label the behaviour rather than the person, I recommend the phrase:

    “Spreaders of pseudo-scince poppycock” ?

  193. Willard says:

    > even the looniest of those folks could agree that it was not advantageous to apply this label.

    Amateur auditors might prefer to associate SkS with “Nazi regalia,” like professional auditors do:

    As also is well known, Cook posted images in the private SKS archive of himself in Nazi regalia and homoerotic images of several prominent climate skeptics.

    http://climateaudit.org/2014/02/22/the-source-of-manns-doctored-quote/

  194. Willard says:

    Compare and contrast:

    As far as I can tell no one was called a Nazi. Valid use was made of a principle espoused by a Nazi, however, which seemed accurate to me. Using the Nazi aspersion, even in scare quotes, seems to me to be a case of trying to disqualify the opponents.

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/11/27/a-big-goose-step-backwards/#comment-1800613

    A fictive comment:

    As far as I can tell no one was called an Holocaust denier. Valid use was made of a principle espoused by a Holocaust denial, however, which seemed accurate to me. Using the Holocaust denial aspersion, even in scare quotes, seems to me to be a case of trying to disqualify the opponents.

    Another fictive comment:

    Parallels with Holocaust denial? No, the original article simply quoted from Dick Lindzen, which is something else entirely. The charge was willfull deception and the means needed to carry it out on a large scale. You don’t have to deny the slaughter millions of people to use tactics that the Holocaust denial first systematically used for their benefit. More mundane uses of their tactics are also possible. I didn’t read the initial article and think that contrarians were about to start rounding people up and putting them on cattle trucks just because pitchforks were mentioned. I simply nodded my head about the incredible nature of humanity and it’s ability to be deceived.

    This time, inspired by:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/11/27/a-big-goose-step-backwards/#comment-1800045

  195. Robert Way says:

    Personally I’ve never been a fan of using the term ‘denier’ but I do differentiate between calling someone a denier and saying they’re ‘in denial’. Growing up, I never associated the term denier with being a holocaust denier and its pretty much the climate debate that has made me see that this term has that connotation.

    I tend to agree that labelling – particularly something that you know the other side finds offensive – doesn’t really de-escalate and it certainly keeps debates from being focused on the science. I think the contrarian label is more appropriate eventhough there are some commenters on blogs who are in effect in denial.

    I’m not really into the whole policy-side of things aside from emphasizing the importance of adaptation so I haven’t worried much about communication from the perspective of inciting action on climate change. For me, as a person who is of Inuit background, from northern Canada and in a region that has experienced substantially socio-economic struggles directly as a result of recent winter warming, there is a sense of acceptance that my home and culture will be changing regardless of adopted policy options. There’s also a certain sense of irony in watching people from the locations expected to experience the least abrupt change arguing over the lack of impacts of climate change.

  196. Steven Mosher says:

    ” It seems to me that there are a number of people who object to the use of “denier” who are essentially using the Holocaust to score points. They seem to be insisting that people should denounce the use of “denier”, and that if they don’t then they’re condoning the comparison of climate denial with Holocaust denial. ”

    I don’t think people are demanding that you denounce the use.

    some people are suggesting that

    A) it doesnt help
    B) It doesnt work
    C) its potentially offensive.

    There is no doubt that one can construct a defense for using the term. I’ve seen all sorts of defenses.

    I’ve seen no evidence that using the term serves any purpose that advances the agenda of preventing or mitigating hazardous climate change.

  197. Steven,

    I don’t think people are demanding that you denounce the use.

    Some have to me.

    some people are suggesting that

    A) it doesnt help
    B) It doesnt work
    C) its potentially offensive.

    Yes, I agree that this is a more sensible argument, but it’s not obvious to me that this is quite what some are suggesting.

    I’ve seen no evidence that using the term serves any purpose that advances the agenda of preventing or mitigating hazardous climate change.

    Sure, but I actually have no real idea of what works or what doesn’t. Given that I’d rather we started having sensible discussions and reduced the tribalism, I’m more than happy to try and avoid labelling in ways that they claim to find offensive. Being rather cynical, though, I don’t think it’s going to make any difference. Essentially, I think this is just another round of ClimateballTM and we will simply move onto the next stage once this is over.

    Of course, I think that this is all really just blog wars stuff but sometimes it does seem that it makes it out into the mainstream media, which is somewhat concerning.

  198. Steven Mosher says:

    Here willard.

    start here

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/09/25/a-modest-proposal-to-skeptical-science/

    if one wants an example of how a term ( “SS”) was taken out of the debate.

    Once we determine whether this term was effectively removed from the debate and how
    it was done, we can move on to other sins. But first, sticking to the issue , can you
    agree that the term “SS” to refer to Scepticalscence has effectively been removed from the debate? can you agree that the thought leaders have ceased using this term? that is
    they no longer refer to scepticalscience as “SS”. this would appear to be a question that is
    answerable in a factual verifiable manner, should you choose to have a constructive discussion of the point.

    That’s a simple factual question. Easy to answer. On my reading I think it’s gone. I could of course be wrong. So, factual question. Was the term effectively removed from the debate. How did that happen?

    you might argue that removing the term did no good as the same charge has resurfaced using other means. That would be a dialog we could have. My sense is that you are not interested in a dialog about what worked and what didnt work. I could of course be wrong. So simple questions.
    what happened to the use of that specific term?

  199. Willard says:

    > Growing up, I never associated the term denier with being a holocaust denier and its pretty much the climate debate that has made me see that this term has that connotation.

    Aren’t you a Canadian, Robert Way?

  200. Mal Adapted says:

    TinyCO2:

    Money has been frittered and even stolen in the name of reducing CO2. Instead of vowing to crack down on that, there seems to be more concern about whether the Koch brothers (whoever they are) or Exxon are funding sceptics. It’s not hard to dismiss people with such a warped perspective.

    How much money has been “frittered and even stolen in the name of reducing CO2?” While you’re working up those numbers, it’s already a matter of public record that $100s of millions have been spent by fossil-fuel billionaires (yes, including the Koch brothers) to mislead the public about AGW, as well as to influence Congress directly. It’s legal in the U.S. after all, and with $10s of billions in annual revenues at stake, they’d be fools not to, and we’d be fools not to be concerned about it.

    What should we say about people who are paid to make climate science “come across as slap dash. Or implausible. Or biased. Or corrupted”, and who then complain loudly about name-calling? Is it “warped” to wonder whether, if not for all that money spent on deliberate disinformation and outright vote-buying, we’d have made much more progress on mitigation by now?

  201. Morbeau says:

    Blair says: “Willard, Methinks you know not of what you speak…”

    That’s hilarious given your propensity to spout misinformation on behalf of Western Canada and its inhabitants:

    “Our prairie provinces in the 1970s and 1980 were the birthplace of the CCF, socialized medicine, the Wheat Board…”

    Never mind that the Progressive Conservative Party of Alberta* has been in power continuously since 1971.

    The The CCF was founded in 1932 in Calgary, Alberta… hasn’t existed since 1961 (when it became the New Democratic Party). Oh, the irony!

    The Wheat Board existed between 1935 and 2012 (RIP), and has been in recent years a handy political target for anti-Socialist ideologues in Canada’s conservative government.

    Health Care was introduced by Canadian provinces between 1946 and 1961.

    Taken together, these inaccuracies indicate a bias toward ideology rather than fact. And yes, we all grew up with Keegstra, Christie and Zundel. That only gave me a greater appreciation for the influence of Holocaust deniers in our happy new world. For the record, I think using the word “denier” to describe the behaviour of anti-science propagandists is entirely appropriate. In practice it’s throwing sand in the gears of an already difficult discussion, but it’s not wrong


    *As an Albertan, I have no idea what “Progressive Conservative” means, but as long as people keep voting for it, it must mean something good – probably “JOBS!”.

  202. BBD says:

    Steven Mosher

    What about the plethora of other Godwins the ‘sceptics’ trot out incessantly?

    Seems to me that the implication that the ‘sceptics’ are somehow more morally evolved than the rest of us because not-SS is bollocks.

  203. Joshua says:

    Personally, I always thought that Lindzen’s essay analogizing environmentalists to eugenicists was quite instructive, as has been the response I’ve gotten many times where “skeptics” explain that Lindzen’s comparison is only a matter of “accuracy,” as well as mosher accusing me of anti-semiticism for asking Judith to criticize Lindzen for his rhetoric.

    The WSJ editorial using the Lysenko analogy was also instructive.
    Judith’s use of the McCarthy analogy is a good one.
    Spencer’s comparing people to Nazis is instructive.
    Stevie-Mac’s use of terminology associated with the holocaust is also instructive, as is his use of an analogy to a pedophile? Instructive and instructive.
    I think that Ross calling someone a “grovelling, terrified coward” is instructive.
    RPJr. calling people “climate chickens?” Yeah, you guessed it. Instructive.
    Keith calling people “loons” is instructive.
    Mosher’s frequent name-calling is instructive.

    I like information.

    Information is instructive.

  204. Joshua says:

    I gotta admit –

    ==> “My sense is that you are not interested in a dialog about what worked and what didnt work.

    That took some serious cojones.

  205. Steven Mosher says:

    ATTP.

    I’ve made the “denier” doesnt work argument more than once on a few of these discussions.
    I leave it to willard to hunt down the examples. Every auditor needs a grad student.

    na.. to easy

    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/collideascape/2012/06/19/no-denying-the-implied-context-for-climate-denier/#comment-790632730

    “Seems pretty simple. I’m in a position where I am asking people who disagree with me to change the way they live. They are requesting that I not use a particular word. Since I believe that changing their minds is important to saving the planet, should I give in and stop using the word? Or, do I continue to waste energy and time and good will by insisting on using the word that I want to use. Heck, I think denier is a perfectly acceptable term, but I don’t use it. Gosh that was such a hard decision. I can’t think of one good reason to use the word. But secretly just between us, I absolute love watching them get their panties in a knot. So there is that pleasure I miss out on. Others here don’t miss out on that pleasure. I think they like to fight over something that really cant be decided.”

    Now one commmenter came up with a good reason

    “The problem is that deniers are not going to change their minds. That’s what makes them deniers as opposed to truly sceptical or undecided.

    Describing what they do accurately is necessary in order to distinguish them and their agenda and their actions from the truly sceptical and undecided.

    The truly sceptical and undecided *benefit* from this exercise in definitional clarity. It helps them understand how things really are.

    ####################

    in short, the good reason to use the term is that it it accurately describes what deniers are
    ( people who dont change their minds)
    and it helps the truely skeptical and undecided see ‘deniers’ for what they are.

    Now at other points of course the clear definition of denier changes.. haha. That is the same poster used two different defintions.

    For example if you challenge that the central value for ECS is 3C, you are a denier.

    this would have the odd effect of potentially making a future study that found 4C as a central figure to be a denialist paper.

    or sometimes denialism is defined as any kind of deviation from the consensus view

    That leads to the following odd result. If the consensus says that artic ice will vanish between 2030 and 2050, that suggestions about earlier dates ( say 2016 ) are out of step with the consensus and thus denialism.

    That said a Clear definition WOULD HELP those who are undecided or skeptical.
    Sadly, there isnt a clear definition. More importantly, even if there were a clear definition
    ( say you have to deny GHG to be a real denier ) the same thing would happen.. people would misuse the clear definition to their advantage.

  206. Mal Adapted says:

    Robert Way:

    There’s also a certain sense of irony in watching people from the locations expected to experience the least abrupt change arguing over the lack of impacts of climate change.

    Would it be appropriate to label such people “lukewarmers” 8^)?

  207. Steven Mosher says:

    Steven Mosher

    What about the plethora of other Godwins the ‘sceptics’ trot out incessantly?

    Seems to me that the implication that the ‘sceptics’ are somehow more morally evolved than the rest of us because not-SS is bollocks.

    #######################################################

    Perhaps we can stick to one topic at a time.

    1, Did they use the term SS to describe sceptical science
    2. Did people object
    3. Did they stop the use of that particular term

    is there a lessson there? Now of course they were stupid and went on to other stupid things.
    But, in the case I think you should take a lesson from, did they stop?

    factual question. no need to change the question or deny the facts.

  208. Joshua says:

    Labels, like analogies, are useful in a dialog when they’re instructive – when they help someone to convey their thoughts.

    When they are used to score points and/or to denigrate someone, they might serve a purpose but they aren’t useful in a dialog.

    I can still remember when I first stumbled upon a blog discussion. It was after Katrina, and I started reading the comments in a blog post about Glenn Beck saying insulting things about the residents of New Orleans

    I remember a feeling of shock at the basic level of naked juvenility displayed in the blog comments – as seen in the labeling. Was I naive then, to think prior to entering the blogosphere, that as people get older they generally mature past their emotional and intellectual developmental stages when they’re in junior high schools?

  209. BBD says:

    In which Steven Mosher is evasive and therefore concedes that his not-SS argument is confected bollocks that ignores the very large, very smelly pile of elephant dung in the room.

  210. Joshua says:

    I agree with mosher.

    If only those poopyheads would stop calling us poopyheads we could make some damn progress.

  211. Willard says:

    > sticking to the issue , can you agree that the term “SS” to refer to Scepticalscence has effectively been removed from the debate?

    First, the issue was the use of the D word, not the use of the SS word.

    Second, the D word has not the same function as the SS word.

    Third, start here:

    For the short bus group at SS ……

    https://suyts.wordpress.com/2015/01/12/new-skeptical-science-slogan/

    Thanks for playing.

  212. dana1981 says:

    WUWT commenters and Watts himself continued to use ‘SS’ long after Watts called for an end to its use. I think they’ve stopped now (though I don’t visit WUWT, so I don’t know), more because they like to use other derogatory terms like ‘SkS kidz’ and ‘activists’ and such than due to any Nazi implications.

    There’s of course a big difference. Deniers were using ‘SS’ explicitly to compare SkS to Nazis, whereas those who use ‘denier’ explicitly say there is no Nazi/Holocaust comparison. Moreover, ‘SS’ is not a word, and the acronym for Skeptical Science has always been SkS. On the other hand, ‘denier’ is a word that’s been in use in the English language for over 600 years. So this is really a poor basis for comparison.

  213. Willard says:

    > As an Albertan, I have no idea what “Progressive Conservative” means.

    In theory, it means social progressivism and economic conservativism.

    In practice, it meant “here’s your chance not to vote for liberals, you Quebecers”.

  214. semyorka says:

    When creationists start saying nice things about me, I will change my mind on evolution.

  215. John Hartz says:

    semyorka: Kudos! Best post on the thread to date.

  216. Steven Mosher says:

    “BBD says:
    February 8, 2015 at 7:13 pm
    Steven Mosher

    What about the plethora of other Godwins the ‘sceptics’ trot out incessantly?

    Seems to me that the implication that the ‘sceptics’ are somehow more morally evolved than the rest of us because not-SS is bollocks.”

    #######################

    Note the argument I made

    “even the looniest of those folks could agree that it was not advantageous to apply this label.

    its pretty sad when a group of anti science nut jobs shows more common sense than folks who are more educated.”

    1. It was recognized that it wasnt advanteageous. nothing about morality
    2. They showed common sense in dropping it.

    Not a single word about morality. Some innuendo about intelligence, but being stupid isnt a sin. Otherwise I would be going to hell.

    PS.. I included loon for a reason.. good to see that folks ran down that path.

    So the argument is simple. Some of these folks showed some common sense. Not superior morality. Common sense. It wasnt working, they dropped it. Have they continued to show common sense? Of course not. Thats not my claim. My claim ( they usually are ) is very narrow.

    They showed common sense by dropping the use of that term.

    My claim is NOT that this term is on par with calling someone a “d*nier”. Nope not my claim
    My claim is NOT that they ended all such nonsense. Nope not my claim.
    My claim is not that they are morally superior, or scientifically more literate. Nope.

    My claim is pretty simple. They showed common sense by dropping a term that was offensive to the other side. pretty effin simple claim.

    To rebut this claim you have to show that it DIDNT make sense for them to drop it. You could also win by showing that it was still in popular use today. You could win marginal points by showing an occasional use. You win no points by asserting that somebody somewhere still uses it.

  217. BBD says:

    Steven Mosher

    I’m not at all clear that they did stop using SS to refer to SkS. See eg. Willard and Dana above.

    Perhaps given the apparent weakness of the claim that they really have stopped and the incessant Godwins still emanating from the ‘sceptics’, there isn’t much to what you say.

  218. Bobby says:

    +1 to semyorka’s comment
    Also, I’m sick of this “other side” phrase. There is no other side. There is science and those that move it forward through new work. There are other people trying to understand it, discredit it or disagree with it at all costs, but they are not “another side.”

  219. John Hartz says:

    I believe that the incessant use of the acronym “SkS” by the all-voluteer SkS author team and by the users of SkS materialsl had more to do with the demise of the acronym “SS” than anything else.

  220. Steven Mosher says:

    dana

    “There’s of course a big difference. Deniers were using ‘SS’ explicitly to compare SkS to Nazis, whereas those who use ‘denier’ explicitly say there is no Nazi/Holocaust comparison. Moreover, ‘SS’ is not a word, and the acronym for Skeptical Science has always been SkS. On the other hand, ‘denier’ is a word that’s been in use in the English language for over 600 years. So this is really a poor basis for comparison.”

    1. Did I say the terms were comparable? Nope.
    2. Did I argue that there were no good defenses for using the “d*nier ” term? Nope. I said the opposite.
    3. “denier has been in the language for 600 years?” The word faggot has been in the language a long time before it aquired an offensive meaning related to orientation ( around 1914 ) . your point would be ?

    The argument was simple. They showed common sense in dropping a term that was offensive to you. It wasnt working. It did them no good to use it. It made them look worse.

    So I will make it simple. Is there any evidence whatsoever that using the term has helped in any way whatsoever? Your personal testimonial isnt evidence.

    Since we are all dedicated to science rather than opinion, I’m just looking for some research.. you know,, maybe something by some communication expert that shows how using the term has helped move the ball down the field toward policies that will help.

  221. Steven Mosher says:

    Willard

    ‘sticking to the issue , can you agree that the term “SS” to refer to Scepticalscence has effectively been removed from the debate?”

    I award you 0.5 points and refer you to the term effectively.

  222. Steven,
    I might get flack for this one 🙂

    So I will make it simple. Is there any evidence whatsoever that using the term has helped in any way whatsoever? Your personal testimonial isnt evidence.

    I think there are two related issues. Do you drop a term so as to improve dialogue? Certainly if the goal is to improve dialogue, labelling doesn’t help. On the other hand, is there any point in really trying to improve dialogue? It’s quite possible that it isn’t really worth it in some cases. In this scenario you do probably want to label your “opponents” and then the question becomes whether or not the label you use will backfire and do more harm than good.

    I suspect that now dropping “denier” is probably worth doing irrespective of the goal. It’s certainly not helping the dialogue and it may well be backfiring, even if the intent isn’t to associate with the Holocaust. So, may as well drop it and see what happens. Can always find another label 🙂

  223. Joshua says:

    mosher – despite the weakness of most of his arguments, and that he systematically fails to address those weaknesses, does make a point I agree with:

    ==> “Since we are all dedicated to science rather than opinion, I’m just looking for some research.. you know,, maybe something by some communication expert that shows how using the term has helped move the ball down the field toward policies that will help.”

    “Realists” claim that either or both: (1) using “denier” has some advantage and, (2) not using “denier” will result in some kind of loss (victory for “skeptics”). I find neither argument convincing.

    In fact I’d say that for me (and here I speak for myself only) the poor reasoning displayed in the “realist” arguments in favor of using the term means that although I can’t really imagine an alternative term that would net better results, use of the term when justified by poor reasoning is, in the end, sub-optimal if not counterproductive.

    I’d rather see “realists” make good arguments rather than cling to bad ones.

  224. Steven Mosher says:

    “Steven Mosher

    I’m not at all clear that they did stop using SS to refer to SkS. See eg. Willard and Dana above.

    Perhaps given the apparent weakness of the claim that they really have stopped and the incessant Godwins still emanating from the ‘sceptics’, there isn’t much to what you say.”
    #############################

    I award you zero points

    My argument was that it was effectively removed.. Not totally removed of course because you will find people who didnt like the ban on “SS” that Anthony instituted.

    Further, my argument was NOT, that they ceased all manefestations of this. but rather.

    They showed common sense by effectively stopping the use of this.

    Pretty effin simple. You want to argue that it didnt show common sense? be my guest.

    you want to show that the term is still alive and an effective part of the discourse. be my guest.

    I make narrow arguments for a reason.

  225. Joshua says:

    Anders –

    I suspect that your 9:06 and my 9:10 show some convergence? Do you share that view?

  226. jsam says:

    A dictionary could be helpful.

    HOME > BRITISH & WORLD ENGLISH > DENIALIST
    denialist
    Line breaks: de¦nial|ist
    Pronunciation: /dɪˈnʌɪ(ə)lɪst /
    Definition of denialist in English:
    NOUN

    A person who refuses to admit the truth of a concept or proposition that is supported by the majority of scientific or historical evidence:
    the small minority of very vocal climate change denialists
    [AS MODIFIER]: the denialist view
    MORE EXAMPLE SENTENCES
    But denialists have never been interested in understanding the science, after all, if they understood it, they could not be in denial anymore.
    He came under the influence of a group of maverick scientists known as Aids denialists.
    Until recently, AIDS researchers and activists in the United States tended to regard the denialists with derision, assuming they would fade away.

    http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/denialist

  227. Joshua says:

    Oy. Dictionary definition:

    Just goes to show, mosher’s bad reasoning is not exclusive to “skeptics.”

    https://andthentheresphysics.wordpress.com/2015/02/03/hostilities/#comment-46904

  228. Joshua,
    Yes, they seem about the same. If we’re being “realistic” we should try to decide what we want to achieve and how to do so, and not cling to something just because it’s what we want to do.

  229. BBD says:

    Not totally removed of course because you will find people who didnt like the ban on “SS” that Anthony instituted.

    Ah, so it was a moderation decision by AW, not a consensual behaviour by ‘sceptics’. This further weakens your claim that:

    They showed common sense by effectively stopping the use of this.

    Sorry about the narrow argument.

  230. Steven Mosher says:

    “I think there are two related issues. Do you drop a term so as to improve dialogue? Certainly if the goal is to improve dialogue, labelling doesn’t help. On the other hand, is there any point in really trying to improve dialogue? It’s quite possible that it isn’t really worth it in some cases. In this scenario you do probably want to label your “opponents” and then the question becomes whether or not the label you use will backfire and do more harm than good.”

    Is there any point at trying to improve dialog? you know I go back and forth on this one. There are times, like today, where I’m pretty effin pissed at people for the stuff they are writing about adjustments and I don’t care how they feel about the labels. Then I had a go at editing my stuff to take out all the labels.. the D word, the fake skeptic word, all the labels.. cause for me the labels were just a lazy way out. they would ‘work’ with an audience that already accepts my position. They would make my life easier to refer to a variety of arguments with one sweeping label. And then I wonder what I’m missing by not doing the hard work of avoiding the easy label. Is there something better?

    Hmm I would say I want a better label. Ideally I would like no label and just engage the argument, There is a funny issue there too. Ideally I like to engage an argument made by a person with no labelling. Rather than engaging a group. But of course then people accuse you of personalizing a debate.. or you get caught in addressing 10,000 arguments.

    for me.. every time I’ve used the D word.. I can say that I was pretty angry.. ha dont post from traffic on the bridge.

  231. verytallguy says:

    Tamino did this ages ago.

    He seems to pretty much agree with me, so he must be right 😉

    https://tamino.wordpress.com/2012/07/03/denier-denier-denier/

  232. Steven,

    Hmm I would say I want a better label. Ideally I would like no label and just engage the argument

    I agree. However, how do you engage with a person/group who won’t engage and keep talking nonsense?

    Of course, I realised something after posting my last comment. If you’re just interested in talking science, you just ignore such people (some call me banning people a form of censorship, but really one of the goal is exactly that). You can talk with those who are willing to engage and discuss this rationally and reasonably.

    On the other hand, if you were wanting to influence policy makers, then that’s where labels become more of an issue. De-legitimise those with whom you disagree and make them seem less credible. You, of course, see this on both sides. There’s “denier” and then there are those arguing that “alarmism” has lead to poor policy choices (Lomborg/Pielke/BTI).

    Given that I’m much more interested in the former (science) I see no reason to use labels if I can remember to avoid them. However, I can’t see labels disappearing anytime soon, given that it seems to be the norm whenever people are essentially arguing politics, rather than science.

  233. John Hartz says:

    ATTP: Fodder for your next post:

    Jochem Marotske & Piers Forster have publicly responded to Nic Lewis’s critque of Marotzke & Forster (2015). Their response is in the form of a guest post on the Ed Hawkins’ blog, Climate Lab Book.

  234. Michael 2 says:

    Bobby says “I’m sick of this ‘other side’ phrase. There is no other side,”

    That’s a bit narrow minded. In fact many sides exist if by “side” we accept, however temporarily, that it means a point of view.

    The fact that you are here commenting on it is evidence of your acceptance of that observation. Many points of view exist and you wish that only one point of view existed — yours, I suspect.

  235. Michael 2 says:

    semyorka “When creationists start saying nice things about me, I will change my mind on evolution.”

    And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why science takes a back seat to emotion.

  236. M2,

    And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why science takes a back seat to emotion.

    You did know that that was the point?

  237. Willard says:

    > I make narrow arguments for a reason.

    Probably more than one.

    First, it conflates a clear case where “SS” triggers Goodwin law with another that does not even if we assume that there’s a connotation, which is far from obvious.

    Second, it conflates the use of an acronym to refer to a competitor website with a generic label.

    Third, it more or less indirectly plays the ref, if the implication is that AT should ban the D word, or else he shows no common sense.

    Fourth, it promotes the usual special pleading regarding WWII, where just about everything is allowed unless it triggers Godwin’s law.

    ***

    The special pleading is quite obvious when you compare with the Charlie story:

    The point I would make is that the similarity can be put to uses that some people like and other people don’t like. When I say that Mann’s behavior with data is Like the behavior of sandusky some people like it and other folks take offense. Now, I don’t like it cause it trivializes the crime of abusing kids. When I say that Skeptics are like holocaust deniers some people like the use of that metaphor. Others dont.

    […]

    When folks find a similarity between killing cartoonists and taking someone to court for defamation, I GET the metaphor. I actually understand it. I see the similarity. I dont like that use of metaphor.

    http://judithcurry.com/2015/01/11/charlie-challenging-free-speech/

    Seems that the jury is out there regarding the commonsensicality of “removing from the debate” the association between the Charlie killings and Mann c. Steyn.

    ***

    All this would be interesting if the connection between Holocaust denial and AGW denial was only a metaphor. Alas, it might not be:

    https://encyclopediadramatica.se/Holocaust_denial

  238. semyorka says:

    Michael 2 says:
    “And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why science takes a back seat to emotion.”
    Which group are wailing and rending their clothes at the agony of being given a label?

    When was the last time you heard someone saying “I am not going to accept the quantum chromodynamic vacuum as real because a standard model supporter called me names on twitter”.

    It is almost incredulous that people will turn up to a science blog and say they will follow the science of the politer people. What in all hell do people think that says about them?

  239. John Hartz says:

    Let’s make a deal!

    I’ll stop using the word the word “denier” if the folk in Deniersville stop using the word “alarmist.”

  240. jsam says: “What does the D in WND stand for? 🙂 http://www.wnd.com/2015/02/global-warming-only-the-data-is-heated/

    Yet another Booker clone. One comment after mine has been approved, so let me post my comment here as well, in case it does not get through moderation.

    The author suggested the adjustments are large, but unfortunately avoided talking about how large these adjustments are globally. In the raw data of the National Climate Data Center (GHCNv3) the trend is 0.6°C per century since 1880, after adjustments it is 0.8°C per century. Thus also in the raw data there is a warming trend.

    The author carefully avoided talking about 2/3 of the world, the oceans. The sea surface temperature is adjusted downward, to make the trend smaller. See Part 2, Figure 4 for a typical example, the dataset of the UK MetOffice.

    What the article did not tell you is how and why these adjustments are performed. That there have been non-climatic changes in the surrounding of the stations and in the instruments that have been used and that this leads to temperature biases that need to be removed to more accurate assess how strong the climatic changes are.

    (Feel free to use my comments or parts thereof below other quality journalistic products.)

  241. jsam, thanks. My comment made it, let’s produce some cognitive dissonance. 🙂

    Wikipedia: WorldNetDaily (WND) is an American web site that publishes news and associated content from the perspective of U.S. conservatives and the political right. Political alignment Neoconservative, libertarian.

    On the topic of the above post. One reason to use denier may be the lack of a good alternative.

    I would naturally advocate the term: mitigation sceptic.

    They cannot complain about the sceptic part and they are sceptical of mitigation (some do advocate for adaptation). Up to now I have not heard anyone complain that the term is not friendly or accurate. The term mitigation sceptics also makes clear that the skepticism is in the political meaning of the word (to doubt something) and not in the scientific meaning (to think very critically, especially with respect to your own favorite idea).

  242. matt says:

    semyorka wins the internet. Now lets get back to debating whether we really know the globe is warming.

  243. Eli Rabett says:

    Pekka, do you know a Eija-Riitta Korhola and where she is coming from? (OK Finland which is why the question)

    Eli

  244. Willard says:

    > I’ll stop using the word the word “denier” if the folk in Deniersville stop using the word “alarmist.”

    People make deals with specific people, JH.

  245. BBD says:

    Eli

    That name rings a bell. Looking back, Pekka said:

    Being from Finland and having met both Korholas a few times I can make some remarks. Eija-Riitta and Atte Korhola were married, but divorced a couple a years ago. Eija-Riitta Korhola was Euro Parliamentarian from the conservative party until latest election. Atte Korhola was more active in policy discussion during their marriage than he has been since. My impression is that he has recently been spending a lot of effort in work related to PAGES2k, having Hanhijärvi in his research group may have contributed to that.

    Hanhijärvi comes from Aalto University (my home university as well). His doctoral dissertation was on Computer and Information Science at and not all related to climate science, but is certainly relevant for the methodology on paleoclimatology. It’s title is Multiple Hypothesis Testing in Data Mining. Here are a few sentences from its abstract:

    https://andthentheresphysics.wordpress.com/2014/10/01/things/#comment-34077

    Earlier, Willard:

    http://www.korhola.com/en/2008/06/environmental-organizations-climate-policy-a-series-of-miscalculations-helsingin-sanomat/

    https://andthentheresphysics.wordpress.com/2014/10/01/things/#comment-33992

    https://andthentheresphysics.wordpress.com/2014/10/01/things/#comment-34005

  246. David Young says:

    Victor and others need to be aware that WND is strongly disliked by most of those on the “right” because its content is often simply wrong. And there are some associations with 911 truthers as well. It really contributes little to constructive dialogue to even waste time on this. WND’s readers can fit in a small Volkswagon.

  247. Joseph says:

    I use to refer to it as “World Nut Daily” or sometimes simply as the “The Nut.” I guess because only a “nut” would buy the cr** they are selling.

  248. Joseph says:

    oops I forgot about the topic.. Well anyway that was back a few years ago and I guess it really is my opinion (if not over the top). I am not encouraging anyone to call anyone a nut though.

  249. Thanks for the tip, David Young. The reason, however, cannot be “because its content is often simply wrong”, because then WUWT & Co. would also be disliked by most of those on the “right”.

    Talking about 911. Is it respectable to watch a TV station partially owned by a Saudi Arabian Prince Alwaleed bin Talal (Fox News). The backward dictatorship that finances terror world wide and where most 911 hijackers came from? Do those on the “right” think that Saudi Arabia has America’s best interests in mind?

  250. John Hartz says:

    ATTP: I included the following item in the current edition of the SkS Weekly Digest::

    The “D” Word

    If you are a veteran of the blog wars about manmade climate change, you are keenly aware that use of the word “denier” is a major hot-button issue that blossoms on a fairly regular basis. If you are interested in finding out the latest in this never-ending discussion, you will want to check out two recent posts on the website, And Then There’s Physics:

    1. Hostilities posted Feb 2, 2015

    2. Guest post : Label the behaviour, not the person posted Feb 7, 2105

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/2015-SkS-Weekly-Digest_6.html?r=1

  251. Pingback: 2015 SkS Weekly Digest #6

  252. David Young says:

    Victor, I don’t want to get too far into political issues here as we have enough problems with science. In reality, WUWT is not on most people’s radar screen, whatever their political affiliation. Even you must admit 911 trutherism is a showstopper for most people.

  253. Yes, that is a show stopper for most.

    But sorry if I am less shocked. Seeing an historical event as a conspiracy is more reasonable than seeing a natural science as a conspiracy.

  254. David Young says:

    Well, trutherism is a particularly nasty form of conspiracy theorizing. In general conspiracy theories are usually wrong.

  255. Joshua says:

    ==> “Victor and others need to be aware that WND is strongly disliked by most of those on the “right” because its content is often simply wrong.”

    I wonder how David know what “most of those on the right” ‘think.

    Columnists include prominent rightwingers: Rick Santorum, Alan Keyes, Chuck Norris, Rush Limnbaugh, Jerome Corsi, and Pat Buchanan.

  256. Joshua says:

    Can’t find the # of visitors, but 41,000 followers on twitter and 207,000 “likes” on facebook.

    That’s one big-ass “small Volkswagen.”

  257. Michael 2 says:

    David Young asserts “In reality, WUWT is not on most people’s radar screen, whatever their political affiliation.”

    Trivially true. 7 billion people on Earth, most of them have probably not heard of WUWT. I wonder how many have heard of David Young?

  258. Willard says:

    Chuck Norris.

    Enough said.

  259. Michael 2 says:

    Victor, I appreciate the efforts that you and others make, but especially you, trying to get meaning out of data. But I also see you polishing an apple from a poisoned tree.

    In the United States, evidence that has been adjusted in any way, for any reason, cannot be effectively used in a court of law. You can used adjusted data in parallel with the untouched evidence as a way to persuade the jury that it was good and necessary (such as wiping the blood off a bullet so you can inspect the barrel marks). Anyone that watches very much in the way of police and detective television shows is going to have a well developed suspicion of tampered data. As I watch European mysteries regularly on the MHz network I know that this kind of show is popular in Europe and also quite a bit superior in my opinion:

    http://www.mhznetworks.org/programs/mystery-drama

    Fads come and go. Eventually your polished apple will take its place in society, just as plate tectonics is now nearly a household word but took more than a human generation to get there.

  260. Michael 2 says:

    ATTP says “M2, You did know that that was the point?”

    Here on the internet there’s what you mean and there’s what one writes. It helps if both are aligned and when not that’s when you see me pop in.

    I treat the comment as serious, which makes it silly, then readers take another look. It is this second look and the commentary surrounding it that reveals interesting facets of human nature.

    Science might be an engine, but it is not fuel. Emotion is the fuel. Mr. S. bound them together in a type of semantic engine; offered to trade intellect for emotion. I doubt anyone chooses a career in science having rolled dice “Well if it comes up 7 then I’ll be a physicist”. More likely it just feels right and when a person offers, however facetiously, to be a creationist; the fact is that it is on his mind and he likes parts of it but cannot swallow most of its claims.

    The problem for me is not with the word “denier” or any other word; it is that commenters become lazy and give very little thought to what they are writing. It is sheep bleating affirming their place in the herd. Look! A denier! And they all turn and look, and bleat, “denier! denier!”

    But it could be anything of course. That’s why the word doesn’t matter. Political Correctness tries to constrain words, but fails to constrain the emotional fuel that pushes those words along and will simply choose another word to engulf and destroy from its original meaning (if there’s any sense in exploring the idea of original meanings but that’s a different discussion).

  261. John Hartz says:

    In the context of this discussion, the following caught my eye…

    We live in an age when all manner of scientific knowledge—from the safety of fluoride and vaccines to the reality of climate change—faces organized and often furious opposition. Empowered by their own sources of information and their own interpretations of research, doubters have declared war on the consensus of experts. There are so many of these controversies these days, you’d think a diabolical agency had put something in the water to make people argumentative. And there’s so much talk about the trend these days—in books, articles, and academic conferences—that science doubt itself has become a pop-culture meme. In the recent movie Interstellar, set in a futuristic, downtrodden America where NASA has been forced into hiding, school textbooks say the Apollo moon landings were faked.

    Why Do Many Reasonable People Doubt Science? by Joel Achenbach, National Geographic, March Print Edition

  262. Michael 2 says:

    ATTP suggests “De-legitimise those with whom you disagree and make them seem less credible.”

    Appeal to emotion, in other words 😉

    It works on those for whom it was intended to work. Saul Alinsky didn’t write that rule to be used on Republicans for whom legitimacy is measured by money; he wrote for community organizers of the left for whom legitimacy (herd membership) is life itself.

    The very act of trying to de-legitimise your opponent has the perverse effect of elevating him in the eyes of his followers, which if they are large in number can have political consequences. The religious equivalent is the expectation by saints of being persecuted, and if they are persecuted, there’s your proof of sainthood.

  263. David Young says:

    Yes, It is true that there is often furious opposition to scientific findings. One must say it transcends political identification and Keithe Kloor has been pretty good at pointing out some of the opposition. However, it must be said that there is some reason for it based on the often spotty track record of “scientific” findings particularly in the medical sciences. One example that has been pointed to recently is the “finding” of Keyes with regard to saturated fat in the diet. Science now seems to be finding that carbohydrates may be a much bigger problem. Medicine is trying to clean up its act though and a better track record will help I think. My brother has a very long list of the failures, some of which have been very costly.

  264. Steve Bloom says:

    May I suggest 9:08 as the ideal compromise? Suggested usage: “Man, that suggestion to unify both sides is a real 9:08!” It could be the new 4:20.

    Hmm, “Tiny CO2.” Short one oxygen atom, I guess.

    Blair, you do understand that culture and politics, while related, are not at all the same thing? Note e.g. the distinction between the relevant university degrees. Did you look up the DFL, BTW? You might note also that “prairie populism” has plenty of links referencing both sides of the border.

    Willard, IIRC Robert hails from Labrador, which I suppose we have to call east.

    Richard, sorry, Northern Ireland is a really bad example, noting the many failed prior attempts. Possibly exhaustion of the populace after so many years of conflict had something to do with it? Could it be that the long-discredited “Great man theory of history” has reached out from the grave to claim another victim?

    “Unfortunately he was still able to make the case that previous predictions of rapid sea ice loss were over-blown”

    Well, previous predictions of the Amazon rainforest doing relatively well under continued warming also turned out to be overblown. I can’t wait for Rose to sink his teeth into that one.

    OK, that was a cheap shot, but you know, straws and grasping. I suggest you wait for his next sea-ice focused piece before you declare any degree of victory.

    Also, maybe cut out the gratuitous Gore-bashing next time you feel an urge to quote Rose.

  265. jsam says:

    “Anti-Vax Nutjobs Linked to Climate D-nial Nutjobs”
    http://climatecrocks.com/2015/02/04/vax-nutjobs-linked-to-climate-denial-nutjobs/#like-22251

    What collective noun would be suitable?

    [Mod: I’ve just added quotation marks to the text at the beginning of your comment to make clear this is the title of the article. Hope that’s ok.]

  266. Steve Bloom says:

    I’m going to guess [Mod: No, I’d prefer we didn’t start using this word] 🙂

  267. Jim Hunt says:

    @Steve – I suggest Richard reads my correspondence with John Wellington and IPSO before he declares any degree of victory.

    @Richard – At the risk of repeating myself, can you suggest anyone from the Hadley Centre or the University of Exeter who might be willing and able to contribute to our endeavours? Channelling Victor:

    Any chance of a “retweet” or three?

  268. Michael 2 says: “Victor, I appreciate the efforts that you and others make, but especially you, trying to get meaning out of data. But I also see you polishing an apple from a poisoned tree. In the United States, evidence that has been adjusted in any way, for any reason, cannot be effectively used in a court of law.”

    Thank you, but if we could only warn for problems that are sure beyond any reasonable doubt, there would be a lot of dead bodies lying around everywhere. Which such standards, there would be no scientific progress any more.

    The removal of non-climatic effects is performed in many sciences, in finance and economics. More in general, it is just data processing, which is the basis of any numerical discipline. Nick Stokes had a nice example:

    Beset by people who couldn’t shed the idea that data should only be adjusted if fault is proved, I gave this analogy. Here is a table of BHP share prices. Note the final column – price adjusted for dividends and splits. It’s not that the old prices were defective; it’s just that dividends and splits do not alter the productivity of the company, or to what you get in total from your shareholding. If you want to make historic sense of the raw prices, you have to keep making allowances. But the adjusted prices give a continuous picture of what a holding is worth.
    If you were compiling a stock index (eg Dow, cf GISS) that is what you would use.

  269. John Hartz says:

    Michael 2: Ponder this:

    In this bewildering world we have to decide what to believe and how to act on that. In principle that’s what science is for. “Science is not a body of facts,” says geophysicist Marcia McNutt, who once headed the U.S. Geological Survey and is now editor of Science, the prestigious journal. “Science is a method for deciding whether what we choose to believe has a basis in the laws of nature or not.” But that method doesn’t come naturally to most of us. And so we run into trouble, again and again.

    Why Do Many Reasonable People Doubt Science? by Joel Achenbach, National Geographic, March Print Edition

  270. Steve Bloom says:

    “In the United States, evidence that has been adjusted in any way, for any reason, cannot be effectively used in a court of law.”

    Hahahahahahahahahha. Ahem. Hahahahaahaha. Not really enough, but I’ll stop.

  271. Michael 2 says:

    Victor Venema says: “The removal of non-climatic effects is performed in many sciences, in finance and economics.”

    Indeed, and I’ve processed data removing noise looking for small signals. But I’m not demanding a trillion dollars of OPM (Other People’s Money). Doing so raises the bar on evidentiary quality. That is why the raw data must be available. It isn’t all that useful by itself but it provides possibility of replication and improves trust.

  272. John Hartz says:

    Michael 2: You might want to submit a gant application to the Koch Foundation. They have a history of funding such analyses.

  273. Michael 2 says:

    Steve Bloom writes “Hahahahaahaha. Not really enough, but I’ll stop.”

    I tried to make some sense out of this and failed. Oh well.

    John Hartz says: “Michael 2: You might…”

    I tried to make sense of this, too, and failed.

  274. David Young says:

    Jsam, You know what you are doing here don’t you. It’s called selection bias. Patrick Kennedy is vocal and hasa book on the subject of vaccines. Anti vaccination thinking is very bipartisan

  275. Joshua says:

    ==> “Anti vaccination thinking is very bipartisan”

    It seems that way.

    But there does seem to be a partisan pattern when you look at which politicians are inclined to leverage fear and anti-government thinking to undermine scientific evidence-based public health policy related to vaccinations.

  276. BBD says:

    Michael 2

    I tried to make sense of this, too, and failed.

    Perhaps I can paraphrase: you are entitled to your own opinions, but not your own facts. Opinion-based ‘reasoning’ (typically arising from ideological prior commitment) plus a festering distrust of science and authority in general, drives ‘scepticism’.

  277. Michael 2 says:

    BBD explains “you are entitled to your own opinions, but not your own facts.”

    Consider a nearby river. Its temperature right now at a particular location is a fact; it exists in the real world. A measurement of that temperature is also a fact, but the word “fact” can only pertain to the measurement, not the temperature.

    You could measure the same river, at the same time, at the same place, and have a somewhat different measurement.

    Therefore, what we commonly mean by “facts” will indeed be personalized to the measurer of the fact.

  278. Steve Bloom says:

    Oh, c’mon, m2, you’re not *that* dull. The thing you say doesn’t happen is commonplace. Your assertion is simply laughable.

  279. Windchasers says:

    Mosher says:

    Is there any point at trying to improve dialog? you know I go back and forth on this one. There are times, like today, where I’m pretty effin pissed at people for the stuff they are writing about adjustments and I don’t care how they feel about the labels. Then I had a go at editing my stuff to take out all the labels.. the D word, the fake skeptic word, all the labels.. cause for me the labels were just a lazy way out.
    …for me.. every time I’ve used the D word.. I can say that I was pretty angry.. ha dont post from traffic on the bridge.

    Can I say how much I appreciate this whole post? I empathize 110%. And it’s how I see it.

    I’ve had conversations recently with someone who is supposedly “smart”, but who can’t grok the adjustments. We went through their basis, he doesn’t trust statistics, and while I though he grudgingly accepted my points, two days later he was posting more stuff about scientists and their conspiracies and fraudulent adjustments.

    Which brings me to..
    ATTP says:

    I agree. However, how do you engage with a person/group who won’t engage and keep talking nonsense?

    Well, you have two choices:
    1) You don’t.
    2) You do, but not for the purpose of convincing them. Your goal would be to figure out what makes them tick; why they don’t engage or why and how their brain filters out your arguments. Basically: you’re doing amateur social science.

    Well, I suppose there is a third choice, and it’s a popular one:
    3) Engage with them to convince them of the science, make no progress, and get frustrated.

    I’m starting to lean away from this one. I can’t even explain statistics to someone in a way that they’ll understand, at least not when they have an emotional barrier to accepting it. And if I can’t explain a sophomore-level math, how in the hell can I explain harder concepts?

  280. John Hartz says:

    Michael 2: Think “BEST.”

  281. John Hartz says:

    Micheal 2: You state:

    But I’m not demanding a trillion dollars of OPM (Other People’s Money).

    You’ve made my day.

  282. John Hartz says:

    Michael 2: You state:

    But I’m not demanding a trillion dollars of OPM (Other People’s Money).

    You’ve made my day.

  283. BBD says:

    M2

    Now, what’s that word you lot don’t like again?

  284. Roger Jones says:

    This is quite a disappointing post from Richard Betts, but having witnessed his twitter feed for a while, not a surprising one.

    To omit denial of risk from such a discussion and restrict its use (denier/denial) pretty much on the internet and in the press (the theatre of cheap and tawdry rhetoric) immediately narrows the field of debate to whether it’s nice or not to engage in name calling.

    Then to use the holocaust link to suggest that the associations around denier should give one pause. Please. This association is emphasised for exactly that purpose – to delegitimise its use in the climate science context and in open debate.

    There is a long history of the denial of science for political reasons, because it challenges world views or is associated with an effect that one wants to deny. Quantum physics, evolution, cosmology.

    In fact, Richard says the debate has become so fractious that using long-standing terminology that has a sound epistemic basis is no longer feasible. That is, I think, pure, unadulterated bullshit.

    Someone who invests their time in saying “No, it isn’t”, against clear and present evidence is a denier of what that evidence represents. Simple.

    His comment is also couched in terms of dealing with conflict situations. There are many ways to do this. Is there any chance of persuading a denier to change their tune, given the significant emotional investment they have made in disengaging with the facts? Remote. Across a table, it is inadvisable to engage in name-calling. Is this that type of negotiation? No, it isn’t.

    Drop denier? No, not if the shoe fits. Being in denial? In a world where so much is contested, where everything is at risk, denial is a well-worn tactic that needs to be called. Identified, dissected and confronted head on. Not by cheap school-yard name-calling, but by calling out this crowd of cranks, mountebanks and sometimes genuinely evil people [Mod: Unnecessary], that their actions are causing great harm now and in the future.

    This mealy-mouthed call for appeasement will get us nowhere.

  285. Bobby says:

    As expected M2 is having a tough time. He even misunderstood my point about the “other side.” Those that disagree with scientific findings can do new work to prove their point. In that respect, both groups are doing science and there is no other side. It’s not about points of view. OTOH, calling a distinct group that sits on the sidelines in denial of facts “the other side” is false equivalence. I don’t do that with flat earthers, creationists, anti-vaxxers or any other group in denial of data. I believe I’m allowed to say “in denial.”

  286. Steve Bloom says:

    Re “denier,” I take the psychological meaning. As a consequence I apply the term pretty widely in a climate context (to science denial and impact denial e.g.) but it also means it’s something I try to watch for in myself, it being a common human tendency from which none are immune.

    I use denialist to refer to someone who actively promotes denial, lumping together those who do so sincerely and those who consciously peddle bullshit, as it’s generally not possible to tell them apart.

    YMMV.

  287. Steve Bloom says:

    +1 Roger Jones.

  288. Michael 2 says:

    Windchasers explores reasons for arguing with deniers.

    There’s a 4th:
    4. Choose the most ardent, inflexible {denier, believer}. That person becomes your “sounding board” to lay out your argument for a potentially large audience of readers. In that scenario you hope that the other person does not suddenly agree with you. But choose a worthy opponent as otherwise it isn’t much different from sock puppetry (strawman argumentation, unpersuasive).

    And a 5th: It sharpens your own understanding. Much of what you think you know, or that I think I know, is itself just an echo. It might withstand scrutiny and it might not. As you form your arguments it helps refine your own understanding and sort your own beliefs into categories of what is defensible and what is believed but not really defensible.

    I think the last reason is also the best. It is difficult to know if you’ve persuaded any readers so the benefit to you can be substantial as you research material for your responses and arguments.

  289. Michael 2 says:

    Windchaser says “I can’t even explain statistics to someone in a way that they’ll understand, at least not when they have an emotional barrier to accepting it. And if I can’t explain a sophomore-level math, how in the hell can I explain harder concepts?”

    You go sideways. Most people (IMO) have well developed barriers that could withstand hurricane-force argumentation provided it is “head on”.

    I remember a science fiction short story that illustrated the problem with “single sample” statistics. A few aliens land on earth and capture a school bus of mentally handicapped children. The aliens subject the children to a variety of cognitive tests which of course they fail spectacularly.

    One of the aliens is sympathetic to humans and tells the teacher to mimic the children and display no particular intelligence and certainly no initiative or combativeness, for these aliens are fearful of neighbors and will destroy all humans if they are perceived to be a threat.

    At the end of this testing, the expedition leader proposes finding more humans and testing them, but the friendly alien says, “No, we’ve sampled humanity, they are harmless, let’s go.” So they go, and the moral of the story is that a “single sample”, even when it contains multiple members, might not be representative of the population.

    While I don’t fully comprehend much of statistics, I remember this story and its significance.

    What stories do I often use to portray the problem of socialism? The parable of the Ant and the Grasshopper, or the story of the Little Red Hen. It hooks into your own life experience and leverages the basic principles. Of course, a person that has no idea what is an “ant” or “hen” isn’t going to get much out of these parables; several amusing politically correct versions exist of these parables.

  290. David Young says:

    For those suffering from confirmation bias with regard to those who are anti-science here is something interesting to read carefully.

    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/collideascape/2015/02/08/bill-maher-unscientific-beliefs/#more-14421

  291. Jai Mitchell says:

    In the very near future we will stand aghast at the fact that Richard Betts wrote,

    “We are not 100% certain that climate change will definitely cause huge negative impacts. . .”

    Indeed, when I read such a blatant misinterpretation of the current observations of sea surface temperature anomalies affecting pacific coastal upwelling currents, inducing a rapidly cascading collapse of the pacific ocean’s food web, coupled with dehumanizing regional drought-induced political destabilization in Syria, I can only assert that poor Richard Betts is also, “in denial”.

    The time for the precautionary principle has long-since come and gone.

  292. Jai Mitchell says:

    Let us be perfectly clear.

    The current state of the body of climate sciences unequivocally proves that the impacts of anthropogenic global warming will destroy most coastal cities, induce massive food and water shortages, displace hundreds of millions of people, lead to regional political and economic destabilization, and delete somewhere between 60% and 90% of the world’s species.

    [Mod: Inflammatory]

  293. Willard says:

    Please beware where anger can lead:

    Elam says the post was a satirical retort to the feminist blog Jezebel, which had made light of women hitting their boyfriends. He also maintains that A Voice for Men deploys over-the-top language and tactics because it’s the only way to overcome public indifference and draw attention to the urgent problems facing men. “I don’t know a social movement that has made any progress without anger,” he told me. “We all saw what happened with Warren Farrell. He spent 40 years engaging in very reasoned, polite discourse about men and boys, and society basically said, ‘So what?'”

    http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/01/warren-farrell-mens-rights-movement-feminism-misogyny-trolls

    Richard Betts’ prescription has merit, more so for ClimateBall ™ players who, like him, wish to talk to contrarians.

  294. Joshua says:

    ==> “This mealy-mouthed call for appeasement will get us nowhere.”

    In contrast, of course, to calling people deniers. Because that is so incredibly effective.

  295. Joshua says:

    ==> “To omit denial of risk from such a discussion and restrict its use (denier/denial) pretty much on the internet and in the press (the theatre of cheap and tawdry rhetoric) immediately narrows the field of debate to whether it’s nice or not to engage in name calling.”

    So if we don’t call people deniers, we can’t talk about risk, and can only talk about how to be nice?

    An homage to the logic of a “skeptic?” No wonder Steve Bloom likes it so much.

  296. Steve Bloom says:

    You’re dead-sheep off-the-rails again, Joshua. That passage is premised on Richard getting his way, which of course won’t happen. And even if you hadn’t missed the point (too much practice participating at Kahan’s blog, I suppose), of course my +1 referred to the whole piece, not an isolated passage.

    But I should say I’ve come to regard you with a new almost-affection ever since Kloor called you a tr*ll. There’s hope for you yet.

  297. Steve Bloom says:

    “For those suffering from confirmation bias with regard to those who are anti-science here is something interesting to read carefully.”

    So OK, i won’t read it.

    But if as I suspect the point is that people in the entertainment business might sometimes get things wrong, well, knock me over with a feather.

  298. Joshua says:

    ==> “That passage is premised on Richard getting his way, which of course won’t happen.”

    Yeah, well, I’m not exactly in agreement with Richard either.

    Keith’s been calling me a tr*ll for a couple of years now. It started when I told him that I thought name-calling was sub-optimal.

    Hmmm.

  299. Steven Mosher says:

    wilard
    I will try one last time with you

    First, it conflates a clear case where “SS” triggers Goodwin law with another that does not even if we assume that there’s a connotation, which is far from obvious.
    Immaterial

    Second, it conflates the use of an acronym to refer to a competitor website with a generic label.
    Immaterial

    Third, it more or less indirectly plays the ref, if the implication is that AT should ban the D word, or else he shows no common sense.
    not my argument

    Fourth, it promotes the usual special pleading regarding WWII, where just about everything is allowed unless it triggers Godwin’s law.
    Immaterial.

    ###########################

    here is what I argue.

    They used a term.
    That term didnt work
    it doesnt matter why it didnt work
    it doesnt matter whether it was an acronym
    it doesnt matter whether its related to the D word
    it doesnt matter whether it invoked godwins law
    IT wasnt working
    So, they effectively removed it from the debate. right now they are not wasting brain power
    debating it
    right now that term is not leading them to infight
    right now they are using better approaches ( you cited some examples

    The term wasnt working
    The term lead to infighting
    The term made their behavior a target
    They showed common sense and went to look for better ideas.

    Comes the question
    How’s that D working for you?

    get it.

    Now I am sure there are some positive results people can point to from using the term

    taps foot.
    like I said.

  300. BBD says:

    So, they effectively removed it from the debate. right now they are not wasting brain power debating it

    So Anthony Watts made it a moderation trigger.

    There is no “they”. Your argument is based on a misrepresentation. *And* this was pointed out upthread but you are still repeating it.

  301. BBD says:

    Denial is denial, Joshua. It is sometimes necessary to point this out. Nobody gets to control the language of debate; not the biens pensants and most certainly not the fake sceptics who are simply grabbing for bogus legitimacy.

  302. Jim Hunt says:

    BBD – I recently published the results of a little experiment “Snow White” conducted into Anthony Watts’ moderation practices, on behalf of Richard Betts. Here is the abstract:

    Any chance of a “retweet” or three?

  303. BBD says:

    Jim

    I’m sorry, I’m not on Twitter.

  304. John Hartz says:

    BBD: You should be grateful, not sorry. (:

  305. Jim Hunt says:

    @John H – Quite so!

    @BBD – It was meant to be more of a general invitation than one personal to your good self.

  306. Jim,
    I think BBD just takes great pleasure in pointing out to the rest of us that he’s simply too mature to do something as silly as tweet. He may have a point 😀

  307. Roger Jones

    I wondered when somebody would jump in with ‘appeasement’. It’s not appeasement, it’s avoiding giving your opponent the moral high ground.

    BTW how’s it going in Australia with climate policy? I guess your government must really listen to you chaps, what with you being so good at getting your message across…..

  308. Jai Mitchell says:

    I think you all must be a little bit crazy. We are looking directly at the maw of irreversible and catastrophic climate change that is going to doom hundreds of millions of souls to destitution and death.

    And you are worried about calling someone a ‘denier’ or not??? REALLY???

    When the arctic ice caps collapse in 10 (or so) years, when the electricity production from the Hoover Dam quits, when the agriculture belt in California dries up, When the Indian Monsoon fails and when the Amazon turns into Savannah, when the boreal forests burn for months on end, then you will realize how your own petty desires for “reasoned debate” and “respectful dialogue” were as misplaced as the calls for civility by the political centrists in the Weimar Republic.

  309. Joshua says:

    Jai –

    Please define “you all” and “worried.”

  310. Jai Mitchell says:

    Joshua

    “you all” = “to whom it may concern”

    “worried” = (a) “petty desire for “reasoned debate” and “respectful dialogue” (that is) as misplaced as the calls for civility by the political centrists in the Weimar Republic.”

  311. BBD says:

    Jim

    Ah, okay, good.

    ATTP

    Ahhh. I see. This goes deeper than I thought 🙂

  312. Jai,
    The question is how else do you resolve this and try to move forward? I don’t have an answer, but I’m not sure that more hostility is one of them. It’s not as if I think this will work or that there isn’t justification for being very annoyed by the amount of misinformation out there and who presents it, but I don’t see how becoming more hostile solves anything.

  313. Willard says:

    Jai,

    Have you ever considered doxxing your political opponents? The Arctic is melting very fast. Time is running out. How will you be able to live with yourself if you don’t step up to the plate and do like contrarians do? You could even claim the the Vortex made you do it.

    Thank you for your concerns about my mind.

  314. Michael 2 says:

    Jai Mitchell says ” We are looking directly at the maw of irreversible and catastrophic climate change”

    That, ladies and gentlemen, is an alarmist.

    PS — I’m looking at many maws. Since yours is the slowest maw east of the Mississippi, maybe I’ll worrry about the others first.

  315. Jai Mitchell says:

    ATTF,

    “I don’t have an answer, but I’m not sure that more hostility is one of them.”

    I am telling you all right now. At current GHG abundances, with the near-term loss of summer arctic sea ice, we are already beyond the locked-in 2.3C warming scenario. (inferred by Cvijanovic,
    & Caldeira 2014 loss of arctic sea ice is = to one CO2 doubling forcing effect)

    This locked-in warming will contribute to the early deaths of hundreds of millions of humans due to wars, famines, plagues and storm surges. Without immediate and decisive mitigation actions we will soon lock-in a warming scenario that is completely incompatible with the continuity of modern human civilization.

    It is time we start acting like it. The sooner that everyone who has an understanding of these things starts to ACT LIKE IT the sooner that we may start to have even the modicum of a chance to save our own children’s lives.

    M2
    why don’t we meet and talk about it over coffee.

  316. Joshua says:

    Jai –

    ==> ““worried” = (a) “petty desire for “reasoned debate” and “respectful dialogue” (that is) as misplaced as the calls for civility by the political centrists in the Weimar Republic.””

    Although there are some here who think that “reasoned debate” and “respectful dialog” is possible with those that you would call “deniers,” I’d say that % who do is in a distinct minority. So I think that your “to whom it may be concerned” is probably not very well targeted. So one question is whether you’re mostly targeting that message towards people who don’t hold that view – and if so, maybe it would make sense to base the discussion on what they actually do believe?

    ==> “It is time we start acting like it…. The sooner that everyone who has an understanding of these things starts to ACT LIKE IT…”

    What is your evidence that calling people “deniers” will have any pay off in getting people to “act like it?” The question I have is whether your recommended behavior will have any beneficial effect. I don’t see it, and I doubt that you have any evidence to support such a theory.

  317. BBD says:

    Joshua

    What is your evidence that calling people “deniers” will have any pay off in getting people to “act like it?”

    To be fair, I’m not sure that’s what Jai was saying. I think it was more along the lines of ‘why waste time arguing about the d- word?’.

    He also seems to be saying that calls for reasoned debate with people clearly entrenched in denial is a waste of time, a sentiment I would agree with. This does not mean that I endorse the rest of Jai’s commentary.

  318. Joshua says:

    BBD –

    ==> “To be fair, I’m not sure that’s what Jai was saying.

    If not, then I stand corrected. My sense of his argument was that “appeasers” are standing in the way of or blocking progress that would otherwise be taking place.

    ==> “I think it was more along the lines of ‘why waste time arguing about the d- word?’.”

    I agree that arguing about the d-word is a waste of time. I think that the use of the word changes little if anything. Effectively, arguing about the word is an exercise in identity politics, a distraction from discussing the science – although if the arguments stopped, another distraction would take its place. Probably Richard Betts thinks that using the word changes something (for the worse), but I’d say he’s in a distinct minority here in that viewpoint.

    But if we’re going to start evaluating all of this based on what is a waste of time, Anders might as well just close up shop.

  319. Jai Mitchell says:

    I still don’t think you are getting it

    currently the top of atmosphere energy imbalance is operating at 1 Watt per meter squared of energy forcing onto the surface of planet earth.

    The current primary and secondary anthropogenic aerosol effects are providing -.7 watts per meter squared of reflection away from the surface of the earth, this is a transient effect on the scale of 20 years.

    The loss of summer arctic sea ice will have an equivalent effect of 2.4 watts per meter squared of additional equivalent global radiative forcing, but operating on the frozen soils and boreal forests and peat of the arctic.

    There is approximately 1,765 Gigatonnes of CARBON (not CO2) contained in the boreal frozen soils and peat.

    Our current emissions targets, including recent U.S., China and EU targets will allow an additional 1,500 Gigatonnes of Carbon to be emitted into the earth’s atmosphere.

    This means that, at a minimum, and without intentional global dimming (geoengineering) we have locked in the equivalent warming necessary to balance out 4.5 to 6.0 Watts of radiative forcing at the top of atmosphere by 2065.

    This estimate does not include the carbon feedback emissions associated with a 35% reduction in the rate of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation.

    The sooner that we act like this is really happening the sooner we might have a chance to avoid this future reality.

    Capice paisan?

  320. Willard says:

    > The sooner that we act like this is really happening the sooner we might have a chance to avoid this future reality.

    Perhaps doxxing ain’t enough for you, Jai. What do you suggest?

  321. Jai Mitchell says:

    grow a pair!

  322. Willard says:

    OK, Jai.

    Here’s the deal. Go comment on a contrarian blog for a day, e.g. Judy’s. Use any word you like. See what happens. Don’t die like a dog. Fight like a lion.

    Then report. We’ll talk about machismo.

    Don’t come back before that.

  323. jsam says:

    Why the Social Sciences Matter: Solving the Climate Change Challenge
    6:30pm on the 19th of February
    The Stables – 2 Trematon Walk – Wharfdale Road – N1 9SB London – United Kingdom

    https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/why-the-social-sciences-matter-solving-the-climate-change-challenge-tickets-15450231057

    I’m double-booked. But it could be interesting.

  324. [Mod: This comment has been removed by Rachel]

  325. Joseph says:

    That, ladies and gentlemen, is an alarmist.

    Michael, I am looking for these alarmist scientists, that keep hearing are so influential that they are going to drive us off an economic cliff if we continue to listen to them.

  326. Pingback: Ignoring Denial | EssaysConcerning

  327. Richard says:

    I couldn’t fit what I wanted to say in a comment so here is a link to a blog post “Ignoring Denial” http://wp.me/p5pqmv-W … in short I support Richard Betts sentiments, and actually thinking it may be time to ignore denial (without being in denial about denial 🙂 )

  328. Michael 2 says:

    Joseph says: “Michael, I am looking for these alarmist scientists,”

    I’m not. Alarmist scientists are few in number and their influence has dwindled. That’s the problem with constantly raising the alarm.

    There’s a small cadre of alarmist scientists, about eleven I think; around which nearly the entire AGW storm revolves. I suspect most everyone here could recite their names from memory as they corresponded with each other in what is known as the Climategate emails.

    Most of the alarm emanates from the second tier academics; people who read field reports and assemble all that data into meaning and guess at what it means. If you are Anglo-Saxon (*) then you will likely feel alarm, otherwise not so much.

    * Medieval England and successors (Canada, Australia, UK; USA rebelled but not all of its citizens rebelled).

    Meanwhile, over in the other room there’s this big utopian thing called the United Nations but it didn’t have a lot to do after the Iron Curtain collapsed. It seized upon this grand opportunity to become relevant, and for a few years it worked. Unfortunately, its Summaries for Policy Makers tended to be a bit overly dramatic and underly scientific, predicting dire consequences, or at least mundane consequences painted dire, some of which may yet actually come to pass. After all, how can the climate fail to change? That’s what it does.

    The Utopian Nations hasn’t figured out how to persuade 7 billion people to give up (some) heat, light, food and transportation. In fact, there is no persuasion; it will come to force of arms. That will work everywhere except the USA, but maybe in another generation the USA will become like the UK since there seems to be about a 20 year lag from the UK’s bad ideas to become the USA’s same bad ideas.

  329. Steve Bloom says:

    But Richard, Richard Betts doesn’t ignore denial. This whole recent kerfuffle started when he complained about someone else using the term, complaining that it made his job more difficult.

    My own view is that Richard should be ignored when he says things like that, and that the denialists themselves should be mocked. YMMV.

  330. Richard says:

    Steve, well I think he said more than that. He has a room full of climate scientists who could be engaged but would rather do without the sour atmosphere. Surely, he has a point. And next time you go to a party, ask ‘the person in the street’ what they think of the “debate” … The replies are not an edifying commentary of where we are … Mocking won’t help.

  331. Marco says:

    “I suspect most everyone here could recite their names from memory as they corresponded with each other in what is known as the Climategate emails.”

    I can indeed mention quite a few that were corresponding with each other in those e-mails, but have a considerably harder time to see how they are supposed to fit your “alarmist” label. Unless you consider that pointing to the science that is amply cited in the IPCC reports (including AR5) is “alarmist”.

    So, a simple request to M2:
    a) name those 11 you have in mind
    b) give examples of their supposed “alarmism”
    c) show their “alarmism” is not supported by the science
    d) show they have less influence, e.g. by much fewer citations in the IPCC AR5 compared to AR4

    I do not have high hopes I get those examples. After all, of the four that received and/or sent most e-mails (Jones, Hulme, Briffa, and Osborn), you will be hard pressed to find *any* media statements (period!), with only Hulme a notable exception.
    Several others are equally difficult for you to substantiate because of either limited media exposure, (continued) direct involvement in the IPCC reports (e.g. Ben Santer, Stefan Rahmstorf, and Kevin Trenberth), loads of citations in AR5 (Mann, Trenberth, Santer, Jones, to name but a few), and in general just not any statements you can spin as “alarmist”, if by “alarmist” you would mean outside the range in the last IPCC report.

    My expectation is that you can only come up with some tenuous examples from Mike Mann.

  332. semyorka says:

    “Steve, well I think he said more than that. He has a room full of climate scientists who could be engaged but would rather do without the sour atmosphere. Surely, he has a point. ”
    Where was this room full of scientists in the 2000s when these problems were building, conspiracy websites were creating a belief in a faked science and news paper commentators were picking up their memes and giving them a wider audience?
    There was Real Climate, William Connolly and not much else of an online presence from the climate science community.
    Now that the horse has well and truly bolted, Lord Betts of Exeter has descended down to the peons to sternly lecture them on their tone in their defense of his science?
    Day late and a dollar short.
    You do not argue with a denialist hoping to change their mind. You ensure you respond clearly to as many points they raise as you feel necessary, if its a long one just pick out the weakest couple of points. Make clear explanations why they are wrong.
    If its a supportive crowd, you can indulge in mockery to demarcate ingroup\outgroup.
    If its a neutral crowd, use mockery if you feel it emphases a gap in expertise.
    If its a hostile crowd be wary of mockery as you will end up the wrong side of the ingroup\outgroup divide.
    The person you are arguing with is never the target, it is always the readers.

    “And next time you go to a party, ask ‘the person in the street’ what they think of the “debate””
    This tells us about the kind of people you go to parties with.
    http://c3wales.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/URG-15-01-Flood-Climate-report-final2.pdf
    This tells us about the level of public support for climate change.

  333. Willard says:

    > That term didnt work

    I’d like to have some empirical evidence of that, for both words.

    > How’s that D working for you?

    I don’t use it, and prefer “contrarian”.

    > I will try one last time with you

    Here’s where ended mine:

    http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com/post/5545210764

  334. BBD says:

    There’s a small cadre of alarmist scientists, about eleven I think; around which nearly the entire AGW storm revolves.

    Well M2, I was composing my response to you only to discover that Marco has already written it. I won’t repeat his words, only his request for clear answers to his questions (a) – (d) inclusive.

    Thanks.

  335. Pingback: Scientific civility and the climate wars | …and Then There's Physics

  336. semyorka

    Where was this room full of scientists in the 2000s when these problems were building, conspiracy websites were creating a belief in a faked science and news paper commentators were picking up their memes and giving them a wider audience?

    That’s a fair question. There are two reasons why there was not more visible push-back from working climate scientists.

    1. Many of us were slow on the uptake with the rise of social media. Realclimate, William and others get a great job in getting out there and showing us the way in terms of taking ownership of communicating climate science directly via the internet rather than leaving it to the middle-men in the media
    2. There actually was active discouragement from engaging with contrarians, to ‘avoid giving them oxygen’. In my personal view that was a disastrous strategy.

    Of course some (not all) of those who became promiment in public engagement did so precisely because they had a more forthright approach and had no problem with calling people ‘deniers’ etc More moderate commentators are starting to show up now (by which I mean moderate in terms of style, not necessarily interpretations of the science) but I do think some are still put off.

  337. Richard B.,
    Here’s a thought. What if a huge majority of working climate scientists – everytime Anthony Watts, for example – were to write something ridiculous, simply post (somewhere) “well, that’s stupid!”?

  338. Michael 2 says:

    Marco, BBD:

    So, a simple request to M2:
    a) name those 11 you have in mind
    b) give examples of their supposed “alarmism”
    c) show their “alarmism” is not supported by the science
    d) show they have less influence, e.g. by much fewer citations in the IPCC AR5 compared to AR4

    a. Inasmuch as at least one has shown himself to be litigious and well financed by a wealthy donor I’ll let that sleeping dog lie. Unsurprising that your list is similar to mine.

    b. I have not claimed alarmism for The Eleven. What I claimed was they were at the center of the storm. The center is usually quite calm and hardly aware of the hurricane surrounding them.

    c. Irrelevant as I have not cited alarmism. Were I to do so, it would be a much longer list with not perhaps very many scientists. Al Gore would be prominently among them, and our own Jai Mitchell currently experiencing the Vogons building a hyperspace bypass near their home; not alarmed enough to have solar power but there you go.

    d. I have a doubt about the utility of “number of citations” although that’s an easy metric and probably means something. Influence is a heirarchy. The most influential persons are hardly ever mentioned and need only influence a few, who influence a few, who make SPM’s influencing politicians such as Bill Clinton, and finally, influencing science-challenged but popular celebrities like Bill Maher and Bill Nye.

  339. Steven Mosher says:

    > That term didnt work

    I’d like to have some empirical evidence of that, for both words.

    #########################
    simple.
    let’s take “SS” the purpose of the term was to delegitimize a website and a group of people.
    check the website. It’s still there. Good traffic. The better evidence is that they shifted to the
    other “nazi” comparisons.
    “denier”. it’s harder to say what its purpose is, but your behavior shows that it doesnt work
    for you. what empirical evidence did you use to make that decision. That’s the same
    evidence I’ll cite.

    > How’s that D working for you?

    I don’t use it, and prefer “contrarian”.

    “you” obviously meant the “community” You’ve moved on. why? because the D works better
    you decided to choose something else? no, you choose something else, because you agree with me

    > I will try one last time with you

    That’s such a weird post willard.
    I’ve got no evidence that you always post as willard.
    for me.. outside of a couple posts as Tristram shandy ( at climate audit) or the occassional
    “moshpit” Ive always used my name. But honor has nothing to do with that.

    You lack honor. Take this very comment
    I am responding to. See the lack of honor? when you do, you’ll understand what I mean.

  340. Joshua says:

    Anders –

    Here’s a thought. What if a huge majority of working climate scientists – everytime Anthony Watts, for example – were to write something ridiculous, simply post (somewhere) “well, that’s stupid!”?

    1, seems unrealistic, logistically (just sometimes let alone every time) and 2, what would it accomplish?

  341. Joshua,
    I don’t know, it was just a thought 🙂 Wasn’t entirely joking, though. I don’t think this applies to Watts, but I think there are some who would like to be taken seriously and would like to be not seen to be doing ridiculous things. There is a possibility that if more people were to highlight when they promote, or say, silly things, some may actually give more thought to what they’re doing. Maybe not, but it might have some effect.

    Of course, the alternative is that people will then complain about tone and it will all backfire. I don’t know, I’m out of ideas.

  342. Willard says:

    > let’s take “SS”

    There’s little point in bringing “SS” if Godwin is irrelevant, if nicknames are irrelevant, if the scope of one blog is irrelevant to make a point about the “community”.

    If you want to ask AT to ban the D word, send him an email.

    ***

    As far as I am concerned, Postel’s law rulz. Applying that law requires it can’t be a categorical imperative. Something to do about asymmetry.

  343. Marco says:

    M2, you wrote:

    “There’s a small cadre of alarmist scientists, about eleven I think; around which nearly the entire AGW storm revolves. I suspect most everyone here could recite their names from memory as they corresponded with each other in what is known as the Climategate emails.”

    So let’s go through your answers:
    a) you manage to indirectly name one, and then use him to chicken out. Weak, very weak.

    b) “I have not claimed alarmism for The Eleven” – apart from calling them “alarmist scientists” AND claiming “their influence has dwindled. That’s the problem with constantly raising the alarm”.
    It is hard not to read that as these “The Eleven” being the direct cause of alarmism.

    c) See above: you called them “alarmist scientist” – please explain what you meant with the adjective “alarmist”. If you do *not* mean that they make alarmist claims, there is no reason whatsoever to call them “alarmist scientists” and to claim their influence has dwindled because of constantly raising the alarm.

    d) Since you now claim “influence is hierarchy”, how do you then substantiate your claim that “their influence has dwindled”? What evidence do you have?

  344. Michael 2 says:

    Marco — thank you for pointing out my inconsistent language.

    Being precise is cumbersome especially when one is in a hurry. It would have been more accurate to describe it as the eleven scientists at the center of the global warming alarmism storm but they are not themselves the storm, more like the point of a spear but not the spear itself. I believe it most likely that it was Michael Mann’s hockey stick that allowed global warming to become a household word and for Albert Gore Jr to leverage it for his own purposes just as Maurice Strong and the IPCC leverage it for their own purposes.

    “d) Since you now claim “influence is hierarchy”, how do you then substantiate your claim that “their influence has dwindled”? What evidence do you have?”

    The alarm started to collapse in 2007:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/10/11/AR2007101102134.html

    “The judge said that, for instance, Gore’s script implies that Greenland or West Antarctica might melt in the near future, creating a sea level rise of up to 20 feet that would cause devastation from San Francisco to the Netherlands to Bangladesh. The judge called this ‘distinctly alarmist’ and said the consensus view is that, if indeed Greenland melted, it would release this amount of water, ‘but only after, and over, millennia’.”

    The big inflection point on the influence curve is, in my opinion, Climategate, November 2009

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Climatic_Research_Unit_email_controversy

    Those events mark the inflection points. The actual evidence of declining influence is really being felt starting this year with Australia’s abandonment of a carbon tax and government meetings and NGO’s not even featuring climate change topics.

    It’s not dead, and probably never will be since climate changes rather regularly.

    http://www.oregonlive.com/opinion/index.ssf/2014/12/why_climate_change_will_not_be.html
    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=121119767

    I am a bit surprised to see G20 putting climate change back on the agenda after having removed it.

    Mistakes made by AGW advocates do not help. For instance, Bill Nye’s experiment to shine infrared light on carbon dioxide inside a glass jar is a bad experiment; the glass absorbs all infrared from the source so none of it reaches the CO2. Naturally the CO2 warms anyway, mostly by convection from the inside of the jar which is warming as it absorbs IR from the heat lamp.

    It is persuasive but it is wrong. Once the wrongness is revealed it is easy to confirm; I went to the hardware store and bought a reasonably good remote reading IR thermometer and I’ve had quite a lot of fun with it; fun with a purpose. I didn’t know much about the “atmospheric window” until I discovered I could point this thing at clouds and read the temperature of the cloud, distinct from the night sky (this device goes all the way to -60 F), a thing that would be impossible if it was actually reading the CO2 absorption and emission. As it turns out, these remote reading thermometers are designed to “see” through that window where CO2 is transparent.

    That, in turn, was quite revealing — no amount of CO2 is going to stop all infrared radiation, the atmosphere is not and cannot be “opaque” — which challenges some deniers claims. They also are wrong.

    Since climate change is a significant issue of economic importance, it is worth studying for its own sake and not in support of anyone’s political or get-rich-quick schemes. The dust bowl of the 1930’s, combined with the Great Depression (they were probably linked in some way), is an example of the terrible consequences of climate change.

  345. deminthon says:

    There’s a small cadre of alarmist scientists, about eleven I think; around which nearly the entire AGW storm revolves. I suspect most everyone here could recite their names from memory as they corresponded with each other in what is known as the Climategate emails.

    I suspect that most everyone here knows far far than you about the state of climate science (and science in general, given your question elsewhere about “why do adjustments” when they don’t affect the conclusion that the globe is warming), about whether it is a cause for alarm, and how widespread that alarm is, among climate scientists, scientists in general, scientifically informed persons, the military, the insurance industry, and other fact-based industries, and among the general population (especially *outside* the “Anglo-Saxon” world — the widespread septicism of the U.S. and Australia is extraordinary).

  346. deminthon says:

    Inasmuch as at least one has shown himself to be litigious

    How many scientists can you name who have been likened to a pedophile and been accused of scientific fraud?

    and well financed by a wealthy donor

    I can understand why you reject shame as a motivator, claiming that it only applies to “herd animals” (another bit of rejection of science, in this case from evolution and sociology).

    Jai Mitchell says ” We are looking directly at the maw of irreversible and catastrophic climate change”

    That, ladies and gentlemen, is an alarmist.

    What if the claim is empirically true?

  347. Steve Bloom says:

    Ah, mock the denialists. +1

    I think it does apply to Watts, very much so. He wants to be taken seriously.

  348. Steve Bloom says:

    Hmm, what leading climate denier just got in trouble for invoking the holocaust directly? Interesting how that works.

  349. Marco says:

    M2, not only inconsistent language used, you are now taking one single graph of one scientist who frequently featured in the e-mails (but not nearly as much as Jones, Osborne, Hulme and Briffa) as evidence “The Eleven” were the tip of a spear. You sure know how to weaken your arguments with every new response!

    More evidence of that comes from your reference to the repeal of the carbon tax in Australia. It was introduced in 2012 by a government that started mid-2010. That is, we have a new government that started *after* climategate, that introduced the tax yet another two years later, and because it was repealed again 2 years later, you announce this is evidence of an inflection point that was in 2009.

    Allow me to rattle your world a little bit more:
    South Africa has just proposed to implement a carbon tax for emissions from cars as of September 2015. China has forwarded a plan to have a carbon permit scheme as of 2016. In 2014 the Indian finance minister announced a doubling of its carbon tax. Japan also introduced a carbon tax, in 2012. France has introduced a carbon tax in 2014.
    Want more? Because there are more!

    I thus provided you with five examples of countries that have introduced (or have plans to do so) a pricing on carbon (and one doubled the price) well after climategate. That includes the largest emitter of CO2, China. Your evidence? A single country that *also* had introduced the tax well after climategate.

    We need better “skeptics”.

  350. Eli Rabett says:

    I wondered when somebody would jump in with ‘appeasement’. It’s not appeasement, it’s avoiding giving your opponent the moral high ground.

    You confuse those who deny climate science claiming the high ground, something that they are always going to do, not matter what you or eli say and them having it. The problem, of course, dear Richard Betts (there being other Richards here), is your appeasement of their fee fees will only lead to their increased whining.

    BTW how’s it going in Australia with climate policy? I guess your government must really listen to you chaps, what with you being so good at getting your message across…..

    You appear not to be following the news, about how the Abbott government nearly fell after a huge defeat in Queensland partially due to its stance on climate issues and how the principal opposition to Abbott within the Liberal (ie conservative) party is from someone who is quite concerned about the climate change problem.

  351. Nathan says:

    Tony Abbott’s days as Prime Minister of Australia are numbered… He just held on to the Leadership of his party after a challenge by (ANY OTHER CANDIDATE NAME HERE) 61 votes to 39. So 39 members of his own party voted that it should be ANYONE ELSE!

    Malcolm Turnbull, who appears to be the more moderate alternative, possibly isn’t. He tried to do a deal with the previous Govt and his own party deposed him. These people (the deposers) are still in control of the party, and climate change skeptics organised the attempted leadership spill last monday.

    The way they’re going they will lose badly at the next election, so Malcolm Turnbull may not even want the poisoned chalice.

  352. Nathan says:

    Mosher

    “> let’s take “SS””

    You mean like the SS Commodore? A very popular Australian car?

    http://www.holden.com.au/cars/commodore/sedan-range/ss

    Yes…

  353. Michael 2 says:

    Marco says: “M2…You sure know how to weaken your arguments with every new response!”

    And yet you are still debating me. I think you mistake that I wish my arguments to be “strong” rather than what they actually are, which is simply my beliefs, presented here as an indicator, a barometer or thermometer of belief.

    “We need better skeptics.”

    Agreed. We need better of a great many things.

    The nations you cite as having carbon taxes seem socialist; France most conspicuously. I am unconvinced that this establishes that global warming is foremost (or even hindmost) on the minds of citizens rather than initiatives by governments seeking revenue any way they can.

    I’ll start to be impressed as soon as you cite something other than taxes as a national initiative. Parliamentary systems are only distantly representative of the people.

  354. Willard says:

    OK, guys. The last comments were unapproved.

    Chill, please.

  355. deminthon says:

    I wondered when somebody would jump in with ‘appeasement’. It’s not appeasement, it’s avoiding giving your opponent the moral high ground.

    That framing seems rather clearly to me to be a form of appeasement. It isn’t possible to give them the moral high ground. All they can do is claim it, which they do regardless. So avoiding saying something about them with the hope that they won’t claim something is very much analogous to the paradigmatic example of appeasement.

  356. Willard says:

    > [A]voiding saying something about them with the hope that they won’t claim something […]

    Richard Betts won’t use the D word. He asked ClimateBall ™ players not to use it. His argument is not about the fact that contrarians will claim the higher ground. It is that they may have a point in claiming the higher ground when the D word is used.

    His point is not only pragmatic: he is not willing to endorse the association between AGW and Holocaust denial. Nevertheless, the pragmatics would deserve due diligence. For instance, those I’ve seen disagree with his request usually play home, while Richard Betts usually plays visitor.

    Everyone should realize what this implies. However ClimateBall ™ players may feel about this or that past meal he had, his implication is exemplar. You need ombudsmen and women like him. It is not by dissing him that things will improve. On the contrary, in fact.

    We may argue that there’s a niche for every kind of players, e.g.:

    The first line is usually composed of the best offensive players on the team. Teams heavily rely on this line, which generates the bulk of the team’s scoring. These players often see the highest number of minutes among forwards in a game and are usually part of the team’s starting lineup.

    The second line is generally composed of second-tier offensive players, and helps by adding supplementary offense to that generated by the first line while contributing more two-way play than the offensively-focused scoring line. […]

    The third line is often called the checking line, and is generally made up of more defensively oriented forwards and grinders. This line is often played against an opponent’s first or second lines in an effort to reduce their scoring, and physically wear them down. […]

    The fourth line is often called the “energy line,” both because their shifts give other players a chance to rest, and because their physically oriented play is said to give their teammates an emotional boost. It is usually composed of journeymen with limited scoring potential, but strong physical play and, as often as possible, strong skating abilities. […]

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Line_%28ice_hockey%29

    OTOH, Richard’s request deserves consideration, depending on which line you’d like to play, and on which ice ring. Who will step up and take his place if he decides the well is too poisoned to care anymore? It’s easier to replace a 4th liner than a Richard Betts.

    ClimateBall ™ should not reverse the logic of the hockey lines. It often does.

  357. Steve Bloom says:

    Re “dissing him, ” perhaps you forget that this recent discussion started off with Richard’s public criticism of someone else.

    Richard tries to play league chaplain. You try to play league president. But as Climateball is just a silly conceit, none of this means anything.

    So next time, perhaps he should just mind his own business.

    “It is that they may have a point in claiming the higher ground when the D word is used.”

    No, they don’t. That’s equivalent to saying that they will always have the higher ground since they will always be able to find some hook to hang that hat on. Remember that these are people whose chief attribute is making stuff up.

    You talk about effective modes of climate activism, Willard, but what do you do? What’s the real-world basis for any of your views?

  358. Joshua says:

    I understand Steve’s reluctance to give up the term “denier.”

    After all, the overwhelming evidence is that the term in incredibly effective and Steve is, if nothing else, dedicated to science and reason.

  359. Steve Bloom says:

    Still a stakeholder in your own armchair-activist POV, Joshua? Is that incredibly effective?

    If someone comes up with a better term that’s still accurate, I’d use it happily. Let’s see: Fabulist? Nah, too fancy. Delusionist? Same problem. Hmm. Hmm. Hmm. Oh well, sticking with denier for now.

    The evidence, Joshua, is that none of this is working quickly enough and as a consequence we’re headed to hell in a handbasket. There’s your science and reason. Feel better? Sleep tight.

  360. > perhaps you forget that this recent discussion started off with Richard’s public criticism of someone else.

    RichardB made me do it

    Citation needed.

    ***

    > If someone comes up with a better term that’s still accurate, I’d use it happily.

    RichardB suggested “in denial” in the text.

    I prefer “contrarian”.
    Eli prefers “rejectionnist”.
    Joshua prefer “”skeptic””.
    Carrick prefers “dissenter”.
    Neven (?) uses “delayer”.
    Judy uses ” Denizens”.
    I’ve read “army of Davids” in a book.

    RichardB’s actions does not justify anyone else’s dowdiness.

  361. > You talk about effective modes of climate activism.

    Where?

  362. > No, they don’t.

    Climate Activism Lessons by Steve Bloom:

    #1 An argument clinic is your best ally.

  363. Steve Bloom says:

    Citation needed? Hmm, let’s consider this a test of whether you’ve been paying attention.

    Re “denier,” as I mentioned recently here I take my meaning from the psychological use of the word. None of those others work. Just changing the part of speech as Richard suggests is simply obtuse.

    Re activism, I realize you don’t “do” anything. Sometimes you seem to actually care about the terms of the debate relative to what the science says, which has its uses in activism, but if all you really are is a philosophical Warren Pearce, my bad for misunderstanding.

  364. Steve Bloom says:

    In brief, here’s the problem with Richard Betts: He’s very careful to stick to the IPCC/MO party lines. Also, he has a record of placing too much faith in his model results (as do those organizations). His message exhibits poor physical intuition and is actively harmful in that he downplays future impacts. He is entirely replaceable by probably more than a few of his over 100 MO colleagues. The cherry on top is sucking up to the likes of Bishop Hill and Nic Lewis, who are very simply propagandists defending the short-term interests of polluters. So replacing him with a colleague who would at least avoid the latter would be a major improvement.

    BTW, this has me in an exceptionally foul mood today.

    This is pertinent.

    Anyway, Joshua and Willard, this whole discussion focused just on climate is blindered. Climate deniers exist in a larger political context, an understanding of which makes it entirely clear that being nice to them isn’t going to help. Read this Krugman column if you haven’t already, and then Cory Robin’s book. Krugman also links to this Robin essay setting forth some of the basics. What will help, you ask? The political and social isolation of the deniers, simply put.

    In that regard, you might have a look at the tactics and rhetoric being used, quite successfully, against the fossil fuel industry by the divestment and anti-fracking movements. Richard wouldn’t approve, I’m sure.

  365. Steve Bloom says:

    Fixing tag above: This is pertinent.

  366. BBD says:

    M2

    I am unconvinced that this establishes that global warming is foremost (or even hindmost) on the minds of citizens rather than initiatives by governments seeking revenue any way they can.

    Please get the facts straight. You aren’t on the same page as everybody else. Look up revenue neutral carbon tax.

  367. Eli Rabett says:

    [Don’t play the ref, Eli. -W]

  368. > What will help, you ask? The political and social isolation of the deniers, simply put.

    Lessons in Climate Activism, by Steve Bloom.

    #2 Use psychological definitions to isolate people.

  369. > The cherry on top is sucking up to the likes of Bishop Hill and Nic Lewis, who are very simply propagandists defending the short-term interests of polluters.

    Lessons in Climate Activism, by Steve Bloom:

    #3 We are activists. They are propagandists.

  370. > Climate deniers exist in a larger political context, an understanding of which makes it entirely clear that being nice to them isn’t going to help.

    Lessons in Climate Activism, by Steve Bloom:

    #4 Propagandists don’t play nice, but we can’t become like them because of Lesson #3.

    #5 When “denier” doesn’t work in context, use “propagandist” – psychology and politics is all we need .

  371. Joshua says:

    Steve –

    ==> “Anyway, Joshua and Willard, this whole discussion focused just on climate is blindered. Climate deniers exist in a larger political context, an understanding of which makes it entirely clear that being nice to them isn’t going to help.”

    Hmmmm.

    Yeah, I do know that they exist in a larger political context.

    I don’t think that “being nice to them” is helpful. Nor do I think that it is particularly relevant. I think that being nice or not being nice is a juvenile and simplistic frame of the discussion. It’s the kind of simplistic reasoning I see as typical at “skeptical” websites.

    ==> “In that regard, you might have a look at the tactics and rhetoric being used, quite successfully, against the fossil fuel industry by the divestment and anti-fracking movements.”

    Reducing what has and hasn’t been effective about those movements to the use of pejoratives seems sub-optimally simplistic from a strategic perspective, IMO.

    ==> “Richard wouldn’t approve, I’m sure.”

    Really? Which of their strategies are you sure he wouldn’t approve of? All of them?

  372. Vinny Burgoo says:

    George Marshall once suggested using ‘dissenter’ instead of ‘denier’. A Quaker ally objected, saying such usage would be a slur on religious dissenters.

    You can’t win. Why not just call your tribal enemies ‘big smelly poos’ and have done with it?

  373. > In that regard, you might have a look at the tactics and rhetoric being used, quite successfully, against the fossil fuel industry by the divestment and anti-fracking movements.

    Show me.

    I’ve just searched for “denier” in my mail archives, and 350.org doesn’t seem to require the D-word to mobilize activists. Is it the secret ingredient they’re missing?

  374. John Hartz says:

    And then there’s…

    Congress has delivered to President Obama a bill commanding him to approve construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada, accompanied by a warning from House Speaker John Boehner to ignore the “left-fringe extremists and anarchists” who oppose the project.

    Mr. Obama’s Easy Call on Keystone Bill, Op-ed by the Editorial Board, New York Times, Feb 13, 2014

    Yet another example of Boehner throwing red-meat rhetoric to the right wing-nuts in the U.S.

  375. Joshua says:

    Vinny –

    ==> “You can’t win. Why not just call your tribal enemies ‘big smelly poos’ and have done with it?”

    Much of the climate-o-sphere discussion boils down to: “Everything would be just fine of those poopyheads would stop calling us poopyheads.”

  376. andrew adams says:

    Steve,

    I think your view of Richard is…uncharitable.

    First of all, it seems odd to criticise him for “sticking to the IPCC/MO party lines” – he works for the Met Office and he’s an IPCC lead author so it’s hardly surprising that his views might reflect those organisations. You may think the views he expresses don’t sufficiently stress the dangers of climate change but there are plenty of other scientists who do – there is room within the mainstream for a range of views and different ways of communicating. I don’t always agree with what he says, parts of his above post being a case in point, and I’m not sure that trying to educate the crowds at CA and BH is anything but a futile enterprise, but it’s entirely his choice if he wants to try, and I can understand that this involves being “non-political” (as required by his role as a civil servant) and trying to stay civil even with even the most bone headed skeptics. Accusing him of “sucking up” to skeptics is just a cheap shot.

    We’ve quite rightly objected in the past to people arguing that scientists should not act as advocates, I’m not sure that lecturing scientist for not being sufficiently forthright in their advocacy is any better. Again, there are many scientists out there communicating in different ways, depending on what they feel comfortable with. There has been too much bitching recently between people who are essentially on the same side, in that they all believe AGW is real and poses a genuine threat, mostly over silly stuff. I’m sure the “skeptics” love to see the rest of us arguing about whether it’s OK to use a particular word, or over headlines on a newpaper comment piece (and yes, the scientists’ objections were silly). Let’s keep focused on the important stuff.

  377. Yes, that was going to be my response. One could be more precise and use “how dare those warmists call us deniers!”.

  378. BBD says:

    There has been too much bitching recently between people who are essentially on the same side, in that they all believe AGW is real and poses a genuine threat, mostly over silly stuff.

    Chalk that up as a win for the contrarians. They are rather good at controlling the (language of) the discourse.

  379. John Hartz says:

    My above quote from the New York Times Editorial Board was the first paragraph of its editorial, Mr. Obama’s Easy Call on Keystone Bill. The second paragaraph begins with…

    It was not immediately clear whom Mr. Boehner had in mind, unless he meant the 90 scientists, economists and Nobel laureates who appealed this week to Mr. Obama to reject the pipeline on the grounds that the United States should not be complicit in unlocking some of the dirtiest fuel on the planet.

  380. andrew adams says:

    BBD,

    Yes, exactly. So why give them the satisfaction.

    Maybe that means giving them a “win” over use of the “D” word. Well most of use don’t use it anyway, so let them have their win in that battle – they are losing the much bigger war.

  381. verytallguy says:

    BBD,

    They are rather good at controlling the (language of) the discourse.

    they control how other people bitch.

    Wow. They are powerful!

  382. Willard says:

    > Chalk that up as a win for the contrarians. They are rather good at controlling the (language of) the discourse.

    They don’t need to be that good: they represent the political establishment, which means they control more eye balls in the media. The only place where they don’t represent the establishment is in science. Why do you think it’s so hard to get things moving?

    The GWPF won’t cease and desist because a Radical Dude from California screams from the top of his lungs that we ought to isolate it using the D word. The Radical Dude has a point when he speaks of political context, though. How hard will one try to neutralize the use of the D word in the media, in America it’s here to stay. Were him and RichardB respect the limits of their respective playing fields, that would be great.

    ***

    Speaking of which, I’ve just looked at some editorials from Bill McKibben, and it seems that he uses the expression “industry-funded deniers”. First, notice the plural: it’s a collective label. Second, our Radical Dude’s justification doesn’t work anymore.

    To see that, simply substitute “denier” with a definition: “industry-funded persons who are in the psychological state of denial”. Hmmm. Sounds a bit silly, isn’t it?

    Perhaps our Radical Dude ought to get in touch with Bill.

  383. Willard says:

    > Let’s keep focused on the important stuff.

    The ball, let us play the ball.

  384. Michael 2 says:

    BBD says: “You aren’t on the same page as everybody else.”

    So it would seem 😉

    “Look up revenue neutral carbon tax.”

    It’s an easy way to sell a tax to the sheep. Raise it next year. Creating a tax is difficult, raising it is an administrative function. Are you assuming that once instituted that a government can never raise its taxes? Of course it can. Revenue neutral is only at the moment of instantiation and now you’ve shifted the tax base to something that everyone needs and will never fail.

  385. Michael 2 says:

    Steve Bloom suggests “The political and social isolation of the deniers, simply put”

    Unless of course they happen to be in the majority, in which case the isolation still exists but isn’t very useful.

  386. Joseph says:

    I am unconvinced that this establishes that global warming is foremost (or even hindmost) on the minds of citizens

    Michael, I don’t know anyone who thinks it is foremost on people’s mind, but polls consistently show that Americans support efforts to reduce carbon emissions (despite ClimateGate, perceived alarmism or whatever).

    http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2014/11/20/3594822/poll-carbon-limits/

    A full 67 percent of Americans support federal regulations to restrict carbon emissions from the nation’s power plants — even if it raises their electrical bills.

    A survey released Wednesday by Yale’s Project on Climate Change Communication asked 1,275 adult voters if they would support “strict carbon dioxide emission limits on existing coal-fired power plants to reduce global warming and improve public health,” even if “the cost of electricity to consumers and companies would likely increase.” Twenty-three percent responded they would “strongly” support the policy, and 44 percent said they would “somewhat” support it.

  387. dhogaza says:

    [Mod : Sorry, about moderation. I understand, but let’s leave it for the moment.]

  388. BBD says:

    M2

    It’s an easy way to sell a tax to the sheep.

    Revenue neutral means revenue neutral. Please stop trying to redefine the language.

  389. Okay, look, this all seems to be getting a bit out of hand. I don’t have a laptop at the moment to really deal with moderation very easily. I’m about to go home and try and have a relaxing weekend. Maybe we can all just chill and bring this to a close. I can’t see much point in extending this discussion much further and – right now – I don’t really have any great interest in dealing with complaints about moderation, justified or not. It’s just a blog!

  390. Joshua says:

    okay. I’m chillin.

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