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Why calling people climate change deniers is wrong

(22 Posts)
Bags Sat 23-Jun-12 08:26:54

The link is to a long but interesting essay by Dr Robert G Brown of Duke University who addresses all the issues of this kind of ad hominem problem. It is a response to the use of the term in a supposedly scientific journal. We know the mainstream media rags love such terms, but any journal that wants to be taken seriously in the science world needs to be more careful.

It's here for anyone who is interested.
Why calling people climate change deniers is wrong

Butternut Sat 23-Jun-12 09:15:35

Well, I should be out gardening, but decided to take time to sit and read this link, before tackling the veg.patch.

Thank you for this B, because it has given me a 'light-bulb' moment in understanding why, specifically in scientific terms, the use of the word 'denier' is seen as highly derogatory. I also thoroughly enjoyed reading it, not just because of it's clarity, but because it also informs me of an area where I have little academic knowledge, only a deep sense of the natural cycle of our world.
There's a feeling of being balanced with it.

j04 Sat 23-Jun-12 09:20:49

I'm not sure how balanced it is at the moment! That very dry Winter, and now the rain coming down in bucketfuls resulting in the flooding they've got up North at the moment.

Something's not right.

Bags I get fed up with these minor scientists sniping at each other instead of sticking to the scientific facts. Why did they ever need to invent the term 'deniers'?

it only makes sense with tights

Butternut Sat 23-Jun-12 09:35:44

j04 - My comment about feeling balanced wasn't clear. I meant to say "I have a feeling about being balanced with it".

I don't think there is a 'right' or 'wrong' about the climate - it's just doing what it does.

Bags Sat 23-Jun-12 09:36:37

My view, jings, is that the people who invented the word 'deniers' for scientific scepticism regarding the climate change group think, just didn't have strong arguments when what they said was challenged. Why else resort to such childishness?

Glad you found it useful, butty. It is well written and balanced, isn't it?

j04 Sat 23-Jun-12 10:39:14

Tell that to the people in Lancashire today Butternut.

Ariadne Sat 23-Jun-12 10:40:37

Thank you, Bags! Most interesting.

Annobel Sat 23-Jun-12 10:57:28

I try to keep out of this debate because neither 'side' will ever be convinced by the other. 'Deniers' is a misleading term because I don't think anyone is denying that climate change happens or, indeed, is happening. The difference is that one side attributes these changes to the effects of human activity; the other sees change as natural and inevitable no matter what human beings are doing. Scientists disagree. Why should the rest of us be any different?

Butternut Sat 23-Jun-12 11:12:47

j04 I found your comment to me uncalled for. My opinion on the climate change debate does not mean I do not care for those in Lancashire.

Bags Sat 23-Jun-12 11:17:24

In the long term I think one 'side' will be convinced that the other 'side' had more of scientific right on their side. The proof will be in the pudding.

to jing: localised bad weather is not a sign of climate change. There has always been localised bad weather somewhere or other. Besides, it's only bad weather if it affects people adversely, such as by flooding their homes. In terms of building up the nation's water supply, it could be called good weather.

j04 Sat 23-Jun-12 11:43:08

Well, that's one way of looking at it! grin Not sure if the lancastrians would agree right now. grin

j04 Sat 23-Jun-12 11:43:56

Oh Butternut!

Bags Sat 23-Jun-12 11:51:30

They can agree intellectually, which is all I expect wink. Their emotions might well be different, naturally.

Butternut Sat 23-Jun-12 12:32:56

I didn't know what 'ad hominem' meant until I looked it up. Interesting! wink.

Anagram Sat 23-Jun-12 12:37:35

Same here, Butter!

MrsJamJam Sat 23-Jun-12 12:50:42

Very interesting article, but I still feel stuck between warring factions (over climate change), each of whom only give us the facts that back up their own point of view, so that it is impossible for a mere mortal (me) to have a properly informed opinion.

So I shall continue to do my little best to not waste the earth's resources, tend my veg patch etc etc - but also put on the heating when the house is too cold for comfort and use the car when I want to visit my grandchildren.

I'm not yet ready for hand knitted muesli sandals!

j04 Sat 23-Jun-12 13:03:11

Agreed Mrs JamJam. No-one really knows, so best to be on the safe side when possible.

Anagram Sat 23-Jun-12 13:04:28

Love the thought of those sandals, MrsJamJam! grin

jeni Sat 23-Jun-12 13:14:51

What has climate change got to do with the thickness of stockings?

Annobel Sat 23-Jun-12 13:23:16

Yes, MrsJJ, those sandals are like a hair shirt - too penitential for words. Must donate mine to the charity shop.

jeni Sat 23-Jun-12 13:41:09

Actually bags, that was one of the most sensible articles I've read.
Thanks for bringing it to attention

Bags Sat 23-Jun-12 18:39:53

Puts things in perspective, doesn't it, jeni? Good to look at the big picture.