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Please remove offensive word

(16 Posts)
bagitha Sat 22-Oct-11 07:26:43

I repeat my request that the word 'deniers' be removed from a title thread. Apart from being insulting to some, it is unnecessary — 'sceptic' says it all — as well as inaccurate, since nobody denies climate change. It is name-calling, and that's the long and the short of it.

pompa Sat 22-Oct-11 09:50:57

Bagitha, I don't understand the problem with the word, I have Googled it and cannot find any obvious problem. Please PM me to clarify the problem.

absentgrana Sun 23-Oct-11 11:10:22

Deny – to refuse to admit the truth. In other words, a mindless and unreasoned refusal to accept a fact, in this case, that the global climate is changing. Denier is, therefore, a pejorative term .

Carol Sun 23-Oct-11 11:45:35

'Deny' has a variety of definitions, such as refusal to believe, refusal to take responsibility for something you have not done, refusal to give something to another and so on....

absentgrana Sun 23-Oct-11 11:47:00

Nevertheless Carol it has meant to refuse to admit the truth since 1630.

Elegran Sun 23-Oct-11 11:50:06

In the press sometimes, you read that X "denied that they had any connection with....." often very vehemently. The seed being sown, you then wonder just what they were up to, although the accusation was probably entirely in the reporter's imagination. So yes there can be an element of perversity inferred, if not intentionally implied.

Carol Sun 23-Oct-11 12:10:29

This is an interesting debate - very subjective. Denial has existed in different forms since time immemorial, and truth is defined according to the limits of what we actually know to be fact. The philosopher and scientist Karl Popper talked about the limits of what we know to be factual, until another fact comes along to counter that knowledge.

“Our knowledge can only be finite, while our ignorance must necessarily be infinite.”
― Karl R. Popper

I don't pretend to know what is truth and what isn't, but always ready to learn more about our world.

crimson Sun 23-Oct-11 12:43:09

I think I would describe myself as a global warming denier in that I'm not a sceptic as I believe it is happening, but it's such a frightening thought that, although I do everything I can on a personal level to reduce my carbon emission [that sound painful..should a say footprint] I don't see how I can change what the USA and China do, and, when third world countries become more 'westernised' the first thing they do is buy fridges, cars and air conditioning [more markets for us]. So I sort of stick my head in the sand and that makes me a 'denier'. Can't think of another word for it. I would lose sleep over it, otherwise.

absentgrana Sun 23-Oct-11 14:03:20

crimson You are a carbon ostrich, perhaps, but not a denier. A denier refuses to believe that the global climate is changing. A sceptic questions why it is happening. You, like many people, don't want to think about it. There are also those who don't deny or question it but don't care anyway.

bagitha Sun 23-Oct-11 14:32:51

Many people in the States find the term climate change denier offensive because of its association (deliberate, they think) with Holocaust deniers. Because I know this I started this thread. Personally, I am not offended, but I don't think it's a useful term because I don't think anyone denies that climate change happens. The argument is about what causes it.

However, that is by the way. "Nigger" (for instance) used to be a term used by 'the mainstream'. It took a long time and a lot of explaining by people who found it offensive, or by others who understood their case and supported them, before "nigger" was understood by virtually everybody to be offensive. My personal view is that the term "climate change denier" comes into the same category, not because it offends me (I just think it's an easy to use but rather silly term), but because I happen to know that other people are justifiably offended by it. It denigrates their intelligent and scientific approach to a problem.

crimson Sun 23-Oct-11 15:01:35

If we stop using every word that offends someone somewhere we'll be scared to open our mouths. I have a friend who suffers from a medical condition, the word for which is used quite frequently and no one seems to bother about it; it does bother me. Unlike the word that Ricky Gervaise used the other day there will never be public apologies about the use of this word. But I'm not going to start a campiagn to get the word banned because I know that the people who say it don't do it to upset me.

bagitha Sun 23-Oct-11 15:11:20

I'm not asking for a word to be banned, crimson. My purpose was to raise awareness in a particular situation where the word 'denier' is used in an insulting way. Where I do deny something, based on evidence, I'm happy to be called a denier of whatever it is. But to bandy the word denier about where no-one (or very few) people is denying is at least silly name calling and seen by many as much worse. Its use certainly does not strengthen its users' case.

bagitha Sun 23-Oct-11 15:11:56

Sorry. "are denying"

absentgrana Mon 24-Oct-11 10:05:49

There was a letter in yesterday's Sunday Times that was concerned with just this issue of conflating climate change denier and holocaust denier so, obviously, it does crop up, however ridiculous, and isn't just Bagitha's imagination.

JosieGransnet (GNHQ) Mon 24-Oct-11 10:42:39

Hi bagitha, and all who have contributed to this conversation, and the other thread.

Thanks for raising this issue - we're glad to see it's been discussed in such a thoughtful way.

To elaborate a bit on the reasons we won't be deleting that title, we think that the most important thing that Gransnet is here for is to allow for lively and interesting conversation on a variety of topics. We don't think that we should be the arbiters of taste and what is and isn't offensive - we simply wouldn't know where to draw the line. We think that the conversation that has followed from this has been so interesting and thought-provoking - and this kind of conversation should be allowed to flourish.

We will ALWAYS remove comments that are obscene, racist, contain personal attacks or break the law once they are reported to us (that's via the little 'report' button on every post).

And please DO use that button - we can't guarantee we will see every post, much as we would like to, although we do keep an eye on 'Site Stuff', where you can feel free to discuss anything about site policy/features/bugs/what kind of cake GNHQ like for breakfast.

bagitha Mon 24-Oct-11 10:54:37

Thanks, josie (and cari, who replied to my original request). I think you're quite right and it was never necessary to remove the word "deniers". A discussion and some awareness has been raised, which is really what I hoped for. The members of gransnet have moved things along in a robust way, as is their wont smile.