Thursday, October 30, 2014

Here's the Reason Climate Deniers Use Abusive Name Calling as a Tactic

Ever noticed how in "discussions" on the internet with climate deniers, especially the ideologically motivated amateur ones, you invariably start seeing references to "alarmists?"  Not surprised anymore to seeing terms like "algorian" [in honor of Al Gore] or "sheeple" or "communist" or "climate Nazi?" Ever wondered why such abusive name-calling has become so prevalent on the internet when discussing man-made climate change? It's actually an intentionally used tactic by climate deniers.

Think of this factual statement:

"Virtually every climate scientist agrees that the sum total of all of the peer-reviewed science over the last century demonstrate unequivocally that the planet is warming and human activity, primarily our burning of fossil fuels, is the dominant cause."

Supported by millions of empirical data points and well-known physics, the statement is easily demonstrated to be factually accurate. It's unequivocal - the planet is warming and human activity is the dominant cause.

This presents a problem for climate deniers. It's hard to get mileage by denying what "virtually all climate scientists say..." So, deniers replace "climate scientists" with "alarmists" and, Voila!, problem solved. We're no longer talking about science, we're talking about activists, extremists," political followers of Al Gore, and the more emphatically crazy, "warmists," "communist commissars," "libtard warmers," "warmageddonists," and all sorts of other mean and nasty names intended to deflect from the fact that virtually all scientists agree humans are warming the planet.

Name calling is a crutch. Designed to keep the illusion of movement when climate deniers know they don't have a leg to stand on. But it's also a tactic; designed as a means of harassing scientists and science followers. It's a form of violence. A way to inflict aggression on to people deniers have chosen to despise because the deniers don't want to take responsibility for the ramifications of continued warming.

So abusive name calling is intentional. You'll see demeaning names like those above, as well as calling people such blatantly offensive epithets such as "global warming Nazis," the "Branch-Carbonian Cult of Climate Thermageddon," "useful idiots," and various abusive expletives. Attacks are directed at scientists like Michael Mann, scientific communicators like John Cook at Skeptical Science (who has been called "John Crook" by amateur deniers), and every day people that comment on various blogs and social sites like Facebook.

When deniers use name calling to distract from having to admit that "alarmist" actually means "virtually every climate scientist in the world and well-known physics," they are 1) being dishonest, and 2) making it obvious that they understand, or at least sense, that they are intentionally being deceitful.

The harassment of climate scientists and others has a long history in the climate denial industry. Future posts will look closer at this aspect, as well as at what scientists and science followers alike can do to combat harassment by those who deny the science of man-made climate change.

13 comments:

tonyhellerakastevengoddardisnotasociopath said...

You left out "climate terrorists," a personal favorite of mine: http://tonyhellerakastevengoddardisnotasociopath.wordpress.com/climate-terrorists/

You can follow my latest list of insults to alarmists here: http://tonyhellerakastevengoddardisnotasociopath.wordpress.com/tony-hellers-aka-steven-goddards-latest-and-greatest-insults/

Aaron said...

Most denialists don't know they are in denial. That is what denial means. It is a secret that they keep from themselves. Yes the name-calling is cover, but there is nothing intentional about it. It is more like a kid being caught doing something wrong, and then making up a story on the spot -- and this special type of kid convinces himself that the story is true, because confronting what is wrong would be cognitively crushing. Humans are designed to do this.

The Dake Page said...

I would agree that most denialists don't "know" they are in denial (assuming we're talking about amateur denialists since professional denialists obviously do know that they are lying). I've put "know" in quotes to emphasize that while many amateur denialists don't comprehend that they are denying the science, the fact is that they have no excuse not to know.

When you examine where these people get their information you see that it is almost exclusively from sources that are so obviously unreliable, unknowledgeable, or funded by non-science lobbying groups, that you have to willfully choose to accept their word over legitimate scientific sources. Denialists actively choose to believe the unreliable and just as actively choose to disbelieve the reliable.

So while many denialists may not "know" they are deniers, most choose their ignorance by their actions.

The Dake Page said...

I disagree that the name calling isn't intentional. Everyone at every time can make the choice to call someone a name. Choosing to do so is always intentional. And choosing to do so is to choose to attack rather than discuss.

While ignorance is simply lack of knowledge, and you can choose to become knowledgeable or remain ignorant, there is no legitimate excuse for attacking those who are more knowledgeable.

As has been mentioned many times, the science has become unequivocal through millions of empirical data points and analysis. What we all can now do is debate the best policy options for dealing with that unequivocal science.

Denialists who choose to attack rather than take responsibility show not only that their ignorance is willful, but that they are irresponsible.

Yowie13 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Janus Daniels said...

Yowie, denialism began long before the Holocaust. ;) Even the comparatively recent form, science denialism, began at least as early as Galileo. :)
To this day, we have Darwin denialists.
AFAIK, all Darwin denialists are AGW denialists as well.
Current denialism is about science.

The Dake Page said...

The original comment by Yowie13 has been removed because it used hate speech, for which there is zero tolerance. Any further use of hate speech will result in Yowie13 being banned from commenting.

Prior to using hate speech, Yowie13 offered the following text, which I follow with a response:

Yowie13 said "The proponents of global warming are the name callers. You use the name DENIERS to draw a correlation between those who believe "Climate change is natural & cyclical and not driven by man & CO2" and Holocaust Deniers. The inference is one that was clearly and deliberately made when the term first came into use. To continue using the term when you know how it came into existence shows arrogance and contempt."

Response: As has been discussed many times, this reference to the holocaust by climate deniers is absolutely without any merit. It is a talking point invented by the professional denialist lobby to distract from the fact that climate deniers do not have any ability to refute the unequivocal science.

The term "denier" in the context of climate denial is pure dictionary definition. If you deny the science, you are a science denier. If you deny the science that unequivocally demonstrates that human activity is warming the planet, you are a climate denier. Basic Webster's dictionary.

Denialism is, of course, different from providing scientific evidence that refutes man-made climate change. Despite all the protestations by climate deniers, they have not provided any evidence at all the refutes the science. None. Thus, they are climate deniers.

In fact, the evidence that the current warming of our planet is NOT natural is overwhelming. There is zero evidence that the warming is natural. Zero. All evidence demonstrates that humans are causing the warming. This has been documented profusely while climate deniers offer no evidence at all of the opposite.

David Friedman said...

I find it amusing that you complain about name calling by the other side while using "denialists," quite obviously intended as a pejorative term, to describe them.

To which you might reply "but they are denialists." And they might respond "but you are alarmists."

You wrote ""Virtually every climate scientist agrees that the sum total of all of the peer-reviewed science over the last century demonstrate unequivocally that the planet is warming and human activity, primarily our burning of fossil fuels, is the dominant cause.""

And go on to add "Supported by millions of empirical data points and well-known physics, the statement is easily demonstrated to be factually accurate."

The claim that AGW is the dominant cause is not supported by well-known physics. Climate is a complicated system, sensitivity to CO2 cannot be deduced from physics, so it's possible that some other cause is equally important.

We know from the record of the past century that other causes exist that are strong enough to cancel the effect of AGW. There was period of thirty-five years in the mid-20th century when global temperatures were constant to declining, and there has now been a second such pause since about 2002. Once you concede that there are other factors of comparable strength, that opens the possibility that much of the warming trend may be due to such factors.

In any case, the label "alarmist" doesn't depend on the claim that Earth is warming due to human action but on the claim that such warming will have catastrophic consequences. That claim might perhaps be true, but it cannot be established either by well-known physics or millions of data points. Given the tone of quite a lot of the climate discussion, with predictions ranging from the end of civilization to the end of our species to the end of life on Earth, "alarmist" is an accurate description.

The Dake Page said...

Responses to David Friedman comments:

He said: "I find it amusing that you complain about name calling by the other side while using "denialists," quite obviously intended as a pejorative term, to describe them."

Response: False. Denialists is a descriptive definition for people who actively deny the science. See previous comments for why your characterization is false.

You said "To which you might reply "but they are denialists." And they might respond "but you are alarmists."

Response: False. Denialists is a definition based on fact. It's honest. "Alarmist" is a term used to avoid acknowledging the science. It's dishonest. Please read the article.

You wrote "The claim that AGW is the dominant cause is not supported by well-known physics. Climate is a complicated system, sensitivity to CO2 cannot be deduced from physics, so it's possible that some other cause is equally important."

Response: False in every respect. So much ignorance in just a few short sentences. To begin with, AGW (Anthropogenic Global Warming) is the conclusion, not the cause. The actions of humans, most specifically the release of carbon from the burning of fossil fuels, is the cause. It is, in fact, quite emphatically, supported by well-known physics. As has been documented over and over for well more than 100 years. Also, sensitivity indeed can be deduced from physics, and has been. Read the IPCC reports to find out how. Finally, all of the causes of warming have been examined in extreme detail for decades and the science demonstrates that human activity is the dominant cause. Again, read the IPCC reports to see the detailed discussion. Ignoring the science or being ignorant of the science doesn't change the science.

(continued next comment)

The Dake Page said...

(continued from previous comment)

You said "We know from the record of the past century that other causes exist that are strong enough to cancel the effect of AGW...."

Response: Absolutely false. Again, AGW is the conclusion, not the cause. The cause is increasing CO2 in the oceans and atmosphere. The planet continues to warm. What you suggest "cancels" this does no such thing - the planet continues to warm despite the noise caused by short term phenomena. For example, the mid-20th century decline/flattening was the result of temporary masking of the CO2 effect by the rapid and uncontrolled release of aerosols. The aerosols didn't cancel the warming effect of CO2, it just kept it from rising faster. When we corrected for aerosol pollution (which was killing people), the masked effect showed more clearly. The period of time actually helped demonstrate unequivocally that CO2 was causing warming. Similarly, the current slower atmospheric warming rate shows that short-term phenomena like El Nino/La Nina also mask warming. We've had a long string of short-term suppression events, which tied together with denialists dishonest cherry picking of the massive 1998 El Nino warming year as a starting point, show that warming goes mostly into the oceans. That warming will inevitably shoot the atmospheric temperature up in the atmosphere. In fact, 2014 is on track to be the warmest year ever, making now 3 or 4 of the hottest years occurring since the 1998 year that denialists so often cite as the "beginning of the cooling," a comment that is both grossly inaccurate and intentionally dishonest.

You said "In any case, the label "alarmist" doesn't depend on the claim that Earth is warming due to human action but on the claim that such warming will have catastrophic consequences."

Response: Again, false. As the article explains, the label "alarmist" is used by denialists to avoid acknowledging that they really mean "virtually all climate scientist, every National Academy, every major scientific organization, 100+ years of scientific research, more than 100,000 peer-reviewed scientific studies by thousands of scientists from every background all over the world." You use a dishonest term like "alarmist" to avoid acknowledging the science and revealing that you believe in a global conspiracy involving all the world's scientists and even physics.

prolibertatesemper said...

There is no debating with religious fanatics, which is the only appropriate term for David Kent!

The use of the term "denialist" immediately designates him as a person with ZERO scientific education and ZERO interest in science.

Science is a METHOD and absolutely everything that was established at some point in time can be found to be false later on, so the mere insistence on "absolute truth" and on a "consensus", which is totally irrelevant, in science, show that Kent doesn't know shit about science.

About the consent: When Einstein presented his Theory of Relativity, 100% of the Physicists of his time thought that he was bonkers. 11 years later, his ideas were established science.

As for institutions, they are almost always on the wrong side any scientific progress. Institutions are about power and money and they have been found to spread utter nonsense before.

e.g. in the first half of the 20th century, every respectable science institution and lots of personalities, including FDR, supported EUGENICS. AGW is the new EUGENICS.

prolibertatesemper said...

Now about the use of the term "denier": it is an expression of insecurity, political propaganda and utter misunderstanding of the scientific process!

The only way a hypothesis can be validated is by:
- proving that it is a better explanation for ALL the observations under consideration

- proving that it cannot be falsified

To be able to do either, one needs to hear about every plausible alternative explanation and each and every one needs to be taken seriously, so every honest scientist will welcome those who present alternative explanations and he will work with them, in close cooperation, to find out which hypothesis best matches reality. He will not try to silence opposing voices.

Because an actual scientist does not want to push any agenda and he will not be alarmist. He is interested in the TRUTH.

Furthermore, any actual scientist will pay very close attention to any data that deviates from his expectations.

If he creates TENTATIVE models, based on his hypothesis, and the models do not properly reflect reality, he will immediately conclude that his hypothesis is WRONG and he will start over, with a new hypothesis.

What we've seen from AGW is EMBARRASSING!

Despite the obvious and massive failure of all AGW models, they persist in pushing their failed hypothesis.

The Dake Page said...

Not surprisingly, virtually nothing in the two attack comments by "prolibertatesemper" has any credence.

Unfortunately, such inane rants are common from ideologically motivated amateur deniers who simply regurgitate talking points seeded onto the internet by the professional denier lobbyists. Which, of course, is why they do it.