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.