The Use of the Term ‘denier’ in Scientific Literature

 Russ Steele

Our local blog aggregator still continues to label this blog and those that do not conform to the “global warming consensus” as deniers, which is not a scientific term.  See Denialism/Climate contrarians

The use of the term ‘denier’ in scientific literature is being debated at Watts Up With That and at Jo Nova’s Blog. This debate deserves the attention of thoughtful readers, especially the local promoter of this misleading terminology, although I have serious doubts that she will invest the time and mental energy. There are some very insightful thoughts by Dr Robert Brown, starting with this very small excerpt:

Please understand that by creating a catch-all label like this [denier], you quite literally are moving the entire discussion outside of the realm of science, where evidence and arguments are considered and weighed independent of the humans that advance them, where our desire to see one or another result proven are (or should be) irrelevant, where people weigh the difficulty of the problem being addressed as an important contributor (in a Bayesian sense) to how much we should believe any answer proposed — so far, into the realm where people do not think at all! They simply use a dismissive label such as “denier” and hence avoid any direct confrontation with the issues being challenged.

I recommend that everyone interested in the issue of anthropogenic climate change read Dr Brown’s eloquent and insightful comments, as they are worthy of your consideration. More HERE.


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About Russ Steele
Freelance writer and climate change blogger. Russ spent twenty years in the Air Force as a navigator specializing in electronics warfare and digital systems. After his service he was employed for sixteen years as concept developer for TRW, an aerospace and automotive company, and then was CEO of a non-profit Internet provider for 18 months. Russ's articles have appeared in Comstock's Business, Capitol Journal, Trailer Life, Monitoring Times, and Idaho Magazine.

2 Responses to The Use of the Term ‘denier’ in Scientific Literature

  1. gjrebane says:

    Great post Russ, thanks for bringing this to local attention. Dr Brown’s lengthier argument follows the one on AGW I presented some years back on RR and the SESF website. Calling skeptics “deniers” is just another dimension of the pervasive ignorance that the politically afflicted suffer when trying to grasp the complex issue of climate change. For them retreat at this point will be too embarrassing, they will hold their ground while continuing to call everyone who doesn’t conform to their ‘consensus science’ (another form of rank ignorance) a denier of their faith.

    • Russ says:

      George,
      Thanks for the kind words, I thought you might appreciate the article. It summarized the issues and presents a logical case for the complexity of any change in the earth’s climate in chaotic universe.

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