A science presenter, writer, speaker & former TV host; author of The Skeptic's Handbook (over 200,000 copies distributed & available in 15 languages).


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Associated Press dumps “denier” and “skeptic”. (The namecalling made them look stupid). We’re keeping “skeptic”!

A couple of weeks ago Associated Press (AP) decided to change the way it refers to the imaginary monsters called “climate change deniers”. Apparently after years of namecalling, they think maybe “climate doubters” would be better. (Hands up all the people out there who doubt we have a climate? Exactly.)

Maybe one day AP will start to write in accurate English?

Why now? After a relentless decade of petty illogical names, AP are not dropping the term because it’s insulting, baseless, or an abuse of any literal English language definition. Instead, they have only just noticed the nasty implications of holocaust denial? Really?

… those who reject climate science say the phrase denier has the pejorative ring of Holocaust denier so The Associated Press prefers climate change doubter or someone who rejects mainstream science.

Perhaps the real reason they stopped using it is because they finally realized how the unscientific poisoned term is making believers look …  unscientific. Can anyone find me one homo sapiens denialia? Who’s a political activist then, and not a scientist? To the Guardian and Slate commentators who protested the loss of their favorite insult I say, yes, please, keep the “climate [...]

Maurice Newman triggers the rabid “Conspiracy Theorist” smoke bomb. Is he teasing the hypocrites?

UPDATE: And the namecalling goes on, days later at the ABC. Who knew the words “order”, “new” and “world” are triggers for conspiracy-theory-psychoanalysis?

Yesterday Maurice Newman dared suggest that the real climate change agenda was “concentrated political authority”.  I watched his article on The Australian get quickly repeated through the SMH and many other outlets, which wouldn’t always happen. I counted down the hours until Newman was called a “conspiracy theorist” — about 18.

I expect Maurice Newman knew exactly what game he was playing today. Like tapping a knee to trigger a reflex, the words “World Government” always provokes outraged mockery and namecalling as if it were against the laws of physics rather than being the banal, obvious desire of a certain part of the population. There’s a reason there’s no hit song called “Nobody wants to rule the world”.

Was Newman baiting the gullible fans of a man-made catastrophe in order to get his message spread far and wide? If he was, it was successful. Now it’s up to us to pick up the ball and point out that hypocrisy of the sacred taboo — only a certain class are allowed to discuss “world-government” (that’s [...]

What to call a “doubter” asks Justin Gillis. NY Times agitprop: is namecalling “scientific”?

Welcome to “science journalism” at The New York Times where climate forces are not so much about sunlight and cloud cover, but about “deniers”, “doubters”, and “disinformers”. While our climate is supposedly the crisis the world must face, the NY Times solution is not to investigate and debate the leading ideas, but to ask what names we toss at Nobel Prize winners who don’t endorse the approved establishment line. Pravda would be proud.

Most surveys and polls show 50% of the population are skeptical. A real newspaper that was leading and shaping the public debate would find the most informed views from both sides and put them forward, shaping and hammering out the public debate. Instead, the NY Times discusses petitions pushing namecalling.

Justin Gillis asks: What to Call a Doubter of Climate Change? What indeed, I wonder? Does any single real person doubt that the climate can change? I have not met such a person (though many believers of the dominant government-endorsed paradigm seem to think the climate was stable and perfect before emissions of man-made CO2). The UN redefined the boringly obvious term “climate change” to be a coded shorthand for “man-made global warming”. Justin Gillis has [...]

The Green Blob and the Green B-Lobby

It’s time to pin down the definition of the Green Blob

Owen Paterson gets the credit for setting this phrase into popular use (as far as I can tell). Here is his definition:

Owen Paterson: I’m proud of standing up to the green lobby

By this I mean the mutually supportive network of environmental pressure groups, renewable energy companies and some public officials who keep each other well supplied with lavish funds, scare stories and green tape. This tangled triangle of unelected busybodies claims to have the interests of the planet and the countryside at heart, but it is increasingly clear that it is focusing on the wrong issues and doing real harm while profiting handsomely.

Local conservationists on the ground do wonderful work to protect and improve wild landscapes, as do farmers, rural businesses and ordinary people. They are a world away from the highly paid globe-trotters of the Green Blob who besieged me with their self-serving demands, many of which would have harmed the natural environment.

Pressed in Fenbeagle’s hand the Green Blob became  The Green B-Lobby. Which adds that edge — the amorphous blob becomes a Lobby blob.

Naomi Klein runs amok, calls skeptics white supremacists

Naomi Klein is still throwing rocks, and these rocks are hairier than ever. Try this: if you disagree about climate sensitivity you are not just an unconvinced mind, but a white supremacist. It’s racism, racism all the way down, I tell you!

Lucky Naomi is here to unpack the sinister World Order of evil white men who control the climate.  Who knew? In her world, man-made climate change will kill more non-whites than whites, but the white guys who run everything just don’t care. So there! (Is she saying that white men can control the weather but black men can’t?)

The namecalling reaches a new level of absurdity in “Why #BlackLivesMatter Should Transform the Climate Debate“.  Forget money, power and sex, the world is run on racism:

“What would governments do if black and brown lives counted as much as white lives?”

Taken together, the picture is clear. Thinly veiled notions of racial superiority have informed every aspect of the non-response to climate change so far. Racism is what has made it possible to systematically look away from the climate threat for more than two decades. It is also what has allowed the worst health impacts of digging up, processing [...]

48 science minds misuse the term “scientist” – namecalling is not science

A group of people calling themselves “leading scientists” think that what the climate really needs is some A-grade namecalling. Specifically, they want the word skeptic for themselves, and want everyone who is unconvinced by their argument to be called a “denier”. I guess they’ve finally realized how uncool it sounds to be an unskeptical scientist. Their reasoning is that they have 48 sciencey type celebrities and they can quote Carl Sagan.  Their scientific greats include guys like Bill Nye the Science Guy, James Randi, and Dick Smith.

The headline reads:

End misuse of ‘sceptic’, urge 48 science minds

Me, I think –  let’s aim higher, and end the misuse of of the term “scientist”. Real scientists debate the evidence and don’t use namecalling as scientific argument. Denier” is not a scientific term, it’s a form of character assassination from lazy minds who want to avoid discussing the data.

Make no mistake, “denier” is not a descriptive term in a science debate, it’s equal to saying “you have the brain of a rock”. Being in denial of observations to the point where a person in toto becomes labeled a denier, is shorthand for saying that they are so mentally deficient that [...]

Climate Change Denial and the Holocaust allusion

Readers here will know that my problem with the term “denial” is with its misuse in English*. But the term “denier” is also used as a character slur to mark those who disagree in a science debate as being as odious as Holocaust deniers. The hope, apparently, is that dissenting views should be shunned and their arguments and evidence ignored. It’s a cheap debating tactic to shut down debate for those without evidence and reason, but it’s incredibly effective if you have the media on your side. What’s amazing is how many otherwise smart people don’t see through this babyish rhetorical stunt.

Last week Roy Spencer had had enough. In response to years of name-calling, he  protested at being called a “denier” and said

“Too many of us for too long have ignored the repulsive, extremist nature of the comparison. It’s time to push back.  I’m now going to start calling these people “global warming Nazis”.

Skeptics have been likened to Holocaust deniers for a decade, and the Anti-Defamation League have been pretty silent. They did once in 2007 tell off James Hansen. But otherwise, it’s been fair game to besmirch the memory of the holocaust in the name of [...]

Prince Charles says headless chickens should have more blind trust in science


Switch off your brain, Prince Charles has said you are a headless chicken if you do not accept what political committees tell you to think.

PRINCE Charles has called people who deny human-made climate change a “headless chicken brigade” who are ignoring overwhelming scientific evidence.

Thus Chicken Little yells “headless chickens”, and climate sensitivity must be 3.3C. Right?

The heir to the throne, a dedicated environmentalist, accused “powerful groups of deniers” of mounting “a barrage of sheer intimidation” against opponents.

So one of the richest men in the world, future ruler of nations, feels bullied by unfunded volunteers? Such bravery from our next Head of State. (I’m not Monarchist or Republican, but if Charles keeps talking, that could change.)

This is the same old argument: authorities want us to believe authority, while stupid punters ask for data instead.

Using all the inductive reasoning he could muster, Charles admits he cannot figure out why everyone does not accept the pronouncements of people who hide declines, data, emails and methods:

Charles said it was “baffling … that in our modern world we have such blind trust in science and technology that we all accept what science tells us about [...]

Flat Earthers believe in climate change

Flat circle, wall of ice around the edge. Hmm

Let it be known, the next time you are called a “Flat Earther” you can point out that the Flat Earth society (or at least their President) is on the same side as Al Gore and James Hansen. It’s a piece of useless trivia that’s good for useless conversations.

I did not believe there was such a group so I scoped out their site expecting it to be a joke. But if it is a satire, it’s a very detailed one, they have maps and t-shirts, and explanations, and so far I haven’t found the joke. decided it was real:

Actually, even the Flat Earth Society believes in climate change Yes, such a group exists. It thinks the world is flat — but also getting warmer

In his big speech on climate change today, President Obama mocked Republicans who deny the existence of man-made global warming by derisively referring to them as members of “the Flat Earth Society.”

As it turns out, there is a real Flat Earth Society and its president thinks that anthropogenic climate change is real. In an email to Salon, president Daniel Shenton said that [...]

John Cook of (un) SkepticalScience, admits “climate change denier” is inaccurate. Will he stop name-calling?

I don’t think John Cook realizes how his latest article affects virtually everything else he’s written.

(Repeated on the SMH too.)

How accurate is a book when even the title describes a group of people who don’t exist? Will Cook stop abusing English?

So he finally admits the banal, that there is no rational explanation for calling skeptical scientists “climate deniers” or “climate change deniers”. Bravo. (No one denies that climate changes, or thinks the Earth has no climate.). But this is terminology he uses everywhere, and it describes a group of people that don’t exist. Has he only just noticed?

We think through our language, and when we use sloppy, inaccurate words, we get sloppy inaccurate results. Abusing our language is what people do when they don’t have a rational argument.

Misleading language is de rigueur for Cook. Even the name of his “SkepticalScience” website is the anti-thesis of accurate English. He’s not skeptical of “official science” in the slightest, and with a gaping hole in his logic (see below), not too scientific either.

Look out for the “fake” tag, too. Since when did a representative of a university call another university academic a fake? Since Cook did. He [...]