JoNova

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 [...]

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 [...]

Fake polite guys, and Fake “skeptical scientists”: Stephen Emmott tries it on

It’s a sign skeptics are winning. A few years ago the term “skeptic” had been turned into an insult. People would write to me and implore me to call myself a realist. (I wasn’t having a bar of that). Now, all kinds of wannabees are pretending they are skeptics even as they swallow and repeat the establishment lines ad infinitum.

Take, for example, Professor Stephen Emmott. It’s a PR game — Emmott hopes the half-asleep audience will see the right keywords and not notice that what he actually says is the complete opposite of the badges and labels he claims as his own.

Emmott (Emmott who?) has written yet another scary book and is doing his best to pretend he is the voice of reason.  According to Donna LaFramboise his new book is just a rehash of a 40 year old one.  (Geoff Chambers has all the other links).

Let’s unpack the empty PR

Quotes below are from The Australian.

First up, Emmott tries to look reasonable by saying he won’t demonize climate skeptics:

He [Emmott] affects bafflement at climate scepticism: “I have no idea why people don’t believe what is overwhelming evidence for climate change,” he says. [...]

Skeptoid – like a skeptic but not quite

Here’s a new sign of the times.

Almost no one has gone from skeptic to believer on global warming. The conversion flow is nearly all one-way traffic. But on the Skeptoid site, author Craig Good is a “convert” of a sort, and I have to give him credit for writing the most sensible advice yet for believers of man-made global warming (see below).

But before anyone gets too excited, the two key questions here are: how much of a skeptic was he, and what did it take to change his mind? Answer, not much and not much.

This is not a big believer-awakening-moment of the Mark Lynas type, or another Judith Curry sort of conversion. Both of those were active, involved and outspoken in the climate debate.  Craig Good’s entire skeptical position can be summed up in a few paragraphs, so yes, he qualifies as a skeptic, of the gut-hunch-it’s-wrong-but-haven’t-read-a-single-skeptical-paper-type skeptic.

If there are grades of skeptic from 1 to 10, he was only a 2.

So here’s the flash of insight, that’s never been seen before from alarmist circles

This is great stuff (if blindingly obvious):

To my friends on the Left: Do you want [...]

The word Skeptic is back!

Here’s a devout follower telling off his own kind for showing their “faith”. “Beyond Belief” (Climate Spectator)

The “believers” have suddenly realized how uncool it is to talk about “beliefs” when it’s supposed to be about science. So the rush is on to post articles warning believers to hide their “faith” and to throw in token comments about evidence instead. Indeed the Real Deniers are scrambling to claim the “name” skeptic that they used to despise.

It’s a measure of how far this debate has come. Such was the success of the PR campaign, some skeptics gave up on the term and opted to use “realist”. But the skeptics have been proved right time after time, and the unskeptical scientists have been embarrassed by their own conniving words, mistakes, tricks and lies. The resurgence of the word “skeptic” is rising like a rocket.

As I’ve said many times, the opposite of skeptical is gullible. And an unskeptical scientist is an oxymoron.

So here’s Paul Gilding in the publication that panders to the climate industry: Climate Spectator, offering the fake guise of a skeptical soul:

It’s time for true confessions. I don’t believe in climate science.

That’s because I’m a [...]

The hypocrisy of the annointed

This is too rich. Baa Humbug has found scientific peer reviewed research that skeptics are more attuned to reality and better able to discount misinformation (!) but, oh the irony, which researcher makes this claim? The man with the fairy dust logic, Stephan Lewandowsky. It’s just a shame he wouldn’t know a skeptic if one sat on him.

He presented his research conclusions in Nov 2007 in Online Opinion and The Canberra Times as A Sceptics Guide to Politics. One week later with a completely straight face, he implored everyone to act to save the climate, because it was obvious. Of course.

In his world, if you question officialdom and you’re “right”, you’re a skeptic, but if you question officials and you’re “wrong”, then you’re a denier. Got it? It all makes sense, but only if Lewandowsky is God. Somehow He knows when to trust the news-media and politicians: John Howard and George Bush couldn’t be trusted over Iraq, but obviously Kevin Rudd and Penny Wong are entirely correct on Climate Change. (After all, most of the world’s bankers agree with them.)

I recently conducted research with colleagues abroad in which we investigated how people processed information about Iraq. We [...]

Unskeptical Scientist Stickers and T-shirts

I’ve had requests  from around the world for larger artwork for The Unskeptical Scientist. And Ralph from Kane-TV has helped out again by producing files that can be scaled up to billboard size. (Thanks!) So here are version for Shirts, Badges and Powerpoint.

[...]

Emails with an unskeptical skeptic

the email exchange between Sceptico and myself, that started off as a friendly enquiry by me, as to why a self-proclaimed ’skeptic’ thought that anyone raising scientific questions about global warming should be lumped in with creationists, and called a denier. I wondered if he was just innocently unaware that the science has changed. [...]

The skeptic who wasn’t

Supplement: Our Email exchange ……Ref: Skeptico on “Global Warming Denial”

What’s the most embarrassing thing that could happen to a skeptic? Could it be worse than being exposed for believing anything and everything a government committee (the IPCC) tells them?

“Science without debate is like business without competition and a trial without a defense. It’s a sham.”

Unfortunately some of the loudest skeptics are the part-time ones. They busy themselves ‘catching out astrologers’, but then suspend all their usual rules of logic to defend the largest scientific scam in history. Ironically, at the same time as the scammers plot to suck billions from citizens, pretenders like Skeptico arm themselves to the teeth to, wait for it… fight for “authority”.  (He actually does this—the unthinkable—he claims that argument by authority is legitimate in science. Holy-Cringeoli! Let’s bow to the bureaucrats.)

Here Skeptico responds to my emails by publicly trying to justify his belief in the AGW theory. In response, he steadily exposes himself for having faith, trust, and poor reasoning skills, he proves to be a ‘denier’ (of the need for empirical evidence), a name caller, as well as patronizing, and totally unaware of his religious faith to boot. All that, and [...]