Skeptics: Stop Calling Deniers “Skeptics”

This call by (real) sceptics to stop conflating ‘skeptic’ and ‘denier’ deserves to be better publicised. Denial of scientific fact is not scepticism!

For clarification, I’ll steal the words of one of the commenters, lesliegraham1:

The word denier dates from the 15th century and simply means ‘one who denies’.

“…Denialism is the employment of rhetorical tactics to give the appearance of argument or legitimate debate, when in actuality there is none. These false arguments are used when one has few or no facts to support one’s viewpoint against a scientific consensus or against overwhelming evidence to the contrary. They are effective in distracting from actual useful debate using emotionally appealing, but ultimately empty and illogical assertions….”

That definition fits climate change deniers to an absolute ‘T’.
There is simply no other word in the English language that is more apt.

The comment thread (in the original) makes for some entertaining reading, as the resident troll on climatecrocks flaps around wittering about ‘the pause’.

Climate Denial Crock of the Week

As climate denial goes the way of snake oil and table tipping, real Skeptics would like the media to please stop sullying their good name.

Skeptical Inquirer:

Prominent scientists, science communicators, and skeptic activists, including Bill Nye “the Science Guy,” physicist Lawrence Krauss, Cosmos co-creator Ann Druyan, and many others are calling on the news media to stop using the word “skeptic” when referring to those who refuse to accept the reality of climate change, and instead refer to them by what they really are: science deniers.

The statement, signed by 48 Fellows of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (CSI), comes as a response to a New York Times article from Nov 10, 2014, “Republicans Vow to Fight EPA and Approve Keystone Pipeline,” which referred to Sen. James Inhofe, who believes climate change to be an elaborate hoax, as “a prominent skeptic of climate change.”

“As scientific…

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About peNdantry

Phlyarologist (part-time) and pendant. Campaigner for action against anthropogenic global warming (AGW) and injustice in all its forms. Humanist, atheist, notoftenpist. Wannabe poet, writer and astronaut.
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6 Responses to Skeptics: Stop Calling Deniers “Skeptics”

  1. Patrice Ayme says:

    None of the 196 delegations of all the nation on Earth in Lima, Peru, in December 2014, denied the reality of climate change, due to human generated greenhouse gases, and they all agree to present an action plan within 6 months to reduce emissions.

    To keep on talking to prostitutes paid by fossil fuel plutocrats is a delaying tactic they impose on us we should not abide by.

    Liked by 1 person

    • pendantry says:

      I for one doubt neither the integrity nor the commitment of the Lima delegates.* I cannot say the same of self-declared ‘skeptics’ such as Senator James Inhofe, who wilfully deny the evidence — and who then get voted into positions where their delusions can do very serious damage. Enough is enough! This man denies climate change, and yet he still claims, and is granted, the label ‘sceptic’. Nothing can change until that does.

      * Nevertheless, I believe that every single one of the words uttered by them all would, in the last analysis, have been better used debating the price of cheese, because without popular support of a truly unprecedented scale, our ‘democratic’ (sic) process will convert their fine words into… still more hot air. See for instance Shell’s plans for ‘Prelude’ (I feel mocked by that name — and wonder whether I hear evil laughter).

      [This comment has been redacted from its earlier position as a ‘new reply’ to this post — I had believed I was responding to you, but its location proved me wrong. Personally, I suspect the WordPress system to be at fault: they’ve been messing with the underlay once again.]


      • Patrice Ayme says:

        American politicians play a very cynical, dirty game. They live in parallel universe dominated by plutocrats. If CO2 means $$$$$, CO2 it will be.


        • pendantry says:

          Wanted to click ‘like’ to say ‘acknowledged’, but this is one of those things I don’t like, so I can’t ‘like’ it. Yes, CO2 it will be… and They have The System so well sussed that nothing short of major revolution can prevent it, it seems. One wonders where They plan to sit and eat their $$$$$ when the food riots begin in earnest.


  2. I do not know enough about the causes of climate changes to comment.
    I do know in my life time their is far more pollution in the water and the air.
    To me this shows we need to change our ideas on religon and our capitalist system.
    Both are the cause of war and waste of resources.
    I only have influence over myself so without being a martyr I give minimalism my best shot.
    Ironically I am more contented than most and get a lot of joy out of life._/\_


    • pendantry says:

      There’s a lot of information on the interwebs about global warming/ climate change… but there’s also a great deal of misinformation, too. If you’re interested in learning more on the subject, one good place to start might be

      Although there is, as you say, some irony in finding that minimalism can result in more contentment, it’s a fact that’s been borne out by research. With greater wealth does not come greater happiness. We as a society should be measuring and taking action based upon GDH (gross domestic happiness), not GDP.


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