Science Deniers Again Try To Discredit John Cook And Skeptical Science

conspiracy_theoryScience deniers never cease to amaze me with the tactics they use to discredit research and people. So they cannot win the debate on the science as it’s not on their side. This causes al kinds of interesting mental processes and conspiratorial thinking to deal with this disconnect from reality. Research by Smith and Leiserowitz shows that conspiratorial thinking is the number one response from climate science deniers towards global warming.

This is also why you see the assumption among science deniers that people have at best “questionable motives” or at worst “nefarious intent.” Which largely explains the defamation you see on science denier blogs and websites. It doesn’t take much for science deniers to jump from assuming nefarious intent to assigning nefarious intent and screeching “fraud” and “fakery” (see ‘climategate‘ for the perfect example).

The Rise Of Skeptical Science

John Cook and Naomi OreskesEveryone at Skeptical Science spends a lot of their time reading the scientific literature and listening to experts. Without that we wouldn’t be able to write all the material that’s published on Skeptical Science. It’s a lot of work, especially when you do this with a critical eye. Our goal, after all, is to ensure that what we write reflects the scientific literature on the subject as accurately as possible.

The materials created by Skeptical Science are used by teachers, politicians, and of course by users on the internet to rebut climate myths. Thanks to this a lot of people have seen materials produced by us, even though they might not know that they have.

Scepticism And Pseudo-Scepticism

Tackling what scepticism is and explaining how to recognize pseudo-scepticism is one of the main driving forces for articles on Real Sceptic. A lot of the misinformation and incorrect scientific claims you’ll see originate from pseudo-sceptics, and knowing how to recognize them and their unsupported claims is important. Without the proper tools you’re vulnerable to the misinformation they spread.

Judith Curry: What Is Skepticism, Anyway?

judith curryFor a while now I’ve been really busy with different projects so it took me some time to finally respond to Judith Curry’s blog post. She wrote a response to my Skeptical Science article The Skepticism In Skeptical Science that I published in June of last year.

I wrote that Skeptical Science article as there’s a significant group of science deniers that present themselves as sceptics; which they aren’t. Basically, what they do is take advantage of the different meanings and connotations surrounding the words “sceptic” and “scepticism.”

Another Scientific Consensus Conspiracy

The biggest threat to the denial of any scientific fact is evidence showing that there is a scientific consensus. Scientists are sceptical and questioning by their very nature. They love to poke and prod everything to see if it withstands scrutiny.

When scientists agree this is a sign that some serious prodding has ensued and that the evidence withstood it. That’s why studies like Oreskes 2004Doran 2009Anderegg 2010, and Cook 2013 showing that scientists agree the planet is warming and that we’re causing it are such a threat to science denial. Which then make them a prime target for attacks, I have more than enough articles on this website chronicling the attacks on just the Cook 2013 paper.

Science Denial Always Involves A Component Of Conspiratorial Thought

Stephan Lewandowsky

Stephan Lewandowsky

Attacks on scientists and their research are very common in the public debate surrounding global warming. The attacks don’t need to make any sense nor is there a need for merit to the raised criticisms. For climate science deniers it’s more about maintaining their ideological mental armour so they can keep their world view in tact.

In this arena two papers by Stephan Lewandowsky stand out by the sheer tenacity and vitriolic nature of the attacks. The paper NASA Faked the Moon Landing − Therefore, (Climate) Science Is a Hoax: An Anatomy of the Motivated Rejection of Science was, and still is, relentlessly attacked for the inconvenient results it contains.

Zwarte Piet And The Dutch Culture Wars

Zwarte Piet by Sander van der Wel

Zwarte Piet by Sander van der Wel

A little over a year ago I wrote about Zwarte Piet and the controversy that had flared up surrounding him. Though the aim of that article was to give some context to foreigners about the history of Zwarte Piet and why the responses are so emotional when Zwarte Piet is critiqued.

Completely understandable that the first reaction is based in emotion as we adults have fond memories of Sinterklaas’ helper. We are after all talking about the person who throws candy at you and is the one who hands you your presents.

Watts Up With 97 Hours Of Consensus

The so-called sceptics like Anthony Watts often have some very interesting predictions and speculations about global warming and climate change. Especially the predictions they make when dealing with their opponents can get very strange. The latest example of this was when Anthony Watts noticed a new widget on the Skeptical Science website.

Not much information was present what this widget was about. It had some sort of outline in it and a countdown, but what it was counting down to wasn’t obvious at the time. When you clicked on the widget it directed you to a page full of silhouettes.

widget crowd

Climate Science Is Based On Evidence, But Science Denial Is Based On Faith

Webcomic xkcd - Wikipedian protester

Wikipedian Protester” by XKCD

Anyone who wants to debate a science denier often needs a thick skin, especially concerning topics like global warming. They often hurl words like leftist, socialist, communist, fascist, sheeple, useful idiot, and worse at you. Though why a political ideology is used as an insult still is something that I don’t understand. At most you’ll get a slightly annoyed roll of the eyes from me when you label me as something that I’m not.

But the one that truly puzzles me is when I’m accused of having a religious like faith in science. Science isn’t a religion, certainly not when you accept the scientific consensus on anthropogenic global warming (AGW). To me it’s climate science denial that looks more like a faith position.

Guest Post: Legitimate Skepticism

This is a guest post by Dave123.

climategate cartoonWhat distinguishes proper skepticism from fatuous doubt? In some part comes down to who is expressing the sentiment. That is, who the person is determines if they are a legitimate skeptic or someone borrowing the title to disguise dismissive rhetoric. I don’t have sufficient training in the necessary physics and math to be a legitimate skeptic about the Higgs boson, the theory behind it or the experimental proof of its existence. I’m never going to have that level of understanding either. So I don’t opine about it. I’m entertained by it, but that’s as far as my engagement with the matter can go.

Too much of what we see called skepticism about climate science is expressed by people who are as unqualified to discuss the matter as I am to discuss the Higgs Boson.