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 climate alarm. So immediately after Roy blogged the Anti-Defamation League did the obvious thing (for irrational fans of alarming science) and jumped in to denounce Roy Spencer. To put it in perspective, Roy Spencer and John Christy developed the system that measures temperatures from satellites, and won a NASA medal for exceptional scientific achievement. Activists who failed science at high school have been calling both men “deniers”. The hypocrisy knows no bounds."