There are members of the Fellows of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry who are calling on the media not call skeptics “skeptics”, but rather “deniers”. One can only think they are angry that skeptics of climate change have done so well while the Skeptical Inquiry folks maybe not so much so. Signers of the petition include Bill Nye, the comedian/actor guy and James Randi, the “appeal to authority” champion and religion/paranormal hater. There are also science writers, journalists, and a film producer. Remember when attacks were constantly made on genuine scientists who signed petitions saying they disagreed with global warming being a huge problem? Now, as seen with J. Cook, anyone can chime in as long as they are on the global warming side. New criteria–you’re only a scientist if WE say so. It’s interesting that skepticism is now defined by dogma and the threat of “if you’re not with us, you’re denying science” when at one time it was just asking questions of science and for data and proof. It appears those days are long gone as far as these individuals are concerned. (One also wonders if this is in part because those who tore apart pseudoscience are very uncomfortable having the same skeptical eye turned on their beliefs.)
This is really not all that surprising. The unskeptical “Skeptical Science” has been out there for years. Psychologically, it seems to be a case of “if you can’t convince them with facts (perhaps because you have so few), then club them with nasty names and shrieking. “Plus, you can claim the name “skeptic” is taken and “denier” is the only remaining name for those not following the designated truths.
I dropped reading many of the conventional skeptic sites when it became apparent that much of what they believed or did not believe was based on appeal to authority, or a hatred of religion and paranormal phenomena. (Note: Religion cannot be proven by science and trying to dissect it with science shows a lack of understanding of both science and religion.) So-called “skeptics” seem to follow the appeal to authority in part because many lack the science education that would let them form their own questions and theories and in part because it’s a CYA move, allowing them to blame scientists for any failed theory. Since they are not scientists, they cannot be held responsible for advocating what turns out to actually be pseudoscience or very bad science.
There’s a question of what the “deniers” are denying. If the scientists are skeptical, are the deniers denying that the scientists are skeptical? What parts of science specifically are they denying? Are they simply questioning if the theory is sufficiently developed to keep pouring billions into measures that do not seem effective and actually are very damaging to the environment? Are they denying that money and politics are the way to “solve” the “problem” as presented–is it really scientific to believe money, socialism and a return to pre-industrial lives are the only possible solution to the dilemma?
The entire proposal bodes very badly for science. Theory of global warming appears to be crumbling due to that lack of statistically significant warming in RSS temperature measurements, there are studies that show the ocean may not be warming as much as believed and people snowed under with 8 feet of snow are not very willing to believe “warming causes cooling”. The science is not convincing to many, including some who work in the field and associated fields and many who have examined the science and found it lacking. Rather than answer questions about the science, the “scientists” (in quotes because no real scientist would ever behave this way) call names, and refuse to address the problem. Those who do try to answer often give explanations that are lacking in believability and science to back them up. Too many of the activists in the field have made wild predictions and statements (ice-free arctic by “X” date, boiling oceans, etc) and these were allowed to stand. Sadly, at this point, the science has basically lost its credibility. All that’s left is name-hoarding, ad hominem attacks and trying to suppress opinions.
Another disturbing trend is trying to “market” the science. That seems to fall under the “if you can’t win them with facts (because you lack such things), dazzle them with BS” or terrify them with promises of a horrible, hot, wet future if they don’t go along with your “solutions”. There’s even an attempt to figure out a way to market to specific political preferences by rewording the solutions to disguise the real intent. Marketing science is truly a desperate attempt at replacing facts and data with BS and fear. Climate science has dragged science into tap dancing, threatening and smearing tactics in an effort to “win” with their theory. They simply cannot admit that the theory may be flawed and needs further research to explain the lack of warming, the natural variations and the failed predictions. Climate science is now playing the role the Church did in suppressing and vilifying Galileo, something science criticized religion for doing. The hypocrisy just screams out at you: “It’s not about science, it’s about winning”.