Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Denialism: Climate Change, Holocaust & Evolution

I went to the very interesting talk last night in Bristol by Dr Michael Shermer on Why Darwinism Matters. Now the speaker is the Editor of Sceptic Magazine and has written a number of books and lectures all over the world on irrational beliefs and scepticism (amongst other topics).

During the Q&A I asked him about what I see as a connection in method and anti-science ideology between the global warming denialists (examples abound) and creationists.

Guess what he said - yes. He joked to the hundreds in the audience that it is almost as if they went to the same school together to learn 'how to challenge science when you have none'. He said there were parallels in the way both operated and argued. Then he also said there were parallels in the way climate change denial and holocaust denial worked, "It's like David Irving says, show me the evidence, show me the order Hitler wrote, when it does not work like that, as if he is going to write 'I, A.Hilter do hereby...' the evidence comes from thousands of different places, like in global warming there is no single piece of evidence but thousands of lines of evidence, the biology of birds breeding patterns to satellite data." (I paraphrase, but that was the gist of it, I hope there is audio posted...)

There you have it - the editor of Sceptic magazine does not think you are sceptics at all and does think you the same mind-set as creationism and holocaust denial.


Anonymous said...

Apart from those who are skeptical because the science is poorly done?
Just as they're skeptical of the poor science surrounding the paranormal. Or are they not allowed to be scientific because they don't accept the party line unquestioningly?

Yes, there are many many who are anti-science on the 'denier' side, but there are as many anti-science proponents of man made climate change who would see us (or rather the poor) starve and die to stick one to science and technology.

The 'denier' rhetoric is anti-scientific, it is pure political rhetoric.
Its especially bad when its used to paint those who oppose government action because it is harmful, even if they do believe in AGW.

The power grab of corporations and states needs to be opposed, not acceeded to because a few non-scientific propagandists shout loudly about fluffy animals and interpret statistics to suit their views.

Unknown said...

Please excuse me if I'm posting this to the wrong place, but I didn't see any other way to contact you. I see that you are a fan of Derrick Jensen, and I thought you might like to see these videos of a recent talk by Derrick:

Also, would you consider linking to my blog? ( you.

Anonymous said...

There are those of use who are skeptical of the "mainstream" view of AGW based ON the science. I am not anti-science. This is not like denying the law of gravity, or shape of the earth. I am skeptical of the fundamental assumptions of AGW, because they are not rock-solid science, any more than "ether" or "phlogiston" were rock-solid science in their day. It is fundamental to the scientific process to question theories, question the validity of data, question the results, test hypothesis, reproduce results, expect a theory to produce predictions that match observations. The AGW theory has failed on many of these counts to match up with real data. It fails on the basic physics (longwave radiation absorption in the atmosphere is already nearly at saturation). The source of the data itself is questionably biased (UHI effect affecting a large percentage of badly maintained weather stations in the US, for example). Researchers in the field often fail to, or refuse to publish sufficient data to allow others to test or reproduce their findings. (Steig's Antarctic Warming paper published in Nature being the most notable recent example). Nature keeps resisting the "warming trend" with known negative feedback processes (there have to be negative feedbacks in the climate system - we wouldn't be here otherwise). We keep being told there is evidence all over, but when this evidence is examined critically, the culprit is almost never CO2 - long term cycles in the solar system, ocean currents, solar output, and cosmic ray influence play a far greater role than the modest amount of positive feedback CO2 provides.

This isn't look for Hitler's signature on a document, or declaring the earth is flat. This is science simply saying that the theory, and the evidence for it, simply don't hold water. Deny that all you want, but nobody is going to be kayaking to the north pole this summer. Or the next, or five years from now. Guaranteed.

anarchist said...

Lots of claims, James - no supporting links as yet?

Sounds like denial to me...

taiwan77 said...

my new debate on denialist here:

Anonymous said...

You see poor data management, lack of transparency, policy driven science, poor alogorithms, small group of self-citing authors, refusal to allow access to data under FOI laws, mistakes galore in reports.

You express concerns about this.

That means you are a denier.

Anonymous said...

@James Hastings-Trew,

Nice post.

However, nothing will change belief. Even if you proved that AGW breaks the second law of thermodynamics, you would still be labelled a "denier"