“Climate Denier”? or “Those Who Reject Mainstream Climate Science?”

September 26, 2015

Should we call climate deniers “climate deniers”? or something else.

Surprising sparks fly as the Associated Press’ Seth Borenstein is pressed by NPR “On the Media”s  Bob Garfield as to whether it makes sense to call a denier a denier.

I made this decision when I launched the Climate Denial Crock of the Week series in 2009.  At that time, I was being cautioned against using the “D” word, since, number one, it has the automatic association with “Holocaust Denier”.  It’s said this serves climate denier’s natural tendency to play the victim card.

But at that time, having met enough “skeptics” first hand, and having them lie baldly right in front of me, I felt that only “denier” could capture the true essence.  Now it’s standard usage for Obama, so I think that horse, no matter how hard AP may try, is out of the barn.

27 Responses to ““Climate Denier”? or “Those Who Reject Mainstream Climate Science?””

  1. indy222 Says:

    I wish Omnimedia had asked the obvious question – how much was this decision based on not pissing off the Republican readership of AP’s press? Follow the money, still the Occam’s Razor in this area.


  2. If it’s possible to do so, agonizing over what to call those who deny the findings of climate science comes as close to “overthinking” as anything I know. To the scientific illiterate public, denying climate science sounds like a niche rejection, narrow and limited. But, in fact, denying climate science means denying a good chunk of Physics, in the sense of denying conclusions of a good chunk of Physics, it means denying the logical process and strands that connects Physics with other sciences, and, worst of all, in my book, it means denying logic, in the same way that the Pythagoreans denied the proof of the existence of irrational numbers. (Pythagoreans “believed” only in whole integers.) So it’s much much worse than a limited rejection.

    “Science denialist” or “science rejectionist” sounds about right to me.


  3. At the risk of offending a baseball team, I propose “climate dodger”. 🙂

  4. uknowispeaksense Says:

    “Sceptic” even with the “” gives them too much credit. Personally I couldn’t care less about their faux outrage and tenuous assertions that it is akin to holocaust denial. Denial is denial. If you deny the holocaust, you’re a denier. If you deny the moon landings, you’re a denier. If you deny that Elvis died, you’re a denier and if you deny that the climate is being changed by human activity you’re a denier.
    I once tried to be polite about it and refer to these morons as cynics, but I’m beyond caring about their hurt feelings. They are just as responsible as the big polluters themselves for the delay in action and I am pleased that their idiotic views are digitally recorded for future historians to look back on and use as case studies in idiocy.


  5. […] agitation and angst in some circles regarding the proper term to dub individuals who, however technical their training, reject the […]


  6. How about tinfoil-hatter? It bumps the ridicule level a notch while depriving deni^h^H^H^Htinfoil-hatters the opportunity to scream “you called us Nazis!”


  7. […] For me science rejectionist sounds like the best all ’round description if that groove is worth remaining in. My reasons? As I wrote in a comment to Science Denial Crock of the Week, […]


  8. My alternative for “climate change doubter” would be “mitigation sceptic”. Another good option is “climate ostrich”.

    “Doubter” is much better than “climate sceptic”, but it is rare to see one of these political radicals express doubts. They normally claim to be pretty sure that everything is wrong.

    My new post on the topic: AP, how about the term “mitigation sceptic”?

    • dumboldguy Says:

      MITIGATION sceptic??? Nicely argued on your blog, but you’re WAY too deep into semantics and navel gazing—-most of the morons in the USA think of only one thing when they see that word—-“…all them brown and black and yellow skinned folks who talk funny and illegally mitigate across our border so they can steal ‘Murican jobs. live on welfare, and have anchor babies”.

      I second uknow and Keith O. IMO, denier is the straightforward and proper word, and we need to start off discussions by calling deniers LIARS, because no one with half a brain and half an education can honestly doubt or deny the facts that are accepted by ALL the scientists who are not paid whores for fossil fuels (or mentally defective in some way and need to be contrarian just to get attention).

      ANY denier BS should be met immediately with a simple statement to the effect that “That’s not true, the science says otherwise, and the person who said it is either ignorant of the facts or is deliberately lying, which is especially sinful if they claim to be a scientist”.

      Why waste time defining mitigation, talking about ostriches, and arguing semantics?—-just put on the “boot of truth” and start kicking ass. Basic infantry tactics revolve around attack, and IMO this is an analogous situation. Of course, that means you need to be fairly well informed about AGW and climate deniers to fight the battle properly. Crock, Skeptical Science, and desmogblog are three good places to start.

      PS There are already a number of on-line petitions to the AP from various activist groups, demanding that this BS be rescinded. Google “petitions to the ap about climate denier” and you’ll get hits for them (and for some of the frothing at the mouth about it from the right wing-nuts). It doesn’t take long to sign on or two.


      • I like your passion. If we could get more people who already accept the science to be so passionate about solving climate change, those few percent mitigation sceptics would not be able to influence politics. (Or maybe more accurately, it would be too dangerous for politicians to be bribed and pretend to believer the mitigation sceptics.)

        For the same reason, the People’s climate march is much more important than this strange “debate” on the interwebs.

        In one-way communication I see no problem using accurate terminology.

        In two-way communications your preferences would only lead to a shouting match. They can shout just as well as you can. Maybe even better; what they have less experience with is building a good argument. Plus we have science on our side. Better use your strengths, if you want to win.

        In the climate “debate” everyone knows what mitigation is. But you are right that it may be too technical for mass media. Then the alternative would be: climate ostrich.

      • j4zonian Says:

        I prefer denying delayalist.

        It’s a little awkward but it covers the whole thing—they’re denying some aspect of climate science—that it’s happening, that it’s human-caused, that it’s dangerous… etc. and they’re doing it, whether they’re conscious of it or not, to delay rational action to avoid catastrophe, so that 1. the richest people in the world can get richer, 2. others can get pocket change helping them, and 3. to avoid the unpleasant emotions that confronting one’s own misconceptions about the nature of life involve. I think it’s important to mention at every chance, the reason for the whole campaign of denial, and that’s to delay wise change.

        And everywhere possible we shouldn’t meet denying delayalists with argument, which just stimulates their sadistic nature and encourages them to spread their infection. We should just delete their messages, ban them and prevent any postings at all where possible. Enough of their proprietary fracking fluid—aka lies, conscious or not.

        It’s time to act for our survival*, and regardless of their reasons or lack of consciousness, listening to traitors to all life on Earth is counterproductive to those acts. Except in therapy, which is where they should all be, and they should be reminded of that every chance we get—with all due respect, sincerity and hopes for a speedy recovery.

        * “our” survival meaning all life on Earth

  9. dumboldguy Says:

    We are on the same team, but what I was objecting to was your LACK of “passion” and tendency toward semantic navel-gazing. It is TOTAL BS to allow the AP to get away with this by using the excuse that it is somehow connected with “holocaust deniers”. These scientists denying AGW are simply LIARS and even calling them deniers is way too generous.

    I’ll say it again, “mitigation sceptic” is just a drop-back position for those who can’t argue against the AGW science anymore because the weight of the evidence is against them (although some LYING POS’s among them still keep trying). They have switched to the non-science arguments of the moronic economists—“mitigating” CO2 will cost jobs, the developing nations will never develop without cheap fossil fuels, global poverty will not decrease, etc.”, and the ever-popular “we don’t know enough about AGW and don’t want to throw $$$ away if it turns out to be nothing but ‘natural variability’ causing the warming”.

    The “ostrich” is too cutesy and cartoony, and evokes visions of Daffy Duck, Elmer Fudd, and Bugs Bunny. Might get the ignorant droolers’ attention at first, but you are then faced with the same basic problem—-dealing with the FACT that the deniers are not birds but LYING SOB HUMANS, and that the scientists among them SHOULD and DO know better but have chosen to lie..

    You are 100% right on with “….the People’s climate march is much more important than this strange “debate” on the interwebs”. It’s getting nearer to torches and pitchforks time, and you are too much wrapped up in your own argument when you talk about how “….my preferences would only lead to a shouting match. They can shout just as well as you can”. It is NOT shouting to simply refuse to play their lying game and forcefully speak truth or to point out that all THEY do is “shout lies”, and it approaches dumb to suggest that they are “Maybe even better” even though they DO NOT and ever will have”a good argument” to shout about.

    It is precisely because “we have science on our side” that I advocate a stronger approach to denialism. That’s the strength, and it needs to be pursued with passion. Playing the “polite bullshit game” with them has not been a winning strategy—-they have succeeded in denying and obfuscating the truth for decades now, and we are running out of time.

    • dumboldguy Says:

      “…DO NOT and Never will have a good argument”

    • otter17 Says:

      In some sense, I think mitigation skeptics are deniers as well, given the wealth of economics studies that have been conducted on the subject. Usually, the person is just ignorant of the Stern, Nordhaus, Watkiss, economics studies. Still, ignorance of the evidence to support the notion that mitigation is many times cheaper than full adaptation is no defense given the stakes.

      A good discussion for sure… one that we never see happening among those that bandy about the terms “alarmists” or “warmistas”!


  10. First, I wanted to commend Bob Garfield for his interview with Seth Borenstein. In the face of ridiculous statements by Mr Borenstein, he continued to press the issue to try to understand what is really happening here. In my opinion, denier is exactly the right word for those who oppose the science of global warming. Given the overwhelming evidence of the data and models, anyone who takes a contrary view it either very poorly informed or educated, or has a specific political position to promote. I have always said that if anyone cares deeply about the result of a scientific experiment, that alone should disqualify him from doing it. We just are not good at separating our animal desires from our rational processes. The choice of the word denial, with its connection to the holocaust, has exactly the correct resonance. In the case of the holocaust and in the climate case, people are taking positions that cannot be arrived at through rational analysis primarily because it promotes a world view they would like to support. Such thought processes don’t have any place in the interpretation of scientific data. I am becoming more convinced that given the amount of warning we have been given by the scientific community, that if we delay and cause major disasters for humanity, we deserve it. Sad but true.


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