Tag Archives: Science

How To Be a Denialist in Ten Easy Steps

In the latest New Scientist they cover the ever blooming fields of denialism that popped up everywhere or that bloomed anew in the first decade of the new millennium. One of their references is an important paper from Martin Mckee, and it’s at the European Journal of Public Health.
Here are his main points on how to be a denialist, I’ve expanded some bullets where I believe Martin conflated two separate tactics in the Denialist Arsenal.

  1. Allege that there’s a conspiracy. Claim that scientific consensus has arisen through collusion rather than the accumulation of evidence.
  2. Use fake experts to support your story. “Denial always starts with a cadre of pseudo-experts with some credentials that create a facade of credibility,” says Seth Kalichman of the University of Connecticut.
  3. Cherry-pick the evidence: trumpet whatever appears to support your case and ignore or rubbish the rest.
  4. Carry on trotting out supportive evidence even after it has been discredited.
  5. Create impossible standards for your opponents. Claim that the existing evidence is not good enough and demand more.
  6. If your opponent comes up with evidence you have demanded, move the goalposts.
  7. Use logical fallacies. Hitler opposed smoking, so anti-smoking measures are Nazi.
  8. Deliberately misrepresent the scientific consensus and then knock down your straw man.
  9. Manufacture doubt. Falsely portray scientists as so divided that basing policy on their advice would be premature.
  10. Insist “both sides” must be heard and cry censorship when “dissenting” arguments or experts are rejected.

Simple but Eloquent Proofs of our Common Ancestry

Science uses some of the SINEs and LINEs of our times to track our common ancestry, and determine some of what had to be true of your evolution and mine.

Our great national shame is that only Turkey has lower belief in the science of evolution than we do. We can not hope to maintain our lead in science, technology and to keep our pre-eminence as a world power if this ignorance continues  far into this century.

Holier than Thou: Outcast for Promoting Science

Within some extreme fundamentalist sects of Islam there’s a doctrine known as “Takfirism”  – it’s most often used by terrorists like Ayman Al Zawhari, or by fundamentalist schools to justify killing other muslims through declaring them apostate. To boil it down to simple terms, on one pretext or another (your beard was trimmed to you played a music CD, etc, ) a person is declared Takfir and branded as apostate, and for the more extreme fundamentalists apostates are subject to death as punishment. To put it in simplest terms you are declared a heretic by someone who claims to be holier than you in your own faith.

For real Takfir most real scholars believe that the person who becomes Takfir must make a declaration of such or an open denial of some major component of their faith, you become Takfir through your own declaration or decision, not the declaration or or decision of another.

What’s this got to do with you and I?

In an earlier article I pointed out how Fox is either a sucker for the most fundamentalist views in Christianity, or they are are actively promoting those over mainstream Christian views, take your pick. In the US these fundamentalists use a similar “holier than thou” stance to brand anyone who doesn’t promote exact, literal, biblical inerrancy as a heretic and to cast them out. (Note that none of these  extremist Christians are so wrapped up in their own rhetoric that they think killing due to this is justified as some off flavor Salafi and Wahhabists in Islam do.)

Here’s another example as a followup to my earlier post, to demonstrate how intolerant these fringes really are and how ABC news is also a sucker for the extremists just like Fox:

In this segment they bring in notable Answers in Genesis whack ball Ken Ham try to refute the guy. You might remember Ken from the infamous “Creationism Museum” in KY, you know the one where they imply that all black people are cursed.

Greenhouse Effect and Global Warming Were Known About in the Late 50’s

Greenhouse Effect and Global Warming Were Known About in the Late 50’s

In his latest Climate Denial Crock of the Week Peter Sinclair points out that we’ve known about the effects of CO2 and the Greenhouse effect since the 1950’s. The debate has never really been over whether CO2 can effect the world’s temperature, it’s always been about figuring out how much and how soon. I’ve known about this since the 80’s, and it was one of the factors that convinced me to become an advocate for nuclear energy – I was reading debates by some of my favorite authors about the various dooms posed by the Club of Rome and others, and nuclear energy seemed to address most if not all of those best. It was clean, and it could be cheap – with nuclear we could beat four of the horsemen: hunger, water shortages, global warming, and population.

During the past three years I’ve considered that the others were more important, and still do to this day. I published quite a few articles posing challenges to some of the more alarmist of the global warming claims thinking we had plenty of time to get there and that other matters were more important. That focus has changed, since the data keeps stacking up and getting more alarming, it’s time we start addressing global warming because waiting until the second half of the century will be too late. Something I had thought we could procrastinate on has come due.

I still do not think cap and trade and the other schemes are sufficient, and I don’t like them because they are coercive. Those type of plans usually fail. Instead I prefer that our country become the prime provider of clean, cheap, nuclear energy for a needy world — besides that clean energy is a bull market and blue sky – we need to stay ahead of that market for the future prosperity of our nation. Instead of billions in money flowing to other countries in a mad shell game we should instead just help build reactors. You can see some of the other factors that we need to consider and why nuclear is so important if we are to keep it real in this article where I roundly slam Al Gore.

UPDATE: Here’s one of the early modern articles from 1956 on CO2 and its effects, it wasn’t the slightest bit controversial when it appeared.