2011-01-18 08:53:54Skepticism vs denialism
John Cook

john@skepticalscience...
121.222.100.112

Nice summation from Lou Grinzo in an email (I think he also posted something to this effect on his website):

1. We're all born ignorant of everything.  We all remain ignorant of many things throughout life, or only come to learn about them later in life than would be optimal.  (Amish saying: We grow too soon old and too late smart.)

2. Skepticism when encountering new things is usually a healthy thing. 
Helps keep scam artists at bay, prevents many women from dating men of questionable character, etc.

3. When someone is engaged on a topic for an extended period of time (meaning several to many times longer than would be necessary for anyone with Internet access and a modicum of good faith to educate him/herself), then disagreeing with the vast majority of experts on any topic is not "skepticism" but "denial".

4. There will always be a small segment of people who truly are climate change skeptics.  This is a natural transitory state all newcomers approaching the topic in good faith should pass through.  We can help them with that process, but only if they're willing to be helped.

5. The climate change deniers are just that, deniers.  There is no reasonable excuse for their position; it's a willful rejection of reality based on ideology and/or financial interest.

2011-01-18 09:31:293
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
38.223.231.252

It might be worth clarifying that #3 is true as long as the person doesn't have some degree of expertise in the subject as well, and of course it's only true when the vast majority of experts agree.

I'm then reminded of the 'no trick zone' denialist blog Rob H. linked to (in General Chat for his warming vs. cooling wager with those frequenting the blog).  The blog author keeps referring to a 'growing number' or even 'growing consensus' of 'scientists' predicting global cooling.  Their argument is basically that as long as some 'experts' disagree with the consensus, there's reason to believe the consensus is wrong.  The problem here is that they think guys like Don Easterbrook and Joe Bastardi are 'experts'.  And of course since nobody frequenting that blog is in any position to accurately assess which 'side' is right (they make some really dumb arguments there), another question is why they think that minority is right.  They really have no valid reason to believe it, because they don't even understand basic climate science.  It then boils down to their biases, wanting the minority to be right.  But of course they won't admit that, and therein lies the denial.  They're convinced by dumb Bastardi-style arguments because they want to be convinced.

2011-01-19 09:10:03
citizenschallenge
Peter Miesler
citizenschallenge7@gmail...
166.164.130.228

dana1981: "... another question is why they think that minority is right.  They really have no valid reason to believe it, because they don't even understand basic climate science.  It then boils down to their biases, wanting the minority to be right..."

Or because it is required, in order to cling to one's political/religious identity... objectives