A modest proposal to Skeptical Science

UPDATE: Some new data has come to light, see below.

As Bishop Hill and WUWT readers know, there’s been a lot of condemnation of the way John Cook’s Skeptical Science website treated Dr. Roger Pielke Sr. recently when he attempted to engage the website. Shub Niggarath did a good job of summing up the issue (and demonstrating all the strikeouts of Dr. Pielke’s  comments) here, which he calls a “dark day in the climate debate”.

As the issue found its way through the blogosphere, the condemnation of the technique became almost universal. Pielke Sr. tried again, but finally resigned himself and gave up trying to communicate. WUWT received some criticism from SkepticalScience as a rebuttal to the issue of “Christy Crocks” and other less than flattering labels applied by the Skeptical Science website to sceptical scientists whom they don’t like. They objected to the category I had for Al Gore, (Al Gore is an idiot) which I created when Mr. Gore on national television claimed the Earth was “several million degrees” at “2 kilometers or so down”. I thought the comment was idiotic, and thus deserved that label.

In the dialog with Dr. Pielke this label issue was brought up, and I found out about it when he mentioned it in this post: My Interactions With Skeptical Science – A Failed Attempt (So Far) For Constructive Dialog.

I decided the issue of the Gore label, like Dr. Pielke’s complaint about labels like “Christy Crocks”, was valid, and decided immediately to address the issue. It took me about an hour of work to change every Gore related post to a new category (simply Al Gore) and delete the old one. I then sent an email to Dr. Pielke telling him that I had taken the suggestion by Skeptical Science and Dr. Pielke seriously, and changed the category, with the hope that Skeptical Science would follow the example in turn. You can read my letter here.

Meanwhile Skeptical Science dug it its heels, resisting the change, and Josh decided that it might be time to create a satirical cartoon, about how Skeptical Science’s proprietor, John Cook had painted himself into a corner not only with the labeling issue, but because Bishop Hill had caught Skeptical Science doing some post facto revisionism (months afterwards, logged by the Wayback Machine) making moderators inserted rebuttal comments look better, which in turn made commenters original comments look dumber.

Of course the original commenters had no idea they were being demeaned after the fact since the threads were months old and probably never visited again. The exercise was apparently done for the eyes of search engine landings.

Both WUWT and Bishop Hill carried the cartoon.

I figured, since Mr. Cook makes part of his living as a cartoonist, he’d appreciate the work. While he has since removed the reference to his cartoon work from his current Skeptical Science “About us” page, it does survive on the Wayback Machine from December 2007 like those previous versions of commenter web pages that have been edited. A screencap is below:

The cartoon where he spoofs Mr. Gore is something I can’t show here, due to copyright limitations (there’s a paywall now on Cook’s sev.com.au cartooning website) but it does survive in the Wayback Machine here.

So point is, like me, even Mr. Cook has spoofed Mr. Gore in the past, he’s an easy target, especially when he makes absurd claims like  the temperature of the interior of the Earth being millions of degrees.

While we haven’t (to my knowledge) heard from Mr. Cook what he thinks about Josh’s latest bit of cartoon satire, we all have heard plenty from Skeptical Science’s active author/moderator “Dana1981″

While we could go on for ages over what was said, what was rebutted, etc, I’m going to focus on one comment from Dana1981 that piqued my interest due to it being a splendid window of opportunity for us all.

Dana wrote in the WUWT cartoon thread:

dana1981 Submitted on 2011/09/24 at 5:42 pm

Please, can people stop using the acronym “SS”? The correct acronym is “SkS”

Dana probably doesn’t realize the magnitude of the opportunity he opened up with that one comment for his beloved Skeptical Science website, hence this post.

For the record: this was my reply:

REPLY: On this we agree, folks please stop using it. Now Dana, would you agree to stop referring to people here and elsewhere using that other distasteful WWII phrase “deniers”. You’ll get major props if you announce that. – Anthony

Note that this wasn’t the first time I admonished WUWT commenters on the issue,I also said it as a footer note in this thread:

Note to commenters, on some other blogs the Skeptical Science website is referred to as SS.com with the obvious violations of Godwins Law immediately applied. Such responses will be snipped here in this thread should they occur.

Dana is obviously upset about the “SS” abbreviation, due to the immediate connection many people have to the feared and reviled Schutzstaffel in World War II. I understand Dana’s concern first hand, because when I first started my SurfaceStations project, I had a few people abbreviate it as SS.org and I asked them to stop for the same reason. I suspect that like me, when Skeptical Science created the name for their website, they had no thought towards this sort of ugly and unfortunate abbreviation usage.

But this distaste for “SS” as an abbreviated label opens up (or paints a corner if you prefer) another issue for Skeptical Science – their continued serial use of that other ugly and unfortunate WWII phrase “deniers” in the context of “holocaust deniers”. Of course some will try to argue there’s no connection, but we know better, especially since the person who is credited with popularizing the usage, columnist Ellen Goodman, makes a clear unambiguous connection:

I would like to say we’re at a point where global warming is impossible to deny. Let’s just say that global warming deniers are now on a par with Holocaust deniers, though one denies the past and the other denies the present and future.Ellen Goodman, Boston Globe, February 9, 2007 “No change in political climate” on the Wayback Machine here

Skeptical Science authors, moderators, and commenters know that people involved in the climate debate here and elsewhere don’t like the “denier” label any more than Skeptical Science like the “SS” label.

The big difference though becomes clear when you do a site specific Google Search:

A similar search on WUWT for “SS” using the internal WordPress engine search yields two results, Dana’s comment/my response, and another commenter asking about the issue which is fair game. The other handful of “SS” references Dana 1981 were removed from the thread per his request (click to enlarge image):

So,  since Dana1981 has not answered my query about the use of the word “denier” on Skeptical Science and since there is such a huge disparity in usages (thousands versus two), I thought this would be a good opportunity to bring the issue forward.

In addition to their own sensitivity over ugly and unfortunate WWII labels, Skeptical Science has two other good reasons to stop using the term “denier”.

1. Their own comments policy page, which you can see here on the Wayback Machine (Feb 18th, 2011 since I can’t find a link anymore from the main page, correct me if I am wrong), emphasis mine:

No ad hominem attacks. Attacking other users or anyone holding a different opinion to you is common in debates but gets us no closer to understanding the science. For example, comments containing the words ‘religion’ and ‘conspiracy’ tend to get deleted. Comments using labels like ‘alarmist’ and ‘denier’ are usually skating on thin ice.

Interestingly, the first appearance of the comments policy page (Jan 17, 2010) said this:

No ad hominem attacks. Attacking other users, scientists or anyone holding a different opinion to you is common in debates but gets us no closer to understanding the science. For example, comments containing the words ‘alarmist’, ‘religion’ and ‘conspiracy’ are usually skating on thin ice.

So clearly they have moved to address the use of the word “denier” in policy, which seems to have appeared in March 2010, but strangely I can’t find any link to the comments policy page on their main page today that would allow users to know of it. Again correct me if I have missed it.

2. The other good reason is their recent Australian Museum Eureka Prize award (Congratulations by the way to John Cook) which has this to say in their code of conduct policy

Not calling people you disagree with on science issues “deniers” with a broad brush would be consistent with both Skeptical Science’s and The Australian Museum policies on how to treat people. Mr. Cook might even ask the Museum to remove the phrase from their press release (2011 Australian Museum Eureka Prizes Winner Press Release pdf – 1,419 kb) since it clearly violates the Australian Museum’s own written policy:

While he and Dana1981 may not realize it, there’s an excellent opportunity here for Mr. Cook to redeem himself and his Skeptical Science website in the eyes of many.

My “modest proposal” is simply this:

Make a declaration on your website, visible to all, that the use of the word “denier” is just as distasteful as the use of “SS” to abbreviate the website Skeptical Science, and pledge not to allow the use of the word there again. Update your own comments policy and ask the Australian Museum to adhere to their own policy of respect on the treatment of people, and remove it from their press release as well. As Eureka winner, you are now in a unique position to ask for this.

In turn, I’ll publicly ask people not to use “SS” in referring to your website, and to ask that in the future the phrase “AGW proponents” is used to describe what some people call “warmists” and ask the many bloggers and persona’s I know and communicate with to do the same. I’m pretty sure they would be thrilled to return the gesture of goodwill if you act upon this. I’ll bet Josh would even draw a new cartoon for you, one suitable for framing. (Update: Josh agrees, see comments)

You have a unique opportunity to make a positive change in the climate debate Mr. Cook, take the high road, and grab that brass ring. Thank you for your consideration. – Anthony

——————–

UPDATE: Tom Curtis in Australia in comments works mightily to defend the use of the phrase “climate denier”. One of his arguments is that the word “denier” has a long period of use, going back to 1532, and of course he makes the claim (as most AGW proponents do) that “we shouldn’t be upset about the phrase” because there (and I’m paraphrasing) “really isn’t much of a connection”. He didn’t accept examples such as the one Ellen Goodman made in 2007 that really propelled the phrase into worldwide consciousness via her syndicated column.

So I thought about this for a bit, how could I demonstrate that the word “denier”, by itself, has strong connotations to the atrocities of WWII? Then I remembered the ngram tool from Google Labs, which tracks word usage over time in books. So I ran the word “denier”, and here is the result:

Note the sharp peak right around WWII and afterwards, as books and stories were written about people who denied the horrible atrocities ever happened. No clearer connection between WWII atrocities denial and the word “denier” by itself could possibly exist. It’s a hockey stick on the uptake.

Curiously, the phrase “climate denier” is flatlined in books, probably because many book editors rightly see it as an offensive term and don’t allow it in the manuscript:

UPDATE2: In comments, Tom Curtis now tries to claim that “holocaust denial” is a recent invention, and thus the peak use of the word “denier” after WWII has no correlation with the war. This updated graph shows otherwise:

As would be expected, the word “Nazi” starts a sharp peak around 1939, and then starts tapering off after the war ends. In parallel, and as the war progresses and ends, the word “denier” starts peaking after the war, as more and more people denied the atrocities. But as we see in the Jewish Virtual Library historical account, “denial” started right after the war.

Paul Rassinier, formerly a “political” prisoner at Buchenwald, was one of the first European writers to come to the defense of the Nazi regime with regard to their “extermination” policy. In 1945, Rassinier was elected as a Socialist member of the French National Assembly, a position which he held for less than two years before resigning for health reasons. Shortly after the war he began reading reports of extermination in Nazi death camps by means of gas chambers and crematoria. His response was, essentially, “I was there and there were no gas chambers.” It should be remembered that he was confined to Buchenwald, the first major concentration camp created by the Hitler regime (1937) and that it was located in Germany. Buchenwald was not primarily a “death camp” and there were no gas chambers there. He was arrested and incarcerated in 1943. By that time the focus of the “Final Solution” had long since shifted to the Generalgouvernement of Poland. Rassinier used his own experience as a basis for denying the existence of gas chambers and mass extermination at other camps. Given his experience and his antisemitism, he embarked upon a writing career which, over the next 30 years, would place him at the center of Holocaust denial. In 1948 he published Le Passage de la Ligne, Crossing the Line, and, in 1950, The Holocaust Story and the Lie of Ulysses. In these early works he attempted to make two main arguments: first, while some atrocities were committed by the Germans, they have been greatly exaggerated and, second, that the Germans were not the perpetrators of these atrocities — the inmates who ran the camps instigated them. In 1964 he published The Drama of European Jewry, a work committed to debunking what he called “the genocide myth.” The major focus of this book was the denial of the gas chambers in the concentration camps, the denial of the widely accepted figure of 6 million Jews exterminated and the discounting of the testimony of the perpetrators following the war. These three have emerged in recent years as central tenets of Holocaust denial.

These books and the reaction to them clearly account for the post war peak in the word “denier” [at least in part, the word denier also is used with nylon stockings which came into vogue during the period – see comment from Verity Jones] . My point is that the peak of the word “denier”, is associated with WWII and the atrocities committed that some people did not believe, and wrote about it. Unless Mr. Curtis wishes to start disputing the Jewish historical account, clearly the peak is related and I find it amusing he is working so hard to distance the word from this association with WWII. Sadly, it is what users of the word do to justify their use of it when using it to describe skeptics, which is the whole point of this post.

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Note to commenters and moderators – extra diligence is required on this thread, and tolerance for off topic, rants, or anything else that doesn’t contribute positively to the conversation is low.

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343 thoughts on “A modest proposal to Skeptical Science

  1. Yes, this is a mature and reasonable proposal, and lets hope that it is received in the spirit offered. Congratulations. And congratulations to Mr Cook if he takes it up. It will greatly improve the quality of debate.

  2. Good luck with that. Maybe I’m overly cynical, but I’ve noticed that the left (and I definately include the AGW movement as leftist) demand standards of behavior that they are not willing to apply to themselves. Indeed, this is so pervasive that I use it as a way of identifying leftist political movements.

  3. Well played.

    And, FWIW, there is a real website at SS (dot) com and it deals with … Social Security. But I agree that using SkS as an abbreviation for Mr. Cook’s site is far fairer and more neutral. Name-calling won’t advance the cause of science.

  4. I really don’t understand what the point is of trying to engage SS here. They’re shilling for the alarmists and without the hyperbole, cherry picking and other such nonsense they know their argument is eminently ignorable. So you know, why waste your energy on it? It’s going to remain the top hit for many GW issues for as long as Goggle’s proprietors are raging tree huggers.

    REPLY: Because I like to give everyone an opportunity to do something positive. Most people know what they should do, but sometimes it helps for others to remind them to listen to themselves. – Anthony

  5. I have tracked and participated to a small degree in the recent discussion concerning SkS here, at SkS, at Bishop Hill’s and most recently at Luica’s Blackboard. In general the tone of SkS regulars towards with those who are skeptical of CAGW or lukewarmers has been OK, though the recent interactions with RPSr were definitely strident and non-inviting.
    I assume, therefore, that JC, Dana and other SkS regulars would have no trouble agreeing to your request. Whether all will be able to abide by the civil discourse guidelines, however, will be another story.

  6. A reasonable policy – I will comply.

    Paul

    P.S. Don’t you just love the Wayback Machine? :-) Who knew all those hours of my youth watching Rocky and Bullwinkle would help my cultural/nerdist understandings? (Of course, the original was called the WABAC machine, dontcha know.)

  7. Hope springs eternal! Here’s to hoping the rhetoric gets toned down. Even if they don’t care to play, good for you taking the high road, Anthony.

  8. Personally speaking, I believe that one should conduct the debate according to ones own standards. It’s not a question of saying ‘I’ll be civilised if you will also be civilised’

    If you did go over the top by calling Al G names, then apologise, move on, and make sure it doesn’t happen again.
    Having said that, I do hope they will accept your offer, it’s clearly heartfelt.

    EO

  9. He he.I never thought it made sense to use the SS stuff anyway.Why stoop low,while complaining about the “Denier” word they commonly use?

    I have a habit of calling them AGW believers.A neutral phrase works well for me.But then that is a brand they are losing interest in these days.A phrase that is beginning to put then into an untenable position of supporting.

    I am glad that you are taking the high road on this.It is for the benefit of everyone in reducing conflicts by cutting out the baseless and hostile phrases.

  10. There is some usage of Holocaust denial connections going back a littler earlier in the UK, by two journalist in 2 different Mainstream Media (non tabloid) UK newspapers.

    (one of whom has been publically disgraced for his behaviour involving extensive misquoting, plagiarism and the abuse and smearing of journalistic rivals and collegues on wikipedia under the psuedonym David Rose- the journalist Johann Hari.) both journalists will have made significant ‘contributions’ to the issue of climate change.

    http://www.spectator.co.uk/coffeehouse/7240523/from-the-archives-is-that-you-johann-hari.thtml

    Johann Hari is/was The Independant star prize winning columnist/journalist

    The Independent – The shame of the climate-change deniers – April 2005
    More than 10,000 reputable scientists believe in man-made global warming; seven doubt it

    Hari concludes:

    “The climate-change deniers are rapidly ending up with as much intellectual credibility as creationists and Flat Earthers. Indeed, given that 25,000 people died in Europe in the 2003 heatwave caused by anthropogenic climate change, given that the genocide unfolding in Darfur has been exacerbated by the stresses of climate change, given that Bangladesh may disappear beneath the rising seas in the next century,

    they are nudging close to having the moral credibility of Holocaust deniers.

    They are denying the reality of a force that – unless we change the way we live pretty fast – will kill millions.

    —————–
    Some oft repeated early climate sceptic linkages too ‘denier’ is also shown in the above.

    A year later.George Monbiot (The Guardian) had this to say:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2006/sep/21/comment.georgemonbiot

    “Almost everywhere, climate change denial now looks as stupid and as unacceptable as Holocaust denial. But I’m not celebrating yet.

    The danger is not that we will stop talking about climate change, or recognising that it presents an existential threat to humankind. The danger is that we will talk ourselves to kingdom come.”
    —————

    The Guardian and George Monbiot judgement imh, went out oft he window, when they published George very own Top Ten Photo Hall of Shame of climate change deniers.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/georgemonbiot/2009/mar/06/climate-change-deniers-top-10

    REPLY: Thanks, I never claimed Goodman was first, but it really took off after she popularized it, her column was widely syndicated and quoted – Anthony

  11. The positions assumed by some of the more fanatical SkS contributors are so deeply entrenched that it will be difficult for them to change their approach. In fact they may possibly prefer discontinuing contributing if it ceases to be a convenient soapbox for their style of preaching.

    However I believe that John Cook himself may support such a suggestion as it might allow him to regain some semblance of control back from the zealots who effectively hijacked the site through continued hypocritical abuse of the moderation process and the comments policy.

    This recent episode drew my attention back to the site, having given it up as a joke some time ago due to the ongoing poor treatment of some of the more worthy sceptical contributors, whose reasoning and attention to detail in the arguments put, generally forced their opponents onto the back foot and highlighted the extent to which they, the SkS team are inflicted with the. Dunning–Kruger effect, perhaps best typified by the revelation of the book review presented by dana1981 of a book he later conceded having not read.

    Having said all that I have detected changes taking place at SkS where many of the arguments seem to be swinging away from the previous black and white positions towards that of those who have long argued against the science being settled. These changes are subtle and I doubt if any of the science is settled crowd are even aware they are taking place, but they would be evident to anyone who has not visited the site for some time

  12. I am afraid things will only worse now that it is clear they have lost the American and Australian public, with Canada leaning toward skepticism. Some countries such as China and Russia simply don’t care about the issue except to the extent it makes the West weaker. All in all, Warmists are talking to themselves and no one else.

  13. Much as I agree with your sentiment, Anthony, Sir – I do think this is somewhat too PC for me. I agre that there will always be those who seek to denigrate others via some form of acronym or other – but did anyone really use the skeptical science abbreviation as a deliberate reference to Hitlers elite? Yes, it follows that any abbreviation may well be denigrating, but as a confirmed D word person – I don’t take offence as I don’t think of it as denigrating – in fact I’m probably quite proud of denying the alleged concensus!

    I will, of course, respect your wishes – but I do think it is allowing the political correctness to rear its extremely ugly head again!

    Of course, the downside is that further ‘terms’ will be coined….
    and add to that the fact that when someone says any approved ‘new’ term – we will REALLY know what they mean! Ergo, it is really rather pointless – IMHO.

    Take a typical expletive – re-writing it as xxxxing this or xxxxing that, doesn’t really help in the readers interpretation – it’s just the bloomin presentation for the sake of those easily offended! In this instance, this is justified, as swearing is indeed offensive – but I’m sorry, a AGW proponent is indeed a person of the warming persuasion and I don’t see how the ‘former’ used term is offensive!

    Again, whilst I do think you are making a good proposal – I fear that realistically it will NOT defer the vitriolic style outpourings from various sides – but merely deflect them into alternative language?

  14. For the most part I agree with you on this, Mr. Watts. However I (and I believe many others) don’t consider the term ‘Warmists’ to be an insulting term, not like ‘Alarmist’ or ‘Denier’. I’ve usually seen it used as a basic descriptive term, along with ‘Skeptic’ and ‘Lukewarmers’, as a means of denoting which side of the debate someone is on.

  15. There is a special irony for some… I have a Chinese-made copy of a Russian firearm known as an SKS. Fine, if albeit cheap, firearm. You can bet the factories that made them care little for climate change….

  16. SkS eh? So now they are seismic S wave traversing the mantle as a P wave and re-emerging as and S wave after the transit?

    [snip – not a positive contribution]

  17. Take a look at the latest Economist magazine use of the denial word. Republican “denials” and “warming denial”. It is also uses alarmist hyperbole to a degree that would normal only be found in something like The National Enquirer.

    http://www.economist.com/node/21529001

    Opening paragraph:
    “AS THE American presidential election approaches, expect to hear plenty of talk in the months ahead about “energy independence”. Some candidates may also express fears over “peak oil”. The merits and terrors of nuclear power will be discussed. Anthropogenic climate change, or Republican denials of it, already has been. Energy is a critical issue in today’s political debate—as is only appropriate. Providing sufficient energy to seven billion increasingly affluent humans without burning up the planet may be humanity’s greatest challenge. “What is at stake”, writes Daniel Yergin, “is the future itself.””

    2nd last Paragraph:
    “That is a lot to worry about, and Mr Yergin’s book, which includes almost 100 pages on the history of climate science and politics, should be required reading for all those in warming denial. ”

    Such a pity that what was once a great weekly journal has become so infantile, trivial and irrelevant.

  18. I’d like to point out, IMHO, that Anthony’s position, while well meaning and noble, will probably not be very fruitful since to expect irrational people to act rationally is mostly a futile expectation. .

    Cook’s website is not about skepticism or science, it is about misrepresentation, distortion, and manipulation while degrading any proponent of an opposing view.

  19. For example, comments containing the words ‘religion’ and ‘conspiracy’ tend to get deleted.

    I suggest that WUWT adopt the same policy.

    REPLY: did you notice that this post disappeared as soon as you posted it? That’s because those keywords are already flagged for further inspection of the comment – Anthony

  20. I simply disagree entirely with Anthony on this one.

    John

    REPLY: That’s OK, but let’s wait and see what happens before we pass any final judgements. Always give your opponent an option. – Anthony

  21. It took me about an hour of work to change every Gore related post to a new category (simply Al Gore) and delete the old one.

    Hmm, in the “categories” section of my Guide to WUWT, I update the last two weeks of posts every night, so I’ve picked up some of the “Al Gore” posts. I’ve considered reindexing everything from time to time, but I think the best thing here is just to change my database and rebuild whatever it is I’ll need to rebuild.

    Hmm, that code is over a year old now. I can figure it out again. Figuring out the magic MySQL command, hmm, should be trivial.

  22. There’s so much snipping tonight, it looks like a RealClimate redux. Watch out, Anthony, by over-reaching to the (self-snipped funny adjective) side, you’re risking to fall into it whole 8-)

    REPLY: I hear you, I just want to keep it positive – Anthony

  23. charles the moderator says:
    September 25, 2011 at 2:45 pm

    I believe you’ll find that this moderator at least has always used the terms AGW proponent and skeptic, although it is possible I may have slipped up once or twice in the last 3 or 4 years.

    FWIW, good scientists are arch-skeptics and are skeptical of their own findings (like neutrinos go faster in rocks than vacuum).

    There has been one attempt to retire the term “The Warmista.” I have mixed feelings on that, but it’s been cheapened enough by people using the plural form so apparently a lot of people don’t realize what it compares to.

    We really need some better terms. Minnesotans for Global Warming are certainly AGW proponents. However, their message is’t in sync with the Jim Hansen’s. :-)

  24. I wonder whether the ‘post’ or ‘censure’ dichotomy is the right way to go here. Why not borrow a page from the movie industry and rate all the posts by their degree of ad-hom., amount of mouth froth, etc.? That way both those who want civilized discussion as well as those who want to vent can get what they want. We can even rate the responses on more than one axis, with the editors noting that some posts use strong language to make, maybe, one or more valid points whereas others just use strong language. There is perhaps a half or quarter step already being made in this direction with some posts being partially censored, but I would in fact rather have the posts left intact and given the appropriate rating.

  25. “But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great…”
    The reward, if nothing else, is knowing you have done what is right. Good job, Anthony.

  26. Just received a letter from the United Nations Assoc of Canada.

    It states,

    “There has never been a time when the world has needed the United Nations more than it does today.

    Global Warming, pollution, threats to the global economy, rising food and oil prices, riots over food shortages, and the continued spread of HIV and AIDS…..”

    it goes on,

    “No individual government has the ability to find comprehensive solutions to these problems. Only a system of global governance can advance the agenda of human progress. That is why the United Nations is crucial to our future as a global society.”

    and,

    “…the people who have concluded that the United Nations is absolutely essential to envision and realize true human progress…”

    I am not a conspiracy theorist but this letter pretty much exploits every possible example of human suffering, and scare tactics in order to advance an agenda of global governance. At least that is the stated goal of the United Nations Assoc. of Canada. It puts the Rio “Earth Summit” in perspective.

  27. John Whitman says:
    September 25, 2011 at 2:49 pm
    I simply disagree entirely with Anthony on this one.
    John
    ==============================================================
    Me too John, their demeanor is their achilles heel and I think they should be encouraged to do more……..

    note to Anthony: I apologize, didn’t see the footnote the first time.
    Sorry……

  28. Schitzree says:

    “…I (and I believe many others) don’t consider the term ‘Warmists’ to be an insulting term, not like ‘Alarmist’…”

    The term “alarmist” comes from a great American sage, H. L. Mencken:

    “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.”

    The current global temperature is well within the parameters of the Holocene. Nothing unusual is happening. The temperature is not accelerating as predicted. The number of hurricanes and tornadoes is not increasing. It is becoming more evident that more CO2 is desirable, and causes no harm at all. And so on.

    But there is no money or power in explaining those facts. So the alarmists sound the alarm. It is a false alarm. Their predictions have failed. But still they alarm the populace. They are alarmists, no?

    Mencken also identifies the prime motivation of the alarmist/enviro crowd:

    The urge to save humanity is almost always a false front for the urge to rule.

  29. My reason for not liking the “climate change denier” tag is much simpler. I acknowledge, accept and respect climate change. I do not deny it.

    If need be, call me a CAGW denier. That is accurate as I deny catastrophic human caused climate change.

  30. SkS.

    I think I used the shortened version without the ‘k’ on Bishop Hill and perhaps on Lucia’s, until I realized that it was distracting from the real points I wanted to make.

    Folks who disagree with Anthony might consider that. If you want people to engage you constructively then use SkS.

    And for the religious amongst you … ( not moshpit, I assure you)

    “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”

  31. Just a slight afterthought, after reading most of the comments herein….
    don’t you think this may harm the site – having such a strict policy? especially for something that is really quite trivial (IMO)? Just asking…….from my experience this site has had such a reasonably good ‘protective’ attitude to freedom of speech up ’til now (within reason obviously!)

  32. I am not sure what you will achieve with this generous gesture. SkS is such a patently biased a web site and the author’s stance is quite clear. He is all about “winning” an argument regardless of whether he is scientifically correct or not. Any concessions you make will be taken by SkS and no ground will be given by them. Ask yourself, and this is merely one of the first links I clicked on their site, why there are no Democrats* on their “Climate Myths from Politicians” page?

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/skepticquotes.php

    A certain gent with the surname Gore springs to mind who has probably told more porkies (porky pies = lies) than the entire page of contenders he presents.

    And the SkS author wins a prize for promoting science communication …

    * It should be noted, though it is entirely irrelevant, that my political stance is left-of-centre by US standards. However this is irrelevant to the point I make here. The fact is that plenty of climate science garbage is spewed by both sides of politics, but SkS choses to show one side only. Hardly a scientific approach to exposing “climate myths.”

  33. Out of interest:

    Alarmist: “Person who tends to raise alarms, esp. without sufficient reason, as by exaggerating dangers or prophesying calamities”.

    For amusement:

    Denier: “A unit of measure for the linear mass density of fibers. It is defined as the mass in grams per 9000 meters”

  34. REPLY: That’s OK, but let’s wait and see what happens before we pass any final judgements. Always give your opponent an option. – Anthony

    ——————-

    Anthony,

    sarc on/

    Semi-Legal Disclaimer Notice : This comment is acronym free. No pseudo-skeptical blogs where harmed by acronyms in the production of this comment. Any resemblance to actual ad hominen in this comment is unintentional but is subject to pre-approval by adversarial non-skeptics. : )

    /sarc off

    You have a level of respect from me that cannot be reduced by my disagreement with you about a non-open and revisionist element of the blogosphere involved in the climate science debate.

    My Chinese wife of 31+ years has said to me, consistently and to my benefit, that per her culture I should never force a person that I am dealing with into a situation (corner) where they do not have a face saving (honorable) path to exit from.

    I understand, and my wife would agree, that you are offering a certain blog that kind of exit. I disagree with terms of the exit, too generous. Negotiation is expected? N’est ce pa?

    Good luck.

    John

  35. I have long felt that the name calling on this web site tended to obscure the actual information. If a person posting a “name calling” type of comment gets the message that this is not welcome, I think the signal-to-noise ratio will improve. What any other web site does is irrelevant.

  36. While I dislike the implementation of the SkS site, the underlying idea is actually good. It would be wonderful to have a site that presented the best CAGW proponent arguments alongside the best CAGW skeptic arguments, as well as ensuing counter-arguments from each. The general approach could be broadly modeled on the format of formal debate and judicial briefs.

    Instead of one side taking it upon itself to represent both points of view (a sure invitation to straw men as seen at SkS), I think a group moderated, side-by-side wiki format could work well. Each side of each topic area (for example “Cloud Feedbacks”) would have a volunteer moderator along with as many contributing authors as choose to volunteer. Both sides would have their own publicly viewable wiki-style discussion pages and a threaded forum for public comment and feedback. The moderators would agree to adhere to a basic code of conduct such as no ad hom etc.

    As one side expands or updates their case, the other side is notified of the changes (all changes are visible wiki-style) and can prepare their response. Sections and paragraphs would have a consistent numbering scheme and a link to counter-arguments would automatically be embedded after relevant paragraphs. This would serve to prevent misquoting or out-of-contexting by either side (or at least blatantly expose it). Readers would have the option to rate which side’s argument they felt was best on a topic by topic (or even sub-topic) level, providing the opposing sides with valuable feedback as to how well they are making their case.

    The beauty of such a system is that it becomes fairly self-regulating. No system can prevent one side from making ad hom attacks or straw man arguments but a system can make such bad behavior immediately obvious to readers and thus ultimately counter-productive to their case. As arguments and counter-arguments are traded, each will naturally become more refined as weak or spurious points are countered and the remaining points of true contention are expanded. This would be great because today so much of what is available has a signal to noise ratio that is abysmal.

    If someone were to create such a system, I would certainly donate to support it because I think it would become a valuable resource for both sides to see the best of the opposing arguments. Certainly there are some personalities that would refuse to participate in discourse on a truly level playing field, where they can’t have the last word and weak arguments are exposed, however there are many more who have the confidence and integrity to put their best arguments head-to-head against the best counter-arguments.

  37. A laudable aim, Anthony, but futile. John Cook is so wedded to the denier meme that he has even written a book about it, entitled “Climate Change Denial: Heads in the Sand”:

    I wouldn’t expect a response any time soon. Anyway, if Cook expunged all the instances of the word “denier” and its derivatives from SkS, there wouldn’t be anything left…

  38. our PM uses the word when refering to sceptics, so I dont see this blogger caring too much about what is said here. giving these people credit by posting about them is the wrong way to go. they are not a misinformation website by chance, so are not likely to ever care about truth or decency.

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/climate/politial-heat-rises-over-climate-denial-with-pm-accused-of-drawing-parallels-with-holocaust/story-e6frg6xf-1226026163930

  39. Here, I think, is what you’re facing. You are suggesting that reducing the amount of labeling will raise the debate. This is a very obvious strategy, it has been chosen many times before, when it comes to small communities, it can actually work.

    Where, however, does it end? The behavior you’re trying to alter here is the behavior of applying a label to those who are different or disagree with you. Simply removing a word does not remove this behavior, those with weak arguments and a desire to be heard will simply find another one, perhaps less applicable to history, perhaps with less negative connotation, but a label none-the-less. All it takes is a label for the perception of those attached to it to become negative very quickly. Luddite was just an old word used hundreds of years ago. However, when attached to those among us who shun cell-phones, it becomes something akin to “hick” very quickly.

    The situation we have is an argument wherein all the details have been hashed and re-hashed and screamed and shouted between the parties before many many times, and still there is no resolution. The lack of resolution is what leads to labels, not the existence of historical analogues.

    I wish you luck attempting to engage those who cannot admit error in disarmament talks. It will do nothing, I fear, to bridge the theological divide (that word chosen deliberately).

  40. Anthony, I applaud your attempt at communication with the [snip – AGW Proponents], but they are clearly beyond redemption. (Religious terminology deliberate).

    Seriously, their use of the DENIER term is not unfortunate, accidental or mis-understood; it is part of a conscious COMMUNICATION STRATEGY to marginalise all critics of the [snip – AGW proponent] Belief.

    REPLY: No argument there, but always give your opponent an option – Anthony

  41. Anthony, You are to be commended for taking the high road. You have a lot more patience than I do dealing with these people who obviously cannot be trusted to fairly represent anything except their own agenda.

    To those quoting the bible about being kind to your enemy, there is also a verse that says “don’t throw your pearls before swine”. Sometimes it’s very tempting to just throw heaps of burning coals.

  42. Way to go Anthony, although I think it’s a safe bet nothing will change. Look at the change of language in post conflict situations – Bosnia, S. Africa, N. Ireland. Using less inflamatory language is a good thing.

    I’ll happily delete all references to “warmists” and “alarmists” from my site and change to “AGW proponents”. I’ve aspired to present a more neutral stance (at least as far as language is concerned) for quite some time. Trouble is when I do I have a tendency to fall off the wagon.

    REPLY: Northern Ireland was a conflict that got resolved, so there’s hope – Anthony

  43. First, a point about “the obvious violations of Godwins Law”, excuse me, Godwin’s law, since when is there ACTUALY a Godwins LAW? Is it, then a scientific law, has it been tested using the scientific method, is it even falsifyable, can an experiment to verify or falsify it even be designed? Or, perhaps, it has been drafter by Congress and signed into law by the president then? No? Then why do we except it as an inviolate “law”? Are we simply to accept that it as a “law” without question, simply because Godwin said so? Are we to accept that CAGW is also true, simply because Al Gore said so? What’s the diference, is there one? Since when do people in THIS web site simply accept something as so true that it is called a “law” simply, well, just because? Can anyone present an actual, verifieable reason why this can even be called a “law”.

    And then, what if someone starts sounding and acting like an actual Nazi SS, and I call them on it, am I “breaking the law”? If I can’t call them on what they are actually saying and doing, what am I to do, dance around the subject, ignore the elephant in the room, censor myself and never talk about the truth obvious to everyone? Does this sound ridiculous, it should. If I “break this law”, can I even be arrested, tried, convicted, sentanced? Perhaps it is a scientific law, will I be rebutted by peer reviewed scientific experiments in major publications? The answer is, of course, no. The answer is, since “Godwins’s law” isn’t, obviously, a real law of any kind, I see no reason to be bound by it.

    Conversly, of course, I see no reason to call someone a Nazi SS unless they actually use words and actions that are identical to actual Nazi’s. Calling them that simply because I don’t like them, or don’t want you to like them, isn’t science, which is what this site is all about, it is, in fact, reverting back to the pre scientific method of “scientific discourse”, which was all about tricks of rhetoric, such as ad hominem attacks on the person with the idea, rather than actual experiments to verify or falsify the idea itself.

    So, I am quite willing to not call Sketical Science “SS’, TEMPORARILY, FOR NOW, depending entirely on their ACTIONS. If, however, they continue to use the word “denier”, and continue to use revisions of history to make commentators look bad, and in other ways actually sound and act like SS, then I reserver the right to, in the future, call them exactly what they are acting like. To do otherwise would be frankly dishonest. And for this site to suggest that, if they sound and act like SS (I said IF) we follow some non existant, undrafted, unsigned, unverified “law” and apply CENSORSHIP to cover up an obvious truth, well, then, this site is no better than the CAGW sites that censor any opinion other than their own.

    So I would say to Skeptical Science, the ball is in your court, if you don’t want to be called SS.COM, well, that drop the Nazi word “denier”. Or, continue to use it, continue to actually ACT like Nazi’s, and I see now reason to not use the word SS to describe you.

    As for allowing or not allowing words like “SS” or “Nazi” or “regilgion” or “conspiracy” on this site, there is a difference between moderation, done by moderators, and censorship. If I use such words purely in ad hominum attacks on people whoes ideas I don’t like, to basically say “he’s igly and his mother dresses him funny so you shouln’t listen to him”, well, you can snip that comment, that is moderation. If, however, I can call then a Nazi, and supply historical examples to prove it, and you snip that, that is NOT moderation, that is censorhip.

    And speaking of which, here is a little bit of history for you:
    Albert Einstein’s response to the 1931 pamphlet “100 authors against Einstein,” commissioned by the German Nazi Party as a clumsy contradiction to the Relativity Theory, said, “If I were wrong, then one would have been enough.”
    Sound like anyone you know?

  44. steven mosher says on September 25, 2011 at 3:20 pm

    And for the religious amongst you … ( not moshpit, I assure you)

    Never spent any time in a foxhole huh?

    (Privately, methinks that line of thinking is the height of ‘self deceivership’ [sic]. I think Mosh is big enough to take the criticism otherwise I would not issue it. )

    .

  45. Can we expect a Joe Romm post entitled “WUWT becomes incrementally more like Skeptical Science (no acronyms there ) as Skeptical Science becomes incrementally more like WUWT”

    Now, that idea is profoundly chilling.

    John

  46. The warmist-skeptic “war” is based on diametrically opposite positions on a more moral than techncial plane. It is difficult to argue heatedly when you show public respect for the other; that is the basis of insisting on civil discourse in the courts. If you stick to the fact and are not allowed ad hominem attacks, the case for-and-against becomes reasonably easy to decide.

    This is, of course, why the Sk-S and others , including David Suzuki and Al Gore, do not wish to stop using inflammatory comments and references. There is no theatre in which to sway your audience with rhetoric and passion if you must stick to facts and behaviour our Moms would find acceptable. Rabble-rousing is exciting, profitable and successful when cogent arguments might fail.

    It is a brilliant tactic to insist that your own side behave civilly when the others do not. There is no moral high ground when all rant and rave. CAGW has become the issue it has because the warmists have claimed the moral higher ground, i.e. what they do is for the benefit of humanity and the biosphere in general. If they are called to behave in that way as well, they lose their emotive powers of persuasion. Of which politicians and celebrities have a great deal, in direct contrast to their technical powers of persuasion.

    Blogs were initially invented for the sharing of technical information. Then they became vehicles for personal views and positions. It is good that the trend, in some quarters, is back to the roots of knowledge and understanding. It is not a position that Skeptical Science would do well in if they had to. SkS and others are based on moral outrage. Take that away from them, and they are little more than mouthpieces for those with ideology rather than science to promote.

  47. I can’t imagine that you truly believe that SkS will stop using and moderating the use of the term “denier”.

    REPLY: As we saw once on Climate Audit, there was a brief message, “A miracle has occurred”. Never discount the possibility. – Anthony

  48. John Whitman says on September 25, 2011 at 3:38 pm

    My Chinese wife of 31+ years has said to me, consistently and to my benefit, that per her culture I should never force a person that I am dealing with into a situation (corner) where they do not have a face saving (honorable) path to exit from.

    EXTREMELY good advice in any dealing (incl bear attacks save maybe for Grizzlies or Polar bears where you’re hosed in any case) …. a cornered animal is generally going to be a ‘fighting’ animal, the human species being not much different in this regard.

    While on this subject, it would be fair to mention Fighting Fair to Resolve Conflict and the associated ground rules (quick excerpt of a few of the applicable rules):

    Remain calm. Try not to overreact to difficult situations. By remaining calm it will be more likely that others will consider your viewpoint.

    Express feelings [thoughts] in words, not actions. … If you start to feel so angry or upset that you feel you may lose control, take a “time out” and do something to help yourself feel steadier – take a walk, do some deep breathing, pet the cat, play with the dog …

    Deal with only one issue at a time. Don’t introduce other topics until each is fully discussed. This avoids the “kitchen sink” effect where people throw in all their complaints while not allowing anything to be resolved.

    No “hitting below the belt”. Attacking areas of personal sensitivity creates an atmosphere of distrust, anger, and vulnerability.

    Avoid accusations. Accusations will cause others to defend themselves. Instead, talk about how someone’s actions made you feel.

    Avoid “make believe.” Exaggerating or inventing a complaint – or your feelings about it – will prevent the real issues from surfacing. Stick with the facts and your honest feelings.

    Establish common ground rules. You may even want to ask your partner-in-conflict to read and discuss this brochure with you. When parties accept positive common ground rules for managing a conflict, resolution becomes much more likely.

    .

  49. “The exercise was apparently done for the eyes of search engine landings.”

    Which is why I place absolutely no trust in electronic media. I have seen major name newspapers revising content without acknowledgement, sometimes months after original publication. Content is purged, too, never to be seen again.

    It is very difficult to send a printed page captured on microfilm down the memory hole, it is very easy with electronic archives. Future historians and other researchers are going to discover that our archives from this era are unreliable. The picture they get in the future may be completely different from the picture presented at the time.

  50. steven mosher says:
    September 25, 2011 at 3:20 pm

    Steve, I don’t really think that using SkS will obtain skeptics any ‘better’ treatment from those who follow the path of warming. I do agree that the shortened name appears derogatory, but for the most part commenters do not use it that way IMO. Nevertheless I am willing to try to avoid apparent derogatory terms – though as posted earlier, I can’t see how alternatives can be avoided!

    As the saying goes , there are many ways to skin an animal (apologies to all animal lovers out there – but I wouldn’t want to offend feline admirers specifically! – you get the point? had I used the traditional phrase! – it is JUST a phrase!)

    I cannot see for a moment that it will make them (or us) ‘listen’ to arguments any more intently – and respecting ‘them’ as opponents because we ‘treat ‘em nice’ will not make their words any more valid in the scientific sense. I am impressed at Anthony’s offer – but sad that this is a PC thing and not a ‘science’ thing……..it’s still worth a try….
    I honestly suspect that ‘resistance is futile’ however.

  51. Fully agree with WUWT retaining the moral high ground. I regularly engage with an alarmist on a football website and every now and again find myself dragged down to his level. Apparently I am a conspiracy believer with no scruples.

  52. Why did they choose the name Skeptical? Dishonest in the choice of name. I went there on first exploring this thinking I would find real skeptical arguments and then found they didn’t even have the decency to engage in real argument, but were dishonest in the forum by manipulative censoring and editing. I can imagine they were amused by the SS as they were in choosing ‘skeptical’. And now they’re upset and playing the victim??? SS it is. Stinking Science is what they produce and any who want to dance to their new victim tune can do so, I won’t.

  53. Mr. Watts,

    You are quickly slipping into censorship levels… with your personal “climatological political correctness”. Even if you have tripled your “moderators’ army” you will not change/correct the world, IMHO.

    Regards

  54. My guess is that the ‘denier’ name-calling will actually ratchet up in response to Anthony’s stand-up proposal.

  55. Anthony:

    The term “Alarmist” is descriptive of those who use alarming rhetoric to advance their CAGW views. The term “Warmista” is directed at the trendy AGW folks who are just following their peers, but who don’t know the facts. Neither of these terms is in the least way insulting. I see no reason to stop using them.

    As far I am concerned the other side can use whatever terms they want to descibe me. I am pretty sure that history will find me on the right side of this issue. Their insults do not raise my blood pressure. Their actions however . . .

  56. Kev-in-Uk says:
    September 25, 2011 at 2:27 pm
    [Much as I agree with your sentiment, Anthony, Sir – I do think this is somewhat too PC for me—

    Of course, the downside is that further ‘terms’ will be coined….and add to that the fact that when someone says any approved ‘new’ term – we will REALLY know what they mean! Ergo, it is really rather pointless – IMHO. —

    Take a typical expletive – re-writing it as xxxxing this or xxxxing that, doesn’t really help in the readers interpretation – it’s just the bloomin presentation for the sake of those easily offended! —
    Again, whilst I do think you are making a good proposal – I fear that realistically it will NOT defer the vitriolic style outpourings from various sides – but merely deflect them into alternative language?]

    Kev-in-Uk

    I couldn’t agree you more. We are far far too PC these days. In the end clarity of expression is far better than the mealy mouthed obfuscation of one’s intent for the sake of avoiding offence to some thin skinned idiot. As for initials substituting for or taking on meanings of concepts or other words, I think there is far too much of this anyway to the extent that one needs a reference book of initials to read any passage written. To take offence therefore for the use of initials of one thing because it is also the initials for another of which one disapproves is absurd. And those who berate others because they themselves took offence based upon such nonsense are pathetic fools and should be ignored.

    Douglas

  57. Kev-in-Uk says:
    September 25, 2011 at 2:27 pm

    Much as I agree with your sentiment, Anthony, Sir – I do think this is somewhat too PC for me. I agre that there will always be those who seek to denigrate others via some form of acronym or other – but did anyone really use the skeptical science abbreviation as a deliberate reference to Hitlers elite? Yes, it follows that any abbreviation may well be denigrating, but as a confirmed D word person – I don’t take offence as I don’t think of it as denigrating – in fact I’m probably quite proud of denying the alleged concensus!

    I will, of course, respect your wishes – but I do think it is allowing the political correctness to rear its extremely ugly head again!

    Kev, I’m as anti-PC as anyone. But I don’t see this as an issue of political correctness. I see it as an issue of politeness. I call people what they prefer to be called. Some years ago I used to call people “warmers”. A couple of people objected. I changed to the more neutral term “AGW supporters”. For example, if for whatever reason you don’t want to be called “K-i-U’ for “Kevin-in-UK”, mine not to reason why. I won’t call you that. It’s simple politeness.

    w.

    • Thanks Willis, simple politeness sums up what I’m going for here. Anyone reading in any sorts of other motivations (PC, political ploy, censorship, or dozens of other possibilities) has missed it.

      When John Cook first started out, he was polite. I actually lauded him for that once. But he and his website has morphed into something that hardly resembles that. I’m hoping he’ll remember. – Anthony

  58. Anthony,

    The very first problem with your proposal is that your assumptions about the use of the word “denier” are incorrect. If I look up my Shorter Oxford English Dictionary I am informed that “denier” is Middle English, ie,, the language of Chaucer, for “one who denies”. The next entry informs me of the first modern use of the word, – 1532. I do not believe anyone will be so obtuse as to believe the use of the word in 1532 was a reference to holocaust denial.

    What has happened is that a perfectly ordinary english word has been used of a morally obnoxious group. After that, other people of whom the word might normally have been thought to apply have then objected to that word based on a supposed implied implication of moral equivalency. While I cannot speak for all “AGW proponents” (another obnoxious and inaccurate term), there has never been any implication in my use of the term “denier” of a moral equivalence between “AGW deniers” and “holocaust deniers”. In fact I used the term for several months without making that connection before somebody (falsely) claimed the connection was intended..

    My problem with ceasing to use the term “AGW denier” is twofold.

    First, I do not believe the existence of holocaust deniers is reason to impoverish the language. Just because holocaust deniers exist is no reason to use the term “denier” exclusively in reference to them. If we are to accept the logic that “denier” should not be used because of its association with holocaust denial, then we also ought not to use the term “national” because of its association with the term “National Socialist” as in the Nazi party. Likewise we should cease to use the term “democratic” because of its association with Stalin (through the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) and Kim Il-Sung (through the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea). On the same basis we should also object to the use of the term “People’s” and “Republic”.

    Once you decide to exclude descriptive words because of unfortunate associations, you are on your way to limiting thought by limiting language. The Minitruth of “1984” beckons down that path, and it is not a path I will follow. Indeed, my suspicion is that many of the people I would normally describe as “AGW deniers” find the term offensive not because of any holocaust denial association, but because it is accurate.

    Second, I do not have any other useful short descriptive term for those I would normally call “AGW deniers”. I know that they call themselves “AGW skeptics” or something similar, but that term is tendentious and attributes to them a virtue I do no see much displayed by their reasoning, ie, skepticism. Using that term would put me in the same position as a Christian who is told to call a group “The Virtuous” because that is their self descriptor, when that group frequents prostitutes and regularly blasphemes. A Christian faced with that demand will rightly reject it. (Please note: the analogy is merely to make the point clear, and is not in anyway an imputation of moral equivalence.) For similar reasons, I call Randians (ie, the followers of Ayn Rand) “Randians” rather than the undeserved term, “Objectivists”.

    However, I understand that the term “denier” does genuinely cause some “AGW Skeptics” offense, and am happy to drop it … on one condition. That condition is that you find a suitable, non-tendentious descriptive title for those who call themselves “AGW Skeptics” and who I call “AGW Deniers”. If you can find such a term, and pesuade your fellow “AGW Skeptics” to adopt it so that people will understand to whom I am referring, I will adopt it also, and drop the term “AGW denier”. If you do not come up with such a term, I will continue to use the descriptively accurate term “AGW denier” rather than the tendentiously false term “AGW Skeptic”.

    Finally, speaking for myself (which is all I do here), I have no objection to the term “warmist”. I know it was coined with the deliberate intent to belittle the opinions of those that you would describe as “warmists”, but it is descriptively accurate, and those opinions are correct. Therefore I wear the term as a badge of honour.

    In contrast, I object to the term “AGW proponent”. I may be a proponent of the theory of AGW, but I am appalled by the prospect. I wish fervently that I was wrong. Unfortunately, evidence indicates other wise.

    Tom Curtis.

    REPLY: Hello Tom, thank you for commenting. Please read above in comments. Prior to Goodman, Monbiot and others explicitly linked the terms “holocaust deniers” and “climate deniers”, prior to those events, your pointing out the definition would be correct. I’ll leave the discussion of your ideas to the group as right now my focus is not on you and your website, but thank you for the insight. I can revisit your ideas after the first issue is resolved. In the meantime the group can offer ideas and discussion – Anthony

  59. It is nighty nite time here (at my age anyway).

    Two departing observations:

    First, I was born (literally) and raised on a small mom/pop owned farm. The maxim was never to eat your milking stock or your seed corn. What is WUWT’s seed corn? Is a compromise with a non-open and revisionist blog like eating an open blog’s seed corn/milking stock? I would say yes.

    Second, consider what a certain owner/moderator of a non-open and revisionist blot is observing here. If that person sees major opposition against Anthony’s modest proposal by Anthony’s commenters then would that person be inclined to accept Anthony’s proposal for disruptive purposes? I would say yes.

    Ugly?

    I never did like Neville Chamberlain diplomacy.

    John

  60. I used to enjoy going to SkS to get educated on Cimate Science and read the latest papers but lately it has changed to a dumbed down version of RealClimate.org. I foung this out early last year when I wrote an American Thinker piece here and then SkS wrote a piece here and let’s just say there was plenty of ad hominen although I tried to keep it above that. The AGW team is losing their message and they know it so they are resorting to attack and bully methods. Get used to it, they’ll not go down without a fight.

  61. Some thoughts on the “d-word”…

    It is intended as an insult. By agreeing to be insulted, we play right into their hands.

    It is inaccurate. “Climate d-word”? A person who doesn’t believe we have a climate? “Climate Change d-word”? There are some folks who seem to think that the climate never changed until humans came along and changed it. Curiously, they’re the ones who are calling us that! Most folks agree that we have a climate, and that it’s been changing for some time. “Catastrophic Climate Change d-word” might be closer, but extreme weather events are often catastrophic, so even that’s shaky.

    Regarding former Vice-President Al Gore, I think I’ve commented “I hope the poor man gets the help he clearly needs!” I hereby withdraw that comment.

    Good try, Anthony, and I hope it works out, but I’m (how can I put this?)… an s-word!

    Best,
    Frank

  62. Hmm… so how should designate an AGW Catastrophist in abstruse if gentlemanly terms? We suggest calling certif(iable) members of the Green Gang such as Briffa, Hansen, Jones, Mann, Trenberth et al. not “Warmists” but “APPs.”

    Nothing pejorative about APP, an abbreviation for “apophenic pareidolic” (a dizzying label fraught with implications). Confronting serial Climate Cultist asininities, just reply deadpan, “Yeh, there’s an APP for that.”

  63. I wouldn’t waste my breath on SkS. It will continue to do what it has always done, civility is not important; keeping the same talking points and its strident adherence to dogma is. Just like Al Gore, as SkS (Joe Romm and RC, for that matter) fades into irrelevance, expect its rage against the growing darkness to increase.

  64. I am actually quite comfortable that AGW is real, I think that the hypothesis that CO2 as the cause nonsense. I do not think one can change the course of rivers, build damns, cut down forests, plant forest, irrigate, grow crops, lay roads, build shopping malls, build harbors, build cities, build ski runs and cut down tress on the side of mountains to build ski lifts, chalets and stop people doing a Sunny Bono.
    I know all the things I have listed cause changes in the Earths climate, I am pretty sure that fire bombing cities and sinking oil/gasoline tankers in WWII also had climate effects.
    What I don’t like is people who ignore the above and then state that CO2 alters the ‘temperature equilibrium’ of the Earth or even more fatuous “The CO2 equilibrium’ of the Atmosphere/Oceans. This goes for Hare-like physicists who should really know better.
    The brutal pigheadedness of the majority of the CO2 CAGW’s, with their need to always invent new methods to find statistical significance when we have a 100 years worth of statistical methods which are known entities, their lack of understanding of other fields who work with complex feedback systems and the types of control analysis, the constant use of box models, the use of the term ‘forcing’ which is allowed to mean different things by different people rather than a defined description of fluxes, their application of equilibrium thermodynamics/kinetics to a system which is obviously a non-equilibrium steady state, no understanding of information theory and the limitations it places on the estimation of information retrieval from past events and finally, finally, their inability to understand the difference between a postulate (A tree is a thermometer) and a fact (The width of tree rings are a measure of a particular trees health and reproductive strategy).
    Mann et al., have been using trees as thermometers for more than a decade, they have not built geodetic domes around any and actually looked at what happens to tree rings when you water them, fence them off from herbivores, stop birds from crap on their root systems, modulate their seasonal temperature or even though that expirements offered them any information what so ever.

    Animals, which move, have limbs and muscles. The earth does not have limbs and muscles; therefore it does not move.
    – Scipio Chiaramonti [Professor of philosophy and mathematics at University of Pisa, arguing against the heliocentrc system, 1633],

    “Tree are really good thermometers”
    Mann-made warming enthusiasts.

  65. Using labels such as SS and denier in reference to those who hold differing views on climate science is highly disrespectful to “in particular, over one million Jewish children were killed in the Holocaust, as were approximately two million Jewish women and three million Jewish men.” as well as, “some 200,000 Roma (Gypsies)”, “at least 200,000 mentally or physically disabled patients, mainly Germans, living in institutional settings, were murdered in the so-called Euthanasia Program.” and “between two and three million Soviet prisoners of war were murdered or died of starvation, disease, neglect, or maltreatment. The Germans targeted the non-Jewish Polish intelligentsia for killing, and deported millions of Polish and Soviet civilians for forced labor in Germany or in occupied Poland, where these individuals worked and often died under deplorable conditions. From the earliest years of the Nazi regime, German authorities persecuted homosexuals and others whose behavior did not match prescribed social norms. German police officials targeted thousands of political opponents (including Communists, Socialists, and trade unionists) and religious dissidents (such as Jehovah’s Witnesses). Many of these individuals died as a result of incarceration and maltreatment.”

    http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10005143

    Using the loaded labels SS and denier, in relation to people who have differing opinions on climate science, equivocates vigorous scientific debate with participation in and denial of the Holocaust, and this does a tremendous disservice to science and civility.

  66. The term “warmist” should stay, because logically its antonym would be “coolist” which I think would be cool.

    Fonzie agrees.

  67. I think this offer of good graces misses the point of why they (the believers) refer to those with doubting positions as deniers. Quite simply their insults, insinuations, and ad hominem arguments have little to do with anger. It is a tactic taken directly from their playback with the sole intent of making non-believers out to be untrustworthy in public opinion. Until they are exposed for what they are, nothing will change. They do not care what we think nor how we react except when it somehow serves their purposes.

    Mark

    REPLY:
    That may be true, but this exercise and offer will help us understand one way or another – Anthony

  68. A peer reviewed warning against the use of imprecise and inflammatory terms by those discussing the “wicked phenomena” of climate change:

    quote:
    =========
    Using the language of denialism brings a moralistic tone into the climate change debate that we would do well to avoid.

    http://www.pnas.org/content/107/39/E151.full

    =========

    Perhaps someone could forward a copy to John Cook and Dana.

    “Godwin’s Law” is a post-modern implementation of a taboo designed to stifle valid comparisons. Legatus is right: it is not a law.

  69. I have had the pleasure of trying to have a discussion on Skepticalscience.

    My comments were not ruled through – they were removed entirely when I made a point which may cast doubt on some point.

    One example was during a to and fro discussion over is the solar insolation really ~240 W/sq m as claimed in the Earth’s energy budget and is an average over the whole globe even appropriate.

    I qouted the IPCC AR4 stating – “Between 1902 and 1957, Charles Abbot and a number of other scientists around the globe made thousands of measurements of TSI from mountain sites. Values ranged from 1,322 to 1,465 W m–2″

    I asked “how did they measure this ?”

    My implication was that if it is appropriate to reduce insolation by a factor of 4 why didn’t they measure ~ 340 to 390 W/sq m as these observations were terrestrial – but I simply asked “How did they measure this ?”

    As usual I got a reply from the mediator dripping with sarcasm as if I was some form of moron and told to go away, get an education and come back when I had learnt something.

    I couldn’t let tihs moron get away with that so I posted in reply

    “Well if you guys are right why didn’t these people measure 342 W/sqm as you claim is the “true” insolation”.

    I refreshed the page, noted the post and submitted a second post “Or did they actually measure ~ 342 W/sq m and then multiply it by 4 ?”

    I again refreshed the page which took a while to reload with my post about “Why didn’t they measure 342 W/sq m ?” and my second post removed.

    they had survived about 3-4 minutes.

    Now I have some challenges to SkepticalScience :-

    1. If you are so cocksure of your science why do you immediately remove (when ridicule doesn’t suffice) every post which raises some doubt about the discussion in question?
    2. Why do you allow people with obvious low intelligence to use insult and derision as a weapon but deny the target of such mindless nonsense the right to defend themself as they repeatedly did to me ? I never stooped to insult but many of my posts which presented logical argument were snipped with the impression the comment was derogratory which was not the case.
    3. Learn to spell sceptic – skeptic is incorrect even if it has wormed its way into the general usage.
    4. Obviously your site and fanboys cannot stand up to a robust discussion without throwing a tantrum.

    SkepticalScience is a disgrace from the standpoint of discussion – if they don’t want discussion then they should simply not allow comments.

    [snip – unnecessary – Anthony]

  70. AS a ‘Warmist’ I have no problem with the term ‘Warmist’ and as for a new term to replace Denialist I quite like ‘Coolers’, a term with no negative connotations, in fact it has rather pleasant memories for me as it recall’s beloved Colonel Klinks refrain “Hogaaan..that’s a week in the Cooler”.

  71. There is a comment that the purpose of revising replies to comments at SkS is to influence the results of Google (and no doubt other) searches.

    Has it occurred to ‘us’ that Google should be approached to see if they have a way to pick up such obvious revisionism? It does them no good to serve up detectable lies. For example it could be noted in red that there is a previous version of the search result with a link to the original.

    This would only have to apply to blogs where such malpractice could occur.

    Personally I have not heard of something so patently unfair. It would be like editing post facto comments made in a journal. It is even lower in my estimation to edit a contributors comments to eviscerate them with the apparent intention of changing the argument presented, before posting. That would be like editing, pre-publication, a rebuttal to a criticism of a letter without the author’s knowedge or consent. I would consider all of these sins legally actionable. They certainly have no place in the scientific circle. SkS should change the ‘Science’ part of their name until they ascribe to some basic (even voluntary) moral code.

  72. Fair enough, Anthony, but worth keeping in mind what is most likely at play. Steve Mc has extended many olive branches and all but a few have been rejected.

    Mark

  73. Using “denier” is one of their main tools to characterize all those in disagreement with the IPCC as “denying science”. Then you get equated with the “flat earth” and are immediately and constantly on the defensive about how you are not a raving lunatic and you are left with little energy to explain real science. There is a reason why celebrities are so heavily recruited because a first step is to make it “un-cool” to be against the IPCC. Those who know nothing about the science, or even what AGW theory really states (most people), decide to stay with the “popular” people.

    I don’t think you can equate that with someone using the natural abbreviation of Skeptical Science (I believe initially with no intended connection). If some one dislikes that fine, you should stop using it, but don’t expect them to drop the whole “denier” tag because they have been taught to see skeptics as bizarre people who don’t even understand basic science and they couldn’t even tell you why if you asked them; they simply have been conditioned.

    Denier is just the tip of the iceberg.

  74. http://www.davidsuzuki.org/blogs/climate-blog/2011/01/tack-climate-reading-onto-the-2011-to-do-list/

    Tack climate reading onto the 2011 to-do list
    January 7, 2011
    By Ryan Kadowaki, Climate Change Program Coordinator

    I know it’s a little late. Most of us have already committed to our New Year’s resolutions — whether to hit the gym more regularly or to volunteer for a really cool organization. But if you’re looking for a different challenge why not resolve to set aside some time to learn more about climate science this year?

    Sure, we all have some understanding of the basics — greenhouse gas build-up in the atmosphere is causing the Earth to warm — but climate is incredibly complex and advances continue to be made that further our understanding. It doesn’t matter if you have a background in science or not; the literature is accessible if you jump into it the right way.

    Websites and blogs can be a good introduction if they cite peer-reviewed science. Here are some of my favourites. They vary in sophistication, catering to the layperson right through to the extreme climate nerd.

    Skeptical Science — Their motto is “getting skeptical about global warming skepticism”. The folks at SS begin their posts with one of more than 150 (and counting) common claims that we find repeated in news media and on discussion threads. These claims range from global warming has stopped because it’s cold outside to climate has changed in the past so we can’t be influencing modern warming. They then clearly illustrate through visuals and with reference to the scientific literature the misrepresentation of the claim. The site has also begun to offer its rebuttals in different levels of complexity, so even those new to climate science can understand the basic idea and in time move on to more advanced explanations. In addition, SS even has its own Smartphone app. If you ever find yourself in an impromptu climate duel, you can now quickly find out why Antarctica is gaining sea ice despite a warming Southern Ocean.

    So bs call on the ‘politeness’, it’s just another ploy of name change to disrupt and distract from the critism that the site is dishonest science, supportive of all the dishonest practices which have come to light and dishonest in its censorship and manipulative editing of posts.

    Hmm, maybe they noticed that the arguments from real sceptics objecting to the deliberate use of ‘denier’ because it was directly linked to Holocaust denier, was getting a lot of publicity recently..? Or perhaps like they manufactured the ‘death threats’ to global warming ‘scientists’ in OZ recently? Playing the victim by manufacturing victimhood.

    SkS is the forerunner of the AK-47. [Post 30 http://nigguraths.wordpress.com/2011/09/18/roger-pielke-sr-at-the-ss-com-a-dark-day-in-the-climate-science-debate/%5D

    There’s nothing polite about Sociopathic Science.

  75. Here’s a concrete example: Sphaerica at 22:33 PM on 1 June, 2011 stated “Anyone who is counting on 2˚C is in denial.” Followed by: “Anyone who is saying that sensitivity is likely to be in the range of 2˚C-4˚C or 2˚C-5˚C is in denial.” In the next post he said “(Correction to 112… I meant to say that anyone saying sensitivity is in the 2-4 range is explaining or re-iterating the science).”

    I do not believe Sphaerica is implying “Holocaust” style denial, but rather “head-in-the-sand” denial. 1. Is “in denial” the same as being a “denier”? 2. Is my “head-in-the-sand” interpretation correct? 3. Is it valid to call someone “in denial” even if “denier” is verboten? 4. Are people who think sensitivity is likely to be low (like myself) upset by the “head-in-the-sand” characterization?

    My answers: no, yes, yes, not me.

  76. There has to be a limit to political correctness.

    If somebody opens a new company and decides the logo must be a red flag, people will make amusing comparisons to China and Chairman Mao: this doesn’t mean the new company is a covert operation of the Chinese government.

    Analogously if ones goes around London and sees examples of Fasces (yes there are plenty), nobody should feel offended if one comes up with some witty remarks about Mussolini. And none in their right mind will think that there was any link whatsoever between Fascist Italy and London architecture.

    Therefore, to make fun of Skeptical Science because its long-standing abbreviation reminds one of a notorious organization made of Those-Who-Can’t-Be-Named is not a violation of Godwin’s Law, and is not an offensive action against millions of dead.

    I’m afraid the main finding in all this brouhaha is that many people do think of “Adolf H” as some kind of Voldemort. And so the most cretin of historical figures transmogrifies into somebody to whom to grant respect, an object of quasi-adoration. But the real world is not Harry Potter’s. Enough!!

  77. I would rather be called “one who reviews the actual data and understands the pro-AGW position is greatly exaggerated.”

    But that doesn’t make for a good acronym and would result in the pro-AGW side just distorting the data as a retort (as we have seen SkepticalScience do regularly).

    Eventually, time will answer the question and the labels can be accurately assigned at that time.

    What we know today, is that not a single person on the planet can say the local weather in my area has changed at all. Ask your Grandpa first before you try to say it has actually changed.

  78. No matter what happens at SkS or anywhere else, we would do well to maintain impeccable politeness. We are not responsible for anybody else’s manners, but we are responsible for our own.

    Hopefully our efforts will inspire others to also use good manners, but whether they do or not, we can hold our collective head up knowing we did not sink to the level of cheap insults.

  79. nobody is suggesting that it’s politically incorrect to leave the “k” out of SkS

    1. whatever arguments, scientific arguments, you have are more likely to be well received
    by others if you avoid antagonizing SkS.. maybe .000001% more likely, but more likely
    2. you will take the civil high ground ( its not a moral issue )
    3. you will highlight the fact that they treat you with incivility
    4. It was a cheap joke the first few times, now its boring.

    Plus, if you really want to antagonize somebody you should be more original. hehe.

  80. SkS hmmmmm, Skreed Science, there is no skeptical thought at that web sight. The first word in the title is a lie, what do you expect to follow the first lie ?

  81. I realize that me and other sceptics are rather outspoken on issues, and we tend to disagree with you Anthony. But I will say this, I respect you because you are consistent even on your own site as far as how far to go and what is appropriate and what is not.

    This is something sceptical science (a very misleading name by itself) and other pro-AGW web-sites tend to not do is be consistent because today most AGW arguments are just political arguments which by themselves kind of destroys any attempt at being consistent most of the time.

    I tend to agree with your thinking around the acronyms and such. But to give in to arguments and waste your time for the complaints of people like John Cooke? If you want feel free. But I think in the long run it is a waste of time. Pro-AGW’ers such as JC (funny how that is another accronym) tend to lie, cheat and steal if you give them the chance so the best thing to do is to ignore them and let them sit in their own bile. They will throw red herrings out like crazy about Al Gore in general and whether calling him an idiot is “nice” or whatever John is going to say this week.

    I used to read that site all the time to load up on arguments for pro-AGW people, but that is no longer needed as the movement has no arguments that are new anymore and is rather fading away.

    You will never reach out to people like this. I understand the motivation for trying and for spending your valuable time on an issue you feel is important. Props to anyone willing to do that. But these people are true believers in every meaning of the word. You will never convince them of anything and just like people who tend to become radicals in any kind of religion or movement, they will hold onto their beliefs until the day they die.

  82. Mr Watts,

    Call spade.. a spade! For Christ sake!
    Quote – “Anyone reading in any sorts of other motivations (PC, political ploy, censorship, or dozens of other possibilities) has missed it.”

    I didn’t pay attention to your motivations. I simply analyzed your move. The moment you castrated your blog from x-words or asked aka mentally forced (“your blog, your rights”) commenters to do the same you ended up in a censorship and auto censorship. This is NOT a matter of politeness!

    If CIA ask you not to publish something or use other expressions in order not to offend someone will it be a matter of politeness or censorship? Both your move invoking snipping the words (you wagged your finger), and “polite asking” from CIA is an intervention in others’ rights to freedom of expression. Period.

    WUWT is not a Rotary Kitchen Evening Club of polite aunties.

    Regards

    REPLY:
    Mr. Pawełczyk, I suggest you get your own blog and you can run it and post on it any way you wish, for now I’ll run mine the way I wish, Thank you – Anthony

  83. Thanks Anthony, for a reasoned and cool-headed approach to the subject. Cooler heads definitely prevail.

    I must say, before Dana1981 made light of the acronym issue to SkS, I realized that without the “k” it did indeed sound ominous. ( I’ve had family who lived in Britain during WW2, and they are definitely sensitive to the subject, and the acronym.)

    A great suggestion, and let’s hope it’s followed by all. There’s no reason we can’t see balance on all sides of the debate.

  84. Rosco says:
    September 25, 2011 at 5:55 pm

    > 3. Learn to spell sceptic – skeptic is incorrect even if it has wormed its way into the general usage.

    Sceptic appears to be the British/Australian spelling. Perhaps they’re holding out
    hoping sceptic will become normal American, just as “grey” has.

  85. Omnologos said

    “There has to be a limit to political correctness. …..”

    * * *

    I agree with you in regards to that aspect, but remember, for many this is more then a label, especially for people alive during this trying time. What we toss in jest or spoof in terms of these acronyms may have a completely different meaning and effect on others.
    While I agree that their is a limit to being PC, a sensitive subject like WW2, and things relating to it, the acronym issue is something I think we can all mutually agree on, and hope that we never have to experience something like that.

  86. Przemysław Pawełczyk says:
    September 25, 2011 at 7:05 pm

    > The moment you castrated your blog from x-words … This is NOT a matter of politeness!

    Castrated the blog? I’ve always been able to make my points without using heated
    language.

    I have little use for Political Correctness. I have less use for words that have been so abused that they only convey emotion and don’t convey knowledge.

  87. I disagree that cooler/coolist is an apt term. Most on the skeptical side are not arguing that the Earth is cooling, They are (Primarily, not all) arguing that the amount of change, warming/cooling irrelevant is within the norms. And that the impact by humans is much less than the amount the other side puts forward, and unlikely to be catastrophic.

    And no I can’t think of a simple catchy one word name for the above.

  88. Nice move Mr. Watts. Play chess much? SkS must now counter move even if that move is no move (ignore) it’s still a move; which way will it go. Who cares? It’s now a “win win” situation for WUWT (and CAGW skepticism as a whole).

    Personally, I only object to “denier” if “CA” is left out, because, yes, I do deny that Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming is “fact”, “incontrovertible”, “settled”, “clear”, etc.

    I don’t think AGW/GW/Climate/Climate Change denier is appropriate, because, I don’t deny AGW (although my judgment of anthropogenic influence would fall somewhere between insignificant and discernible) and I certainly don’t deny climate or climate change exists.

    I will endeavor to refrain from the term which I find particular descriptive of those that call for action when none is required especially through disturbing assertions.

    I wonder if SkS will be offended if it becomes associated with the SKS, also known to be unreliable.

  89. Over at Deltoid, Cook’s sister doomsday cultist blog, there is a category that goes “Gregg Easterbrook is an idiot”.

    I don’t know who Gregg Easterbrook is, what he is arguing and whether or not he is an ‘idiot’, but I expect Tim Lambert to follow your example and remove that category.

  90. Just a couple of points…the opposition have always tried to grab the linguistic high ground…it is a deliberate strategy bought and paid for. Is it an accident that predictions of sea-level rises come from an organization called NOAA? Or that the angelic pair of satellites observing the mass of polar ice are called GRACE?
    The trading of minor derogatory terms is one thing but my greatest bugbear is the term Greenhouse itself…a word with connotations of un-natural, stifling heat and an actual physical barrier which conveys a process almost the very opposite from the subtle and complex interface between the top of our atmosphere and space.
    Oh and I don’t think anyone has mentioned it but the original ‘modest proposal’ was (I think) made by satirist Dean Swift, who made the modest proposal that the Irish might solve their food shortage/famine by ….eating their children!
    What do you think the chances are of Cookie adopting your ‘modest’ propsal?

  91. There are a lot of comments here and I haven’t read them all, so this may have been said already. There is a very serious difference between interactions with Al Gore and interactions with realclimate. Dr. Gore is a politician working for a political end. Dr’s Hansen, Schmidt, et. al. are scientists (yes, yes, working for a political end . . . not relevant to my point). We demean science when we demean scientists. One cannot demean politicians. They are already there, so to speak. So when others engage in vitriol in the defence of their view of science, let them rant. In the long view, science will out. History will look back on this time and will judge accordingly. Let those of us who revere science continue to work to improve our own behaviour. It is far better to raise your hand and say “I was wrong” than to make a fool of someone who is a poor debater, but is also correct. Even when you can’t admit it, the person who makes a fool of an honest and correct person is the real fool. Speaking from bitter experience, nothing is more humbling.

    Here’s hoping that wasn’t too pompous.

    JE

  92. I have no feelings one way or the other about this sudden outbreak of civility. I feel it’s sort of like negotiating with the North Koreans, the cheating will commence immediately, but there is no harm in trying…Yet I am taken aback by the Al Gore issue. Al Gore? Al Gore has made serial idiotic statements for decades. He is known as the “Prince of Tennessee” for heaven’s sake. His books are pompous and sleep inducing. He himself exhibits sanctimony and hypocrisy. And worst of all he has used all of this to make a ton of money. Perhaps just “Al Gore” is enough to conjure up all the rest, but I did like the old label. It was direct and truthful, and lampooned a high public person who needs lampooning.

  93. Scientists used to be referred to as natural philosophers, before the term ‘scientist’ was coined in 1833 by English philosopher and scientist William Whewell. The word naturalist is derived from the earlier term, and designates one who studies nature. Many of the great English scientists of the 19th century were ‘amateurs’ (i.e. although they were experts they did not earn their living through science) who called themselves naturalists.

    If ‘climate skeptic’ is not agreeable to the CAGW side, in lieu of ‘climate denier’, would not ‘climate naturalist’ be a reasonable substitute? There are two positive implications: 1) many here follow in the footsteps of the English naturalists who dedicated a great deal of their lives to the scientific study of nature, from rocks to the weather; and 2) we overwhelmingly believe that while the world may be warming, or cooling, or experiencing temperature oscillations, this is a natural phenomenon (to call us coolers or coolists would be an abomination). To understand this, and separate the global phenomenon from localized warming in urban areas, etc. climate naturalists believe that scientific investigations must focus on the acquisition of data based on measurements and studies of the real world, and not on computer programs.

  94. I’ve been looking into the genesis of the term “denier” for some time. As far as I can tell the term was invented by a linguist named Deborah Tannen. Ms. Tannen is a Professor of Linguistics at Georgetown University and is very involved in democratic party politics in the US. She is often engaged by political organizations that want to create a linguistic frameworks that will help them marginalize their opponents.

    On March 27th,1998 Ms, Tannen appeared on the News Hour with Jim Lehrer. She made the following comment:

    Holocaust denial has had far more success in the United States than any other country. In our eagerness to show both sides, sometimes that means giving a forum to people who claim that the Holocaust never happened. A woman [wrote] a book discussing their tactics–the Holocaust denier’s tactics–and she was invited on television if she would also allow them to invite deniers and debate them. She said, but there’s nothing to debate; this is history; it’s fact. And she was told, don’t you think the audience has a right to hear the other side. So often we give a platform to marginalized or even totally discredited views in our eagerness to show the other side. This also is why global warming everywhere in the world is accepted as a problem, and the question is: How do we approach it? Just the other day I mentioned global warming to a taxi driver, and he said, “Do you believe that? There’s no such thing.” Only in the United States have we given a lot of air time to just a few discredited scientists who say this isn’t a problem, just so that we can show the other side.

    So it was clear from the start that Ms. Tannen, a skilled linguist, was creating a linguistic link between people who have question about the veracity of some aspects of climate science and holocaust deniers.

    REPLY: Good find, I’m going to elevate this – Anthony

  95. sHx says:

    Over at Deltoid, Cook’s sister doomsday cultist blog, there is a category that goes ‘Gregg Easterbrook is an idiot’.

    I don’t know who Gregg Easterbrook is, what he is arguing and whether or not he is an ‘idiot’, but I expect Tim Lambert to follow your example and remove that category.”

    sHx, Dr Easterbrook is hated by the alarmist contingent at Skeptical Pseudo-Science and Deltoid because he shows people the truth. He is vilified because that is his chart, based on peer-reviewed data and ice core evidence.

  96. Tom Curtis
    “That condition is that you find a suitable, non-tendentious descriptive title for those who call themselves “AGW Skeptics” and who I call “AGW Deniers”. “
    Easy, just put a “C” in front of AGW and I’m fine with “denier”, although I believe “skeptic” is more appropriate because I’m confident that a mere presentation of convincing evidence would change my mind. I’m only “skeptical” because I have not seen convincing evidence that climate change is human induced (as opposed to merely human influenced) or that it will be catastrophic and while we’re at it there is absolutely no support that mitigation (action now!) would be more effective (or economically practicable) than adaptation.

  97. @ Mark says:
    September 25, 2011 at 3:45 pm

    Isn’t that what Judith Curry was trying to do at the beginning? Doesn’t seem to have panned out too well, does it? She was soon tarred with the denier brush and after being subjected to the “if-you’re-not-with-us-you’re-against-us” attitude now appears to lean more and more towards to the sceptics’ (realists’ ?) side every time I pass through the Climate Etc site. The win-at-all-costs mindset of the CAGW people, already alluded to in this thread and the constant attempt to starve dissent of oxygen is the root of the whole impasse between the two sides.

    I met with the same sort of attitude with French Maoists in the aftermath of May ’68.
    It didn’t win me to their cause.

  98. Given the gist of omnologos’ post, he will have no objection to my calling him “know it all”
    .
    Unfortunately “know it all” knows less than s/he thinks. There is, of course, an obvious connection between the fasces in London architecture and Fascism, specifically the connection of the symbol to its historical roots, and hence to discipline and hence law. And pointing out that connection by a reference to Mussolini implies not wit (which requires cleverness).

    Likewise calling Skeptical Science “SS” requires no wit, only an intent at offensive ridicule. “Know it all” is correct about one thing, though. It is not offensive to the victims of the Holocaust, but to the authors and moderators at Skeptical Science. It is a suggestion, even if only intended as witticism, that those authors and moderators are the sort of people who would, given opportunity, pull people out of their beds and execute them for having the wrong opinions. It suggests that they are, in fact, the sort of people who would commit a holocaust.

    “Know it all” finds nothing offensive in such suggestions, but such suggestions can only not be offensive if the suggested behaviour is not offensive.

    The irony is that people who call Skeptical Science “SS”, sometimes stating the deliberate intent of comparison with the Schutzstaffel, also take umbrage at being called “AGW deniers”. Apparently, a comparison with people who deny that a deed occurred is, in their minds, not as offensive as a comparison with the people who perpetrated that deed.

    All this of course assumes that the phrase “AGW denier” is intended to make a comparison with holocaust deniers. While I can accept Anthony’s claim that some people have deliberately used it with that comparison in mind, I can vouch for the fact that I and most of the people I know do not..

  99. I’m happy to use the full “Skeptical Science website” as my description to avoid any confusion and because I think text speak is not where I want my language to go. I’m also happy to avoid offending others.

    The whole concept of being “offended” is interesting. If the intent of the speaker/writer is to cause offence with use of certain words then by actually taking offence you help them out with their objective and appear defensive. If you have a thick skin then they end up looking weak and “playing the man” with ad-hominem unable to match you on the substance of the arguments.

    I always choose not to take offence because being offended is a simple choice we all make. I can still tell someone that they should calm down – remember Willis calling me an “international fool” for suggesting he should wait for an explanation before jumping to conclusions when he failed to obtain data off a website. I wore the tag with pride in a subsequent post. :) Offence is a choice. If we can all choose not to be offended by certain words then the world becomes a better place and we can focus on the ideas and scientific argument.

  100. Tom Curtis says:
    September 25, 2011 at 4:29 pm

    The very first problem with your proposal is that your assumptions about the use of the word “denier” are incorrect. If I look up my Shorter Oxford English Dictionary I am informed that “denier” is Middle English, ie,, the language of Chaucer, for “one who denies”. The next entry informs me of the first modern use of the word, – 1532. I do not believe anyone will be so obtuse as to believe the use of the word in 1532 was a reference to holocaust denial.

    *heavy sigh*

    My problem with ceasing to use the term “AGW denier” is twofold.

    …Indeed, my suspicion is that many of the people I would normally describe as “AGW deniers” find the term offensive not because of any holocaust denial association, but because it is accurate.

    Second, I do not have any other useful short descriptive term for those I would normally call “AGW deniers”. I know that they call themselves “AGW skeptics” or something similar, but that term is tendentious and attributes to them a virtue I do no see much displayed by their reasoning, ie, skepticism.

    I have a new term for you to call us, having read your comment, “AGW non-arrogant”.

  101. Ten years if someone said they were “using the way back machine to google SS deniers” I simply would not have understood them.

  102. Anthony,

    Thank you for taking this step.

    Moving the language of the climate debate in a more civil direction should help to keep the dialogue factual and productive rather than emotional or inflammatory, which would be to all of our benefit.

    I sincerely hope that others, on both sides, will follow your lead.

  103. Tom Curtis, get a clue.

    The temperatures indicated by ice cores are the same in both hemispheres, so it’s not a “single location.” You are a blinkered fool coming here and trying to convince scientific skeptics [the only honest kind of scientists] that down is up, white is black, evil is good… and runaway global warming is upon us.

    Dr Easterbrook has forgotten more than you will ever learn about the climate. And you would not know “the truth” if it bit you on your butt.

  104. I suppose you’re going to rule “Carbon Cult” impermissible as well? We should start keeping a list — sort of like “10 words you can’t say on television”.

  105. I’d like to make the case that it is a positive good to allow expressions like ‘SS.com’ or ‘denier’. My reasoning is that it is a quick indicator of a comment that isn’t worth reading.

    I remember when it was popular for Microsoft bashers to call the MS operating system “Windoze”. I might even agree with the point of view of a “windoze’ poster but in general those who use short hand thinking like this and consider it clever have nothing important to say.

    So allowing these kind of expressions is actually a supplemental filtering aid – and worrying about these things is really kind of p.c.

    I would like to see folks grow some thicker skin and stop using ‘I am offended’ as a rhetorical club. I forget who, but there was some famous person who said that it is impossible to insulted. If a charge is true one shouldn’t be insulted, if it isn’t one shouldn’t care. There is a tendency to use rhetorical tricks to label opposition – most successfully used by the political left. However, in our evolving post mainstream media age it seems to me it is becoming less and less effective.

  106. Smokey says:

    “sHx, Dr Easterbrook is hated by the alarmist contingent at Skeptical Pseudo-Science and Deltoid because he shows people the truth. He is vilified because that is his chart, based on peer-reviewed data and ice core evidence.”

    Smokey,

    presenting a temperature series from a single location as though it was the global temperature as Easterbrook does is not the truth.

    Presenting the “1905” temperature (according to Easterbrook) as being the modern temperature as Easterbrook does is not the truth.

    Presenting the (as it actually is) 1855 temperature as the modern temperature as Easterbrook does is not the truth.

    Failing to acknowledge the 1.44 degrees C warming at the GISP site between the 1850s and th 2000s as Easterbrook does is not the truth.

    Refusing to correct the the errors when informed of them, as Easterbrook has done, shows that truth is not Easterbrook’s objective.

  107. Tom Curtis writes “you are not entitled to suggest that that linguistic connection implies an assertion of moral equivalence.”

    Incorrect Tom. For two reasons.

    Firstly, “holocaust denier” has been abbreviated to simply “denier” sufficient times in the past to have a strong connotation in the public mind. If it wasn’t we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

    Secondly its not up to you to decide whether a term offends a person. All you can do is listen to them if they say it does and modify your behaviour accordling. Or not depending on the kind of person you are and how reasonable the request is.

    Anthony has listened to Dana’s request to moderate those within his site from using “SS” to refer to SkS but all we’ve heard from you so far are excuses as to why denier should be allowed after having been asked not to use it.

  108. M Paul:

    “So it was clear from the start that Ms. Tannen, a skilled linguist, was creating a linguistic link between people who have question about the veracity of some aspects of climate science and holocaust deniers.”

    There is an obvious linguistic link between holocaust deniers and “AGW deniers” – both deny facts for which there is very strong, indeed overwhelming evidence. You are entitled to disagree with that assessment if you like, but you are not entitled to suggest that that linguistic connection implies an assertion of moral equivalence. No such assertion is made or implied by Ms Tannen in the quoted section.

  109. Anthony,

    It is also clear from the comments that I have already pointed out that Ms Tannen did not attempt to establish a moral equivalency between “AGW denial” and “Holocaust denial”, at least not in the quoted section. You appear to want to read an implied moral equivalency into everything you read, even from those who explicitly disavow the equivalency. That, however, is your problem, not that of Monbiot, myself or anybody else who disavows the equivalence. Consequently, your determination to take offense where none is intended is no reason for us to change our behaviour.

    Never-the-less, I , and I am sure, others, are willing to do so if an appropriate term can be found, Indeed, Monbiot says as much. In the meantime, I doubt any “warmist” is going to clutter their language when simple language will do without that substitute. Your taking offense where none is intended is not sufficient reason to restrict the expression of thought.

    Tom Curtis

    REPLY: Oh please. As the previous commenter said, you’ve spent a lot of time defending the use of “denier”, even after being shown examples of linkage, and wrongfully fixated on me as being the only one offended. I find it morally repugnant that you want to hold on to a disgusting and inflammatory term because you can’t find another “label”. The need for labeling people is a sign of weakness of argument. Can’t win the argument? Label your opponent as inferior with broad brush. Again, your opinion on this issue today is irrelevant, because this article isn’t an offer to you, about you, or related to you. But somehow you’ve interjected yourself in the middle as if it were. And who’s suggesting “cluttering language”? Not using a term many people find offensive is far less cluttering. Your logic fails, take a break. – Anthony

  110. “No theory is carved in stone. Science is merciless when it comes to testing all theories over and over, at any time, in any place. Unlike religion or politics, science is ultimately decided by experiments, done repeatedly in every form. There are no sacred cows. In science, 100 authorities count for nothing. Experiment counts for everything.” – Michio Kaku, a professor of theoretical physics at City College of New York

  111. Tom Curtis;
    As you can see, the differences are large, and the GISP2 record (as shown by Easterbrook) is one of the most variable and least representative proxies available.>>>

    I’m always amused when someone tries to discredit a specific proxie by comparing it to an average of other proxies. By that standard, not a single proxie in the suite of proxies depicted in your link is credible. How does one take a group of proxies and “prove” one of them wrong or right by comparing them to the average when NONE of them are credible on that basis?

    Here is a link to about 100 proxie studies. I can prove what ever trend I want by being selective about which ones I choose to average and compare against. who chose the 8 proxies in the Wikipwedia article? And if Easterbrook;s is wrong, why was it selected to be part of the average? Is the suite credible, or isn’t it?

    But I like this remark of yours most of all:

    “For instance around 115,000 years ago, temperatures at Vostock are above Holocene levels, while those for NGRIP are significantly below Holocene levels.”>>>

    In once sentence you’ve confirmed that you need to go back over 100,000 years to find a significant difference between NGRIP and VOSTOCK and also admitted that Vostock showed temperatures warmer than the Halocene at that time. So, for the most part, the records have been in agreement for, oh, 100,000 years and at some points they prove that the “its never been warmer than it is now” story has some holes in it.

    Thanks for your help!

  112. Anthony,

    I have noticed the quote from Goodman and agree it is offensive, and repudiate it. It has nothing to do with my use of the term. I am, however, surprised to see you quoting Monbiot as similarly using the term. I am not a regular reader of Monbiot, so I searched “monbiot” “holocaust” “denier”. Three relevant posts popped up. One in which Monbiot himself was accused of “…acting like a Holocaust denier” because he rejects the notion that millions where killed by Chernobyl (based on consensus science):

    http://www.tinyrevolution.com/mt/archives/003481.html

    One in which he named a top ten list of “climate change deniers” in which no holocaust denial compariosn was made in the text, although a few commenters objected to the supposed slur:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/georgemonbiot/2009/mar/06/climate-change-deniers-top-10

    Most important of all was the first article in the search in which Monbiot says:

    “I use the term deniers not because I am seeking to make a link with the Holocaust, but because I can’t think what else to call them. They describe themselves as sceptics, but this is plainly wrong, as they will believe any old rubbish that suits their cause. They will argue, for example, that a single weather event in one part of the world is evidence of global cooling; that the earth is warming up because of cosmic rays and that the Antarctic is melting as a result of volcanoes under the ice. No explanation is too bonkers for them, as long as it delivers the goods.”

    So, in fact, Monbiot explicitly repudiates the position you claim he has taken.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/georgemonbiot/2009/feb/27/climate-change-deniers-sceptics

    Are you really going to prosecute this case on what just one or a few “warmists” have said, regardless of the opinions of all the other, more sensible “warmists”? Do you think it would be appropriate for me to do the reverse, to attribute to you any opinion held by any “AGW Skeptic” not matter how absurd, and no how you disavow holding that belief?

    It seems to me that a more sensible approach would be to accept the frequent claim by most “warmists” (including all the authors and moderators of Skeptical Science) that they disavow any imputation of moral equivalency between “AGW deniers” and “holocaust deniers”. If you were to do that, you would still believe that the term “AGW denier” was descriptively inaccurate just as we believe the term “AGW Skeptic” to be descriptively inaccurate. That, I’m sure is a fact we can easily live with, and focus on the important thing, the science, instead.

    Tom Curtis

    REPLY:
    And if you’ll read in comments, its been found earlier with clear linkage.

    mpaul says:
    September 25, 2011 at 8:18 pm

    I’ve been looking into the genesis of the term “denier” for some time. As far as I can tell the term was invented by a linguist named Deborah Tannen. Ms. Tannen is a Professor of Linguistics at Georgetown University and is very involved in democratic party politics in the US. She is often engaged by political organizations that want to create a linguistic frameworks that will help them marginalize their opponents.

    On March 27th,1998 Ms, Tannen appeared on the News Hour with Jim Lehrer. She made the following comment:

    Holocaust denial has had far more success in the United States than any other country. In our eagerness to show both sides, sometimes that means giving a forum to people who claim that the Holocaust never happened. A woman [wrote] a book discussing their tactics–the Holocaust denier’s tactics–and she was invited on television if she would also allow them to invite deniers and debate them. She said, but there’s nothing to debate; this is history; it’s fact. And she was told, don’t you think the audience has a right to hear the other side. So often we give a platform to marginalized or even totally discredited views in our eagerness to show the other side. This also is why global warming everywhere in the world is accepted as a problem, and the question is: How do we approach it? Just the other day I mentioned global warming to a taxi driver, and he said, “Do you believe that? There’s no such thing.” Only in the United States have we given a lot of air time to just a few discredited scientists who say this isn’t a problem, just so that we can show the other side.

    So it was clear from the start that Ms. Tannen, a skilled linguist, was creating a linguistic link between people who have question about the veracity of some aspects of climate science and holocaust deniers.

    Tom, may I suggest your opinion about what I should/should not do is irrelevant, this post and issue is not about you or your website or what you think about deniers or not. It is about Skeptical Science and my offer to them to stop using a clearly offensive term to many. The offers been made, I’m not rescinding it because you disagree with it. – Anthony

  113. Smokey says:

    “The temperatures indicated by ice cores are the same in both hemispheres, so it’s not a “single location.” You are a blinkered fool coming here and trying to convince scientific skeptics [the only honest kind of scientists] that down is up, white is black, evil is good… and runaway global warming is upon us.”

    1) An examination of the chart to which you link shows that it disproves your contention. Although there is a broad similarity between glacial and interglacial temperatures in Greenland and the Antarctic, even there there is disagreement. For instance around 115,000 years ago, temperatures at Vostock are above Holocene levels, while those for NGRIP are significantly below Holocene levels. During the last glacial, temperature differences between Greenland and Antarctica were very large compared to typical Holocene temperature fluctuations, though small compared to the difference between glacial and interglacial.

    2) It is telling that you did not show a comparison of Holocene temperatures to support your point. Easterbrook’s graph is of the Holocene period, so it is only similarity over the Holocene that is relevant. Over that period, of course, the differences between Antarctica and Greenland temperatures is large.

    3) A comparison between Holocene temperature proxies can be seen at this Wikipedia graph:

    As you can see, the differences are large, and the GISP2 record (as shown by Easterbrook) is one of the most variable and least representative proxies available. The average of the proxies is a fair representation, although it suffers from a northern hemisphere bias.

    I find your “lack” of inflammatory language entertaining.

  114. Tom, your argument is out of context. Are you asserting that when dana1981 made the request that we should refer to Skeptical Science as “SkS” instead of “SS”, that he was responding to a post that was implying moral equivalency between Skeptical Science and the Nazi SS? Or is he making the same jumptoconclusions that we are?

    Take your argument to SkS first, where, in the context of this discussion, it was first raised. Otherwise, the fact that you wish to defend “denier” while ignoring the context of “SS” speaks to your bias.

  115. Tom,

    Don’t you find it remarkable that Monbiot, a journalist, with the implication of a profession of mastery of words, simply “can’t think what else to call them”? Is the man truly so incompetent in his chosen craft?

    Especially when the term “denier” is so clearly poor…who “denies” Climate Change? The Climate has always changed, and has ever since there’s been an atmosphere. Who denies Global Warming? The planet has been warming since the Little Ice Age. Who denies AGW? Global warming must have some effect…it’s just a question of how much, and whether it’s a bad thing. Are these last people “denialists”?

    Here’s one of those ideas that’s so brilliant that you should be able to accept it’s due. If the Monbiots of the world are incapable of coming up with an appropriate term, why not ask the targeted people what they’d like to be called? That would not only be respectful, in a human way, but the thousands of targeted people might come up with an appropriate term where Monbiot has utterly failed.

    Why insist on calling people denialists when they object to it? Does that advance the Science…or the Politics? Any response you make has to answer this key question…does calling people “Denialists” when they find it insulting advance the Science…or the politics?

  116. Tom Curtis says:
    September 25, 2011 at 8:51 pm

    presenting a temperature series from a single location as though it was the global temperature as Easterbrook does is not the truth.

    Presenting the “1905″ temperature (according to Easterbrook) as being the modern temperature as Easterbrook does is not the truth.

    Presenting the (as it actually is) 1855 temperature as the modern temperature as Easterbrook does is not the truth.

    Failing to acknowledge the 1.44 degrees C warming at the GISP site between the 1850s and th 2000s as Easterbrook does is not the truth.

    Refusing to correct the the errors when informed of them, as Easterbrook has done, shows that truth is not Easterbrook’s objective.

    Using a set of cores from a small stand of bristlecone pines in the American southwest, which were identified as not being appropriate for temperature reconstruction by the NAS, and weighting them to dominate all other reconstructions, thereby creating a hockey stick shape, is not the truth.

    Taking cores from a single Larch from Yamal and heavily weighting it so it dominates all the other cores in the region (which do NOT show a hockey stick shape) to create a hockey stick shape is not the truth.

    Refusing to correct these “errors” when informed of them, as Mann, Bradley, Hughes, Briffa, Jones, Wigley, and a whole host of others have done, shows that the objective of those scientists is not the truth.

  117. Them calling us “deniers” is the same as them calling us “racists”. It’s the liberal sandbox disease. Needs to be solved together, and petitioning SkS does nothing for this big picture. Recommend you forget it.

  118. In the interest of civility I hereby vow to try (getting there may take a while) and refrain from commenting on ex-Vice President and Nobel laureate Al Gore’s unusual bulk, enormous girth, gofer cheeks, beady eyes, motives, intelligence, pomposity or other personal characteristics or traits. I will focus my entire attention instead on the bodacious tales he tells.

  119. RDCII:

    “Here’s one of those ideas that’s so brilliant that you should be able to accept it’s due. If the Monbiots of the world are incapable of coming up with an appropriate term, why not ask the targeted people what they’d like to be called? That would not only be respectful, in a human way, but the thousands of targeted people might come up with an appropriate term where Monbiot has utterly failed.”

    RCDII, what do you think I’m doing here?

    In the end, IMO, Anthony’s “offer” to Skeptical Science is an offer that WUWT will stop drawing odious nazi comparisons (who cares if you want to shoot yourself in the foot like that) and that he will substitute a term so mildly objectionable that just about nobody cares about it with a term that seriously miss describes the “warmist” position, and for that negative gain, Skeptical Science only needs to stop accurately describing Anthony and others of his persuasion.. As an offer it is not much better than, “I’ll stop punching myself in the face if you’ll let me spit in your eye.”

    But regardless of the zero value offer, I do not want to offend people needlessly, so I have asked for a substitute term, and met with (essentially) silence. The only two proposals are trivial or non-responsive. Indeed, for my purpose, the only worthwhile information has been that, like me, at least one person here would rather be called a denier than a denialist.

    Despite Anthony’s little diatribe, names are useful things without which we cannot communicate. That’s why languages are filled with nouns. And while I could substitute a 12 plus word description of the general features of the “AGW Skeptic” position every time I need to refer to it, that is not convenient. (Indeed, if Anthony is serious about his newly discovered objection to “labeling” why is he not dropping the “warmist” label without substitution?) So, I seek a non-tendentious term for “AGW skeptics” that will not offend them. Is there none that the commentors on this list can agree to?

  120. Mosher – yes the double-S was a cheap joke at first, but it got funny when unintended analogies kept popping up, such as the obsession with rewriting history and indoctrinating the masses, and the “my Truth will be true even when it will not be true anymore” attitude. It’s all on Omniclimate (Sep 21) for those not afraid of Voldemort.

    Tom Curtis – you’ve spectacularly failed at making an argument. You have: missed completely the most obvious analogy (omnologos vs know-nothing…well, now it’s too late); deliberately said not a word about the red-flag logo example; shown abysmal ignorance about the use of Fasces in the British architecture totally independently from Mussolini’s story (never mind the widespread current usage in the USA); failed to notice how I have never tried to paint Cook or dana1981 as morally or mentally inferior. etc etc

    Why have you done that? Because otherwise your stupid suggestion that the double-S jokes are meant to suggest John Cook is “the sort of [person] who would commit a holocaust”. Of course he is not. Instead, he is the sort of person who does not understand that certain patterns of behavior must be actively avoided and rejected, because we have had enough “Holier-than-Thou” and “Science-by-Authority” characters in History already.

  121. TinTheToolMan,

    “holocaust denier” is not shortened to “denier”, in my experience, except when the first term or some other clear indication of context already has already been used. You can test this. A google search for “david”, “ïrving”, and “denier” turns up 351,000 hits. In the first five pages, all but three hits prominently featured the word “holocaust”. Of the three exceptions, one was a website promoting Irving’s books, One was set of dictionary sentence examples (and hence without context). And one referred to him as a “Shoah” (the Hebrew name for the holocaust) denier. Consequently your linguist point is simply false.

    Further, while it is not up to me to decide whether people are offended by a term, neither is it up to me to avoid offending people who are simply being precious. Be that as it may, I am not here to defend the term “AGW denier”, I am here to find a non-offensive substitute. Regardless of how unjustified it may seem to me that people take offense to that term, I recognize that they do so. I have no desire to cause unnecessary defense, so given a suitable substitute I will do so.

    Having sad that, though I am not here to defend the term, neither will I roll over and pretend the offense (however real) is also justified. It is not. Or at least, the limited way in which the offense is justified is because it is a true description of peoples behaviour – ie, their denial of plain truths about climate change.

    REPLY:
    Tom I’m going to follow your advice where you say (on your own website here):

    I am likely to make bad mistakes from time to time, so (and this should never need saying) do not believe anything just because I have said it.

    Fair enough, you’ve made a bad mistake here, and nobody believes you. That’s probably a sign to give it a rest, because your argument is growing tiresome. – Anthony

  122. Not so long ago the mouthpieces of certain political establishments referred to people like me as “imperialist running dogs”.

    I liked it. It displayed their stupidity better than anything I could say.

    Their successors still call me names. I still like it.

  123. I wouldn’t offer SkS anything.
    I ve seen them delete a post that did’t fit their story just yesterday.
    And if you use the wayback-machine there are many deletions.

  124. Quote – “REPLY: Mr. Pawełczyk, I suggest you get your own blog and you can run it and post on it any way you wish, for now I’ll run mine the way I wish, Thank you – Anthony”

    Mr. Watts,

    Not for the first time we disagree on principia, this time on foundations of Internet and blogosphere in particular.

    You claim that because it is your blog you can set the rules whatever you wish.

    I claim that because your blog belongs to blogosphere (of Internet!) you can set the rules only which does not contradict blogosphere foundations – that you’ll always keep your blog open and free from excessive intervention which might stifled freedom of expression in any form.

    Alas, you have given the right to decide what is right or not within your blog to yourself instead of sticking to “our laws” – of Internet and blogospher users.

    If there was no such thing as Internet and blogosphere you would not be able to promote your views and deny the claims of AGW believers. Why don’t you respect the “Laws of Internet” in return?

    From the beginning I started to read WUWT pages several years ago I am still perplexed why you treat the Internet like your own private yard instead of keeping it open and free to a maximum extent possible?

    One small step here, another there, and the Internet will become electronic edition of Soviet “Pravda” (The Truth).

    You are supporting “those” who would like to control Internet, perhaps unconsciously. But it seams to me you are playing to the advantage of “those” people, making your moves detrimental to our Great Cause – free and always opened Internet.

    Alas, thanks to you Mr Watts, the Internet as we all know it will be dead soon, even sooner than later. Sad.

    Regards

  125. I disagree with your approach: I had my first illuminating encounters with these murderous, lying, hippies on EvC – their primary goal is to influence people. Facts, logic, reason, honesty, etc are all COMPLETELY irrelevant to them: apart from the pretense thereof, of course.

    On a practical level, it is not SANE to engage in communication with liars: why do you think the DDT ban, which is kind of a prequel to AGW, existed, still exists, and continues to drag on? Just how many, mostly black and poor, people (mostly children) are DEAD because of this one thing alone? Did engaging these ideologues EVER help?

    Notice again the ‘DEAD': there are REAL consequences to the influence the hippies exert. Piles of dead children. REAL dead children. And you are worried about ‘SS’?! About ‘nice’ dialogging?! I’m sorry, but are you perhaps insane?

    If you want to address this topic, I would seriously advice the biblical approach: mark them, and avoid them. In other words, they are the enemy: SO TREAT THEM AS SUCH, and fight them until they no longer exist.
    Anything else plays into their hands. Thus is the basic reality of politics: debate serves the purposes of the dictators over the purposes of their (DEAD) victims.

  126. er – if you Google “SS” site:Wattsupwiththat.com you get 488 hits (admitedly some relate to Sun Spots)

    But I really think it’s a stretch to associate the acronym “SS” with only the Nazis. As mentioned in your article it is also Social Security as well as Sun Spot, Steam Ship, Stainless Steel, etc., etc.

    Why do people get so bent out of shape over names? (A rose by any other name.. or Sticks and stones..). Is it an American thing? (The only place in the world where white is white but black can’t be called black).

  127. James of the West says:
    September 25, 2011 at 8:29 pm

    … I always choose not to take offence because being offended is a simple choice we all make. I can still tell someone that they should calm down – remember Willis calling me an “international fool” for suggesting he should wait for an explanation before jumping to conclusions when he failed to obtain data off a website. I wore the tag with pride in a subsequent post. :)

    James, the least you could do is quote my full statement to give some context. I said to you:

    The valuable lesson you could learn here is to do your homework before uncapping your electronic pen and making an international fool of yourself.

    However, please note the difference between a LABEL (denier) used to refer to a group on the one hand, and on the other hand a DESCRIPTION of the result of an individual’s actions (he makes an international fool of himself). On this thread we’re discussing labels used to refer to groups, not terms used to refer to James of the West.

    However, in line with my resolution to call people what they want to be called, I’m happy to call you “international fool” if you like. It’s not clear why you would like that, but if as you say you “wear the tag with pride”, who am I to question it?

    w.

  128. This is EXACTLY how the professional democrat (socialist/enviro/Gaia-centric/anti-Christian) leaders of today’s “science-based” use the “denier” term their propagandists invented, and it shows WHY they use that term.

    At a fundraiser in San Jose, Calif., Obama said that some in the audience might be former Republicans “but are puzzled by what’s happening to that party,” and voters should back him if they believe in a “fact-based” America.

    “I mean has anybody been watching the debates lately?” Obama said. “You’ve got a governor whose state is on fire denying climate change.

    Above from http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/183773-obama-mocks-gop-debates-says-he-stands-for-fact-based-america

  129. RDCII, I made a post quoting two examples of direct allusions to fascist regimes to which Dana was reacting. One connected him to Mussolini because of Dana’s Italian heritage, the other made a direct SS allusion.

    Anthony has seen fit to censor that comment. Never-the-less, if it appears to you that Dana’s comment was without context, that is only because Anthony will not permit that context to be discussed on his blog.

    REPLY: You are welcome to discuss the context all you want, repeating the comments verbatum with the inappropriate and inflammatory language is another matter altogether. Apparently you missed reading the cautionary footnote to this story, much like you’ve missed the whole denial issue and have become a laughingstock on this thread. – Anthony

  130. Some people would consider pompous and overly moral remarks to be offensive, it depends on cultural views and ones environmental upbringing, I’m guessing Mr Watts would find many ordinary people offensive. That’s why he keeps banning them from his blog :-)

    Should Anthony be dictating to the world (I’m sure he believes he is given the language used here) about culture and language?

  131. Does this have anything at all to do with science?

    Anthony, if you want to promote good science, some suggestions:

    1. develop a thicker skin
    2. discuss science

  132. Its obviously a reasonable proposal, Anthony.

    However, I personally have no problems with what others might call me. The word “denier” is water off a duck’s back. Let’s face it, those not yet persuaded of the AGW consensus have been vilified for years. Our own PM, Gordon Brown, called us all “flat earthers”. Now in that case you do what your elders always taught you – ignore it. “Sticks and stones, and all that. That he said this says a great deal more about him than me.

    In reality this is yet another version of a call to mature, reasoned and polite debate. Judith Curry has been doing this for years without any real results. It is much too late for that.

    The reality overall is that those who are persuaded by the alleged consensus have been talking to themselves for years. So, too, have we.

    The current state of play where the consensus is looking more and more vulnerable has not come about because of proper interaction in any general way. It is the result of the dogged practice of proper sceptical science by a distinguished few, the failure of alrming predictions and the growing disaffection with the behaviour of consensus science and its participants and supporters, the growing realisation, naturally increasingly cyincal, that the only result of their methods of mitigation are higher taxes with nil effect on the very problem they espouse, and in more recent times scientific work that demonstrates alternative possibilities. That process will continue and now has its own momentum.

    There is no need to engage with SkS. The progress to understanding will continue anyway.

  133. We have held the moral high ground from the start. We are not the ones fudging and “adjusting ” data, and then hiding the data and calling Freedom of Information a bad idea.

    Let us not forget who is denying here. Who is denying people access to data? Who denies the hockey-stick graph has been proven false? Who is denying people who differ the right to even speak?

    I see no harm in being civil. It is always best to avoid being dragged down to the level of people who have fallen. And it is downright spiritual to extend them a helping hand, so they might pick themselves up, and to forgive them, if they see the error of their ways.

    But do I expect that? I’m afraid not.

    Anthony lofts the ball into their court with this gesture. It is a nice, easy lob. A child could hit it back, but alas, the racket they are involved with has no strings in it.

    I doubt Anthony shall see any return.

    The only harm in being civil is if you allow it to gag you. If we become too PC then we can lose the moral high ground, for Truth might be deemed too “hurtful” to speak.

    We must stand up for the Truth, stand by the Truth, and demand the Truth.

  134. Ric Werme says:
    September 25, 2011 at 2:59 pm

    We really need some better terms.

    GWAPers? (Global Warming Alarmism Promoters)

  135. Ok, I really, really try to avoid feeding under-bridge dwelling mythical creatures but Tom Curtis has left me simply incredulous. To defend the use of the label “Denier” on one hand because it has a plain English dictionary definition apart from the Godwin-esque connotations yet disallow the term “Skeptic” as a replacement claiming that it carries positive connotations is factually incorrect. CAGW skeptics precisely fit the dictionary definition of “skeptic” and that definition carries no positive or negative connotation. It is simply neutral.

    In fact, based on the dictionary definitions of the terms, CAGW proponents should prefer calling their opponents skeptics rather than deniers. To “Deny” is to express that something is definitely not true, to be skeptical is a form of doubt and questioning but certainly leaves semantic room to be subsequently convinced. Wouldn’t that make the CAGW proponent’s case seem stronger to any observer?

    With the term “Denier” CAGW proponents are painting skeptics as far more extreme than most of them are. I suspect the intense desire to continue using the term goes beyond Godwin-land. The term Denier can carry an implication that that which is being denied is generally accepted as true. That’s what I think they are after more than any Holocaust association. It’s not about associating skeptics with Nazis, it’s about ascribing “accepted truth” to their own position (that they would go so far for that semantic fig leaf is telling in itself).

    Next, it’s about making the skeptic’s position seem more extreme and absolute than it is. Every skeptic I know doesn’t deny warming, they don’t deny mankind has an impact, they don’t even deny that human generated Co2 has some impact (however small). At that point, the discussion is now down to the real issues: how much, how fast, how costly, how certain. This is absolutely NOT where the CAGW proponents want the discussion. They don’t want a real discussion of the issues. They mostly want to shut down open discussion. If they let a dialog get started, then pretty quickly things will progress to the real differences – and suddenly, when the caricatures and straw men are deflated – the skeptics seem downright reasonable to most observers.

    Personally, I don’t mind the denier label. Most observers see it for exactly what it is and it just makes CAGW proponents look manipulative. This is one of the CAGW proponent’s weaknesses, they imagine that the general populace are unsophisticated rubes who would be influenced by such transparent definitional games. Instead, the double-speak backfires and the CAGW proponents don’t even realize how such blatant attempts at “framing” reveal them as non-scientific and politically motivated.

  136. James of the West says:
    September 25, 2011 at 8:29 pm

    The whole concept of being “offended” is interesting. If the intent of the speaker/writer is to cause offence with use of certain words then by actually taking offence you help them out with their objective and appear defensive. If you have a thick skin then they end up looking weak and “playing the man” with ad-hominem unable to match you on the substance of the arguments.

    I always choose not to take offence because being offended is a simple choice we all make.

    Quite! The words ‘Methodist’ and ‘Quaker’ were coined as derogatory.

  137. Doug Proctor says:
    September 25, 2011 at 4:26 pm

    CAGW has become the issue it has because the warmists have claimed the moral higher ground, i.e. what they do is for the benefit of humanity and the biosphere in general. If they are called to behave in that way as well, they lose their emotive powers of persuasion. Of which politicians and celebrities have a great deal, in direct contrast to their technical powers of persuasion.

    IOW, it gives them an excuse to vent venom and posture as holier-than-thou saviors (Mencken’s “messianic delusion”)–two deep-seated human desires perpetually in search of a pretext. Environmentalism (not to ignore its occasional on-target critiques) provides an endless catalog of such pretexts.

  138. From: http://www.antigreen.blogspot.com/ (Greenie Watch)

    “Godwin’s law” revisited?

    I do not personally accept the authority of Godwin as a lawgiver any more than I accept the authority of Al Gore, Jesus Christ or Karl Marx — but Godwin’s observation that Hitler comparisons are often the mark of desperation in an argument has some cogency. It lacks cogency only if the comparison is accurate.

    So when we find a Warmist who compares a skeptic to Hitler, it is reasonable to ask what accuracy there is in the comparison. A Warmist who rather amusingly calls himself “Science Guy” has replied to a critic who mocks meteorology generally as well as global warming in particular. The critic goes by the nom de guerre of “Cowboy”. “Science Guy” says:

    I found someone who agrees with Cowboy on the weather

    The following quotes come from perhaps the most famous man of the 20th century:

    “One can’t put any trust in meteorological forecasts. (Weather men) ought to be separated from the army.

    “Weather prediction is not a science that can be learned mechanically. What we need are men gifted with a sixth sense, who live in nature and with nature, whether or not they know anything about isotherms or isobars. As a rule, obviously, these men are not particularly suited to the wearing of a uniform. One of them will have a humped back. Another one of them will be bandy legged. A third paralytic. Similarly one doesn’t expect them to live like bureaucrats.”

    The quotes come from … Adolf Hitler

    It is certainly clear that Adolf did not think much of the meteorologists of his day but he would not be alone in that. Weather forecasters so often get things wrong that they are widely mocked to this day.

    So the issue is not skepticism about meteorology unless “Science Guy” wants to brand all those millions who mock weather forecasters as Nazis.

    The issue is whether Cowboy would agree that credibility is to be assigned to shamans and the like. There is no evidence that Cowboy does. His skepticism seems as wide-ranging as mine and I don’t even believe that the word “God” is meaningful!

    So “Science guy” has indeed fallen foul of Godwin’s law and his reply to Cowboy reveals that his argument is one of desperation, not science.

    referring to:

    http://blog.chron.com/sciguy/2011/09/i-found-someone-who-agrees-with-cowboy-on-the-weather/

    Well, no-one is perfect. Even Hitler couldn’t be wrong about everything!
    (No offence to Anthony:)

  139. Tom Curtis says

    However, I understand that the term “denier” does genuinely cause some “AGW Skeptics” offense, and am happy to drop it … on one condition. That condition is that you find a suitable, non-tendentious descriptive title for those who call themselves “AGW Skeptics” and who I call “AGW Deniers”. If you can find such a term, and persuade your fellow “AGW Skeptics” to adopt it so that people will understand to whom I am referring, I will adopt it also, and drop the term “AGW denier”.

    Here’s something I posted here a while back:
    If not for the Holocaust association, “denier” would be an acceptable term. Its connotation would be of people “in denial” about the ill-effects of their short-sighted, ego-centric behavior. (Drunkenness, abusiveness, etc.) IMO, that is what 90% of the users of the term intend to convey. I wouldn’t mind the label.

    Believer and Disbeliever would be a pair of matched terms, but they lack the necessary zing. And Believer carries the disparaging hint of True Believer.

    What’s needed is a set of terms that are only mild “zingers.” (Two that I like for the Believers are Warmmongers and Hotheads.) Alarmist qualifies, but there needs to be a countervailing term for their side to use.

    And then I posted this:
    I propose rebranding ourselves as “scorcher scoffers” or “scorcher-scam scoffers.”

    “Scoffers” has both negative and positive connotations, so both sides can accept it;
    “Scorcher” usefully distinguishes between possible harmless “warming” and a catastrophic temperature rise;
    “Scam” (optional) captures (tho imperfectly) the focus of our critique: the insane costliness and ineffectiveness of the proposed mitigation methods.
    ========

    BTW, here’s a relevant comment that was posted on (I think) CA:

    Hengist says:

    here’s a good explanation of why the D-word is out from philosopher Edward Skidelsky:

    “Denial” is an ordinary English word meaning to assert the untruth of something. Recently, however, it has acquired a further polemical sense. To “deny” in this new sense is to repudiate some commonly professed doctrine. Denial is the secular form of blasphemy; deniers are scorned, ridiculed and sometimes prosecuted.

    Where does this new usage come from? There is an old sense of “deny,” akin to “disown,” which no doubt lies in the background. (A traitor denies his country; Peter denied Christ.) But the more immediate source is Freud. Denial in the Freudian sense is the refusal to accept a painful or humiliating truth. Sufferers are said to be in a “state of denial” or simply “in denial.” This last phrase entered general use in the early 1990s and launched “denial” on its modern career. “Holocaust denial” was the first political application, followed closely by “Aids denial,” “global warming denial” and a host of others. An abstract noun, “denialism,” has recently been coined. It is perhaps no accident that denial’s counterpart, affirmation, has meanwhile acquired laudatory overtones. We “affirm” relationships, achievements, values. Ours is a relentlessly positive culture.

    An accusation of “denial” is serious, suggesting either deliberate dishonesty or self-deception. The thing being denied is, by implication, so obviously true that the denier must be driven by perversity, malice or wilful blindness. Few issues warrant such confidence. The Holocaust is perhaps one, though even here there is room for debate over the manner of its execution and the number of its victims. A charge of denial short-circuits this debate by stigmatising as dishonest any deviation from a preordained conclusion. It is a form of the argument ad hominem: the aim is not so much to refute your opponent as to discredit his motives. The extension of the “denier” tag to group after group is a development that should alarm all liberal-minded people. One of the great achievements of the Enlightenment—the liberation of historical and scientific enquiry from dogma—is quietly being reversed.

    I’m a SCOFFER … a SCORCHER-SCAM SCOFFER.

  140. I’m all for using the correct term, so as to avoid misunderstandings. And in this regard AGW should be rebranded Mann-made global warming. It puts the whole thing into perspective. And gives credit where credit’s due.

  141. Rosco says:
    September 25, 2011 at 5:55 pm

    3. Learn to spell sceptic – skeptic is incorrect even if it has wormed its way into the general usage.

    We’ve been through this before. Here’s what I’ve posted earlier on the matter:

    Not according to Britisher Fowler’s classic Modern English Usage :

    “The established pronunciation is sk-, whatever the spelling; and with the frequent modern use of septic and sepsis it is well that it should be so for fear of confusion. But to spell sc- and pronounce sk- is to put a needless difficulty in the way of the unlearned, for sce is normally pronounced se even in words where the c represents a Greek k, e.g., scene and its compounds and ascetic. America spells sk-; we might pocket our pride and copy.”

  142. The following is an email exchange I had with the Australian Broadcasting Commission some three months ago. Note how the ABC honcho, whilst acknowledging the validity of my complaint, chooses to ignore one of my main points, the fact that the hypothesis of AGW is not “climate change”!

    Subject: Insulting Name-calling by ABC employees

    Comments: I am totally fed-up with and heartily sick of the constant and continuing use by hosts of ABC programs, various ABC commentators and newsreaders, of the erroneous and insulting term “climate change deniers” applied to anyone who questions the unproven computer-model generated hypothesis of Anthropogenic Global Warming.

    Tony Jones of “Lateline” is a particularly insulting repeat offender, but there are many others.

    Many younger people would not realise that American fossil-fuel hating AGW guru James Hansen was first to introduce the Nazi slur against opponents by referring to the rail transport of coal as Death Trains.

    The AGW lobby later escalated the Nazi theme by labelling those who question them as Deniers. The deliberate link between the two terms and what is known as the “Holocaust” is undeniable to anyone old enough to know the history.

    Denier is particularly offensive to all sceptics of the AGW hypothesis as we neither deny climate change nor historical cyclical and/or chaotic continued global warming or cooling as dictated by natural variability and a multiple of forces.

    We do question the hypothesis that a tiny human-induced increase in a trace gas vital to all Earth’s plant and animal life will cause runaway catastrophic global warming.

    Unless the ABC discontinues this abhorrent practise, announces and enforces it as a matter of policy in line with their stated charter, it will be necessary for those slandered to seek legal redress against the Corporation and/or offending individual employees.

    If you want specific instances of the practise, it will not be hard to provide them.

    ABC Reply.

    Thanks for your message on this issue.

    I appreciate the point you make, and essentially I agree with you. However, I am reluctant to say that under no circumstances should the phrase “climate change denier” be used. I think you are right that, to at least some extent, the phrase has been used to deliberately link it with the notion of holocaust denial, with all of the pejorative connotations that includes.

    For that reason, our clear preference is to stick with the more neutral phrase “climate change sceptic”. From a quick search of our content, that seems to be the general rule.

    However, there may well be circumstances (especially when others use the term and we are faithfully reporting that) when the phrase will occur in our news programs.

    For your reference, the ABC Code of Practice (11 April 2011) is available online at: http://abc.net.au/corp/pubs/documents/codeofpractice2011.pdf Should you be dissatisfied with this response to your complaint, you may be able to pursue your complaint with the Australian Communications and Media Authority, more information is available on their website at: http://www.acma.gov.au

    Regards,

    xxxx xxxxxxxxxx
    Head of Policy & Staff Development
    ABC News

  143. SidViscous says:
    September 25, 2011 at 7:49 pm

    I disagree that cooler/coolist is an apt term. Most on the skeptical side are not arguing that the Earth is cooling, They are (Primarily, not all) arguing that the amount of change, warming/cooling irrelevant is within the norms. And that the impact by humans is much less than the amount the other side puts forward, and unlikely to be catastrophic.

    And no I can’t think of a simple catchy one word name for the above.

    How about the suggestion I made above? It’s three words, but it comes trippingly off the tongue. (Scorcer-scam scoffer)

  144. RB says:
    September 26, 2011 at 1:48 am

    The current state of play where the consensus is looking more and more vulnerable has not come about because of proper interaction in any general way. It is the result of the dogged practice of proper sceptical science by a distinguished few, the failure of alarming predictions and the growing disaffection with the behaviour of consensus science and its participants and supporters, the growing realisation, naturally increasingly cyincal, that the only result of their methods of mitigation are higher taxes with nil effect on the very problem they espouse, and in more recent times scientific work that demonstrates alternative possibilities. That process will continue and now has its own momentum.

    Another “driver” has been the failure of green “renewables” projects to deliver electricity reliably and at the costs promised, or jobs. Politicians who sponsored those projects must be cooling privately in their enthusiasm for them, and becoming more skeptical about GWAPers and their panaceas.

    (I suspect that much of the enthusiasm for GWAPism was driven by a desire for something–anything–to prod the government into providing funding for renewable energy reseach and deployment. If Rossi’s magic box works out, it should deflate this motive for warmism.)

  145. I would hope that the ugly ad hominems of the warmists would stop and they would simply refer to facts and unmodified data. Does “science” no long pay attention to facts in the field?

    Anyway, good article.

  146. Jeremy says:
    September 25, 2011 at 3:06 pm
    “Just received a letter from the United Nations Assoc of Canada.
    It states,
    “There has never been a time when the world has needed the United Nations more than it does today.””

    That means they’re afraid of falling through the cracks. Positive development if you ask me.

  147. Wow, what a can of worms is opened by Anthony’s “modest proposal” … although probably rather less of a stir than the original “modest proposal”. The problem is caused by the fact that any choice of word will influence the listener/reader by (at least) two levels of meaning:

    1: The denotation of a word is its (value-neutral) accuracy in denoting “this” from “that” object or situation – its “dictionary definition”. To use the word “denier” as an appropriate example, I am myself a CAGW “denier” (I see nothing catastrophic happening); I am an AGW “denier” (I see little, if any, evidence of any human “signature” in the observations); I am not, however, a “global warming denier”, since there does appear to me to be a slight warming over the last couple of centuries which I do not deny.

    2: The connotation of a word, OTOH, is far more vague and mutable, and refers to what, I suppose in an Internet age, we should call the “cloud” of associations of that word. Too often, we argue over the denotation of a word when what is being deployed – as in the case of “denier” – is the emotive scattergun of its connotations – specifically, in the case of “denier”, by its post-WWII use.

    It should also, of course, be borne in mind that, even in the phrase “holocaust denier”, the word has often been used deliberately inaccurately (in strictly denotational terms) as a weapon: consider that many who have been denigrated with that phrase were not, in fact, denying that a particular swathe of death-dealing occurred in the twentieth century, merely suggesting that, as in all writing of history, the detail of the account should be revised in the light of new, related evidence. Clearly, the suggestion that these people were “denying” what so many had recently witnessed or experienced is little more than a calculated linguistic tactic to paint them as completely out of touch with reality and thus to be dismissed without further consideration of what they were actually saying (sounds familiar, in a climate context, that). We should also never forget that there is not just one “holocaust” in human history: alas, it’s one of the things we have always indulged in rather immoderately.

    To put the whole thing in perspective, a hundred years from now, when both “denier” and “SS” (and all the other WWII phraseology) will have faded into history, neither will arouse any stronger feelings than … well, I can’t offhand think of any words which had similarly pejorative connotations after, say, the Napoleonic wars, which rather proves my point. All told, I’m inclined to agree with Anthony (and not just because this is his blog): when you know full well that the word you’re about to use has strongly negative connotational meaning and will certainly offend somebody, then rephrase it or be [snipped]. It’s the cool-headed, non-shouty style which makes WUWT what it is, so don’t break it.

  148. Relevant to our discussions on this thread about the labels denier and skeptic, here are two quotes from Dr. Lindzen. One quote saying he prefers the label denier and another saying why he does not like the label skeptic very much wrt alarming AGW.

    First quote is from an early Oct 2010 BBC Radio interview with Dr. Lindzen. Here are my personally transcribed notes from the radio interview. Dr. Lindzen said (again my transcription),

    Dr Lindzen – “Let me explain why I don’t like it [word skeptic]. You know to be skeptical assumes there is a strong presumptive case but you have your doubts. I think we are dealing with a situation where there is not a strong presumptive case. . . . [edit] . . . I actually like denier. That’s closer than skeptic. Realist is also not bad.”

    The second quote is from Dr. Lindzen’s written testimony for the US House Subcommittee on Science and Technology hearing on ‘A Rational Discussion of Climate Change: the Science, the Evidence, the Response (November 17, 2010).

    Dr. Lindzen – “Perhaps we should stop accepting the term, ‘skeptic.’ Skepticism implies doubts about a plausible proposition. Current global warming alarm hardly represents a plausible proposition. Twenty years of repetition and escalation of claims does not make it more plausible. Quite the contrary, the failure to improve the case over 20 years makes the case even less plausible as does the evidence from climategate and other instances of overt cheating.”

    Enjoy them. I did. : )

    John

  149. “While he and Dana1981 may not realize it, there’s an excellent opportunity here for Mr. Cook to redeem himself and his Skeptical Science website in the eyes of many.”

    On the other hand many people think the website is irredeemable and the old saying “you can put lipstick on a pig but it’s still a pig” is apt.

  150. RACookPE1978 says:
    September 26, 2011 at 1:04 am

    “I mean has anybody been watching the debates lately?” Obama said. “You’ve got a governor whose state is on fire denying climate change.

    We’re more worried about having a sitting president who thinks he can get out of debt by borrowing more money.

    If the president actually knew a bit of science he would know that anthropogenic fire suppression is what drives these wildfires. Before Smokey the Bear came along fires would be set by lightning bolts and, without humans putting them out, would burn until they went out on their own. This process tended to kept the fires small, confined, and not easily set because they happened with enough frequency to keep the fuel supply suppressed.

    As it happens, Governor Perry actually has a degree in science and held the position of Commissioner of Agriculture for the state of Texas. As usual, President Obama doesn’t know WTF he is talking about.

  151. Most of us, at least in the UK and, I suspect, most of the English (however bastardised)-speaking world learned the rhyme “Sticks and stones may break my bones / But words will never hurt me.” It strikes me that far too much of an issue is being made of this use of abbreviations (NB, “SS” is not an acronym, it is an abbreviation). So what if some lame-brain wants to call me a unit of the fineness of nylon yarn? If he wishes to substitute a slogan for thought it simply shows up the paucity of his argument. So one of the less desirable of twentieth-century regimes had military units whose name was commonly abbreviated to its initials. Does that bar that particular combination of letters for all time? What about SAS, which can stand for a British military unit and a Scandinavian airline? Squabbles over who can use it? Come on, everybody, grow up.
    I do notice what seems a growing tendency in the US in particular to regard anything to do with Jews as sacrosanct. The accusation has been made in the past that the news media and banking sectors are heavily dominated by Jews and such a tendency gives some credence to that view. It is characteristic of someone who is secure and confident that he doesn’t care what he is called, or is unduly bothered by real or imagined injuries in the past. He also tends to act according to generally accepted codes of conduct and, when he gets into a position of power doesn’t then treat his opponents as they treated him, but as he would wish they had. This tends to get a better deal all round, rather than finishing up with a Maniot-style blood feud going on for generations.
    So go ahead. Call me any names you like. My back is broad and remarkably water-repellent. Foam at the mouth and expose yourselves for what you are. Personally, I rather like the more foul-mouthed trolls on here as they give me confidence that I am right to be exceedingly sceptical if people like that oppose me.

  152. Hey Tom, How about “low sensitivity proponents” since that is the crux of my disagreement with most people on SkS.

  153. ALGore is a complete buffoon and has become a parody of himself and should be treated as such.

    But I do understand and agree with your thoughts and the appropriate decorum here on your website (concerning the need to call ALGore an idiot).

    You have made an extremely valid and sensible offer to the other website, but don’t hold your breath waiting for any agreement from them.

    Liberals are the party of double standards

  154. It doesn’t surprise me that this Dana1981 has casued such a stir. I have seen his posts on yahoo answers for many years. Perhaps its an idea for regular WUWT readers to visit yahooanswer / environment / globalwarming, and ask Dana1981 if he’ll cease with the use of denier etc. on there.

  155. My views are similar to those of Tom Curtis, expressed earlier on this thread. Maybe Europeans have a different viewpoint, but very few in the U.S. are “holocaust deniers”. I associate the
    term “denier” with religion.

    “2 Peter 2:1 But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, ”

    “Jude 1:4 For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, ”

    “1 John 2:22 Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? ”

    So yes, I am a denier of the AGW religion.

  156. Tom Curtis,

    Are labels really so necessary for you to express your views? Do you seriously believe that without the label “denier” the reader does not know to whom you are referring?

    Or perhaps you believe there are two distinct groups – deniers and sceptics. The latter inhabit some higher moral ground, believing in the reality of man-made warming, but just having some minor disagreements over the severity of the eventual outcome, while the former live in the dark depths of ignorance – mere scientific neanderthals.

    If you really need a label, how about “refusnik”, as in someone who refuses to accept the current consenus? What do others think?

  157. Roger Knights says:
    September 26, 2011 at 3:12 am

    SkS is too obscure. How about SkepSci? Or Cook’s sci? Or, for brevity, SSci?

    At this point, with all the heels dug in over words, we should call them Social Science.

  158. I feel like Alice in Wonderland. Up is down, and left is right.Those who claim to be the science mainstream, those who claim to have the “settled science”, those who claim to have science on their side, are the first ones to abandon reasoned discussion and engage in personal and professional libel and ad hominem attacks. And those who are supposed to be science “deniers”, those who are supposed to be nothing but oil industry shills, are the ones calling for less ad hominem and more actual discussion of the science.

    When you have science on your side, discuss the science, when you don’t, sling mud. We all know who slings the mud. We sceptics will acomplish much more by letting these people hoist themselves upon their own petards. Shrill ad hominem instantly loses the debate.

  159. I was always told not to take offense if none is intended.

    All this hullabaloo over initals will ultimately lead to the point where no combination of any initials will be available without offending someone. That, to me, is truly offensive.

    I concur with Willis regarding ‘being polite,’ but if the other side doesn’t go along… then what?

  160. Anthony – The Comments Policy section at Skeptical Science isn’t on the main page, but is linked off of each discussion thread, right above the reply box.

    The link for that is: http://www.skepticalscience.com/comments_policy.shtml

    I will note that as a frequent participant in the discussions at Skeptical Science, I have seen a number of folks who have complained about moderation there (complaints here, on Jonova, on other sites) come and go. All that I recall (and granted, I haven’t seen everything) involved repeated admonitions from the moderators regarding policy violations before their posts started getting snipped/deleted, and their leaving in anger. The policies are quite clear.

    Regarding terminology, I have to say that “skeptic” is appropriate in some cases, and “denial” (not just a river in Egypt) is appropriate in others. A scientific skeptic continually doubts, tests, checks their data, and is cautious about coming to conclusions without solid evidence. A person in denial, on the other hand, rejects solid evidence in favor of a more personally acceptable (albeit poorly or unsupported) conclusion. Different situations, different appropriate terms based upon the approach.

    [Reply: Moderation at WUWT is done with a light touch. But at Skeptical Science the moderators misuse their position to push a catastrophic global warming narrative. There is a huge difference between the moderating styles. One is employed only to keep order while allowing everyone their point of view, while the other is misused to push an alarmist agenda. ~dbs, mod.]

  161. “I mean has anybody been watching the debates lately?” Obama said. “You’ve got a governor whose state is on fire denying climate change.”
    ——
    It’s terrible in Texas, what with that fire burning up a swath of track on the intercontinental railroad that links all 57 states.

  162. @KR

    “A scientific skeptic continually doubts, tests, checks their data, and is cautious about coming to conclusions without solid evidence. ”

    Based on your own words it would not be possible for anyone to be a CAGW denialist since the data is sketchy at best and the results can not be independently tested or verified according to the scientific method!

  163. Moderator @ 197“There is a huge difference between the moderating styles. One is employed only to keep order while allowing everyone their point of view, while the other is misused to push an alarmist agenda.”

    I’ll just have to disagree with you – each of the SkS moderation instances I have seen involved someone posting ‘smack’, not science. That’s fine – if what you are discussing is political opinions. But not if you are claiming your opinions describe the world around us, or think that insults substitute for evidence.

    “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.” – Daniel Patrick Moynihan

  164. KR,

    I posted two comments to Skeptical Pseudo-Science several weeks apart. Knowing that they would be scrutinized for any reason to censor them, I was very careful to read their policy first, and to be very polite. Both my comments contained several links to peer reviewed graphs that solidly deconstructed the posts I was replying to. In other words, I was simply providing a different point of view based on scientific evidence.

    Neither of my comments was ever posted. So I know from personal experience that when solid evidence is posted that refutes their CAGW narrative, it is censored. That is a fact. You are, of course, entitled to your own misguided opinion.

  165. KR says:
    September 26, 2011 at 8:20 am

    … All that I recall (and granted, I haven’t seen everything) involved repeated admonitions from the moderators regarding policy violations before their posts started getting snipped/deleted, and their leaving in anger. The policies are quite clear.

    Sure, it didn’t take me long to realize I wanted to have little to nothing to do with the site. One of the things that has made WUWT so successful is its moderation policy.

    September 26, 2011 at 9:29 am

    I’ll just have to disagree with you – each of the SkS moderation instances I have seen involved someone posting ‘smack’, not science.

    Except of course, on threads where they don’t want to talk about science, as Dr. Roger Pielke Sr experienced. Or perhaps I don’t understand “smack”.

  166. Willis, firstly let me acknowledge that your scientific work is often quite valuable to the growth of understanding climate science. You are a colourful contributor to the debate. I agree the comments should be read in context.

    In that thread (which readers can find here on this very website) where my advice to you to exercise more patience and not to make assumtions was rejected and the “fool” label applied by your good self – I encourage everyone to make their own judgement on that – read the full context on this website including your eventual acknowledgements to certian people at the end of the comments thread.

    It’s a good example of the issue of sensitivity to others words and use of language in debate and illustrates how useless name calling really is no matter what the scenario. Labelling someone with an attempted insult should never divert people from the heart of the issues under debate which should always be taken on their relative merits. Attacking someone with any denigrating label doesn’t ever change the basis of the points at argument.

    Skeptical Science website uses terms like “denier” – its up to us if we choose to get offended by that label or just ignore it and press the scientific arguments.

  167. KR says:

    “Posted to SkS under what name?”

    Ah. The truth begins to emerge. It looks like KR isn’t just carrying water for SPS. He appears to be part of Skeptical Pseudo-Science’s censoring anti-science propaganda team.

    How about it, KR? Are you connected to that disreputable blog? Otherwise, what possible difference would it make to you what name I posted under? I think you’ve exposed yourself as an astroturfer.

  168. I’ve made an update with some data and graphs on word use, refresh to see it at the end of the story.

    Thanks to Tom Curtis for the making me think harder, which helped me prove the strong connection between the word “denier” and the atrocities of WWII

  169. This proposal is excellent. There is far too much reliance on name-calling in exchanges. SkS claims to look at the scientific arguments and aims to answer specific questions. If the arguments for global warming are far superior to those who have contrary views then stopping the name-calling will only enhance the site’s reputation.
    However, it the consensus view is based on extreme, untenable and one-sided analysis, then the smears are a way of deflecting attention from their inadequacies.

  170. I never used the term SS to describe Skeptical Science because I don’t want to stoop to their level. I have always used SkS. But what I really find hilarious about this whole thing is how dana1961 himself , over in the Friday Funny post, calls ME hypocritical almost immediately following his complaint concerning the term SS.

    dana1961 said:
    “Wow, that’s just a tad bit rude. Somehow you don’t have a problem with Watts not having a PhD though. Rude and hypocritical – you’re quite the catch!”

    So the the man who is pretty much running a blog with 38,000+ hits on the term “Denier” is complaining about people shortening the name of his blog to the ACTUAL first letters of it and then calling me hypocritical.

    Dana, things must really be falling apart over there!

  171. Why do you engage with that moron? A quick look at Cook website suggests that he never produced anything compelling other than compiling top 10 list of old warn out arguments. The others, like those entrenched at realclimate at least fabricated something, e.g. painted antarctica red in the nature magazine.

  172. Perhaps a smidge off-topic (cringing), but I find the fact that there is a Twitter-inducing software designed to “correct” “incorrect” climate assertions just a bit Orwellian…back on topic, yes, despite a distaste for engaging shrill opponents, stepping up to the plate in the name of civility (as long as political-correctness can be avoided!!!!!) gets my vote.

  173. Smokey

    I asked “what name” because I wondered if I had seen your posts float by – I’ve seen multiple postings appear and then be moderated, and it’s generally pretty easy to see why. I was also considering writing the moderators and asking – I’ve used the ‘Contact’ link on SkS on a couple of occasions, and had reasonable discussions about moderation on my posts. I’ll take it, from your comments, that you have not bothered to follow up in that fashion.

    I am not, however, a moderator on SkS, nor connected to them in any official capacity.

  174. @Vadim Tropashko

    Sorry in advance if I am mistaken, but was your question to me? If so, what is the title of this post? Would it be “A modest proposal to Skeptical Science”? Would making a proposal to someone involve, as you said “engaging” them?

  175. >> Tom Curtis says:
    September 26, 2011 at 12:02 am
    But regardless of the zero value offer, I do not want to offend people needlessly, so I have asked for a substitute term, and met with (essentially) silence. <<

    Call us 'AGW Heretics'

  176. Tom,

    You skipped over some of my points, so I’ll try to keep to one point per message.

    Your plea for an accurate term is unreasonable while you insist on misusing the single term “Denier” to cover the depth and range of AGW ideas that this term could cover.

    Do you believe the term makes sense for people who insist that the Climate never changes? I would agree with you, but you won’t find many of those.

    Do you believe the term makes sense for people who insist that no warming has occured since the Little Ice Age? I would agree with you, but you won’t find many of those.

    Do you believe the term makes sense for people who insist that Greenhouse Gasses have no affect on the atmosphere? I would agree with you, but you won’t find many of those.

    Do you believe the term makes sense for people who insist that our increased contribution of Co2 does not have any affect on the atmosphere? I would agree with you, but you won’t find many of those.

    If this term was only ever used for those folks, especially by you, then we’ve no quarrel. But I don’t believe that is the case.

    Do you believe the term makes sense for people who believe Climate Science is still in its infancy, and we do not know everything yet? What would they be denying…the idea that we know everything there is to know? If someone was saying we know all there is to know, would “Skeptic” be an inappropriate term for someone who questioned that?

    Do you believe the term makes sense for people who do not believe the “Science is Settled”? (Warning…you should be aware that at one recent Warmist convention, the question was discussed and the idea was thoroughly reviled). If someone says “The Science is Setttled”, is Skeptic an inappropriate word to use for someone who questions that?

    Do you believe, then, that “Denier” is an appropriate term for those who think that, given the above, the “end of the world” “scientific” conclusion may have been announced as an absolute conclusion prematurely? What are they denying…the idea that there is no possible doubt? Is “Skeptic” an appropriate term for those who think that there is still room for doubt?

    Do you believe that “Denier” is an appropriate word for a scientist who believes science is not done by Consensus? What are they denying…that Consensus is not a scientific tool, instead thinking that consensus is a political tool?

    Do you believe that “Denier” is an appropriate word for those who note that the IPCC spent a lot of time trying to identify the negatives of a warming climate, and spent little time quantifying the benefits? What are they denying…the idea that warming can only have negative consequences? Is “Skeptic” an appropriate word for someone who believes that such one-sided analysis may be more political than scientific?

    Do you believe “Denier” is an appropriate word for scientists who continue to pursue alternate theories? What are they denying…that there’s no possibility that the climate could be influenced by forces we don’t yet understand?

    Do you believe “Denier” is an appropriate term for those who point out that Treemometers don’t always work, and we don’t know why, so its appropriate to treat that “science” with some doubt?
    Is “Skeptic” an appropriate word for someone who thinks that, until we can identify exactly why sometimes treemometers don’t work, they are not the ultimate in reliability?

    Do you believe that “Denier” is an appropriate term for those who think catastrophic wildfires, the diminishing Aral seas, etc might indeed be manmade, but might have more to do with bad land/water management than C02? Is “Skeptic” an appropriate word for someone who thinks that such claims may be more political than scientific?

    Do you believe that “Denier” is an appropriate term for Statisticians who find statistical methodological mistakes in the works of Climate Scientists who aren’t Statisticians? Is it an appropriate term for those who are more prepared to accept the Statistical analysis of a Statistician than the less well-trained Climate Scientists?

    Do you believe that “Denier” is an appropriate term for a Software person like me, who has spent his whole career being confronted with the fact that A) Software is buggy…always; B) if there is not a team of Software Quality Engineers engaged on the software, the software will be buggier; C) Software is only as good as the data you put in it; D) Software has failed to solve complex problems such as, say Wall Street predictions and that therefore E) basing our economic future on models is nowhere near as compelling as the IPCC would claim?

    I could go on, and if you’re really going to argue this, I’d like an answer to each above. However, my point is, if you, and others, use Denier to paint all of the above as the same, you are being innaccurate, and deliberately so…so your requirement of accuracy is obviously one-sided.

  177. Tom Curtis says:

    “…regardless of the zero value offer, I do not want to offend people needlessly, so I have asked for a substitute term, and met with (essentially) silence.”

    Let me fill that putative silence: You may call us “climate realists”, or simply “realists”.

    There. Asked and answered. If you honestly don’t want to offend people, use those terms when referring to people who are skeptical of catastrophic AGW, “climate change”, “climate disruption”, etc. Let’s see you walk the talk.

  178. I applaud the effort to avoid labels and concentrate on issues. There are plenty of important issues to address, and inflammatory labels and personal attacks do nothing to move the scientific discussion forward.

    That said, I find it more than a bit ironic “denier”, with its inherently strong negative connotations, was allowed to be used prominently here in WUWT less than two months ago with no condemnation.

    Rise of the 1st Law Deniers
    Posted on August 1, 2011 by Anthony Watts

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/08/01/rise-of-the-1st-law-deniers/

    REPLY: one piece (written by Dr. Roy Spencer, not my choice for the title) against the thousands of usages over at SkS, yeah we are the big problem for sure /sarc – Anthony

  179. Tom,

    I believe “Skeptic” is a quite appropriate word to use in many of the cases in my last posting, as simply a person who thinks that the science is being caught up in politics. However, I understand that you simply MUST have a word with negative connotations, since your worldview appears to be centered on absolute right/wrong.

    I have a suggestion for some words you can use, that have the nice negative connotations you want without actually being relatable to Holocaust Deniers…how about “Doubter” or “Mistruster”? One of those would be my choice in preference to Denier, and I can’t see any reason for you not to start using one of them, even without everyone on this board agreeing (you’ll never get a large agreement among people who’s opinions are as diverse as those on this board).

    But, Tom, I have to tell you, the dishonesty of this request, and Monbiot’s claim that as a journalist he simply can’t think of another term, bothers me. It suggests that neither of you know how to use a thesaurus. Which I doubt. However, I will do it for you.

    Here are some other terms you could use: demurrers, distrusters, hesitators, misgivers, mistrusters, rejectors, suspectors, challengers, impugners, misdoubters, astrayers, pettifoggers, quibblers, and sophists. Most of these have the nice negative connotations you desire, without referring even obliquely to Holocaust Deniers.

    Look at all the choices! But Monbiot couldn’t think of one…is he an idiot, incompetent at his craft? I don’t think so…I think he just understands the power of linguistics in a way you do not, and that WOULD be appropriate for his craft. Other liberal commentators, as demonstrated in this thread, have easily and publicly made the connection you insist isn’t there.

    Please let us know which of these alternatives appeals to you.

  180. Every word has associations – intended or not. For those of us who are ‘visual thinkers’ they can be very graphic. But they can also be very biased to your own interests. I sometimes use Visual Thesaurus software to check usage of a word in terms of the nuances of common understanding. It is not particularly enlightening in this case with ‘denier’, ‘denial’ or ‘deny’. http://www.visualthesaurus.com/

    Word choice is something that is quite deliberate in cases of advocacy. Science training promotes the use of neutral language – or at least it used to. ‘Framing’ is everything these days it seems and clever word use is an extention of that – used by both AGW proponents and sceptics. I even considered that ‘forcing’ was a deliberate term of choice in climate: http://diggingintheclay.wordpress.com/2010/09/09/forcing-the-subliminal-context/

    Sometimes psychology is everything whether we like it or not.

  181. All in all, we see the benefit of openly engaging all of the aspects of AGW alarmism’s use of the label denier.

    Likewise we see the benefits of open discourse helping to understand the implications and limitations of the label skepticism when it is used in the discourse on climate science.

    Finally, we see the benefit of openly addressing the limitations and implications of the objections raised over using ‘SS'; which is a simply and straight forward logical abbreviation/acronym of Skeptical Science.

    Anthony, if nothing else, you have Skeptical Science participation here in the discourse. That achievement is not trivial. Thanks.

    My initial critical reaction and disagreement with Anthony on his “A Modest Proposal” had to do with potentially producing a chilling effect on the totally open discussion of what I mentioned above. I hope the ability to question such terms as SS, denier and skeptic remains unrestricted at WUWT as it has previously been. In other words, I hope WUWT does not eat its hard earned seed corn or milking stock.

    John

  182. In reading the various arguments and opinions on language usage, I found one clear winner (in the sense that their point was clearly the most reasoned and well expressed from my observation).

    That would be the post by Steven C.

    As for labels, I guess I don’t care. I’m not going to get rich (like Mr Gore and others). My livelihood does not depend on the subject (as so many of the participants on a professional level do). I already know I’m unlikely to sway people I know on the topic regardless of facts. And the odds of my being able to prevent establishment of laws and policies which restrict my choices and reach into my pocket (as I am in the 50% of the US population that actually pays federal income taxes) are pretty slim. I’ve come to the conclusion that the AGW debate (wait, I almost forgot – the debate is over) for me is primarily a source of entertainment, as I find stupidity funny, at least when I am not irratated by it.

  183. “REPLY: one piece (written by Dr. Roy Spencer, not my choice for the title) against the thousands of usages over at SkS, yeah we are the big problem for sure /sarc – Anthony”

    You claim that others are worse, but I know that my mom never let me get away with that argument. You are the one making the big deal about this word. If it truly offends you, then why only call out those with differing opinions? If it truly offends your readers, why did none of them comment in that thread?

    Personally, I am MORE offended by friends using offensive words than I am when opponents and/or strangers use them.

    REPLY: Oh please. Be as offended as you wish, point is the data shows SkS to be a serial user of the term- Anthony

  184. The Google ngram thingy is a great toy. For fun, I made it look for the terms “Eiszeit” – ice age – and “Erwärmung” – warming – in German books from 1900 to 2008. The two terms show clear correlation – you can exactly see what hype was en vogue at which time!

    http://ngrams.googlelabs.com/graph?content=erw%C3%A4rmung%2C+eiszeit&year_start=1800&year_end=2008&corpus=8&smoothing=3

    Now we need to overlay this with the differential of the SOI… ;-)

  185. “Climate realists” is as good a neutral term as exists. It could just as easily apply to ‘a lukewarmer’.

    Personally I am quite limited in what I deny. I am willing to accept that the world might be warming as much as mainstream figures suggest, but I am sceptical about the magnitude. I am willing to accept man is responsible for some of the warming, but I am sceptical that it is anywhere near as much as is suggested. I accept that CO2 causes warming but I am sceptical that it plays such a large role as is asserted.

    On the other hand I don’t deny the existence of the Medieval Warm Period. I don’t deny that there are significant Viking settlements in Greenland as evidence of this. I don’t deny that natural climate cycles exist and may be relevant, even significant to the debate. I don’t deny that the sun and clouds could play a part in warming. I do deny that the science is settled.

    Before anyone starts to get aeriated about the things I’ve said I don’t deny, note I’ve not said climate science denies these things. However, I became a sceptic because “the settled science” said it was settled, and science can never be settled when there are so many unknowns.

  186. Tom Curtis,
    You’re right “climate realist” it is far from neutral and has all the associations I was talking about 1:42 pm. I was comparing it to denier. Mea culpa.

    All – please consider that the term ‘denier’ can also refer to ladies hosiery, and would have been in very common usage in the 1940s.

  187. Tom:

    Doubter. What’s wrong with that? It’s neutral, accurately expresses the perspective (if used in the context of AGW, as opposed to the inaccurate terms “Climate Change” and “Global Warming), and has no possibility of being confused w/ Holocaust denier.

  188. The greatest threat to freedom of speech is the perceived threat of offending someone, it is a divisive and inflammatory trend that may be well-meaning but in practice muzzles everybody.

  189. Verity Jones says:
    September 26, 2011 at 3:10 pm
    “Anthony – the peak of ‘denier’ correlates with the introduction of the term ‘nylons’ ”

    Great catch! ;-)

  190. Tom Curtis
    When I started looking into climate science, I was a warmist, in fact I was an alarmist, desperately concerned that the scientific evidence showed so clearly that we were facing potential catastrophe as a result of our actions. I knew about the phony science used to try to deny all this, that the climate deniers used. I had studied John Cook’s 54 debunks of “climate skeptics” false arguments (this was 3 years ago), and thought I understood it all. I thought I was being fair. But I was frantic with people in denial, so expletives were very natural.

    However, one thing saved me. I care about truth. So at the same time as learning that Monckton and Easterbrook had abused science so badly it wasn’t worth even looking at their work, I kept on spending a couple of hours each week just checking the science. I started to get whiffs of something different. Only whiffs because no proper science website referred to anything else but what Cook explained so well. And when I examined the whiffs, Cook’s answers held up for a long time. But since I’ve been badly on the wrong side of misunderstandings, I wanted to be sure I had the full truth.

    Suddenly all hell broke loose. I realized that global temperatures were not rising in synch with CO2. I learned that there were eminent scientists who were not, as Al Gore and Oreskes said, “either kooks or crooks”, who did not believe in CAGW. I realized that Monckton was saying some extremely important truths about Al Gore’s serial rubbish entitled “An Inconvenient Truth”. I discovered WUWT. I realized there was a network of competent skeptics’ websites that none of the official scientific outlets nor the BBC even mentioned.

    Science – corrupt?????? what the – £$)%$ 0 *^$^)($ – how can Science be corrupt? What and whom can I trust???????????? This is worse than the threat of CAGW!!!!!!!!!!!!!! But Cook has provided answers to all the points – or has he?????????????? Heck, I’ve got an impossible job to do, to teach myself the science so I can check each of those 54 “disproofs”.

    For about six weeks I swung violently back and forth in my opinions, as evidence came in for each “side” in turn. Thankfully I was on extended sick note, so I had time to do something for the planet – write it all up to help others find their way through this nightmare.

    Click my name.

    Many people taught me to temper my language. It has taken time, because both the original “warmist” thesis and the later realization of corruption at the heart of Science are highly disconcerting, and both raised my emotions to expletive levels. Both the moderators here and my strongest “warmist” critics have helped me. I’m grateful to all of you. Including you, Tom.

    Anthony, tonight I’ve checked my piece re. use of the words “warmist” and “alarmist” and changed the wording with some, but not all. Sometimes I felt I needed those words to describe things accurately. They are used in context, with evidence, and as mindful as I can be about courtesy.

  191. I have very little time at the moment, so will only respond to Anthony’s update.

    I found it suspicious that there would be a peak in the term “holocaust denier” starting in 1940 as shown on the graph given that “holocaust denial” is a recent phenomena, and given that the holocaust only became significantly known outside of German occupied Europe in 1944 as Allied troops started finding death camps. Therefore I did an Ngram search myself, for the terms “Holocaust” and “denier” together.

    It turns out that there are no occurrences prior to about 1990!

    Not only that, but at the peak of occurrences it is found in only 0.00000001% of books. In contrast, at that same time the term “denier” is found in around 0.000015% of books. That means in only 0.07% of the times “denier” is used in books is it used to refer to holocaust denial. Put another way, 99.9% of uses of “denier” in books in recent times, when holocaust denial has been an issue, do not refer to holocaust denial.

    Just to be sure, I also did a search on “holocaust” which indeed occurs frequently prior to 1990, an indeed over the whole period. Consequently the sudden surge in the use of “holocaust denier” was not because “holocaust deniers” previously went by another name.

    So, Anthony’s research done properly shows that the term “denier” has been in common and fairly constant use for the last 200 years, and that its use now is not significantly more frequent than its use 200 years ago. Further, it shows that the term “holocaust denier” is of only recent usage, and forms a very small fraction of uses of the term.

    He has pretty much proved my point.

    Regardless, the primary question I am interested in is not whether taking offense at the term “denier” is justified. People do take offense, justified or not, and I am still interested in an alternative that is descriptively accurate, non-tendentious, and non-offensive.

    http://ngrams.googlelabs.com/graph?content=holocaust+denier&year_start=1800&year_end=2000&corpus=0&smoothing=3

  192. Verity Jones, “climate realists” is not a neutral term by any stretch of the imagination. It implies your opponents are unrealistic about climate.

  193. Verity Jones says:
    September 26, 2011 at 3:10 pm
    Anthony – the peak of ‘denier’ correlates with the introduction of the term ‘nylons’ http://ngrams.googlelabs.com/graph?content=denier%2C+nylons&year_start=1800&year_end=2000&corpus=0&smoothing=3
    I suspect that is a more likely reason for a hike in its use.

    Absolutely, during the 60s in the UK I hardly ever encountered the word ‘denier’ associated with the verb ‘deny’, but very frequently saw ‘denier’ referring to the fineless of nylon stockings!
    Nylon stockings were introduced in 1939.

  194. Verity Jones says:
    September 26, 2011 at 3:10 pm
    “Anthony – the peak of ‘denier’ correlates with the introduction of the term ‘nylons’ ”

    Heh, how interesting. I’ve added some historical references from the Jewish Virtual Museum also, related to publications that started appearing after the war, so there’s probably a mix of the two uses of the word. Still clearly from the historical references, the denial of atrocities started shortly after the war.

    The whole issue is that the word “denier” is repugnant in the way Tom Curtis and the friends he has on his blogroll of his website use it. Is essence he’s denying the association of the word denier with WWII, which I suppose makes his argument a D^2.

  195. Tom_R says:
    September 26, 2011 at 12:21 pm

    >> Tom Curtis says:
    September 26, 2011 at 12:02 am
    But regardless of the zero value offer, I do not want to offend people needlessly, so I have asked for a substitute term, and met with (essentially) silence. <<

    Call us 'AGW Heretics'

    Or:
    Hot-Air Heretics.
    Climate {Contrarians | Cynics}
    Dioxide {Dissenters | Dissidents | Deviationists}

    “Climate Cynics” carries no hint of approbation, but rather one of disapproval, so it ought to be acceptable to Tom Curtis. “Climate Contrarians” and {Dissenters | Dissidents | Deviationists} are neutral, like “Warmists,” so again they ought to be OK, though not as tempting to TC.
    (They are of course shorthand terms, where “climate” and “dioxide” stand for “the-climate-is-endangered-by-CO2.”)

  196. I noted this in a previous post, but have seen no replies.

    I have to say that “skeptic” is appropriate in some cases, and “denial” (not just a river in Egypt) is appropriate in others. A scientific skeptic continually doubts, tests, checks their data, and is cautious about coming to conclusions without solid evidence. A person in denial, on the other hand, rejects solid evidence in favor of a more personally acceptable (albeit poorly or unsupported) conclusion. Different situations, different appropriate terms based upon the approach.

    Now, the decision to consider something skepticism or denial is a judgement call, albeit in many cases based upon a great deal of available evidence.

    So I’ll ask everyone here – if someone is clearly rejecting evidence in favor of a more pleasing and poorly supported conclusion, and that term is disliked, what term would be appropriate? You can certainly argue on a case-by-case basis as to the validity of that judgement (and I would argue that exactly what someone judged to be in denial should do), but just what term would be appropriate?

  197. Anthony, thank you for that powerful, clinching evidence that your ngrams provide! To think that without Tom’s frantic attempts to shift word meanings from common perception, and your own quick wits and passion for fairness, this evidence would not have come to light.

  198. Further to my comment on the update, I have refined my search skills on Ngram, mostly by noticing case sensitivity. The link shows a search for the terms “Holocaust denier”, “holocaust denier”, and “denier”.

    http://ngrams.googlelabs.com/graph?content=Holocaust+denier%2Cholocaust+denier%2C+denier&year_start=1800&year_end=2000&corpus=0&smoothing=3

    My conclusions still stand, but my calculated proportion of uses of “Holocaust denier” is too low.

    REPLY: Your conclusions are a straw man argument. I’ve never seen anyone argue so hard to keep using a repugnant term. Of course a look at your blogroll explains why.

    Like it or not, the word denier is associated with WWII atrocities. No amount of convoluted logic will change that. Of course a courteous and caring person would be apologetic for using a term that people find distasteful, instead you (and especially the friends you keep) champion for it.

    And, as I’ve said twice before now, this argument is NOT ABOUT YOU OR WHAT YOU THINK ABOUT IT, its an offer to the Website Skeptical Science.

    – Anthony

  199. So I’ll ask everyone here – if someone is clearly rejecting evidence in favor of a more pleasing and poorly supported conclusion, and that term is disliked, what term would be appropriate?
    =============================================
    bedwetter……………..

  200. Lucy, I suspect the next argument somebody will make will be to point to the red and blue lines on the ngram graph I provided and say “correlation is not causation”.

    The spinning is amusing to say the least.

  201. If that peak after WWII were indeed related to holocaust deniers, then specific searches for “holocaust denial” and “holocaust denier” should also peak in the 1950’s. Alas they do not — both results start in the 1980’s. The peak truly IS related to “the mass in grams per 9000 meters”, as a quick perusal of the titles will confirm.

    http://ngrams.googlelabs.com/graph?content=holocaust+denial%2Cholocaust+denier&year_start=1800&year_end=2000&corpus=0&smoothing=3

    In the other hand, a search of “denier yarn” exactly matches the 1950’s peak, once again showing the true source of the peak.

  202. Tim, sorry but “exactly matches” is false.

    http://ngrams.googlelabs.com/graph?content=denier+yarn%2C+denier&year_start=1800&year_end=2000&corpus=0&smoothing=3

    No match there. Not even close.

    Since the issue is about nylon stockings one would expect the words nylon and denier to match reasonably well in frequency time and amplitude, they don’t. the word “denier” has it’s own separate peak from nylon and variations. Check the historical references from the Jewish Virtual Museum in the body of the post. Books were published right after the war, denying that the atrocities happened. While nylon stockings and the related term “denier” for yarn etc certainly grew after the war, the peak for nylon and denier don’t match in time.

    The second book denying atrocities was published in 1948. Given the time it would take to spread and the publishing process then, reactions to it, along with use of the use of the word denier in the context of such rebuttals would take a few months to be published. the 1950 peak matches that timeline pretty well. I’ve added a vertical black line to prevent eyeballing error:

    Also Tim, you are making the assumption that “Holocaust Denial” would be in use at the time to describe the issue, but if you check your Etmyology, you find that The Television mini-series Holocaust is credited with introducing the term into common parlance after 1978. So, the term back then was related to denial of atrocities, as “holocaust” hadn’t been put into wide use then.

    Reference: Alan Steinweis provides a survey of this phenomenon, “The Holocaust and American Culture”, published in the journal Holocaust and Genocide Studies, 2001.

  203. KR asks “if someone is clearly rejecting evidence in favor of a more pleasing and poorly supported conclusion…” Every time there is a thread like this here, that old strawman gets retrieved from the closet. Except in a negligible number of cases, the act of “denial” is situation dependent. “Someone clearly rejecting evidence” usually refers to someone who disagrees with a specific set of statements on SkS. It is your choice to extend it further to a generalized label.

  204. Anthony

    I have my own blog at MSNBC’s Newsvine. It is a far left leaning website as one might imagine as being from MSNBC and I have a strict code on my threads of not allowing the use of the “d” word or the word “warmist”. We used to call these words flame bait, doing nothing but raising the temperature of the discussion. I get a lot of howls from liberal leaning folks for doing it but so far the MSNBC/Newsvine staff have allowed me to moderate in this fashion.

  205. Anthony, the issue is not about just nylon stockings — it is about synthetic fibers used form all sorts of applications.

    The peak for “denier” and “denier nylon” do indeed match quite well. So do the peaks for “denier rayon” and “denier yarn” and “denier acetate” and “15 denier” and “100 denier” (common sizes of yarn). These all suggest that books on the subject of denier as relate to filaments peaked in the 1950’s.

    Nylon itself continues to be a popular topic, but there is no reason to assume that the peak for books about nylon itself would match the peak for books about nylon filaments. In fact, a search of “nylon stockings” also peaks in the 1950’s.

    Try the “denier” search and look thru the actual hits for the 1950’s. Tell me how many you have to look thru the find the first one relating to holocaust denial. I gave up after the first 50 hits about yarn and coins.

    http://www.google.com/search?q=%22denier%22&tbs=bks:1,cdr:1,cd_min:1951,cd_max:1958&lr=lang_en

    I am not denying that some forms of holocaust denial started soon after WWII as you suggest, and I find it repugnant that anyone would deny the death and suffering of millions of people. The simple fact is that the search for “denier” matches the topics about yarn much better than the topics about the holocaust. There is no evidence from your graphs that “denier” is tied to “holocaust”.

    REPLY: The fact that the word denier looks like a bell curve in the graph above (and in link below) is a classic event driven spike and decay. While nylon yarn, thread, stockings, etc, could most certainly be a partial component (probably the broader pedestal in the word denier graph) it can’t be the full component. There’s simply not enough amplitude. If you look at my comparison graphs with the word Nazi, you’ll see a similar event driven interest spike, delayed which would be expected as the war ended, atrocities discovered, then atrocities denied in books, and reactions to the denial.

    http://ngrams.googlelabs.com/graph?content=denier%2Cnylon+stockings%2Cnylon+thread%2Cnylon+yarn%2C+nazi&year_start=1800&year_end=2008&corpus=0&smoothing=3

    Sorry Tim, I’m not buying your yarn. – Anthony

  206. Eric (skeptic)

    Actually, Eric, I would apply that judgement to anyone, on either side of the discussion, who held an opinion contrary to the mass of evidence. Not a strawman argument, if you accept the existence of an objective reality.

    You have very distinctly avoided the question – if “denier” is a ‘bad term’ for someone clearly rejecting evidence in favor of a more pleasing and poorly supported conclusion, due to the Holocaust associations, and despite clarification by those using the term, then:

    What is a better, accurate term???

  207. KR, there are more accurate terms for every situation, they can be customized as much as needed to avoid generalization. One simple one is “coal state politician”. Another might be even simpler: “troll”. Each depends on precisely what the person says in each context. A troll might skip from argument to argument. Someone who argues for low sensitivity (by pointing out the red squares that are routinely left out of the depiction of the sensitivity “probability” distributions) could be “in denial of 3C sensitivity” but is more accurately “someone who disputes sensitivity evidence including the claim that there are multiple independent lines of it”.

    Using a more general term like denier is mostly a sign that the poster is not putting his/her fullest effort into making a proper label.

  208. KR:
    It has been brought to the attention of SkS that denier is not a palatable term. The use of the term on SkS is often and done with the intent to demean and inflame.

    The distraction that this causes is the intent, as the word denier comes out when some fail to read posted literature for what is actually says, instead of with a slant.

  209. Camburn

    Again – what is the appropriate term for someone (on whatever side of the debate) who engages in such behavior?

    “Denial” and “Denier” are, from my perspective, appropriate terms for ignoring the evidence. Do you have a better (more palatable) term for that?

  210. Eric (skeptic)

    On the contrary – denial is a real phenomena, and an accurate description of certain behaviors.

    Now, I really don’t want to get into motivations, particularly. I have family connections to denial in terms of second hand smoke (sibling, who stated that he was the major character from “Thank You For Smoking”), observed psychological denial in several contexts, and basic ideological denial (and no, I’m not going to give examples of that).

    Despite the various motivations, the actions are the same – ignoring the evidence, supporting a more palatable yet unsupported premise.

    What is the appropriate term for someone, on either side of the AGW issue, who engages in such behavior?

  211. KR says:

    “Denial” and “Denier” are, from my perspective, appropriate terms for ignoring the evidence.

    Then you have a wacked-out perspective, because there is NO EVIDENCE supporting your belief system. There is only your evidence-free true belief.

    Witch doctors thrive on true belief. Scientists? Not so much. You need some new juju.

  212. KR says on September 26, 2011 at 8:05 pm

    “Denial” and “Denier” are, from my perspective, appropriate terms for ignoring the evidence. Do you have a better (more palatable) term for that?

    You may be a poor representative and ‘judge’ for what is normal, sane and reasonable (also for constructing the usual ‘strawman’ ignoring-the-evidence false claim), if I may interject … so be it; Last of the Neanderthals

    .

  213. Anthony

    Given the last several responses to my posts, I would have to say your “Modest Proposal” for reasoned discussion needs some participation from your end, as ad hominem appears to be quite acceptable according to your site moderation.

    [REPLY: You have been given an exceptional degree of latitude on this thread and keep repeating the same demand. Time to quit. You also need to look uo the meaning of “ad hominem”. I don’t think it means what you think it means. -REP, mod]

  214. I think KR has a point, up to a point. CAGW proponents are “deniers” of scientific observational data and analysis. CAGW skeptics are “deniers” of computer modelled predictions of climate using poor assumptions. To me “deniers” is a non-specific term, however it is used to demonise one side of the debate just like “alarmist” or “warmistas” is and the term “denier” has historical connotations that must be taken into consideration. I think that the terms “(C)AGW propopents” and “(C)AGW skeptics” are clear, concise and non-emotive. Mind you if someone refers to me as a “denier” I know I am going to have any easy time in demolishing their emotive and illogical arguments that are not based on any valid science because they are using emotion rather than logic.

  215. Sorry, Anthony, but I am not buying your spin on my “yarn”.

    “The fact that the word denier looks like a bell curve in the graph above (and in link below) is a classic event driven spike and decay”
    Yes, the spike is invention of synthetic fibers, followed by an explosion of the interest following WWII, when they were suddenly available for civilian use and people wanted luxuries like stockings.

    “it can’t be the full component”
    Look at the hits. There are NO hits related to “holocaust denial” in the first 50 hits during the 1951-1959.
    There are NUMEROUS hits related to textiles. There are a few hits related to coins. If “holocaust denial” was even a moderately important topic in those books, it would certainly show up more than 0/50 hits.
    On the other hand, a handful of rather specific hits about textiles all show the right shape and the right time and show up in the hits for actual books. There are lots of other sizes that could be searched for. There are other fibers. There are other adjectives. Put them all together and they could easily account for the full peak.

    http://www.google.com/search?q=%22denier%22&tbs=bks:1,cdr:1,cd_min:1951,cd_max:1959&lr=lang_en

    “If you look at my comparison graphs with the word Nazi, you’ll see a similar even driven interest spike”
    The size of the spike is a key factor, but you interpreted it completely incorrectly! In the 1950’s “holocaust deniers” were a fringe of a fringe, yet you conclude this very specific topic would warrant a similar number of books as Nazis ???
    In fact, the spike in “holocaust” is smaller than the spike in “denier” at the end of WWII. That would suggest that there were a similar number of books about/by holocaust deniers as there were about the holocaust itself !

    http://ngrams.googlelabs.com/graph?content=denier%2C+holocaust&year_start=1800&year_end=2008&corpus=0&smoothing=3

    REPLY: Your whole argument is a strawman. I started out with the word “denier” ….not “holocaust denial”, not “holocaust deniers”. As I said and demonstrated with references that those terms didn’t come into broad use much later, so of course they would not appear shortly after WWII. And coins? So what? I’ve demonstrated historical references to WWII atrocities denial becoming a published issue just after WWII closed, and explained the reaction/publishing delay. You’ve got nothing to back up your claims other than your opinion of interpretation.

    My point is that the REACTION to the ugliness portrayed in the denial books I cited as being published just after the war likely elicited a number of responses (using the word denier i.e. “Rassinier is a denier of the atrocities committed and documented” )in publications for the sheer absurdity of the idea he proposed. They were arguing against one man, the author of those books I cited, Paul Rassinier, which is why “denier” is the word they would choose to denounce his ideas. I find it absurd to hear somebody arguing that the event that created the situation for the denial issue to occur (WWII atrocities) can’t have the word describing reaction to denial of such in publications in close years following it. It’s like arguing that nobody wrote books about denial of 9/11 after the fact, and we know firsthand there are a boatload of those.

    And why argue so vehemently for no connection of “denier” to post WWII, just so some people can use the derogatory term “denier” with a clearer conscience? That sure seems what it is about. I’ve never seen anything like this. Generally sensible courteous people apologize and say “I’m sorry”, when they have offended somebody, here we have people arguing so they can keep using the term when they have politely been asked to stop.

    Do you see anything wrong with the picture you and others are painting here? I sure do. Personally I think this whole thing that you and Curtis are arguing is just a decoy, so that SkS won’t have to answer the difficult question and say “we don’t need to respond, denial it’s about yarn”.

    We’re done here. – Anthony

  216. Truthseeker

    Thanks for the response. I’ll try to stick to those terms in the future, although (on both sides) I don’t know that they capture a denial of evidence.

  217. Upon seeing the title, I thought for sure that we were going to propose eating scientists that disagree with AGW to store their carbon.

  218. Verity Jones says: September 26, 2011 at 3:10 pm

    “Anthony – the peak of ‘denier’ correlates with the introduction of the term ‘nylons’ ”

    And just to add to the etymological confusion, this “denier” is pronounced quite differently [listen at http://www.thefreedictionary.com/denier ]

    But, to the matter at hand … as one who is a relative latecomer to the climate wars – having arrived on the battlefield a mere ten days or so BC [Before Climategate] – my virtual background includes many years in the trenches of the newsgroup alt.revisionism (the favourite posting ground of Holocaust deniers and other assorted antisemites).

    Needless to say, it was quite a shock to find myself labelled as a “denier” – particularly when those who were labelling me as such were, in fact, using “debating” tactics that appeared to me to have been lifted straight from the real deniers’ handbook.

    For those who may be interested, I did blog about this issue (and my perception of the point at which the label appeared to gain popular currency, i.e. Ellen Goodman’s notorious Feb. 2007 proclamation) a few months ago:

    Of labels, libels and language launderers

    Anthony, I admire your patience (and perseverance!) in taking the high-road on this matter. But the silence from those to whom you have made this proposal, I find quite telling. I was hoping that at least one of the SkS powers that be might have risen to the occasion – and, at the very least, responded to the questions posed by RDCII September 26, 2011 at 12:31 pm.

    That being said, and since we are on the topic of words and our choices (and at the risk of incurring the wrath of other posters here, although it is not my intention!) …

    Perhaps some are unaware that words such as “scam” and “hoax” are among those preferred by Holocaust deniers when attempting to dismiss (or divert from discussion of) the historical record – and to denigrate those who believe in truth in posting! So, IMHO, when we choose to use such words to describe that which we question, we are – in effect – inadvertently feeding the mythology our opponents are attempting to build.

  219. If “SkS” is the ‘correct’ abbreviation for Skeptical Science, it must be one of a number of instances of use of mixed caps and lower case acronyms. Please provide other examples. (Good luck with that!)

    Anthony, I know you are making a point, but, still, the excessive politeness and formal respect with which you are addressing Cook and SkS is almost ludicrous. It is certainly undeserved. So while I understand the tactic, it’s hard to choke down! {Sneezing}

  220. Anthony continues with spurious arguments. Unable to defend his position properly, he now quotes a 2011 article that uses the term ” Holocaust denier” as proof that the term was in common use during World War 2. He conspicuously does not publish the Ngram showing that that phrase is non-existent in literature prior to about 1990.

    Clearly Ngram evidence is not enough to resolve this impasse. Therefore I did a search of Google books using the terms “denier” and “-hosiery -stockings -pantyhose”. That left around 7500 books, most of which still dealt with fabrics of ancient coins (the denier). Further restricting the terms with ” -textile -coin -currency -filament -silk -fabrics -fibres -rayon -cotton” restricted the number of entries to 3000.

    I surveyed the first 300 (10%) of entries, many of which still referred to fabric weight or coins. Equally numerous were references to people with the surname “Denier”, and to a place name “Denier”. Next most numerous, but in the low 10s, where references to religious denial, ie, denial of Jesus. One of those was reference to Satan, several where references to Peter, while others were more general. There where two translations of ancient authors (including Tertullian), and one work of Shakespeare.

    More pertinently, in the 300 references examined, only two had a political context. One was a reference to ” deniers of equality” in a philosophical journal. The other was a reference to deniers of communist party involvement in the USA in 1949. Consistent with the Ngram evidence, there were no references to Holocaust or Shoah denial.

    In addition to arguing anachronistically (as though a 2011 use of a term could show its use in the 1940’s), he relies on a very weak correlation, while rejecting any similarly weak correlation as counter evidence. Regardless of Anthony’s distortions of evidence, however, examining the original sources shows that “Holocaust denial” was a non-existent term in 1940’s literature, although the term ” denier” in the sense of ” one who denies” continued its infrequent but ancient usage.

    Given this new evidence, I must re-emphasize that my initial calculation of proportion of usage in the 1990s is not valid, and as yet I am unable to determine the correct proportion.

  221. KR said “Now, I really don’t want to get into motivations, particularly. I have family connections to denial in terms of second hand smoke”

    I am sorry for your family member(s). Let’s say you paid $1000 to hire a psychologist. Do you think if the doctor came back with no suggestions you would feel like you got your money’s worth? As pointed out you keep asking the same question over and over. Can you suggest to us a word for that? Here, let me put in bold: what is the word for for a person who keeps asking the same question over and over even after getting lots of good answers? A question that degrades the debate and trivializes the opposition and is documented to be counterproductive for your side of the debate. The very few people who are actually ignoring all or most evidence have other specific labels which you call “getting into motivations”. But your smear, denier, is all about motivations and making a (false) accusation of ignoring evidence (rather than disagreeing with evidence).

  222. Tom Curtis,

    Are you a simpleton, or what? It has been repeatedly explained by various climate alarmists themselves that the term “denier” refers explicitly to Holocaust deniers, and therefore is intended to denigrate honest scientific skeptics.

    You are squirming around trying to invent reasons to excuse your insulting terms, which take the place of facts and evidence. It is clear that you have no credible facts or evidence to support your misguided belief in runaway global warming caused by an insignificant trace gas. Do you really believe your opponents are stupid, and don’t see through your gratuitous insults?

    If you stopped using insulting pejoratives like “denier”, denialist”, etc., you wouldn’t have much to say, because you don’t have the facts or the evidence to support your debunked belief system. Those derogatory terms take the place of intelligent discourse, and brand their users as unscientific fools with no credible arguments. Is that really how you want to be perceived?

  223. Anthony Says: “And why argue so vehemently for no connection of “denier” to post WWII, just so some people can use the derogatory term “denier” with a clearer conscience? That sure seems what it is about.”

    I don’t argue so that people can use the term, I argue because you are warping data to fit your view. There is no reasonable way to misinterpret data the way you do (ie claiming the peak in “denier” in the 1950’s is related in any measurable way to the Holocaust) to strengthen your case. There is sufficient evidence today that many people equate “denier” with the Holocaust — stick to the real evidence.

    There are plenty of reasons to avoid the term “denier” in climate discussions. Any time the discussion is about labels or personalities rather than science, it detracts from a quest for the truth. Your original idea for this post is spot on — “I decided the issue of the Gore label, like Dr. Pielke’s complaint about labels like “Christy Crocks”, was valid, and decided immediately to address the issue.” There are two many people (on all sides) who prefer zingers and ad hominem attacks and cute alliterative phrases, rather than scientific substance and nuanced analysis.

    Personally, my cultural background doesn’t make me equate “denier” with the Holocaust. I can respect that others have a different culture and history. Personally, I try to stick to discussions of measurements and science and statistics, not the cultural wars or political debates.

    Anthony continues: “I’ve never seen anything like this. Generally sensible courteous people apologize and say “I’m sorry”, when they have offended somebody, here we have people arguing so they can keep using the term when they have politely been asked to stop.”

    Personally, my cultural background doesn’t make me equate “denier” with the Holocaust. I can respect that others have a different culture and history.

    To you, the term is clearly offensive. So I challenge you to follow your own advice, and apologize for the use of “denier” here at WUWT, rather than side-stepping the issue with sarcasm as you did earlier in this thread. And I promise not to use the term myself in this context. (And even to admonish others for using it, since any use of labels tends to create more heat then light, especially when the term has strong negative connotations.)

    REPLY: I can appreciate you noting the term denier is offensive, thank you. But accusing me of “Warping data”? I call bullshit on that Mr. Folkerts. That’s desperate of you. I presented the data exactly as it comes out of Google, other than add a line to show a time mark on one graph for the benefit of everybody, I’ve done nothing to modify, fold, spindle, mutilate, torture, or even or warp the data presented by Google. And apologize for using the word denier here in this discussion for purposes of analysis and discussion? No. The use is legitimate. I will however accept an apology from you on “warping data” since I’ve done absolutely no such thing and is a patently false accusation. Not one single data point was modified and I’m rather put off that you’d claim this. In fact, it is so over the top and without evidence that an apology on that is required for your further discourse here. Troll bin for now until you apologize for that claim – Anthony Watts

  224. Tom writes “Anthony continues with spurious arguments.”

    There is no argument here Tom. The simple fact is that some people, whether you like it or not, are offended by the term denier for reasons that you simply cant understand and no amount of research or reasoning will change that. You’ve been asked to not use the term anymore. Either stop using it or not, its entirely up to you.

    Anthony has been asked to stop using the abbreviation “SS” for Skeptical Science and he has decided to do so and furthermore to enforce it on his blog as a sign of respect for the wishes of someone who has clearly displayed their distaste for it.

  225. Tom Curtis says:

    “Smokey, if you wish to take umbrage at the word “denier”, by all means do so. But do so because of its meaning, ie, a person who denies truths known to be well established by evidence, not because of any false equation with Holocaust denial.”

    Are you a lunatic?? It has been proven with verifiable quotes that “denier” in climate parlance refers specifically to a Holocaust denier. To claim that is a “false equation” in the face of verifiable, irrefutable contrary evidence makes you either a mendacious propagandist, or a lunatic. Giving you the benefit of the doubt, I suppose you’re just a common lunatic.

  226. Given all the data presented, including direct quotes, Tom [C]urtis, exemplifies the wriggling around the truth that is characteristic of himself and his [c]orrupted friends.

    If I was not already viewing [c]limate “Science” with a ton of salt, his defense of the indefensible in this thread, would have me taking a long hard look at the supposed science of CAGW.

    REPLY: Gail I don’t know what you were thinking here in substituting “k”s but Tom Curtis thinks its KKK linkage. In deference to his complaint, I made edits. But I see it as satire such as “keystone kops”. Please explain yourself. -Anthony

  227. Smokey, if you wish to take umbrage at the word “denier”, by all means do so. But do so because of its meaning, ie, a person who denies truths known to be well established by evidence, not because of any false equation with Holocaust denial.

    As for my squirming around, It is not me, but Anthony who has been caught making repeated false statements on this issue, including an uncorrected claim (explicitly denied by Monbiot) that Monbiot made the claim of “AGW denier”/ “Holocaust denier” equivalence. That makes me wonder how many AGW proponents have actually made that claim, for it is often said that they do, but rarely is evidence of that produced.

  228. @ Tom Curtis: “if you wish to take umbrage at the word “denier”, by all means do so. But do so because of its meaning, ie, a person who denies truths known to be well established by evidence, not because of any false equation with Holocaust denial.”
    ——-
    Spoken like a true Cultist.

  229. Thoughts.

    New terminology indicating what is one’s intent is when labeling a person ‘denier’.

    So, to label a person a denier without pejorative WWII intent then you need a new qualified word for denier. I suggest that new qualified word be ‘denier-preHolocaust’ for use by all the Skeptical Science denizens insistent on continuing to use the word. You could shorten it to ‘denier-pH’. Then the Skeptical Science denizens are explicitly disavowing their intention to accuse those they label with it as being morally degraded like Holocaust deniers. OK?

    All uses of ‘denier’ in the broader sense could still include the possibility of an intentional reference to the Holocaust. Anyone using the label of ‘denier’ would be viewed as potentially intending the pejorative Holocaust sense. Any use of ‘denier’ to label a skeptic could be agreed by all to be immediately challenged for clarification as to their intent wrt to the Holocaust. Where they do not immediately clarify their intent in using ‘denier’ then blog-by-blog restrictive action toward them can be mutually agreed to voluntarily by rational parties.

    Those who specifically and unambiguously intend to imply a person is like a Holocaust denier, they can use the word ‘denier-H’ to label skeptics. Those people could be morally challenged and blog-by-blog restrictive action toward them can be mutually agreed to voluntarlity by rational parties.

    I stressed the word ‘voluntarily’ in the above.

    John

  230. Anthony : “These books and the reaction to them clearly account for the post war peak in the word “denier”…“

    I think you’re drawing a long bow here, Anthony. Many more books and articles have been written by Holocaust deniers in the decades following WWII than were written in the immediate aftermath. In that case, if use of the term ‘denier’ is a reaction to Holocaust denial literature, there would be a greater correlation between its use and those later decades.

    It ‘s also likely that earlier denialist writers such as Rassinier were on the fringe in terms of influence and readership in the early post-war years.

    And according to Deborah Lipstadt in her book, Denying the Holocaust’, Rassinier only became a full-blown Holocaust denier (ie denial of a planned programme of genocide) in the 1960s.

    Further, she says that, ‘While Holocaust denial is not a new phenomenon, it has increased in scope and intensity since the mid-1970s’. Coupled with the formation of organisations such as the Institute of Historical Review in the late 1970s, this suggests that the blue line in your denier graph relates primarily to other meanings of the word.

    REPLY: I have no doubt that there’s a ramp up in the 70’s, the ngram of the word “nazi” shows a resurgence then, but the Jewish museum reports in their history the publication of two books by Rassinier right after WWII, quoting the Jewish museum:

    In 1948 he published Le Passage de la Ligne, Crossing the Line, and, in 1950, The Holocaust Story and the Lie of Ulysses.

    And yes there was a third book book also in 1964, The Drama of European Jewry, which is likely what Lipstadt is referring to. To suggest that there was no reaction to the two previous books of any kind in literature, especially since the topic was morally repugnant, is as you say, drawing a long bow. Consider a parallel, when there is an event on the web today, such as Climategate, there early reporters (like WUWT and CA, Air Vent, Lucia) then secondary blog reports, then the MSM catches on, and secondary reports build the peak, then there’s the decay. In the Technology of post WWII where publishing is slow, watching something like that peak takes months, even years. I don’t deny that nylon/denier associations are a part of that peak, but not the whole thing. – Anthony

  231. Late to the table on this one, but for me, the term “denier” is unacceptable because it is simply incorrect.

    I don’t “deny” CAGW (or CAGW/CC/CD). I find that the evidence of it is inadequate. I consider myself an AGW/CAGW skeptic. “Denier” is the wrong word because it doesn’t correctly describe my perspective on the matter.

  232. Sorry Tommy Curtis,

    [snip – we aren’t going to have a discussion on the KKK, the only person who mentioned it on this thread was Tom Curtis, and I’m not allowing it to proceed any further, even if you are admonishing him. I think the “k” in SkS was the source of the “k” letter substitutions that marcherosa and Combs made, and it was comedy/satire along the lines of Keystone Kops. Curtis is the only one who thinks KKK.

    Any further discussion of the topic goes straight to the bit bucket.(other than Gail’s reply below) – Anthony]

  233. Tom Curtis says:
    September 27, 2011 at 9:00 am

    I note that Marcheserosa and Gail Combs are making a puerile attempt to link me with the KKK and other right wing fanatic groups….

    Wrong link Tom the K is for the LEFT wing and not the right wing as in the Peoples Republic of AmeriKa because they seem to be the people who are most in support of CAGW.

    It is interesting that you took it to mean the exact opposite which show WHY name calling is a really Bad Idea as is the constant changing of the meaning of terms we see in the news media.

    Eye of the beholder and all that.

    REPLY: OK we are done with any KKK discussion, any comment containing it automatically goes into the bit bucket. Tom’s complaint is unproven, especially since he was the only one to use the term. Tom has spent a lot of time hijacking this thread because he’s appointed himself the arbiter of the denier word usage issue, when it doesn’t have anything to do with him, nor was directed at him.

    Still missing is any response from Skeptical Science, and I know they know, since Dana1981’s mailbox successfully received an email from me.

    So Tom, take a rest. – Anthony

  234. I note that Marcheserosa and Gail Combs are making a puerile attempt to link me with the KKK and other right wing fanatic groups by a deliberate misspelling of my name. I consider the attempt highly offensive – the more so because members of my family have literally been killed by a right wing regime for the stand they took against racism (or in the case of one of them, because she stood to close to her mother when the letter bomb was opened). I expect neither apology, retraction, nor even cessation of their disgusting behaviour, not because that would not be appropriate, but because that they made the suggestions in the first place marks how honourable they are.

    I note, however, the double standard Watts has in what he considers inflammatory on his website. Against “warmists”, it appears, almost anything goes no matter how offensive.

    And why not, almost anything goes in his own rhetoric as well.

    REPLY: Tom I wasn’t aware of the comments until just now, as you know we have thousands of comments per day and several moderators. However, as I look at it now she did not use “KKK” (and Marcheserosa didn’t either, but made a lot of K substitutions in words talking about SkS, which turned into a long rant so I’ve snipped it) But in deference to the issue, I’ll certainly deal with it, Gail, that’s uncalled for to use K’s in word substitution perhaps you’d like to explain your motivation?. Note Marcheserosa’s comment at 3:05AM PST, while I was sleeping. But I agree it adds nothing and is out of bounds per our policy and it has been snipped per the policy I asked for on this thread in the post footer. – Anthony

    [Reply: I approved that post, and I apologize for not paying closer attention. It was my fault for letting it through. I wasn’t asleep, just half asleep. ~dbs., mod.]

  235. The issue of offensivenes, as Tom Curtis fails to realize, has meaning only when people try to communicate with each other. The meaning of a word in that case is not established by a third-party such as a dictionary or even common usage, but by the people that are trying to communicate.

    Hence it makes no sense to ask that refusal of a word be based on this or that reason. If a friend of mine asks me to stop using the word “negro” in Italian, as it happened >20 years ago, I don’t even try to probe the reasons, even if the dictionary says otherwise. After all I’m talking to a person, not a dictionary.

    Likewise in a climate discussion if somebody says they don’t like “denier” or “warmist” or “Minion of the House of Mann and Gore”, all references should be stopped, and all attempts to reintroduce them be considered an attempt at killing communication.

    Doesn’t sound too hard to comprehend.

    And before anybody complains about my Those-who-cannot-be-named jokes, well, I wasn’t exactly trying to communicate with dana1981 was I?

  236. Anthony: “I have no doubt that there’s a ramp up in the 70′s, the ngram of the word “nazi” shows a resurgence…”

    Except that the ngram shows no corresponding rise in “denier”

    “And yes there was a third book book also in 1964, The Drama of European Jewry, which is likely what Lipstadt is referring to.”

    Lipstadt refers to a number of authors and books, increasing as time went on. A notable one was The Hoax of the Twentieth Century, published by Canadian Arthur R Butz in 1976, which, she says, “garnered considerable attention”. But your ngram shows a precipitous drop in references to “denier” from 1950, and a steady fall from 1960.

    “To suggest that there was no reaction to the two previous books of any kind in literature, especially since the topic was morally repugnant, is as you say, drawing a long bow.”

    I don’t claim “no reaction”, merely less than you claim. It is more likely that the bulk of early post-war references were to another meaning of the term “denier”.

    REPLY: I tend to think that the strongest reaction to something frightening happens at event time, consider the atomic bomb and subsequent variants:

    http://ngrams.googlelabs.com/ngrams/graph?content=atomic+bomb%2Chydrogen+bomb%2C+neutron+bomb&year_start=1800&year_end=2008&corpus=0&smoothing=3

    We had lots of new bombs made post WWII, at WWII time we had just a couple, like the couple of books I cited, but that is where the strongest reaction was in time. Since the knowledge of the bomb was made public, we’ve had a proliferation of atomic bombs, new missile delivery systems, cold war standoff, etc, lots more written about each and yet in each case it it peaks then tapers off from the event. The discovery of atrocities denial just after WWII would seem no different. Like the fear of the bomb, I would expect atrocity denial to follow the same course: discovery, proliferation of the issue, publication of outrage/condemnation, and then a fade of the issue. While denier in the nylon context is most certainly a component, you can’t exclude the reaction to the discovery of atrocities denial post WWII and reactions to the repugnancy of the idea. – Anthony

  237. Tom Curtis says:
    September 27, 2011 at 6:29 am

    Smokey, if you wish to take umbrage at the word “denier”, by all means do so. But do so because of its meaning, ie, a person who denies truths known to be well established by evidence, not because of any false equation with Holocaust denial.

    ———————-

    Tom Curtis,

    You are very consistent and persistent in insisting no implication of the Holocaust when you used the word ‘denier’ to label skeptics who do not generally accept IPCC supported climate science.

    Question – Do you agree with that statement?

    Question – If so then would you consider in the future to always qualify your use of denier so it is clear you are excluding any implication of the Holocaust?

    Question – If you would agree to do so, then would encourage your fellow Skeptical Science denizens to also qualify their use of denier to exclude the Holocaust implication?

    Example of Qualifying ‘Denier': One could use a term like ‘denier-pH’ (pH = preHolocaust) to mean the standard definition of denier that existed before WWII . It therefore excludes the implication of Holocaust denier. That was just an example, I am sure there is a more professional way to express such a qualification of the meaning of denier when it is used to label a skeptic.

    John

  238. Tom,

    You’ve said you don’t have much time right now, which is a statement I tend to respect. However, you subsequently found beaucoup time to argue with Anthony about the provenance of “Denier”.

    What you haven’t done is justify the use as an accurate term in all those circumstances I listed above.

    But more importantly, I have replied with a direct answer to your original post, where you asked for an alternative. I have supplied a couple of preferred terms, at least as accurate as “Denier”, and in addition a whole smorgasbord of alternate choices.

    Which of these choices are you going to be using in the future, especially for all the situations I described above where “Denier” fails your accuracy requirement? You really need to address this, or it becomes explicit to all that your offer was insincere.

  239. RDCII says:
    September 26, 2011 at 3:07 pm

    Tom:

    Doubter. What’s wrong with that? It’s neutral, accurately expresses the perspective (if used in the context of AGW, …

    Doubter, like Skeptic, is too mild. We’re Dissenters and Disputers, i.e., active disbelievers, outspoken combatants, not just persons who are unconvinced because they have doubts.

    Other, slightly milder, synonyms are Dissidents and Deviationists. I especially like the last term, because it carries a hint of a suggestion that we stand in relation to our opponents as Trotskyites did in relation to Stalinists. (The latter called the former deviationists–i.e., people who broke ranks just for the sake of being different.)

    (Another suggestive term just occurred to me: Protestants!)

  240. Tom Curtis says:

    I am still interested in an alternative that is descriptively accurate, non-tendentious, and non-offensive.

    I mentioned a perfect one somewhere upthread: Scoffers. That’s what we are. We think catastrophic, runaway, unstoppable warmism (the “scorcher-scam”) is absurd, or at least vastly oversold, and so we mock and revile it.

  241. Verity Jones says:
    September 25, 2011 at 4:20 pm

    “I’ll happily delete all references to “warmists” and “alarmists” from my site…”

    Just a quick note to say I meant this, but obviously it will take some time to implement.

  242. KR says

    if “denier” is a ‘bad term’ for someone clearly rejecting evidence in favor of a more pleasing and poorly supported conclusion, due to the Holocaust associations, and despite clarification by those using the term, then:

    What is a better, accurate term???

    I agree that the word is perfect for the use intended, and it’s unfortunate that there aren’t any similarly disparaging synonyms. (I think that 95% of the warmists who use it don’t intend to insinuate a Holocaust association–or if they do, it’s only to imply that we’re as out of touch with reality as Holocaust deniers are (or as “in-denial” alcoholics, etc. are) not that we’re LIKE them morally. Therefore the word doesn’t bother me.)

    Off the top of my head, here are some potential replacements: Purblind, Benighted, Blinkered, Blinded (as by prejudice), Sightless, Unseeing, …

    My dictionary defines purblind (in its symbolic use) as, “Obtuse, licking insight and understanding.” It was a common term of abuse about 100 years ago, but has pretty much faded from the scene. It could be revive even though it doesn’t as strongly convey the sense of being willfully blind as “denial” does. But it could pick up that implication if it were commonly used in a context carrying that connotation.

    Blinkered is good because it does imply a willful exclusion of evidence or a chain of reasoning from consideration.

    But neither are good replacements, because “purblinds” and “blinkereds” are awkward words. I hope someone can find a better synonym.

  243. To expand on omnologos a bit, we communicate in concepts. Words are mainly a symbol to represent a shared concept which is often a bit different from the definition found in the dictionary and certainly context dependent. In the case of the word denier, the corresponding concept has some of Holocaust definition mixed in provided, as Tom was trying to ascertain, it was with the Holocaust context. He’s probably correct that context was pretty rare. Nonetheless that context has been brought up and not just by the side currently “whining” about the use of that word.

    As soon as denial is added into a phrase like “in denial of high sensitivity” or “in denial of substantial water vapor feedback”, the corresponding concept is much clearer even though the same word or root is being used. It is also free of any Holocaust baggage. Asking for a single word substitute for “denier” is like asking for a full paragraph in only a sentence or a complete picture with only a sketch. It may be a convenient shorthand to use every now and then, but it is rarely more applicable than some other word like troll or galloper (a troll who doesn’t hang around to argue each point).

    The real problem with the use of the word comes from the lumping of a large group of CAGW critics such as all or most contributors to a website. Sites like “watchingthedeniers” have limited explanatory power because of that lumping. They may be entertaining to some and they can fool a few less educated laypeople for a while. But sooner or later those laypeople will learn that not all of the people characterized at that site as “parasites on science” are parasites or otherwise abusers of science. People like KR will find that their ability to convince a broader audience will be weakened by adopting that style and those types of labels.

  244. Roger Knights,

    Thanks for contributing. :) I like Dissenters and Disputers. The others I don’t personally like because they have implications tying them in with other political or religious movements, and I think that’s to be avoided as much as Deniers.

    Scoffers is really good, since it contains some of the negativity that I believe Tom wants to preserve.

    We’ll wait to see which gets chosen by Tom. A plethora of goodness awaits his sincere evaluation!

  245. Omnologos, your claims about how you would react are proven entirely hypocritical by your reaction to your comparison of Skeptical Science to the Schutzstaffel at Shub Nuggurath’s Climate. When objected to, you proceded to defend the comparison at length (Stasi comparison snipped due to comments policy):

    “As for the abbreviation, the claim was that SS was never called SS, when in fact it was, and it’s been for a long time. If and when that changed, it’s only now surfacing, and nobody ever worried about correcting SS into SkS (or perhaps […]”?).”

    Indeed, you have continued to defend the comparison on this thread.

  246. Dennis Wingo says:
    September 26, 2011 at 6:56 pm

    I have my own blog at MSNBC’s Newsvine. It is a far left leaning website as one might imagine as being from MSNBC and I have a strict code on my threads of not allowing the use of the “d” word or the word “warmist”. We used to call these words flame bait, doing nothing but raising the temperature of the discussion.

    But warmist has no offensive connotation or denotation. It’s not like “alarmist” or “warmista” (which are still pretty mild, compared to “denier”). If it makes warmists mad to be addressed so informally, instead of being given due deference as white-coated seers, tough noogies.

  247. Roger Knights says:
    September 27, 2011 at 3:13 pm

    ———————-

    Roger Knights,

    Thanks for your suggested interesting alternates to the use of the unqualified label ‘denier’.

    I would suggest a replacement for denier could be ‘critic of EAGW’ (Establishment AGW).

    The new term ‘critic of EAGW’ is not pejorative and captures the real essence of the establishment’s annoyance about the skeptical questioning of their so-called consensus on the so-called settled science that is supported by the IPCC assessment process.

    John

  248. RDCII, I had not proposed to respond to specific suggestions until the thread has run its course, and then gather up a list of appropriate candidates and take a poll at my blog. The purpose of using this method is that this issue is very much about framing of the debate. Indeed, IMO, the framing issue is more important to objections to the word “denier” than actual felt offense (which is not to deny that some people take genuine offense). Because it is about framing, any word selected by me, no matter how it is felt about by individuals, will soon be challenged in much the way that “denier” is. If, however, a word is self selected by so called AGW skeptics, that sort of challenge is cut of from the start, and we can stop being distracted by trivia. Of course, for my strategy to work, the poll must have significant participation. If Anthony were to host the poll, that would be better for that reason, but it would be up to him to do so.

    I note that the existence of a well endorsed and plainly appropriate alternative to “denier” would make the continued use of “denier” a clear attempt to offend. On the other hand, endorsing terms as tendentious as “skeptic” or more so will resolve nothing.

    I will, of course, not attempt to hijack this thread by trying to introduce a poll here.

  249. Roger Knights, your suggestion that a deliberate comparison with the Sandinistas “Warmista” is somehow more offensive than a supposed comparison, not with people who committed genocide, but only with people who deny that the genocide was committed, shows a strange sense of values.

  250. Unfortunately I was too busy with work yesterday and today to revisit this thread, but I note that my attempt to provide an alternative label for AGW proponents to call us climate skeptics was labelled as ‘trivial’ by Tom Curtis. Curtis did not even address why ‘climate naturalist’ was supposedly trivial. His off-hand dismissal, nay even pejorative labelling, of my attempt to strike a middle-ground point of dialogue, sends a clear signal that he has no interest in a civil engagement with those whose understanding of climate science does not fall into lock-step with his own. And in the meantime, I’ll proudly continue calling myself a skeptic of the CAGW theory, in the best tradition of scientific skepticism. By the way, Mr. Curtis, as a professional historian of science, I have some considerable understanding of what scientific skepticism entails.

    Wow, Josh – what a thread your cartoon ultimately spawned!

  251. Tom Curtis says:
    September 27, 2011 at 6:13 pm

    Roger Knights, your suggestion that a deliberate comparison with the Sandinistas “Warmista” is somehow more offensive than a supposed comparison, not with people who committed genocide, but only with people who deny that the genocide was committed, shows a strange sense of values.

    Oops. I had no idea there was any such association. I thought it was just a snarky (diminutive) variation on “warmist.” I just googled the term and the first 20 hits seem to be used in that way. However, I then googled for “sandinistas warmistas” and found a link to this on HuffPo: “”Warmista” is a play on words that links warmists with the Sandinista’s in Nicaragua …”

    Whadyaknow!? That never occurred to me. Well, I’m glad I haven’t used the term, except maybe once or twice, playfully, and I won’t again.

  252. @Roger Knights says:
    September 27, 2011 at 8:11 pm :

    Has an explicit connection been made between ” Warmista” and “Sandanista”? I always assumed the use of ‘warmista’ was a faintly derogatory play on words such as ‘fashionista’ (women consumed by following fashions in clothing and make-up) indicating an obsession with the matter of interest.

  253. Tom Curtis,

    “Climate realists” will do nicely, because it is a factual designation. But more importantly, in this age of feelings it allows the labeled to self-designate. You wouldn’t agree that others can use the n-word to label African-Americans, would you? Well, would you??

    So from now on, it’s Climate Realists. OK? Thanx.

  254. I dont even know why there is discussion surrounding this. I am an “AGW Skeptic”. Or a “CAGW Skeptic” and thats how I want to be referred to if a grouping is required in discussion.

    The number of people who simply dont believe in AGW at all are relatively few and you dont need to “cater” for them. Afterall I would never entertain the idea that I should call AGW proponents “Doomsayers” for example because its extreme and not what AGW proponents are about on the whole.

  255. Vigilantfish, I apologize but I have entirely missed your first comment up until now. It was certainly not your suggestion that I was calling “trivial”, but rather examples like “Coolist” “Coolers”. Both of those are inappropriate because they do not describe over half of the opponents of “warmists”.

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/09/25/a-modest-proposal-to-skeptical-science/#comment-752129

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/09/25/a-modest-proposal-to-skeptical-science/#comment-752134

    Your example is not trivial, and would be very good were it not for the fact that scientists where called up until Victorian times “Natural Philosophers”, or more colloquially, “Naturalists”. Given that, calling the opponents of “warmists” “naturalists” would be equivalent to calling them “scientists”, which makes their opponents by implication “anti-scientists” which is tendentious. Even a “naturalist”, “unnaturalist”, (or “antinaturalist”) pairing is dubious.

    In case I have inadvertently missed anybody else’s suggestion, following are the candidates I have come across so far. I have split them into exclusive categories (no option appears under more than one category) but appearance in one category does not mean I think objections cannot be raised under other grounds. The first category, “candidates” represent suggestions which I think are plausible alternatives to “denier”, although except for the issue of offense, none of them are as good. (I am aware of the whole “purblind” etc list, but have excluded them for reasons given in the post that suggested them.)

    Candidates:
    AGW scoffers
    rejectors
    challengers
    impugners
    quibblers
    sophists
    contrarians
    dissenters

    Tendentious:
    scorcher scoffers
    scorcher scam scoffers
    skeptic
    dissembler
    naturalist

    Inappropriate framing:
    CAGW
    AGW non-arrogant
    refusnik
    AGW Heretics
    astrayers
    Hot-air Heretics
    Protestants

    Descriptively innaccurate:
    pettifoggers
    unconvinced
    low sensitivity proponents
    doubter
    mistruster
    demurrer
    hesitators
    misgivers
    suspectors
    misdoubters
    deviationists
    cynics
    coolists

  256. Vigilantfish, I had missed your suggestion, for which I apologize. I consider it neither trivial, nor appropriate for reasons given in a longer post which I submitted, but which has not appeared as either posted or under moderation. This short note is to avoid misunderstanding if the longer post does not appear.

  257. Anthony: “I tend to think that the strongest reaction to something frightening happens at event time…”

    I’m not sure in what sense the Holocaust could be called “frightening” to deniers, who are not being threatened with extermination. Certainly, at the time an atrocity is occurring, people who are threatened with destruction would become frightened and might well engage in denial as a form of self-protection.

    And it’s not uncommon for people to express disbelief in things that seem impossible or inexplicable. But that’s not the same sort of denial as a refusal to accept the evidence for something because it conflicts with an established worldview.

    We’re talking here about bystanders, not victims, to what had become an historical event. I doubt very much that Holocaust denial is motivated primarily by fear of the event.

    “I would expect atrocity denial to follow the same course: discovery, proliferation of the issue, publication of outrage/condemnation, and then a fade of the issue.”

    Except that the evidence shows that Holocaust denial didn’t happen that way. Far from fading, denial grew from small beginnings throughout the post-war period, along with its practitioners, and peaked possibly somewhere in the 1990s. Since then its fortunes have waned, but there was certainly no precipitous drop from 1950, as suggested by your ngram.

    To make your assertion fly, you would need to show an extensive literature of “books and stories…written about people who denied the horrible atrocities ever happened” in the immediate post-war period. Without that evidence, all you have is a correlation of doubtful value.

  258. “why not test your claim to skepticism?”

    Are you suggesting that because I’m a “skeptic” that I would automatically agree with what Plimer has claimed? Wow…you really dont understand scepticism. Here’s a clue. Being a skeptic doesn’t in any way mean taking the opposing side.

    To answer the question is “I dont know” because I haven’t looked into it yet. If I put the time in to research it then I’d have an actual answer for you along with my own understanding of the uncertainties inherent in the data.

    However lets see where you stand.

    Is it true that the majority of observed warming since 1950 is directly attributable to anthropogenic CO2?

  259. Smokey, “denier” has never to my knowledge been used in a purely pejorative way in the same way that the N-word has. Search as you may, you will find no examples of people saying “Denier lover” or the equivalent with the intent to insult, they way the N-word was used. Therefore your analogy is inaccurate. Further, as your chosen name implies that your opponents are “Climate realists”, it is not a name you can adopt consistently with a principle that groups should get to choose their own name. Nor would ever so butcher the language as to call the DDR democratic, or you a realist.

  260. Anthony, the test will be entirely fair and above board, and correct answers published for all to see. If you disagree with the answers you can even publish a blog about it. I suspect most so-called AGW :”skeptics” (would you have preferred I use the D word?) will not take the test because they know their “skepticism” is only name deep.

    REPLY: No, they won’t take the test because it screams bias in the intro wording. It’s kind of like that test at Greenfyre where he writes much like you do then congratulates himself on the number of days nobody has responded. Like I said, you have a big GO AWAY sign on it, of course you’ll dispute that because you are not capable of recognizing what your own bias does. – Anthony

  261. Tom writes “If your claim was to be merely agnostic towards AGW, that would not be a problem. As it stands, neither your response, nor your prejudging the nature of the test shows much skepticism.”

    As I said, you dont actually know what it is to be a skeptic.

  262. TimTheToolMan, you have answered only two out of three questions, and those answers duck the issue. If your claim was to be merely agnostic towards AGW, that would not be a problem. As it stands, neither your response, nor your prejudging the nature of the test shows much skepticism.

  263. vigilantfish says:
    September 27, 2011 at 8:50 pm

    @Roger Knights says:
    September 27, 2011 at 8:11 pm :

    Has an explicit connection been made between ” Warmista” and “Sandanista”? I always assumed the use of ‘warmista’ was a faintly derogatory play on words such as ‘fashionista’ (women consumed by following fashions in clothing and make-up) indicating an obsession with the matter of interest.

    Yeah, that was how I took it too–as “a snarky diminutive.” I’ve not seen “warmista” used in a context where warmist political leanings were involved, particularly. Thanks for the analogy to “fashionista.”

    I wonder if there are other -ista suffixed words around that would establish that “warmista” is just part of an established set of faint-derogatives, not an analogy to Sandinistas. The latter seems fairly far-fetched. I think there’s a way to google for words with suffixes, using the * wildcard before “ista”.

    Aha!–according to http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/-ista :

    Etymology
    From Latin -ista via Spanish -ista in “Sandinista” (1930s).
    [Suffix
    -ista
    1. Added to words to form nouns denoting one who follows a principle; an adept.
    fashionista
    Marxista
    Lincolnista
    Usage notes
    Words formed using this suffix usually have more of a pejorative connotation than related words formed using -ist.
    Translation
    Follower

    So “warmista” is just a slightly sneering way of referring to a warmist–i.e., one who follows the principle of, or believes in, warmism (CO2 emissions are threatening the planet).

    OTOH, now that some persons on the Other Side have Taken Offense and imputed a nasty motive to its users, I guess we can’t use it anymore, regardless. This is analogous to what’s happened with “denier.”

  264. Dana wrote in the WUWT cartoon thread:

    dana1981 Submitted on 2011/09/24 at 5:42 pm
    Please, can people stop using the acronym “SS”? The correct acronym is “SkS”

    That’s funny, he didn’t ask one of the commenters on his blog to stop using the acronym SS, even when the comment was responded to by two moderators.

    10. Foxgoose at 07:24 AM on 21 September, 2011
    Currently, on Bishop Hill Blog, SS is being accused of rewriting history in the good old Stalinist way.

    http://bishophill.squarespace.com/blog/2011/9/20/cooking-the-books.html#comments

    Would one of the mods care to comment?
    Response: [John Hartz] The Bishop Hill post is being reviewed by the SkS author team as we speak.

    [John Cook] I’ve posted a response in the Bishop Hill comments thread.

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/sks-responses-to-pielke-sr-questions.html#63269

    The other handful of “SS” references Dana 1981 were removed from the thread per his request

    I guess he doesn’t care when the reference is on his own blog. Even when John Cook responds.

  265. Tom Curtis says:

    “Smokey, ‘denier’ has never to my knowledge been used in a purely pejorative way in the same way that the N-word has. Search as you may, you will find no examples of people saying ‘Denier lover’ or the equivalent with the intent to insult, they way the N-word was used. Therefore your analogy is inaccurate. Further, as your chosen name implies that your opponents are ‘Climate realists’, it is not a name you can adopt consistently with a principle that groups should get to choose their own name. Nor would ever so butcher the language as to call the DDR democratic, or you a realist.”

    False rhetoric. The issue is whether groups should have the right to self-designate, or whether haters like you should have the right to officially label them by whatever derogatory term that suits you. But you do not have that right. You recoil from the term “skeptic” because the only honest kind of scientist is a skeptic. And of course, you are no skeptic. So you reject that straightforward label, and flounder around for an alternative that satisfies your hatred. But you do not have the right to issue your labels.

    Groups have the right to self-identify. Outsiders like you do not have that right because you are not a member of the group. This principle applies across the board. A few decades ago women self-designated by insisting they be referred to as “Ms” rather than “Mrs” or “Miss”, and the world followed suit. So either refer to scientific skeptics as skeptics, or as Climate Realists. Since you are uncomfortable with “skeptic” because it denotes scientific honesty, please use “Climate Realists” from now on. Anything else is derogatory name-calling and identifies you as a hater.

  266. Brendan H says: September 27, 2011 at 10:55 am

    Lipstadt refers to a number of authors and books, increasing as time went on. A notable one was The Hoax of the Twentieth Century, published by Canadian Arthur R Butz in 1976

    Sorry, Brendan … Butz is an American, not Canadian! Ernst Zundel (a former landed immigrant in Canada, but never a citizen) did much to “popularize” Butz’s pseudo-academic tract by including it in his (extensive) catalogue of publications.

    It is worth noting that when Deborah Lipstadt published Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory in 1993, she wrote in her preface:

    When I first began studying Holocaust denial, people would stare at me strangely. Incredulous, they would ask, “You take those guys seriously?” Invariably I would be challenged with the query, “Why are you wasting your time on those kooks?” […]

    The situation has changed dramatically. Regrettably, I no longer have to convince others of the relevance of this work. […] The deniers’ recent activity has fostered enhanced interest that gives my work unanticipated relevance. […] I wish we could still afford the luxury of wondering whether we should take these people seriously. Given the terrible harm they can cause I would have much preferred to pursue something obscure than an issue that is now so relevant..

    This has been a difficult project because at times I have felt compelled to prove something I knew to be true. I had constantly to avoid being inadvertently sucked into a debate that is no debate and an argument that is no argument.

    [and in Chapter 1, Lipstadt observes:]

    A plethora of television and rado shows have discovered Holocaust denial. [When one such show] aired, in April 1992 deniers were given the bulk of the time to speak their piece. Then Holocaust survivors were brought on to “refute” their comments. Before the commercial break the host, Montel Williams, urged viewers to stay tuned so that they could learn whether the Holocaust is a “myth or is it truth.”

    My refusal to appear on such shows with deniers is inevitably met by producers with some variation on the following challenge: shouldn’t we hear their ideas, opinions, or point of view? Their willingness to ascribe to the deniers and their myths the legitimacy of a point of view is of as great, if not greater, concern than are the activities of the deniers themselves. […] Unable to make the distinction between genuine historiography and the deniers’ purely ideological exercise, those who see the issue in this light are important assets in the deniers’ attempts to spread their claims. This is precisely the deniers’ goal. They aim to confuse the matter by making it appear as if they are engaged in a genuine scholarly effort when, of course, they are not.

    So, I think it can be seen from the above that those who would label their opponents “deniers” (as Goodman urged in 2007) are, as Dennis Prager observed in response:

    [Equating] those who question or deny global warming with those who question or deny the Holocaust [and ascribing] equally nefarious motives to them. It may be inconceivable to Al Gore, Ellen Goodman and their many millions of supporters that a person can disagree with them on global warming and not have evil motives: Such an individual must be paid by oil companies to lie, or lie — as do Holocaust deniers — for some other vile reason.
    […]
    [T]he equation of global warming denial to Holocaust denial trivializes Holocaust denial. [emphasis added -hro]

    It can also be seen that it’s not just the label that is being offensively applied, those who use it have also misappropriated Lipstadt’s perfectly legitimate descriptions of – and responses to – the work and words of Holocaust deniers. Such misappropriation seems to be demonstrated by (inter alia – and most currently) the failure of the powers that be from SkS to respond to Anthony’s modest proposal.

  267. Very sorry if my piece of satirical wordplay offended some. In my own country and on other blogs I have frequented it would, I hope, have been appreciated as “a sustained comic polemic”. Perhaps I should have flagged it as such with (sarc)?

    In the UK wordplay is recognised for what it is – an attempt at wit and humour rather than the personal attack on himself that Tom Curtis has tried to make of it. I’m afraid you have been taken in by his “misdirection”, mods!

    In ENGLISH (but obviously not AMERICAN) sceptic is spelt with a C (do Americans know this?) – hence the whole rationale for my attempt at humour. How true the remark that the UK and USA are “two nations divided by a common language”!

    For the same reason that I deprecated the the attempt to introduce the “scoring” or approval rating of posts that Anthony toyed with a while back, I also deprecate the use of “sarc” to alert the humour-challenged that they are crossing an intellectual boundary. It represents a dumbing down – sorry, Anthony! I do expect, perhaps wrongly, a certain level of insight and intelligence in readers here rather than invidious “offense-taking”.

    As someone until now unaware of the obviously poisonous local ramifications of KKK culture I simply included this acronym, along with others, as a good example to suit my case about the aggressive connotation of the letter K. So, I must plead ignorant to the impact of substituting k for c on a more highly sensitized US readership. My apologies.

    Lastly, how can wordplay and ridicule be out of bounds as a legitimate tool of criticism especially on a thread specifically devoted to the politics and propaganda of the Climate Wars? C’mon, lads, lighten up!

    I still love Anthony and Willis! WUWT is my first stop every morning. Keep up the good work!

    For those who wish to see my deleted post they can find it here – pigeon-holed under “Humour”!

    http://radio4scienceboards.proboards.com/index.cgi?action=display&board=hahaha&thread=1098&page=1

  268. I had no idea use of the K** acronym was such a sore point in the USA. Why? You happily discuss Holocaust denial ad infinitum but a mention of K** gets deleted? C’mon, lads, lighten up and get a sense of proportion!

    My deleted spoof, my misunderstood attempt at a sustained comic polemic, was a good example of “two nations divided by a common language”, Anthony.

    In ENGLISH sceptic is spelled with a c not a k. Do Americans know this ?

    If anyone wishes to view my censored, so-called “rant” they can find it here, pigeon-holed under “humour”, where it belongs, note! http://radio4scienceboards.proboards.com/index.cgi?action=display&board=hahaha&thread=1098&page=1

    Never forget ridicule is a legitimate and potent weapon in the armoury of any propaganda war, and particularly in the Climate Wars. Correct me if I am wrong but this thread IS about climate propaganda, isn’t it? Or is it about trying to occupy the moral high ground? Oh, dear, what a forlorn hope that would be, Anthony! Stick to the science is my advice.

  269. Tom Curtis says:
    September 27, 2011 at 8:48 pm

    The first category, “candidates” represent suggestions which I think are plausible alternatives to “denier”, although except for the issue of offense, none of them are as good.

    = = =

    Tom Curtis

    You don’t like the term ‘skeptic’ in the ‘candidates’ category, yet that is the most widely n0n-perjorative position and most appropriate name from the perspective of the philosophy of science and the history of science. Skepticism is a well-respected aspect of modern science.

    Your list categories and list selections looks like manipulation toward your bias. Your categories and lists might be non-fiction for the denizens of Skeptical Science but at WUWT it is high humor that looks funnier than Josh’s cartoons.

    John

  270. Hro001: “Sorry, Brendan … Butz is an American, not Canadian!”

    Yes, my bad. Canadians and Americans tend to look and sound the same from a distance, although I suppose Canadians are also technically (North) Americans.

    “The deniers’ recent activity has fostered enhanced interest that gives my work unanticipated relevance.”

    This comment from Deborah Lipstadt supports my substantive argument that Holocaust denial was a growing phenomenon throughout the post-war period.

    “So, I think it can be seen from the above that those who would label their opponents “deniers” (as Goodman urged in 2007) are, as Dennis Prager observed in response:
    ‘[Equating] those who question or deny global warming with those who question or deny the Holocaust [and ascribing] equally nefarious motives to them.’”

    I don’t see where the quote from Deborah Lipstadt supports the claim of moral equivalence. Perhaps you could outline your argument.

  271. Tom Curtis says:

    “What you don’t seem to get is that it is absurd for you to insist that I use a name for you and people of similar beliefs that, in effect, says that you are right. If you give yourself such a name, I will simply not use it, and won’t trouble myself too much of you take offense at the name I do give you…”

    So instead of the self-designation of Hispanics, it’s OK if I call them “Spicks” or “Greasers”? And call Chinese “Chinks”? And people like you can call scientific skeptics “Denialists”? And your likely n-word for African-Americans? According to you, if any of those groups take offense, it wouldn’t bother you in the least. Could you be more dispicable?

    When this subject came up maybe six months ago, someone asked what those questioning CAGW claims should be called. Anthony said, “You can call us skeptics.” That is the most widely used self-description of those of us questioning the evidence-free claims of catastrophic AGW. Further, we are not asking for a “mutually agreed” label. We are asking that you use our own identifier – whether you like it or not. It’s ours, not yours. The pejorative “Denier” has been proven beyond doubt to intentionally associate scientific skeptics with Holocaust deniers. It is pure unscientific propaganda, deliberately intended to demonize honest scientists. It is dishonest anti-science.

    You also say: “A skeptic by this second meaning is somebody who is not credulous or gullible, but rather, who examines claims carefully taking full account of the evidence, and accords belief no further than that evidence warrants.”

    That is exactly right. You simply don’t like the fact that most of us carefully examine the CO2=CAGW claims and conclude that there is no credible supporting evidence directly connecting an X rise in CO2 with a Y rise in temperature, and that there is zero evidence of any kind for runaway global warming. At this point catastrophic AGW is simply an unproven conjecture. You also don’t like the universally accepted fact that the only honest kind of scientist is a skeptic. It is very telling that the alarmist crowd hides out from debates [which they invariably lose], and that they hide their data, methodologies, metadata and code from skeptical scientists who want to verify their claimed findings. That refusal to cooperate with other scientists was frankly admitted in the Climategate email leak. Climate alarmists ignore the Scientific Method, which requires transparency. They are simply being dishonest.

    So you squirm around trying to avoid calling us exactly what we are: skeptics. We are not credulous or gullible – those terms are reserved exclusively for the eco-contingent that swallows Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth hook, line and sinker. I suspect that subset includes you.

  272. John Whitman,

    Obviously you and I disagree about the science, and we disagree about which side takes a properly skeptical approach to the evidence as well. What you don’t seem to get is that it is absurd for you to insist that I use a name for you and people of similar beliefs that, in effect, says that you are right. If you give yourself such a name, I will simply not use it, and won’t trouble myself too much of you take offense at the name I do give you because you will have obviously decided that the way to win an argument is through propaganda rather than reason.

    Like it or not, calling yourselves “skeptics” has that property. In addition to an ordinary, but descriptively poor meaning where “skeptic” means the same as “doubter”, there is another meaning to “skeptic”. A skeptic by this second meaning is somebody who is not credulous or gullible, but rather, who examines claims carefully taking full account of the evidence, and accords belief no further than that evidence warrants. And like it or not, that is what many of the opponents of “warmists” mean when they call themselves “skeptics”. I have even seen a number of opponents of “warmists” make the straightforward linguistic argument that because they are called “skeptics”, their opponents are not properly skeptical, and therefore are simply credulous and gullible.

    Whether or not you are fool enough to make such an argument (which I doubt), by calling yourselves “skeptics” you make that argument by implication. If you are the skeptics, then those that oppose you differ from you in that respect, and hence are not skeptics but rather credulous and gullible (or worse).

    Now you may be happy to use such a tendentious label for yourselves. But you are a fool if you expect your opponents to use it as well, so that they refute themselves by the name they give you. You are also a fool to think that, if you insist on tendentious labeling that your opponents will take much trouble to be neutral in their labeling.

    You take great trouble to point out just how funny my categorization is supposed to be. Frankly, that just tells me that you just don’t comprehend the issues involved – that you are unable to think outside your personal box in any significant way. That would be a shame because you are at least attempting to engage the issues. If, in the end you fail, it would suggest that any attempt at a mutually agreed classification is doomed to failure

  273. Tom Curtis says:
    September 28, 2011 at 9:11 am

    —————–

    Tom Curtis,

    Thank you for your considerable reply.

    Let me try a go at what I think the about the essense of the logical, heirarchical and historical context you and I are using to name concepts.

    You are skeptical of my science and even skeptical that I can be called a skeptic. Strong historical and cultural tradition there.

    I am severely critical of your approach at categorizing and listing new names for people who you consider deniers. Strong historical and cultural tradition there.

    You can list your ‘candidates’ for a substitute for your word denier. I find absurd, however, that it appears the basis of your selection of candidates is that the new names show the same pejorative implication for the people whom you formerly considered deniers but with the potential Holocaust implication removed. Your intent is just to switch names without any change in the view of such people. I can only smile at that transparent naming shell game involving a pea that is your original view people who do not agree with you climate science. The smile tends to lead to chuckles then laughter. Therefore my humor reference.

    Suggestion – If you think I and others are deniers (without the Holocaust implication) then the most logical approach is just keep using ‘denier’ with a simple qualification that excludes possibility of implying the Holocaust. There are many clever people on the blogosphere who could contrive a new term with denier at the root but ruling out Holocaust implications.

    Suggestion – I strongly recommend if you want a non-pejorative new word for a reference to people who do not agree with you in the climate science realm then try independent critic or just critic but best is of course skeptic. But I sense that you do not want a term for us that is not pejorative; sigh.

    John

  274. 1. A use of the “ista” suffix by our side is “carbonista.” It seems obvious to me that this was being used in the “fashionista” sense, like “warmista.”

    2. There’s a need for a replacement for “denier,” which is out-of-bounds to some on Our Side (scoffers) because of its Holocaust connotations. My tentative suggestions upthread of “purblind” and “blinkered” aren’t good enough, for the reasons I gave there. So how about “denialist”? (It’s longer and an extra syllable, but that’s a small price to pay.) Or, better, “ostrich.” There–problem solved! (Although it’s a milder term than “denialist.”)

    3. There’s a need for equal-weighted pairs of terms for both sides. For informal use how about these, implicitly prefixed by “CAGW” or “climate change” (understood as being a shorthand term for CAGW). The spicier pairs come first, the more neutral ones last:

    Hotheads, Wolf-Cryers, Chicken-Littles / Flat-Earthers, Dissimulators, Dissemblers
    Alarmists, Warm-mongers / Ostriches, Denialists
    Believers (implying “true believers”), Crusaders / Curmudgeons, Cynics
    Activists / Refuseniks
    Warmists / Naysayers
    Advocates / Dissenters (or Disputers or Deviationists or Dissidents or Disbelievers)
    Mainstreamers, Consens-istas / Contrarians, Skeptics, Protest-ants, Heretics
    Proponents / Critics

  275. Roger Knights,

    I regard “denialist” as being every bit as unacceptable as “denier”. It is still a vile pejorative, with ‘denier’ as its root word. I prefer Anthony’s common sense suggestion: “You can call us skeptics.” [“Climate Realists” is OK with me, too, but “skeptic” has caught on, and I doubt that CR would at this point; too many competing suggestions].

    Would anyone [except demonizers like Tom Curtis] call Christian Scientists or Jehovah’s Witnesses by another name, just because they may disagree with the message? Curtis is trying to set the agenda here by assigning his arbitrary rules, which apply only to skeptics, as I made clear in my response to him above. Curtis is a hypocrite who applies one standard to people he hates, and a different standard to everyone else. Dispicable, no?

  276. Smokey says:
    September 28, 2011 at 12:08 pm

    Roger Knights,

    I regard “denialist” as being every bit as unacceptable as “denier”. It is still a vile pejorative, with ‘denier’ as its root word.

    But “denialist” isn’t directly associated with Holocaust deniers, so the suggestive aura or connotation is 90% lacking. Anyway, my preferred synonym was “ostrich.”
    (Note that Lindzen calls himself a denier–and he’s Jewish. If he doesn’t think the word is inherently vile, it isn’t–not necessarily.)

    I prefer Anthony’s common sense suggestion: “You can call us skeptics.” [“Climate Realists” is OK with me, too, but “skeptic” has caught on, and I doubt that CR would at this point; too many competing suggestions].

    Each side has lots of terms for the other side. In different venues, different terms are preferred or allowable. In best-behavior venues, or when engaging in discussions with the other side, it’s best to avoid inflammatory terms. So, in those venues, fairly neutral terms would be Warmists or Consensus-followers or Mainstreamers for their side, and Contrarians or Dissenters or Critics for ours. “Skeptics” has become the accepted term, and for that reason we ought to go with it, I guess. But actually it’s too mild, because it implies agnosticism or suspended judgment, with a slight dubiousness; but we’re really disbelievers. We’ve made up our minds.

    In “home territory” venues it’s OK–or at least it’s unavoidable–for commenters to be disrespectful about the other side and employ nicknames and zingers that express what we really think of The Other Side. We think they’re “making it up,” or are only in it for money, or for dictatorial political power; so you will often find terms like “climester,” “climesci,” “fraudster,” “watermelon,” etc. used here on WUWT. They think we’re “refusing to see” the overwhelming evidence out of perversity (crankiness) or normalcy-bias, or are only in it for the money (pawns of big oil), or for our short-sighted consumer-convenience, or are blinded by our free-market political dogma, or by religiosity (God will take care of the problem).

    Such abusive spiciness is an ordinary part of debate about political/social matters. (And literary matters, and musical matters, and artistic matters, etc.) Certainly no ‘side” will refer to the other side by a term with a positive connotation, like “realist.”

    Would anyone [except demonizers like Tom Curtis] call Christian Scientists or Jehovah’s Witnesses by another name, just because they may disagree with the message?

    But religion (and racial identity) is different, being almost always something that a person inherits, something that he is very sensitive about, and not something (nowadays) that is threatening to others (unlike political and social movements and groups). Our side can’t object to name-calling, because our group is not like a religion. When blocks of people are doing the wrong thing politically or socially for the country or humanity (in their opponents’ eyes), it’s normal to deride them vigorously. There’s nothing wrong with doing so, except when it’s out-of-place for the venue.

    (A few informal and disrespectful names have caught on for certain religious groups: Shakers & Quakers (Society of Friends). Methodists and Mormons are informal terms.)

    Curtis is trying to set the agenda here by assigning his arbitrary rules, which apply only to skeptics, as I made clear in my response to him above. Curtis is a hypocrite who applies one standard to people he hates, and a different standard to everyone else. Dispicable, no?

    Anthony and many others here believe that “denier” is beyond the pale of discussion anywhere, in any venue, like the N-word. Curtis was mainly trying to demonstrate that there’s no word that “does the work” for his side that “denier” does. (“Ostrich” does, IMO, just about.) His request was for a synonym for his side to use that isn’t “beyond the pale.” He wasn’t trying to get us to rename ourselves by this synonym, or to get neutral parties to refer to us thusly, or to deny us the right to our own moniker among ourselves. So I don’t think it was despicable, or even objectionable.

    If his side wants to call us ostriches, let ‘em. It’s “climate” (of opinion) progress of a sort. (Up from “denier.”)

  277. John Whitman,

    Thankyou for the suggestion of “critic”, which has now been added to the list of candidates.

    I find your reference to me as a “demonizer” objectionable. I will point out to you that every suggested name on my list was suggested by an opponent of “warmists” on this page. I would also point out that my list of “candidated terms” includes such terms as “challengers”, “rejectors”, and “dissenters” which, so far as I know, carry no negative connotation at all. Seeing you regard me as a “demonizer”, you can no doubt point out the negative connotation of these words. If you are unable to do so, It is you who is attempting to demonize me rather than I who is attempting to demonize you.

    Given that the purpose of the list is that opponents of “warmists” should vote on an acceptable terms which, given sufficient agreement I would henceforth use, the presence of even a few such acceptable terms makes it clear that my purpose here is not to demonize, or “… to demonstrate that there’s no word that “does the work” for his side that “denier” does”, but rather, as I have maintained from the start, to arrive at a mutually acceptable term to replace “denier” in my usage.

    Given the steady stream of abuse that has been directed at me for the attempt; and given that there is a very obvious feeling that only tendentious terms like “Skeptic” are considered acceptable by you and many others, I doubt there is any point in my attempt.

  278. Tom, do you agree that many if not most people on both sides think that any one-size-fits-all word for them is unacceptable? Do you agree there are degrees of “demonization” (the concept) from a benign lumping of lots of different people for no particularly good reason, to general insinuations about their competence (rather than specific critiques of what they said), to generalizations about their motivation? If not, do you agree that there are degrees of generalization when characterizing the opponents of AGW? What makes generalization useful? Is it useful to lump people who dispute CAGW (i.e. low sensitivity proponents) with those who dispute AGW (e.g. GHGs don’t cause warming)?

    What makes you think that imprecision like the lumping example is a good long term strategy for a public debate? Do you think you can just say “this list of people really all are alike and need to be ignored, so don’t listen to any of them under any circumstances” and that will work long enough to “win”?

  279. Tom:
    Why don’t you just call us skeptics? We read a paper and understand it differently than you do. You consider yourself right, we consider ourselves right. It is all viewpoint and subjective reasoning. The skeptics are more cognizant of the error bars than the AGW promoters are.
    Us skeptics also know we don’t know all the answers to the multitude of questions that are still very evident. The AGW folks think that all the questions have been answered.

    Well, they have not been, not even close. So, all in all, skeptic is the old moniker that science has understood for 100’s of years. Remember, Dr. Wegener was a skeptic, going against the grain of the accepted science endorsed by over 97% of the scientists of his day. Interesting that he was correct and they were wrong. Numbers don’t mean a thing, the proof is yet in the pudding. So far the pudding has not cooled but is very liquid.

  280. Roger Knights,

    I’m in general agreement with many of your other posts, so I don’t want to argue over opinions. I stand by mine regarding Tom Curtis. So I’ll end my comments on this thread [but no promises☺] by noting that WUWT site Policy specifically singles out and rejects the pejorative labels “denialist” and “denier”.

  281. @ Roger Knights

    I’ve just remembered another ‘ista’ word – frugalista. A columnist in the Toronto Sun has an irregular column on money-saving tips under that name.

  282. Smokey says:
    September 28, 2011 at 7:12 pm

    Roger Knights,

    I’m in general agreement with many of your other posts, so I don’t want to argue over opinions. I stand by mine regarding Tom Curtis.

    I think I may have been overly kind when I wrote, “He wasn’t trying to get us to rename ourselves by this synonym, or to get neutral parties to refer to us thusly, ….” I was too tired/lazy to reread his posts, so I winged it.

    So I’ll end my comments on this thread [but no promises☺] …

    I know the feeling!

    … by noting that WUWT site Policy specifically singles out and rejects the pejorative labels “denialist” and “denier”.

    Oh sure, it’s OK for home-territory sites to filter out annoying/inflammatory terms. I don’t suggest that we end the practice, or that the other side end their filtration policies for the names we like to call them. But if the site’s on Curtis’s side would ramp down from the use of “denier” to “denialist,” it would lower the temperature a bit. It’s not much, but it’s something. “Ostrich” would be even better.
    =========

    @Vigilantfish
    Thanks for your find (frugalista). There’s another one in the quoted material below (Clintonistas), which I’m surprised I didn’t recall, because it was commonly used. There’s also a line I’ve boldfaced, which supplies additional confirmation of my suspicion that “warmistas” is not an allusive implication of moral equivalency of warmists and Sandinistas. The latter word was merely the first instance where the suffix was applied.

    (Definition of -ista suffix from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
    -ista suffix
    Definition
    used to describe someone who is a strong supporter of another person, when added to the name of that person
    Clintonistas

    World English Dictionary
    Collins English Dictionary – Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
    -ista
    — combining form
    indicating a supporter or follower of someone or something: fashionista ; Portillista
    [C20: back formation from Sandinista]

    ==========

    I’ve thought of another pair of “spicy” terms to add to my list above:
    Bedwetter / Crank

  283. Roger Knights, I have maintained a consistent indifference to what you call your opponents, or yourselves, except noting that “skeptic” is a missappellation. If you want to misname yourselves, so be it.

    I note that you are wrong in you conclusion regarding “warmista” and “sandinista”. Your own quoted source notes that “fashionista” and the other similar terms are back formations from “Sandinista”, that is, they have used “Sandinista” as a linguistic model, and hence inevitably carry a reference to, and implicit comparison with the Sandinistas. That is why all such formations in English are derogatory. From your current argument you might just as well conclude that none of the vairous “XXXX -gates” that are so popular with the media carry an implicit reference and comparison to the Watergate affair.

  284. Tom writes “noting that “skeptic” is a missappellation”

    Tell us why you think this Tom. Spell it out. Tell us what you think a skeptic is and why you think we’re not skeptics.

  285. Tom, is it too much to ask for a precise definition of denialist? The latest denialist thread at SkS has a post with these criteria:
    1. Doubt the science.
    2. Question the motives and integrity of scientists.
    3. Magnify disagreements among scientists.
    4. Exaggerate potential harm.
    5. Appeal to personal freedom.
    6. Involve irrelevant issues.”

    Those are pretty precise. Is that too strict or too many criteria? If so, can you give a precise definition? You gave an example of some Easterbrook denialism, but what I am looking for is “what is a denialist and what is the threshold”. For example, is someone who doubts 3C or even 2C sensitivity a denialist? What is the degrees C threshold for denialism? Is Sphaerica correct as I quoted above?

  286. TimTheToolMan, I have already spelt it out in detail on this thread several times, most recently on my post of Sept 28th, at 9:11am.

    Eric, I am about done posting here, but I will take up your question at SkS in the next few days (remind me if I do not).

  287. Tom Curtis says:
    September 28, 2011 at 2:27 pm

    John Whitman,

    Thankyou for the suggestion of “critic”, which has now been added to the list of candidates.

    I find your reference to me as a “demonizer” objectionable. I will point out to you that every suggested name on my list was suggested by an opponent of “warmists” on this page. I would also point out that my list of “candidated terms” includes such terms as “challengers”, “rejectors”, and “dissenters” which, so far as I know, carry no negative connotation at all. Seeing you regard me as a “demonizer”, you can no doubt point out the negative connotation of these words. If you are unable to do so, It is you who is attempting to demonize me rather than I who is attempting to demonize you.

    = = =

    Tom Curtis,

    Thank you for your reply.

    Is the term ‘demonizing’, first introduced by you in my discourse here with you, defined by you to be: pointing out your denier label replacement candidate list had terms that were pejorative toward people who are critical/skeptical of your view of climate science?

    Skeptic should be on your candidate list. Without it then whatever doubtful credibility your list and categories have inside of Skeptical Science cannot be sustained outside of Skeptical Science.

    John

  288. Since, you asked, Anthony, I will address one more time the connection between the peak in “denier” in the 1950’s and the Holocaust.

    Perhaps “warping the data” was a bit strong. How about “sticking to a warped interpretation that is inconsistent with the data, despite being informed of a more correct interpretation”? Twice you updated the post with information that I (and at least two other posters in this thread) think is an incorrect interpretation, sticking to your own conclusion instead.

    Here is one more attempt. Your conclusions were based on Google book searches — that the peak in “denier” was significantly related to the denial of the Nazi extermination of Jewish people. Others pointed out that this was inconsistent with the data, and the peak was related to textiles.

    Here are approximate results for searches of Google books for “denier” and the terms listed below. The data are by decades from 1950’s thru 1990’s

    NAZI: 14, 25, 31, 73, 490
    HOLOCAUST: 121, 396, 1240, 4800, 14000
    JEWISH: 85, 150, 150, 220, 700

    NYLON: 4200 4800, 4900, 4100, 4100
    RAYON: 5600, 5300, 3900, 2400, 2100

    Further data: A look at the first 10 hits for “Jewish”, “Nazi” and “holocaust” for the 1950’s show that none of them refer to the Holocaust. In the 1990,s most are indeed related to the Holocaust.

    CONCLUSION (confirming what I said in previous posts):

    ZERO hits related to Holocaust were actually seen in the lists for the 1950’s. (There were a few hundred possible hits, but a sample of the books on the first page of results showed none that were actually related to the extermination of the Jews).
    MORE AND MORE hits related to the Holocaust show up as time progresses, indicating that any peak would be much later than 1950’s.

    ZERO hits that I saw support your conclusion.

    THOUSANDS of hits related to textiles were seen for the 1950’s.
    The hits decrease in earlier decades. The hits decrease (slightly) in later decades, but more books were being published, so the % would drop, causing the drop after the 1950’s.

    To support your conclusion, please provide even 10 books from the 1950s that show up in any Google book search with the word “denier” that are related to the Holocaust. This will show that it is possible that ~ 1% of the books in the 1950’s peak are related to your hypothesis. (If you can find a few hundred books, then you would be approaching 5%, which could start to be noticeable on the graph).

    REPLY: Thanks for that non-apology and that’s your opinion based on your search, mine differs. But don’t say I warped data again. I have no way to link the actual books in Google ngram search, and neither do you, but I did provide two titles during that period, where you have provided none. I don’t disagree that a portion of that peak is associated with nylon etc, how much? We won’t know because neither of us has access into the Google database.

    Assuming the numbers as you’ve organized them are by decade groups, the peak around 1950 for “denier” isn’t supported by the flat trend in the 4000’snumbers in decades that follow. Your search doesn’t explain the peak and the dropoff of the word denier, your nylon numbers are flat across decades.

    My contention at the beginning was that “denier” and WWII was linked, as the usage of denier is linked with Holocaust in the examples cited by Goodman etc. and that still stands.

    You all would do well to spend more effort being civil than try to prove that using the ugly term “denier” is not uncivil. This whole thread has been hijacked by such ugliness. I’ve never seen people work so hard to dissociate the ugly connection from a term so they could keep using it. Hope you didn’t waste to much of the college’s money on t is exercise. – Anthony

  289. John Whitman,

    I do apologize for suggesting that you first used the word “demonize”. That was in fact first used by “Truthseeker”, and then by Smokey, who used it deliberately of me. Never-the-less, your last post certainly suggested that my purpose was to demonize, even if you did not use the term. Specifically, you wrote:

    “I find absurd, however, that it appears the basis of your selection of candidates is that the new names show the same pejorative implication for the people whom you formerly considered deniers but with the potential Holocaust implication removed. ”

    That claim was shown to be false by the inclusion of terms such as “rejectors”, “challengers”, and “impugners” on the candidate list.. “Contrarians” and”dissenters” are also largely, if not entirely lacking any negative connotation..

    The fact that you are unwilling to defend your claim that these terms have a negative connotation shows clearly that your objection is not that I am insisting on terms with negative connotations, because I am not, but that you are insisting that I and other “warmists” describe you as “skeptics”, with its clear endorsement of your arguments (whether that endorsement is deserved or not), and its clear implication that your opponents are not skeptical, ie, that the are credulous, gullible or worse.

    That is very clearly the bedrock position of the majority of people who have commented on my proposal. So much so that there is no point in attempting a poll. Given this firm commitment, not just to a propogandistic self appellation, but to an insistent that your opponents also use that propogandistic terms, any claim you have that your opponents should not use similarly tendentious language is entirely nugatory.

  290. Anthony says: “I have no way to link the actual books in Google ngram search, and neither do you.

    I assumed that you knew how to do this since you suggested the page to start with . The bottom of the ngram results page links to the results broken down into specific time-frames. You can refine the search and the dates however you want. Or you can go straight to the book search page.

    Here is the URL to find the titles from 1950-1959 for “denier” and Jewish”

    http://www.google.com/search?q=%22denier%22&tbs=bks:1,cdr:1,cd_min:1951,cd_max:1958&lr=lang_en#q=denier+jewish&hl=en&lr=lang_en&safe=off&sa=X&ei=0PaETvTFDsOftwfsqvRM&ved=0CCIQpwUoBA&source=lnt&tbs=lr:lang_1en%2Ccdr%3A1%2Ccd_min%3A1%2F1%2F1950%2Ccd_max%3A12%2F31%2F1959&tbm=bks&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.&fp=e11b54397fed899e&biw=1328&bih=579

    You are welcome to look for any that actually are related to denial of the Holocaust. (in fact, a few of them are actually related to textiles and coins, but I saw none related to the Holocaust).

    Or for “denier” in general in the 1950’s, here are the first ten books (by relevance).

    Kiplinger’s Personal Finance – Apr 1954 – Page 18
    15 deniers lost a little ground to— yon guessed it— even sheerer hose, 12 deniers. …

    Rayon and synthetic textiles: Volume 33, Issues 1-12 1952
    American Viscose produces and sells the largest variety of viscose staple, ranging from 1 -denier, …

    Modern textiles magazine: Volume 37, 1956
    Current Prices “Acrilan” 2.0 denier Semi-dull staple and tow $1.18

    Consumer reports: Buying guide issue: Volume 23, Issues 1-11 1958
    For comparative purposes, another composite of low-priced nylons in the 15-denier, …

    Textile organon: Volume 29 Economics Bureau – 1958
    DENIER. The denier of a yarn is its weight in grams for a length of 9000 meters,

    The Numismatist: Volume 70 American Numismatic Association – 1957
    Denier for BLOIS. VF 7.50 5s. Charles the Bald. Denier for LEMANS. Fine 1.60 59. …

    Catalogue, Montgomery Ward – 1958
    15 Denier, 400 Needle delicately sheer Nylons.

    Competition in the rayon industry Jesse William Markham – 1952
    production of heavy denier tire yarn was greatly increased. …

    Textile fibers L. E. Parsons, John K. Stearns – 1951
    American Viscose Corp., 40 to 1150 denier viscose, 45 to 300 denier acetate, …

    Pricing in big business: a case approach Abraham David Hannath Kaplan – 1958
    For example, a large percentage of rayon 1650 denier and nylon 840 denier

    9 for textiles
    1 for coins
    0 for the Holocaust.

    “Assuming the numbers as you’ve organized them are by decade groups, the peak around 1950 for “denier” isn’t supported by the flat trend in the 4000′snumbers in decades that follow. ”
    Since more and more books are being published, 4000 books in the 1950’s would be a much larger percentage than 4000 books in the 1990’s. Sorry I didn’t highlight that idea for you and your readers the first time around.

    I’ve never seen people work so hard to dissociate the ugly connection from a term so they could keep using it.
    1) You will notice if you look back through the thread that I have never defended the use of the term. I don’t personally find “denier” offensive, although I do find the concept of “Holocaust denialism” vile. In deference to those who do find that “denier” evokes “Holocaust denier” offensive, I do not use it. I would encourage others to do the same, since the word becomes the issue, not the science.

    2) Your indignation sounds a little hollow to me, since you have twice in this very thread rationalized letting “denier” be used (in a headline, no less) within your own blog.

  291. Tom writes “TimTheToolMan, I have already spelt it out in detail on this thread several times, most recently on my post of Sept 28th, at 9:11am.”

    No you didn’t. In essence you said the warmists were the “real” sceptics and we who call ourselves skeptics arent and you’ve given no reason whatsoever for that claim nor have you given any indication you actually know what a sceptic really is.

    When I look at the recent RC article on GCRs for excample, I can see a lot of people agreeing with the article and a number who try to fit the result into the concept of AGW warming in order to best support AGW.

    Do you think there is a general air of skepticism surrounding that article and the related discussion? The only scepticism I can see is scepticism that GCRs can possibly be responsible for any significant warming (or even cloud changes from many posters!) Not bad in itself but not what I’d call proper scepticism either simply because its all about confirmation of their preferred hypothesis, ie that of CO2 produced AGW.

  292. Tom Curtis says:
    September 29, 2011 at 2:27 pm

    @John Whitman,

    The fact that you are unwilling to defend your claim that these terms have a negative connotation shows clearly that your objection is not that I am insisting on terms with negative connotations, because I am not, but that you are insisting that I and other “warmists” describe you as “skeptics”, with its clear endorsement of your arguments (whether that endorsement is deserved or not), and its clear implication that your opponents are not skeptical, ie, that the are credulous, gullible or worse.

    ————————-

    Tom Curtis,

    It would be a positive step to eliminate the potential implication of the Holocaust from Skeptical Science’s use of the term denier. I personally, like Lindzen, don’t find denier bad.

    People who disagree with each other can merely be described that way; ‘people who disagree with one another’. Let’s go with the discreptive approach to each other instead of the labels.

    I respect you for coming to WUWT. Please do not disengage due to emotions flowing around on both side. You discourse here is, I think, a step toward firm building blocks of respect.

    John

  293. I’ve thought of another matched pair of terms:
    Lemmings / Ostriches

    Tom Curtis says:
    September 29, 2011 at 1:43 am

    Roger Knights, I have maintained a consistent indifference to what you call your opponents, or yourselves, except noting that “skeptic” is a missappellation. If you want to misname yourselves, so be it.

    But I don’t want us to misname ourselves. I implicitly, in this thread, agreed with you that “skeptic” is a misnomer–it’s too mild. I’ve said here for years that we aren’t merely doubtful or dubious, but rather outspoken disbelievers. We’re atheists, not agnostics, which is what “skeptic” implies. Hence I suggested a good alternative upthread in these comments:

    Roger Knights says:
    September 26, 2011 at 2:45 am

    Tom Curtis says

    However, I understand that the term “denier” does genuinely cause some “AGW Skeptics” offense, and am happy to drop it … on one condition. That condition is that you find a suitable, non-tendentious descriptive title for those who call themselves “AGW Skeptics” and who I call “AGW Deniers”. If you can find such a term, and persuade your fellow “AGW Skeptics” to adopt it so that people will understand to whom I am referring, I will adopt it also, and drop the term “AGW denier”.

    I propose rebranding ourselves as “scorcher scoffers” or “scorcher-scam scoffers.” “Scoffers” has both negative and positive connotations, so both sides can accept it;
    ——————-

    Roger Knights says:
    September 27, 2011 at 2:34 pm

    Tom Curtis says:

    I am still interested in an alternative that is descriptively accurate, non-tendentious, and non-offensive.

    I mentioned a perfect one somewhere upthread: Scoffers. That’s what we are. We think catastrophic, runaway, unstoppable warmism (the “scorcher-scam”) is absurd, or at least vastly oversold, and so we mock and revile it.

    Tom Curtis again:

    I note that you are wrong in you conclusion regarding “warmista” and “sandinista”. Your own quoted source notes that “fashionista” and the other similar terms are back formations from “Sandinista”, that is, they have used “Sandinista” as a linguistic model, and hence inevitably carry a reference to, and implicit comparison with the Sandinistas.

    That’s a stretch. “ista” is just the Spanish way of saying ist. It entered English via “Sandinista,” but the suffix caught on, IMO, not because of its political association, because it has more “swing” and lightness than “ist”; because it connotes not just an adherent to a doctrine but an enthusiastic member of a movement or category; and because of its slightly mocking tinge.

    “Frugalist,” for instance, would be utterly flatfooted and “wrong,” because of its absence of connotations. “Frugalista,” OTOH, implies a person who has likely become a member of the simple living movement, has read up on the books on creative penny-pinching and scrounging that have been popular in recent decades, and has enthusiastically taken their lessons to heart. I defy you to claim that those who employ the term are insinuating that a frugalista is a closet Communist. Ditto with “fashionista”–the word has no political connotations at all.

    Secondly, once “ista” had migrated from “Sandinista” to “fashionista,” it would naturally migrate from “fashionista” to other words, like “frugalista,” etc. I doubt that youngsters today, who use or hear ista-suffixed words, are aware of the indirect connection to the Sandinistas — or even aware of what they are.

    That is why all such formations in English are derogatory.

    No, it’s because words ending in “a” are diminutives, hence diminishing, taunting, or “teasing.” That connotation should be obvious to anyone with a feel for language. “Derogatory” is too strong.

    The suffix can even be affectionately teasing. Some people probably call themselves “fashionistas,” or at least wouldn’t be offended at being called that name. (The one case where the “Sandinista”-implication was likely intended, at least initially, was “Clintonista.” But I suspect the word lost its sting over time and just became used as a shorthand term for a strong or enthusiastic supporter of Clinton.) It’s a suffix that enables the creation of useful shorthand terms — that’s why it’s come into popularity, not because it’s a way to insinuate its target has Communist sympathies.

    From your current argument you might just as well conclude that none of the various “XXXX -gates” that are so popular with the media carry an implicit reference and comparison to the Watergate affair.

    I do so conclude. The -gate suffix has morphed into something generic rather than specific. It implies a scandal of any sort, like the French l’affair, not one specifically involving Nixonians, Republicans, presidents, bugging, burglary, coverups, hush money, etc. There’s no insinuation that a participant in any -gate affair is implicated in any of those. It doesn’t even have to involve politics. It does however usually involve a US-based scandal–that’s its main anchor to the original Watergate.

    In general, words created by back-formations needn’t have any carryover of meaning from their launching pad. I wish I were knowledgeable enough to cite a hundred cases, but I’m sure they exist.

  294. Tom Curtis says:
    September 29, 2011 at 1:43 am

    Roger Knights, I have maintained a consistent indifference to what you call your opponents, or yourselves, except noting that “skeptic” is a missappellation. If you want to misname yourselves, so be it.

    Your snark implies that I haven’t been searching for a neutral, or at least mutually acceptable, alternative to “denier.” But I have. I’ve suggested the following. Take your pick:

    Contrarians, Critics, Dissenters, Disputers, Dissidents, Disbelievers, Heretics, Naysayers, Refuseniks, Scoffers.

    I’ve also suggested lots of negative terms for YOUR side to use about us, out of perverse helpfulness:

    Cranks, Curmudgeons, Cynics, Denialists, Dissemblers, Dissimulators, Flat-Earthers, Ostriches. The latter is a near-synonym for denier, and without the Holocaust associations.

  295. PS: The suffix -gate always has a semantic connotation: a scandal of some sort. The suffix -ista has no such content-specific implication; i.e., it doesn’t imply totalitarian leanings. It is just a variation of the suffix -ist, meaning a supporter of or enthusiast about anything. The diminutive “a” at the end gives it a patronizing tinge, but it is far from derogatory.

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