Deniers of Science

My New Rules for Science Deniers

I spent the last two nights watching the Republican National Convention.  I very much disagree with the politics of today’s GOP and found many of the speeches hard to watch.  How did I amuse myself?  Twitter.  For the past two nights I have tweeted more than I ever have before.  I did this more my amusement than anything else and did it in a snarky and sarcastic manner.  Someone on the stage would say something moronic, and I would tweet a snarky comment under the #GOP2012 #Romney/Ryan hashtags.  It made watching the convention rather neat and I met some new people on twitter.

Things were going great until Romney’s speech.  During that speech he made the following comment, “President Obama promised to slow the rise of the oceans and to heal the planet.  My promise is to help you and your family.” (Huge applause).    I tweeted something to effect that I was dismayed to see Romney deny climate change and to see the crowd react so positively to that.  I really do find it a sad state of affairs that so many people do not see the need to take steps to slow this warming trend.

I then went to bed.  I woke up this morning and took a look at twitter.  I had 4 tweets directed at me from GOP climate change deniers and nine direct messages on the same topic.  I found this surprising.  My tweet regarding climate change was one of my least sarcastic and critical tweets counting all of the tweets from both nights.  The messages I received were full of piss and vinegar.  I was asked if I enjoy being so superior and yet so wrong, I was told that man-made climate change has been scientifically proven to be false, I was told me several people to stop drinking the leftist Kool-Aid, I was told that god would care for the planet so we don’t need to worry, etc—you get the gist of it.  I find this curious on so many levels.

First, as I mentioned, I was far more snarky and sarcastic when tweeting about health care, women/abortion, gay marriage, taxes, the various speakers and their various lies and not a peep came from the right.  I mention climate change and people get all pissed off?  I really did not see that coming.

Second, I was stunned by the complete lack of respect for science from a number of my responders.  Some flat out denied that science has anything of value to add to the conversation.  On the other hand, a handful told me that science had debunked climate change.

Third, I was very surprised by the nine people who privately direct messaged me.  Why did they choose to message me privately?   I thought about that for a second and came to a possible conclusion.  The only answer I can come up with is that they did not want all of their followers, friends, and family to know that they are climate change deniers.  Do they realize that it is a position that is on very shaky ground?  Were they, at least on some level, embarrassed by their stance?  Who knows, but I find it quite interesting.

All of this has led me to re-think how I deal with science deniers.  I encounter them all the time.  I talk with them in person, I hear from them on twitter, I get some leaving comments on my blog, I encounter them in the comment section of other blogs, etc.  My new policy is to never leave them unchallenged.  I find the rejection of science to be a very dangerous prospect for our future.  So much of what can and needs to be discovered to help make this planet a better place to be will come from science.  There will be a tremendous market for new jobs in the various scientific fields in this new century.  I do not want my country to fall behind the rest of the world in science.  Not because I am jingoistic or super patriotic, but rather, because I feel that is where the future of this planet is heading and I want the U.S. to be a part of that.

From this point forward, I will demand that science deniers offer valid and reasoned evidence for their position.  I will insist that this evidence be empirical, testable/falseifiable, repeatable, peer-reviewed, and not possess logical fallacies in the presented argument.  One cannot just punt to the bible/god without meeting the above requirements.  One cannot say that something has been scientifically proven false without providing that proof in the manner described above.  This is not an unreasonable demand.  After all, science must go through the same process, so if someone is going to deny a scientific claim, they too must provide evidence that has met an equally rigorous standard.  This is quite fair.  If the person denying a scientific claim can provide this information, the conversation can proceed.  If they cannot, I will call them out on their nonsense.

Thanks for reading.  I look forward to your comments.


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10 thoughts on “Deniers of Science

  1. Loren Miller from Princeville, HI, United States

    "A man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest."
    – Paul Simon, "The Boxer"

    My impression with republicans is that they LIKE where they are. They like it so much that they want NOTHING TO HAPPEN which would alter their circumstances, their position, and most of all, their wealth. Climate change, of course, threatens all of that and more. In some cases, it requires them to look at what they are doing, look at the IMPACT of what they are doing, acknowledge that said impact has untoward consequences and DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. That last part is a real bummer for them, too, because it means they have to spend MONEY (oh, good gravy!) to correct it or to innovate new means or solutions. Money has become their security blanket, their shield against the storm, to be parted with only under the most severe of conditions. So, when confronted with a phenomenon which threatens their boodle, their reaction is unsurprising and predictable: they do the Hear-No-Evil, See-No-Evil, Speak-No-Evil routine. Indeed, what they MIGHT do is spend a LITTLE of that precious nest egg to fund "research" which counters the claims that the seas are rising and the glaciers are melting, to further justify their lack of action. I find it interesting that, in at least one instance, such a research effort has backfired on its benefactor!

    [Loren smiles as the wetware database goes to work.] Anyone here know this piece by e. e. cummings:

    plato told

    him:he couldn’t
    believe it

    I read it back in high school, and it reminds me of the utter denial the climate change deniers are currently indulging in … and I'm wondering if it's going to take the modern-day equivalent of "a nipponized bit of the old sixth avenue el" in the top of THEIR heads to get the message through to them.

    1. reasonbeing from Rochester, MN, United States Post author

      Loren—I think you are spot on. Climate change touches on so many other issues, from business regulations to religion. It is really sad that so many people would rather ruin the planet than rethink some of their views or amend their business practices. In fact, it is quite disgusting, though as you pointed out, not very shocking to see from the GOP.

  2. Hausdorff from Troy, MI, United States

    Seems like a good tactic, potentially the best one you can try to use. Unfortunately I doubt it will really work all that well in general. But hey, maybe someone will actually try to prove you wrong and in looking for evidence for their side will actually realize they are wrong. If I recall correctly that is basically how Matt Dillahunty left religion.

  3. Ahab from United States

    "During that speech he made the following comment, “President Obama promised to slow the rise of the oceans and to heal the planet. My promise is to help you and your family.” (Huge applause). I tweeted something to effect that I was dismayed to see Romney deny climate change and to see the crowd react so positively to that."

    As was I. It's disturbing to see so many people — especially people with political power — ignore the grave threat that climate change poses. Climate change is already having a documented economic impact across the world, so if Romney truly wanted to help people and their families, he would take the issue seriously.

  4. The Doubter from Rotherham, Rotherham, United Kingdom

    Climate change………….isn't the IPCC made up of over 1000 contributing scientists and leading research institutions, Govts etc, who all seem to concur that the climate is seriously being damaged. Therefore we must ask ourselves, what is the statistical likelihood that all these smart people are wrong?? Hmmh!!!__Ironically business wise there will be a huge opportunity for the planet to get into being green in all its consumerism, which will no doubt lead to spin off innovations as well. So tackling climate change will be not only be good for the planet but for business too. Only religious idiots don't get this.__:)

  5. Infidel753 from Vancouver, WA, United States

    It's very noticeable that even on science or news websites, if they allow comments, any article on global warming or even just about unusual weather is immediately bombarded with denialist comments, always in the same browbeating and sarcastic tone, always repeating the same dismissive talking points instead of addressing the specifics of the actual article (or at best doing so in only the most perfunctory way).

    There's a lot of money at stake in this issue. We like to compare it to creationism, but it's really more like the fake research funded by tobacco companies in decades past to "debunk" the lung-cancer connection.

    It wouldn't surprise me if the same interests have stables of paid hacks whose job it is to respond to any post or article (or tweet, based on your experience) implying recognition of global warming, with a spam-burst of denialist comments. The point isn't to "debate" anything, but to exhaust and wear down pro-science writers, and to create the illusion of a public consensus for the denialist position.

    1. reasonbeing from Rochester, MN, United States Post author

      Great point. The economic factors behind climate change are huge. Think of what it would mean for many businesses (energy, auto, etc) if we were to adopt strict climate change policies. I suppose that is why the Dems are also weak on this issue…when you get down to it, Obama hasn't done anything either.

      I agree that many of the businesses with something at stake in this fight have their own "scientists" who deny all claims. However, based on the language in the tweets I received, these were most likely people not educated on the topic.


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