# Creationists and Global Warming Deniers

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I'm done here for now.

Finally.

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Well, if you notice, the great scientists always followed a pattern of getting much opposition for their 'unorthodox' ideas, inventions and discoveries that 'jumped' a couple of circuits ahead of their more 'conventional' collegues. No, it's not just refining the known facts or reordering formulas to fit some data (which is what much 'science' consists of of late) that makes real science in my opinion, it is open minded investigation to discover what has not been understood or recognized or known before. I submit Gallileo, Nikoli Tesla, Royal Rife, and many others. See Erlene Chanye's 'Man Out of Time' as a good example. It is always so. There are those ahead of their time that will always meet opposion, then there is eventual acceptance and amnesia about the great struggle that it involved.

(tying this on-topic)

But the converse, that all scientists who get opposition are right (and just more steps ahead) is incorrect, though this is often argued in denialist and against-the-mainstream circles. The "they resist so much I must be right" line of fallacious reasoning.

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The "they resist so much I must be right" line of fallacious reasoning.
The Appeal to Conspiracy Fallacy?! Where's my ChuckWest hat with the silver lining?

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Is denying the scientific consensus on the origins and development of life and the universe analogous to denying the scientific consensus on anthropogenic climate change?

Yes. Absolutely.

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/1998/07/08/60minutes/main13502.shtml

THE AGE OF MEGA-FIRES - Global warming is increasing the intensity and number of forest fires across the American West. Scott Pelley goes to the fire line to report. David Gelber and Joel Bach are the producers.

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I promise I'm not trying to make a point with this. I'm just curious as to how you feel the scientific community should treat these two groups that oppose basically what it as a body is saying. Now obviously there are some global warming deniers (or anthropogenic global warming, or whatever semantic games you want to play) and even a few Creationists on this site, so perhaps you're going to have a different opinion than us drones, and I'd be interested to hear those too.

Except that this isn't the case The are lots of peer review papers that don't support the idea that AGW is real. The term denier is also loaded and incorrect. People who dispute AGW based on the evidence would be known as skeptics.

Is denying the scientific consensus on the origins and development of life and the universe analogous to denying the scientific consensus on anthropogenic climate change?

Science does not operate on consensus, it operates on observations of physical evidence. (Unless you a Popperist, and that brings up other problems)

Is one position more valid than the other? Does either group serve any more valid function than the other?

To belittle AGW skeptics certainly provides a purpose, the same purpose the church served in telling people the Sun was the center of the universe.

The evidence is what it is, nothing more and nothing less.

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Except that this isn't the case The are lots of peer review papers that don't support the idea that AGW is real. The term denier is also loaded and incorrect. People who dispute AGW based on the evidence would be known as skeptics.

Yes, that is a true statement. I've written a few papers that don't support the idea that AGW is real. The problem is, the papers had nothing to do with climate research.

People that dispute anything based on evidence would be known as skeptics. People who use denialist tactics (e.g. fallacious arguments and made-up evidence) are known as deniers.

Science does not operate on consensus, it operates on observations of physical evidence. (Unless you a Popperist, and that brings up other problems)

Sure it does. You have created a false dichotomy here. You get a consensus because of the evidence, and all of the other steps science goes through. But it always seems you can find a credentialed professional who disagrees with the consensus. The creationist camp is a very good example of this.

To belittle AGW skeptics certainly provides a purpose, the same purpose the church served in telling people the Sun was the center of the universe.

The evidence is what it is, nothing more and nothing less.

And things would be much simpler if people limited their discussion to this.

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You get a consensus because of the evidence,

But what matters is the evidence, not who is supporting it. To tout a consensus instead of the actual physical evidence is something politicians do, not scientists.

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There is a very real difference between a sceptic and a denier. I am a global warming sceptic, but not a global warming denier. I agree that global warming is real, and that it is of anthropogenic origin. However, I do not accept all the interpretations of the more extreme promoters of global warming catastrophism. Thus I am a sceptic.

Global warming scepticism derives from an alternative interpretation of the available data. Creationism derives from a religious interpretation. Science vs religion. Very different things.

There are absolutely NO doctorate equivalent biologists who are non religious, and creationists both. Only religious types become biologists who push creationism. However, there are lots of doctorate equivalent climatologists who are non religious who are sceptical of the more extreme interpretations of global warming.

I am not aware of any doctorate equivalent climatologists who are global warming deniers, in that they deny it is happening, or that human activity is totally unrelated to the warming. However, many are sceptics.

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There are absolutely NO doctorate equivalent biologists who are non religious, and creationists both. Only religious types become biologists who push creationism. However, there are lots of doctorate equivalent climatologists who are non religious who are sceptical of the more extreme interpretations of global warming.

I am not aware of any doctorate equivalent climatologists who are global warming deniers, in that they deny it is happening, or that human activity is totally unrelated to the warming.

There is one. The degree plan is known as "Political Science."

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You get a consensus because of the evidence,

But what matters is the evidence, not who is supporting it. To tout a consensus instead of the actual physical evidence is something politicians do, not scientists.

And that has nothing to do with the science, but since the topic is political, politicians get involved. And if you want to make or influence policy, you have to have a consensus to which you can refer (if you want it to have some scientific credibility). (edit) The issue here isn't convincing the scientists doing the work that the science is correct, the issue is convincing politicians and the general populace. The politicians so they will modify policy, and the populace so they will support it.

However, one of the denialist tactics is to attack the idea of a consensus or make it appear that the consensus is not real. "Teach the controversy" is one such tactic. But the controversy exists only in political terms, and it is a misrepresentation to imply that the controversy is scientific. The deviation from the consensus view relies primarily on people whose expertise lies in other areas, and can't make a professional contribution — even if they agreed, they would still not be part of the consensus.

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At the same time, consensus is NOT a scientific principle. Science is not a democracy, and the number of voters means exactly nothing. Science is based on empirically derived, objective data. If the data changes, science changes.

Two good examples :

1. Plate tectonics. When the theory of continental drift was first mooted, it was essentially 'laughed out of court' by geologists. The consensus was that continents stayed put.

2. Stomach ulcers. Only 20 years ago, the consensus was that these were caused by over-production of stomach acid. Then some researchers discovered Helicobacter pylori - and used Koch's postulates to demonstrate beyond any reasonable doubt that it was infection with this bacterium that caused those pesky ulcers. It still took an additional ten years before the paradigm changed.

The point is that consensus has nothing to do with science - just politics. Consensus, where it exists, can be a detriment to science.

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At the same time, consensus is NOT a scientific principle. Science is not a democracy, and the number of voters means exactly nothing. Science is based on empirically derived, objective data. If the data changes, science changes.

Two good examples :

1. Plate tectonics. When the theory of continental drift was first mooted, it was essentially 'laughed out of court' by geologists. The consensus was that continents stayed put.

2. Stomach ulcers. Only 20 years ago, the consensus was that these were caused by over-production of stomach acid. Then some researchers discovered Helicobacter pylori - and used Koch's postulates to demonstrate beyond any reasonable doubt that it was infection with this bacterium that caused those pesky ulcers. It still took an additional ten years before the paradigm changed.

The point is that consensus has nothing to do with science - just politics. Consensus, where it exists, can be a detriment to science.

These example bear closer scrutiny, though. Wegener's proposal of continental drift had the mechanism wrong — he didn't propose plate tectonics. That had to wait until closer examination of the sea floor. Without a mechanism to explain the proposed behavior, it falls short of being a theory. Which makes it a decent example of how science actually works.

Medical examples are always suspect because medicine isn't science. There is a relatively recent push for evidence-based medicine; the history of medicine includes doing things that relieve symptoms and not treating the underlying cause, because the underlying cause isn't always known. And also doing things one way because that's how things have historically been done.

But it's worth noting that in both examples the system corrected itself. It was not someone dictating what the truth must be according to some idealistic agenda.

But consensus, whether you call it that or not, is a real part of science. Evolution is the consensus view in biology, even though there are those that wish to tear it down and replace it. But the mechanism they would use is not science. Similarly, there are anti-relativity and anti-quantum mechanics proponents and there are flat-earthers. They all want to "interpret the data" in a different way. But we still teach gravity, relativity and quantum mechanics, because that's the consensus among physicists. What some "skeptic" who has no training in physics thinks doesn't carry much weight. Generally the lack of training means they don't understand the flaws in their arguments. I mean, what are the odds that someone who doesn't understand physics is going to be able to properly critique established theories and come up with a new and better explanation of things? That's not skepticism.

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To swansont

I think there are a lot of people who will jump on you most heavily with your statement that 'medicine is not science.' While clinical practise often veers away from science, medical research is most definitely science - as robust and stringent a science as any. And what I was talking about was medical research.

It is true that in both examples I gave, there was correction. However, in both cases it took more than a decade for that correction to occur, and for the accepted paradigm to adapt to new data. The point is that a majority belief does not mean something is correct.

Another example closer to the subject. For the best part of a decade, it was accepted by global warming proponents that the Gulf Stream was slowing down, preparatory to stopping altogether, leading to a new cold period for northern Europe. This even became a big part of a major Hollywood motion picture. New data showed that to be wrong.

Being sceptical, and questioning the current paradigm is healthy and is to the benefit of scientific progress. If the sceptic is wrong, then good data will make the correction. But sometimes the sceptic is proven correct.

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I don't KNOW anything, but I am considering what is going on. It does appear that global warming is occurring, but I do not think it is proven whether it is a result of man's activities or part of longer term natural cycles.

I do think it makes sense to reduce our polluting effect anyway just in case!

"Global Warming" however does appear to be a separate thing and take the form of a religious faith, belittling of those who don't blindy and totally accept the revealed Truth.

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I don't KNOW anything, but I am considering what is going on. It does appear that global warming is occurring, but I do not think it is proven whether it is a result of man's activities or part of longer term natural cycles.

It's absolutely clear that human activity is impacting the environment at a far greater pace and magnitude than any nature cycle is (or ever has). What more evidence would you need for you to consider it "proven?"

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To swansont

I think there are a lot of people who will jump on you most heavily with your statement that 'medicine is not science.' While clinical practise often veers away from science, medical research is most definitely science - as robust and stringent a science as any. And what I was talking about was medical research.

AFAIK you were citing medical research trumping medical conventional wisdom. There's a whole lot of medicine that is not based on research, it is based on what doctors have been doing for a long time. Medicine uses science, and overlaps with it quite a bit, but is not synonymous with it.

It is true that in both examples I gave, there was correction. However, in both cases it took more than a decade for that correction to occur, and for the accepted paradigm to adapt to new data. The point is that a majority belief does not mean something is correct.

But it is important to note that these are instances where there was a lack of data, and the new paradigm was developed because data was obtained where it didn't exist before. The scientists and doctors were being skeptical until there was sufficient data to convince them. How's that for irony?

Another example closer to the subject. For the best part of a decade, it was accepted by global warming proponents that the Gulf Stream was slowing down, preparatory to stopping altogether, leading to a new cold period for northern Europe. This even became a big part of a major Hollywood motion picture. New data showed that to be wrong.

I wouldn't use Hollywood as proof of anything. Generally speaking, the science in movies is pretty bad. But, which decade? We're talking about the state of research now, not the state of research in the past.

Being sceptical, and questioning the current paradigm is healthy and is to the benefit of scientific progress. If the sceptic is wrong, then good data will make the correction. But sometimes the sceptic is proven correct.

But cherry-picking examples to justify non-acceptance of some science is bad science. It is justifying so-called skepticism based on a criterion other than the data itself. The appeal to "science has been wrong before" is fallacious. It isn't skeptical behavior, it's denialist behavior.

Because what this ignores is that scientists themselves are, in general, skeptical. What this appeal is saying is that you are better equipped to evaluate the data than someone who has spent years studying the topic. Scientists continually question the work and test the theories and models. Skepticism is already part of the system. And that's why, when e.g. creationsists come out with a list of people who reject evolution, the collective scientific reaction is a shrug of the shoulders. because they notice that the list contains precious few people who are actually trained in biology. Who cares (scientifically) if a physicist and chemist, much less a lawyer, think that evolution is wrong? They have no professional basis on which to make that assessment, and can't point to specific, valid reasons for their objections. (and besides, to counter the claim, there's Project Steve)

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"Global Warming" however does appear to be a separate thing and take the form of a religious faith, belittling of those who don't blindy and totally accept the revealed Truth.

Ironic to note that creationists use the same argument about evolution.

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Anyway, please note that this thread is about the tactics used in the arguments, not the arguments themselves. We have plenty of other threads for that.

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Swansont said

"The scientists and doctors were being skeptical until there was sufficient data to convince them. How's that for irony?"

Actually, in the Helicobacter pylori example I used, the scepticism lasted for the best part of a decade after the final evidence had been published. That resistance to change was purely human, not scientific.

In the Gulf Stream example, I was talking about this last decade. The 'glaciation for Europe' belief was overturned only 2 to 3 years ago.

"Because what this ignores is that scientists themselves are, in general, skeptical."

I think this statement is where you are I really disagree. You have the belief that scientists are somehow inhuman, and immune to human failings. Not so. Scientists are just as human as anyone else, and will resist changes to their favourite beliefs with some energy. Change occurs because, in the long run, the entire scientific community will change, and ultimately force the 'hold outs' to change. However, this process takes time - often a decade or more. There is a kind of social or psychological inertia which slows changes to existing scientific paradigms, even well after the need for change is obvious, as in my stomach ulcer example.

The point is that there is a need for scientific sceptics. Even where there is 'consensus', it is unhealthy to have no scepticism. You should embrace those who are sceptical, since they are performing a vital service to science.

On global warming, I am not talking about denial. I am talking about those, like myself, who do not swallow the entire catastrophist dogma. This includes a large number of climate scientists. Many of those sceptical climate scientists are highly reputable, and have published numerous peer reviewed papers.

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Instead of this tiresome ad nauseum discussion about skeptics, perhaps a discussion about the folly of enthusiast would provide an entertaining change of pace.

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You have the belief that scientists are somehow inhuman, and immune to human failings.

No, I don't. It's a strawman to state what someone else believes when you get it wrong.

On global warming, I am not talking about denial. I am talking about those, like myself, who do not swallow the entire catastrophist dogma. This includes a large number of climate scientists. Many of those sceptical climate scientists are highly reputable, and have published numerous peer reviewed papers.

Establish that the material is actually dogma, and feel free to post links to all those peer-reviewed papers that contradict AGW, in the appropriate thread.

But to stay on topic, this points out another similar tactic between the two. The catastrophic predictions are a separate issue, much like abiogenesis and evolution get lumped together. The validity of the predictions of catastrophic ramifications of warming are a separate issue, and in no way impact the reality of warming.

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It's absolutely clear that human activity is impacting the environment at a far greater pace and magnitude than any nature cycle is (or ever has). What more evidence would you need for you to consider it "proven?"

I want evidence, not theory and blind faith, that human effects are having meaningful impact and do not pale into insignificance in comparison with other concurrent factors before I regard them as the proven cause of current changes, but I do think we should act to reduce our contribution, anyway, because even if it in not now a major factor it could become one soon.

I did not assert that humans were having NO effect, just that I was not convinced by those who assume the human effect is the cause of this recent episode of climate change on such slim grounds, based on figures for a relatively few years despite evidence of major climate changes in the past.

My objection is to the blind faith of popular consensus and political correctness, that has caused many unfounded beliefs to be sustained for years in the past - flat earth, Phlogiston, etc.

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I want evidence, not theory and blind faith, that human effects are having meaningful impact and do not pale into insignificance in comparison with other concurrent factors before I regard them as the proven cause of current changes, but I do think we should act to reduce our contribution, anyway, because even if it in not now a major factor it could become one soon.

I did not assert that humans were having NO effect, just that I was not convinced by those who assume the human effect is the cause of this recent episode of climate change on such slim grounds, based on figures for a relatively few years despite evidence of major climate changes in the past.

My objection is to the blind faith of popular consensus and political correctness, that has caused many unfounded beliefs to be sustained for years in the past - flat earth, Phlogiston, etc.

You seem to be limiting your reading of the science behing global climate change to either popular media, edited goverment release, skeptic and denialist sites, or some combination. You speak like a politician on the matter, and not like a scientist. If you want to challenge some specific study or some specific data or some specific set of methods, then do so. Anything else is just unsupported hand waving.

Considering you are calling it "blind faith," when such mountains of evidence are available shows how you align with the central discussion in this thread... The evidence will never be enough because it is counter to your world view. That doesn't mean that those who accept said evidence are acting irrationally on some form of blind faith.

I could probably offer you all of the evidence in the world in support of my position and approach to the AGW issue and you would likely just summarily dismiss it all as some politicaly correct popular consensus hogwash.

Like I said. Global warming deniers remind me of creationists, and I think they're both a special form of retarded.

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Swansont said :

"No, I don't. It's a strawman to state what someone else believes when you get it wrong."

OK, fair comment. Let me reprase that, and simply say that scientists make human errors too.

"and feel free to post links to all those peer-reviewed papers that contradict AGW, in the appropriate thread."

This comment show that you, too, erect straw men. I did not say that the peer reviewed papers by global warming sceptic climate scientists contradicted AGW. In fact, I stated earlier that these climate scientists do NOT contradict AGW. They just are sceptical of the catastrophic extreme interpretation.

On the reality of warming. I do not challenge that. As I said many times, I do not question AGW - just the more extreme interpretations.

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Swansont said :

"and feel free to post links to all those peer-reviewed papers that contradict AGW, in the appropriate thread."

This comment show that you, too, erect straw men. I did not say that the peer reviewed papers by global warming sceptic climate scientists contradicted AGW. In fact, I stated earlier that these climate scientists do NOT contradict AGW. They just are sceptical of the catastrophic extreme interpretation.

The "strawman" takes on a different meaning when you selectively edit it. Try taking it in context with the sentences that follow.

I want evidence, not theory and blind faith, that human effects are having meaningful impact and do not pale into insignificance in comparison with other concurrent factors before I regard them as the proven cause of current changes, but I do think we should act to reduce our contribution, anyway, because even if it in not now a major factor it could become one soon.

I did not assert that humans were having NO effect, just that I was not convinced by those who assume the human effect is the cause of this recent episode of climate change on such slim grounds, based on figures for a relatively few years despite evidence of major climate changes in the past.

My objection is to the blind faith of popular consensus and political correctness, that has caused many unfounded beliefs to be sustained for years in the past - flat earth, Phlogiston, etc.

And here we have even more parallels with creationism arguments. Claim that there is scant evidence ( like "there's no fossil record"). Admit to some effect, because denying all is completely untenable (microevolution occurs, but not macro). Imply it's a religion, or at least not science, by using terms like "blind faith" and "political correctness." Then compare it to falsified theories (Piltdown man) in an appeal to "science has been wrong before"

Excellent example.

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