Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Oreskes on Global Warming Denial

It's almost an hour long, but historian of science Naomi Oreskes gives an interesting talk on the history of the global warming denialist movement in America. In the first half of the talk she goes through the history of the issue as science, which went at least as far back as the 1930's, particularly showing confirmed predictions over the years. In the second half of the talk, she goes through the denialist groups and their tactics. Once again I was struck by the similarities in tactics between the global warming denialists and other forms of denialists, such as:

Use of outdated sources. She quips at one point that Fred Singer was challenging them using 500 year old science.

Use of fake experts - people with credentials, but in irrelevant fields.

Focusing on creating and sustaining controversy and doubt of science, rather than creating a full blown scientific alternative.

Making charges of bias and unfairness when a 50-50 time allotment is not given to a point of view held by less than 1% of the scientists.

Making their arguments, not in scientific journals, but in books and the popular press.

This is exactly what the evolution-deniers do, and once again it is no shock that there is great overlap in the two groups. Bill Dembski's Uncommon Descent site has times where it is as much global warming denialism as evolution denialism.

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