Not that Phil Plait (the Bad Astronomer) will read this blog, but I am quite annoyed by his use of the term “global warming denier”. I realize that he didn’t originate the term and he isn’t the only one who uses it, but still. And I wonder. Does BA intend to equate those who have doubts about global warming, or doubts about it being caused principally by humans, to those who deny the Holocaust? Because that is what it sounds like. And if so, then I must strongly protest. What is being done here by so speaking is not, in my opinion, good science.
In the conclusion to Phil Plait’s post, entitled “New Study Shows Global Warming Is Rapidly Melting Ice at Both Poles“, the Bad Astronomer states:
“The truth is the globe is warming. The climate is changing. Ice is melting, sea levels are rising, droughts and wildfires are on the rise, and much if not all of this is due to human activities increasing greenhouses gases in our atmosphere. It really is that simple, and it’s long, long since past time we acknowledge that. And that’s just the first step, but given how loud the deniers are, it’s one we still have to take.”
While it does seem that he is correct about the globe warming, when he states that “much if not all of this is due to human activities,” I think it is possible that he might be assuming too much. And not just him. There may be a growing consensus that humans are the primary cause of climate change, but I fear that the consensus is being driven less by science and more by polticial correctness. Why would I believe this? Because instead of couching the debate as one between two legitimate positions, Plait and others smear those who disagree as “Deniers”.
We may eventually come to the point where anthropogenic climate change is a proven fact. But there is still room for doubt, and it seems to me that it does not become us, as scientists, to leave civil debate and enter into name-calling.