Feed on

Skeptical Inquirer and CSI (formerly CSICOP) have been at the forefront of promoting critical thinking and debunking paranormal claims and pseudoscience since 1977; their list of fellows (past and present) include Francis Crick, Richard Dawkins, Paul Kurtz, Stephen Jay Gould, Douglas Hofstadter, James Randi, Carl Sagan and Neil deGrasse Tyson. If you aren’t aware of the work of CSI, I’d recommend taking a look.

Times have changed. The paranormal claims of the 70’s and 80’s no longer infest the zeitgeist as much as they once did; UFOs mysteriously vanished from the news with the increasing ubiquity of personal video cameras and the end of the X-Files, Uri Geller has long since been discredited, and televangelists no longer hold such sway on late night television. Pseudosciences like homeopathy, antivaccination hysteria and intelligent design have come to the fore, making the task of distinguishing between science and pseudoscience critical work.

I’d come to be involved with skepticism after an entirely unsatisfying undergraduate course on the philosophy of science. That was no fault of the professor teaching the course, as he was an excellent instructor; rather, it was unsatisfying because it was just too short. That one hour a week for six weeks sparked a lifelong desire to understand how and why we know what we know, and skepticism provided a hands on way to answer those questions. Working in plant sciences had given me a tangential interaction with the topic of global warming, but it was from a practical, scientific perspective: the effect of shifting climate zones on crop production, for example, and the effect of increasing CO2 on plant growth. The science wasn’t in question among my peers; we accepted the data that was out there and just got on with things. My introduction to climate science denial was through involvement with the skepticism / critical thinking movement.

Skeptics rely on the scientific method and the findings of science to resolve the demarcation problem, in particular between what is science and what is pseudoscience. Homeopathy, for example, is scientific-like. Proponents really can draw upon peer reviewed literature that appears to support its use. Yet homeopathy fails on replication, it fails to be supported by high quality trials, and it is entirely implausible, requiring the suspension of well established principles of chemistry and is founded in sympathetic magic. It is pseudoscience, not science, and on that there is a clear consensus in the skeptical – and scientific – community. On global warming, however, consensus in the skeptical community is much more elusive. A lot of skeptics – able to clearly identify pseudoscience in so many other topics, and otherwise accepting of scientific consensus in any other field – have become convinced that the science of global warming is suspect. It is a testament to the effectiveness of decades of disinformation, and susceptibility to the cognitive biases that affect all of us, that organised skepticism on the whole does not hold a clear position on the science of global warming – although there are a few exceptions, both among individuals and organisations, such as CSI. James Randi, a leading light in skepticism, is rather confused on the topic, while Michael Shermer only recently came to terms with the reality of global warming. It is a puzzle that skeptics will push back against anti-vaccination pseudoscience, homeopathy and chiropractic, and are in fact some of the loudest voices on these topics, yet hold little opinion on the science of global warming, despite this branch of scientific endeavour clearly being under sustained attack. That global warming comprises such a vast blind spot for skepticism was a great surprise to me, and I still find it extraordinary that skeptics can be among the most fervent climate science deniers.

So I’m delighted to see Skeptical Inquirer, the magazine for the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (CSI), pushing back against climate “skeptics”. They have taken a stand on their Facebook blog, with the Credibility Project, and with numerous articles on the subject in Skeptical Inquirer. Predictably, there’s been blow-back, as outraged readers have cancelled their subscriptions to the magazine. How refreshing then to read this robust defence, from Kendrick Fraser, the editor of Skeptical Inquirer:

This is the third SI reader who has cancelled his (it’s always a male) subscription over our climate change pieces in the current SI (not to mention the at least six who did so after our first round of articles several years ago). Boy, they don’t want to hear anything they disagree with, do they.

It is clear the anti-GW science crowd have their minds made up, and nothing anyone is going to say, no appeal to scientific evidence, no attempt to place things into an accurate context, no attempt to point out that many media and blog portrayals are not always fully accurate, no facts, no explanations, no attempts to show they themselves are being manipulated, nothing is ever going to change their minds. Very much like the evolution/creationist controversy, except that these are some of our longtime readers.

They do not want to engage forthrightly with factual, science-based statements or arguments. They only want their own views reinforced. There is no attempt at open-minded discussion or even fair argument. Just a determination to maintain their ideological purity and not have it be contaminated with any scientific information and perspective that doesn’t support their presuppositions. They want to draw a don’t-tell-me-anything-I-don’t-want-to-hear cocoon around themselves. Unfortunately, that cocoon is growing ever larger. And they know they are punishing us, because, even more than most publications, which have advertising, we depend mostly on subscription revenue.
Guess we should just go along with the crowd, the lynch mob. Hop on the bandwagon. Slam those damned ignorant climatologists coming up with all that nonsense about changing climate and a warming planet. Who needs science anyway?

Kendrick Frazier
Editor, Skeptical Inquirer: The Magazine for Science and Reason

So thank you, Mr. Frazier, for taking on the important task of defending climate science and illuminating the vacuity of climate science denial. Would that more skeptics would do the same.

And you know, that reminds me: it’s past time I subscribed to Skeptical Inquirer myself.

87 Responses to “Skeptics push back against climate “skeptics””

  1. Thank you for another informative web site. The place else may I am getting that type of info
    written in such an ideal method? I’ve a mission that I am just now running on, and
    I’ve been on the look out for such info.

  2. I’ve learn several excellent stuff here. Certainly value bookmarking for revisiting.
    I wonder how so much effort you place to make this type of magnificent
    informative web site.

  3. Un ma?istral bravo à l’admin du site

  4. Dorie says:

    Awesome article.

    Take a look at my web page :: Moviestarplanet cheat tool (Dorie)

  5. magnificent points altogether, you simply won a
    emblem new reader. What would you recommend about your post that you
    simply made some days ago? Any positive?

  6. I think that what you posted was actually very logical.
    But, what about this? what if you added a little content?

    I mean, I don’t want to tell you how to run your blog, but suppose you added a post title
    that grabbed a person’s attention? I mean Carbon Fixated ?
    Skeptics push back against climate “skeptics” is
    kinda plain. You could look at Yahoo’s front page
    and watch how they create news headlines to get viewers to open the links.
    You might add a video or a related pic or two to
    get people interested about everything’ve got to say. In my opinion,
    it could bring your posts a little livelier.

  7. It’s actually a great and useful piece of information. I’m happy that you simply shared this useful
    information with us. Please keep us informed like this.
    Thank you for sharing.

  8. Howdy! This is kind of off topic but I need some help from an established blog.
    Is it tough to set up your own blog? I’m not very techincal but
    I can figure things out pretty quick. I’m thinking about setting up my own but I’m not sure where to start.
    Do you have any tips or suggestions? Thank you

    Feel free to surf to my homepage :: boost your bust book free download

  9. dermanique says:

    Great blog here! Also your web site loads up very fast! What host are you using?
    Can I get your affiliate link to your host? I wish my website loaded up as fast as yours lol

  10. I relish, lead to I discovered exactly what I was taking a look for.
    You’ve ended my four day lengthy hunt! God Bless you man. Have a great day.


    Visit my blog penis enhancement

  11. Maryellen says:

    Awesome website you have here but I was wondering if you knew of any user discussion forums
    hat cpver the sazme tpics talked about here? I’d really likje to be a part of group where I can get suggestions from other experienced individuals that sharre the same interest.
    If you have aany suggestions, please let me know. Many thanks!

    Also viit my web-site: hacck dragons of atlantis (Maryellen)

  12. Very nice post. I just stumbled upon your weblog and wished to say that I
    have truly enjoyed browsing your blog posts. After all I will be subscribing to
    your rss feed and I hope you write again very soon!

    Here is my web page Buy Text Your Ex Back (tcunews.tcu.edu.tw)

  13. Hi colleagues, its fantastic post regarding educationand fully explained, keep it up all the time.

    my page … Music producing software

  14. Pretty element of content. I just stumbled upon your web site and
    in accession capital to assert that I acquire actually loved account your weblog posts.
    Any way I will be subscribing for your augment and even I success you get admission to persistently fast.

  15. Jefferey says:

    I like looking through a post that can make men and women think.
    Also, thank you foor permitting mee tto comment!

    my weblog club penguin website – Jefferey,

  16. Every weekend i used to go to see this web site, because i wish for enjoyment, for the
    reason that this this web page conations in fact good funny information too.

  17. I am really enjoying the theme/design of your blog. Do you
    ever run into any web browser compatibility problems?
    A handful of my blog audience have complained about my blog not operating correctly in Explorer but looks great in Firefox.
    Do you have any solutions to help fix this issue?

  18. Awesome! Its really amazing piece of writing, I have got
    much clear idea regarding from this paragraph.

  19. I’m extremely pleased to discover this page. I wanted to thank you
    for your time due to this fantastic read!! I definitely appreciated every little bit
    of it and I have you book marked to see new things on your
    web site.

  20. Hello! I just wanted to ask if you ever have any trouble with hackers?

    My last blog (wordpress) was hacked and I ended up losing a few
    months of hard work due to no data backup. Do you have any solutions to
    stop hackers?

  21. I¡¦m no longer sure where you’re getting your info, however good topic. I needs to spend some time learning more or understanding more. Thank you for wonderful information I used to be on the lookout for this information for my mission.

  22. By following the guidelines listed above and cautiously selecting your skin care merchandise, you will be one step ahead in the battle against aging skin.

  23. Lieselotte says:

    Quality posts is the secret to interest the users to pay a quick visit the web page,
    that’s what this web page is providing.

  24. WOW just what I was looking for. Came here by searching for diet routine

    My page; Weight loss plans

  25. Hello my family member! I want to say that this article is amazing, nice written and come with almost all vital infos.
    I would like to see extra posts like this .

  26. Finish consumer is asked to specify a password for XPMUser default
    consumer account throughout installation of Home windows XP Mode.

  27. .VGOE3DSUeuI says:

    Hello, its nice post regarding media print, we all know media is a impressive source of data.

  28. Leesa says:

    So the straightforward remedy is the Breast Actives items.

  29. Christy says:

    Remarkable! Its truly remarkable paragraph, I have got much
    clear idea regarding from this paragraph.

  30. Where you can purchase all you need for the household, we welcome one to a location. We are about doing business with your corporation, incredibly serious and proudly
    ask one to watch our recent selection. If you have any inquiries
    do not hesitate to contact us. We are not unhappy supply any additional info you require.
    For visiting our website many thanks it is our pleasure to provide you
    the Indonesian furniture that is best at through the prices of manufacturer.

  31. Esta página verdaderamente tiene toda la
    información quería sobre este y no sabía a quién preguntar.

  32. I used to be suggested this blog by my cousin. I am not positive whether this publish is written through
    him as nobody else realize such designated approximately my trouble.
    You’re amazing! Thank you!

  33. Hi there exceptional website! Does running a blog like this take a lot
    of work? I’ve virtually no knowledge of coding however I had been hoping to start my own blog soon. Anyhow, if you
    have any ideas or tips for new blog owners please share.
    I know this is off subject but I simply had to ask.
    Many thanks!

  34. New varieties of custom-made styles can be formed with these magnificent accompanying items.
    And it’s no longer just natural browns and black’s people are going for they
    are experimenting with all sorts of colors, pink blues and purples.
    There are hair coloring products out there that
    are truly all natural, safe and non-toxic.

    My web page hair color styles

  35. Lorrine says:

    Diese Luft wird natürlich über die Zeit vom Körper abgetragen, jedoch passier das nicht sehr schnell.

    Also visit my web blog: wie bekomme ich einen flachen bauch und dünne
    beine (Lorrine)

  36. benwatched says:

    This website certainly has all the information and facts I
    needed about this subject and didn’t know who to ask.

  37. Glenda says:

    Incredible story there. What happened after? Take care!

    My blg post :: Internal communications strategy – Glenda