Monday, February 22, 2010

How to tell a climate skeptic from a denialist, part one

The denialists are the ones who threaten to rape young children.

via the ABC news:

An organised cyber-bullying campaign, including abusive emails, is targeting Australian climate scientists who speak out on climate change, according to author Clive Hamilton.

Climate campaigners have also noticed a surge in the frequency and virulence of this new form of cyber-bullying. The following was received by a young woman (who asked that her name not be used):

"Did you want to offer your children to be brutally gang-raped and then horribly tortured before being reminded of their parents socialist beliefs and actions?

Obviously this is a case of not enough post-docs doing outreach seminars.


Cannibal Panda said...

It's despicable for anyone resort to personal attacks to begin with, but to include a person's family is just overkill. I don't understand why emotions are so raw about this issue. It's science; whether one is a proponent for humans causing escalated climate change, or if you subscribe to it being one of a myriad of factors- the undeniable fact is that change is occurring.

I did notice that the article was a little vague as to where the scientist (under attack) stood in regards to her theory on the topic. It would have been nice to know the story behind Professor Karoly's email to initiate such rancor:

"University of Melbourne Professor David Karoly which compares the scientist's actions to those of Hitler, Stalin and Pol Pot."

Any study on the topic should be embraced and weighted. Some (studies) may be left lacking, but as a collective whole this topic should not divide the scientific community.

(sorry for the long response)

Unknown said...
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Anonymous said...

The statements say a lot about the mental health of those behind this campaign and have nothing to do with the science. I actually know Karoly. Anyone who likens him to Stalin is completely off their rocker. But far more disturbing are the horrific and sickening threats against children.

andy said...

It's quite disturbing how so many of the commenters in the associated blog post seem to be perfectly fine with the idea that rape and torture threats against children are something that come naturally with the territory if you want to be involved in climate science while female.

Mel said...

I wouldn't just leave it to the post docs. Everyone should be doing their part towards public outreach improving the understanding of science.

Jim Baerg said...

That sounds like another example of
the greater the hatred, the less the reason

Brian Dodge said...

"I don't understand why emotions are so raw about this issue. It's science;..."
It is because it is about the collision between science and belief that it has become virulent. We (the majority of scientifically literate readers of this blog)understand the differences between [1]reality, [2]our understanding of it(science), and [3]the myths or inventions we have created & lived by(politics, economics, "civilized" societies). The deniers feel threatened by scientists because what they are saying about 1 & 2 means changes to 3, and they have been told that the changes to 3 are bad by ones with vested interests in 3 most at risk (the fossil fuel lobby). Deniers don't understand that value judgments rest in 3, so when they are told "if you continue living a lifestyle which burns fossil fuels, polar bears will starve, drown, and eventually go extinct" they see that as an accusation that they are "bad" ; they quit listening to the people who are talking about 1 & 2, and listen to the people who reaffirm the parts of 3 that make them feel good. "Democracy, Capitalism, and Free Markets have resulted in the Greatest Society in history" - Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Monckton, CEI, Heartland Institute, Senator Inhofe - and when the message changes to "drill, baby, drill" and "the hippy liberal econazis palling around with terrorists want to steal everything you have and take away all your power and freedom" it's only a small step to sending threatening e-mails. Few of the people who send even the most threatening e-mails would actually resort to hurting children in most circumstances, but the heat of political demagoguery may change that. Unfortunately, adverse events from climate change may also change that. google "pentagon global warming threat assessment" for the past year, read a few articles, then google "armenian genocide". I believe the vitriol is easy to understand, but will be very difficult to contain; fighting it may just spread it more widely.

C W Magee said...

I say we lock them in a cage with the animal rights extremists and see if the denialists get Darwinian before the ARE's get carnivorous.