How To Shut Down A Climate Change Denier

May 17, 2010

I don’t usually take a stance on issues, because I’m a journalist, and I have to remain unbiased, unless you like the Klan, in which case you are a dick.

But I’ve been seeing an argument pop up over the past few days: “Hundreds of scientists have admitted falsifying climate-change data in order to qualify for research grants.” This is being used as part of the “global warming is a hoax” argument. So I would like to make some points, based not on any personal belief one way or another, just on facts:

  1. The climate is changing. You know it. I know it. Deniers know it, but they say it’s a natural cycle.
  2. Global warming doesn’t mean everything gets warmer. It’s a complex issue, which is why people go to school for years to learn about it rather than just starting a blog or something.
  3. All scientists write their work to qualify for grants. It’s a shitty part of the system, but it’s there. Anyone who tells you they’re being true to the facts is also answering to a higher agenda, be it church, CEO, editor, funding source or shift manager at Arby’s.
  4. I have no doubt a lot of scientists tweaked their work to appeal to the climate-change agenda. But thousands, maybe millions, more did not.
  5. Let’s do the math: This is like saying that one drug dealer in your neighbourhood uses some of the money to sponsor a soccer team, so drug dealing must be okay. Think about that one for a second. I had to.

I don’t always agree with his opinions, but Brian Dunning of the Skeptoid podcast offers weekly short audio and printed explanations of how to use critical thinking to explore issues like this. He regularly makes a good point: If you believe it to be true, prove it. Don’t quote websites, don’t trot out “experts,” just use the scientific method and prove it. He does like to point out those who can’t. As do I.


One comment

  1. Like your article.The soccer analogy,I didn’t have to think about at all.Blood money is blood money,just because you do something good with it doesn’t make it right.As far as the climate goes,sure it changes,it’s all about the money and these scientists know how to get the money by saying the right things.the government should NOT be in the business of funding these guys.Let them go to the private sector for funding.There are facts for global warming and facts against global warming.No more tax payer money to fund these guys that’ll stop all the bull-shit.

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