Attack of the climate spam?
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In an essay entitled "Challenging Knowledge: How Climate Science Became a Victim of the Cold War" she writes:
On first glance, it seems just plain weird that several of the same
individuals — all retired physicists — were involved in denying that cancer causes
smoking, that pollution causes acid rain, that CFCs destroy ozone, and that
greenhouse gas emissions are causing global warming. But when you put these
things together — tobacco regulation, the banning of CFCs, the delay of controls on
CO2 emissions — then they do add up, summing to a radical free market ideology
that opposes any action restricting the pursuit of market capitalism, no matter the
Dr. Oreskes herself received some criticism for an article last year in The Times of London in which she incorrectly said that President Ronald Reagan had commissioned a report about global warming from physicist William Nierenberg. (Congress commissioned it.) Here's the correction. And here's a response from Dr. Nierenberg's son.
And that brings us back to the "climate spam" that somehow ends up on discussion boards. Even those arguing that global warming is happening sometimes employ this "copy and paste" tactic — although with less frequency, according to my very informal analysis, than those who argue that global warming isn't occurring.
Below is a comment that shows up on the Monitor's site and – in duplicate, triplicate, and quadruplicate – across cyberspace. The commenter includes a link to this paper [PDF], which contains much of the comment's material verbatim.
The comment begins:
The denialists cannot be reached using logic. The five elements are conspiracy, cherry-picking, fake experts, moving goalposts, and logical fallacies. Whatever the motivation, it is important to recognize denialism when confronted with it. The normal academic response to an opposing argument is to engage with it, testing the strengths and weaknesses of the differing views, in the expectations that the truth will emerge through a process of debate. However, this requires that both parties obey certain ground rules, such as a willingness to look at the evidence as a whole, to reject deliberate distortions and to accept principles of logic.
As always, readers are invited to comment.