Thursday, January 14, 2010

Credible scientists don't necessarily mean credible science

There seems to be increasing connections between climate denialism and evolution denialism, with the creationist Discovery Institute increasingly interested in denying anthropogenic warming.

At my most cynical, I think this is a bank shot by the more strategic climate denialists who are worried about the Christian envangelical environmental movement getting out of hand, and see this as a way to slow it down. Only slightly less cynically, it's the creationists trying to glom on to a slightly less discredited form of science denialism than their own dreck, and using climate denialism as a gateway drug to the harder stuff.

I just finished watching Judgment Day: Intelligent Design on Trial, the Nova documentary about the lawsuit that blocked using public schools to teach intelligent design as a way to introduce creationism in the classroom. It's a good documentary although it could've gone faster (which is why Netflix is great - I watched most of it at 1.4x speed, and some of it at 2x speed).

The documentary is a useful reminder to realists and a caution to climate skeptics, in that it shows a tiny handful of real scientists, professors even in the relevant fields, who deny evolution. If you're a climate skeptic that just hates it whenever we compare your views to creationism, this is a problem. The view of a few credible scientists who oppose the mainstream view on evolution either negates the existence of a consensus, or alternatively the climate skeptics have to acknowledge having a few aging climate researchers on their side isn't sufficient proof to deny the climate consensus.

I think the most reasonable view is that a small number credible scientists can go off the deep end and believe something unreasonable even in their own field. That's what happened with evolution and happened in the climate field.


  1. They are connected because they are two parts of the same problom. Science denialism and ignnorants (sometimes willful) of what science is, how it works and what the science says.
    The worse of the two is science denialism. Science denialists will lie and make crap up and the ignorant people will listen not knowing thet the science denialists they are listoning to are full of crap.

  2. I've read somewhere that denialism tends to pile up. A person who thinks they're smarter than the experts on one subject doesn't often stop there. I thought Denialism Blog covered this, but can't find it now.


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