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Damning the Deniers

The Pedant: How to avoid being in denial - Times Online
Oliver Kamm
...Holocaust denial is a distinctively mendacious proposition. But “denial” is rightly applied in other cases where there is no legitimate debate about facts. Deniers are those who refuse to accept the evidence.
Denial is not a synonym for heterodoxy. Because some claims fall outside the bounds of genuine debate, it is a valuable term for distinguishing among minority positions and an apt label for the claims of pseudoscience and pseudohistory. To reject the evidence that Aids is a medical condition caused by a virus is that type of position. So is rejection of the evidence of global warming caused by human activities. These claims have costs, in persuading people to reject evidence-based science. No other succinct term describes them as effectively as denial.

Comments

"So is rejection of the evidence of global warming caused by human activities."

As far as I can see, the only "human activities" which have caused the global warming scare have been the deliberate positioning of ground thermometers in "heat sinks" like parking lots, urban areas and near a/c vents; falsifying data in AGW-supporting talking points like the infamous (and discredited) "hockey stick" chart; and deliberately applying incorrect algorithms to climate data to create nonsensical predictions and prjections which are being disproved every year.

Who IS this "Oliver Kamm" moron, anyway? I thought he used to be the German goalkeeper, till I discovered Smirnoff...

Oliver Kamm wrote:

To reject the evidence that Aids is a medical condition caused by a virus is that type of position. So is rejection of the evidence of global warming caused by human activities.

Some years ago, I used to read Oliver Kamm. However, I gave up when I saw, IMHO, that he too often allowed his political opinion to take precedence over what were, pretty much, facts.

The problem with the above is that he equates 'medical Aids denialism' with 'CAGW denialism' (CAGW - Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming). This is problematic on several grounds:

Firstly, the doubts over CAGW are vastly greater than the doubts on Aids (and that is science, not consensus).

Secondly, the damage to Aids sufferers is unambiguous. Those of global warming (however caused) are not: there are those whose lives, given where they live, will be better with a bit of warming; some will nearly certainly be disadvantaged; however, much is unknown and so firm conclusions are mere supposition.

Thirdly, treatment of Aids is, pretty much, efficacious: unavoidably good. There are strong arguments that it is cost-effective (at least in all but the poorest regions of the world). Concerning preventative measures for Aids, even the cost-effective arguments become overwhelmingly positive. For CAGW, the effectiveness and costs of treatment and prevention are known to be extreme, even beyond practicality, and definitely beyond any sort of confidence in efficacy.

Lastly, there is the issue of degree of harm. Global warming is occurring (or rather has occurred - continuation is somewhat in doubt); there is very likely a component due to CO2; there might be a material anthropogenic contribution to that. However, the extent to which 'catastrophic' is applicable is still open to significant question. There is also massive uncertainty as to other 'causes' of global warming and their relative contributions. Aids is not subject to such rational doubts on extent and severity, nor do we have plausible alternative explanations.

Earler in the Times article, Oliver Kamm writes:

Deniers are those who refuse to accept the evidence.

Kamm, by equating that which lacks equivalence, does himself deny.

Best regards

Nigel,

By trying to be open-minded and even-handed (and all praise to you for being so), you do yourself a disservice.

The plain fact of the matter is that CO2 is a factor in climate change to the same degree that a quarter-pound of missing air pressure in your tyres affects your car's performance, i.e. not much at all.

There are three elephants in the room when it comes to the AGW / climate change arguments: 1) variations in solar energy (about which we can do absolutely nothing); 2) ocean temperatures (ditto), and 3) water vapour in the atmosphere (ditto), and which has an effect on the weather which is more than tenfold that of CO2.

Of course, as you can see with all the above, mankind can do nothing to affect the major influences of climate change or even of weather change. So naturally, those who would attempt to control our lives are going to go after something where they CAN effect change -- CO2 output -- even though the effects of raised or lowered CO2 are barely known, and some argue (with actual supporting evidence) that CO2 levels in the atmosphere LAG BEHIND variations in climate (as caused by solar variations or oceanic changes, for example).

The whole AGW / climate change movement is a disgrace, both scientifically and morally, and people like Oliver Kamm who hop onto that bandwagon make themselves suspect, on both aspects.

To equate the "denial" of HIV to AGW would be to suggest that sex should be made criminal.

I don't see many on the Left suggesting that the solution to AIDS is the elimination of sex, yet they appear to want to eliminate SUVs.

These people can't even keep their analogies straight (pun intended).

@Kim du Toit

Looking back on my comment above, I can only agree with you.

I just hope that you and other readers remember that I have commented repeatedly and highly critically on the CAGW issue, over many years. My opinion has not changed: the whole thing is below the threshold of materiality; many of those involved are fraudulent, and many others are lacking judgement beyond an acceptable point.

In the future, I will try and do better, unaided, on this issue.

Best regards

maybe Hitler should be blamed for global warming and the holocaust ! he did get his evil scientists to develope all those V1 and V2 rockets that lead to major developments in jet engines and alike ! it was Mr Deisel who evented the car engine too ! and think of all the gas used in the camps to disinfect the place... not good for the enviro !! as for Aids, we will let Hitler off that!

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