‘Climate Denier’: Imprecise, Fallacious And Hateful
“‘Climate-change denier’ is not only misleading and fallacious. It is also a smear term that crosses the line into hate speech, referencing the hateful practice of Holocaust denial. In ‘Climate Science Disinformers are Nothing like Holocaust Deniers’, climate activist Joe Romm wrote: ‘Since I lost many relatives in the Holocaust, I understand all too well the unique nature of that catastrophe. The Holocaust is not an analogue to global warming, which is an utterly different kind of catastrophe, and, obviously, one whose worst impacts are yet to come’.
The first problem with this term is its imprecision. Conservatives and libertarians can certainly agree with climate scientist/activist James Hansen’s statement that:
“Climate is always changing. Climate would fluctuate without any change of climate forcings. The chaotic aspect of climate is an innate characteristic of the coupled fundamental equations describing climate system dynamics“.
The real question is the extent to which climate change is occurring relative to the past, and to what extent the causality is natural versus man-made (anthropogenic). The pyramid of evaluation then goes to questions about the extent to which manmade change is good or bad … whether government policy should intervene … and if so, how that intervention should be divided between mitigation and adaptation.
The term ‘denier’ does not describe the Pruitt-side position. Because no one denies that the climate is changing, ‘denial’ and ‘denier’ represent a straw man fallacy, defined as: ‘Substituting for a person’s actual position or argument a distorted, exaggerated, or misrepresented version of the position or argument'”.