Tuesday, February 06, 2007

"scientists [are] now being called climate change denier with all the holocaust connotations of that word."

Via Drudge, climatologist Tim Ball pens a lament about how global warming skeptics are treated. His position is that debate has been closed too quickly and that intimidation and marginalization are keeping scientists from using the scientific method:

Now, any scientist who dares to question the prevailing wisdom is marginalized and called a sceptic, when in fact they are simply being good scientists. This has reached frightening levels with these scientists now being called climate change denier with all the holocaust connotations of that word. The normal scientific method is effectively being thwarted.

Ball doesn't deny the warming trend, but he questions whether that trend can be causally related to human activity.

Drudge juxtaposes this story with another, this one about actual holocaust denial:

An Iranian government-sponsored body set up to probe the veracity of the Holocaust has challenged Europe to hand over documents about the mass slaughter of Jews in World War II.

Mohammad Ali Ramin, the head of the "World Holocaust Foundation" created after Iran's controversial Holocaust conference last year, said Austria, Germany and Poland in particular should supply documents.

"They should hand over the proof for the dossier on the organized massacre of Jews in Europe during World War II to the independent international fact-finding committee affiliated to this foundation," the IRNA state news agency quoted him as saying on Tuesday.

We recognize the WHF's game, of course, which is to endlessly raise doubts about proof so that holocaust deniers can point to ambiguity and imperfectly answered questions. This is one of the main tactics of conspiracy theorists, whether they're looking at the Zapruder film or examining the moon landing for evidence of a sound stage. In the case of the Holocaust, it seems pretty clear that the issue should be put to bed and that denial is motivated by something other than the desire for truth. In the case of climate change, we appear to be rapidly approaching that point, but climatologists such as Bell think we're approaching it too quickly, while others apparently believe we should already be there. At what point does a point become so settled as to be unquestionable?

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