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Archive for October 3rd, 2008

One of the Deniers1 favourite tactics is to throw out this or that list or petition of “scientists” who are Climate Deniers (eg “The Deniers“). After you discard the obvious frauds (eg the Oregon Petition), cull out the names that are made up, the ones who are not scientists, the ones who are dead, the real scientists who are not actually Deniers, etc, you are invariably left with a handful who do seem to be scientists and really are Climate Deniers. Huh?

This can be very confusing to the lay person who has no experience with the sciences.

Science, stranger than truth

Science, stranger than truth

So just how many people are we talking about here? It’s hard to say actually, in part because it depends on just how you define a Denier (or Skeptic). Heartland’s much touted PR event of last winter seems to have drawn only 19 “real scientists” and Wikipedia lists only about three dozen.

Given that there are millions of scientists in the world that’s pretty lame. Even so, if it were only one and she happened to be right then the millions wouldn’t matter. However, searching for some valid scientific basis for the Denier position comes up dry – so what’s going on here?

Let’s step back for a moment and do a reality check. Reality – scientists are human beings. This has some implications:

In the first place there are some scientists who are just plain incompetent. It is an unusual department or faculty of any size that does not have at least one such creature shambling about. Whether they faked their way to tenure or subsequently developed problems of one form or another doesn’t matter,  the fact remains they couldn’t conduct adequate science to save their life.

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