BPSDB If someone refers to you as a “Denier”:
To convince them that you are a “Skeptic”, NOT a “Denier”:
- Ignore the label and keep the discussion focused on the issue(s) of substance;
- Point to and discuss the relevant facts and evidence;
- Use reliable sources, either peer reviewed science or sources that track back to real science;
- Be sure that your position accepts and accounts for all of the generally known facts that you are not explicitly disputing;
- Ensure that your position is based on a logical argument;
- Be flexible, ready to modify your position if it is shown that you erred or misunderstood;
- Be consistent and rational; stay focused on facts and insist that your opponent do so as well.
- Follow ‘The Skeptical Manifesto” as best you can.
To convince them that you probably ARE a Denier:
- Quibble about the term, complain that it is offensive and an attempt link you with the Holocaust or some other such irrelevant nonsense;
- Keep insisting that the perfectly correct English word ‘Denier’ not be permitted, do not allow any discussion of whether it was used correctly or not;
- Insist that you are a “Skeptic” even though you don’t really know what that means;
- Call them names and accuse them of ad hominem attacks. Don’t worry if you don’t really know what ‘ad hominem’ actually means.;
- Go off on tangents, talk about anything except the actual issue;
- Discuss the actual topic or in any way refer to it except to repeat that you are right;
- Attempt to provide any actual evidence or even admit that it might be relevant;
- Respond to any request they make for evidence, logic, or evidence of sanity;
- Give a logical, rational argument;
- Admit to being wrong about anything, ever, especially when it has been shown beyond all doubt that you are.
If you lose control of the discussion, DON’T PANIC!
Sometimes, despite your best efforts, the discussion will actually get on track and be about the topic that you were supposedly talking about. This need not be a disaster! You can still pull it out of the fire if you:
- Claim everything is “so obvious” or “not worth it” to bother explaining or providing evidence for;
- Refer to sources and theories that have been completely discredited and shown to be false by reputable, science based sources (as any 5 min internet search would reveal);
- Rely on magic thinking; whenever it is demonstrated (yet again) that your position is unbelievable, invoke a conspiracy, ie all of the things you said that make no sense are true because dark forces are keeping the real truth hidden;
- Insist that one “authority” figure is right (eg some weathercaster on youtube or a geologist you met once), whereas the 10s of thousands of other meteorologists or geologists are obviously wrong;
- Use the “Thirty – Eight Ways to Win an Argument from Schopenhauer’s “The Art of Controversy”” and/or the “Denialists’ Deck of Cards“;
- Use as many logical fallacies as you can, there are many dozens to choose from;
- Change the focus whenever one of your lies, frauds, or fallacies is exposed; claim the real point is something else without actually admitting that you were wrong.
- Just keep repeating that you are right and they are wrong
If that all fails:
Claim you aren’t going to waste your time on someone who obviously won’t listen … and then go and sulk in your room to prove that you are right!
Granted none of the Deniers will actually look at it, but at least by providing the link I have fulfilled my obligation to inform them that i will happily not use the term if they can show me that it does not accurately describe their behaviour.
I offer if here on the premise that others may have a similar use for it.
The specific context has been the on-going engagement with the denizens of Ms Curry’s blog, according to whom I am a hate filled, lying yaday yada. It sincerely baffled me that not one of them could seem to grasp that “the problem” was their behaviour, and not that the behaviour was being correctly identified and named for what it was.
Granted, many more than I care to imagine undoubtedly have not the slightest idea that there actually is a profound difference between ‘Skeptics’ and ‘Deniers’ despite the staggering number of sites, posts and comments that make this absolutely clear.
As such these Deniers may not in fact be being obtuse. They take it as given that their gullibly embracing an anti-science position actually is real skepticism, so why on earth would they waste time looking at some reference that shows otherwise? They have point in the sense that if the reference fails to affirm their bias they will simply reject it just as they reject the science.
It also occurred to me that for some Deniers that insomuch as they are dismissive of anyone who accepts the scientific fact of climate change, regardless of how or why the person arrived at the position, their conscious or unconscious expectation is that we in turn will be dismissive of them as long as they oppose it.
To them, since it is a forgone conclusion that the use of the word ‘Denier’ is ideologically based, there is no point discussing it in any other terms. That our objection is to their methods and not their conclusion is simply a non-concept. An idea so alien that they cannot even imagine to it.
So what is the point of drawing the distinction to their attention? Two fold I suppose.
The first is is what you might call theatre; a Denier will not consider the notion that their case should be built on facts and logic, but a third party may. By underscoring that the Deniers method is faulty it is possible more reasonable people reading the exchange will see the truth of it and be conscious of that in assessing the various arguments.
The other reason would be pure optimism, the hope that at least some of those embracing the anti-science position are intelligent and open minded enough to recognize the flaw in the Denier reasoning when it is brought to their attention. Having done that, the hope is that they would then reassess the evidence with a thoughtful skeptical frame and reach a more reasonable conclusion.
They still may not accept the science, but at least one could have a rational conversation with them.
It is wrong for me to ask questions?
Is it wrong to seek the truth?
I just can’t blindly accept their version.
I can’t base my logic on proof.
Almost all the evidence points one way,
But I’m like Charlie Sheen and Gloria Estefan.
I need to know what really happened…
Cartmen – Southpark [from “The Mystery of the Urinal Deuce“]
We give our consent every moment that we do not resist.