The perjorative, bigoted, and prejudicial term ‘denier’ used to refer to anybody who doesn’t capitulate entirely to the whole of the ‘hockeystick’ agenda, which is not limited to science, but includes politics as well, now in standard ‘science’ journals. Its use is defended by the author of the article on this basis:
We were focused on the main readership of this journal – climate scientists who read Nature journals, most of whom hold the view that anthropogenic climate change is real. It should also be noted that describing skepticism as denial is a term increasingly used in the social science literature on climate change (e.g. in Global Environmental Change, Journal of Environmental Psychology, Routledge Handbook of Climate Change and Society), and is used informally by some within the climate science community. So we were using a term that is known, used, and understood in the target audience, but which we thought involved a stronger negative stereotype (e.g. being anti-environmental, contrarian) than skeptic. My thought was this would highlight the contrast with the data, which suggests that you need not believe in AGW to support pro-environmental action, especially when it had certain types of (non-climate) outcomes (demonstrating a non-contrarian position). So in my mind we were ultimately challenging such “denier” stereotypes. But because we were focused on our target audience, it is true that I naively didn’t pay enough attention to the effect the label would have on other audiences, notably skeptics. Although I hope this helps explain our rationale for using the term, I regret the negative effects it has had and I intend to use alternative labels in the future.
In other words, “I live in a hermetically sealed bubble, I don’t know anybody who doesn’t think like me, everybody else is doing it, and it’s not about the science anymore, it’s about social activism.” Okay, the admission that climate science is now reduced to social activism is in the second paragraph, Which you can read in full at the link.
Dr. Robert G. Brown of Duke University takes the author of the paper in question, Dr. Paul Blain, to task:
The tragic thing about the thoughtless use of a stereotype is that it reveals that you really think of people in terms of its projected meaning. In particular, even in your response you seem to equate the term “skeptic” with “denier of AGW”.This is silly. On WUWT most of the skeptics do not “deny” AGW, certainly not the scientists or professional weather people (I myself am a physicist) and honestly, most of the non-scientist skeptics have learned better than that. What they challenge is the catastrophic label and the alleged magnitude of the projected warming on a doubling of CO_2. They challenge this on rather solid empirical grounds and with physical arguments and data analysis that is every bit as scientifically valid as that used to support larger estimates, often obtaining numbers that are in better agreement with observation. For this honest doubt and skepticism that the highly complex global climate models are correct you have the temerity to socially stigmatize them in a scientific journal with a catch-all term that implies that they are as morally reprehensible as those that “deny” that the Nazi Holocaust of genocide against the Jews?
He goes on to explain:
Let me tell you in a few short words why I am a skeptic. First of all, if one examines the complete geological record of global temperature variation on planet Earth (as best as we can reconstruct it) not just over the last 200 years but over the last 25 million years, over the last billion years — one learns that there is absolutely nothing remarkable about today’s temperatures! Seriously. Not one human being on the planet would look at that complete record — or even the complete record of temperatures during the Holocene, or the Pliestocene — and stab down their finger at the present and go “Oh no!”. Quite the contrary. It isn’t the warmest. It isn’t close to the warmest. It isn’t the warmest in the last 2 or 3 thousand years. It isn’t warming the fastest. It isn’t doing anything that can be resolved from the natural statistical variation of the data. Indeed, now that Mann’s utterly fallacious hockey stick reconstruction has been re-reconstructed with the LIA and MWP restored, it isn’t even remarkable in the last thousand years!