I get all sorts of complaints from people complaining when I use the term 'denier.' I even had someone recently accuse me of calling people mass murders when I use the term. Yet, as we can see, they use the term themselves. For the sake of clarity, I use the term 'denier' to refer to people that deny science. That is all. In my mind, I equate deniers to people that say the Moon landings were faked, there is a face on Mars built by aliens, Hillary Clinton is a reptile person in disguise (I'll admit that one is easier to believe than the others), psychics are real, the Holocaust didn't occur, 9/11 was done by the government, creationism is real and the Sandy Hook school massacre wasn't. But, that is not why I call them deniers. I call them deniers because they deny science. Also, note that I never equated ANYONE to doing any of those crimes. Just because you think the Holocaust did not occur does not mean, in ANY kind of logic, that I am saying they participated in that heinous act. I group these people together because they all suffer from the same failed logic and the inability to escape from the trap they built for themselves. The very comments I receive about using that term typically proves my point - they bring up false arguments about the term, all the while using insulting (sometimes extremely insulting) references (including Shawn Alli) towards climate scientists and people who accept the science of climate change. Basically, if you want people to stop saying you're a denier, stop denying science. It really is that simple.
So, I'll be referring to Shawn Alli as a 'denier' because he/she wants to be referred to as such.
Shawn Alli contacted me through my blog email with the following question:
Hello Dr. Christopher Keating, this is Shawn Alli, a philosopher and blogger from Canada. I’m writing a series of articles questioning the man-made CO2 climate change theory and wanted to know if you could comment on the following question: On your Dialogues on Global Warming blog you state:
“But, I am sure I will never have to because it can't be proven. The scientific evidence for global warming is overwhelming and no one can prove otherwise.”
Do you believe this claim represents and environmental ideological belief?
Thank you very much for taking the time to respond.
This is my response:
This is not an ideological belief. It is a scientific conclusion reached by conducting extensive and exhaustive research on the scientific research and claims made by the contrarian community. As for what others think, I do not speak for others, but I would point out that it has been thoroughly demonstrated that climate scientists are nearly unanimous in the conclusion that manmade emissions are responsible for changing the climate.Mr. Alli wrote a series of posts about why he is a denier and his views on the subject. You can the read the first one here, with links to the other seven. (I am not sure if Shawn is male or female so I am addressing this person in the generic sense. I apologize for any gender mix-up.) In the very first paragraph of the very first posting he revealed the failure of his logic:
Too many hurricanes this year? Too many lightning strikes? Too hot this year? Too cold this year? Not enough extreme weather this year? Species dying out? Not enough food on the grocery shelves? Electricity bill too high? In the minds of CO2 cult members, the blame goes to man-made CO2 climate change.To him, it is not science, it is a "cult." Mr. Alli immediately demonstrates that he is not willing to consider anything that goes against his preconceived beliefs. With that statement, he is declaring, "No amount of science or logic is capable of ever changing my mind." He truly is a denier. Unfortunately, he is not the only one. In fact, he is merely typical. Our society is filled with them.
I had an interesting conversation with a gentleman last night that pertains to Mr. Alli and people like him. This guy was about 70 years old and he told me about how when he was young most of his friends smoked, but he didn't. He and his friends had discussions about the hazards of cigarette smoking, but his friends all denied (there's that word again!) the science and insisted on believing what the tobacco companies told them. He told me every single one of them is now dead. They all died from lung and heart disease. He is still going strong.
The moral of the story is, denying the science will not stop nature from doing what it does.
I advised Mr. Alli to go through his postings and remove all subjective statements, leaving only what is factual. There would actually be very little left over. This demonstrates that this is not a work about discovery, about learning. It is a work about justifying his preconceived conclusion. In his mind, there is no discovery, no unknowns, nothing to learn. And, he is willing to go to great lengths in his attempt to prove it.
Now, this is not about beating up on Mr. Alli, it is about beating up on denier logic and he just happens to be an example that came across my desk. Like I said, he is actually pretty typical. Take a look at his response to my email. It is not very original and I have heard these complaints many times, so it is a good example of typical denier non-logic:
In June-July 2014 Dr. Christopher Keating, a physicist, challenges climate skeptics and deniers to prove that man-made climate change isn’t happening and will give anyone who can do it $30,000.  Not a bad ploy, but it’s meaningless. Just like James Randi’s million dollar challenge for anyone who can demonstrate psychic phenomena,  the rules/conditions will always prevent the party from declaring a winner. Or in other words, the individual’s ideologies will forever prevent them from paying out. And this is true of Keating. In his own words he says:
...I am sure I will never have to because it can't be proven. The scientific evidence for global warming is overwhelming and no one can prove otherwise. 
In an email request for comment I ask Keating if believes this claims represents an environmental ideological belief. He says:
"This is not an ideological belief. It is a scientific conclusion reached by conducting extensive and exhaustive research on the scientific research and claims made by the contrarian community. As for what others think, I do not speak for others, but I would point out that it has been thoroughly demonstrated that climate scientists are nearly unanimous in the conclusion that manmade emissions are responsible for changing the climate."
Saying that "no one can prove otherwise," and that "it can’t be proven,"  is representative of an individual’s ideologies and has no place in objective impartial science. Individuals such as Keating will go to their graves believing that their ideologies are representative of objective impartial science and that humanity is doomed because of carbon emissions. In the end, it’s nothing more than fear mongering junk ideological science.
So, class, how many flaws in logic and facts can you spot?
First sentence, "June-July 2014". No. Sorry, Mr. Alli, you demonstrated your lack of homework. I mean, not even the basic type of homework. The challenge started out over seven years ago. That was on a different blog, which I ended, but I have told the story on my blog many times. On this blog, the challenge started as the $1000 Global Warming Skeptic Challenge on May 12, 2012. Poor job there, Mr. Alli.
Continuing, he states, [Keating] "challenges climate skeptics and deniers to prove that man-made climate change isn’t happening." I'll let this one slide a little, but it still demonstrates his lack of effort to do any homework. His statement is not factually correct, but I did call it a "challenge." In fact, if Mr. Alli had done any homework, he would have found out that the challenge was for deniers to put up or shut up. I even used those words several times. The challenge was a way to allow people who claim they can prove AGW is not real to do so. I did not ask anyone to do anything they were not already claiming they could do.
Next: "Not a bad ploy, but it’s meaningless." Mr Alli fails utterly on this one. It most certainly wasn't meaningless. It was a sincere challenge and I would have paid off if anyone had succeeded. The point I was after, and I believe the deniers proved, is that there is no science to support their claims. They complain that they are being shut out of the debate. I gave them their opportunity. That is, most assuredly, not meaningless.
Moving on, " the rules/conditions will always prevent the party from declaring a winner. Or in other words, the individual’s ideologies will forever prevent them from paying out." Once again, total failure of logic and facts. The rules were adapted from a denier challenge (I always find it interesting how deniers deny (!!!) that fact when complaining about my challenge). I actually made them more advantageous to the deniers because, unlike the original denier challenge, I did not charge a submission fee and I provided a detailed response to all original submissions (I received many versions of some submissions and only responded to the first). Again, if anyone had succeeded, I would have paid. The problem is that the denier community, including Mr. Alli, things it is smarter than all of the world's climate scientists combined and that they can produce some simple proof that no one else has ever considered and will cause all of climate science to crash down in ruins. There is a word for that - hubris.
He then states, "In his own words he says:
...I am sure I will never have to because it can't be proven. The scientific evidence for global warming is overwhelming and no one can prove otherwise."
In some dim part of their brain, deniers think this statement proves that my challenge was a fraud and this somehow proves climate change is not real. To show just how false this statement is, and just how false their logic is, let's put it in another context. Suppose the challenge read this way:
I am sure I will never have to [pay] because it can't be proven gravity is not real.
Or, this one:
I am sure I will never have to [pay] because it can't be proven humans don't need oxygen to survive is not real.
I am sure I will never have to [pay] because it can't be proven the Earth orbits the Sun is not real.
Or, any other of an infinite number of scientific facts.
The reason I said I was sure I would not have to pay is because I know the science is conclusive (Yes, Virginia, the science is settled.). Does anyone really think I would have put up $10,000 of my own money if I believed I would have to pay? No, I knew the science was irrefutable before I went into the deep end of the pool. Mr. Alli's statement completely ignores all of that logic and all of the facts. Yet another massive failure on his part.
Let's just cut to the chase and lump the rest of this effort into one last example. "Saying that "no one can prove otherwise," and that "it can’t be proven," is representative of an individual’s ideologies and has no place in objective impartial science. Individuals such as Keating will go to their graves believing that their ideologies are representative of objective impartial science and that humanity is doomed because of carbon emissions. In the end, it’s nothing more than fear mongering junk ideological science."
No, Mr. Alli, stating facts is not an ideology. Total logic failure there. What if I stated, "The Sun is shining and no one can prove otherwise", would that be an ideological statement? In science, it is not an ideology to stick to the facts. But, apparently, it is a ideological issue with deniers.
As for me going to my grave believing in science and the scientific method? Yes, I will do that. That is, in fact, how you do objective and impartial science. Something Mr. Alli, and other deniers, seem to be incapable of doing. Or, even understanding. If not, they would realize their conclusions are not valid. The science is that conclusive.
That is at least seven failures in logic and facts that I count in just one paragraph. And, he has eight long webpages of similar effort.
By the way, Mr. Alli, you lied in your disclosure. You said you were a rational denier. There is nothing about your web postings that is rationale. You should remove that part of your disclosure.
In summary, Mr Alli's postings are a total failure in logic and facts and is a typical example of the denier community. Mr. Alli's postings are nothing more than a rehash of what I have already heard, literally, thousands of times before (and so has anyone else that bothers to listen to them). But, no matter how many times they say it, they are still wrong. Their logic is a failure. Their facts are wrong. They are denying the science.
There is no arguing with someone that denies reality in favor of their preconceived conclusion. We can only hope to appeal to those that have not gone off the cliff.