Denialist vs. Skeptic

Denialist vs. Skeptic: What’s the difference? As usual, context is key: Those skeptical of established science are not skeptics, they are denialists. Science is skeptical by it’s nature because science doubts opinions and science is not based on opinion or belief, it examines evidence and physics.

The usage of these words in the debate about global warming still lends to some confusion. Denialists call themselves skeptical and call those that believe global warming is human caused warmists. Science is based on examination of evidence and known physics, while opinion is based on a view or judgment formed about something, not necessarily based on fact or knowledge.

denial |diˈnīəl|

the action of declaring something to be untrue : she shook her head in denial.
• the refusal of something requested or desired : the denial of insurance to people with certain medical conditions.
• a statement that something is not true : official denials | his denial that he was having an affair.
• Psychology failure to acknowledge an unacceptable truth or emotion or to admit it into consciousness, used as a defense mechanism : you’re living in denial.
• short for self-denial .
• disavowal of a person as one’s leader.

Scientists and those that believe the majority of scientists are right about thier conclusions regarding global warming, and human cause influence, call those that deny the conclusion denialists.

Actually even the word skeptic is incorrect used.

skeptic |ˈskeptik| ( Brit. sceptic)

1 a person inclined to question or doubt all accepted opinions.
• a person who doubts the truth of Christianity and other religions; an atheist or agnostic.
2 Philosophy an ancient or modern philosopher who denies the possibility of knowledge, or even rational belief, in some sphere.

science |ˈsīəns|

the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behavior of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment : the world of science and technology.
• a particular area of this : veterinary science | the agricultural sciences.
• a systematically organized body of knowledge on a particular subject : the science of criminology.
• archaic knowledge of any kind.

So, really what we are talking about here is ‘opinion’ supported by belief, facts out of context, or misunderstanding science, verses ‘evidence’ as understood through systematic study and examination. If you dig deep enough into a denialists argument, they often come up short on the science when examined in context. Scientists on the other hand have mountains of evidence on their side as well as the systematic study, peer review and peer response.

So in summary, the argument is not denialist vs. skeptic. It’s opinion vs. science. Realistically, science can more easily trump opinion due to the nature of the scientific method.

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