More Options

Scientists to Media: Stop Calling Climate Change Deniers “Skeptics”

December 10, 2014

For Immediate Release: December 10, 2014
Contact: Paul Fidalgo, Communications Director
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) - 207-358-9785

Prominent scientists, science communicators, and skeptic activists, including Bill Nye “the Science Guy,” physicist Lawrence Krauss, Cosmos co-creator Ann Druyan, and many others are calling on the news media to stop using the word “skeptic” when referring to those who refuse to accept the reality of climate change, and instead refer to them by what they really are: science deniers.

The statement, signed by 48 Fellows of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (CSI), comes as a response to a New York Times article from Nov 10, 2014, “Republicans Vow to Fight EPA and Approve Keystone Pipeline,” which referred to Sen. James Inhofe, who believes climate change to be an elaborate hoax, as “a prominent skeptic of climate change.”

“As scientific skeptics, we are well aware of political efforts to undermine climate science by those who deny reality but do not engage in scientific research or consider evidence that their deeply held opinions are wrong,” says the joint statement. “The most appropriate word to describe the behavior of those individuals is ‘denial.’

“Not all individuals who call themselves climate change skeptics are deniers. But virtually all deniers have falsely branded themselves as skeptics. By perpetrating this misnomer, journalists have granted undeserved credibility to those who reject science and scientific inquiry.”

Signatories to the statement, drafted by physicist and science communicator Mark Boslough, also included Nobel laureate Sir Harold Kroto, philosopher Daniel C. Dennett, science education advocate Eugenie Scott, and David Morrison, Director of the Carl Sagan Center for the Study of Life in the Universe at the SETI Institute, as well as CSI executive director Barry Karr, Skeptical Inquirer editor Kendrick Frazier, and Center for Inquiry president and CEO Ronald A. Lindsay.

CSI promotes scientific inquiry, critical investigation, and the use of reason in examining controversial and extraordinary claims. It is an affiliate of the Center for Inquiry. The complete statement is available at bit.ly/DeniersNotSkeptics.

* * *

The Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (CSI) encourages the critical investigation of paranormal and fringe-science claims from a responsible, scientific point of view. Learn more at http://www.csicop.org.

The Center for Inquiry (CFI) is a nonprofit educational, advocacy, and research organization headquartered in Amherst, New York, with executive offices in Washington, D.C. It is also home to both the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry and the Council for Secular Humanism. The mission of CFI is to foster a secular society based on science, reason, freedom of inquiry, and humanist values. Learn more at http://www.centerforinquiry.net.