I taped an interview yesterday with PRI/BBC The World discussing the unfortunate use by science advocates of the term “denier” in debates over climate change, evolution, and other issues involving scientific expertise. I’m told the segment may appear as early as today or tomorrow. Archived audio will be found here.
The frame device “denier” should be laid to rest in the same rhetorical grave as other terms such as “anti-science.” They serve little purpose other than to feed polarization while also frequently backfiring, turning the debate into a discussion of the alleged underhanded or sensational tactics of science defenders rather than a focus on the substance of the issues themselves.
Worse, these terms are also often inaccurate. Few if any people in modern society are actually “anti-scientific,” just like on few issues are the facts or evidence as clear as the Holocaust, the comparison called to mind in any use of “denier” in political discourse.