Negative Labels Help Drive Opinion – Climate Change


‘All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them.’ Galileo Galilei.

Science is a wonderful subject, it’s fascinating, captivating and intriguing, it expands one’s mind, and makes us think of our world in new and different ways, to find answers and try and make sense what surrounds us.

Nonetheless, there are dark sides to many subjects and science is no exception. Throughout history, there has regularly been conflict within science, particularly when we have a new theoretical and radical idea, which is in often in disagreement with old well- established theories, or indeed another theory.

In the Christian world during Galileo’s early life, the majority of educated people believed in an Aristotelian geocentric view that the Earth was the centre of the universe. However, following Galileo’s writing on heliocentrism, suggesting the Earth was not after all the centre of the universe, combined religious and scientific objections in addition to political events of the time, resulted in Galileo being labelled a heretic, and was as a result, placed by the church under house arrest for the remainder of his life.

Another well known conflict was the criticism of Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity by a large number of eminent scientists, including Kaufmann–Bucherer–Neumann’s claimed experimental refutations, the relativity principle versus electromagnetic worldview and the acceleration in special relativity arguments, which continued for a number of years, in which he was labelled twisted and a *fraud amongst other disrespectful terms, with the obvious intention of causing discreditation.

However, that said, where things start to get alarming, is when any esoteric scientific theory is taken for political motives, oversimplified in a way that appears to make perfect sense and then becomes powered through the media by people that have no more understanding of the subject matter than a plumber has about Black Body Radiation; no disrespect to plumbers inferred.

Psychologically speaking, we all see the world in different ways, it’s only natural, yet throughout history, labelling individuals and indeed groups can be a good tool to identify certain characteristics, behaviours or ideas between those people or groups in order to draw differences between; In science and religion, these differences, are usually, but not always, for negative affectivity.

One such scientific argument has grown in recent years with all the negative attributes noted above, including the misleading labelling of scientists, and essentially the spinning of this science, almost into a religion, that is Climate Change, and those that disagree with a particular theory as the Climate Change Deniers.

However, the issue I have with the ‘Climate Change Denier’ label, is that this description is counterfactual, and is purposefully confusing those that do not understand the science into believing there are actually Scientists that disagree that climate is indeed changing.

This then makes it understandably easy enough for the masses to accept, the argument as elementary, drawing a demarcation line between, those so called believes and non-believers; the scientific heretics, when, the reality is absolutely quite different.

No one, either on the plus, negative or indeed neutral side of this argument, actually disagrees or even denies that the Climate is not indeed changing, ‘we all agree’, we all understand climate is changing, we all understand it always has and always will, as that is what climate does, It changes!

So it may surprise, denying climate is changing is not the issue at all, even though many leading scientists are, or have been labelled incorrectly and quite disrespectfully in this manner.

The truth lost in a new religion

In basic terms, the disagreement, the argument, is not about Climate Change Denial at all, it is about why Climate changing, not that Climate is actually changing.

We are all aware, the English language is rich enough in terms and words to accurately describe our science and indeed correctly and politely label those involved, undoubtedly the vast majority that use the term ‘Climate Change Deniers’, use this out of ignorance, probably, if not entirely due to a lack of understanding of the subject matter, which is esoteric and in actual fact, by far more complex than nuclear physics.

A more fitting and proper label for a Climate Change Denier would be a Carbon Climate Effect Sceptic, CO2 Effect Sceptic or perhaps in an abbreviated form CO2 sceptic.

Fundamentally, the Climate Change Denier label is a psychological tool in the reinforcement of an argument, and a negative label which helps drive opinion, the fact that there is no such person as a Climate Change Denier almost doesn’t matter anymore, as the current lack of understanding and complexities of this subject, still remain out of reach of our computing power and calculations, we only have theories, and the debate and arguments of this new religion remain open

That said, regardless of who is right or wrong, we are entrusted with this beautiful blue planet we call earth, and we should do everything humanly possible to look after and take care of our environment, not just for ourselves but for the future of our children.

Nuclear Safety Projects & Radiation Science | Particle Physics | Fluid & Thermodynamics | Climate Variability & Environmental Science | Other areas of research: British (Royal) Etiquette | Social & Behavioural Psychology.