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The Inquisition of Climate Science$
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James Powell

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780231157193

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231157193.001.0001

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Anatomy of Denial

Anatomy of Denial

Chapter:
(p.170) 15 Anatomy of Denial
Source:
The Inquisition of Climate Science
Author(s):

James Lawrence Powell

Publisher:
Columbia University Press
DOI:10.7312/columbia/9780231157193.003.0015

This chapter discusses the tactics frequently used by global warming deniers. These tactics seem familiar not only because these were used by tobacco companies on consumers, but because many are rhetorical devices known since the Greeks. Among them are adopting the trappings of your opponent; accusing your opponent of the very thing of which you yourself are guilty; appealing to authority, i.e. finding an expert witness who will lend credentials to your case; cherry-picking, i.e. selecting only the data that support your case; and returning to the beginning, i.e. throwing up a succession of claims and falling back from one line of defense to the next as scientists refute each in turn. The chapter then turns to the question of why the deniers repudiate the overwhelming scientific consensus on global warming. What motivates them?

Keywords:   climate change, global warming deniers, Greeks, tobacco companies, scientific consensus

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