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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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(p.1) Introduction
The Inquisition of Climate Science

James Lawrence Powell

Columbia University Press

This introductory chapter discusses the attack against climate science waged by radio and television broadcasters such as Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck, and by politicians such as Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA) and former Alaska governor Sarah Palin. It argues that just as the Roman Inquisition rejected outright the evidence assembled by Copernicus and Galileo to show that Earth moves around the Sun, the modern inquisitors deny the overwhelming evidence of global warming. The modern inquisition of climate science shows no sign of abating; indeed, as the evidence for global warming mounts, the attacks on scientists grow louder. The chapter further contends that those who abjure global warming are not skeptics; they are deniers. To call them skeptics is to debase language as much as to call the Ku Klux Klan “prejudiced” or Holocaust deniers “biased.” There is honest and honorable skepticism; then there is irrational, self-serving denial.

Keywords:   climate change, global warming, climate science, skepticism, denial, deniers

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