This post will probably open a can of worms and take us WAY off topic. It is a letter I wrote to The Houston Chronicle (which they declined to print), noting that the language and tactics of climate-change deniers sounds eerily like that of creationists:
Predictably, whenever the Chronicle prints a statement of the fact of human-caused climate change, as it did with the publication of Paul Krugman’s excellent editorial, “This close to betraying planet” on Tuesday, June 30, there is always a backlash of ignorant outrage. These tirades sound eerily familiar in tone. They sound exactly like the antievolutionary screeds of creationists. In fact, there is probably considerable overlap between the climate-change deniers and creationists; once you start rejecting inconvenient science, it easily becomes a habit. Climate-change deniers and creationists indulge in the same kind of rhetoric and employ the same sorts of tricks. Unable to win on the basis of evidence and logic, they resort to name-calling. Creationists characterize evolutionists as “atheists” who promote “the religion of secular humanism.” Climate-change deniers call their opponents “pathological romantics” or “eco-zealots.” While engaging in ad hominem argument, it also helps to mischaracterize opposing positions. Evolutionary theory as depicted by creationists bears scant resemblance to the real thing. Similarly, deniers of climate change fatuously say that their opponents want to reverse the industrial revolution or go back to transportation by ox cart. In fact, those leading the charge in warning against climate change, like Secretary of Energy, Nobel Prize winning physicist Steven Chu, are the most active proponents of new science and new technology. Another tactic common to both the creationists and the climate-change deniers is to present a skewed version of the facts. Young earth creationists falsely claim that there are no transitional fossils. Climate-change deniers laughably tout the balmy climate that global warming will supposedly bring to New England (the real effects will be devastating). It is little wonder that creationists and climate-change deniers are so much alike. Both groups are motivated by a fundamentalist ideology: theological fundamentalism in the one case, and economic fundamentalism on the other. Ignorance is always dangerous, and doubly so when it is intentional.