Re: ”Climate skepticism takes toll on science” (TNT, 5-17).
This article reports on a study at the University of Bristol, England, which finds that climate scientists are downplaying future climate risks to avoid being labeled as “alarmists” and risking hate mail from climate “deniers."
Yet the reporting in the article could not be more biased in favor of those scientists. The findings of just one study are presented unquestioningly, without considering possible biases in the study itself or of the journal in which it appeared (Global Environmental Change).
The point of the study is that any analyses of climate change which do not find an imminent risk are not only wrong but should not even be expressed, because refuting contrary viewpoints is a waste of scientists’ time. Never mind that questioning a hypothesis is the essence of the scientific method; never mind that taking the time and doing the work necessary to refute objections is the only way to establish the validity of a hypothesis.
The study also uses the dismissive label of “denier” even while lamenting the sting of being called an “alarmist.” But isn’t being called a “denier” as offensive as being called an “alarmist”? And don’t scientists who are “deniers” get hate mail from their opponents as well?
Finally, the Orwellian conclusion that the words of an objection frame the content of the debate, and so interfere with scientific progress.
An unbiased article would have addressed these issues.