Revealing slips of the tongue

Last week it was about the ‘stupid cops’ as racists by nature. This week it is about an editorial in the American Chemical Society. Watts up with that? carries a good, lengthy, rundown. At issue in Baum’s editorial:

William E. Keller wrote: “However bitter you (Baum) personally may feel about CCDs (climate change deniers), it is not your place as editor to accuse them—falsely—of nonscientific behavior by using insultingly inappropriate language. […] The growing body of scientists, whom you abuse as sowing doubt, making up statistics, and claiming to be ignored by the media, are, in the main, highly competent professionals, experts in their fields, completely honorable, and highly versed in the scientific method—characteristics that apparently do not apply to you.”

Perhaps also telling is that the outrage surprises and confounds and startles Baum. This is interpreted by some as evidence of the hubris and arrogance of those who have near religious belief in anthropogenic global warming. The response – blowback – isn’t just about differences of opinion. Rather it is in how an opinion is expressed. Many of the letters to the editor were about basic scientific values and processes and manners. Anyone who tries to rationalize this brouhaha as simple differences of opinion is completely missing the point.

Besides trying to ignore the integrity of scientific debate by the moral equivalencing attempts at “it’s just an opinion” there is also the effort to demean those who responded because some of the letters were abusive. As with the ‘stupid cop’ arresting an abusive citizen, the abuse is a problem with the individual and not with the point they are trying to make. To try to use such individual abusive behavior to ‘prove’ racism or global warming is nonsense but slips of the tongue reveal that it happens nonetheless.

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