We have reported before how climate alarmists seek to draw parallels between the shape of arguments made by the morally reprehensible, and climate change “denialists“. At the same time, some like to make analogies of climate scientists and physicians. Andrew Dessler, professor in the Department of Atmospheric Sciences at Texas A&M University, former scientific advisor to the Clinton Whitehouse, and climate change activist blogger at Gristmill does both.
After spotting an advert [PDF] in the New York Times for the Indoor Tanning Association’s campaign website, sunlightscam.com, Dessler compares the strategies employed by the Indoor Tanning Association, and the deniers:
The association between sun exposure and skin cancer is every bit as robust as the association between greenhouse gases and climate change. And that means it’s pretty damn robust. What’s interesting is that the Indoor Tanning Association seems to have virtually plagiarized the strategy incorporated by tobacco companies and global-warming denialists. The phrases “hypothetical risks” and “no compelling scientific evidence,” along with efforts to smear the mainstream scientific community with accusations of corruption, are right out of the global-warming denialists‘ handbook.
This really underscores the effectiveness of the strategy. Regardless of how strong the evidence is — whether it’s the connection between smoking and lung cancer, exposure to sunlight and skin cancer, or greenhouse gases and climate change — it seems possible to create doubt in the general public’s mind with a concerted PR campaign.
What is interesting about Dessler’s inability to discuss global warming without recourse to crude analogy is that it reveals a strategy of his own, and the poverty of climate change “ethics”. Climate alarmists find it so difficult to connect their arguments to people that they need to seek abstract parallels in the structure of dubious arguments, and those of their opponents, despite their being totally unrelated. Thus we see Naomi Oreskes struggling to identify continuity between the legal defence offered by tobacco companies and the inertia of the environmental movement in the USA. And we see Marc D. Davidson attempting to diminish the moral character of climate change “deniers” by comparing their arguments to the arguments in favour of the continuation of slavery made nearly 200 years ago.
These are sure signs of the exhaustion of the climate change argument. It borrows the moral high-ground from history, but struggles to make the moral case for ‘action’ on its own terms; climate change denial is the equivalent of being in favour of the slave trade. The climate change argument borrows scientific credibility from medicine; climate change is like cancer, and climate scientists are like doctors. This unsophisticated reasoning isn’t designed to shed any light on the matters at hand. It merely uses this borrowed moral and scientific certainty to position climate alarmists on the “good” side.