Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Denialists, Deniers and Other Examples of Orwellian Newspeak in New Scientist

The "Anti-Fascist Protection Rampart." A recent article in New Scientist uses a strategy reminiscent of the one that East German authorities used. Image courtesy of Thierry Noir, via Wikipedia.

Joel Kontinen

In recent history, totalitarian states mastered the Orwellian art of making words mean the opposite of what we might assume at first glance. In Berlin, the wall separating the two parts of city was called the "Anti-Fascist Protection Rampart" (Antifaschistischer Schutzwall). As history would tell us, its main purpose was to keep East Berliners from escaping to the west.

In New Scientist, Chris Mooney laments what he sees as “the science deniers dismissing inconvenient truths,” by which he primarily means Darwinian evolution and human-induced climate change.

Lumping all kind of critical thinking together is hardly very scientific. Most people who accept biblical creation will think that vaccines are necessary.

Mr. Mooney thinks that the TV-series Cosmos will hardly convince the “deniers”. He is probably right as Neil deGrasse Tyson made a number of scientific and historic blunders in the series.

He presents more bizarre claims: “And as for the young-Earth creationists? We all cheered when Bill Nye the Science Guy demolished their arguments in a televised debate, but we know that none of them changed their minds.”

Bill Nye hardly demolished Ken Ham’s arguments. He mostly ignored them. In contrast, Answers in Genesis and other creationist organisations have demolished all of Nye’s arguments.

So, who are the real science denialists? Both Nye and Tyson denied scientific and historical facts. But, then, they obviously denied the “right” facts – as seen from a purely naturalistic perspective in which there is no room for the supernatural but naturalistic miracles run the show as they cannot allow a Divine foot in the door.

This, we might know, is a form of denialism.


Mooney, Chris. 2014. Making science cool won't win over the denialists. New Scientist 2972 (9 June).