The press, our politicians, and even the progressive blogosphere, have been integral in giving these "skeptics" a voice - by accommodating opinions that are patently false, and lending authority to those engaging in an agenda of misinformation.
While deniers arguments gain coverage in the mainstream thanks to so called "balanced reporting", bloggers are to blame for freely publishing deniers comments regardless of how demonstrably false they are - a practice that gives the false impression of a debate about the facts of climate change when in reality there isn't one.
There are those who are genuinely misinformed or under-informed about global warming and to their credit seek new information and correct their opinions as they learn more. For the rest - those that knowingly perpetuate lies, or stubbornly refuse to consider new information - it is time that they were treated for what they are, the intellectual children of the online community.
To that end, today represents the beginning of a new comment moderation policy at The Conscious Earth. The following rules will go into effect immediately:
- Anyone making ad hominem attacks in the global warming debate will have their comments summarily rejected.
- Commenters that regurgitate an existing and previously debunked skeptic argument will be directed to the Grist's Skeptics Page, where they can learn the facts behind the false evidence they are citing.
- Subsequent comments regarding the point in question will be accepted only if they provide new evidence that counters the conclusions of the scientific community or that represents new findings not previously discussed in the blogosphere.
In the name of genuine climate change debate, I encourage all members of the green and scientific community to take a similar approach. I'll be placing this post at the top of The Conscious Earth's Top Posts section. Feel free to link to it if helpful. You can also use the following form letter for responding to comments.
Public debate requires learning, openness to new information, arguments that address issues, freedom from personal attacks, and the basic ability for rational discourse. By accommodating deniers, and their refusal to engage in any of these behaviours, we've all played a role in lending authority to their irrational opinions and in slowing progress towards solutions.
Nobody would spend a decade debating bed time with a 5 year old. It's now long past due to end the current climate change "debate" and send deniers to bed, without their supper.