If you want to knock down scientific findings, disparage them, discredit them, what’s your best strategy? Consider climate change, for example. Deniers have tried every trick in the book…hacking into Emails of scientists doing climate research, and then quoting out-of-contest snippets that purport to show that scientists are trying to delude the public. Or finding scientists who are climate skeptics (or just need the money) and then funding them generously to publish non-peer-reviewed papers casting doubt on climate models….etc.
Now they have come up with a new strategy: Concentrate on single issues that they identify as “soft spots” in the evidence, and then launch a massive disinformation campaign via climate denial blogs, attacking them. The idea is, if they can convince the public that these “keystone dominoes” are invalid, then the whole edifice of climate change will come toppling down like a string of dominoes.
The first targets they selected are arctic sea ice and its effect on polar bear populations. Unfortunately for them, some diligent writers at The Guardian learned about the strategy and exposed it in a lengthy article detailing their campaign. You can read the whole thing here:
Most of the denier blogs referenced a blog by a zoologist named Susan Crockford. It turns out that Crockford has never done studies on polar bear populations, and has never published any peer-reviewed papers on the subject, so Crockford’s blog is a crock of bull manure.
The authors of the Guardian article did a study that looked at blogs from scientists and deniers, and they provide a detailed analysis of the results. Needless to say, the deniers are teetering on Crockford’s crock, and get its contents smeared all over their faces.
That is not to say that their campaign has not had an effect on public opinion. The concentrated and repeated message follows Joseph Goebbels doctrine: “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.” This attack is well-organized and funded, compared to the science side. The article concludes that scientists need to learn how to present their findings to the public in order to counteract the BS from these fake-science outfits.
Bert Bigelow graduated from the University of Michigan engineering school, and then pursued a career in software design. He has always enjoyed writing, and since retirement, has produced short essays on many subjects. His main interests are in the areas of politics and religion, and the intersection of the two. Many of his writings are posted on his web site, bigelowbert.com. You can contact him at email@example.com.