Prominent Skeptics Are Trying to Convince Journalists to Stop Misusing the Word December 6, 2014

Prominent Skeptics Are Trying to Convince Journalists to Stop Misusing the Word

Sen. James Inhofe is frequently referred to as a “skeptic” of climate change. But he’d more accurately be described as a “denier” of it.

Now, a large group of prominent skeptics are trying to convince journalists to understand the distinction so they stop misusing the “S” word:

As Fellows of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, we are concerned that the words “skeptic” and “denier” have been conflated by the popular media. Proper skepticism promotes scientific inquiry, critical investigation, and the use of reason in examining controversial and extraordinary claims. It is foundational to the scientific method. Denial, on the other hand, is the a priori rejection of ideas without objective consideration.

The open letter, published on the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry’s website, is signed by Bill Nye, Ann Druyan, Sir Harold Kroto, Eugenie C. Scott, and dozens of others who have made careers out of promoting proper science.

There’s not much they can do about word usage other than raise awareness of it. And hope Margaret Sullivan of the Times comes across it.

(Image via Shutterstock)

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