Judy Curry has a post on the concepts of denier and denial:
- When used in the context of the climate debate, particularly when scientists discuss another scientist or their arguments (e.g. Mann calling JC a ‘denier’), the use of denial is intellectual tyranny at its worst. Scientists bullying their opponents is not new; Isaac Newton provides a prime example. When a scientist uses the word about the arguments of another scientist or the scientist themselves, they are giving the public a message that they don’t need to think for themselves, but rather they only need to listen to the person that is claiming a consensus and is screeching the loudest.
- The extension of the “denier” tag to group after group is a development that should alarm all liberal-minded people. One of the great achievements of the Enlightenment—the liberation of historical and scientific enquiry from dogma—is quietly being reversed.
My experience is that the mere questioning of ruling dogma can make people upset and upset people often react by a killer instinct.