Oh, somewhere in this favored land, the sun is shining bright,
The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light;
And somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout,
But there is no joy in Mudville—mighty Casey has struck out
— Casey At The Bat by Ernest Lawrence Thayer
I don't go after "climate deniers" on DOTE because the psychological stuff I'm trying to describe is far more subtle than the example such people provide. There's nothing subtle about "climate truthers," which is Dave Roberts' preferred term in AP says to call climate deniers "climate doubters." Whatever. (Vox, September 24, 2015).
[The Associated Press], in its Solomonic wisdom, has elected to eschew both terms. Instead it's going with "climate change doubter," or alternatively, "those who reject mainstream climate science," which trips right off the tongue.
Predictably, this pleased no one...
My hot take: It doesn't really matter. Nothing of particular consequence rests on what journalists choose to call these people. Certainly nothing that would justify the endless hours of debate that have been devoted to it.
Personally, I like the term "climate truthers," which better captures the flavor of the thing. It's not like "those who reject mainstream climate science" all have the same story about why they reject it. There are dozens of varieties of counter-theories, as many as there are theories about Kennedy's assassination. What unites them all is a conviction that the official story can't be right, that it's covering for a nefarious agenda, that the truth is out there.
So the AP whitewashed the labeling problem. (I prefer the term "fuckheads".)
Those who reject mainstream climate science (truthers, deniers, doubters) illustrate a highly generalized cognitive process which I called "bad news filtering" in the first Flatland essay. Climate science is nothing but bad news. A significant proportion of the population, at least in the weird world called the United States, filters such bad news in the crudest kind of way—simple denial. These "doubters" use all sorts of unconscious post-hoc strategies to rationalize their rejection of the science.
Environmentalists also filter bad news, but in a far more elaborate way, so I tend to concentrate on them in describing how Flatland works. Personally, I divide the human world into mammals and reptiles. I prefer to write about the mammals