An open letter to

Agree to Disagree

Debate in a non-hostile environment



An open letter to

RealClimate recently published an article called “The Climate Scientists are Alright”.

The article is about the “climate scientist blues”.

I posted the following comment, under this article.


Sheldon Walker says:

I am willing to believe that most climate scientists are trying to do a good job.

However, it must be depressing to find that a large number of people don’t “trust” what climate scientists are saying.

This is because global warming is a “toxic” issue. There is a lack of trust on both sides, and a high level of nastiness.

Climate scientists need to continue doing a good job. But they need to work on building “trust”. Stopping calling people “deniers” is the first step.

So an important question is, CAN climate scientists stop calling people “deniers”. If they can’t, then perhaps we are all doomed.


Gavin replied to my comment:

[Response: Trust is based (or should be) on telling the truth. The existence of climate denial – the reflexive gain-saying of any scientific result that might indicate that we might need to do something about carbon emissions – is undeniable. By demanding that scientists ignore this, or refuse to name it, you are asking that they avoid the truth. I would suggest rather that if people don’t want to be rightly accused of climate denial, they don’t go around denying climate science. – gavin]


I tried to post another comment, in reply to Gavin’s comment. But my comment was put into “The Bore Hole” (which is described as “A place for comments that would otherwise disrupt sensible conversations”).

The following is my comment that got put in “The Bore Hole”.

Sheldon Walker says:


Most of the people who get called “deniers”, are not “deniers”. They are just people who disagree with what you, and the other name callers, believe.

Most of the people who get called “deniers”, are intelligent people. When you insult them, by calling them a nasty name, they become your enemy. That means that you have lost.

If you listened to them, rather than calling them names, then you might get somewhere. There are no guarantees, but the name calling strategy isn’t working.

I have been following the global warming debacle since before the original climategate (for over 10 years). In all that time, I have NEVER claimed that global warming is not happening. But I have been called a “denier” constantly, because I question some aspects of global warming.

I agree with you, that trust should be based on telling the truth. But it is a mistake to think that you have the only version of the truth.

Climate denial exists. But to categorize everybody who disagrees with you, as a “denier”, makes you even worse than a “denier” (if that is possible).

I will put modesty aside for a minute, and say that I am an intelligent person. I have a number of university level scholarships and prizes to prove it. For my Bachelor of Commerce degree (21 papers), majoring in Finance and Economics, I got 12 A+’s, 5 A’s, and 4 A-‘s.

I also have a good science education. I specialised in science from my second year at high school. I got a scholarship in my final year of high school, based on my exam results (Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Mathematics, and English). I got A+’s at university for stage 1 Physics and biology, and I got an A+ for Stage 2 Chemistry Honours (direct entry to Stage 2 Chemistry Honours School from high school).

But Alarmists constantly call me a denier, and insist that I am a “science denier”, who doesn’t know any science. I suspect that I am better qualified than most of them, but I am too modest to point it out.

I hate Alarmists for how they treat me. They treat me as if I am evil, and not human. I will oppose most of the things that Alarmists want, just because I hate them so much. I don’t need any other reason.

If you want to know what I think about global warming, then you should visit my website.

Even though I hate Alarmists, I still try to listen to them. Because I know that I don’t know everything. I am still hopeful that some “nice” Alarmists will appear, and have a friendly debate with me about global warming.

I can be reasoned with. But not by a person who calls me a “denier”.

The following is an additional comment for Gavin to think about:

Gavin, you claim that NOT calling people “deniers”, would be avoiding the truth.

It is possible to tell somebody that you disagree with them, without calling them a nasty name.

You can even show them evidence to support your view, without calling them a nasty name.

People who call other people by nasty names, are showing the world that THEY are a nasty person.

I expect scientists to act like mature adults. Not like 5 year old bullies.

If you want my respect, then you need to earn it. I am willing to give you the chance to convince me. It is now up to you.