Evolution Icon Evolution
Free Speech Icon Free Speech

In Science Dispute, Al Gore Offers a Strategy for “Winning the Conversation” with Skeptics

Former vice president Al Gore compared climate skeptics to apologists for old-time Bull Connor-style racism and urges that the appropriate response, in order to “win the conversation” on climate change, is to shame and shun them.
The Daily Caller notes:

The former vice president [in an interview] recalled how society succeeded in marginalizing racists and said climate change skeptics must be defeated in the same manner.
“Secondly, back to this phrase ‘win the conversation,'” he continued. “There came a time when friends or people you work with or people you were in clubs with — you’re much younger than me so you didn’t have to go through this personally — but there came a time when racist comments would come up in the course of the conversation and in years past they were just natural. Then there came a time when people would say, ‘Hey, man why do you talk that way, I mean that is wrong. I don’t go for that so don’t talk that way around me. I just don’t believe that.’ That happened in millions of conversations and slowly the conversation was won.”

Hm, “winning a conversation” with science skeptics by treating them as miscreants, caught in the act of justifying “gross and evil” attitudes. Where have we heard this strategy before? Ah yes, in the equation of Darwin doubting with Holocaust denial, a comparison that Richard Dawkins among other evolution evangelists have made.
Our John West recalled here a while back in the context of the California Science Center case:

On a radio show this week, someone defended the Science Center’s censorship of Darwin’s Dilemma by equating intelligent design with Holocaust denial and arguing that the Science Center’s censorship was no different from the Simon Wiesenthal Center (a private group) denying someone permission to screen a Holocaust-denial film at its Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles.

So this is how you deal with people who disagree with you on a matter of scientific dispute. Shun, marginalize and generally do everything you can to shut them down. You win the conversation by disallowing a conversation in the first place.

David Klinghoffer

Senior Fellow and Editor, Evolution News
David Klinghoffer is a Senior Fellow at Discovery Institute and the editor of Evolution News & Science Today, the daily voice of Discovery Institute’s Center for Science & Culture, reporting on intelligent design, evolution, and the intersection of science and culture. Klinghoffer is also the author of six books, a former senior editor and literary editor at National Review magazine, and has written for the Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Seattle Times, Commentary, and other publications. Born in Santa Monica, California, he graduated from Brown University in 1987 with an A.B. magna cum laude in comparative literature and religious studies. David lives near Seattle, Washington, with his wife and children.