At first, “gullible denialism” seems like an oxymoron. “Gullible” means “easily deceived,” whereas “denial” is the refusal to admit the truth. Gullible people don’t require evidence; but deniers don’t accept evidence. A gullible person is easily duped by others; a denier is constantly fooled by himself. The common attribute is that neither one makes use of evidence as a basis for belief: one through negligence, and the other through willful ignorance.
Global warming “skepticism” is a misnomer. There are signs that its use is finally falling out of favor in the media, because of the false implication that those who reject human causes for climate change do so because of the lack of evidence, rather than the rejection of evidence. Even many former “skeptics” now call themselves “deniers.” Harrison Schmitt, who recently withdrew his nomination from a New Mexico cabinet position, famously referred to himself as a true “denier” of human-caused global warming.
Global warming deniers unquestioningly embrace the debunked Inhofe conspiracy theory without evidence. Many of Inhofe’s “400 prominent scientists” who disputed the reality of man-made global warming in 2007, are not scientists at all. One of these individuals is Chuck Wiese, a former pilot who describes himself as a “Proud Human Caused Global Warming ‘Denier’ ” on his Facebook page. Wiese illustrates the link between gullibility and denialism.
When I wrote the original Alabama Pi April Fools joke, I inserted many clues in an attempt to ensure that only the most credulous people would fall for it. Nevertheless, according to some reports, “The result was Alabama’s State Legislature being flooded with phone calls in protest of a law that they weren’t even aware of.” I was always a bit skeptical of such claims, assuming this was a bit of journalistic embellishment. Who could be that gullible?
Likewise, the Alabama Pi Sequel–which claimed that Tea-Party-backed Congresswoman Martha Roby wanted to change the value of pi to exactly three–had many hints to warn the suckers. In addition to being written under the “HUFFPOST COMEDY” banner, it ended with quotes from President Obama trying to get Republicans to get the Tea Party Caucus to agree that the Earth revolves around the sun, and with a Democratic US Senator reacting to the proposed legislation by dying of a massive brain aneurysm.
Still, Chuck Wiese actually had to call Rep. Roby’s office to determine whether or not this was a joke. Reassured, he warned fellow deniers in his recent post on Facebook that the story was fake, “Just to let you guys know, this story is BS. It was circulated a week ago and spread all over the country by left wingers. I called Congresswoman Roby’s office and that is the true story. She did not sponsor any math legislation to simplify pi.” As they say, there’s a sucker born every minute.
I guess the gullible deniers can go back to believing in Inhofe’s conspiracy theory now.