Reddit Bans Climate Change Skepticism, Urges Media to Follow

Why argue over evidence, if you can silence the opposition? The popular website Reddit has joined The Los Angeles Times editorial page in censoring climate skepticism. Reddit banned any such comments from the science sub-forum of its website.

Reddit announced Dec. 16, that climate skepticism was no longer allowed in academic discussions of climate change. In an op-ed explaining the decision, Reddit moderator, Nathan Allen, blasted climate skeptics and even urged the media to censor the subject. He called for newspaper editorial sections to follow suit with bans of their own.

Allen asked “if a half-dozen volunteers can keep [Reddit] from being a microphone for the antiscientific, is it too much to ask for newspapers to police their own editorial pages as proficiently?”

In spite of Allen’s views, scientists from many backgrounds disagree in some way with the so-called consensus.

Allen’s explanation was originally posted on Dec. 16 in the Soros-funded website “Grist,” though it appeared in the Huffington Post the following day. Allen, a professional chemist but not a climatologist, argued that climate skepticism relied on conspiracy theories and denied an overwhelming scientific consensus.

Allen claimed that “climate deniers have an outsized influence in the media,” portraying the ban as rejecting opinions that “purposefully mislead our audience.”

The Los Angeles Times recently took a similar approach, announcing on Oct. 8, 2013 that letters promoting climate change skepticism “do not get printed.”

Reddit had already been deleting climate change-related comments that moderators deemed “conspiracy theories,” but this decision marks a significant change in strategy for the website which prides itself in promoting free speech.

In his op-ed, Allen called climate change skeptics “true believers, blind to the fact that their arguments were hopelessly flawed” and “bitter and biased posters with more opinions then evidence.” He praised the ban on “(almost comically) paranoid and delusional conspiracy theories.”

Allen touted the widely hyped claim that 98 percent of the scientific community believes in man-made climate change, suggesting that comments should “at least acknowledge if not reflect such widespread consensus.” This statistic has been thoroughly refuted. Forbes’ Larry Bell wrote in July 2012 that the number came from a study analyzing the “laughably puny number of 75 of those 77” scientists.

Bell also said other studies have found consensus against man-made global warming. One study found a 63 percent consensus among meteorologists and another saw a 68 percent consensus among Canadian geologists and engineers, both disagreeing with popular theories of man-made climate change.

— Sean Long is an intern at the Media Research Center. Follow Sean Long on Twitter.