David Archer’s response to Freeman Dyson in RealClimate is not to be missed. All of it is excellent. His fourth point describes the denialists better than I have seen it done, and I’d like to draw your attention to that.
The target audience of denialism is the lay audience, not scientists. It’s made up to look like science, but it’s PR.
Climate science is perfectly healthy; many points of view are represented on matters that are in doubt; rational revisiting of points generally treated with good humor. Communication aimed at political rather than scientific discourse are not necessary and hard to see as other than malicious.
Would most scientists agree with this assessment? Maybe not. Most scientists are only dimly aware of the denialists. This is because the denialists avoid actual scientific meetings for the most part, preferring to talk to the press. Some busy scientists don’t feel a need to follow the press on their area of expertise, so they never really hear about all this supposed scientific controversy unless they find themselves entangled in it.
While it’s progress that they are no longer getting equal time, how long will the press misrepresent the denialists as serious? There’s a great deal of damage that needs to be reversed. It will be interesting to see the reactions to David’s calling a thing by its right name.