Too nice, or naughty?

A reader responded to my recent post on some new climate change data:

You are my role model for congenial dialogue and generosity toward the views of others. I’ve heard your critics say that one of the “problems with McLaren is that he’s too nice.” I like that accusation, and I hope I can receive that accolade myself some day (I’m strongly opinionated, so I need your model in my life).
Today, I read your headline, “News for Climate Change Deniers.” Immediately I thought, “Brian is better than this.” It saddens me that you’d use a phrase that could nearly amount to name-calling (though I doubt you intended it as such). I think you would be equally disappointed with headlines like “News for Truth Deniers” potentially published by an Al Mohler type or “Late Hell-Denier now knows the Real Truth” from the John Pipers of this world.
Perhaps a headline like, “Climate Change Skeptics Might want to check this out” or “This might help the unconvinced.” Bottom line is, while there are folks who deny global warming and/or climate change, most of us are really on the skeptical side, or we’ve trusted scientists who aren’t as alarmed about it as you are. Or we have more faith in the progress of humanity to solve problems when they arrive (Superfreakonomics raises some really good points about technological solutions to the climate change problem).
It’s really all about the language. You’ve taught me that.
I’m not a denier.
On my best days I’m open.
Calling me a denier doesn’t make me want to maintain that posture.

Thanks for your note … You’re right: I didn’t mean “denier” as an epithet. I simply meant it to refer to the people who deny that climate change is real, or that human beings are playing a part in it. My sense is that those who hold this opinion are proud of the fact and don’t see “denier” as an epithet, but you may be right – the term may be so problematic that I should avoid it in the future. Thanks for your concern and sensitivity to language. Always a challenge!