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How to be a Denialist:

  1. Allege that there's a conspiracy. Claim that scientific consensus has arisen through collusion rather than the accumulation of evidence.
  2. Use fake experts to support your story. "Denial always starts with a cadre of pseudo-experts with some credentials that create a facade of credibility," says Seth Kalichman of the University of Connecticut.
  3. Cherry-pick the evidence: trumpet whatever appears to support your case and ignore or rubbish the rest. Carry on trotting out supportive evidence even after it has been discredited.
  4. Create impossible standards for your opponents. Claim that the existing evidence is not good enough and demand more. If your opponent comes up with evidence you have demanded, move the goalposts.
  5. Use logical fallacies. Hitler opposed smoking, so anti-smoking measures are Nazi. Deliberately misrepresent the scientific consensus and then knock down your straw man.
  6. Manufacture doubt. Falsely portray scientists as so divided that basing policy on their advice would be premature. Insist "both sides" must be heard and cry censorship when "dissenting" arguments or experts are rejected.

The great American writer left instructions not to publish his autobiography until 100 years after his death, which is now

Exactly a century after rumours of his death turned out to be entirely accurate, one of Mark Twain's dying wishes is at last coming true: an extensive, outspoken and revelatory autobiography which he devoted the last decade of his life to writing is finally going to be published.

The doctor who first suggested a link between MMR vaccinations and autism is to be struck off the medical register.

The General Medical Council found Dr Andrew Wakefield guilty of serious professional misconduct over the way he carried out his controversial research.

Secret South African documents reveal that Israel offered to sell nuclear warheads to the apartheid regime, providing the first official documentary evidence of the state's possession of nuclear weapons.

They will also undermine Israel's attempts to suggest that, if it has nuclear weapons, it is a "responsible" power that would not misuse them, whereas countries such as Iran cannot be trusted.


 

Comments

Thanks for posting the "How to Be a Denialist" article. I just finished reading the whole article ("Living in Denial: Why Sensible People Reject the Truth") and it was excellent. I plan on using that in the college comp class I teach. Thanks, Norm.

You're welcome,we need all the help we can get to encourage critical thinking. The three R's are not enough, we need to add critical thinking, starting in the first grade and continuing every year thereafter.

Re: Futility of Prayer & (Lack of) Critical Thinking

The futility of prayer story is another in an endless string of stories demonstrating how prayer is the antithesis of critical thinking. On Saturday, I saw a decidedly mediocre movie entitled Extraordinary Measures intended to tell the story of an entreprenuer father whose kids are afflicted with Pompe's disease and his teaming up with a research scientist to find a treatment. The scientific part of the story isn't too badly compromised for dramatic effect, all things considered, but as entertainment, the movie wasn't very good. So anyway, I was looking for reviews of the movie and came across a christian movie review site.
One of the commenters said,

...it was a nice message about a family fighting for their children. God is the ultimate Healer should have been the main message...

Isn't it amazing! A disease kills children off for a century since it was first recognized as a distinct malady. Undoubtedly, thousands of prayers have been "ignored by the ultimate Healer" all that time. A movie is made that (imperfectly) tells how scientists find a treatment that saves kids' lives, and "God is the ultimate Healer should have been the main message". It is hopeless - absolutely hopeless.

The great American writer left instructions not to publish his autobiography until 100 years after his death, which is now

I love Twain and can't wait to see what he says, that said, his 100 year stipulation seems to be an attempt to not share any of his insults with those he insulted, but also to ensure any dissenting opinions can come only from the oral histories shared with grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Clever way to ensure you are not heavily edited.

How to be a Denialist:

As someone that is sickened by how scientifically refuted beliefs have effected our public policy, I do take a more cautious approach to this language. I think that the difference between a denier and dissenter with valid concerns is simply the continueing in the face of overwhelming evidence to the counter.

If creationism was a majority heald view in the scientific community I would certainly do all these things although from my perspective I would delete the word "fake" and false from each of these items

  1. It would have to involve a conspiracy
  2. I would gather like minded people of different diciplines to publicly testify
  3. I would select and highlight the evidence that refutes an intelligent design theory. 4 & 5 I don't see as anything I would plan to do

  4. I certainly would promote the idea of evolution outside of the simple scientific fact and challenge both the science and origins of intelligent design.

darned auto numbering!

Didn't the word 'denialist' come from the longer, original term 'holocost deniers? Sees like the author is violating his own rule.

Bernie is arguing by analogy. Is it a good analogy or bad that is the question.

You'll have to look at tip #5 for the answer Norm ;)

Number 5 doesn't apply. It is always risky to use Nazi in an analogy, but the point is that ignoring evidence leads to bad things, not that ignoring evidence makes you a Nazi.

Ah, yes. The nuance defense. So glad to see you're discussing something non GM related!

What do you mean by this?

There's really only one reason to include the word 'Nazi' or 'Hitler' in a political rant, and it has nothing to do with reason. I guess the only good thing is now that Olbermann and Beck are on the stage, everyone knows what an idiotic argument it is and dismisses anyone who is stupid enough to use it anymore. As I see it, calling people 'deniers' is only slightly less idiotic than calling someone 'Holocost Denierish'. You can't be taken seriously.

I don't see the problem with using 'denier' if one lays out the rationale for why it's ludicrous and undesirable to be one. Had the author above insinuated that his use of 'denier' was to be despised and disparaged simply because its etymology goes back to Holocaust Denialism then I would agree with you about it being an Appeal to Emotion. I just don't see that happening here but feel free to correct me on that.

Then by all means, go on using it ;)

Again, if we're wrong and committing a fallacy, explain in detail.

I already have Erick. You chose not to accept it. Not much I can or want to do about that. You are what you are.

I think you need to look up "fallacy" in the dictionary.

Revealed: how Israel offered to sell South Africa nuclear weapons

I have never really understood the status of Israel as a favored nation within the US. What makes them different than the other "rogue" state like Iran? Why are the middle-eastern Arab countries so out favor in the US?

Israel doesn't even follow the same religion as the majority in US. Their missteps (with US backing) in the middle east are a constant headache for US national security. They don't even have the oil which the US covets so what is it that makes them special? Is it because of the powerful AIPAC? or has the holocaust provided them with an all powerful get out of jail free card?

Israel's attempts to suggest that, if it has nuclear weapons, it is a "responsible" power that would not misuse them,

israel is not a "responsible power". we could go nuts at any time and blow the world up. not unlike...uh...you (hypocrites).

i think pakistan and north korea are pretty fucking humble and harmless, iran? just talk. how about you?

i mean, norm, your last president had his finger on the button for 8 years and you continually, during that time, did everything you could to prove he was dangerously insane. which i wouldn't argue with. but come on...

I mean really, we are so crazy we probably gave the bomb to isreal. Its like your girlfriend calling you a loser. "Baby, you're the one sleeping with me."

that's actually a pretty good call, red.

There's really only one reason to include the word 'Nazi' or 'Hitler' in a political rant, and it has nothing to do with reason.

Last I checked, olbermann doesn't really do this.

That said, Hitler was a human being, so was the Nazi army. Their actions were within the realm of what we are capable of and a great example of what we should avoid repeating.

There need to be reasoned conversations about how wer avoid repeating those mistakes.

Yes, I suppose it is appropriate to compare carbon to Hitler. After all, next to water, I'm sure Hitler's body contained a lot of carbon.

Or better yet, we could compare rising sea levels to Hitler, because water probably was the most abundant chemical coursing through Hitler's veins!

The comparison wasn't to Hitler but rather the DANGER posed by Hitler, and the DANGER posed by global warming.

Use any danger you want that is of similar scope and you have an analogy.

The reason to avoid Hitler is because the conversation gets sidetracked when some dumbass thinks you're comparing Hitler himself and not the danger he posed to something else.

Europeans say GM food is DANGEROUS and we all know Hitler was DANGEROUS, so if we are to avoid another blah blah blah....

Keep it up Norm, it's working so well!

The question of climate change aside, you failed to understand the form an analogy takes.

On the question of climate change, what a bunch of environmentalist activists think is pretty much irrelevant since their scientific knowledges and their evidence doesn't make a credible case.

The fallacy is Argumentum ad populum

I wasn't arguing that since the majority doesn't believe in Climate Scientology that it isn't true Norm.

Only that the campaign to convince the people by calling them names is failing miserably.

And the tactic of calling climate science Climate Scientology is "cute"?

Only that the campaign to convince the people by calling them names is failing miserably.

How do you presume that? The more likely scenario is propaganda of the denialists. Yes, the same type propaganda creationists and anti-vaccination people use. Do you think those groups gain new adepts because scientists are "rude" to existing adepts?

Definitely not 'cute'. It's a blatant accusation that what started out as science has become a religion unto itself. Think about it Tim, who are the people the most excited about climate change legislation? People who claim not to be religious, but have dogma every bit as rigid as the Christians and Jews they so love to hate.

The level of excitement over legislation is not relevant to the question of whether climate science is good - neither are the feelings of climate change legislation towards Chistians and Jews.

But since you brought it up, piercing the dogma of Christians and Jews is easy. If climate scientists subscribe to a rigid dogma that is as easily refuted, it should be a simple for you to train in "good undogmatic" climate science and begin publishing papers wherein you can expose the dogma as bogus. You can point to your data and well-supported conclusions and end the chokehold these "climate scientologists" have over the field. It will be cakewalk - put the conspiracy these awful haters are foisting on us to rest.

that should have read: ...climate change legislation enthusiasts towards Chistians and Jews.

Sure Tim,

Catholics paid indulgences, CSers pay carbon offsets. Christians and Jews tithe, CSers want everyone to pay a carbon tax. Only Levites could handle the Ark of the Covenant - and lost it. Only the CRU could handle the raw data - and lost it! Old Testament sin is punished with floods, plagues, storms, earthquakes, eternal flames, shorter lifespan, weeds and death. CSers claim we will suffer floods, plagues, storms, earthquakes, extreme unending heat, shorter lifespans, weeds, and death. Jews avoided God's wrath by sacrificing livestock. CSers demand we give up eating meat and personal transportation. I'm sure there hare hundreds of uncanny similarities I haven't listed, but you get the point. There's no doubt about it, Climate Science has become Climate Scientology.

Of course you're thinking none of this has anything to do with the science of global warming, but it seems the top climate scientists have been all too willing to be ordained as high priests as well.

You're conflating debates within climate science with debates about policies that should be adopted in response to the results of the scientific investigations. These are two different things - whether or not there are individuals doing the science who are also speaking about what should be done about it. My recommendation is that you carefully draw distinctions between these two separate matters. In my opinion, you're on perfectly sound footing if you want to object to policy recommendations - you're even on sound footing if you want to object to climate scientists who seek to leverage their expertise in the science into getting a disproportionate say about what we should be doing about it. But unless you are willing to start contributing to the primnary literature of the subject, you are not on solid ground when you start trashing the scientific results.

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