In the latest New Scientist they cover the ever blooming fields of denialism that popped up everywhere or that bloomed anew in the first decade of the new millennium. One of their references is an important paper from Martin Mckee, and it’s at the European Journal of Public Health.
Here are his main points on how to be a denialist, I’ve expanded some bullets where I believe Martin conflated two separate tactics in the Denialist Arsenal.
- Allege that there’s a conspiracy. Claim that scientific consensus has arisen through collusion rather than the accumulation of evidence.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Use logical fallacies. Hitler opposed smoking, so anti-smoking measures are Nazi.
- Deliberately misrepresent the scientific consensus and then knock down your straw man.
- 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.
Science uses some of the SINEs and LINEs of our times to track our common ancestry, and determine some of what had to be true of your evolution and mine.
Our great national shame is that only Turkey has lower belief in the science of evolution than we do. We can not hope to maintain our lead in science, technology and to keep our pre-eminence as a world power if this ignorance continues far into this century.
Within some extreme fundamentalist sects of Islam there’s a doctrine known as “Takfirism” – it’s most often used by terrorists like Ayman Al Zawhari, or by fundamentalist schools to justify killing other muslims through declaring them apostate. To boil it down to simple terms, on one pretext or another (your beard was trimmed to you played a music CD, etc, ) a person is declared Takfir and branded as apostate, and for the more extreme fundamentalists apostates are subject to death as punishment. To put it in simplest terms you are declared a heretic by someone who claims to be holier than you in your own faith.
For real Takfir most real scholars believe that the person who becomes Takfir must make a declaration of such or an open denial of some major component of their faith, you become Takfir through your own declaration or decision, not the declaration or or decision of another.
What’s this got to do with you and I?
In an earlier article I pointed out how Fox is either a sucker for the most fundamentalist views in Christianity, or they are are actively promoting those over mainstream Christian views, take your pick. In the US these fundamentalists use a similar “holier than thou” stance to brand anyone who doesn’t promote exact, literal, biblical inerrancy as a heretic and to cast them out. (Note that none of these extremist Christians are so wrapped up in their own rhetoric that they think killing due to this is justified as some off flavor Salafi and Wahhabists in Islam do.)
Here’s another example as a followup to my earlier post, to demonstrate how intolerant these fringes really are and how ABC news is also a sucker for the extremists just like Fox:
In this segment they bring in notable Answers in Genesis whack ball Ken Ham try to refute the guy. You might remember Ken from the infamous “Creationism Museum” in KY, you know the one where they imply that all black people are cursed.
Peter Sinclair covers several of the recent climate denialist headlines, which almost always get things exactly wrong or backwards.
Today is international Darwin Day, and it’s Abraham Lincoln’s Birthday as well. It’s a great day to celebrate and I recommend going to see “Creation” tonight.