The varieties of denialism

I propose we start using the meme “evolution denial” rather than the less specific, and accordingly less pejorative, term “creationism”.

Scientia Salon

Global-Warming-Denialism-04by Massimo Pigliucci

I have just come back from a stimulating conference at Clark University about “Manufacturing Denial,” which brought together scholars from wildly divergent disciplines — from genocide studies to political science to philosophy — to explore the idea that “denialism” may be a sufficiently coherent phenomenon underlying the willful disregard of factual evidence by ideologically motivated groups or individuals.

Let me clarify at the outset that we are not talking just about cognitive biases here. This isn’t a question of the human tendency to pay more attention to evidence supporting one’s view while attempting to ignore contrary evidence. Nor are we talking about our ability as intelligent beings to rationalize the discrepancy between what we want to believe and what the world is like. All of those and more affect pretty much all human beings, and can be accounted for and at the least partially dealt with in…

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About Paul Braterman

Science writer, former chemistry professor; committee member British Centre for Science Education; board member and science adviser Scottish Secular Society; former member editorial board, Origins of Life, and associate, NASA Astrobiology Insitute; first popsci book, From Stars to Stalagmites 2012

Posted on October 28, 2014, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. evolution denial: how about evolution-science denial? That allows for contentious aspects of evolution but still accepts the methodology of developing science-based evolutionary theory.

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  2. The problem with any religion is that faith comes before understanding. And the understanding never eventuates!

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  3. It’s a subtle linguistic construction which carries the nuance that a “denier” must be wrong according to the “correct” view. Hence climate change denier, AIDS denier, holocaust denier etc. Go for it! Next time the evolution deniers come knocking on my door, I’ll be sure to use this intrinsically pejorative term.

    “Denier” is a better term than “denialist”.

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