New Scientist: Special report: Living in denial:

(Image: Woods Wheatcroft)

STATE OF DENIAL

From climate change to vaccines, evolution to flu, denialists are on the march. Why are so many people refusing to accept what the evidence is telling them?

In this special feature we look at the phenomenon in depth. What is denial? What attracts people to it? How does it start, and how does it spread? And finally, how should we respond to it?

DEFINING DENIAL

When a sceptic isn’t a sceptic

(Image: Joseph Eid / AFP / Getty Images)

There are clear lines between scepticism and denial, but telling them apart can be tricky in the real world, says Michael Shermer. Read more

WHOSE CONSPIRACY?

Why sensible people reject the truth

Good story, shame about the evidence (Image: Chris  Casciano)

Denialism satisfies deep emotional needs. That makes it easy to encourage and hard to counter, says Debora MacKenzie. Read more

SMOKESCREENS

How corporations manufacture doubt

Producing a smokescreen (Image: Andrei Pungovschi / AP /  PA)

If the truth is inconvenient, put up a smokescreen instead. It works wonders for big business, argues Richard Littlemore. Read more

PLAUSIBLE FALSEHOOD

Unleashing a lie

Think diseases spread fast? Lies are faster (Image:  Saturn Stills / SPL)

It’s easy to send a lie flying around the world, and almost impossible to shoot it down, says Jim Giles. Read more

THE D-WORD

Questioning science isn’t blasphemy

Is "denier" just another insult? (Image: Rodger  Bosch / AFP / Getty)

Michael Fitzpatrick argues that calling an opponent a denier is illiberal, intolerant and ineffective. Read more

FIGHTING BACK

The truth is our only weapon

How should we deal with denialists? (Image: Francis  Miller / Contributor)

We must let denialists be heard, and respond with patience, vigilance and tireless rebuttal, says Michael Shermer. Read more

Category: Psychology, UnScience

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

70 Responses to “Special report: Living in denial”

  1. franklin411 says:

    These all sound interesting, and sometime (Maybe after I finish my dissertation-editing blitz in a few weeks) I’d like to read them. My uninformed opinion is that Walter Lippmann was right in his book, “Public Opinion,” in 1922. He wrote that most people are ignorant and easily deceived by interested third parties. It’s not really the average person’s fault–modern life is so complex and so time consuming that the average person doesn’t have time or energy to sort through the mass of conflicting opinions and data floating out there. This meant that society needed public intellectuals whose job it was to think these issues through and then present their opinions in a format easily digested by a harried populace.

    Imagine what Lippmann would say if he saw the internet!

  2. Jack Damn says:

    I deny I’m living in denial.

  3. constantnormal says:

    I’ve gone this route in attempting to deal with denialists, and can tell you that it leads nowhere. They are driven by deep-seated emotional beliefs, and nothing short of a personal near-death encounter stands the slightest chance of altering their mindsets, and even that has a slim chance at best.

    Save yourself a lotta time and wasted effort by asking a denier (any denier, on any subject), “step back and think for a moment — what would it take to convince you that you are wrong?”

    If they can be persuaded to honestly do just that, you will have a response that will short-cut an eternity of fruitless arguments and presentation of evidence. They will respond, “Nothing”.

    When /global warming/oil prices rocketing/vaccine rejection/evolution in the schools/ brings them to the point of taking personal action, watch them very closely, and keep a SWAT team on your speed dial.

  4. fp says:

    Stick to finance please! I believed in man-made global warming for years (being a liberal) until I bothered to look into it myself and realized it is bullshit, or overblown at the least.

  5. Dilettante says:

    Thought at least one of these was solved, but Michael Shermer seems to disagree;

    “Either evolution and the big bang happened or they did not; both matters can, in principle, be solved with more data and better theory.”

  6. wildebeest says:

    @constantnormal

    I’d characterize many who find themselves on the right side of the scientific debate (right = scientific consensus) as exhibiting the same personality traits you ascribe to denialists. I’m not thinking of scientists when I make that remark, I am thinking of people who are attracted to a cause, professional, semi-professional, and wannabee advocates. Climate science in particular is something that has attracted many advocates who fail to understand the difference between advocacy and science.

  7. davefromcarolina says:

    I was re-reading Nicolas Belfrage’s Brunello To Zibibbo (it’s a book about southern Italian wine) the other day and ran across this passage, which struck me for reasons which will be obvious. He is talking about his experience in southern Italy, but you can substitute “denialist” and get the same result, I think:

    “I am bound to say that, in the course of considerable dealing with southern Italians, I have more than once come upon delay, denial and evasion, tortuous thinking and dealing, even when such behaviour seems patently to run against the subject’s own interests. A southerner is likely to have an idea about this or that wedged firmly in his head, and nothing you can say will dislodge it. After a while one is simply obliged to recognise that reason will get you nowhere and that you might as well stop banging your head against the wall.1

    1Nicolas Belfrage, Brunello to Zibibbo: The Wines of Tuscany, Central and Southern Italy (London, Mitchell Beazley, 2001).

  8. constantnormal says:

    @fp — and what would it take to convince you otherwise?

  9. Jojo says:

    @fp – I think maybe you’ve got a BLOWN mind if you don’t believe global warming exists.

    I favor Bill Mahre’s viewpoint:
    —————–
    The Huffington Post
    June 6, 2010
    Bill Maher

    New Rule: Al Gore Must Come Out With a Sequel to His Film and Call It An Inconvenient Truth 2: What the F*ck Is Wrong With You People?

    New Rule: Al Gore must come out with a sequel to his movie about climate change and call it, An Inconvenient Truth 2: What the Fuck Is Wrong with You People? A bunch of depressing new surveys reveal that people in droves are starting to believe that global warming is a hoax — and this time, it’s not just us. People are always accusing me of hating America and calling it stupid, so tonight I’d like to take a few moments to hate England and call it stupid. Because now English people don’t believe in global warming either. I thought the English were smarter than that. The home of Newton and Darwin. I can’t believe we let these people build our exploding oil platforms.

    Even scarier is why people have stopped thinking global warming is real. One major reason pollsters say is we had a very cold, snowy winter. Which is like saying the sun might not be real because last night it got dark. And my car’s not real because I can’t find my keys.

    That’s the problem with our obsession with always seeing two sides of every issue equally — especially when one side has a lot of money. It means we have to pretend there are always two truths, and the side that doesn’t know anything has something to say. On this side of the debate: Every scientist in the world. On the other: Mr. Potato Head.

    There is no debate here — just scientists vs. non-scientists, and since the topic is science, the non-scientists don’t get a vote. We shouldn’t decide everything by polling the masses. Just because most people believe something doesn’t make it true. This is the fallacy called argumentum ad numeram: the idea that something is true because great numbers believe it. As in: Eat shit, 20 trillion flies can’t be wrong.

    Devastating, worldwide climate change is happening, whether you phone in and vote for it or not. You can’t vote for rain. What’s real is what’s real, and, like it or not, no one can change the nature of reality. Except, of course, with mushrooms.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bill-maher/new-rule-al-gore-must-com_b_601381.html

  10. R. Cain says:

    “Faced with the choice between changing one’s mind and proving there is no need to do so, almost everyone gets busy on the proof.”

    John Kenneth Galbraith

  11. bsneath says:

    “From climate change to vaccines, evolution to flu, denialists are on the march. Why are so many people refusing to accept what the evidence is telling them?”

    Denialists are those who hold strong emotional beliefs and who thus must filter incoming facts to conform to these beliefs. It has to do with the evolution of brain functioning more than anything else. Emotional responses drove survival for hundreds of millions of years. Logic and reasoning functions are relatively recent additions.

    Thus one who believes in a literal translation of the bible may deny evolution. One who believes all corporations are corrupt and hideous may deny the benefits of vaccines.

    I do not think it is appropriate to imply that there is such a thing as a “denier” movement underway by lumping together such a widespread grouping of issues.

    I would also suggest that there is an equal but opposite force to denial which happens when strongly held emotional beliefs by an individual result in taking limited or imprecise data to be absolute and irrefutable fact. This is the basis for most skepticism.

  12. spencerh says:

    The list is very good, but leaves out one important (and perhaps non-trivial) subset of deniers. They aren’t /really/ deniers, but they pretend to be for particular reasons. A post on Less Wrong stated it very nicely:

    “I believe that in terms of pure decision theory, the predicted AGW damage and costs of further investigation and costs of delay are high enough that mitigation attempts should start now. But I don’t want to give up my {economic privileges / substantive national sovereignty / chance to get the standard of living of past carbon-emitting nations} without a fight, because I don’t want groups in the future like {scientists / profit-hating hippie tree-huggers / freedom-hating U.N. environmental bureaucrats / greedy unfair first-world hypocrites} to think I’ll just roll over when they try to impose concessions on me, in the name of premises that will feel psychologically as though they might just as well have been made up. In that future situation, it will be important for me to be able to credibly threaten outrage at being forced into such concessions. But as long as nobody else is going to take me for their fool, the sacrifices needed to prevent AGW are fine with me; we could start today.”

    This kind of “denial” has nothing to do with science; it’s about (possibly justified) fear of future power loss.

  13. JustinTheSkeptic says:

    I believe that Keynes is the world’s problem and global warming is, and always has been here with us, and before us, and it will be here after us.

  14. DeDude says:

    Denialism is usually the result of people not wanting to deal with the inconvenience of the subject they are denying. Most global warming denialism is based on the fear that people will be forced to give up something important in their current lifestyle in order to combat global warming. Many of them come out with absurdly exaggerated estimates of what it would cost to reduce our carbon footprint with the underlying message of “I cannot afford to be taxed to pay for this”.

    It is very hard to fight denialism with facts because the rejection of facts is almost the definition of denialism. Typically the denialist will deny the scientific facts (or the scientist themselves, as conspirators) or demand 99.999% certainty (something science rarely delivers). They will reject current understanding of a subject as inferior to some dumb a$$ idea with no supporting evidence.

    I think that to the extend you have to deal with denialism (if it gets beyond a small hard core group and interfere with rational policy), you have to use emotions because it is build on emotions. Calm global warming denialists emotions by showing that your suggested interventions will not be that expensive. Or frame them in a way that is less emotionally adversive (as in “lets stop funding terrorist by using less oil so Iran and Venezuela will not have all that revenue”).

    But I agree that the label “denialist” is somewhat dangerous for sound debate. We are probably better off using it very carefully. You have to hear out what peoples complaint or counterarguments are against the generally accepted understanding of an issue, and then also carefully listen to and evaluate the facts they have in support of an alternative viewpoint. If you do that then “denialism” is usually fairly easy to spot and distinguish from true and founded skepticism.

  15. constantnormal says:

    Simply the obvious macroscopic effects (reduction in polar ice, melting of glaciers the world) should be enough to convince those who can be convinced that the world is getting warmer. Attributing this to human interaction takes a bit more effort, but the easiest place to start is here:

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/b/b7/Population_curve.svg/360px-Population_curve.svg.png

    And from there it is necessary to investigate the role of greenhouse gases (CO2, methane, and water vapor) and to find out why atmospheric carbon is present in such a tiny amount. (Ask yourself where the carbon in trees comes from — not from the soil, as the carbon-rich layer of topsoil is exceedingly thin, and in any event, trees grow in clay quite well). But the real answers from this point forward will require more than a casual layman’s investigation, one would have to consult several experts on the subject — and that would be bonafide experts, not talking heads in the radio or partisans running a blog with an axe to grind. My reference of choice is this book by Dr William Ruddiman:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plows,_Plagues_and_Petroleum

    There are a lot of possible theories about the exact mechanisms of climate change, and he investigates them one by one, before arriving at his own conclusions, which he has placed in the arena of scientific debate. So far as I know, he has not been forced to modify his conclusions by superior arguments.

    One of my favorite items that the deniers bring up is that 31,000 signature petition against the Kyoto accords — if one just clicks a little bit deeper, the same site that lists them all also categorizes them by their qualifications, which blows about 90% of them out of the running at the outset. And then there is the question of exactly what motivated the people who objected to the Kyoto accords to object in the first place — was it that they do not believe there is global warming, or some provisions within the accords that they objected to? All that the deniers care about is that 31,000 “experts” opposed the Kyoto accords, therefore global warming is bunk.

    Oh, and as to the importance of the topic, this link makes the case:

    http://earlywarn.blogspot.com/2010/05/odds-of-cooking-grandkids.html

    But really, we shouldn’t dwell on global warming, how about the loonies that object to vaccines, because they cause problems rather than preventing them? No ability to discern risk/reward there, if one person out of 100,000 has a problem with a vaccine, and 30,000 out of that same 100,000 avoid a disease with life-changing consequences (e.g., polio, smallpox, …), then it’s clearly too dangerous and a plot by Big Pharma.

    Or the fundamentalist crackpots in Texas that want to control the textbooks to prevent any notions that might compete with their dogma from being presented?

    But I’m starting to froth at the mouth here, I should leave this forum and spend time where it will not be wasted. Life is too short for anything else.

    The truth that makes men free is for the most part the truth which men prefer not to hear.
    — Herbert Sebastien Agar (historian, critic, and poet 1897-1980)

  16. Gatsby says:

    Barry, I think this might be the best post you have ever made. Despite what some of these crack-pots say, the concept of denial is VERY VERY relevant to the field of Finance, especially trading, as are many other concepts of psychology such as cognitive distortions.

    This is Great stuff.

    @fp if you are looking for someone to just dish out stock tips go watch Cramer.

  17. globaleyes says:

    Deficit Spending is the antithesis of democracy. On this point, we are living in denial. It’s a National debt but it’s not a national asset. Those that GET outnumber those who supply.

    Is DENIAL America’s leading export ?

  18. mongbat says:

    I think most people get creeped out with the global warming thing because the pro-warming guys are always so quick to claim a 100% consensus that is not there, and savagely attack anyone who disagrees, which is a pretty nasty thing to do. Argue the facts. Don’t plead to the crowd, or the consensus, or authority. That they do not do that, and that so many of the “facts” have of late proven to be fabrications, speaks poorly for the “movement”. That so many warmists were coolists back in the 70′s, with the same solution (the de-industrialization of the planet), is also a “tell”.

    Barry posted a picture of the MMR vaccine. I can’t tell which side he was accusing of denial, but the guy that wrote the first paper alleging a connection between autism and MMR just got drummed out of his profession, so, um, yeah.

    You know, it’s also kinda funny that the guys who are pushing for a change based on unproven science are always quick to allege conspiracies and corporate cabals. Does that make the polar opposite of a denialist a conspiracy theory nut? Sure would explain a lot.

  19. kstills says:

    Constantnormal, and the rest of the ‘oh my god we’re going to boil in our own juices’ crowd,

    Let’s see, from your plow link, we should be under about 1mile of ice right about now.

    That would probably suck more then having the earth warm a degree or two, no?

    The earth warms, the earth cools. Prove that it’s the result of man, and prove that having more warmth (more growing seasons, more rain) is bad, and I’m an AGW believer.

    Not that I would care any more then I do now, but at least I would ‘believe’.

  20. GerhardWMagnus says:

    The great thing about being a sceptic is that you don’t have to pass any exams!

  21. mongbat says:

    “The great thing about being a sceptic is that you don’t have to pass any exams!”- GerhardWMagnus

    Or cook any data!

  22. “…Argue the facts. Don’t plead to the crowd, or the consensus, or authority. That they do not do that, and that so many of the “facts” have of late proven to be fabrications, speaks poorly for the “movement”. That so many warmists were coolists back in the 70’s, with the same solution (the de-industrialization of the planet), is also a “tell”…” — mongbat, above

    no kidding ~!

    as well, cn(@17:44), many of the things you are talking about are “Resource (Mis-)Use”-issues(see, esp., Water).

    to think that “Carbon Tax n’ Trade” is the silver-bullet *Answer to those problems is simple minded, at best, or, more probably, highly delusional..

    though, this: “…No ability to discern risk/reward there, if one person out of 100,000 has a problem with a vaccine, and 30,000 out of that same 100,000 avoid a disease with life-changing consequences…”-”exercise” is, like so much of the other “Topics”, complete, unadulterated Horse****..

  23. DeDude says:

    Mark E @ 7:30

    >>>>though, this: “…No ability to discern risk/reward there, if one person out of 100,000 has a problem with a vaccine, and 30,000 out of that same 100,000 avoid a disease with life-changing consequences…”-”exercise” is, like so much of the other “Topics”, complete, unadulterated Horse****..<<<<

    Now there is a classic denialist -take an undeniable fact (1 out of 100K vs 30K out of 100K) and call it "complete, unadulterated Horse****" – I always had my suspicions about you Mark ;-)

  24. alfred e says:

    IMHO, there are entirely too many vested interests on both sides of AGW to safely assume a rational, carefully reasoned position and response. Funny how potential financial gain can make one a “true believer”. Ask Gore how much he has profited and expects to profit when carbon cap and trade hits his market. He’s not exactly acting benevolently. Now seems his finances have improve enough he can toss Tipper aside. Oops, go their separate ways.

    Is the earth warming? Possibly? Is it caused by humans? Which ones? The power plants or the deforestation? Or both, and to what degree?

    So we have “models” that can operate “locally (time-wise) ” based on assumptions that should not necessarily be extrapolated too far into the future. Those are assumptions, NOT FACTS. This is not a purely data-driven model. Few if any ever are.

    Mother Nature has a way of including self-correcting changes. Push the climate so far and other out-of-balance issues kick-in.

    I don’t think global warming denial is the issue. I think the well deserved cynicism about how our politicians will use it to their advantage and their K street and WS friends is more the issue.

    Show us a way to deal with it without having to be the ones raped and pillaged and we will all be believers.

    No one ever mentions population control as an AGW issue. Or the industrialization of India and China. Care to guess why?

  25. Every bit of data available shows that federal deficit spending does not cause inflation (See: INFLATION ), will not be paid for by our children and grandchildren (See: CHILDREN ) and is absolutely necessary for economic growth (See: GROWTH ).

    Yet the debt hawks insist otherwise. I repeatedly write to debt hawk web sites, challenging them to produce the data to substantiate their positions. They never do.

    I even offered to distribute their supportive data to my list of 100+ economics professors, 50 newspaper and magazine columnists, and 30 newspaper and magazine editors around the country, and to post it on my web site (See: OFFER ). No response.

    So you see, even the ‘What would it take to prove you wrong” doesn’t work with extreme deniers.

    Rodger Malcolm Mitchell

  26. vachon says:

    I’d rather be right than happy.

  27. TakBak04 says:

    BR: Slogged through all that “Opinion” from “New Scientist Mag.”

    Gotta tell you that I now need to go do reserch on every one of their OP Ed Posters to see who they get BIG Bucks from in funding.

    For two to equate Cigarette Smoking/Tobacco use with Parents concerned with Vaccines and the Mercury in them given to their babies…seems to be comparing “Apples and Horse Shit!

    That “New Scientist” gave a voice to only those who seem to be shilling for BIG PHARMA is really kind of incredible.

    I would have felt it was more “balanced” if they talked about how the “FDA” was pushing drugs out that were killing folks because in the ‘Rush for Profit” the companies didn’t do enough TESTING…and so needless kids, old folks and the rest of our population are being used as “Lab Rats” to test their rushed out goods to get their stock price up for a bounce for traders!

    In fact the major Drug Companies today can well afford to PAY OFF those who file “wrongful death claims” against them because they are making so much money advertising on TV to get anyone they can to call their doctor and request they get that “LATEST CURE” which has such a long list of side effects that an announcer often goes “overtime” telling you how taking this drug might KILL YOU!

    As a person with experience with “BIG PHARMA” since the late 60′s …..I gotta tell you that these “Op Ed’s” in “New Science” really seem to be Ott and lacking in substance.

    I don’t have the time to refute what they say.. I don’t get paid to do that for my time on blogs…but anyone who knows Drug Industry since the early ’90′s will understand why I’m very skeptical of this “Push Back” on folks Questioning the World Health Organizations and OTHERS causing PANIC for the Impending FLU PANDEMIC.

    We had so much of those SCARES under Bush Co… It was disappointing to see it all back.

    I think the other side of this issue was so compelling it just might have caused the PUSH BACK from the site you are posting.

    But, it was very good to read what the others are saying trying to convince us that healthy Skepticism is just DENIAL… OMG!

  28. TakBak04 says:

    BTW…about my comment above… I’m not against the wonderful products coming out from research that are so promising to help so many millions all across the world.

    But, to rush them out so the companies can get a STOCK BOOST and to use average folks as “Lab Rats” to test and then pay off to see if they work is just WRONG…and should NOT be allowed.

    And this Drug Testing does go across the spectrum from the rich to the poorest who still have a policy that will pay for this.

    (Caveat…familiar with Big Pharma since the late 60′s…both of us have worked in it from Yale Med…through many other affiliations with Big Pharma and the Regulatory changes throughout the years which have put the burden on the consumer of the Advertisement and taken it out of the hands of the judgement of the Physicians. I’m sure there would be disagreement with views I have…but it’s not uninformed. It just might be we disagree on experience from giving power to Drug Companies bound on making profit and giving time for more testing, evaluation and the Health Care Providers to give input and time to digest whether what they are prescribing is really somthing that might be detrimental to their patient or beneficial.

    Right Now….there isn’t time for proper evaluation of New Drugs…and the Advertising Demand makes the average person feel they Must Have this New Drug…Right Now…even if it could kill them..later.

    Sorry for typo’s ….I’m on the run.

  29. Transor Z says:

    The Parable of the Sower comes to mind here.

  30. DeD,

    w/ this: “..-take an undeniable fact (1 out of 100K vs 30K out of 100K)”– fine..

    it’s the response I was looking for..

    see: “…Argue the facts. Don’t plead to the crowd, or the consensus, or authority. That they do not do that, and that so many of the “facts” have of late proven to be fabrications, speaks poorly for the “movement”. ..”

    where’s the citation for, said, undeniable ‘Fact’? hmm?

    We have to transcend, the depths of the Mire, if We’re, ever, to begin to achieve, even, a basic understanding of these, purported ‘ills’..

  31. Transor Z says:

    P.S. Check out Futures (-1.00%) and the Nikkei (-3.50%). And the Euro is right at 1.19. Yowza.

    I guess the night is still young.

  32. TerryC says:

    Three points to add to the pretty good comments above:

    1) As Pilate said to the J-man 2,000 years ago- “What is truth? Is truth unchanging law? Is your truth the same as mine”?

    2) As a geologist, I don’t know any geologists that deny global warming-cooling cycles, just what is the % of it contributed by man, and what % of it could be effected by using massive amounts of capital/punitive laws to change it. Don’t forget, none of the UN/Al Gore plans kill off about 5 billion people to make is nicer for the ‘rest’ of us.

    3) I live in west Texas, and earlier this year we had a local republican running for the state board of education (yes, THAT one, with the creationists on it). The local guy (creationist) from Odessa running against the incumbent (lawyer from Lubbock) got his butt kicked two to one in the primary, so not everyone in Bubba, Texas, is a mo-ron. (It was the first PRIMARY I have voted in in 40 years… I figured they needed all the votes they could get for science and reason out here, but my fellow bubbas came through).

  33. fp says:

    constantnormal — reread what I said, I WAS convinced otherwise. I always assumed AGW was real, since Republicans said it wasn’t. Until I read an alarmist diary on dailykos that said the earth was going to turn into Venus, oceans would acidify and die, etc., so I thought wow, is this really true? I’d better look into it more seriously. So I did, but I found the skeptic case much more convincing.

  34. shoreb45 says:

    I think Geithner, Bernanke, Summers, and the rest of em would qualify quite well for being in denial over how many flaws Keynesian economics has.

  35. JohnathanStein says:

    People have stopped believing in global warming ’cause their gut tells’em that when lying is going on — ie: Data manipulation, hiding and coverup over in England — something usually stinks.

    Add to that the fact that big bucks are involved, but THAT part is kept hush-hush — ie: Al Gore’s little business venture — and it adds up to time to stand back & rake the muck, ’til the stink goes away.

    Both are good rules of thumb. It works for me.

  36. mongbat says:

    You know, I just realized something. Oh how stupid of me, and how shameful of the global warming crowd. Barry, I hope you didn’t realize what you were saying when you said it, because otherwise shame on you.

    I was thinking about the strange leap it takes to call someone who, when replying to hysterical claims of global warming with skepticism a “denier”. After all, with all the questionable actions of the global warming “believers”, from the claims of consensus, to the tarring and feathering of colleagues who disagree, to the falsified evidence, I think it’s reasonable to at least question the shaky data. Why accuse them of denying global warming, when most are just reasonable requesting actual proof before changing our entire way of life.

    Then I got it. “Denier”. As in “Holocaust Denier”. Ok, so just like Nazi nutcases “question” the Holocaust’s existence, so too do evil Global Warming Perpetrators want to “question” the science behind the stretched conclusions of global warming. I had read about some Congressman drawing similar conclusions. He was serious, too.

    It’s nice to see his meme has expanded into a more subtle and general smear of those who dare to question the orthodoxy. That’s a loaded term you’re throwing around, there. I think perhaps it should be buried where it belongs. Wanting to continue scientific inquiry before rearranging all of civilization is not equivalent to denying genocide. Christ, that’s the kind of wordplay Chomsky would use.

  37. bergsten says:

    Since the dawn of modern advertising (opinions vary, but let’s say sometime in the mid 1950-’s) people have been bullshitted non-stop everywhere you look. And it’s getting exponentially worse in both “quality” and quantity.

    So, why is anyone surprised that nobody really believes anything they are being told any more? If there be any analysis of the “data” received, it’s “what’s in it for them to bullshit me over this time”? There’s not even the slightest pretense at honesty, integrity, truthfulness, or completeness in any communication — if anything there’s pride and a sense of accomplishment in effective deception.

    Of course, if you cannot believe anything you’re told, you’re going to fall back on your own ingrained beliefs, and sneer at the ignorance and stubborn-headed stupidity of those who don’t agree with you. Call them names, say “denialists.”

    We’re doomed. Completely and utterly fucking doomed.

    Never mind — go back to arguing global warming and the boarding of that ship in the Middle East and abortion and creationism and liberalism…

  38. AnotherGuy says:

    Most people understand almost nothing about science. Everyone should listen to these:
    http://www.cbc.ca/ideas/features/science/index.html

    The scientific consensus used to be that the earth is flat, the earth is the center of the universe, Newtonian Physics etc. There is a lot of science that is initially unacceptable and over many years becomes the new consensus. Climate science is especially difficult since experiments are virtually impossible. Experiments are the cornerstone of the scientific method. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_method

    As to global warming I think it should be approached using a risk management strategy. I.e. the question we need to ask ourselves is not whether this is the “truth” but rather what is the probability that the models are giving us the right predictions and what are the margins of error. I would say that even if there is 5% probability the models are right that is probably a pretty strong motivation for taking action given the consequences. Not to mention plenty of other reasons why we should do something about our impact on the environment, (see BP.)

  39. bergsten says:

    The thought just occurred…

    A few weeks ago (Barry, please help me out here), Barry published a paper listing many if not all of the various cognitive biases.

    Here’s a game for you — see how many you can spot in the post and comments.

  40. Simon says:

    I deny denialism. Does that make me an unbeliever?

  41. Paul Jones says:

    Perhaps the worst post on the Big Picture.

  42. AnotherGuy says:

    An interesting tidbit is that no one took Einstein too seriously until an experiment confirmed that light is being bent by the gravitational field of the sun.

    The value of any scientific theory is in its ability to predict something:
    Quoting Stephen Hawking via Wikipedia: “A theory is a good theory if it satisfies two requirements: It must accurately describe a large class of observations on the basis of a model that contains only a few arbitrary elements, and it must make definite predictions about the results of future observations.” He goes on to state, “Any physical theory is always provisional, in the sense that it is only a hypothesis; you can never prove it. No matter how many times the results of experiments agree with some theory, you can never be sure that the next time the result will not contradict the theory. On the other hand, you can disprove a theory by finding even a single observation that disagrees with the predictions of the theory.”

    Do other people think the Internet increases or reduces ignorance/denial? It seems that on one hand more information is readily available. On the other hand, there’s usually more than one version.

  43. AnotherGuy says:

    And since I’m on a roll tonight let’s talk about Big Pharma…

    There is clearly a conflict of interest between Big Pharma and the needs of the public. Big Pharma wants to make money and the public wants to be healthy. Now guess what, if the public is healthy how will Big Pharma make any money?

    E.g. if they have two drugs in development, one very cheap and simple that cures a disease completely, the other expensive that requires a lifetime of treatment, and no competitor is developing drugs for this disease, when the Big Pharma PHB puts on his “managers hat” which project is going to get funded and which is going to be killed? How can we expect them to be any better than bankers?

    There’s also less and less public funded science done which is a shame.

  44. constantnormal says:

    @fp 9:36 pm

    The oceans are not going to turn to acid — although they already are seeing measurable rates of acidification, which will impact the ocean life that we depend on to feed our overly huge global populations. And the Earth is not going to turn into Venus — it’s too far out from the Sun for that.

    But if we have 2 degrees F increase per decade (which is about what we are currently seeing, I think (I do not have the numbers at my fingertips, and am not sufficiently engaged in the argument to go look them up)), then in about a century, we will see large areas of good ol’ planet Earth with round-the-clock temperatures at or above 95%F. That means that people without A/C will be unable to cool their core body temp and will die of heat stroke, dehydration, heart attack or any of a number of similar responses to persistent excessive heat.

    Now you and I won’t care about this, because we will be long gone from the scene. And perhaps if you are a young spud, with no descendants or heirs, you will have no cares for their welfare either.

    And realistically, it won’t even come to that, because from the readily observable glacial and polar icecap melt and the changes in global climate patterns that we are seeing as a direct result of those things, we are going to see literally billions of people driven out of their homelands that will simply become too inhospitable to live in. That means only one thing, wars in a lotta places around the globe, and with bioweapons tech improving and getting cheaper and easier every day, it’s only a short trip to an Army of the Twelve Monkeys situation.

    The typical denier approach is to fixate upon any of a number of data being collected and try to find holes in them or ways to claim that because 10% of the measurements are questionable, none of them can be believed.

    But the fact of the matter is that large-scale observable events show that climate change is under way, at least changes that have never occurred before in recorded human history. Just the record in the Antarctic ice cores shows that, and does a pretty good job of connecting that with CO2 levels in the atmosphere. Amazingly enough Rupert Murdock’s WSJ had a decent article about that within the past week or so. And if you look at the glacial melt and polar ice cap melt, you don’t even have to go there to arrive at the conclusion that global warming IS under way.

    SO who cares whether the activities of Mankind have caused it or not?

    What is important is how to best bring it under control. There is a mountain of experimental evidence that greenhouse gases store heat, and correlations between greenhouse gas increases and the increase in ice melting. Controlling greenhouse gases is the best way to restore the global climate to its former comfortable sweet spot (due to things like ocean acidification), but it’s not the only way.

    We can dump dust into the upper atmosphere to block sunlight — it only takes a (relatively) tiny amount to accomplish this, but it’s not easily reversed if we overdo it, and we still have the problem of ocean acidification.

    We can do some of the more far-out schemes of placing orbital sun-shades in place, and perhaps even convert the blocked sunlight into electricity and beamed back to Earth for domestic consumption (there are so many flaws in that scheme that I don’t seriously propose it, but it could be made to work). And the tab for that is likely more than any one nation could pay, and what are the odds of achieving global cooperation in something like this? Slim to none.

  45. constantnormal says:

    @kstills 6:24 pm

    “Let’s see, from your plow link, we should be under about 1mile of ice right about now.

    That would probably suck more then having the earth warm a degree or two, no?

    The earth warms, the earth cools.”

    That’s pretty funny. Actually, that’s one of the first points he makes in the book, is that if global climate change were solely due to astronomical factors, we ought to be smack in the middle of an Ice Age right now. That’s where he goes looking for additional factors to add into his model of global climate change (which he attempts to validate over as much climatological data as he can, going back into the geological records).

    I really think you ought to go beyond reading the link and actually check out the book from your local library and give it a read.

    But actually, I think you would be far happier with global temperatures dropping 50 degrees than rising 50 degrees. Actually, you would be dead from temps rising 50 degrees (actually actually, you’ll be dead from old age first), while humans (and primitive humans as well) survived the most recent Ice Age.

    And there is plenty of evidence of mass extinctions tied in some cases to global climate change (long before there were factories and people), where upwards of 90% of the species in existence at the time died out, in come cases having life re-evolve from animals little more advanced than algae. From the current rate of species extinction, we appear to be in the early stages of another mass extinction at the moment.

    I really don’t care who or what is to blame, I’m more interested in how we can alter the course of it.

  46. cn, really, sorry to be ‘too emotional’, though, whoever the **** you are, or pretend to be, w/this: ” I think (I do not have the numbers at my fingertips, and am not sufficiently engaged in the argument to go look them up)), then in about a century, we will see large areas of good ol’ planet Earth with round-the-clock temperatures at or above 95%F. That means that people without A/C will be unable to cool their core body temp and will die of heat stroke, dehydration, heart attack or any of a number of similar responses to persistent excessive heat…”

    can you give Us a break from, as my Brother likes to term it:, “Mental Masturbation”, and, do us a favor GFR.

    Save us, or Anybody, from your, as is *said “in the ‘Hood, your weak-assed suppositions, and/or your Agitprop-induced night-quakes..

    As is said, on the Field of Play, come with the Scoreboard, or, don’t bother Us with the results (in your Pants)..

  47. constantnormal says:

    @TerryC 9:25 pm

    West Texas? Wow. Thank YOU sir, for your vote, and a a big thank y’all to the sensible bubbas out there.

    I had pretty much written off all of Texas outside of Austin. Thanks for the wake-up call that I wuz wrong.

  48. VennData says:

    Last Time Sources Checked This Still America

    “…All across the country, from Maine to Mississippi, sources confirmed this week that last time they checked this was still America, and would remain America, like it or not…”

    http://www.theonion.com/articles/last-time-sources-checked-this-still-america,17545/

  49. constantnormal says:

    @MEH 11:27 pm

    sorry to ruffle your feathers, sir … it WAS trivially simple to answer, I should have provided it …

    http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/globalwarming.html#q3

    So maybe in a century and a half, then. Happy now?

  50. constantnormal says:

    @VD — looking at the comments here, was there ever any doubt?

  51. TerryC says:

    @ConstantNormal-

    Thanks for the vote of confidence about everyone outside of Austin not being a Neanderthal. My son goes to Texas State in San Marcos, and he LOVES Austin.

    “Actually, that’s one of the first points he makes in the book, is that if global climate change were solely due to astronomical factors, we ought to be smack in the middle of an Ice Age right now”.

    Also, funny you should mention this, because we ARE in the middle of an Ice Age. We are currently in an interglacial period of the Pleistocene. Geologists call it the Holocene, but we have had four major glacial expansions in the last two million years, and we are currently between them. This interglacial period has only lasted about 10,000 years, so geologically speaking, that’s not much time. I for one would rather live in hot west Texas (it was 108 out here yesterday, ho hum, nothing unusual about that) than under a 5,000 foot ice sheet.

  52. fp says:

    The ocean acidification scare is what made me question everything else. CO2 levels have been far higher in the past. http://www.geocraft.com/WVFossils/Carboniferous_climate.html (scroll down to chart) If coral reefs evolved in an environment like that, why would a smaller increase in CO2 kill them off now?

  53. cn,

    realy, how are you at *Fallatio?( you know me, keeeping with *proper “Denialist” motifs, ….

    Would you, Please, pretty Please, come with the Citatations for your Felonious, to Date, assertations of ~” “…No ability to discern risk/reward there, if one person out of 100,000 has a problem with a vaccine, and 30,000 out of that same 100,000 avoid a disease with life-changing consequences…”-”exercise” is, like so much of the other “Topics”, complete, unadulterated Horse****..

    ~~Can you, Seriously, join the Converseration with Specific, “in Line”/”on Topic” Facts?

    Again, Please do so..

  54. This post and many of the comments seem like a desperate rearguard action that is both funny and sad

    I just came across this the other day:

    Arctic Ice Volume Has Increased 25% Since May, 2008

    http://tinyurl.com/3y85hyl

    If the manipulators want to have better success at exploiting the ‘deniers’ they should go for topics that they can manipulate for more than a few short years. Take central banking for example. That is something that takes generations to play out and allows you to milk generations of sheep for a long time. Man made global warming, flu pandemics, evolution when you don’t control the media 100%…..not so much

  55. [...] – Living in denial. [...]

  56. mathman says:

    Over millions of years the earth sequestered carbon (in many forms) out of the atmosphere, making life as we know it possible. Since man evolved we’ve been putting it back at ever-increasing rates, adding to it with other toxic levels of pollution and using up finite resources at an exponential rate.

    Since we are “conscious” and “made in God’s image” we can’t suffer any consequences from our actions.

    Which is why i believe it’s far too late for mankind to do anything meaningful to ameliorate the coming predicament of scarce resources (Peak everything including potable water), erratic climate, disease, and the resultant “bottleneck” situation we’ve begun.

    So just go back to counting your shekels and living your lives until you can’t.

  57. Greg0658 says:

    before I loose ya spencerh at 5:33 pm – interesting perspec “.. good, but leaves out one important …”

  58. Greg0658 says:

    RM says “Every bit of data available shows that federal deficit spending does not cause inflation will not be paid for by our children and grandchildren and is absolutely necessary for economic growth” .. I guess your a banker fireprotector, jubilee exists for some and the press just refuses to tell the working poor for the game of it.

    the reason for balance in budgets is it directs a focusing beam and halts waste .. or we get above

    stated another way .. without balance you get overbuilding in population and stuff and credit

  59. Forbes says:

    Some thoughts on the H1N1 Pandemic and the New Scientist article cited above with the title

    Living in denial: Why sensible people reject the truth

    excerpt

    “HEARD the latest? The swine flu pandemic was a hoax: scientists, governments and the World Health Organization cooked it up in a vast conspiracy so that vaccine companies could make money.”

    ______________

    Here are some additional articles on the topic of the H1N1 pandemic

    British Medical Journal – June 3, 2010
    Conflicts of Interest
    WHO and the pandemic flu “conspiracies”

    excerpt

    “A joint investigation by the BMJ and the Bureau of Investigative Journalism has uncovered evidence that raises troubling questions about how WHO managed conflicts of interest among the scientists who advised its pandemic planning, and about the transparency of the science underlying its advice to governments”

    http://www.bmj.com/cgi/content/full/340/jun03_4/c2912

    _______________________

    Council of Europe weighed in on June 2, 2010

    PACE Health Committee denounces ‘unjustified scare’ of Swine Flu, waste of public money

    Strasbourg, 04.06.2010 – The handling of the H1N1 pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO), EU agencies and national governments led to a “waste of large sums of public money, and unjustified scares and fears about the health risks faced by the European public”, according to a report by the Social, Health and Family Affairs Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) made public today in Paris.

    https://wcd.coe.int/ViewDoc.jsp?Ref=PR455%282010%29&Language=lanEnglish&Ver=original&Site=DC&BackColorInternet=F5CA75&BackColorIntranet=F5CA75&BackColorLogged=A9BACE

    ________________

    The reality is that there is legitimate debate about H1N1, the author of the New Scientist article dismisses such debate by ad hominem argument . It is convenient and efficient to dismiss an opposing view by labeling an opponent. Al Gore perfected that approach in his attacks on those who question anthropogenic climate change. The author of the New Scientist article cites Cass Sunstein, Obama’s controversial regulatory czar who subscribes to the use of unconventional tactics to deal with those who would challenge status quo or for that matter a political point of view.

    How convenient to be able to isolate and dispatch an opposing idea by labeling it and those who subscribe to it with a pejorative title.

  60. 2old2care says:

    Everyone now is free to seek information and opinions from unedited sources that reflect their own biases. And some of theses “sources” are backed by undisclosed agendas. (I’m thinking of the tea party crowd here who were originally stirred up by ludicrous charges about health care “death panels” advanced by an insurance industry – financed group led by Dick Armey.)
    Without a shared pool of generally accepted bias free information how will our society cope with the task of solving complex problems. The demise of major print media, Fox passing as a “news” channel, and internet bloggers are all a symptom of this growing dilemna. Walter Cronkite is no more.

  61. DeDude says:

    alfred e @ 8:06 PM: “Show us a way to deal with it without having to be the ones raped and pillaged and we will all be believers.”

    That kind of sums up denialism. If it doesn’t have bad effects on me I will believe in it, otherwise I will deny it. The warming itself and its effect on melting the ice is undeniable unless you life in the gaga-land of big global conspiracies. The legitimate scientific debate is about how much of that warming is caused by human activities. Strangely enough our actions should be the same whether humans cause 20% or over 100% (i.e, the natural cycle is cooling (as Hanson and other suggested in the 70’ies, and we have overpowered a cooling trend and then some). If we only influence a small part of the warming it becomes that much more urgent that we seriously reduce that part.

    Mark E @ 9:14 PM: “where’s the citation for, said, undeniable ‘Fact’? hmm?”

    It’s in your grade school math book 1<30,000. That is a fact that cannot be debated. You may in specific cases debate what data support the idea that harm is more by doing A than by not doing A; but the basic math is a fact – not horsesh!t.

  62. HoldYourHorses says:

    Really happy to see NewScientist get some bumps. They put out a great publication relevant and inteligable to both academics and non-scientists.

    I’ll leave my opinion of climate science out except to say the data is insufficient (statistically impossible to fix without thousands of years of high precision data) to come down firmly on either side. The potential downside is a physically well understood process. We ought to argue about cost-benefit analysis.

    To start that discussion:
    http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/eng/bjorn_lomborg_sets_global_priorities.html

  63. jrltexas1 says:

    Oh yeah….nothing wrong with Big Pharma, we should trust them implicitly….

    A stunning new report reveals that top scientists who convinced the World Health Organization (WHO) to declare H1N1 a global pandemic held close financial ties to the drug companies that profited from the sale of those vaccines. This report, published in the British Medical Journal, exposes the hidden ties that drove WHO to declare a pandemic, resulting in billions of dollars in profits for vaccine manufacturers.

    Several key advisors who urged WHO to declare a pandemic received direct financial compensation from the very same vaccine manufacturers who received a windfall of profits from the pandemic announcement. During all this, WHO refused to disclose any conflicts of interests between its top advisors and the drug companies who would financially benefit from its decisions.

    All the kickbacks, in other words, were swept under the table and kept silent, and WHO somehow didn’t think it was important to let the world know that it was receiving policy advice from individuals who stood to make millions of dollars when a pandemic was declared.

    The report was authored by Deborah Cohen (BMJ features editor), and Philip Carter, a journalist who works for the Bureau of Investigative Journalism in London. In their report, Cohen states, “…our investigation has revealed damaging issues. If these are not addressed, H1N1 may yet claim its biggest victim — the credibility of the WHO and the trust in the global public health system.”

    In response to the report, WHO secretary-general Dr Margaret Chan defended the secrecy, saying that WHO intentionally kept the financial ties a secret in order to “…protect the integrity and independence of the members while doing this critical work… [and] also to ensure transparency.”

    Dr Chan apparently does not understand the meaning of the word “transparency.” Then again, WHO has always twisted reality in order to serve its corporate masters, the pharmaceutical giants who profit from disease. To say that they are keeping the financial ties a secret in order to “protect the integrity” of the members is like saying we’re all serving alcohol at tonight’s AA meeting in order to keep everybody off the bottle.

    It just flat out makes no sense.

    But since when did making sense have anything to do with WHO’s decision process anyway?

    Even Fiona Godlee, editor of the BMJ, had harsh words for the WHO, saying, “…its credibility has been badly damaged. WHO must act now to restore its credibility.”

    The BMJ isn’t the only medical publication criticizing WHO for its poor handling of conflicts of interest. Another report from the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly also criticized WHO, saying: “Parliamentary Assembly is alarmed about the way in which the H1N1 influenza pandemic has been handled, not only by the World Health Organization (WHO), but also by the competent health authorities at the level of the European Union and at national level.” It went on to explain that WHO’s actions led to “a waste of large sums of public money, and also unjustified scares and fears about health risks faced by the European public at large.”

    The funny thing is, NaturalNews and other natural health advocates told you all the same thing a year ago, and we didn’t have to spend millions of dollars on a study to arrive at this conclusion. It was obvious to anyone who knows just how corrupt the sick-care industry really is. They’ll do practically anything to make more money, including bribing WHO scientific advisors and paying them kickbacks once the vaccine sales surge.

    The vaccine industry and all its drug pushers are, of course, criticizing this investigative report. They say WHO “had no choice” but to declare a pandemic and recommend vaccines, since vaccines are the only treatment option for influenza. That’s a lie, of course: Vitamin D has been scientifically proven to be five times more effective than vaccines at preventing influenza infections, but WHO never recommended vitamin D to anyone.

  64. Mysticdog says:

    That so many warmists were coolists back in the 70’s, with the same solution (the de-industrialization of the planet), is also a “tell”…”

    Ok, this is a lie. I’m sure you are just repeating the lie because you believe it or really weant to believe it, not to intentionally decieve, but it is still utter bullshit. The great cooling scenario of the 70′s/80′s was a few speculative papers that the media got caught up with because looming disaster covers sell magazines. There was no great scientific consensus, and even the research papers pushing the cooling idea were talking thousands of years in the time frame.

    There was, however, a lot of talk about Nuclear Winter, which was a very real threat and hopefully helped the US and USSR realize that even a limited nuclear exhange would probably destroy everybody. A lot of people get memories confused about those two very seperate concepts.

    Finally, there really was a minor cooling effect in place in the 70′s; industry was pumping out huge quantity of particulates and sulfates that did keep the 60′s and 70′s cooler than the trend. Those particulates and sulfates were also making a lot of people sick, and causing acid rain that was killing off forests and lakes. When pollution controls were placed on sulfates and particulates, those problems decreased significantly (you hardly ever hear about acid rain anymore), but it let more sunlight in.

    There is a 99% consensus among actual climate scientists that there is a manmade effect. Any chemist knows CO2 has a larger IR absorption spectra than N2 or O2. There is a lot of variance in the magnitude and timeline and ultimate effects, but this still has about a 98% consensus on “whatever model wins out, it is really going to $#$% us”.

    Finally, there is no point to doing what I just did; arguing with denialists. I’ve spent much of my life arguing with creationists, and it is still just the same arguments over and over; you can completely refute any argument, and 20 minutes later they bring it up again like nothing had ever happened. For instance, the “everyone believed in global cooling” argument has been debunked any number of times and can easily be debunked by anyone doing a websearch, but it doesn’t matter. People don’t want to believe the cheap-energy party needs to end, and so they never will accept any evidence of it.

    Denialists need to be mocked. That is the only actual course that does any good. Inject a healthy does of reality in the mocking, so that people easily see why the denialist deserves to be mocked, but taking them seriously only feeds their need to feel like they are important in some way. The ones that clearly know they are lying need to be called liars, and the ones that are just dupes need to be made to feel like dupes.

  65. Theba says:

    A great website and entertaining podcast to learn about identifying/combating fallacies and denialism:

    http://www.skepticsfieldguide.net/

    Fallacy List (A sample)

    * Ambiguity
    * Appeal to Authority
    * Appeal to Celebrity
    * Argument by Artifice
    * Argument by Slogan
    * Argument to Consequences
    * Bad Faith
    * Begging the Question
    * Browbeating
    * Burden of Proof
    * Burden of Solution
    * Cultural Origins
    * Exaggerated Conflict
    * Factoid Propagation
    * False Analogy
    * False Attribution
    * False Cause; Correlation Error
    * False Compromise
    * False Dichotomy
    * False Dilemma

  66. fp says:

    Mysticdog.. Mockery, yes that’s been the plan for a while now, hasn’t it? Treating skeptics like flat-earthers or creationists. Doesn’t seem to be working that well.. Public concern about global warming is at an all-time low.

  67. Forbes says:

    An article by a person who is very familiar to most readers of The Big Picture

    “What Conspiracy?

    I enjoy intelligent criticism. It forces you to tighten up your analysis, more aggressively dig up facts, communicate your position more effectively. Good criticism should be challenging, eloquent, and raise the argument bar — making you sharpen your rhetorical pencil.

    Then, there is the criticism that can be most charitably described as “wanting.” These come in a variety of forms, ranging from the simple ad hominem attack to the complex Straw Man arguments, to the classic taking quotes out of context.

    There are many other weak, disreputable forms of argument, and they all find a ready home in the blogosphere.

    Lately, I have been noticing an increase in the conspiracy accusation. In particular, our many discussions on the systemic understatement of Inflation or Unemployment gets derided as …

    … You are free to disagree with it for any number of reasons. You might recognize the error, but think it is so small as to be meaningless. Maybe you think the errors are random, not systemic. Perhaps, you think there is a conspiracy. Maybe you believe the BLS models — unlike every other model ever created by mankind — are flawless. These are legitimate disagreements amongst people of different viewpoints.

    However, if your intellectual sophistication and analytical acumen is at a level where you find it easier to claim that those who disagree with your views on inflation, employment and GDP wear tin foil hats and consort in Area 51, well that’s just so much intellectual detritus, and I am calling you out on it. ”

    http://bit.ly/argJMY

  68. John Reeder says:

    However silly the deniers are (and I’m fine admitting that deniers – or birthers, or truthers – can be silly) this response of dismissiveism is at least as silly. If you have a real argument, you can win it without being dismissive. If your argument is as ironclad as you say, put *that* in a journal article. It’s generally people who can’t be troubled with argument that resort to being dismissive. They’ll tell you that they don’t have time to bring you up to speed with everything they know, but somehow they do find time to publish pseudo academic articles about how dumb their opponents are for denying.

    How stupid and pointless is the crowd that says “I’m not satisfied with having convinced the people that I have convinced, therefore I’m going to make it personal by going after all of the people I couldn’t convince.”

    If your opposition is as illegitimate as you say, there’s no need to point it out. It’s usually apparent to the whole world.

    This is a rant against dismissiveism (not a real word, I know), and I could give a shit about any of the actual issues at play here.

  69. “…If you have a real argument, you can win it without being dismissive. If your argument is as ironclad as you say, put *that* in a journal article. It’s generally people who can’t be troubled with argument that resort to being dismissive. They’ll tell you that they don’t have time to bring you up to speed with everything they know, but somehow they do find time to publish pseudo academic articles about how dumb their opponents are for denying…”–John Reeder, above.

    yes, that’s quite it, and, it’s no more complex than that..

    to reiterate, sans the ‘vernacular’, come with the *Facts, pertinent to the Discussion, or Stay Home.
    ~~

    DeD,

    get real..there is, in the Post, a specific Vaccine being referenced..with that, the ‘context’, of cn’s commentary, should have been, at the min., a statistical analysis/cost-benefit analysis directly attributable to a specific ‘Vaccine’, not, as he went with, some pseudo-pap pulled from his imagination..

    this: ““…No ability to discern risk/reward there, if one person out of 100,000 has a problem with a vaccine, and 30,000 out of that same 100,000 avoid a disease with life-changing consequences…”
    doesn’t provide any sustenance..