Sunday, October 24, 2010
Axe grinders and denialism
Some people just have an axe to grind. Their minds already are completely made up. They won’t be listening for any evidence to the contrary. Trying to persuade them is a waste of time.
Denialism is employing rhetorical tactics to give the appearance of argument or legitimate debate, when there is none. Mark and Chris Hoofnagle have a blog about denialism which has a section that discusses the following five general tactics:
2. Selectivity (cherry picking)
3. Fake experts
4. Impossible expectations (moving the goalposts)
5. Logical fallacies
More specific tactics are discussed in their Deck of Cards section, like the card above which means that really there is no problem.
In 2009 Pascal Diethelm and Martin McKee wrote an excellent magazine article about Denialism: What it is and how should scientists respond? You can read and download it here.