Dangerous science denial

Science denial seems to be rampant at the moment. The climate change denial promoted by “climategate” is just an extreme current example. We still face other forms of science denial with respect to evolutionary science, alternative medicines, spiritualism, etc. Even bloody  alternative fertilisers, for god’s sake!

So this TED talk by Michael Spector is timely. He has new book out, Denialism: How Irrational Thinking Hinders Scientific Progress, Harms the Planet, and Threatens Our Lives. I have yet to read it but it also sounds timely from the reviews.

Michael Specter: The danger of science denial.

I am currently reading another book relevant to this area. It’s Nonsense on Stilts: How to Tell Science from Bunk by Massimo Pigliucci. Mine is a review copy (the book is published next month) but so far I can highly recommend it. It’s very well written, quite exciting to read and covers many modern examples of anti-science nonsense. Massimo discusses science denialism and its possible causes. Anti-intellectualism seems to be one of the causes in the US.

This whole subject is important. And as Spector says: “Denialism is a virus and viruses are contagious.”

See also: Looking for the sources of the “denial”

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4 responses to “Dangerous science denial

  1. Pingback: Dangerous science denial « Open Parachute · World News at PaperBoyo.com

  2. Watching the Deniers

    Thanks Ken, shall be reading: some further good news. Phil Jones, head of CRU cleared by independent panel of charges of “fraud”:

    http://watchingthedeniers.wordpress.com/2010/04/14/jones-cleared-of-charges-of-scientific-malpractice-there-goes-deniers-claims-of-fraud/

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  3. I utterly agree with Michael Specter.

    I’m very interested how New Zealand governments and society is becoming more and more open to alternative ‘views’ of the world, predominantly around Maori.

    How do we as a national feel about these world views?

    I have just read the result of the recently accepted AgResearch proposal with a condition that “made it illegal for AgResearch to use Maori genes, but legal to use other human genes.”

    I am yet to read the report in detail but I would be fascinated to know at which level the term “Maori genes” refer to. What level of homology is required over X number of base pairs to qualify?

    Continuing to accept some these world views may be the easy option politically, but it doesn’t necessarily make it the right one.

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