68 MIN READ TIME

A Skeptical Response to Science Denial

JOHN COOK

Science denial has significant consequences. AIDS denial caused over 300,000 deaths in South Africa. Vaccination denial has allowed preventable diseases to make a comeback. Climate science denial helped delay sorely needed mitigation policies, committing us to direr climate impacts for decades to come.

Skepticism (by which I mean an evidence-based approach) is the antidote to denial. But skepticism doesn’t just apply to how we practice our science. It must also apply to how we communicate our science. There is a wealth of psychological research into the phenomena of denial and how to neutralize the influence of misinformation. To ignore this evidence when countering science denial and pseudoscience is, ironically, not a skeptical approach.

So what is an evidence-based response to science denial? To illustrate, allow me to use an example from my own area of research: the scientific consensus on climate change. The psychological principles emerging from this topic have implications that can be applied to many areas of science.

Read the complete article and many more in this issue of Skeptical Inquirer
Purchase options below
If you own the issue, Login to read the full article now.
Single Digital Issue July August 2016
 
$2.99 / issue
This issue and other back issues are not included in a new subscription. Subscriptions include the latest regular issue and new issues released during your subscription. Skeptical Inquirer
Annual Digital Subscription $16.99 billed annually
Save
5%
$2.83 / issue

This article is from...


View Issues
Skeptical Inquirer
July August 2016
VIEW IN STORE

Other Articles in this Issue


Editor’s Letter
Letter from the Editor
The Skeptical Inquirer draws strength from our loyal readers, knowledgeable
FEATURES
Does Astrology Need to Be True?
The original article in Skeptical Inquirer Winter 1986–87 had a
Does E = mc2 Imply Mysticism?
Pseudoscience is adamant about attaching itself to science. After all,
Does the Universe Revolve around Me?
In 2014, a group that believes Earth does not orbit
COMMENTARIES
Dear Readers, This is about You . . . and Us
We always appreciate having a special relationship with you, our
The Do’s and Don’ts of Trusting Science
It’s been a tough year for science. The American Statistical
SPECIAL REPORT
Artistic Provocations from Skeptical Inquirers: An Exhibit
Art and science have a complex relationship. On the positive
Two Artists Combine Art, Science, and Skepticism
“Much of my work has been about what we see,
NEWS AND COMMENT
How Donald Trump Employs Conspiracies and Why It Works
While there are many factors in Donald Trump’s rise to
Sir Harry Kroto, Nobel Laureate, Science Educator, Skeptic
The world scientific community and the skeptic and freethought communities
Steven Pinker Elected to National Academy of Sciences
Cognitive scientist Steven Pinker, a longtime fellow of the Committee
Mass Hysteria Closes Fifty-Seven Schools in Bangladesh
Dozens of schools in Bangladesh were closed in January after
Quack Busters’ Leader William Jarvis Dies at Eighty
Skepticism has lost one of its most influential and accomplished
Japanese Taxi Drivers Claim Ghost Passengers
More than a half dozen Japanese taxi drivers claimed earlier
INVESTIGATIVE FILES
Jesse James’s ‘Haunts’: Legends, History, and Forensic Science
Joe Nickell, PhD, is a former Pinkerton detective and historical
PSYCHIC VIBRATIONS
The ‘Phoenix Lights’ Become an ‘Incident’
Sheaffer’s “Psychic Vibrations” column has appeared in the Skeptical Inquirer
SCIENCE WATCH
Obesity: ‘Fat Chance’ or Failure of Sincerity?
Kenneth W. Krause is a contributing editor and “Science Watch”
THE SCIENCE OF SCIENCE COMMUNICATION
Partisan Pandemics Political Divisions Will Affect American Beliefs about the Zika Threat
Matthew Nisbet is associate professor of communication at Northeastern University
BEHAVIOR & BELIEF
Good News for Grouches: Happiness May Be Overrated
Stuart Vyse is a psychologist and author of Believing in
SKEPTICAL INQUIREE
Egging the Equator
Benjamin Radford is a research fellow at the Committee for
NEW AND NOTABLE
NEW AND NOTABLE
BAD UFOS: Critical Thinking about UFO Claims. Robert Sheaffer. Sheaffer
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Biological Race and Human Diversity
I wonder how much experience those who say race is
THE LAST LAUGH
SKEPTICAL ANNIVERSARIES
July 1, 1926: Parapsychologist J.B. Rhine attends a séance by
CARBON DATING
REVIEWS
Heavy with Praise, Light with Skepticism
Extrasensory Perception is divided into two volumes, the first titled
Bad Medicine
The Map of Heaven: How Science, Religion, and Ordinary People