Shopping Cart -

Your cart is currently empty.
Upgrade to today
for only an extra Cxx.xx

You get:

plus This issue of xxxxxxxxxxx.
plus Instant access to the latest issue of 340+ of our top selling titles.
plus Unlimited access to 30000+ back issues
plus No contract or commitment. If you decide that PocketmagsPlus is not for you, you can cancel your monthly subscription online at any time. Auto-renews at $9.99 per month, unless cancelled.
Upgrade for 99c
Then just $9.99 / month. Cancel anytime.
Learn more
Pocketmags Digital Magazines
Pocketmags Digital Magazines
Read anywhere Read anywhere
Ways to pay Pocketmags Payment Types
Trusted site
At Pocketmags you get
Secure Billing
Great Offers
Web & App Reader
Gifting Options
Loyalty Points

A Skeptical Response to Science Denial

Science denial has a corrosive effect on delicately understood scientific concepts, and it is getting worse. But science itself holds an answer.

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.

Scientific Consensus on Climate Change

What percentage of publishing climate scientists accepts human-caused global warming? This isn’t just an academic question; the answer has real-world consequences. On complicated scientific matters such as climate change, the average layperson uses expert opinion as a mental shortcut or heuristic. Psychologists have identified perceived consensus as a “gateway belief ” influencing their views on climate change and, most importantly, their level of support for climate action.

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

View Issues

About Skeptical Inquirer

Does Astrology Need to Be True? A Thirty-Year Update Does E = mc2 Imply Mysticism? Does the Universe Revolve around Me? A Skeptical Response to Science Denial Skeptical Inquirer’s 2016 Reader Survey Results