facing fright

Stuart Staniford:

I think the general topic of denial is very pertinent to any discussion of global risks.

When something is scary, people have an incentive to somehow avoid dealing with the facts… you have a psychological incentive to deny evidence that maybe the problem is not so severe after all… either ignoring the problem, or if that is no longer working, minimizing it, attacking the integrity of the proponents, etc.

Meanwhile, the other side is at risk of exaggerating the seriousness of the problem.

I didn’t find much in the way of scholarship on the general phenomenon – there’s lots of practical books on denial in addiction. Other than that, I guess we are still in denial about denial…