Denialism: How Irrational Thinking Hinders Scientific Progress, Harms the Planet, and Threatens Our Lives.
On the inflexible certainty of ideological commitment.
On turning away from reality in favor of a more comfortable lie.
Michael Specter, science writer for the New Yorker, says, “Denialism is a virus, and viruses are contagious. As Specter sees it, this amounts to a war against progress.
“Well, progress has always been this thing that we strive for and I think we should strive for it. However, it’s been sort of blindly seen as good and I think that we have come to realize that, pretty much since the 1950s, the idea of shimmering progress, of success in technology, success from medicine — though we’ve had a lot of success, we’ve also had some pretty famous failures.
“It makes people think: Why are you promising us that you’re curing cancer, you’re fixing the environment, you’re giving us healthy food, when in fact that’s kind of untrue? That is one reason why denialism is allowed to breed: because people look at authority figures, at scientists, at government and they say, ‘You lied’.”
Yet the NY Times seeks to comfort us by asserting:
“…for better or worse, people are more skeptical of authority than they used to be and want to think for themselves, which includes grappling with the minutiae of science. Not so long ago, for example, patients rarely questioned doctors before undergoing surgery or taking their pills (for example, estrogen replacement therapy to prevent heart attacks), a blind obedience to authority that arguably cost many more lives than, say, vaccine refusal does now.
“What we are seeing is the democratization of science, not the rise of denialism.”