Seth Kalichman has written a book on HIV AIDS denial and Nature has a book review that’s got me excited to get my copy. From the review:
Inadequate health policies in South Africa have reportedly led to some 330,000 unnecessary AIDS deaths and a spike in infant mortality, according to estimates by South African and US researchers. This carnage exceeds the death toll in Darfur, yet it has received far less attention. Seth Kalichman, a US clinical psychologist, shows in Denying AIDS how words can kill. His marvellous book should be read alongside Nicoli Nattrass’s Mortal Combat, covering similar ground but from the perspective of a South African.
The tragic events in South Africa have been exacerbated by AIDS ‘denialists’ who, Kalichman alleges, assert that HIV is harmless and that antiretroviral drugs are toxic. The author discusses the psychology of denialism, which he says is “the outright rejection of science and medicine”.
These attitudes are not unique to HIV. Denialism, notes Kalichman, is “partly an outgrowth of a more general anti-science and anti-medicine movement”. Groups that support intelligent design, doubt global warming, claim that vaccines cause autism, argue that cigarettes are safe, believe that the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001 were an intelligence-agency plot or deny the Holocaust all use similar tactics.
As Kalichman says, denialism “will not break until the public is educated to differentiate science from pseudoscience, facts from fraud”.
Excellent! These are the points we’ve been trying to get across for years and I’m excited to see others catching on and emphasizing this point. It’s not about differing opinions it’s about different tactics. The tactics of the pseudoscientists are easy to spot, and don’t require expert knowledge of science. If people know about them, and recognize them, then fighting against insidious ideas like HIV/AIDS denial or evolution denial gets that much easier.
Get yourself a copy!