denialism

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August 13, 2017
Pseudoscience is effective. If it weren't, people wouldn't generate so much of it to try to justify opinions not supported by the bulk of the evidence. It's effective because people trust science as a method of understanding the world, and ideological actors want that trust conferred to their…
March 9, 2017
The American Council on Science and Health recently got some exposure on twitter, then a little too much exposure, after publishing this highly problematic (and hysterically bad) op-ed/infographic on twitter and on their site. This opinion piece, presented as if there is some method or objective…
February 6, 2017
Inevitably, with the announcement of The March for Science on Earth Day, April 22nd of this year, come the inevitable naysayers decrying the politicization of science. Astroturf groups such as ACSH (diversity excludes white dudes and scientists from industry!), have of course decried the effort as…
January 30, 2017
The White House in its statement on Holocaust Remembrance Day engaged in Holocaust denial. Then they doubled down on the action and via Reince Priebus on Meet the Press expressed no regret about the wording which had no mention of the Jews in their supposed "remembrance". This has been criticized…
November 24, 2016
Amanda Marcotte, who I've enjoyed reading since her days at Pandagon, was curious about what having a CT president might mean. For some crazy reason, she thought she should ask me about it. Briefly, I tried to summarize the patterns of thought conspiracy theorists engage in, their willingness to…
November 10, 2016
I've not written about this election believing the flaws of the Republican candidate were pretty obvious; further litigating his failures as a candidate is now moot, he is now the president-elect of the United States. However, it is worth discussing what this administration will now bring given…
May 3, 2015
John Cook, of Skeptical Science fame, has created an online course through the University of Queensland and edX, on denialism and climate change. Easy to access and free to take, I found it simple to join from their facebook page, and if you don't want to join you can still see the lectures from…
February 14, 2015
Bill Maher did it again last night, doubling down on his anti-vax nonsense claiming the real problem is we haven't done a controlled population-based trial on vaccination vs non-vaccination. Sadly, I don't have a clip, but I have to say this time at least I was gratified that his panel wasn't…
February 8, 2015
It is amazing how powerful a free lunch is. And the data are real, that people tend to favor those who do nice things for them. That is why, despite new rules about the amount drug companies can give to doctors, or all the rules on disclosure, the pharma reps are always going to push the boundary…
February 8, 2015
I'm glad to see clips like this from the daily show appropriately mocking the deluded, and supposedly "educated" types that don't vaccinate. But have we forgotten this episode from 2005 when he allowed RFK Jr to basically spout his nonsense about vaccines without challenge? It's good and…
February 7, 2015
My favorite news story of the week, herbal supplements don't contain anything at all apparently. Why should we be surprised that big placebo is selling placebos? The authorities said they had conducted tests on top-selling store brands of herbal supplements at four national retailers — GNC,…
February 7, 2015
This week's Realtime with Bill Maher was just about the most perfect example I've seen yet that maybe reality doesn't have a liberal bias. Due to the measles outbreak becoming a hot-button issue, and the realization that his smoldering anti-vaccine denialism would not go over well, our weekly…
February 4, 2015
The latest entry in the "OMG really?" wars is brought to us by the libertarians, who, using the example of the brutal oppression of hand washing regulations, make total fools of themselves. Speaking during a question-and-answer session at the Bipartisan Policy Center on Monday, Tillis related a…
December 9, 2014
I've been following the fall-out of the Rolling Stone article a Rape on Campus as well as their evolving preamble to the story, first expressing doubt, then seemingly dismissing Jackie's account, now falling somewhere in-between with assertions that they have supporting evidence that Jackie was…
December 4, 2014
The GMO debate hosted by Intelligent Squared was excellent and informative. I admit I learned things from listening and that's always a bonus, but it's worth watching to see the "respectable" arguments against GMO posed and dealt with very effectively by the pro-side in this debate. Spoiler alert,…
December 3, 2014
We should have predicted this when we discussed the UVa Rape story in Rolling Stone last week, it was just a matter of time before people would start suggesting the central figure in the story, Jackie, might be fabricating. I would be surprised if this response did not occur, because sadly it is so…
November 26, 2014
The Rolling Stone article, "A Rape on Campus" should be a must read for every one who attends college, plans to attend college, or has children or loved ones on a college campus, especially one with a significant fraternity presence. UVa is my alma mater for two of my degrees, but this story…
November 22, 2013
Today, newspapers including the NYT and WaPo are commemorating the 50th anniversary of Kennedy's death both on their front pages and opinion pages I was thinking if it's finally time to confront one of the most persistent, and widespread conspiracy theories out there - that of a larger conspiracy…
June 15, 2013
How can environmental groups and media outlets maintain that they are advocates of science, and not ideology, when they engage in the anti-science Luddism of GMO fearmongering? The potential of this anti-science behavior to poison their credibility on global climate change is real, as there is an…
June 13, 2013
I'm pleased the Supreme Court has decided to reject the idea of patenting genes, as such case law would be restrictive to scientific discovery and also just feels fundamentally icky. From a legal perspective, as far as I understand patent law (not a lawyer here), it also seemed to fail on the more…
June 12, 2013
Why do food writers think they are competent to evaluate the scientific literature? I know of at least two who, based on their tweets, clearly are not. One is Mark Bittman, who we have previously chastised, and now also Michael Pollan who has been a bit more coy about promoting anti-science…
June 9, 2013
Dear British friends, I am deeply ashamed, and mortified, on behalf of my entire country for the embarrassing phenomenon that is Alex Jones. I see you have learned now for yourselves, this disturbed, bizarre person, is quite possibly the worst guest you could have ever invited to be on a…
June 6, 2013
Chris Mooney has been exploring the basic underpinnings of denialism lately, with this latest article a good summary of the basic problems: In a recent study of climate blog readers, Lewandowksy and his colleagues found that the strongest predictor of being a climate change denier is having a…
May 9, 2013
In the wake of the dramatic events surrounding the discovery of three women including Amanda Berry, being held captive for a decade by a monster, it's important not to forget another sociopath played a role in this drama. That sociopath is the psychic who told Amanda Berry's mother that her…
May 8, 2013
And the best article on the implications of this, surprisingly, comes from Huffington post authors Young and Kirkham: The database released on Wednesday by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services lays out for the first time and in voluminous detail how much the vast majority of…
April 25, 2013
I've recently written about the relationship between conspiracy theories and hate speech. Too often, conspiracy theories are used to justify irrational hate for one group or another, and to direct anger over lack of control of one's life onto a group the conspiracist ideologically opposes.…
April 17, 2013
And Alex Jones and Mike Adams are their Fred Phelps. It's a wonder that Anonymous doesn't retaliate against these ghouls as well as against Westboro who are planning to picket the Boston Marathon funerals. Why are the the same thing? Because they're all ghouls, and they all use any tragic event…
April 8, 2013
I was extremely disturbed to see in the NYT's letters a veterinarian's defense of the practice of overuse of antibiotics in animals that suggested transmission of resistant organisms does not occur. Nonsense! It is abundantly clear that antibiotic use in animals results in resistant strains that…
April 5, 2013
And it may even be more when one considers that there is likely non-overlap between many of these conspiracies. It really is unfortunate that their isn't more social pushback against those that express conspiratorial views. Given both the historical and modern tendency of some conspiracy theories…
April 1, 2013
Crazy ranting about impending socialism/fascism aside, there are legitimate critiques to be made of Obamacare. One policy in particular that raises my ire is penalizing hospitals over performance metrics and penalizing readmissions in particular. The way it works is, patients are admitted to the…