5 Easy Tips for Denying Scientific Consensus

Faced with unfortunate facts or inconvenient truths? Here's a handy guide for denying scientific consensus. 


This post originally appeared in the Newton blog on RealClearScience. You can read the original here

Faced with unfortunate facts or inconvenient truths? Tired of closing your eyes, sticking your fingers in your ears, and screaming "LA LA LA LA LA LA?" Well, simply read RealClearScience's handy guide for denying scientific consensus. It's 100% proven to work against a variety of well-substantiated topics, such as:

  • Drinking Water Fluoridation
  • Global Climate Change
  • Child Vaccinations
  • Evolution
  • The Link Between HIV and AIDS
  • I'm sure you've got a long day of crafting aluminum foil hats ahead of you, so let's get going!

    Tip #1: Claim a conspiracy. Feel like the whole world is against you? Well that's because it is! Scientists, politicians, journalists: they're all in collusion! Take climate change, for example. It's obvious why all those scientists "agree." They've been paid off by Big Solar and Big Wind, and are probably throwing lavish parties, complete with dancers that jump out of giant cakes shaped like beakers.

    Tip #2: Use fake experts. The other side has their experts, so you need to get some, too. Finding somebody with respected credentials will be difficult, so to make up for it, just dress whoever you select in a white lab coat. If you can recruit a celebrity, do it! The public already trusts them. (Note: The more attractive the celebrity, the greater is his or her credibility.) To the anti-vaxxers out there, I recommend Jenny McCarthy.

    Tip #3: Cherry-pick scientific data. Every once in a while, a scientific study will be published that supports your claims. When this happens, latch on and don't let go (despite it's obvious errors)! After all, the key to convincing others is simply to repeat your message more often than your opponents repeat theirs. If you're opposed to genetic modification, allow me to recommend a 2012 study by Gilles-Éric Séralini which found that genetically modified corn causes cancer in lab rats. Never mind that it's been universally denounced and recentlyretracted. The public doesn't need to know that.

    Tip #4: Create unrealistic expectations of the evidence. Science is inherently uncertain; even scientists admit that! What can they ever really prove? Nothing! Climate change deniers, take Pascal Diethelm and Martin McKee's advice and "point to the absence of accurate temperature records from before the invention of the thermometer."

    Tip #5: Employ logical fallacies. Straw men, red herrings, false analogies: all of these are your friends. Misrepresent the opposition! Change the subject! And here's a foolproof false analogy for evolution deniers: "As the universe and a watch are both extremely complex, the universe must have been created by the equivalent of a watchmaker." Deep, isn't it?

    Okay! You're ready to go! But first beware: there's a guaranteed side effect of utilizing this guide. You'll look like a total dunderhead.

    But hey, it sure beats sticking your head in the ground!

    Source: Pascal Diethelm and Martin McKee. "Denialism: what is it and how should scientists respond?" European Journal of Public Health, (2009) Vol. 19, No. 1, 2–4

    (Image: Shutterstock)

    Car culture and suburbs grow right-wing populism, claims study

    New research links urban planning and political polarization.

    Pixabay
    Politics & Current Affairs
    • Canadian researchers find that excessive reliance on cars changes political views.
    • Decades of car-centric urban planning normalized unsustainable lifestyles.
    • People who prefer personal comfort elect politicians who represent such views.
    Keep reading Show less

    How to split the USA into two countries: Red and Blue

    Progressive America would be half as big, but twice as populated as its conservative twin.

    Image: Dicken Schrader
    Strange Maps
    • America's two political tribes have consolidated into 'red' and 'blue' nations, with seemingly irreconcilable differences.
    • Perhaps the best way to stop the infighting is to go for a divorce and give the two nations a country each
    • Based on the UN's partition plan for Israel/Palestine, this proposal provides territorial contiguity and sea access to both 'red' and 'blue' America
    Keep reading Show less

    NASA astronomer Michelle Thaller on ​the multiple dimensions of space and human sexuality

    Science and the squishiness of the human mind. The joys of wearing whatever the hell you want, and so much more.

    Flickr / 13winds
    Think Again Podcasts
    • Why can't we have a human-sized cat tree?
    • What would happen if you got a spoonful of a neutron star?
    • Why do we insist on dividing our wonderfully complex selves into boring little boxes
    Keep reading Show less