The Denialist Playbook
By Sean B. Carroll, About The Author S, Sean B. Carroll Is Distinguished University Professor Of Biology At The University Of Maryland, Vice President For Science Education At The Howard Hughes Medical Institute. His Latest Book Is, Recent Articles
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The same playbook is now being used to deny facts concerning the COVID-19 pandemic. In brief, the six principal plays in the denialist playbook are:Doubt the Science Question Scientists’ Motives and Integrity Magnify Disagreements among Scientists and Cite Gadflies as Authorities Exaggerate Potential Harm Appeal to Personal Freedom Reject Whatever Would Repudiate A Key PhilosophyThe purpose of the denialism playbook is to advance rhetorical arguments that give the appearance of legitimate debate when there is none. Doubt the ScienceThe first tactic of denialism is to raise objections to scientific evidence or interpretations. In the evolution arena, scientists are often accused of being part of a conspiracy to undermine religion through educational systems. Reject Whatever Would Repudiate a Key PhilosophyOnce the courts have spoken, and the scientific evidence grows to be overwhelming, one might think that denialists would be out of plays.