Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The History of Denialism

Denialism is something that has been going on in science since the beginning of recorded history. The ridiculous part is that denialism isn't just towards science. It is towards politics, disease, and even events of war. Scientists used to be considered heretics by the denialists and were made martyrs to try and prevent future findings of science, but science prevailed.

Even if there is sufficient data and facts to back up scientific findings there will always be people who will deny these facts.

One thing about science though is the backing that it has, or lack of backing that it has. With all the scientific publications and resources out there how can the general population not believe the facts. Sometimes in life and in science its not what you know, but who you know. A perfect example of this is the O.J. Simpson trial. Honestly how many people think that he is innocent. But O.J. did have a good backing team consisting of a very good legal team.The moral to this story is that even if something is the truth people sill still believe what they want to believe.

So back to science now.

One of the unfortunate things about the time we are living in is that if there is something that has facts or proof behind it, there will always be another person out there to try and disprove these facts. One of the bad things about denialism is that we as scientist use probabilities and statistics to achieve our final conclusions in a certain subject, but the denialists will try to find a loophole in any statistical data. It may be that this statistical method is insufficient compared to this one...blah blah bla, but in my opinion a fact is a fact.

One way that scientists have recently tried to communicate our findings is through not only the Internet, but also through television. A prime example of this is Dr. Sanjay Gupta.
Now if you don't know much about Dr. Gupta he is an medical correspondent for CNN news and a general neurosurgeon. I'm not sure if any of you have ever seen any of the shows that this guy has been on, but he generally reports the facts on the particular issue at hand during the time of the report, but he is continually criticized by not only the public, but other journalists criticize him for oversimplifying subjects even though it is one of the few ways that the general population can understand the subject.
I think one of the best ways to communicate science without all the denialism is to get a trustworthy spokesperson which hundreds of activist groups and government agencies have succeeded in doing. If the scientific community could get an actor or high profile musician to work with us that the denialists could understand and trust, it would be a great leap towards the proper communication of the facts to the general population without all the criticizing and denial of all the proof.

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