10 March 2006

Deny, Deny, Deny

Or: A Short History Of Everything-you-ever-heard-about-x-is-wrong

I fell into a rather nasty little trap the other day when I bristled at the suggestion that those who deny that HIV causes AIDS are easily comparable to creationists who deny evolution. My initial impulse was to argue that the two camps, while equally annoying, are sufficiently distinct to warrant separate strategies when dealing with them.

Now I realize the folly of trying to draw arbitrary lines between disparate groups that nevertheless exhibit a good deal in common. It is more useful to analyze each according to is own weaknesses. Just as there are more differences within members of each so-called "race" than there are between the races (rendering the term meaningless), so the anti-science rhetoric and propaganda of each denial gang within the larger anti-science movement is best described by its own motivations and fallacies. Trying to assign them into higher-level divisions is pointless.

In that spirit, herewith a brief look at some of the more popular brands of head-in-the-sand denialism, in chronological order.

1. Creationists
A special case to be sure, as what they deny -- the ability of the modern synthesis of evolutionary biology to explain the diversity of life -- came along after their core belief had been around for millennia. Their motivation is religious. It's not simply that arcane calculations drawn from the Old Testament posit that the universe is only 6,000 years old, but that to accept evolution is to demote humankind from a special place in that universe. With creationism comes serious implications for our relationship with nature and other cultures. In that sense, it is easy to understand why adherents are reluctant to accept a worldview that diminishes their god's role from active participant in human affairs to passive bystander.
Suggested response strategy: patience.

2. Holocaust deniers
Although based in old-fashioned anti-Semitism, which predates just about every surviving form of bigotry, Holocaust denialists have transcended mere cultural animosity but actually take issue with well-documented recent history. They not only dispute eyewitness testimony, but challenge mountains of physical evidence. The alleged conspiracy required to have successfully revised so much of the historical record boggles the mind, and dwarfs even the Area-51 fantasies of a government cover-up of alien abductions. To this extent, they are perhaps the least rational of all denialists, and the least likely to be convinced of the error of their ways. Their motivation is rooted in jealousy and an extreme lack of self-confidence.
Suggested response strategy: dismissal.

3. HIV/AIDS denialists
A puzzling aggregation of homophobes and ultra-skeptics/paranoiacs who come to their belief from disparate places. Some have had personal experiences or come across compelling anecdotes that cast doubt on the overwhelming scientific evidence tying the development of AIDS to infection by HIV. Others begin with a deep-seated suspicion of the entire medical establishment and extend that distrust to any or all prevailing wisdom regarding health-care treatments. Some of the more ardent of this gang are beyond hope because of exposure to extreme cases of suffering; others are worth the effort as they are sometimes willing accept the scientific method.
Suggested response strategy: repeated exposure to the facts.

4. Climate change dissidents
The scientific evidence in favor of an anthropogenic explanation for the majority of the warming experienced by the planet in the past century has now reached the point where the number of climatologists willing to identify with this group is approaching zero. (The recent radiosonde data that did away with the apparent discrepancy between surface and stratospheric temperature trends may have been the nail in the coffin.) But among non-experts, the movement enjoys continued support. Motivation? From the corporate side, it's simply greed and narrow-minded, short-term visions. At the personal level, it could often be explained by political tendencies and a skeptical approach to the educated elite.
Suggested response strategy: a broadening of the mind through travel or education about the implications for the subject's children.

I'm sure there are a few more good examples. But it's a beautiful day out there, and I'd like to get some sun.

3 Comments:

Blogger Steve said...

You've seen William Catton's paper on denial, yes?

8:29 PM  
Anonymous buy cheap meds without prescription said...

Generic Premarin drug estrogens are used to treat symptoms of menopause; deficiency in ovary function (including underdevelopment of female sexual characteristics and some types of infertility); some types of breast cancer in men and in postmenopausal women; degeneration of the vagina; and urethra and prostate cancer. In addition, conjugated estrogens are used to prevent osteoporosis.

Generic ALENDRONATE Fosamax drug reduces calcium loss from bones. It helps prevent bone loss and increases production of normal healthy bone in patients with Paget's disease, osteoporosis, and other conditions which place someone at risk for bone loss, including after menopause in females or from the long-term use of corticosteroids (like prednisone) in men or women.

Generic Soma CARISOPRODOL drug is a muscle relaxant medications, which is used to treat pain caused by muscle spasms.

Generic Zyban Bupropion drug is used to relieve mental depression and is used as part of a support program to help you stop smoking. Bupropion is sold under different brand names for different.

Generic Ultram TRAMADOL drug is an analgesic used to treat or prevent pain. It also may be used to treat pain caused by surgery and chronic conditions such as cancer or joint pain.

5:41 AM  
Blogger cvxv said...

看房子,買房子,建商自售,自售,台北新成屋,台北豪宅,新成屋,豪宅,美髮儀器,美髮,儀器,髮型,EMBA,MBA,學位,EMBA,專業認證,認證課程,博士學位,DBA,PHD,在職進修,碩士學位,推廣教育,DBA,進修課程,碩士學位,網路廣告,關鍵字廣告,關鍵字,課程介紹,學分班,文憑,牛樟芝,段木,牛樟菇,日式料理, 台北居酒屋,日本料理,結婚,婚宴場地,推車飲茶,港式點心,尾牙春酒,台北住宿,國內訂房,台北HOTEL,台北婚宴,飯店優惠,台北結婚,場地,住宿,訂房,HOTEL,飯店,造型系列,學位,SEO,婚宴,捷運,學區,美髮,儀器,髮型,看房子,買房子,建商自售,自售,房子,捷運,學區,台北新成屋,台北豪宅,新成屋,豪宅,學位,碩士學位,進修,在職進修, 課程,教育,學位,證照,mba,文憑,學分班,台北住宿,國內訂房,台北HOTEL,台北婚宴,飯店優惠,住宿,訂房,HOTEL,飯店,婚宴,台北住宿,國內訂房,台北HOTEL,台北婚宴,飯店優惠,住宿,訂房,HOTEL,飯店,婚宴,台北住宿,國內訂房,台北HOTEL,台北婚宴,飯店優惠,住宿,訂房,HOTEL,飯店,婚宴,結婚,婚宴場地,推車飲茶,港式點心,尾牙春酒,台北結婚,場地,結婚,場地,推車飲茶,港式點心,尾牙春酒,台北結婚,婚宴場地,結婚,婚宴場地,推車飲茶,港式點心,尾牙春酒,台北結婚,場地,居酒屋,燒烤,美髮,儀器,髮型,美髮,儀器,髮型,美髮,儀器,髮型,美髮,儀器,髮型,小套房,小套房,進修,在職進修,留學,證照,MBA,EMBA,留學,MBA,EMBA,留學,進修,在職進修,牛樟芝,段木,牛樟菇,關鍵字排名,網路行銷,PMP,在職專班,研究所在職專班,碩士在職專班,PMP,證照,在職專班,研究所在職專班,碩士在職專班,SEO,廣告,關鍵字,關鍵字排名,網路行銷,網頁設計,網站設計,網站排名,搜尋引擎,網路廣告,SEO,廣告,關鍵字,關鍵字排名,網路行銷,網頁設計,網站設計,網站排名,搜尋引擎,網路廣告,SEO,廣告,關鍵字,關鍵字排名,網路行銷,網頁設計,網站設計,網站排名,搜尋引擎,網路廣告,SEO,廣告,關鍵字,關鍵字排名,網路行銷,網頁設計,網站設計,網站排名,搜尋引擎,網路廣告,EMBA,MBA,PMP,在職進修,專案管理,出國留學,EMBA,MBA,PMP,在職進修,專案管理,出國留學,EMBA,MBA,PMP,在職進修,專案管理,出國留學,婚宴,婚宴,婚宴,婚宴,漢高資訊,漢高資訊,比利時,比利時聯合商學院,宜蘭民宿,台東民宿,澎湖民宿,墾丁民宿,花蓮民宿,SEO,找工作,汽車旅館,阿里山,日月潭,阿里山民宿,東森購物,momo購物台,pc home購物,購物,手機,手機王,數位像機,衛星導行,GPS,小筆電,機油漢高資訊,漢高資訊,在職進修,漢高資訊,在職進修,住宿,住宿,整形,造型,室內設計,室內設計,漢高資訊,在職進修,漢高資訊,在職進修,住宿,美容,室內設計,在職進修,羅志祥,周杰倫,五月天,住宿,住宿,整形,整形,室內設計,室內設計,比利時聯合商學院,在職進修,比利時聯合商學院,在職進修,漢高資訊,找工作,找工作,找工作,找工作,找工作,蔡依林,林志玲

3:59 AM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home