Summary of Denialism

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In the age of the Internet and social media, separating fact from opinion – and news from fake news – has become a challenge. A new phenomenon, which sociologist Keith Kahn-Harris refers to as “denialism,” has made its way into the public discourse: the use of pseudo-scientific arguments to advance a specific political agenda. If you wonder what motivates people to challenge established scientific consensus, getAbstract believes you will find answers in Kahn-Harris’s enlightening analysis.  

In this summary, you will learn

  • What “denialism” is,
  • What lies behind people’s efforts to uproot scientific truths and
  • How best to counter denialist arguments. 
 

About the Author

Keith Kahn-Harris is a London-based sociologist and writer.

 

Summary

“Denialism” refers to the open rejection of well-established scientific and historic facts in an effort to promote an alternative version of reality. Some denialists claim that the Holocaust never happened; others reject large bodies of scientific research on issues such as human-caused climate change, evolution or vaccines. A strong desire for reality to be different than it is motivates denialists. For example, Nazi sympathizers deny the Holocaust because they want to see the Nazis as good people, while creationists may reject evolution because it challenges their biblical world view. In rejecting unsettling truths, denialists rebel against shared moral principles and taboos, such as the notion that the indiscriminate killing of people is a priori evil or that humans have a moral obligation to protect the environment.


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