1 September 2010
Denialism and The Age of Disinformation
Posted by Dan Satterfield
Chris Mooney and Michael Specter along with others did a lecture at MIT last April. MIT has put the video up online and it is well worth a view.
The topic was denialism and disinformation. How can so many people believe things that someone tells them with no critical thinking. (My post on Authoritarians goes along with this quite well I suspect)
I regularly get asked if the world is going to end in 2012, and amazingly I am still getting comments from buyers defending their purchase of the iRenew and Q-Ray bracelets!
Well Dan, many thanks for posting the video. I sat and watched and felt utter dread at the future of reported science because of the Specter characters totally over the top attitude to anyone with a counter view to his. We are all wrong and he is right. Sorry to say I disagreed with his views on a lot of subject matter because he wasn’t prepared to accept that there was or is an alternative path to anything. He is one dangerous individual with ideas like his. GMO’s are proving to be dangerous and despite the evidence he was clearly in the ‘lets develop it and let the devil take those left by the wayside because all that matters is Monsanto’s total global control over everything’. I liked some of the data that mentioned partisanship as an indicator of scientific bias because the lack of statistics training that Specter mentioned towards the end became particularly evident. Its obvious that if an individual follows a particular political party then they are likely to hold similar views on most things. However the panel neglected to say that the issues mentioned were in fact the most contentious issues currently being discussed by all parties and therefore there would definitely be a bias that followed partisan lines. If they took their statistics further (as they should have) to include smaller, less controversial issues they would then discover a certain difference between individuals which would not be obvious when only the major issues were mentioned. A bit too selective of examples for my liking. Not enough fine detail. The woman who reported on medicines who took the view that there were too many drugs prescribed when not needed was spot on in my view. The US is definitely ‘a pill for every ill’ nation that is steadily becoming totally dependent on the pharmaceutical companies to help each American through every day. Now that is sad and true. I am glad I live in the UK.
The journalist guy spoke of the future being Geo-engineering. Oh Dear! I really hope not because we have already done enough damage to planet Earth.
My view. (For what it is worth) The people in general, both here and in the US, have long given up believing the press and media where science is concerned because they have been numbed to the truth. Its the ‘little boy crying wolf’ syndrome. Too much reportage of climate change, GM technology, oil spills, pollution, famine, disease and a whole raft of issues has worn the readers down and now all the majority of people want to do is sit down with a beer and the box switched to their favourite channel of crap tv. Its like that here.
However in Specter’s favour he did mention one aspect of society which he got right. Education. However I would hate to have his curriculum to study. 🙂