I thought denialism was a technique only used by right-wing fringe groups to discount well established ideas of science and history like climate change, evolution and the holocaust. But, alas, ignorance comes in all flavors. I recently ran across a group of supposedly thoughtful rational people who deny the existence of the historical Jesus. One would expect science-minded people to be more accustomed to using the tools of rigorous discipline, open-ended inquiry, professional expertise and scholarly consensus. Alas, “l’homme a toujours pensé aussi bien.” We see the same grasping at any straw of evidence to bolster an entirely emotional commitment to a tacitly assumed “conclusion.”


~ by severalfourmany on January 26, 2013.

2 Responses to “Denialism”

  1. Reminds me of Hume’s assertion that reason is the slave of the passions. I don’t know how anyone can deny the historicity of Jesus Christ. People try also to deny that Muhammad existed, but his existence seems equally well established.

    Though, climate change is an interesting topic. I wonder mostly whether we can do anything about it even if we understand what’s going on. I know that a theory of global cooling was popular in the 70’s, global warming now, and a study which came out of Harvard claimed that the weather was much warmer during the Middle Ages than now (they could farm grapes in Greenland).

    Concerning evolution, I feel that there’s no need to treat everything scientists say about it as gospel. Certainly, species change slightly–wolves become dogs, black moths become more populous than white ones in industrial areas, populations become more resistant to diseases over time, etc.–but, I am not sold on the idea of one species becoming something completely other–most dramatically in the concept of a single celled organisms evolving into every species present on the planet.

  2. Interesting thoughts. Shoot me an email if you are up for experiment in everyday epistemology.

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