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ExpandMyMind

How Best to Challenge Science Deniers

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ExpandMyMind
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As the authors explain, there are two primary tactics used to rebut science denialism (and to argue in general): “An advocate can aim to overwhelm the opposing position by providing support only for her own view or she can aim to refute the opposing position by attacking its plausibility and explaining why it is wrong.” This is called a topic rebuttal. The other tactic is known as a technique rebuttal: The debunker can highlight the common techniques used by science deniers and show how a given argument fits in. For example, the claim that vaccines aren’t 100 per cent safe reflects a so-called “impossible expectation”, since no medical procedure is 100 per cent safe.

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The researchers ran six online experiments on almost 1,200 participants dealing with vaccines and climate change, in which they gauged success based on participants’ behavioural intentions and attitudes (either getting vaccinated or taking action to fight climate change, depending on the study, and attitudes towards those activities) before and after listening to, or reading a debate with, a science denier. Participants were randomly assigned to conditions where a science advocate was or wasn’t present to respond to the misinformation, and where the advocate used topic rebuttals, technique rebuttals, or both.

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“The results show that public discussions with a science denier have a damaging effect on the audience, as revealed by negative changes in attitudes and intentions [toward vaccination/ tackling climate change].” This negative effect was still present, though it was mitigated, even when a debunking advocate was absent. The researchers’ advice based on this rather disheartening outcome was that “advocates who take part in debates should not expect too much for their efforts — but that it’s still important to at least rebut science denialists when they show up or write in public forums.

 

https://digest.bps.org.uk/2019/07/10/researchers-conducted-six-studies-to-investigate-how-best-to-challenge-science-deniers/

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moonman

So, if I'm reading that right, anti-science/anti-vax/anti-logic morons spouting woo nonsense hurt public opinion of proven research no matter what.

Makes sense. If you smear enough **** on something it will never be truly clean again.

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Desertrat56
9 minutes ago, moonman said:

So, if I'm reading that right, anti-science/anti-vax/anti-logic morons spouting woo nonsense hurt public opinion of proven research no matter what.

Makes sense. If you smear enough **** on something it will never be truly clean again.

That only works when the majority of the population is uneducated.   So advocate for elementary school children to get proper introduction to science and advocate for middle schools and high schools to hire well trained science teachers.  In the 70's I had two different high school physics teachers who also had coaching jobs because the budget was not there to support a physics teacher full time, but there was all kinds of budget for sports.  And that wasn't even in Texas!

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Stubbly_Dooright

I can see where moon man is coming from, but I’m leaning towards to what Desertrat said. I would think, no matter the amount of anti-science/anti-vaxxers debate their cause in whatever way, I would think what is provable, (and I mean this as what is logical and so forth), would still be the end result understanding. I look at it as, even though there could be on person debating for science and such, no matter the amount of those debating against that, in the end, it’s still something that is proven objectively and is the actual understandable. No matter the doubt put forth, if it’s the actuality of what it is, (and I’m thinking this of science and such, ) then that will be shown as the truth in the end. 

Oh geez, if I’m making sense here. :o  :w00t:  

I would also think, of those who are just an audience to such debates, it depends on their outlook to. In which, I would think it would go back to Desertrat’s point of the amount of education they have. 

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darkmoonlady

Hold them over the edge of the building and ask them if they believe in gravity. Seriously it's education, we are woefully undereducated and all you need to see is those man on the street bits where ordinary people can't answer whether the earth revolves around the sun the sun revolves around the earth. People who can't understand that certainty aren't getting global climate change. We're drowning in stupidity.

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ExpandMyMind
3 minutes ago, darkmoonlady said:

Hold them over the edge of the building and ask them if they believe in gravity.

Thank God you weren't my physics teacher :lol:

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Aaron2016

Science is never exact.  Here are 7 famous quotes.

 

Carl Sagan (1980)
“Science is a self-correcting process. To be accepted, new ideas must survive the most rigorous standards of evidence and scrutiny.”

Lewis Thomas (1980)
“Science is founded on uncertainty. Each time we learn something new and surprising, the astonishment comes with the realization that we were wrong before.  In truth, whenever we discover a new fact it involves the elimination of old ones.”

Alfred North Whitehead (1919)
"The aim of science is to seek the simplest explanations of complex facts. We are apt to fall into the error of thinking that the facts are simple because simplicity is the goal of our quest. The guiding motto in the life of every natural philosopher should be, Seek simplicity and distrust it.”

Galileo (1610)
“In science the opinions of a thousand are not worth as much as one tiny spark of reason in an individual man.”

Ernest Mayre (1982)
“It is curious how often erroneous theories have had a beneficial effect for particular branches of science.”

William Bragg (1957)
"The important thing in science is not so much to obtain new facts as to discover new ways of thinking about them."

Claude Lev-Strauss (1990)
“Nor must we forget that in science there are no final truths.”

 

 

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.AKUMA.

I think its merely the case of it being Human nature to question what we are told.

Science is a pretty easy one to question, a large portion of it is still theoretical.

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ExpandMyMind

Related:

The Backfire Effect:

Quote

Have you ever noticed that when you present people with facts that are contrary to their deepest held beliefs they always change their minds? Me neither. In fact, people seem to double down on their beliefs in the teeth of overwhelming evidence against them. The reason is related to the worldview perceived to be under threat by the conflicting data.

Creationists, for example, dispute the evidence for evolution in fossils and DNA because they are concerned about secular forces encroaching on religious faith. Antivaxxers distrust big pharma and think that money corrupts medicine, which leads them to believe that vaccines cause autism despite the inconvenient truth that the one and only study claiming such a link was retracted and its lead author accused of fraud. The 9/11 truthers focus on minutiae like the melting point of steel in the World Trade Center buildings that caused their collapse because they think the government lies and conducts “false flag” operations to create a New World Order. Climate deniers study tree rings, ice cores and the ppm of greenhouse gases because they are passionate about freedom, especially that of markets and industries to operate unencumbered by restrictive government regulations. Obama birthers desperately dissected the president's long-form birth certificate in search of fraud because they believe that the nation's first African-American president is a socialist bent on destroying the country.

In these examples, proponents' deepest held worldviews were perceived to be threatened by skeptics, making facts the enemy to be slayed. This power of belief over evidence is the result of two factors: cognitive dissonance and the backfire effect. In the classic 1956 book When Prophecy Fails, psychologist Leon Festinger and his co-authors described what happened to a UFO cult when the mother ship failed to arrive at the appointed time. Instead of admitting error, “members of the group sought frantically to convince the world of their beliefs,” and they made “a series of desperate attempts to erase their rankling dissonance by making prediction after prediction in the hope that one would come true.” Festinger called this cognitive dissonance, or the uncomfortable tension that comes from holding two conflicting thoughts simultaneously.

It's a short article and definitely worth a read.

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Tatetopa
28 minutes ago, ExpandMyMind said:

It's a short article and definitely worth a read.

That nails it EMM.

It is not logic or questioning that opposes science, it is desire.

If one is threatened by evolution or climate change and 999 scientists say the evidence points that way, some will cling to the 1 in a thousand that deny it like that door  floating on the ocean in the "Titanic" movie.  It is not settled, or opinions vary they will say.

If 9 doctors tell you you have cancer and 1 says maybe you don't, who do you want to believe?

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