“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” Abraham Lincoln

Conspiracy Theories and Selective Distrust

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In an age of pop stars and celebrities, where the utterances of Paris Hilton are often taken as Delphic pronunciations, the phenomena of conspiracy theories and selective distrust of scientific evidence is disturbing.

The scholarly journal Public Library of Science Medicine describes another alarming episode, HIV Denial in the Internet Era:

“That HIV is the primary cause of AIDS is the strongly held consensus opinion of the scientific community, based upon over two decades of robust research. Deniers must therefore reject this consensus, either by denigrating the notion of scientific authority in general, or by arguing that the mainstream HIV community is intellectually compromised. It is therefore not surprising that much of the newer denial literature reflects a basic distrust of authority and of the institutions of science and medicine. In her book, Christine Maggiore thanks her father Robert, “who taught me to question authority and stand up for what’s right” [10]. Similarly, mathematical modeler Dr. Rebecca Culshaw, another HIV denier, states: “As someone who has been raised by parents who taught me from a young age never to believe anything just because ‘everyone else accepts it to be true,’ I can no longer just sit by and do nothing, thereby contributing to this craziness” [17].”

I suppose that basic denier’s methodology applies across a range of bizarre views (9/11 Truthers. Holocaust denial, etc)

(Hat tip: Mrs. Trellis)

Written by modernityblog

28/08/2007 at 15:06

Posted in Uncategorized

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