Despite a greater percentage of people knowing about (and agreeing with) scientific issues, denialism remains a powerful political and psychological force that threatens to have its heyday under President Trump. As Peter Gleick writes on Significant Figures, “good policy without good science is difficult; good policy with bad science is impossible.” Peter asks: what is the best way for scientists to engage the republic? Through testimony? Social media? Pop star status like Sagan, Bill Nye, and Neil deGrasse Tyson? Or is the open letter an effective form of public outreach? Meanwhile, on Starts With a Bang, Ethan Siegel says “Scientific truths may not necessarily have a one-to-one correspondence with policy,” but until we agree on basic facts, “we’re going to have a very hard time moving forward together in this world.” Orac offers additional advice for battling conspiracy theories and denialism on Respectful Insolence: “It’s not enough to know the science (or history). You have to know the pseudoscience (or pseudohistory) inside and out.” Orac also considers a study on the best way to argue with conspiracy theorists, which suggests that showing empathy is not an effective approach. Instead, “a combination of rational argument and targeted ridicule can be effective.”
2016: The year bullshit was weaponized on Respectful Insolence
5 scientific myths you probably believe about the Universe on Starts With a Bang!