Can we change the minds of science deniers? Encounters with flat earthers, anti-vaxxers, coronavirus truthers, and others.
"Climate change is a hoax--and so is coronavirus." "Vaccines are bad for you." These days, many of our fellow citizens reject scientific expertise and prefer ideology to facts. They are not merely uninformed--they are misinformed. They cite cherry-picked evidence, rely on fake experts, and believe conspiracy theories. How can we convince such people otherwise? How can we get them to change their minds and accept the facts when they don't believe in facts? In this book, Lee McIntyre shows that anyone can fight back against science deniers, and argues that it's important to do so. Science denial can kill.
Drawing on his own experience--including a visit to a Flat Earth convention--as well as academic research, McIntyre outlines the common themes of science denialism, present in misinformation campaigns ranging from tobacco companies' denial in the 1950s that smoking causes lung cancer to today's anti-vaxxers. He describes attempts to use his persuasive powers as a philosopher to convert Flat Earthers; surprising discussions with coal miners; and conversations with a scientist friend about genetically modified organisms in food. McIntyre offers tools and techniques for communicating the truth and values of science, emphasizing that the most important way to reach science deniers is to talk to them calmly and respectfully--to put ourselves out there, and meet them face to face.
About the Author
Lee McIntyre is a Research Fellow at the Center for Philosophy and History of Science at Boston University. He is the author of Dark Ages: The Case for a Science of Human Behavior, Post-Truth, and The Scientific Attitude: Defending Science from Denial, Fraud, and Pseudoscience, all published by the MIT Press.
2021 INDIES Finalist in Political and Social Sciences (Adult Nonfiction)
Finalist for the Next Big Idea Book Club "Timely and founded in sound psychology, How to Talk to a Science Denier is vital reading for fraught times." –ForeWord Reviews, STARRED REVIEW
“This book is a necessary tool in an age that depends more and more on people trusting and believing in science in order to meet the simultaneous challenges posed by the long-term effects of epidemics, climate change and post-truth misinformation.” –Shelf Awareness
“Well-argued . . . provides ingenious insights throughout.” – Kirkus Reviews "How to Talk to a Science Denier by philosopher Lee McIntyre draws on his encounters with flat Earthers, anti-vaxxers, coronavirus truthers and others. McIntyre offers tools and techniques for communicating the truth and values of science." –New Scientist
"Superb." –E&T, Engineering & Technology
“I honestly believe it’s one of the most important books of the year . . . I could go on and on about this book all day, but I just need you to get this book ASAP and buy a copy for a friend as well. Lee helps you get inside the mind of science deniers, explains the political aspect of science denial, and so much more. Again, get this book, and thank me later.” –Chris Boutte, The Rewired Soul
"When attempting to bridge the gap, start with compassion.... McIntyre’s enterprise is hopeful, and his book is littered with productive conversations." –The Washington Independent Review of Books
"An authoritative and entertaining account of science denial and how we might fight it, moving smoothly between theory and the author’s personal experiences of talking to science deniers." –Physics World "McIntyre has written an entire book based on his Socratic conversations: How to Talk to a Science Denier: Conversations with Flat Earthers, Climate Deniers, and Others Who Defy Reason (MIT Press, 2021). It would make a valuable entry in your skeptic library." —Massimo Pigliucci, Skeptical Inquirer