17 July 2009

How to deny anything

As someone who has an interest in skepticism’s idiot cousin, denialism, I’ve learned that the topic changes, but the patterns of arguments are amazingly consistent. Over at the Tetrapod Zoology blog, Darren Niash shows that these patterns of arguments aren’t restricted to conspiracy theorists. Sadly, scientists with an axe to grind will pull them out too. The paper in question concerns the relationship between birds and dinosaurs.

Here’s a short list of techniques that you too can use anytime you find the evidence against your position!

  • Never assert anything. Your goal is only to find shortcomings in your opponent’s claims. If It doesn’t matter if your criticisms are inconsistent as long as you’re criticizing.

  • Ignore relevant information. Just pretend it doesn’t exist. Go back and pull out references from decades ago that could not have taken new information into account.

  • Act like you’re being suppressed. Say there are a lot of people with vested interests who don’t want your ideas to get out. Even though we live in a time that makes it almost impossible to silence anyone.

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