The rejection of scientific expertise has been one of the most consequential social trends of the 21st century and, for those of us who remain committed to the scientific method, it may also be the most frustrating. After years being bombarded with evidence (and often having their intelligence insulted), science deniers seem even more committed to alternative explanations of the world and the leaders who promise to undermine science-based policy. How did we get here and how can we make things better? In this episode, we get answers to those questions from Dr. Lee McIntyre, who shares what he learned from studying the ways that science deniers see the world, how we can use those insights to fight that worldview, and why a little bit of good faith goes a long way in communicating with others.
Dr. Lee McIntyre is a Research Fellow at the Center for Philosophy and History of Science at Boston University. His book How to Talk to a Science Denier: Conversations with Flat Earthers, Climate Deniers, and Others Who Defy Reason (MIT Press, 2021) hits shelves on August 17, 2021.
(You remember that study that said confronting people with evidence that disproved their position only made them more convinced of their beliefs? It didn’t hold up in subsequent experiments. There’s more on that in this episode.)
This episode was edited by Gary Fletcher.