What's with denialists these days? Skepticism is key to insight, but blatant disregard for evidence simply because it contradicts your ideology is a fool's journey. Examples seem to be popping up everywhere, so I'd thought I'd share a few.
The National Intelligence Estimate on Iran came out this week to the dismay of the Bush administration. They seemed to have no problem with the 2005 report, probably because it supported their ambitions of wiping Iran off the map in order to prevent World War III. It should be of no surprise then that the authors of that report were the same as those who wrote a similar excuse for war with Iraq in 2002, most of which has since proven entirely false and misleading.
So it should also be of no surprise that when the most recent NIE reports that Iran halted its weapon program 4 years ago and is about a decade away from nuclear weapon capabilities (if they were to resume now) that administration sees it as inconsequential at best, and a plot to politicize the intelligence community and a witch hunt to sabotage President Bush. It’s no wonder some members of the administration - when they don’t see answers they like - have either entirely ignored the intel, fought hard for months to keep this document from seeing the light of day at all or at least not until it reflected certain interests. Propaganda from war hawks won’t cease despite evidence that directly contradicts their baseless ideological claims.
When Al Gore recently won the Nobel Prize for his work on climate change, it revived the denial of global warming. Even John Coleman, the founder of The Weather Channel, came out to slander the scientific evidence of climate change. And he’s not alone. Some people will just never be convinced, crying “hyperbole,” or attacking Gore himself, even calling him Hitler, no matter how towering the mountain of evidence becomes.
This past Saturday marked another World AIDS Day, which many still see as a dedication to a myth. As far as deadly infectious diseases go, HIV/AIDS is still relatively young, only have been described about 25 years ago. But since the early 1980s the elucidation of the virus and the horrific illness it causes cannot be ignored. It’s frightening that many people out there still deny it’s a real problem and forgo treatment – even more frightening when it directly impacts the lives of others. With particularly devastating effects on minorities, recent discoveries are also used simply to justify deeply held racism.
As mentioned previously, genocide is still widely denied. There are still many people that deny the Holocausts – Jewish and Armenian – ever happened. The combination of denial and the rewriting of history is dangerous and needs to be confronted, even though it might look futile.
Denialists are a strange and difficult breed to deal with. For further insight and many more examples, check out the Denialism Blog, and remember: “don’t mistake denialism for debate!”