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How to Talk to a Science Denier: Conversations with Flat Earthers, Climate Deniers, and Others Who Defy Reason Hardcover – August 17, 2021
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"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.
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"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.”
“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."
–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."
—Elizabeth Anderson, John Dewey Distinguished University Professor of Philosophy and Women’s & Gender Studies, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
“In an era of widespread science denial, Lee McIntyre is the voice of epistemological sanity. In this wonderful book, he addresses a pressing question of our age. His answer is both astute and humane. As he emphasizes, we must learn how to talk to science deniers and, in doing so, remember our common humanity. This is an important book. Read it!”
—Quassim Cassam, Department of Philosophy, University of Warwick
“Lee McIntyre is one of our strongest voices combating pseudoscience, superstition, fake news, and alternative facts that have become disturbingly prevalent in recent years. It has become evident that facts alone are not enough to convince science deniers to change their minds. What does work, then? McIntyre reviews the literature on what we know about the psychology of belief and what strategies work, and recounts his many colorful adventures talking to deniers. Destined to be a classic."
—Michael Shermer, Publisher, Skeptic magazine; Presidential Fellow, Chapman University; author of The Moral Arc, Heavens on Earth, and other books
- Publisher : The MIT Press (August 17, 2021)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 264 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0262046105
- ISBN-13 : 978-0262046107
- Item Weight : 1.18 pounds
- Dimensions : 6.3 x 1.06 x 9.2 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #58,937 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Rather than being an elitist, Lee McIntyre is very humble and uses self effacing humor. He talks about his mistakes in trying to communicate to those who take views in opposition to science. He takes the reader on a journey through his discovery of the best way to understand and communicate with those who wind up believing in illogical, unscientific and ultimately harmful behavior (denial of climate change and denial of the reality of COVID-19). One of the characteristics is belief in conspiracy theories.
I learned a great deal in terms of how to speak to someone who is anti-vaccine. Maybe I can have an impact on their lives and on the lives of others through following the methods described by McIntyre.
Oddly enough, that attorney who sells estate planning transitioned from a criticism of McIntyre to talking about how "they" don't want you to be successful. How "they" want to keep you down. How he can protect us. Ironic isn't it? That attorney turns out to be a conspiracy theorist that McIntyre warns about.
The book starts with Lee going to a flat earther convention, and he wants to learn about what they talk about while also having conversations with flat earthers. It’s really interesting hearing about what goes on at the convention and the way these people think. After years of research as well as attending this conference, Lee’s theory is that science denial and conspiratorial thinking is more of an identity issue than an intelligence issue. When he said that, I immediately thought he was onto something because I love to read books about the social sciences, and Lee’s arguments make sense. He provides both scientific research as well as some strong anecdotal evidence that backs this theory, and this gives him a great starting point to teach the reader how to talk to science deniers.
While many books talk about how we need to be more empathetic and compassionate when talking to science deniers, not many people put it into practice. Lee’s passion for educating people about science really shows in this book as he documents the various conversations he has with people. He is extremely transparent about mistakes he makes in conversations, and he reflects on those mistakes in order to better speak to science deniers. At one point, he even talks with a friend who is a scientist that is skeptical of GMOs.
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.