By Philip C. Mead
“In wartime, the truth is so precious, she must be attended by a bodyguard of lies.”
- Winston Churchill
Left untreated, denialism eventually kills its host. The prognosis, though, is very uncertain. The rate of degradation varies greatly from individual to individual, and the time course for death is also highly variable. Remission is very rare, but it can happen. The search for a cure starts with a basic understanding of denialism and how it works with other syndromes.
Brownstone Institute recently published an article about “Denialism”. The author, Robert Buckley, provides a very good summary of the issues and arguments around denialism and denialists. He points to current debates such as climate change, the 2020 election results, and the multifaceted fight over issues of the plandemic. Mr. Buckley also implied that the endlessly repetitive “strategy” of calling you a climate denier, an election denier, etc. is an effective technique for shutting up critics. I am not so sure about that. There is the old saying, “If the only tool you have is a hammer, you will treat everything like a nail.” Well, building things like houses and bodies of knowledge requires more than just a hammer. Denialists will have a problem if they continue. Denialism is just another form of lying, and, as such, contributes nothing.
So, yes, denialism is a form of lying in the spirit of Winston Churchill’s quote above. In fact, denialism is a field of academic study, much like its evil cousin Agnotology (the teaching of false knowledge). The coining of the term, agnotology, is credited to Irish linguist Iain Boal. However, the development of the ideas of agnotology became a project of Stanford professor Robert Proctor who has written a book on the subject. The point is that agnotology enriches the tapestry of denialism. The interplay between these two areas has received no attention. That needs to change.
First Thoughts on Agnotology
Literally translated, agnotology is the study of “not knowing”. Philosophers point to the branch called epistemology where you ask yourself “How do I know what I know?” However, when Professor Proctor decided to go with the phrase “cultural production of ignorance” as his definition of agnotology, he unwittingly unleased a viscious and ill wind of careful deceits designed to feel and sound like knowledge. This is just another way of promoting ignorance. A tapestry of carefully designed and multiple ignorances hides the truth effectively.
The suggestion here is that agnotology is a tool of denialism, and one that is not wielded well by denialists. If they did, the results would be so much worse in the public mind.
Professor Protcor may want to disagree, however, agnotology’s link to the field of psy-ops is unmistakable. Denialism can be thought of as a weaker form of psy-ops, but the connection is still there. The Wikipedia discussion of denialism includes a very familiar list of anti-logical tricks including but not limited to calling opponents conspiracy theorists, cherry picking supporting data, drawing false analogies and using straw man arguments.
Moreover, one can characterize agnotology as the practice of writing literary fiction. Well thought out plots, cleverly crafted narratives, all neatly tied up in a carefully edited bow are all part of the art of what is not true. How we love to be transported to another world with beautifully written fiction. The key difference is that literary fiction self-discloses as not being true, while agnotology does not.
Agnotology v. Denialists
Whatever rejection denialists throw at those who disagree with them, it is nothing compared to the intellectual challenge posed by your not knowing in the abstract sense. A fair claim is that a denialist would have the most trouble of all when it comes to questioning his own thoughts. However, what makes this worse is that the denialist may realize he has to call into doubt everything that he thinks he knows. So, it becomes better to just keep on being a denialist. Someone needs to explain it to him.
Denialism and Obsolete Theories of Science
Denialism has also been a part of the culture of science ever since there was science. However, the term “follow the science” was a tool of manipulation used to justify irrational orders issued from the government, corporations and the biomedical establishment. “Follow the science” was just a more dishonest updating of the same denialism that caused ideas such as those below to linger for centuries as scientific “truths” until a combination of the preponderance of scientific data, and enough scientists finally agreed the ideas below were, in fact, wrong.
-Earth is the Center of the Universe
-The four humors of the body’
-the four states of matter – earth, water, wind and fire
-Wrinkled Apple Theory of Continent Formation
-Rain Follows The Plow “Theory”
Since “Rain Follows the Plow” is so similar to opinions about climate change, it merits a closer look for denialists. Human-induced climate change is the core belief of the climate change cult. The current cult bases its belief on the “overproduction” of carbon dioxide. Rain follows the plow was based on the greater release of water in the atmosphere due to plowing. This idea was popular from the mid-1800s to the early 1900s in America and Australia. The Wikipedia account, while somewhat biased, makes clear that many scientists, politicians and businessmen believed in this idea. To quote from Wikipedia, “The theory was later refuted by climatologists and is now definitively regarded as false.” Scientists believed it, scientists eventually debunked it. That speaks volumes to the issues of denialism. It is the point made above. Science can and does hold on to wrong ideas for a very long time. Until the wrong ideas are dethroned, critics are sneered at, debunked and called all sorts of names. It should sound familiar. What happened to Galileo is what is being done by today’s Mind Jerk Media (MJM) to the critics of climate change.
Framing Denialist Arguments
Imagine a triangular diagram. The triangle is divided into three parts.: Top, lower left and lower right. In the top you put, One True, One False. In the lower left you put Both True, and th in the lower right you put Both False. Maybe it will confuse denialists, maybe it will enlighten them. The expansion of the logic around an argument can plant a seed in their mind that there are several perspectives to consider without admitting error.
If the denialist shows any inclination to consider different views, then it is time to introduce a classic: The Structure of Scientific Revolutions by Thomas Kuhn. This was an introductory reading for any college student majoring in science. While Mr. Kuhn used the word, structure, to describe scientific revolutions, it is the run up to those revolutions which can end up being more important. For example, he noted that even while a dominant theory appears to settle any discussion, a slowly growing body of contradicting knowledge builds up over time until finally there is a crisis over the status of the prevailing theory. The best example is the struggle between classical physics and quantum physics as it developed in the early 20th century. Einstein was being a bit of a denialist when he claimed that God does not play dice with the universe. However, instead, we find that classical and quantum physics are both correct. Hence, this is an example of a set of arguments that end up in the lower left section of the triangle above. Maybe someday when a true universal explanation of all physical phenomena is developed, that will change. That is a possibility which cannot be denied either.
If it is about a search for the truth, it is argued here that any set of issues will end up in one of the three sections above.
The Denialist Mindset: Who Does Denialism Serve?
Several prior points need to be combined here: 1) The lazy tyrannical mind that must shut down debate, 2) The need to sustain fear that stops debate, 3) The deceptive power of the seemingly self-evident (second hand smoke, masks) information that is still scientifically wrong.
All three points share a child-like mindset best described by a magic trick. When a child sees a magician make something suddenly appear, they will think the magician really did that. The child will deny that he was deceived. The innocent ignorance of a child combined with the defense mechanisms of an adult are the root and branch of denialism. How does this explain how a tyrant (like Dr. Fauci) could be both innocent and full of guile?
As noted above, denialism eventually kills its host. There is the kind of denialism where you can’t help yourself. Whatever it is in your value system, your emotional make up causes you to refuse obvious facts. A denialist can become so emotionally invested, it defines who you are.
However, denialism serves a different purpose for those who use it as a tool to oppress people. To play stupid, lie, and be demanding works where there is no one to correct you. The top examples are Dr. Fauci, Dr. Birx and Dr. Wallensky (Though Dr. Redfield will have some explaining to do, as well as Dr. Collins). They all remain guilty of an untold amount of death and suffering caused in the American population by their being denialists-in-charge.
Also, another name for denialism is gaslighting. How long did they assure us masks work? How long they keep pushing social distancing? That there were some 400 studies showing masks do not work was meaningless to them because it did not fit their purpose. W\hat was their purpose? Well, it should become increasingly clear that protecting the public health had nothing to do with their brand of denialism. Eventually, the battle shifted, and they were put on the defensive. The same needs to happen in all the other areas in question: Education, environmental science, the economy, etc. The fight must continue.
The Brownstone article on denialism had, as its call to action, the request that people speak up, keep speaking up, and push back against denialism. In this article, the call to action is for the reader to take the fight to an even higher level. It needs to be done. The examples and explanations in this article serve as part of a more extended plan of action against denialism.
When you refuse to face reality, reality will catch up with you. Dr. Fauci is already beginning to realize this. Slowly but surely he is trying to plant in the public mind that somehow he didn’t lie yet knew the masks and “vaccines” did not work. Sorry, Dr. Fauci, you will not be able to have your cake and eat it too. We can only hope the law won’t allow it. That too will require even greater arguing and demanding from We the People.