Off to Montreal

I’m going to be less active for a few days. Going to Montreal (for the first time) for the 17th Conference on Computers, Freedom, and Privacy. I’ll be moderating a panel on the new landscape of online advertising, featuring Microsoft’s Kim Howell, the Center for Digital Democracy’s Jeff Chester, and Mike Zaneis of the Interactive Advertising Bureau. There may be some denialism afoot, in which case I’ll project a card or two on the screen.

Anyone have any restaurant suggestions?

Denialists’ Deck of Cards: The 2 of Hearts, “Bad Apples”

Yesterday, I discussed how “no problem” is a chorus in denialist rhetoric. But sometimes, something bad has happened, and it’s more or less impossible say “no problem” with a straight face. What can a denialist do?
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Selectivity from the Family Research Council

Some might wonder why I include some right-wing “family” organizations on the list of denialists. It’s simple. In their efforts to oppose all forms of contraception, they routinely lie about the science behind the efficacy of condoms for STD-prevention (just like HIV/AIDS denialists), the efficacy of contraception, as well as social effects of contraception like the falsehood that contraceptive availability leads to promiscuity and higher STD transmission.

Take for instance, the Family Research Council on emergency contraception.

(republished from – this was too good an example to pass up)
*Update* Calladus has a good overview of their “research” into the efficacy of abstinence education. What kind of family value is lying anyway?
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Denialists’ Deck of Cards: The 2 of Clubs, “No Problem”

I’m very proud to be on Scienceblogs with Mark, and for my first posts, I’m going to be introducing the Denialists’ Deck of Cards, a humorous way to think about rhetorical techniques that are used in public debate. Those who pay attention to consumer protection issues, especially in product safety (especially tobacco, food, drugs), will recognize these techniques. The goal of classifying them in this way is to advance public understanding of how these techniques can be used to stifle reform in consumer protection or on other issues. So, the Denialists’ Deck is extremely cynical. But it is a reflection of and reaction to how poor the public policy debates in Washington have become.
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Unified theory of the crank

A crank is defined as a man who cannot be turned.
– Nature, 8 Nov 1906

Here at denialism blog, we’re very interested in what makes people cranks. Not only how one defines crankish behavior, but literally how people develop unreasonable attitudes about the world in the face of evidence to the contrary. Our definition of a crank, loosely, is a person who has unreasonable ideas about established science or facts that will not relent in defending their own, often laughable, version of the truth. Central to the crank is the “overvalued idea”. That is some idea they’ve incorporated into their world view that they will not relinquish for any reason. Common overvalued ideas that are a source of crankery range from bigotry, antisemitism(holocaust deniers), biblical literalism (creationists – especially YEC’s), egotism (as it relates to the complete unwillingness to ever be proven wrong) or an indiscriminant obsession with possessing “controversial” or iconoclastic ideas. Some people just love believing in things that no one in their right mind does, out of some obscure idea that it makes them seem smart or different.
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Hello Scienceblogs

Hello and welcome to denialism blog.

Here we will discuss the problem of denialists, their standard arguing techniques, how to identify denialists and/or cranks, and discuss topics of general interest such as skepticism, medicine, law and science. I’ll be taking on denialists in the sciences, while my brother, Chris, will be geared more towards the legal and policy implications of industry groups using denialist arguments to prevent sound policies.
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