Dr Bo Winegard

How Can a Book About Science Denialism Ignore the Most Pervasive Forms of Science Denialism?

by Dr. Bo Winegard How to Talk to a Science Denier: Conversations with Flat Earthers, Climate Deniers, and Others Who Defy Reason by Lee McIntyre, MIT Press, £19.99, pp.264 (August 2021) I have defended what some critics derisively call "scientism", which I take to be the view that science is the best (in fact, the only) tool for achieving progressive knowledge about the world. Therefore, one might think that I would be the perfect target for Lee McIntyre’s new book, How to Talk to a Science Denier: Conversations with Flat Earthers, Climate Deniers, and Others Who Defy Reason. As it turns out, however, I am not. What is more troubling for the book is that I can’t imagine who would be. Although displaying a congenial spirit and advocating laudable, but possibly platitudinous positions, it is ultimately disappointing, marred by a simplistic view of science and a slanted (and ideologically convenient) idea of what constitutes 'science denialism'. Thus, although the book’s ultimate message that “we need to start talking to one another again, especially to those with whom we disagree” (p.175) is praiseworthy, its flaws, its lack of nuance, and its absence of discussion of many forms of leftwing “science denial” overwhelm and undermine its commendable thesis. McIntrye begins by contending that “for a number of years it has been fairly...

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June 2022
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