One month of denialism

We’ve been on for one month now. It was a pretty good start. We got about 110k pageviews, about 54k visitors, 100 entries and 1050 comments on those entries. We’ve gone through what makes a denialist argument, what makes a crank, 3 major categories of denialists (there are many more) and almost a whole deck of denialist cards – only the high cards are left.

If you like the job we’re doing, let us know. If there is something you want more of, we’d be happy to hear about it. As always, if you’re just joining us and you want to read what we’re all about, our “about” page summarizes the major posts to get you caught up to speed.


19 responses to “One month of denialism”

  1. Mark UK

    I think you are doing a great job and a much needed job. Please keep it up. We need to speak out against these anti-science types and we need to keep educating people as to what is behind these tactics.

  2. Keep up the great work.

  3. 99.9 percent

    Where’s the Friday shtick? Cat blogging? Open threads?

    Or start that photo collection of used floss where we analyze what’s on the string.

  4. Håvard

    You two are doing an excellent job.

  5. You’re doing a great job. Watching cable news is so much more amusing these days…it’s fun to watch the denialist arguments pile up from their guests. Thank you. This has become my favourite blog.

  6. If you like the job we’re doing, let us know.

    YES I like the job you’re doing!!! This is really great stuff.

  7. This blog rocks!

  8. Regarding the Deck of Cards, I’d like to see more of an explanation for how to distinguish legitimate uses of these arguments from bad.

    I’ve read your disclaimer that “Arguments in the Denialists’ Deck can be cogent. In many circumstances, they are legitimate arguments in a debate. For instance, many of the cards deal with appeals to competition, and the ability of the market to solve problems. Of course, competition is a very strong force for reform, but appeals to this force are often false because a certain market isn’t actually competitive, or because the problem is too nuanced or important to just be left to the market.”

    I don’t think that just making this disclaimer is sufficient. It seems to me that all you’re doing is listing arguments that are used to argue against government regulation. Without a discussion of whether and when these arguments are legitimate, I don’t see the point, unless it’s to poison the well (ironically, one of the cards) by labelling all anti-regulation arguments as “denialism.”

  9. You’re on my ‘must read’ list. The only thing I’d like to see is some form of index to the denialist arguments for quick reference.

  10. rmp,
    The About denialism page should suffice for that.

    Jim, the default answer is that it’s a denialist practice to just spout these platitudes when the evidence is against you. At least with the cards, it also becomes more apparent as a strategy when used in aggregate.

    Also, you’ll find those arguing against regulation are almost always responding to some scientific finding or crisis (tobacco companies and cancer, oil companies and global warming, insurance companies and poor care/privacy issues, data aggregation firms and data spills). They simply don’t have a cogent argument based on evidence a lot of the time. So, the rule of thumb is, that if one of these arguments is being presented without solid evidence to back it up, it’s probably just lazy rhetoric (my favorite being bad apples). But I’ll let Chris respond too.

  11. I enjoy the site very much.

    Any plans to sell a denialist card deck?

  12. Mark, thanks for the response. It’s funny, because it seems so obvious to me who’s right in a debate between a side with evidence and a side without it, that it should go without saying. But we do live in a world with many people who seem to struggle to grasp that concept. (And of course I’d be interested in Chris’ response, too, if he has anything to add.)

  13. I’m so happy that someone out there likes the denialism blog, b/c I was going crazy in DC watching these tactics being used over and over! If you’re there too long, you become crazy, and spend your time classifying arguments into a deck of cards!

    @Jim, I think you’re right, and I’m working on the criticism that you’ve raised re: “all you’re doing is listing arguments that are used to argue against government regulation.”

    Part of the problem I have is that many examples of just totally bogus denialism advocacy happens in private meetings with lobbyists and congressional staff. So, I am scouring trade publications, news articles, etc to provide more examples in the public domain to address exactly your point.

    One problem I’ve had is that many of the publicly-available examples may span two arguments. But I plan to regularly look at debates and point out use of the deck of cards, as done recently in the context of lobbying reform:

  14. One month already?! Wow, time flies. I’ve really enjoyed your blog, and I’m saving my lunch money to buy a deck of cards when you put them up for sale.

    Keep up the excellent work.


    PS. I just put you as one of my denizens. Hope you don’t mind.

  15. Yes, I think you’re doing a great job.

    I agree more examples of the use of the deck would be good.

  16. denialism blog is on my daily-read list, which is rarified company indeed – just 11 blogs. Keep up the good work, guys!

  17. I love this blog: I check it every day avidly. It’s probably the best simple explanations of the methods of denialism I’ve seen.

  18. ssjessiechan

    Why yes, I do love what you are doing! Not only do I read every entry of your blog (if not right away, when I have time), but I read it aloud to my boyfriend as well. We talk about the information you’ve provided almost every day, listening to news or crazy Republican customers. If you could do seminars in high schools, the world could become a much better place. You could even hand out tinfoil hats.

    Tinfoil hats are Awesome. My other and I have great fun with your icon and card scheme as well. You clearly have a great sense of fun coupled with your cynicism that gives us daily laughs. Thanks so much for the service!

  19. Wonderful blog lads. You’re doing a valuable public service, but your page views after just a month make me want to cry.

    Can I recommend that you check out Steven Poole’s blog Unpseak which tackles related issues.

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