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Town Hall Seattle: Science Series

Town Hall’s Science series is dedicated to understanding the world around us. Whether we’re hearing from a legendary physicist or a UW graduate student, the Science series explores math, biology, chemistry, the environment, and so much more.

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Oct 12, 2021

We’re not to blame for climate change. It’s a part of the natural cycle. The earth is flat. The round Earth conspiracy is orchestrated by NASA and other government agencies. No one should get the coronavirus vaccine. Bill Gates wants to use it to implant microchips in people. This is, of course, all bunk. But how can we change the minds of people who believe it to be true?

Lee McIntyre offered thoughts and suggestions to try and reach, communicate, and change the minds of science deniers in How to Talk to a Science Denier. And, he warned, it’s best not to just dismiss them and ignore them. Why? Science denial can kill. From attending a flat earth conference to chats with anti-vaxxers, McIntire presented the five factors involved in science denial: cherry-picking evidence, belief in conspiracy theories, reliance on fake experts, logical errors, and setting impossible expectations on what science can achieve. Can we achieve understanding with the irrational? Not through belittling them or through anger, McIntyre said, but through calm, respectful rationality.

Lee McIntyre is a Research Fellow at the Center for Philosophy and History of Science at Boston University. He is the author of Dark Ages: The Case for a Science of Human BehaviorPost-Truth, and The Scientific Attitude: Defending Science from Denial, Fraud, and Pseudoscience.

Buy the Book: How to Talk to a Science Denier: Conversations with Flat Earthers, Climate Deniers, and Others Who Defy Reason (Hardcover) Third Place Books 

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