Sean B. Carroll’s List of 6 Arguments Used by Science Denialists

I finally found what I was looking for. Sean B. Carroll, the noted evolutionary biologist, author, and vice-president for science education at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, delivered a presentation at a 2012 conference on science denialism. He listed 6 arguments employed by science denialists that could be applied to almost any subject. They come from Carroll’s book The Making of the Fittest: DNA and the Ultimate Forensic Record of Evolution.

The six listed arguments were to:
1) Cast doubt on the science.
2) Question the scientists’ motives and integrity.
3) Magnify any disagreements among the scientists; cite gadflies as authorities.
4) Exaggerate the potential for harm from the science.
5) Appeal to the importance of personal freedom.
6) Object that acceptance of the science would repudiate some key philosophy.

He pointed out that the last one is very important. Evidence will only matter to someone who hasn’t dug in on that last point.

Here is the video for his presentation.

(HT: Robert Godfrey)

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