Massimo Pigliucci writes about what he learned at an interdisciplinary conference on denialism. I highly recommend reading this blog post because, as Massimo points out, “denialism in its various forms is a pernicious social phenomenon, with potentially catastrophic consequences for our society.”
I have just come back from a stimulating conference at Clark University about “Manufacturing Denial,” which brought together scholars from wildly divergent disciplines — from genocide studies to political science to philosophy — to explore the idea that “denialism” may be a sufficiently coherent phenomenon underlying the willful disregard of factual evidence by ideologically motivated groups or individuals.
Let me clarify at the outset that we are not talking just about cognitive biases here. This isn’t a question of the human tendency to pay more attention to evidence supporting one’s view while attempting to ignore contrary evidence. Nor are we talking about our ability as intelligent beings to rationalize the discrepancy between what we want to believe and what the world is like. All of those and more affect pretty much all human beings, and can be accounted for and at the least partially dealt with in…
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This dad doesn’t actually say that he does not want his daughter to know that Muslims are real, but he did say that he doesn’t want his daughter to learn about Islam because it is “a faith he does ‘not believe in.’” He refuses to allow his daughter to do the assignments in her word history class even though she will receive zeros on those assignments (see Gazette.net). Wow! That’s just what we need: more ignorance!
“Coming to terms with its militarist past has never been easy for Japan, which tried to set aside the issues raised by the war as it rebuilt itself into the peaceful, prosperous nation it is today. But pressure to erase the darker episodes of its wartime history has intensified recently with the rise of a small, aggressive online movement seeking to intimidate those like Mr. Mizuguchi who believe the country must never forget,” Martin Facklerby a far right nationalist group of “cyberactivists” known as Net Right to halt the erection of a memorial in the tiny village of Sarufutsu, where “[a]t least 80 Korean laborers died of abuse and malnutrition here as they built an airfield at the behest of the Japanese military during World War II.” This group is using intimidation to stop what it sees as blights on the image of the nation. Unfortunately, in this case they succeeded and work on the memorial came to a halt.
These nationalists believe that they are restoring honor to the Japanese nation but what is more honorable: Admitting your sins and trying to make amends or covering them up?