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Saint Louis University School of Law

Immunology and Infectious Disease

2023

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The Psychology Of Science Denialism And Lessons For Public Health Authorities, Brenna Moreno, Molly J. Walker Wilson Jan 2023

The Psychology Of Science Denialism And Lessons For Public Health Authorities, Brenna Moreno, Molly J. Walker Wilson

All Faculty Scholarship

As it wreaked tragedy on the world, the outbreak of COVID-19 helped expose a pandemic of a different kind, one steeped in distrust and contrarianism. This movement, termed science denialism, has been lurking and undermining public health efforts for decades. Specifically, it is “the employment of rhetorical arguments to give the appearance of legitimate debate where there is none, an approach that has the ultimate goal of rejecting a proposition on which a scientific consensus exists.” Unlike skepticism, which is “doubt as to the truth of something” and works to progress both science and society, denialism is characterized by individuals’ …