My Friend Is a Science Denier—What Can I Do?
In this second part of our series on conspiracy theories and other false narratives, we'll look at practical actions we can take and tools we can use to have fruitful discussions with friends and family who have been misled.
There are ways that we can help untangle the snare of a mind-gripping false narrative. They're usually not easy, and they're usually not fast, but they can work in most cases. To help us learn how, Dr. Lee McIntyre, author of How to Talk to a Science Denier, will provide detailed recommendations for countering science denial and other false narratives in one-on-one discussions with friends and family.
This will be an intense, information-packed event; be sure to bring your questions or send them to us in advance at firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also want to review the first event in this series, "Why Have False Beliefs and Conspiracy Theories Become So Powerful?" before attending. And be sure to look for the next event in this series, which will discuss actions society can take to defend itself.
Resources and References
My Friend Is a Science Denier. What Can I Do?
Lee McIntyre at The Commonwealth Club of California, September 6, 2022
Note: These resources were provided by the moderator; The Commonwealth Club is not responsible for the content or the links.
Books (some are free downloads)
- Lee McIntyre. (2021) How to Talk to a Science Denier. MIT Press.
- Carl Sagan. (1997) The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark. Random House.
- Stephan Lewandowsky and John Cook. (2020) The Conspiracy Theory Handbook http://sks.to/conspiracy
- John Cook. The COVID-19 Vaccine Communication Handbook. https://hackmd.io/@scibehC19vax/home
- Peter Boghossian and James Lindsay. (2019) How to Have Impossible Conversations. Da Capo Lifelong Books.
How to Talk
- Melanie Trecek-King. A Life Preserver for Staying Afloat in a Sea of Misinformation. Skeptical Inquirer 46(2), 44-49. https://skepticalinquirer.org/2022/02/a-life-preserver-for-staying-aflo…
- Michael Shermer. "How to Convince Someone When Facts Fail." Scientific American 316(1), 69. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/how-to-convince-someone-when…
- https://www.sfchronicle.com/opinion/openforum/article/Half-of-medical-p… [The 3-5-3 method for talking with vaccine deniers]
- https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/psych-unseen/202009/4-keys-help… and https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/psych-unseen [By our first speaker, Dr. Joe Pierre]
Detecting False Information
- Elyse Samuels, Sarah Cahlan, Emily Sabens. How to Spot a Fake Video. Washington Post, 19 Nov 2021. https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2021/03/19/how-spot-fake-video/
- Carl T. Bergstrom and Jevin D. West. (2020) Calling Bullshit: The Art of Skepticism in a Data-Driven World. Random House.
A Personal Growth Member-led Forum program. Forums at the Club are organized and run by volunteer programmers who are members of The Commonwealth Club, and they cover a diverse range of topics. Learn more about our Forums.
Photo courtesy the speaker.
Ph.D., Research Fellow, Center for Philosophy and History of Science, Boston University, Former Executive Director, Institute for Quantitative Social Science, Harvard University; Author, How To Talk To A Science Denier and Post-Truth
Chair, Personal Growth Member-led Forum, The Commonwealth Club of California—Moderator