I often write about the dangers of science denial, when pertaining to the many that doubt or disavow the vast scientific consensus that humans are causing global climate change. I engage such science denial every day, really, as every post I write that mentions climate change or global warming seems to get inundated with a slew of comments, many of them aimed at communicating to me that I am an idiot (or worse) for discussing climate change. So let's look at all this from another angle. In this fantastic TED talk, journalist Michael Specter explains the widespread phenomenon of science denial, focusing on vaccines, not climate change. Take a look: This is a really useful, important notion to understand: science denial is not by any means confined to conservatives--it can afflict anyone whose belief system overpowers the inclination to respect actual data:
The most controversial topic Specter addresses (in a presentation full of them) is probably the topic of genetically engineered food, and while I think he glosses over the dangers of GMOs, he does raise some good points about them. I don't wholly agree with his analysis--he says 'lets do away' with the corporate bad stuff that makes GMOs scary (seed patenting, pesticide immunity) and get on with it. That's waaaaaaaaay easier said than done.
But. In the primary theme of his topic--the need to respect scientific results properly--he's absolutely right. The message is for both conservatives (many who deny climate change primarily because they fear mitigating it will infringe on their individual freedoms) and liberals (who are helping to drive vaccination levels down in the US due to a mistrust of Big Pharma), for everyone that trumpets irrational ideas in the face of scientific data because those ideas suit them better.
Also, the line about turning from Big Government or Big Corporations to Big Placebo is gold.