How deniers lie 2: repeating a lie

By October 18, 2017Australian Politics, Science

In the psychology of human behaviour, denialism is a person’s choice to deny reality, as a way to avoid a psychologically uncomfortable truth. Denialism is an essentially irrational action that withholds the validation of a historical experience or event, by the person refusing to accept an empirically verifiable reality1.

Those who want to deny such things as climate change, evolution, the holocaust, HIV causing AIDS, acid rain, DDT and harmfulness of tobacco, have a vested interest in the denial. They, in turn, want to convince as many of the gullible as they can because of that vested interest, which in most cases is commercial.

The technique of repeating a lie often enough that it becomes the truth, is a ‘law’ of propaganda2 that is often attributed to Joseph Goebbels3. There are psychological experiments which demonstrate that, over several weeks, some participants can be made to think that an incorrect statement such as ‘a date is a dried plum’ is true2. This is dependent on the amount of knowledge of the participant, because the effect of repetition does not override prior knowledge. That is presumably why the ‘information poor’ are more likely to believe lies if they are repeated often.

With regard to climate change, some of the lies repeated often include the following:

  • It is variation in the sun’s radiation that causes global warming4
  • Volcanoes pump out more carbon dioxide than human activity5
  • The earth has not warmed since 19986

All these and numerous others are easily shown to be lies, as the data showing them to be so, is readily available. However, the people who want to spread these lies are not interested in facts.




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