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Denying to the GraveWhy We Ignore the Science That Will Save Us, Revised and Updated Edition$
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Sara E. Gorman and Jack M. Gorman

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9780197547458

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780197547458.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 04 December 2021

Avoidance of Complexity

Avoidance of Complexity

(p.195) 5 Avoidance of Complexity
Denying to the Grave

Sara E. Gorman

Jack M. Gorman

Oxford University Press

This chapter describes another reason people succumb to unscientific notions—the discomfort people have with complexity. It is not that people are incapable of learning the facts but rather they are reluctant to put in the time and effort to do so. This retreat from complexity is similar to the other reasons for science denial in that it is in many ways a useful and adaptive stance. But when making health decisions, the inability to tackle scientific details can leave one prone to accepting craftily packaged inaccuracies and slogans. Scientists, doctors, and public health experts are often not helpful in this regard because they frequently refuse to explain things clearly and interestingly. The chapter then argues that scientists need to work much harder on figuring out the best ways to communicate facts to non-scientists. It proposes some possible methods to make scientific thinking more intuitive. By focusing on the scientific method, one can begin to educate people about how to accept complexity and uncertainty, how to be skeptical, and how to ask the right questions.

Keywords:   complexity, science denial, health decisions, scientific details, health professionals, scientists, scientific thinking, scientific method

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