Nautilus

How Uncertainty Can Help Fight Science Denialism

Why is a statement like “vaccines cause autism” persuasive or not? Each side of the issue will no doubt claim some support, but if we know anything about psychology, it’s that facts don’t always settle an argument. Those who claim a link between vaccines and autism—without any evidence to support this claim—are just as certain as those who discredit it.

Communication researchers have been tackling this question for decades. How can two people look at the same information and come to radically different conclusions? How can a single retracted study by a disgraced and dismissed doctor be garbage some and gospel for others

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from Nautilus

Nautilus3 min read
This Famous Aging Researcher Doesn’t Want Us to Live Forever
In the Netflix anime series Knights of Sidonia, humankind is marooned in a spaceship 500,000-strong, refugees constantly on the run from shapeshifting aliens who destroyed Earth over 1,000 years ago. Both the patriarchy and poverty have been smashed.
Nautilus11 min read
The Ancient Rites That Gave Birth to Religion: Sacred beliefs likely arose out of prehistoric bonding and rituals.
The invention of religion is a big bang in human history. Gods and spirits helped explain the unexplainable, and religious belief gave meaning and purpose to people struggling to survive. But what if everything we thought we knew about religion was w
Nautilus6 min read
The Math Trick Behind MP3s, JPEGs, and Homer Simpson’s Face
Over a decade ago, I was sitting in a college math physics course and my professor spelt out an idea that kind of blew my mind. I think it isn’t a stretch to say that this is one of the most widely applicable mathematical discoveries, with applicatio