We will dedicate the following lines to discovering the foundations of these groups and the types of denial , why these paradoxical ideas arise. Likewise, we will know the most popular types, both historically and current.
What is Denialism?
Before starting to list the different types of deniers, we must begin with an introduction in which it is clear what this phenomenon consists of. Denialism is a type of irrational thinking that is studied within psychology. It consists of the non-acceptance of a reality that can be verified in an empirical way .
One of the reasons why denialism is exercised is to avoid accepting a scenario that generates a certain psychological discomfort for the subject. In that sense, it is easier for him to choose not to believe the evidence, even if it is easily verifiable, as we will see later when studying the different types of deniers.
This discomfort of which we spoke can be generated by a whole series of reasons. Sometimes they are of a religious nature, since the reality presented conflicts with the beliefs of the person. In others, political factors intervene, and it is a question of impact on their ideals and tendencies.
Likewise, the person’s own interest can also trigger the rejection of the evidence and turn it into one of the types of deniers that we will see later . Of course, denial can be generated by a mixture of several of the factors that we have listed, because sometimes these facets of people’s lives are difficult to separate. Denial definition psychology
A denier will not only reject the scientific evidence on the subject in question, but will also carry out a series of tactics to secure the position he defends, that is, the opposite of the official one. Let’s look at some of these mechanisms before going on to list the different types of deniers.
The first argument generally used by deniers is that of conspiracy. These people firmly believe that governments, influential people or certain hidden powers have developed a ploy to impose a reality that is not such . On the contrary, there is another truth, the authentic one, which is what they defend.
This mechanism also gives them a feeling of moral legitimacy, since it turns them into fighters in pursuit of the truth, in the face of a system that tries to silence them and impose a lie, which the majority of society has accepted.
2. Support in isolated articles
When we review the types of deniers, we note that these groups tend to make a very particular selection of tests. They reject all scientific evidence about the phenomenon in question and choose very specific articles, generally not very rigorous or with defects in their procedures, but whose conclusions are in line with the position they defend.
Therefore, for these individuals, all articles are wrong and lie, except those that, indeed, present results consistent with the denialist position in which they hold firm. Denial definition psychology
3. False experts
They routinely turn to false experts, people who likewise defend the position of denial and who are apparently an authority in the field in question. However, on many occasions it is shown that either this subject is not such an authority or that his speech obeys other types of interests.
In addition, the various types of deniers choose experts very well and, as happened in the case of the articles, they reject the opinions of any scientist, professor or other professional who supports demonstrable reality , since for them it is a conspiracy.
4. Change the rules of the game
Another strategy used is that of changing the rules of the game. If a denier on a certain subject asks a non-denier for proof that certifies that reality, and that subject provides it, the denier may choose to say that that proof is not valid and that he or she needs a new one, or more specific or with certain conditions.
This means a change in the rules of the game or what is popularly known as moving the goal posts . The goal is to constantly change the requirements so that no evidence that supports the concept they deny is valid.
5. Use of logical fallacies
Likewise, among the individuals that we can classify into different types of deniers, it is common to make use of logical fallacies. For example, they can resort to the false analogy, establishing comparisons between elements that are totally independent of each other and that therefore are not necessarily governed by the same logic. Denial definition psychology
Other logical fallacies would be the use of the red herring, the appeal to the possible consequences or the use of the straw man, among others.
The different types of deniers
After a first part that has allowed us to better understand what the phenomenon of denialism consists of and what its most common tactics are, we are in a position to get to know some of the most important types of deniers due to the force of the facts they deny. , in some cases, or to the current importance they have, in others.
1. Holocaust deniers
When we think of the types of deniers, one of the first that comes to mind is those who consider that the Holocaust never really existed. These people maintain that during World War II, Nazi Germany did not systematically exterminate six million Jews and people of other races.
Regardless of all the documented evidence that exists, these individuals say that this event did not occur or at least not in the way that has been accepted. This would be the case with the Holocaust revisionists.
The most controversial case was that of the British historian David Irving , a Holocaust denier, who was sentenced to three years in prison for breaking one of the Austrian laws of 1947 in which the denial of the crimes of National Socialism is expressly prohibited.
2. Moon landing deniers
One of the milestones in the history of mankind, such as the arrival to the Moon in 1969, continues to be questioned today by a group of people who represent another type of denier. In this case, these people claim that our satellite was never reached, and it was a publicity stunt in the context of the Cold War between the US and the USSR. Denial definition psychology
One of the most recurrent arguments used by these deniers is the fallacy of, if it is true that man made it to the Moon, how is it possible that he has not returned since. The reality is that it did indeed come back. Through the Apollo program, it was possible to take human beings to the Moon up to six times, allowing twelve people to walk on its surface.
That this feat could have been carried out does not imply that it is cheap. In fact, the cost of this space program, updated to the value of today’s money, would be equivalent to about 150,000 million dollars, reason enough to intuit why it has not been returned more regularly.
3. Spherical Earth Deniers or Flat Earthers
More bloody than the previous example, is that of those types of deniers among which are people who, today, in the XXI century, maintain that the Earth is not spherical but flat . Regardless of the fact that even the Greek mathematician, Eratosthenes, more than 2000 years ago, would have proved this question with the most rudimentary means possible.
He was able to estimate the circumference of the Earth, calculate the inclination of the planet’s axis and even dared to carry out studies about the distance that separates us from the sun. Although he was not entirely precise, his reasoning and approximations are extraordinary, given the time in which he lived and the means he had.
4. Deniers of the benefits of vaccines
Continuing with the different types of deniers, within the medical field we can find those who not only deny the benefits of vaccines, but also consider that they are harmful to the body due to the various elements they contain. Denial definition psychology
The anti-vaccines, therefore, think that these drugs not only do not eliminate the disease against which they are designed (denying even the existence of said pathologies, in some cases), but also consider these pharmacological compounds harmful.
At an even higher level of denial would be those individuals who consider that through vaccines control chips can be implanted over the population and other conspiracies of the same level.
5. Climate change deniers
Another hot topic would be climate change, which has led to the emergence of another type of denier. These people think that the temperature differences that are being registered on Earth in recent decades correspond to the normal cycles of the planet and therefore have nothing to do with human activity.
6. Deniers of the COVID-19 pandemic
Finally, in a list of the types of deniers, we cannot forget those who deny the coronavirus pandemic. While it is true that the situation that humanity has experienced due to the impact of this virus has been extremely chaotic, and misinformation lurks in every corner, there is a group of people who deny the greatest.
These individuals, directly, reject the possibility of the mere existence of the virus and affirm that it is all a strategy of the global powers to subdue citizens and restrict their freedoms.