Effective strategies for rebutting science denialism in public discussions

Scientists are often asked to engage in public discourse as a way to counteract science denialism, but it’s not always clear if their efforts can change minds. A new study by Schmid and Betsch suggests that efforts to rebut are worthwhile. They showed subjects videos with climate denial messages about climate change and vaccines, and in some cases followed these with rebuttal videos in which misinformation was corrected or the rhetorical methods of the denialists were challenged. In most cases, rebutting science denialism had a positive impact in the attitudes of the subjects. The authors advocate that scientists should be trained in strategies to rebut topical misinformation and reveal misleading rhetoric. (Summary by Mary Williams) Nature Human Behaviour 10.1038/s41562-019-0632-4