Anti-Vaxxers and Climate Change Deniers: Living in a Post-Fact World

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How many people who are anti-vaxxers are also climate change deniers? Both anti-vaxxers and deniers raise serious questions about the role of science in our everyday lives. While facts confirm that people properly vaccinated have less chance of serious illness from Covid-19, and that scientific reports continue to confirm that we will be overwhelmed by climate change if we don’t change our behavior, there are still many people who continue to call into question vaccinations and climate dangers. 

Do facts matter? We are in the midst of a credibility revolution. Donald Trump’s presidency and his questions about the results of the 2020 election are an example of what can be confirmed factually and what we should all agree upon. 
Our era has been labelled “Post-Fact, Post-Truth.” Who really killed John F. Kennedy? Did a hijacked plane really hit the Pentagon on September 11, 2001? There is plenty of evidence on both sides of the two questions to raise skepticism about definitive answers. 
A recent summit in Geneva of the Geneva Science and Diplomacy Anticipator (GESDA) raised many of these questions. Before even looking at the relationship between science and diplomacy, the role and acceptance of science needs clarification. 
In its annual report on Science Trends at 5, 10 and 25 years, GESDA identified four frontier issues: Quantum Revolution and Advanced Artificial Intelligence; Human Augmentation; Eco-Regeneration and Geo-Engineering; Science and Diplomacy.
The quantum revolution has certainly opened new frontiers of knowledge. It has led scientists to examine many accepted truths. According to legend, the eminent physicist Richard Feynman once said: "Anyone who claims to understand quantum theory is either lying or crazy.” The quantum revolution is far from confirming the factual basis of all science. It has opened exciting new areas beyond accepted wisdom. 
The intersection of science and diplomacy, the fourth frontier issue, raises the intriguing question of the rational basis of diplomacy. It is pertinent to note that at Harvard University the study of diplomacy is in the Department of Government; at Oxford University it is in the Department of Politics and International Relations; at Yale University it is in the Department of Political Science. Government, Politics or Political Science?
The use of science – formulas and algorithms – in the study of politics and diplomacy goes back to the use of rational choice theory, wedding mathematics with political studies. Quantitative methods were the rage in many universities, including departments of economics. Recently, emotional economics as well as quantum politics and post-modern theory have threatened the scientific domination.  
If one recognizes the puzzling nature of quantum physics and does not accept politics and diplomacy as based on science, does that mean one is anti-vaccine and a climate change denier? 
To question the factual basis of traditional science as well as putting politics and diplomacy in a humanities department instead of a political science department might imply that one is against vaccines and climate change. One could be consistently anti-logical or anti-scientific. 
But that’s not necessarily so. Does questioning Newtonian laws of physics because of a quantum breakthrough mean that one no longer accepts all scientific facts? The statistic that tells us that people who are not vaccinated have a greater risk of winding up in the intensive care unit in a hospital cannot be refuted. The quantum revolution has nothing to do with that. 
There are objective and subjective truths. The audited vote counts in several states in the United States confirmed that Joseph Biden won the 2020 presidential election. Whether one studies the results in a department of government, politics or political science, the results are the same, whatever Trump and his followers believe. Factual evidence matters.
And that’s the crux of the problem that GESDA and many others must deal with. Whereas certain facts may be questioned, such as Newtonian laws of physics, other facts, such as the result of the 2020 election, the dangers of continuing pollution or the necessity of vaccinations should not be.
In a Post-Fact world, how not to believe in Newtonian physics but to believe in scientific reports on climate change, vaccinations, and audited election results? Why and how can we question one and not the others?
It appears that the facts themselves are not determinant. What is determinant is our belief in certain facts. And if we are reduced to believe in facts x or y, how can we be rational about our choices? Or even discuss with others who disagree? We can argue about facts, but not about beliefs. 
Beliefs are best explained by the Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard’s leap of faith. For Kierkegaard, there are things reason cannot explain, such as the existence of God. Therefore, faith and beliefs rely on leaps beyond reason or logic. Beliefs are not intellectual or scientific or based on evidence.
The differences between those vaccinated and anti-vaxxers as well as climate change believers and deniers are significant. Differences in beliefs generally are. But facts do matter. And certain facts should be beyond questions of belief or leaps of faith. The problem is to separate what can be scientifically established based on concrete evidence and what cannot. Evidence-based election results or climate change data are facts just as are the value of vaccinations. No leap of faith is needed to believe those facts. The “Post-Fact, Post-Truth” world and its skepticism do have their limits.

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  • Such a binary statement, tending to divide us in two category. The real world is a bit more nuanced.

    Just to mention: The Newton laws are not right or wrong, it works very well in the limited referential of the surface of Earth, and within human usual speeds and level of energy. It obviously enabled our technological society to grow up. However it's more a clever method of calculation based on observation than laws of physic. As soon as we speak about the greater universe or subatomic scale, it's superseded by relativity or quantic physics (which are still not the ultimate unified law).

    Same for the climate: There is an obvious global warming since the end of the ice era 10'000 years ago. Now it's not forbidden (or actually it is) to question and discuss the role of human being in this process.

    Cheers

  • "Evidence-based election results or climate change data are facts just as are the value of vaccinations."

    Election results: how do you prove that the audit is fact? Especially if ballots are destroyed.

    https://drrichswier.com/2021/09/09/arizona-2020-election-audit-bottom-line-173104-lost-votes-and-96389-ghost-votes/

    Climate change: of course, there is a climate change. And? What is the problem here? Climate on Earth was most of the time warmer during the Phanerozoic period. Cold periods are the exceptions. Nothing wrong with a warmer climate. This is fact.

    Vaccinations: how do you know the facts when there is a massive pro-vaccine propaganda`? Fact: the S protein is toxic. Fact: some young people die after they got the vaccine (myocardite, pericardite, thrombosis, etc - the S protein targets vessels, heart, kidneys, testicles, etc.). Who dies from this virus? In Geneva in 2020, no excess mortality under 70 yo. Except for babies (and those not from the virus). People are dying with the covid and another comorbidity, not from covid. Healthy old people do not die.

    About statistics:
    "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics"
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lies,_damned_lies,_and_statistics

    People should be free to decide to get vaccinated or not. Now it is only about blackmail.

    If you are not a scientific, it would be best not to discuss matters you do not know. Propaganda is a fact, but what propaganda says is not fact. It is a lie.

  • Votre erreur majeure : considérer le monde scientifique comme une entité sans discontinuité. Le meilleur exemple : le GIEC, qui depuis le début de son existence a refoulé toute étude n'allant pas dans le sens de ses conclusions. Appelez-vous cela une attitude scientifique ? Moi pas. Comme il a été écrit plus haut, le climat ne fait que se remettre du petit âge glaciaire. Mais il est fort probable que la surconsommation de HC accélère ce processus.
    En attendant, nos sociétés démocratiques modernes se retrouvent face à un choix mortel : suivre les soi-disant écolos, en réalité crypto-communistes (ils étaient très clairs dans leurs déclarations dans la brochure des votations sur la loi CO2 : Non au capitalisme vert, c'est écrit noir sur blanc...) et se retrouver sans énergie dans les années proches. Ce n'est pas avec 40 éoliennes et quelques panneaux solaires qu'on va faire fonctionner nos sociétés. Ce n'est pas avec la biodynamie qu'on va nourrir ces foutus 8 milliards d'habitants de la planète... (à moins de faire tous d'eux des paysans, mais cela pose pas mal de problèmes...).
    Sur le vaccin, c'est un autre problème. Plus rien à voir avec la science autre que psychologique. Et dans ce domaine, on balbutie...

  • In both Covid and climate, one can refute popular views using facts and science. My US state issues extensive weekly Covid reports so one can make personal decisions based on the data. Of the 343,000 Covid cases here this week, 1.2% were fatal. 95% of cases were persons over 50. Most were in very advanced age. Deaths of persons under 50, and especially without listed chronic disease, was too rare for data inclusion. Perhaps middle aged people, particularly with dependents, when noting that Covid is killing sick old folk. decide not to take the risk of a very new disease and vaccine. This does not mean they are stupid.
    On climate, the hottest recorded day on earth was in 1913 in Death Valley. - 134 degrees NYC had a temp of 106 in 1936. Fire and lava have poured out of snow peaks since a very long time ago. The inner earth is a fire ball and has fragmented the crust long before combustion engines. Visible, however, is air pollution and causes there are indisputable. Respiratory disease has ensued.
    It appears that the better choice is for everyone to vaccinate and limit fossil fuel.
    It's a good thing, however, that Al Gore's lifestyle in his huge mansion has exposed him for the phony that he is. Some very Inconvenient Truths were revealed re to Gore's own life habits. Much of the climate debate is connected to cause and not effect. It's still possible to deceive using statistics, and trust is a factor.
    There's ample reason to favor vaccine and sustainable energy. But one might pose a better argument and not fear challenge to substantiated conclusions that are devoid of myth or politics.

  • Not ONE cite offered to prove his point shows his allegations are worthless.

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