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Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Blind Faith - Denialism

Continuing our exploration of the blind faith, this part of essay will focus on Denialism. First part of the trilogy was on Prohibition. Generally, Denialism is taken as choosing to deny reality as a way to avoid an uncomfortable truth. It is much more than that. Denialism is not simply the knee-jerk refusal to accept the truth, it is a deliberate and often sophisticated attempt to create a kind of pseudo scholarship.

Attacks on scientific consensus employ the simulacra of scholarship and a deceptively readable idiom. Those who debunk the deniers tend to be old-fashioned rationalists or committed activists. Neither group are particularly well suited to looking at the deeper reasons behind denialism, warns Keith Kahn-Harris. We can better read about denialism in this essay Unreasonable Doubt in much precise analytical way. Just quoting one paragraph here -

But one of the most serious failings of a rational, scientific enlightenment is its propensity to be turned against itself, as when a firm scholarly consensus is attacked in the name of scholarship. You can find this subversion of enlightenment in quasi-academic claims that there was no Holocaust during World War Two, that other genocides such as the Armenian genocide never happened, that man-made climate change is a myth, that HIV does not cause AIDS, that evolution is a lie. More broadly, you can find it in the attempts of vested interests – industries, politicians and elites – to refute inconvenient scientific findings.

Basically according to this mindset, one should not introspect and work towards seeking constructive feedback of one's actions and instead find similar faults of others and indirectly justify ourselves. This holds true from nation to individual. Conspiracy theories blooms in such environments led by elites turning backs to any sort of criticism.

Let us take example of or suicide bomb attacks in Pakistan recently. But, Instead of seeing the cause of the terrorist acts, the Denial Brigade of Denialistan assert that this must be the doing of anti-Islam and anti-Pakistan forces, or of elements within the regime, such as intelligence agencies. The basic strategy is to mention the names of India, America and Israel for any wrong done in order to fuel the revulsion that already exists in Pakistan against them and to discredit the other argument not by presenting valid arguments but by presenting excuses. The complete denial of failing of Pakistan as a nation due to Talibani and Wahabi forces has already created a havoc situation in the Pakistan. State of Denial And Apologetic Defense By Raza Habib Raja clearly describe the situation denial has created in a nation form on the religious faith only.

It is evident that the more one deny own moral and ideological failings, the more aggressive and prominent the physical expressions of our inner most religious and ideological prejudices and hypocrisies become. As this attitude leaves practically no space to the liberals and silent reformers. A failed state don't allow any grown-up internal debate, or any appeal against the divine edict. This will swiftly accelerate to an even more failed state and then a rogue one because its limitless paranoia and self-pity must be projected outward.

The tendency to blame external elements for all problems can only be countered by efforts at transparency and seriousness about conflicts. I would like to end this by dedicating the following quote as David Aaronovitch explains in his excellent guidebook Voodoo Histories: "If it can be proved that there has been a conspiracy which has transformed politics and society, then their defeat is not the product of their own inherent weakness or popularity, let alone their mistakes; it is due to the almost demonic ruthlessness of their enemy."

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