14/08/2021

No concessions to denialism

2 min
Berlin demonstration of Covid deniers

Denialism about the virus has penetrated little in Catalonia. Fortunately. But we cannot declare ourselves immune territory, far from it. Because the confusion is general and global, and therefore also affects us. In fact, this unscientific movement, which confuses the necessary critical sense in the face of reality with adherence to all kinds of conspiracies, often hallucinatory, operates mainly through social networks and takes advantage of any excuse to spread and create doubts. It plays with fears -including, of course, the fear of death-, with political and institutional disaffection, with the atavistic distrust of power -often justified-, it makes itself strong on fake news or the belief in dubious alternative therapies, it uses rage against the elites.... This set of factors that have often given wings to anti-system populisms are the ones that now, cooked again, are serving to create ghosts supposedly hidden behind the pandemic.

The problems of many countries with vaccination have to do with this group of people who deny the very existence of covid-19. Or who deny the efficacy of vaccines to collectively defeat it. Because in reality there are many degrees of denialism. We could say that there is a heavy denialism and a more light one that accepts the existence of the virus but doesn't trust what the health authorities say and looks for individual solutions. Behind these different denialist paths there is also a mixture of reasons and unreasons, a cocktail of misinformation, lack of solidarity and viscerality that, taken to the extreme, can generate a serious social problem. In fact, in France, Italy and Germany we have seen worrying demonstrations because of the number of people they have attracted. In our environment, it seems that this movement remains a minority and secluded in the individual sphere, without a clear organisation. Unlike in France, for example, here the ultra-right has not joined the negationist bandwagon. But there will never be enough pedagogy to combat it.

In fact, the greatest danger is that people of good faith end up falling at some point in this confusionary network, the theories of which circulate with impunity, and it is not always easy to combat them. Transparency and scientific reasoning are not enough. The half-truths they play with can do a lot of harm. Opinionitis, as if all opinions were equal, too. The necessary debate, sometimes very lively and mediatic, which has occurred between the same experts (epidemiologists, doctors, researchers ...), in some cases has ended up being exploited by denialism in their favour. Scientific communication and dissemination among the general public is still, to a large extent, a pending subject. This is also one of the lessons of the pandemic. Therefore, we cannot lower our guard against those who, irresponsibly playing with the health of the whole world, are dedicated to disavow the scientific and medical response to the coronavirus. We must combat these preachers, we must flatly deny denialism. With pedagogy, with common sense, with data. Without concessions.

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