Denying AIDS: Conspiracy Theories, Pseudoscience, and Human Tragedy

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Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Crazy Is as Crazy Does: Conspiracy Theories and Anti-Science

Recursive fury: Conspiracist ideation in the blogosphere in response to research on conspiracist ideation
Published in Frontiers in Personality Science and Individual Differences, 2013
by Stephan Lewandowsky et al.

Conspiracist ideation has been repeatedly implicated in the rejection of scientific propositions, although empirical evidence to date has been sparse. A recent study involving visitors to climate blogs found that conspiracist ideation was associated with the rejection of climate science and the rejection of other scientific propositions such as the link between lung cancer and smoking, and between HIV and AIDS (Lewandowsky, Oberauer, & Gignac, in press; LOG12 from here on). This article analyzes the response of the climate blogosphere to the publication of LOG12. We identify and trace the hypotheses that emerged in response to LOG12 and that questioned the validity of the paper's conclusions. Using established criteria to identify conspiracist ideation, we show that many of the hypotheses exhibited conspiratorial content and counterfactual thinking. For example, whereas hypotheses were initially narrowly focused on LOG12, some ultimately grew in scope to include actors beyond the authors of LOG12, such as university executives, a media organization, and the Australian government. The overall pattern of the blogosphere's response to LOG12 illustrates the possible role of conspiracist ideation in the rejection of science, although alternative scholarly interpretations may be advanced in the future.

Click here to download the provisional PDF of the article.


  1. They should look at Clarkie's website as a paragon of conspiracy ideation - it is even categorized on the left side of his page - global warming denial, vaccine denial, HIV/AIDS denial, pharmaceutical denial.

    P.S. spelling error in title of your post.

    1. He's just missing Evolution and Holocaust, and he'd have the full set. We should write to him. It must be an oversight.

  2. Perthians support Kralc!February 6, 2013 at 7:31 PM

    We Perthians agree completely with Kralc.

    Who is this crazy guy Clark? He agrees with Duesberg. How can anyone believe that HIV exists at all?

    All Perthians arise! We have nothing to lose but our chains!

    Do not let Clark and Duesberg hijack our movement. Unite behind Kralc!

  3. Duesberg Denialist DinnerFebruary 9, 2013 at 1:09 AM

    Ha! Shows what Elon knows. Clark completely denies evolution and the holocaust. He even bashed Wikipedia because it does not report History according to the glorious vision of our leader, Herr Duesberg.

    But to show no hard feelings, we Duesberg Denialists will dine on the Perthians. We exist to serve Perthians- with sauce and a good chianti and fava beans! We don't want Perthians with good taste- we want Perthians that taste good!

    So come on Perthians! Take the taste test. Come over to the DDD for dinner. You will never be the same.

  4. Why can't someone claim something to be wrong without being called a conspiracist? And why does it follow that because one questions one thing, he necessarily questions everything else?

    Too many straw man posts here.

  5. Hello m079uk:
    There is nothing wrong with healthy debate. However, if one wants to claim that gravity is wrong, or germ theory is wrong, or HIV doesn't exist or doesn't cause AIDS - that would tend to be justifiably called a conspiracist.

    And the facts back this up - AIDS denialists tend to sucbscribe to other nutty ideas - climate change denial, Holocaust denial, 9-11 denial, etc.

  6. Thing is most of these people not only claim the truth is wrong but that climate scientists/doctors/UN/Jews are engaged in a massive cover-up. Hence the conspiracy.