Study: Yes, it’s worth arguing with science deniers — and here are some techniques you can use

This article discusses why and how you should argue with deniers. Yes, it’s worth arguing with science deniers — and here are some techniques you can use. Plus: A fake news game that seems to inoculate players against fake news.

Countering science denialism. Arguing with the anti-vaxxers/flat earthers/climate change deniers may feel futile, but research just published in Nature Human Behaviour suggests that it’s actually worth it and can be effective.

Philipp Schmid and Cornelia Betsch of the University of Erfurt in Germany conducted six experiments, online with 1,773 subjects, to see how to “counter arguments of denial at the very moment that they reach an audience, that is, rebutting deniers in public discussions.” These discussions may take place on social media or TV. “Science advocates” have often been reluctant to enter into these discussions at all, worrying they’ll do more harm than good. Here’s what Schmid and Betsch tested, per a write-up of their research by Sander van der Linden, also published in Nature.

“Pre-bunking” works. Researchers created the Bad News Game, a browser-based game in which players pretend to be a fake news creator.

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