Science and the public: Debate, denial, and skepticism

Stephan Lewandowsky, Michael Mann, Nicholas Brown, Harris Friedman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)
589 Downloads (Pure)


When the scientific method yields discoveries that imperil people’s lifestyle or worldviews or impinge on corporate vested interests, the public and political response can be anything but favorable. Sometimes the response slides into overt denial of scientific facts, although this denial is often claimed to involve “skepticism”. We outline the distinction between true skepticism and denial with several case studies. We propose some guidelines to enable researchers to differentiate legitimate critical engagement from bad-faith harassment, and to enable members of the public to pursue their skeptical engagement and critique without such engagement being mistaken for harassment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)537-553
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Social and Political Psychology
Issue number2
Early online date18 Aug 2016
Publication statusPublished - 18 Aug 2016

Structured keywords

  • Memory


  • harassment of scientists
  • rejection of science
  • public involvement in science
  • transparency

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