Identifying Agnotological Ploys: How to Stay Clear of Unjustified Dissent
Agnotology concerns the creation and preservation of confusion and ignorance. Certain positions are advocated in science in order to promote sociopolitical interests with the result of launching mock controversies or epistemically unjustified dissent. I propose to identify agnotological ploys by the discrepancy between the conclusions suggested by the design of a study and the conclusions actually drawn or intimated. This mechanism of “false advertising” serves to implement agnotological endeavors and helps identify them without having to invoke the intentions of the relevant agents. I discuss three agnotological cases, i.e., studies on bisphenol A, Bt-maize/Roundup, and Oslo’s airport Gardermoen. Pinpointing agnotological endeavors is a means for weeding out approaches that look fitting at first glance, but are blatantly inappropriate, in fact.
KeywordsAgnotology Ignorance Unjustified dissent Bias Epistemic and non-epistemic values
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