There’s a new site called Anti-Virus: The Covid-19 FAQ. It’s a little like Skeptical Science, with articles that respond to common arguments made by Covid Sceptics (what Skeptical Science would call Climate Myths). On a related note, I have been trying to help another group with a site called Simple Covid and we have been talking about doing something similar. Although we’ve (mostly others) have produced some infographics, we haven’t had time to write any myth-busting articles.
One thing I did find interesting about the Anti-Virus site was that they also list prominent Covid sceptics, including academics, journalists, and online sceptics. Such lists have been somewhat controversial in climate circles. Admittedly, this is partly to do with labelling, but the principle is clearly the same; create a list of people who have regularly promoted arguments that are wrong, and highlight what they’ve said and why they were wrong.
Although Skeptical Science has been remarkably successful, it’s not without its critics, partly because of a focus on consensus messaging and partly because of their climate misinformers page (now called misinformation by source). It would be interesting to know if some of these critics are also concerned about the tactics of the Anti-Virus site.
Personally, it seems to me that using consensus science to rebut common “skeptic” talking points is not only a reasonable thing to do, but can also be very effective. Skeptical science has actually numbered their responses to the Climate Myths, and we used this to rebut the recently released climate science (mis)information brief (which, amusingly, led to the re-assignment of two of the authors).
I also think that if people regularly promote arguments in public that are obviously wrong, then there’s nothing wrong with highlighting these errors and associating these people with others who also regularly promote such erroneous arguments. If those listed don’t like this, they could be more careful about what they say in public, could correct their past errors, or not really care if you still think your arguments are valid/defensible.
Anyway, I don’t really know where I’m going with this post, so will wrap up. I mostly just found it interesting that the Anti-Covid site is using a similar strategy to that used in the climate conext – debunking myths and naming and shaming prominent sceptics. I think it’s an interesting development.