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rhetoric, science, history, denial, public discourse, framework


This inquiry addresses the important similarities and patterns across denialist rhetoric. Using the Holocaust, evolution, and climate change denial as examples, I will explore the creation and maintenance of frameworks and worldviews (Burke, 1969) that guide actions and behaviors. The rigidity of these frameworks presents both risk and opportunity. They are nearly impervious to change because their advocates sustain their entire understanding of reality on its being true. Its rigidity, however, also offers an opportunity to understand the particular iteration of denialism and create inroads to change. Because denialists will automatically ignore new information that denies their reality, people should address these groups from within their ideological framework, point out inconsistencies in their reasoning, and then offer slight alternatives that would lead them on the path to discovering the reality of history and science. Adjusting the frameworks of current deniers, even when applying these theoretical suggestions, will be quite difficult. What is a more appealing alternative is to minimize the influence of these voices and address the underlying concerns of denialist frameworks that cause denialism.