The refusal to recognise information which, if accepted, would present unwelcome truths. Denial may call on techniques (not always intentional) of drawing up arguments and selected scientific data which, together, represent a formidable case for avoiding the unwelcome knowledge.

Examination of this phenomenon has been called “agnatology”—the study of ignorance—and has concerned itself with, for example, the efforts of the tobacco companies in their campaign of denial on the links between their products and cancer. The torments of the climacteric (peak oil, climate change, etc) are suffering similar efforts. The result is denial-lag: fifty years to solve a major problem is used up in forty-five years of debate, followed by five years of panic.D28


Related entries:

Wolf, Cognitive Dissonance, Ideology, Character, Reverse Risk Assessment Rule, Pascal’s Wager.

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David Fleming
Dr David Fleming (2 January 1940 – 29 November 2010) was a cultural historian and economist, based in London, England. He was among the first to reveal the possibility of peak oil's approach and invented the influential TEQs scheme, designed to address this and climate change. He was also a pioneer of post-growth economics, and a significant figure in the development of the UK Green Party, the Transition Towns movement and the New Economics Foundation, as well as a Chairman of the Soil Association. His wide-ranging independent analysis culminated in two critically acclaimed books, 'Lean Logic' and 'Surviving the Future', published posthumously in 2016. These in turn inspired the 2020 launches of both BAFTA-winning director Peter Armstrong's feature film about Fleming's perspective and legacy - 'The Sequel: What Will Follow Our Troubled Civilisation?' - and Sterling College's unique 'Surviving the Future: Conversations for Our Time' online courses. For more information on all of the above, including Lean Logic, click the little globe below!