The Holocaust never happened. The planet isn’t warming. Vaccines cause autism. There is no such thing as Aids. The Earth is flat.
Denialism comes in many forms, dressed in the garb of research proudly claiming to represent the best traditions of scholarship. Its influence is insidious, its techniques are pernicious. Climate change denialists have built well-funded institutions and lobbying groups to counter action against global warming. Holocaust deniers have harried historians and abused survivors. Aids denialists have prevented treatment programmes in Africa.
All this is bad enough, but what if, as Keith Kahn-Harris asks, it actually cloaks much darker, unspeakable, desires? If denialists could speak from the heart, what would we hear?
Kahn-Harris sets out not just to unpick denialists’ arguments, but to investigate what lies behind them. The conclusions he reaches are disturbing and uncomfortable: in a world of ‘fake news’ and ‘post-truth’, are the denialists about to secure victory?