Conspiracy Theorists Exploited COVID-19 Science – Here’s How

Conspiracists have used the provisional nature of science to paint scientists as malign actors.

Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, conspiracy theorists have exploited the conditional nature of science and questioned the trustworthiness and motives of federal agencies and officials to depict scientists and health authorities as malign actors.

In a commentary published on November 1, 2021, in the journal Nature Human Behaviour, science communication scholar Kathleen Hall Jamieson analyzes the ways in which conspiracists do this and proposes steps health authorities, journalists, and scientists can take to minimize the likelihood that their work will be used to fuel new conspiracy theories.

Jamieson, director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania and a professor of communication at Penn’s Annenberg School for Communication, argues that:

“By exploiting the provisional nature of scientific knowledge, its inevitable updating, and the realities of scientific funding structures, conspiracists eroded the trust of some susceptible individuals in the recommendations of public health authorities about lifesaving behaviors including mask-wearing and vaccination. Their success in doing so made community immunity, and with it an end to the pandemic, more elusive.”

Read the full commentary “How conspiracists exploited COVID-19 science” in Nature Human Behaviour.

Reference: “How conspiracists exploited COVID-19 science” by Kathleen Hall Jamieson, 1 November 2021, Nature Human Behaviour.
DOI: 10.1038/s41562-021-01217-2

The Annenberg Public Policy Center was established in 1993 to educate the public and policymakers about communication’s role in advancing public understanding of political, science, and health issues at the local, state, and federal levels

Behavioral ScienceCOVID-19Public HealthUniversity of PennsylvaniaVaccine
Comments ( 10 )
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  • xABBAAA

    … if science is true science then there would not be a spot to exploit. It is bit like those super heroes, they are so great, but all of them have weak spot…

    • xABBAAA

      … I never liked the super heroes, even though some great people find them as source of inspiration. … advice, consider abounding the super hero thing…

      • xABBAAA

        … Conspiracy theorists exploited can exploit only “tainted science”…

  • AngryPartiot80

    While the MSM condemns the use of ivermectin, the most populated state in India just declared they are officially COVID free after promoting widespread use of the safe, proven medicine. In addition to this, Ivermectin attaches to covid spikes and prevents them from binding to ACE2. Get Ivermectin today while you still can https://health.p0l.org

  • fag

    Nature journal showing it’s true colors during the pandemic.

  • MikeW

    This was just sad leftist bias, with no balance. At all.

    CDCs own internal articles are being shown as mathematically invalid, as CDC tries to prop up Biden orders with opinions that dont have objective backing.

    And Biden opposed vaccination before he was for it. Same with Harris.

    Seriously, I thought science was supposed to be objective. This opinion letter isnt.

  • Richie

    “By exploiting the provisional nature of scientific knowledge…”

    This will come as a shock, a shock I tell ya, to the “settled science” Believers and members of the phantom consensus. … Yes, Virginia, climate science (not to be confused with climate catastrophism) is provisional: only a belief system dependent on stoking the religious fervor of its acolytes can ever be “settled.”

  • William Readling

    Tell me. Were democrat politicians, and mainstream media conspiracy theorists when during the Trump administration, they warned against taking the dangerous vaccine Trump was having developed, or were they conspiracy theorists after Biden was elected, and the same vaccine became the wonderful at all times Biden vaccine?

  • xABBAAA

    … the point stays. The tainted science can be exploited, the real thing can not…

  • Ryan

    I love how the comments for this article prove the research that the article was talking about. I also find it very, very depressing.