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He states that "For denialists, the facts are unacceptable.They engage in radical controversion, for ideological purposes, of facts that, by and large, are accepted by almost all experts and lay persons as having been established on the basis of overwhelming evidence".Persons and social groups who reject propositions on which there exists a mainstream and scientific consensus engage in denialism when they use rhetorical tactics to give the appearance of argument and legitimate debate, when there is none.Rick Stoff quoted Chris Hoofnagle—a senior staff attorney at the Samuelson Law, Technology & Public Policy Clinic and a senior fellow at the Berkeley Center for Law and Technology at the UC Berkeley School of Law—as follows: Then there are those who engage in denialist tactics because they are protecting some "overvalued idea" which is critical to their identity.

The motivations and causes of denialism include religion and self-interest (economic, political, financial) and defence mechanisms meant to protect the psyche of the denialist against mentally disturbing facts and ideas.Anthropologist Didier Fassin distinguishes between denial, defined as "the empirical observation that reality and truth are being denied", and denialism, which he defines as "an ideological position whereby one systematically reacts by refusing reality and truth".

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