Episode 35

Published on:

11th Feb 2022

Interview: Debunking (Antivaxx) Funk with Dr Dan Wilson

This week we speak to fellow traveller, kindred spirit, and vaccine misinformation debunker, Dr Dan Wilson. Yes, we know we've talked SO much about anti-vax rhetoric recently, and we hope the day will soon come when we can leave it all behind us, but friends, today is not that day.

For more than a year, Dan's YouTube channel DebunkTheFunk has focused on rebutting COVID and vaccine misinformation from characters such as Geert Vanden-Bossche, Joseph Mercola and RFK Jnr. His recent episodes on Robert Malone and Peter Mc Collough have been an invaluable source for the decoders for our recent episodes. So of course we were delighted that Dan could come speak to us about what he does, what they do, and what kind of rhetorical tropes and tricks he sees from these characters.

Dan seems to suffer from the same masochistic malaise we do, in feeling compelled to listen to some of the worst material available on the internet, so as to point out what's wrong with it. And he accomplishes that mission effectively, and most mysteriously for Chris and Matt, concisely as well.

It's not all negative, because as well as talking about anti-vaxxers specifically, we all bask in our shared admiration for This Week in Virology, the kind of critical yet open-minded science communication show we'd all love to see a lot more of. We also talk about the kind of everyday epistemics that we can all practice to separate fact from fiction, and the kind of public engagement that genuine experts, researchers and scientists need to practice in order to take back the infosphere from snake-oil salesmen and attention-seekers of all kinds.

It was an absolute pleasure to talk to Dan. We love what he does, and we hope he goes on doing it for a long time to come. We hope you enjoy it too, and we heartily recommend sharing DebunkTheFunk with friends, family and colleagues who have slipped down the conspiratorial rabbit-hole on COVID and vaccines.

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About the Podcast

Decoding the Gurus
A psychologist and an anthropologist try to make sense of the world's greatest self-declared Gurus.
An exiled Northern Irish anthropologist and a hitchhiking Australian psychologist take a close look at the contemporary crop of 'secular gurus', iconoclasts, and other exiles from the mainstream, offering their own brands of unique takes and special insights.

Leveraging two of the most diverse accents in modern podcasting, Chris and Matt dig deep into the claims, peek behind the psychological curtains, and try to figure out once and for all... What's it all About?

Join us, as we try to puzzle our way through and talk some smart-sounding smack about the intellectual giants of our age, from Jordan Peterson to Robin DiAngelo. Are they revolutionary thinkers or just grifters with delusions of grandeur?

Join us and let's find out!
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About your hosts

Christopher Kavanagh

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A Northern Irish cognitive anthropologist who occasionally moonlights as a social psychologist. Chris has long standing interests in the psychology of conspiracy theorists and pseudoscience. His academic research focuses on the Cognitive Science of Religion and ritual psychology. He lives happily in Japan with his family.

Matthew Browne

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An Australian psychologist and numbers-guy. He does research on all kinds of stuff, but particularly enjoys looking into why people believe the things they do: religion, conspiracy theories, alternative medicine and stuff. He's into social media in the same way people slow down for car accidents.