States of Denial
The British 'establishment' of the BBC was in a 'state of denial' about the serious serial lying and other delinquent activities of celebrities Sir Jimmy Savile (OBE) and Rolf Harris (CBE). The Royal Society continues in a state of denial about the dishonesty of Charles Darwin (FRS) and the true history of the discovery of natural selection. But it is not just those august institutions that fail to see dreadful facts. We all fail.
Why were we all blindsighted by such upsetting facts? The answer is obvious in hindsight, and is explained perfectly by the psychological phenomenon of 'denial'.
Savile, Harris and Darwin were all wealthy. All were considered to be pillars of society, highly moral and trustworthy 'national treasures'. These positive attributes blinded society to the obvious and significant disconfirming facts of who they really were and what they actually got up to.
In all such cases where society has been in a 'state of denial' (Cohen 2001), someone is, eventually, able to break the negative hallucination (not seeing what is obviously and significantly there) to convince the world of the facts that "The king has no clothes!" It takes time to get through the stonewalling of protective 'establishment' interests and public adoration - but the facts pound like a battering ram against their denials, canny indifference and blindsight. Eventually, the wall caves-in and facts then rush through. And after the breech is made, the public wants to know why it took so long. Who, they demand, is to blame?
The recently released US film 'Spotlight' provides a perfect blow-by-blow account of how the Boston Globe reporters eventually overcame the US 'state of denial' over pedophile Catholic priests.
More detail about our 'state of denial' regarding Savile, Harris, Darwin, and pedophile Roman Catholic priests here.
Darwin scholars currently are in a state of denial of the obvious and significant fact that the publication record of what he knew and what he then wrote proves Charles Darwin was a self-serving liar about the prior readership of Matthew's ideas. Darwin lied about the prior readership of Matthew's original ideas, which he replicated without citing (Sutton 2105). Any Darwinist claiming there is an innocent interpretation for this behaviour - namely, that their namesake's published falsehoods were not meant to be taken literally - is offering an incongruous explanation, given the fact that for 155 years the literal interpretation of Darwin's claims by the world's leading Darwinists (here) is the basis of the 'majority view' paradigm that a steadfastly honest Darwin independently discovered Matthew's prior-published ideas.
Nottingham artist, photographer and criminologist - Andy SuttonAttribution
One day Scotland will have Patrick Matthew on the back of it's £10 note.
Being in a state of denial of these particular facts is analogous, in my considered opinion, to denying that Sir Jimmy Savile deliberately forced his tongue into a child's mouth by claiming instead that it happened in good faith, despite the obvious deviance, dishonest and sexual gratification of the act. It is analogous to cooking up a dual 'state of denial' defence scenario where Savile simply miskissed, and where Darwin wrote falsehoods in good faith despite the deviance of his actions, dishonesty and resulting status as an immortal great orignal thinker and influencer in science.
Anyone claiming that Charles Darwin was not a liar, in the teeth of the facts that he was, is surely in a state of denial of the unpalatable halitosis of Darwin's lies. On 1st February 2016, I left a comment to that effect on Dr Mike Weale's Patrick Matthew Project website here.
Darwin scholars really ought to snap out of their 'state of denial' of the facts, wake up and smell the stink and deal with it like real - not pseudo - scholars. The facts can't be denied away. Nor should we try. Because it seems reasonable to hypothesise that societies that tolerate and fail to recognise any states of denial may be more likely to provide enabling environments for the worst atrocities committed by human beings.
There is, however, a paradox. Denial may initially protect the individual, yet simultaneously contribute to their greatest future threat. This is the "Blindsight Paradox", identified by Stanley Cohen in 2001.