Most denialists are walking gish gallops waiting to happen, but one common bumper sticker catchphrase they fall back on sheds a lot of light on what is fundamentally wrong with their epistemology.
There’s seemingly always some variation of, “I refuse to live in fear.”
But here’s the thing. Deciding what you want to be feeling about a topic is not actually an approach to learning the facts about it. Motivated reasoning is a thing for everyone and nobody is totally immune to it, but denialists freely encourage and endorse it.
They don’t need to learn things, if learning those things would maybe make them feel a way that they suspect they won’t like feeling.
The fact that we associate fear with weakness and failure to be an adequately macho individualist hero is a separate problem. But even if denialists had healthier relationships to the full range of emotion, if they’re using what they want to feel as a way to determine what is factually true, their worldview is still fucked. Just… less fractally so.
They’d still have no tools for learning other than what, from an uninformed distance, they’d prefer to feel. Even the things they got right would be by accident.
“I’d be excited to learn there are oreos in my cupboard. That sounds nice! Therefore there are oreos in my cupboard.”