Communicating Climate Science

By: zampaz , 5:54 PM GMT on July 06, 2013

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Edit: My original post was too harsh and judgmental.

I'm learning a lot on Dr. Roods blog about communicating climate science.

Doubt mongers concentrate on the idea that there is nothing absolute in science.
From the AGU Chapman conference on Communicating Climate Science it occurred to me that you can't use scientific argument to defend a position against with non-scientists.

There are those that mistrust science as it conflicts with their cherished origin of their worldview paradigm: The Bible, The Koran. They would sooner be burned alive than betray their core beliefs. Seriously. Think about that.
For some perhaps “belief” is much more than a strongly held opinion. Many believe in an "Absolute Truth and see the world in terms of absolutes instead of a function approaching a value.

The doubt mongers know this and prey upon a common misunderstanding of the skepticism that is a basis of science.

You can't argue a dogmatic ideology worldview using science.
If you take the tools of science away, all that is left is a way of analytical thinking and common basic emotions. Scientists aren't used to communicating in terms of emotion.
The doubt mongers capitalize on this.

From the Chapman conference I learned:
Use videos and pictures instead of graphs and charts:


Arctic Sea Ice



A picture of a lone polar bear on an ice flow.


Educate;
Welcome rational skeptics. Take them under your wing and educate them.
Find out why they are skeptical.
Remember journalists aren’t scientists and their attempt at being objective has been completely capitalized on by the doubt mongers, and real journalists have been deceived just as they were in the tobacco campaign that was the birth of the doubt mongering industry.
Take time to explain there is no doubt, there is consensus.

No Controversy. No Debate;

Don't argue with debunked science with doubt mongers.
Rather show them a picture of Arctic Sea Ice melt and ask them what their eyes are telling them.
Get personal;
Personal feelings are the only common ground. Use their user id frequently.
How does it make you feel to see the end of polar bears, seals, walruses and killer whales?
Use words such as “shame” carefully; which is more effective?
“Shame on you.” or “It’s a shame that you feel that way.”

Speak in terms of core moral beliefs:

Man was given dominion over all the Earth and we are its steward, its shepherd and its protector.
There is no controversy in the cause of global warming.

Personal Integrity

Don’t question personal integrity. Appeal to a person’s core moral values.

Use tools of Salesmanship;

Find common ground.
Use their user id to acknowledge what they say.
Use Humor
Find common points of agreement.
Don’t follow diversions. Stay on target.

Get and give support;


I agree with Skyepony and Picatso because I like their user ids.

I don’t know but I can ask.

Communicate about Climate Change

Some folks don’t talk to their neighbors and friends about AGW.
Many aren’t aware of the organized campaign of misinformation and would be upset to learn that their skepticism is the product of the same doubt mongers that supported the tobacco industry. Many wouldn’t believe it because it sounds too much like a conspiracy.
Invite skeptics from Dr. Masters blog to your personal blog or Dr. Roods blog. There are a lot of them there. Share the real controversy of “doubt mongers” in the media born of the tobacco industry.

Prof. Naomi Oreskes
TalkingStickTV-Interview with Naomi Oreskes - Merchants of Doubt

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8. WunderAlertBot (Admin)
2:51 PM GMT on July 11, 2013
zampaz has created a new entry.
7. zampaz
7:05 AM GMT on July 07, 2013
Quoting 799. Daisyworld:


Thank you, Zampaz. That was a very enlightening video.

Definitely worth listening to. Because it was just an interview, and some may choose not to watch it due to the lack of fancy graphics, here's a breakdown of what I found intriguing:

I was particularly interested in Dr. Oreskes research about how the whole concept of global warming denialism came about, with a small group of scientists couldn't stop fighting the cold war, and needed a new enemy to fight after the Berlin Wall came down. This new enemy became environmentalism, and so denialists repackaged the image of environmentalism by branding it as a socialist agenda, vilifying them all as communists (or as "watermelons": green on the outside red on the inside).

I was also interested in hearing how the denialists rejected legitimate discussion about the role of government in environmental regulations. Instead, they used public opinion by trash-takinging science and making it look like there's a debate about global warming in the scientific community, when in truth, there isn't.

She coined a phrase I hadn't heard before: "Doubt mongering", further discussing how the denialism industry recruited scientists to generate doubt through a program called "project whitecoat" while helping to defend the tobacco industry during the tobacco trials of the 1990s. Dr. Oreskes even discussed the Oregon petition, which was a petition falsely claiming that global warming was a hoax, and was supposedly signed by thousands of credible scientists. Instead, this turned out to be a complete fraud, as the petition of "scientists" included a list of bogus signers that were completely made up, and even included names from band members from the Spice Girls. I rather like her final explanation on the subject, reminding us that science doesn't operation via a petition, rather it proceeds by collecting data and peer review, and points to just how fraudulent denialist propaganda is.

Anyway, thanks again, Zampaz. Your input is much appreciated.

You're welcome Daisyworld and thank you very much for your excellent review!. I shall copy this to my blog:)
I hope to be of service to people in any way that I can Daisyworld.
The only thing I will leave behind is a carbon footprint and a kind thought, hopefully an infectious sense of awe, and a love of science.
We are a random part of the universe trying to understand itself.
Member Since: February 2, 2011 Posts: 3 Comments: 904
6. Skyepony (Mod)
6:51 PM GMT on July 06, 2013
Very well put:)
Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 310 Comments: 41425
5. zampaz
6:22 PM GMT on July 06, 2013
Quoting 3. Picatso:
Hi zampaz,

This is a great list of reminders. Thank you for putting all this together.

~Picasto

You're welcome Picatso.
I've had cats that enjoyed making carpet art :)
Member Since: February 2, 2011 Posts: 3 Comments: 904
4. zampaz
6:19 PM GMT on July 06, 2013
Quoting 2. Patrap:
.."some folks, if dey don't wanna know, you can't tell um"..


You do a great job of reminding the community of what is happening on the planet Pat.
Member Since: February 2, 2011 Posts: 3 Comments: 904
3. Picatso
6:10 PM GMT on July 06, 2013
Hi zampaz,

This is a great list of reminders. Thank you for putting all this together.

~Picasto
Member Since: June 12, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 77
2. Patrap
6:00 PM GMT on July 06, 2013
.."some folks, if dey don't wanna know, you can't tell um"..

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 437 Comments: 134804
1. Picatso
5:57 PM GMT on July 06, 2013
"I agree with Skyepony and Picatso because I like their user ids."

Wait - What?

~Picatso
Member Since: June 12, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 77

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About zampaz

My name is Sean, I'm 54 and live in Winchester VA. I'm a former Scientist, Engineer, Database Architect and Project Manager. Learning to write sci-fi

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