ABSTRACT: Despite the existence of a clear scientiﬁc consensus about global warming, opinion surveys ﬁnd confusion among the American public, regarding both scientiﬁc issues and the strength of the scientiﬁc consensus. Evidence increasingly points to misinformation as a contributing factor. This situation is both a challenge and an opportunity for science educators, including geographers. The direct study of misinformation–termed agnotology (Proctor 2008)–can potentially sharpen student critical thinking skills, raise awareness of the processes of science such as peer review, and improve understanding of the basic science. This potential is illustrated with examples from a small, upper-division collegiate weather and climate class. Key Words: global warming, agnotology, misinformation, active learning
Need I say more? Oh, other than noting his good taste in reffing me :-?.
Well all right I will. They say (quoting only the headers):
Speciﬁc learning outcomes addressed by using agnotology are as follows:
1 Understanding the true nature of the scientiﬁc consensus on global warming
2 Understanding the processes of scientiﬁc inquiry
3 Strengthened critical thinking skills
4 Strengthened understanding of the basic science of weather and climate
I’m entirely happy with the last 3. I’m (obviously) also quite comfortable with the first point in general, but I think I’d rather they hadn’t included it in that list. 2 and 3 are general skills which anyone who is trying to make up their own minds needs; 4 is valuable in and of itself; 2-4 could be agreed on by all “sides”. 1 is a bit too specific to this particular debate, and too easily seen as advocacy (though the accompanying text, Assessing the veracity of agnogenesis claims about the scientiﬁc consensus requires looking at the documented evidence, and determining the value of the evidence presented (such as interviews or speeches compared with peer-reviewed research) could just about be considered neutral, if you were being understanding. At the least, I’d have demonted 1 to the end of the list as more of an end-result of applying 1-3.
* Agnotology as a Teaching Tool: Learning Climate Science by Studying Misinformation, Daniel Bedford, Journal of Geography, 109: 4, 159 — 165, DOI: 10.1080/00221341.2010.498121
* New Moon On Monday
* A nice story about trust, from Timmy
* Link to a screen capture of me on the front page :-)