Lately, there have been discussions and tools offered by credible sources and the scientific community aimed at helping the average, or “lay person” fight climate change denial and deniers. This is extremely helpful and so important. Consider it a bridge being built between scientists and the general public, essentially like arming a (potential) militia to combat all the ignorance and misinformation. This willful disregard of the facts and/or confusion about what constitutes real evidence is what one of my absolute favorite radio personalities (Joe Madison aka Madison aka The Black Eagle) recently called, “conscientious stupidity.” By the way, if you ever get a chance to listen to him on satellite radio (Urban View), you should do it. When he gets angry and starts letting loose, I literally start crying with laughter. He’s awesome. Funny, smart, insightful.
Anyway, here are three different things which can provide climate warriors with further ammunition when dealing with climate change denial. The first “tool” in your warrior arsenal comes from the wonderful John Cook (University of Queensland) who runs the Skeptical Science website. Cook and his colleagues have created a free online course Denial 101x. Here is the first video from Cook’s course:
And you can click here for an article about Cook’s free online course which appeared in ClimateProgress.
Next up is a presentation and information offered by the Union of Concerned Scientists who are also trying empower citizens to fight back against climate change deniers. Go to their page, which is here and scroll through their information. A 42-screen PowerPoint presentation is accessible at the bottom of the page. Very quick read and very useful.
And finally, as John Cook points out in his Denial 101x video, a common problem with people who deny climate change is often related to their thinking process and their confirmation biases. Everyone has biases in the way they view the world and how they process information. The important thing is to exercise that “muscle” between your ears and work against our tendency towards sloppy thinking. Professor Peter Boghossian has written an incredible book called A Manual for Creating Atheists which is available as both a regular book and also as an audiobook (he does the reading on the audiobook, which is excellent). I have read and re-read his book more times than I can count. Don’t let the title scare you off if you’re NOT an atheist. It’s really about critical thinking, confirmation biases and something called doxastic closure. His writing is inspirational and very much like John Cook, he discusses how people become closed to new ways of thinking. Instead of just debating climate change deniers until you’re blue in the face, dig down into how they arrived at their conclusions. THAT is where the chink in the armor can be found.
For more books on critical thinking, skeptical thinking and working against our confirmation biases, check out Guy P. Harrison’s book Think: Why You Should Question Everything (and all of his other books are pretty awesome, as well).