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Paced version of Denial101x starting on March 21!

Posted on 16 March 2017 by BaerbelW

The next iteration of our free online course, Making Sense of Climate Science Denial, starts on March 21 and will run for 8 weeks as a paced course.

The MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) is a collaboration between Skeptical Science and The University of Queensland and takes an interdisciplinary look at climate science denial. We explain the psychological drivers of denial, debunk many of the most common myths about climate change and explore the scientific research into how to respond to climate misinformation. With all the misinformation and outright lies coming out of Washington regarding climate science - not to mention many other topics - our MOOC will give you the knowledge to spot and the tools to effectively counter them.

The course first launched in April 2015. Since then, over 30,000 students from over 160 countries have enrolled in the course. Last year, we were honoured to be named one of the finalists for the first-ever edX Prize for Exceptional Contributions in Online Teaching and Learning (the prize went to TU Delft's Arno Smets). We've received some wonderful feedback from students who've taken the course, particularly teachers who are using our course videos in their classes. Here is a video compilation of some feedback from the students:

You can sign up for free via the edX website.

Hope to see you there!

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Comments 1 to 3:

  1. Sounds good. Here is my theory of climate change denial, for what it's worth, and it breaks down into a four stage process:

    1. Obviously the fossil fuel industry and some other business has vested interests in continuation of fossil fuel use. Vested interests are clearly turning some people into denial of the science. 

    In fact we all have some degree of vested interests, as we own cars, but some people are more protective of their interests, and worried about impacts on fuel prices, or the reliability of electric cars. Others are more open to accepting change, and inform themselves that the worries are exaggerated. 

    2. I think there's a political dimension in terms of worries about government rules about reducing emissions, and government power and the right role of government. This is turning into quite a partisan battle between conservatives and liberals. However there are strong justifications for environmental regulations or things like carbon taxes, originating in basic, mainstream economic theory.

    3. Then there are a range of psychological factors, such as confirmation bias, human tendencies to think short term, peer group pressures, and being tricked by logical fallacies, and other propoganda and deceptive arguments from denialist campaigns.

    4. We also have an element of political grid lock, in terms of politicians being captive to big campaign donors. This is a tough one.

    It's all reminiscent of the tobacco issue some years back, but on a much more massive level.

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  2. Nigelj - if you join us in our MOOC (if you haven't already taken it!), you'll see that your theory is fairly close to what is going on. We have a lot of material about the 4 points you mention (and some more), but also some insights into what to do about it and how to tackle it.

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  3. In response to Nigel let me answer:

    1. MOST of the people I hear making these comments about global warming and oil companies controlling the world own SUV's. Houawives going to meetings of "save the Earth" are running bicyclists off of the road and accelerating to beat pedestrians to the crosswalk. I think that hypocrites should see themselves for what they are.

    2. I quite agree with Nigel that this is a fight about government power. We already have heard from the IPCC that the US now has such low emissions that the real problems are coming from India and China in which we are unlikely to see any real improvements. So giving government agencies extra-governmental powers as the EPA had been given is an attack on our Constitution.

    3. Virtually ALL peer-group pressure is on the AGW side. The very term "denier" has been turned into an insult to anyone not willing to bow down to the Great God Global Warming. There is NO proof to support AGW and yet we have identified it as a know fact. Even though "consensus" is a rediculous standard, when one man with the truth trumps 1,000 who are following each other, this has become the standard of truth. And what do we see as proof of "consensus"? That the AMA and the American Horticulturalists of America believe in AGW. That organizations without polling their own members will take the side of NOAA.

    4. There WAS no political gridlock. It was Obama's way or the highway. It was agencies whose powers circumvented the Constitutional powers of the government that were telling the US what they WERE going to do.

    This is where it stands - most of the people in this country do not believe in it and you and the True Believers do not have the power to order us what to do and how to do it. Ain't Democracy grand?

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