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Denial101x MOOC - Full list of videos and references at your fingertips

Posted on 3 September 2015 by LarryM, BaerbelW

The "Denial101x - Making Sense of Climate Science Denial" MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) is now available as a self-paced course that anyone can take at any time.  The course was produced by the all-volunteer Skeptical Science team and the University of Queensland, and hosted on the edX-platform.  The lectures and expert interviews provide a unique resource for countering climate myths, learning effective myth-debunking techniques, and learning the basics of climate science in easily digestible bites.  These resources are now available in an organized and easily searched format.  Use them often!

MOOC videos.  The collection of Denial101x videos listed below is organized by week and by topic.  There are 81 lectures on focused topics, each about 5-7 minutes in length, plus 40 full interviews with experts in climate science and climate communication.  The video playlist is also available on the Denial101x YouTube channel.

MOOC references.  Each Denial101x lecture is supported by peer-reviewed research.  A comprehensive list of references is available, with links to the corresponding papers.

MOOC-related blog posts:

Other SkS resources:

Index of videos by week

Week 1  –  Overview of the climate controversy

Consensus of evidence
Consensus of scientists
Consensus of papers
From the experts: Scientific consensus
Knowledge based consensus
Vested interests
Dragons of inaction
Ideological bias
From the experts: Psychology of denial
Manufacturing doubt
From the experts: Skepticism vs Denial
Media balance-as-bias
Structure of an effective debunking
Five characteristics of science denial
From the experts: Spread of denial
From the experts: Attack on science
The techniques of science denial - Part 1
The techniques of science denial - Part 2
The techniques of science denial - Part 3
Week 1 wrap up
Scientific Method
   Full interview with Ben Santer
   Full interview with Naomi Oreskes
   Full interview with Peter Doran
   Full interview with Stephan Lewandowsky
   Full interview with Lawrence Hamilton
   Full interview with Katharine Hayhoe
   Full interview with Michael Mann
   Full interview with Eugenie Scott
   Full interview with Ritayan Mitra

Week 2  –  Global warming is happening

Week 2 overview
Heat build-up
Hot records
Sea level rise
Shrinking glaciers
Greenland ice loss
Antarctic land ice vs sea ice
Cryosphere: Expert Interviews
Building a robust temperature record
Heat in the city
Wavy jet stream
Climate change vs global warming
Week 2 wrap up
   Full interview with Phil Jones
   Full interview with Jonathan Bamber
   Full interview with Fabrice Calmels
   Full interview with Antoni Lewkowicz
   Full interview with Eric Rignot
   Full interview with Lonnie Thompson
   Full interview with Isabella Velicogna

Week 3  –  We are causing global warming

Week 3 overview
Upsetting the natural balance
Human CO2 emissions trump volcanoes
Taking up residence
From the experts: Carbon cycle
The greenhouse effect
Increasing the greenhouse effect
Reinforcing feedback
From the experts: Greenhouse effect
Structure of our atmosphere
Measuring from space
Daily and yearly cycle
Week 3 wrap up
   Full interview with Corinne Le Quéré
   Full interview with Ed Hawkins
   Full interview with Steve Sherwood
   Full interview with Luke Barnard
   Full interview with Joanne House
   Full interview with Mike Lockwood
   Full interview with Bill Ruddiman

Week 4  –  The past tells us about the future

Week 4 Overview
Modern vs. past climate change
The Little Ice Age
Ancient CO2 levels
From the experts: The past
Medieval warm period
Confused decline
From the experts: The decline
Principles that models are built on
Climate model success stories
Weather vs climate
Climate science in 1970s
Future ice age
Tendency to underestimate climate impacts
From the experts: Climate Models
Week 4 wrap up
The Climate of Middle Earth: Part 1
   Full interview with Tim Osborn
   Full interview with Andy Pitman
   Full interview with Greg Webb
   Full interview with Katrin Meissner
   Full interview with David Stevens

Week 5  –  Impacts of climate change

Week 5 overview
Climate is sensitive
Water vapor amplifies warming
The role of clouds in climate change
Methane clathrate feedback
Adaptation takes time
From the experts: Ecological impacts
Polar bears
Ocean acidification
From the experts: Coral bleaching and ocean acidification
Overall impacts
Carbon Dioxide is a pollutant
Agricultural impacts
From the experts: Impacts on society
Extreme weather
Heat waves
Week 5 wrap up
Making sense of the slowdown
The Climate of Middle Earth: Part 2
   Full interview with Richard Alley
   Full interview with Ove Hoegh-Guldberg
   Full interview with Charlie Veron
   Full interview with Annamieke Van De Heuvel
   Full interview with Sir David Attenborough
   Full interview with Christine Hoskings
   Full interview with Kevin Trenberth

Week 6  –  Responding to denial

Week 6 overview
Vocal Minority
Worldview Backfire Effect
From the experts: Moving past barriers to change
Inoculation Theory
Sticky science
Flu Shots
From the experts: Debunking
From the experts: Climate metaphors
Week 6 wrap up
The Climate of Middle Earth: Part 3
   Full interview with Dan Lunt
   Full interview with Simon Donner
   Full interview with Ullrich Ecker
   Full interview with Michael Ranney
   Full interview with Courtney St. John
   Full interview with Mark McCaffrey


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Comments 1 to 20:

  1. I have to confess that I've not — yet — read any of the material of this course, but I have a related question that has been bothering me for some time.  If it has already been answered, I beg forgiveness.

    My question concerns deniers who reject the evidence for global warming.  Has anyone asked them what they would consider to be "proper" evidence?  For example, no more ice at the poles would surely be incontrovertible, if rather drastic; how about some intermediate situation, such as an ice-free Arctic Ocean in September?  I would dearly like to know what they would put forward.  It should be very entertaining.

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  2. Digby, for many people logic and facts are not the driver of their views on climate change.

    A recent Washington Post survey found that when Donald Trump proposes a policy, Republicans love it and Democrats hate it. When President Obama proposes a policy Democrats love it and Republicans hate it. This applies even when it is the exact same policy.

    Views on climate change are similar. Many people have their particular view not because of the facts and logic, but because it helps identify them as belonging to their chosen political camp. This is just human nature.

    Personally I prefer facts and logic, but I beleive I may be in the minority in that regard.

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  3. BBHY @2, in defense of the aparently illogical Democrats and Republicans in that survey, there are policies I would trust some parties to impliment, but not others, even when the policy is essentially the same at a brief level of description.  Not only is there much devil in the detail that can be a make or break issue on some policies, but even the detail of legislation does not cover the way in which policies are administered which can also make a difference.

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  4. Tom Curtis, true, that is a good point. Still, I feel my point is valid,. People like to idenify with a group, it is a good feeling to be a part of something larger than oneself and for many people that can be a more powerful driver than cold, dry facts.

    To be clear, I'm not suggesting that these people cannot be reached, or even  convinced to change their minds. I only suggest that facts, or as Digby puts it, evidence, presented alone, is not the most effective way to reach them.

    There are many other ways to reach someone, and different personality styles wil respond to different methods. Advertisers understand this well and will produce ads that reach us in different ways on different levels. Naratives, humor, and appeals to emotional, moral and social resonance are just a few. Of course facts should be included as well, but they need to be presented in the proper context to be widely convincing.

    Politicians are naturally skilled at making these kinds of convincing arguments, while the typical scientifically oriented personality is not. There are notable exceptions; Neil DeGrasse Tyson and Bill Nye for instance. But I think this generally explains why so many people find the arguments of politicians more convincing than those of scientists, even though the scientists may have a far superior backing of evidence.

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  5. Um, fellows, I don't think you understand my question.  If someone tells me global warming is a myth, I'd like to ask, "OK, so what would you say would be proper evidence of global warming?"

    I'm past the stage of caring what people think of climate change.  I doubt that any effective action will be taken in the near future.  It will be the planet that will change people's minds — and then it will be too late.

    Nevertheless, I'm still curious about how deniers would answer my question.  While there's curiosity, there's hope?!

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  6. the YouTube channel for Potholer54 has a wonderful playlist on denialists   

    "The main purpose of this channel is to explain in simple terms the conclusions of scientific research, and correct some of the unsourced crap we get fed on the Internet. I am a former science journalist (see the "Who I am" video) with a degree in geology."

    He is Peter Hadfield - I have enjoyed everything he has done. -

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  7. Digby, the evidence they ask for can be put into one of three boxes:

    A) Can't realistically happen (temps tracking alongside Hansen's 1988 projection for Scenario A, which never occurred)

    B) WIll happen someday (statistically significant warming trend from both satellite datatsets from 1998+)

    C) Has already happened (evidence global warming is happening, is human caused, and is bad)

    In all cases, should evidence of any of those things occur, the committed denier will simply change their requirement, or find a reason why that evidence is unacceptable.

    This is not a unique feature of climate science denial, but relates to every sort of denial that exists.

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  8. Tristan, I wouldn't want to confront their denial.  I'd like to get behind it.  If someone tells me global warming is a myth, another way I could perhaps achieve this is to ask "OK, I believe you (says he, lying in his teeth).  If global warming were really to occur, what would you expect to see?"

    I know that there are many people whose worldview excludes the possibility of global warming in our time.  I'd like to nudge them into thinking about a different world (like the PETM maximum) where global warming does occur.  So what if global warming does not occur in their world.  I'd like them to imagine a world where it does occur and then give me a description of it.

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  9. Digby, you are asking a very tough question.Time is not on your side for an easily recognized, opinion changing event to happen in the next few years.

    IMHO, the answer is: 'when Fox News says so'. I have floated the idea of a 'Fox News Moment', akin to the economic Minsky Moment. Or better yet, the 'Wile E. Coyote Moment' when he realizes he is about to fall to the bottom of the canyon. It is inevitable that the day will come when the ultra wealthy conservative class will realize that they have significant skin in the game and it is in their financial interest to change the agenda. Fox News will be the mechanism. I suspect a healthy number already understand this, but think denial is in their best interest, financially or politically. Cynical, but one reason they are rich is because they think this way. At some point, hopefully in the relatively near future, Fox will change its message.

    I think this will happen before there is any really obvious event that would change the minds of the rank and file denialists. The change will be framed in such a way that it does not compromise the current arguments. i suspect something along the lines of 'conservatives finally got the science right after the liberal, big science parasites screwed it up'.

    As for evidence a bit more tangible, I am afraid how hot is it now and where is sea level at the moment are all that will satisfy some people. Some will never acknowledge a change even if the water is lapping at their doorstep.

    Unfortunately the US east coast has been cooler than normal lately. Since 'how hot I am now' gets extrapolated to the whole world, a significant portion of the US is unaware that this is going to be a very hot year: it's been 123 in Basra, Iraq, but... it's Iraq.

    The 2011 La Nina brought Austin, Texas 99 days of 100 or higher, with 112 being the highest, and this was insufficient to convince Texans that the planet is warming. The previous record was 69 days of 100 or greater. I fear it will take Basra-like temperatures to convince Texans that we are messing with the planet. The next strong La Nina event is going to get interesting for Texas.

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  10. Digby, in my experience no evidence has ever convinced a denialist to change his position.  What happens is that at some point deniers will not dispute whether global warming is taking place. They will simply say that climate has always changed in the past and therefore whether humans are responsible for the change right now is irrelevant. 

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  11. Tamino recommended this video which gives a recommendation for a general discussion where you want to change another persons position.  I thought that the points the speaker makes are good and will try to use them in the furute.  He suggests that arguing the facts with a denier (which is mostly what I have done in the past) is ineffective and does not get people to change their views (even when your facts are correct).  He has suggestions for a better way to address the conversation.

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  12. I've tried this Digby and wish you the best of luck. Basing your opinions on data rather than tribal values is not something that humans do naturally and on the whole, I think scientists only do it marginally better than general population. A well-trained, real skeptic confronts questions with "what data would cause me to change my mind?", and checks whether it exists. The normal response is a frantic search for data to back our existing position.

    However, the scientific approach does have value in talking to skeptics if they are not too vested in denial. The commonest response that I have seen is to demand data validating predictions that science doesnt make (eg Tristran point A or that temperatures rise uniformly with CO2). In challenging this, someone engaged is forced to look at what the science actually does say - a massive step forward from Fox news or denialist blogs.

    However, if someone is vested in denial, then they will typically just retreat to safe denialist blogs and disengage from you. Favourite outs are that climate is just too complex too understand so nothing can be known; science cant be trusted as scientists are just chasing money (a wonderful piece of projection), and at worst, that there is global conspiracy for something and any inconvenient data is manufactured by evil scientists bent on world domination. Remember the cardinals that refused to look through Galileo's telescope.

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  13. Well, not having a denier on hand to experiment with, I'm going to abandon my idea.

    As an old man with no children to fear for, I find myself in the position of an observer monitoring an interesting experiment:  Will the deniers continue to sabotage climate action until it's too late, or will they be overruled in time?

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  14. Just wander over to any denialist web site  and you can soon find plenty to play with. Send a letter to the editor  to your local paper demanding action on climate change and you will have local deniers after you in force.

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  15. @9, the fake conservatives have always sold stuff and this means constantly entertaining two ideas at once. Nuclear Power has always been flogged as the cure for climate change going back to the 60s....

    "... but, but, but wait: there's more!!"


    They just want a captive audience on the hook and only when they get the feedback that the game isn't working will they switch to a new method.


    Entertaining the middle postion is always possible: some call it walking both sides of the street at the same time and some call it compromise- it's all in the language and how much the captive audience lets you get away with. The worlds always been run by psychos: such is the role of enterprise.

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  16. .. in summary: FOX won't change its message because its message is merely one of obfuscation that can be morally defended on spurious grounds from the very start.

    It's like a kid asking endless questions who never listens to the answers: it's idiotic and you just have to accept there is no conversation possible.

    We are a specious species...

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  17. Digby Scorgie,

    From my perspective it is more imporant to ask them to explain things. And what I would ask them to explain are:

    • The history of CO2 levels in the atmosphere and the rapid recent increase. Why the rapid recent increase? Use the resources in the course to ensure that the facts of CO2 levels through the past 800,000 years are clearly understood.
    • What do they believe the effects of CO2 in the atmosphere are? What is the science of CO2 related to incoming solar ratiation and outgoing infrared radiation from the surface. Ask them to provide a rational explanation with references to peer-reviewed publications. Correct any clear misuderstanding with information from this course.
    • Based on their, potentially new, understanding about CO2 in the atmosphere ask them if they have changed their mind. If they have, then share the course link and encourage them to delve into the fuller understanding of what is going on.

    If they won't understand the CO2 issue you have found someone who has decided to resist being convinced. Ask them what is motivating their deliberate reluctance to understanding what is going on. They probably will not answer but I am sure they will understand that some unacceptable personal interest is motivating them. That acknowledgment is the first step toward the required change of made-up minds that have been easily impressed by made-up claims.

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  18. I have deliberately steered clear of denier websites.  They're toxic.  At my age I'd risk blowing a gasket.  As for my friends, there are actually none that I know of who entertain denier thoughts.  If there are any, they keep such thoughts private.  So I'm just going to sit back and relax, and see if the wheels fall off before I kick the bucket.  I would so love to see the smirk wiped off the face of every denier on the planet.

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  19. "At my age I'd risk blowing a gasket."

    You know, that is advice  I should follow too before it's too late.

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  20. Digby Scorgie and scaddenp,

    I support the pursuit of enjoyment in life ... limited by behaving thoughtfully, responsibly and considerately so that your actions do not contradict or confound or challenge the development of a lasting better future for a robust diversty of life on this amazig planet.

    The fudamental problem is that not everyone will responsibly limit their pursuits. The developed socio-political-economic systems which measure success through personal perceptions of power, popularity and profitability encourage people to pursue the freedom to behave as thoughlessly, callously and irresponsibly as possible because that allows them to perceive to have 'won compared to others'.

    Live lightly and as helpfully as you are able. And if you are able, point out the unacceptability of those other percieved to be desireable ways of 'spending' a lifetime.

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