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University of Queensland offering free online course to demolish climate denial

Posted on 21 April 2015 by dana1981

Starting April 28th, 2015, the University of Queensland is offering a free Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) aimed at “Making Sense of Climate Science Denial.”

The course coordinator is John Cook, University of Queensland Global Change Institute Climate Communication Fellow, and founder of the climate science myth debunking website Skeptical ScienceCook’s research has primarily focused on the psychology of climate science denial. As he explains,

97% of climate scientists agree that humans are causing global warming; however, less than half of Australians are aware of humanity’s role in climate change, while half of the US Senate has voted that humans aren’t causing global warming. This free course explains why there is such a huge gap between the scientific community and the public. Our course looks at what’s driving climate science denial and the most common myths about climate change.

The course includes climate science and myth debunking lectures by the international team of volunteer scientific contributors to Skeptical Science, including myself, and interviews with many of the world’s leading climate science and psychology experts. Making Sense of Climate Science Denial is a seven-week program featuring interviews with 75 scientific experts, including Sir David AttenboroughKatharine HayhoeRichard AlleyMichael Mann, and Naomi Oreskes.

The course incorporates lessons in both climate science and psychology to explain the most common climate myths and to detail how to respond to them. Research has shown that myth debunking is most effective when people understand why the myth originated in the first place. For example, cherry picking (focusing on a small bit of convenient data and ignoring the rest) is one of the most common fallacies behind climate science myths.

The lectures in the University of Queensland MOOC not only explain the science, but also the fallacies underpinning each myth. This is a unique and important feature to this course, because understanding their origins effectively acts to inoculate people against myths.

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Comments 1 to 7:

  1. Here's the thing about MOOCs: You may not have the time or discipline to do the full course. But enrolling gives you access to superb course materials, or allow you to deepen your understanding of a specific issue.

    In essence, it gives you a key to a new library. 

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  2. In many university courses free discussion is encouraged  where opposing views can be aired and debated.  As there are many who are not entirely convinced of all aspects of AGW will that be the case with this MOOC? 

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  3. I wouldn't be surprised if the discussion forums contained some robust (yet moderated) debate. That's usually the case with MOOC's that deal with any public policy area, regardless of what the content actually advances.

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  4. ryland

    Yes, the course will be strongly forum based. Participation in the forums is part of the assessment. And yes we will be moderating firmly.

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  5. Will it help me communicate with my students who claim that the promise God made to Noah proves that CC can't get that bad (without throttling here '-))?

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  6. ('her' not 'here')

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  7. I think If someone wishes to argue from religion, it requires you frame your response in that context.

    Hence, I can think of two responses: God's covenant was that He would never again use a divine downpour to destroy life on Earth (Gen 9:15). He didn't say that the sea level won't rise at all due to the free will exercised by humans.

    2 Corinthians 9:6 says "whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully." If you do not tend your field, don't expect God to grace you with a fine harvest. If you don't look after the geosphere, don't expect the world's food supply to feed everyone.

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