Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Meditations on climate change "skepticism"

The radio program "Are we alone?" from the SETI Institute does a regular series on skepticism in science. This week's show looks at climate change skepticism and features a terrific interview with Steve Schneider, as well as some thoughts from Naomi Oreskes. Former Apollo astronaut Phil Chapman offers his reasons for being a "skeptic", including the rather crazy unscientific claim that the rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide may be natural. Rather than present climate scientist and skeptic as a journalistic he-said, she-said, the show lets the scientific experts on the subject explain where the less informed "skeptic" is wrong. As I've argued many times, it's worth thinking about the motivation behind skepticism and the genesis of skeptical arguments, faulty as they may be, in order to improve outreach and communication.

I'm on later in the program discussing coral bleaching and ocean acidification.

7 comments:

climatesight said...

I don't have a Blogger account! Do you have another link to the radio show? I really want to hear it.

Simon D said...

The link is fixed. Thanks.

Anna Haynes said...

It's not fixed for me. Here it is:

http://radio.seti.org/episodes/Skeptic_Check_Climate_Clamor

Anonymous said...

Dear Sir,

May I compliment on a job well done. Nice blend of science accurately summarized and effective communication.

Andrew

Anonymous said...

Hmm. My first attempt at posting disappeared: here's the key bit:

"including the rather crazy unscientific claim that the rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide may be natural"

I agree completely that this claim is crazy and unscientific, but I would bet that Chapman got this claim directly from Essenhigh (2009) published in the respected chemical engineering journal Energy & Fuels. Of course, one should think twice before trusting a carbon cycle paper published by a mechanical engineer in a chemical engineering journal - especially when said paper finds that the lifetime of carbon-14 CO2 is 15 years whereas the residence time of carbon-12 CO2, using the same method, was only 5 years. That should have been a big red flag for the author, reviewers, and editor...

-Marcus

Rattus Norvegicus said...

I heard this program on the local NPR (that's USA) outlet as "Skeptic Check". Kudos for effectively deconstructing the skeptic arguments which were presented. This is the way it should be done.

ivan said...
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