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Climate Consensus and ‘Misinformation’: A Rejoinder to Agnotology, Scientific Consensus, and the Teaching and Learning of Climate Change

Published on Apr 1, 2015in Science Education2.90
· DOI :10.1007/s11191-013-9647-9
David R. Legates21
Estimated H-index: 21
(UD: University of Delaware),
Willie Soon27
Estimated H-index: 27
(Harvard University),
William M. Briggs3
Estimated H-index: 3
Abstract
Agnotology is the study of how ignorance arises via circulation of misinformation calculated to mislead. Legates et al. (Sci Educ 22:2007–2017, 2013) had questioned the applicability of agnotology to politically-charged debates. In their reply, Bedford and Cook (Sci Educ 22:2019–2030, 2013), seeking to apply agnotology to climate science, asserted that fossil-fuel interests had promoted doubt about a climate consensus. Their definition of climate ‘misinformation’ was contingent upon the post-modernist assumptions that scientific truth is discernible by measuring a consensus among experts, and that a near unanimous consensus exists. However, inspection of a claim by Cook et al. (Environ Res Lett 8:024024, 2013) of 97.1 % consensus, heavily relied upon by Bedford and Cook, shows just 0.3 % endorsement of the standard definition of consensus: that most warming since 1950 is anthropogenic. Agnotology, then, is a two-edged sword since either side in a debate may claim that general ignorance arises from misinformation allegedly circulated by the other. Significant questions about anthropogenic influences on climate remain. Therefore, Legates et al. appropriately asserted that partisan presentations of controversies stifle debate and have no place in education.
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References65
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#1Robert Weissberg (UIUC: University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign)H-Index: 7
Cited By8
Newest
#1Adam J. L. Harris (UCL: University College London)H-Index: 15
#2Oliver Sildmäe (UCL: University College London)H-Index: 1
Last.Ulrike Hahn (Birkbeck, University of London)H-Index: 28
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#1Christopher Monckton (Public Policy Institute of California)H-Index: 1
#2Willie Soon (Harvard University)H-Index: 27
Last.William M. BriggsH-Index: 3
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