ERIC Number: EJ1054715
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Apr
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 67
Climate Consensus and "Misinformation": A Rejoinder to "Agnotology, Scientific Consensus, and the Teaching and Learning of Climate Change"
Legates, David R.; Soon, Willie; Briggs, William M.; Monckton of Brenchley, Christopher
Science & Education, v24 n3 p299-318 Apr 2015
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.
Descriptors: Misconceptions, Science Education, Climate, Ecology, Environment, Environmental Education, Knowledge Level, Fuels, Social Attitudes
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
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