So, you accept the science of climate change and global warming as legit. But you often encounter people, at family gatherings, on your Facebook page, on Twitter, at social events, etc. who don’t. Do you keep your mouth shut when someone says something clearly wrong that brings the science into question illegitimately? If you do, and others are listening, then one voice, a denialist voice, is influencing people. Probably better to say something.
The problems is that the denialist schtick involves having a lot of different arguments, with absolutely no regard as to legimacy, against the science. You’ve heard of the Gish Gallop. You make an argument that seems to invalidate your opponent’s position, and it does not matter how well that argument is demolished, no problem, you just make another argument. This is sometimes what happens when you find yourself in these conversations. “But what about ….” is probably the most common retort to a counterargument to a denialist claim.
I’m frequently asked what resources people can use to learn about the arguments, both the denialist arguments themselves and how to counter them. If I provide information on one resource, it is always skepticalscience.com. That web site is very nicely organized, it includes all of the denialist arguments (if you know of a denialist argument skepticalscience.com does not cover, let them know, or if you like, let me know and I’ll pass it on). The primers that address the arguments are often provided at multiple levels, so you can get the non-technical tl;dr, or you can go into the details.
But, not every body relates to web sites. Sometimes you like to take a book to bed with you for the evening, or to the beach, or to some other place where you like to read, and just learn stuff. Or, while you will certainly find skepticalscience.com or other web sites (including my blog, I hope) useful, you may want to explore a few other perspectives, or other ways of saying things.
Well, now there’s a book for that. “How to Change Minds about Our Changing Climate” is slightly misnamed. This book, by scientists Seth Darling and Douglas Sisterson, does not really go into the science of mind changing. But it does provide a litany of denialist claims and the scientific answer to them, in a way that you will find useful. You will not only learn the arguments but you will gain confidence in making the arguments at that family dinner or school board meeting or cocktail party.
Seth Darling is a scientist at the Center for Nanoscale Materials, Argonne National Laboratory, and a fellow at the Institute for Molecular Engineering at the University of Chicago. Doug Sisterson is a senior manager at Argonne National Laboratory, US Department of Energy Atmospheric Radiation Measurement Climate Research Facility. They know the science and have done a very nice job putting the argument on paper (or eBook). From the publisher:
One by one, the authors debunk all the most pernicious myths surrounding climate change and offer talking points that readers can use to do the same, in chapters such as “There is no consensus” and “There’s no link between warming and extreme weather.” In fact, there is consensus, and the time to take climate change seriously is well past. As Darling and Sisterson cogently explain, “We are poised to compress an amount of global warming that historically has occurred over the course of thousands of years into a single century”—and the menacing effects we’ve already seen only hint at what’s to come…
Also, do me a favor. If you get the book on Amazon and read it, please go to Amazon and leave an honest review. Anti science denialists like to swarm books on amazon with bogus awful reviews, and you can help counter that.
ADDED: An important criticism of this book, that I agree with, is the authors’ use of the actual myths to be debunked as titles. This is not good communication strategy and is discussed, vis-a-vis this work HERE.
While you are at it, check out Michael Mann’s book, The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars: Dispatches from the Front Lines and, again, if you read that please consider giving an honest review on Amazon; Mann’s book is frequently attacked on that site.
(Speaking of books being attacked, my book, which is a novel and not on climate change, is here. I got badly attacked by Mens Rights Activists who hate me because I’m against rape. The book isn’t even about that, but they are organized and have been in the habit of harassing me and other people who speak out for women’s rights.)
In any case, you can also up vote reviews you like and down vote reviews you don’t like, on Amazon.
Finally, a while back I put together a list of climate change related books, HERE. You might find that useful.