SCU Climate of Doubt Video Distinguishing Science from Pseudoscience Questions

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Science can be defined as the development of knowledge using systematic observations and experiments that can be reproduced, and laws and theories that can be tested and verified. In contrast, pseudoscience is a system of theories or assertions about the natural world that claim or appear to be scientific but that, in fact, are not.

Remember, science can be defined as the development of knowledge using systematic observations and experiments that can be reproduced, and laws and theories that can be tested and verified. In contrast, pseudoscience is a system of theories or assertions about the natural world that claim or appear to be scientific but that, in fact, are not.

Please number your answers. You can use bullet points to answer the questions. Please double space and use 12 point font. Your total paper should be 2-3 pages, but I’m most interested in you answering the questions completely and correctly. Again, if you want to use bullet points to answer you can.

View the following video clips and answer the questions below. (Note, feel free to watch the entire video. If you don’t have time to watch the entire video, make sure to watch the sections noted below.)

PBS: Climate of Doubt http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/film/climate-of-doubt/

  • Watch from start to around 7:20 – background
  • Watch from 15:20 to 21:50 – manipulation of data, “going down the up escalator” and the Oregon Petition
  • Watch from around 36:55 to about 44:45 – North Carolina climate change legislation on sea level rise and discussion of tactics used by the tobacco industry in claiming second-hand smoke is not harmful; oil industry ties
  1. Give two specific examples from the Climate of Doubt video that illustrate how the media may help promote or help refute pseudoscience. (4 points)
  2. How do the skeptics “diminish the credibility of the scientific consensus” and “spread the message of doubt?” Include analysis of “going down the up escalator” and the Oregon Petition as pseudoscience. (6 points)
  3. What do you think are the motivations behind climate denial, based on the video? Who are the key players seen in the video and what are their credentials? What industries are cited as being heavily involved, and who are some of the key players with ties to industries? (5 points)
  4. Discuss the failed North Carolina legislation to “legislate climate change out of existence.” How did the skeptics win, even though the legislation was not passed (what is the next step)? (5 points)

Clip #2: https://twitter.com/SenBrianSchatz/status/755492348407058432
This clip shows Senator Brian Schatz talking about the Web of Denial. If the link does not work, go to this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hz-72_kjsnI and watch from 1:19 to 4:16 to see the part from the twitter clip.

Then read the Senate Concurrent Resolution (found here and also in Canvas as pdf if you can’t open this link) and answer the question below – continue to question 5:

http://www.whitehouse.senate.gov/download/?id=14B7203D-50FE-4BA9-82FC-B76756B70503&download=1

5.What is the Web of Denial? Why are US Senators taking action by supporting the Senate Web of Denial Resolution? (5 points)

Grading Rubric

Rating

Question 1

Found 2 examples that show how media may promote pseudoscience

4 pts

Found 1 example that show how media may promote pseudoscience

2 pts

Examples given did not show how media may promote pseudoscience

0 pts

4

Question 2

Analyzed skeptics’ approach and described the 2 examples.

6 pts.

Analyzed skeptics’ approach incompletely; description of the 2 examples was lacking.

3 pts

Poor analysis and missed the description of the 2 examples.

0 pts

6

Question 3

Completely and thoroughly discussed the NC coastal effort.

5 pts

Missed some elements of the NC story.

3 pts

Did not understand the NC situation.

0 pts

5

Question 4

Thoroughly discussed motivations, industries, and key players

5 pts

Missed some elements of the motivations, industries, and key players

3 pts

Did not understand motivations, industries, and key players

0 pts

5

Question 5

Understood and described the Web of Denial and resolution

5 pts

Incomplete understanding of the Web of Denial and resolution

3 pts

Did not understand the Web of Denial and resolution

0 pts

5

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