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Today’s lesson dealt with the debate over whether global warming and climate change is caused by human activity.

The 3 films looked at are:

The first two are full-length documentary films over an hour long each, while the third is just about 9 minutes long.

In-depth point-by-point summaries and rebuttals of both the two main documentaries are easily found online with a simple Google search, and there are too many points to list here, especially given the technical nature of the scientific evidence. What is particularly important, though, is to note:

  • the importance of the format of presentation, as mentioned in class, including elements like dramatisation, the use of (alleged) expert opinion, and the careful use of statistics;
  • the arguments regarding the misuse of just these elements, including selective use of data and appeals to false authority with reference to irrelevant expertise;
  • the broader idea of motivation for climate change denial.

One useful article with regard to this is this blog post, which succinctly examines some of the key possible reasons why people might reject the existing scientific consensus.

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