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Research Seminar: Karen Kovaka
October 17, 2018 @ 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Karen Kovaka is an assistant professor of philosophy at Virginia Tech. Her research is all about life science and environmental science. Her work addresses questions such as: How do disciplines like biology and ecology manage to come to grips with the messy, chaotic, and complex phenomena that they study? How can we use results from these sciences to solve social and environmental problems? What does the general public need to know about life science and environmental science?
The paper to be discussed:
Climate Change Denial and Beliefs About Science.
Please contact Michael Miller (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you would like a copy of the paper.
Social scientists have offered a number of explanations for why Americans commonly
deny that human-caused climate change is real. In this paper, I argue that these explanations
neglect an important group of climate change deniers: those who say they are on the side of
science while also rejecting what they know most climate scientists accept. I then develop a
“nature of science” hypothesis that does account for this group of deniers. According to this
hypothesis, people have serious misconceptions about what scientific inquiry ought to look like.
Their misconceptions interact with partisan biases to produce denial of human-caused climate
change. After I develop this hypothesis, I propose ways of confirming that it is true. Then I
consider its implications for efforts to combat climate change denial, and for other cases of
public rejection of science.