Tag Archives: skeptics

The ‘Serengeti Strategy’ defanged?

The pride of lions closes in for the kill, stalking its prey, waiting to spot a weak buffalo.

African lions on the hunt prowl the edge of a herd, single out one buffalo, then hunt as a pack to separate the individual from the herd and bring it down.   In The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars, Michael E. Mann notes that critics of climate science often use the same tactic, which he dubs ‘The Serengeti Strategy.’ Continue reading

Climate Communication Graphics –  
‘Escalator’ critics miss the point

Guest post by ClimateBites contributing author John Russell.



In November 2011 Dana N. at Skeptical Science produced this striking animated graph called ‘The Escalator.’   The graph clearly demonstrates how critics cherry-pick short periods of time to convince themselves that ‘warming is over.’  [See “Skeptical cherry-picking, brilliantly exposed!”]

‘The Escalator’ went viral, and has also become a target for skeptics, who try to poke holes in it by questioning Continue reading

Climate Communication Tips  
Note to self: “It’s the fear, stupid!”

We have to address the fears.     That is my #1 take away climate communication message from the AGU meeting in San Francisco.

For many skeptics, resistance to accepting climate science stems primarily from fear, not ignorance or misinformation.    Fear of what could be “taken away” from them if government mobilizes to address this problem.    This came up in session after session on climate communication.

The corollary:     We can never make progress with ardent skeptics by arguing endlessly about scientific nuances, Continue reading

Climate Communication Rebuttal:
Must read: The Debunking Handbook

Uh oh.   Did you know that your efforts to correct climate misinformation could be backfiring?   That you may be inadvertently be reinforcing the very myths you seek to dislodge?

For a quick self-check, download this short guide, The Debunking Handbook, by Skeptical Science’s John Cook and Prof. Stephan Lewandowsky.    It’s free, and in just 6 pages shows you how to avoid the “backfire effect” and make your corrections stick.

You can trust Cook and Lewandowsky’s advice; it’s all solidly grounded in cognitive psychology research.

Here are my “Top Ten” take-away points: Continue reading

Climate Communication Tips
A touchstone for tone. . . and your real audience

“When you counsel someone, you should appear to be reminding him of something he had forgotten, not of the light he was unable to see.”

           — Baltasar Gracian (1601-1658)

Gracian’s aphorism is a nice touchstone for “tone,” which is so crucial to winning over an audience.   In a debate with a skeptic, keep in mind that the key audience is not your opponent; it’s the silent onlookers.  Focusing on the skeptic across the table is like a trial lawyer Continue reading

Climate Change Humor
Doonesbury nails it: An Honest Man

More all-time favorite climate cartoons in Tools/Humor/Cartoons.

We also link to large, searchable  online collections of cartoons related to climate/weather/environment.     Unfortunately, the vast majority of ‘toons are either 1) hostile to climate science, 2) grim and bitter, or 3) both. So when you spot a climate cartoon or picture somewhere that actually makes you laugh (OK, even a little chuckle will do) please let us know!

Here is Gary Trudeau’s official Doonesbury site.

Climate Change Soundbite

Science is a jigsaw puzzle, not a house of cards

Here’s a great metaphor for explaining why minor errors — inevitable in any large scientific undertaking — do not invalidate  climate science.

Skeptics want you to view climate science as a house of cards:   If you pull one card from the bottom, the whole thing collapses.

But science is more like a jigsaw puzzle, Continue reading