Module Overview

Skepticism about climate change has existed for many decades, but is the debate over?

Many people classified as climate skeptics deny that humans are causing the climate to change, and they question whether scientists agree. Healthy skepticism is important, though, in the field of science. Scientists are naturally skeptical, which helps them remain objective when practicing scientific inquiry. Scientists suspend judgment when evaluating explanations and evidence. Being skeptical allows scientists to examine claims (their own and others) to be more certain that there is valid and reliable supporting evidence. Hence, true skeptics change their perspective as new evidence becomes unequivocal or unmistakable while deniers do not.

In this module, you will practice developing an evidence-based scientific argument and rebutting (or refuting) typical arguments made by climate skeptics.

When you complete this module, you should be able to

  • Construct and defend a claim about climate change based on appropriate and relevant scientific evidence and reasoning that reflects scientific knowledge and/or student-generated evidence. 
  • Construct a rebuttal based on appropriate and relevant scientific evidence and reasoning to refute a skeptics’ claim.
  • Communicate an evidence-based scientific argument and rebuttal in an oral and written format.
  • Respectfully provide and/or receive critiques on arguments by probing evidence and reasoning, challenging explanations, responding to diverse perspectives, and determining additional information required to resolve contradictions. 
  • Evaluate the skeptics’ and scientists’ claims, evidence, and/or reasoning behind currently accepted explanations or solutions to determine the merits of arguments. 
  • Evaluate competing solutions to mitigating and adapting to climate change based on scientific ideas and principles, empirical evidence, and/or logical arguments regarding relevant factors (e.g. economic, societal, environmental, ethical considerations).