I’ve been catching up on podcasts again, and that means This American Life. The episode on January 16, 2011–Kid Politics–was great. Act 2, in particular, looks at skepticism by putting a scientist/activist who is part of an organization developing curriculum to teach young people about climate change and a teen who is a climate change skeptic together. At the end of a look at the evidence for climate change the teen remains unconvinced, and Ira Glass asks her a very important question: What would proof look like? (I’m paraphrasing).
Then he asks the scientist: “Do you think it’s hopeless to reach someone once they are already skeptical?”
As a skeptic on many topics (though not climate change), I think these questions are interesting. Can I be reached? Am I too certain of what I know? I suppose I will be revisiting these questions many times in my life as I try to maintain the balance between certainty and skepticism.
Let’s all do what we can to promote science literacy. Start with this video:
Or perhaps read children’s science writer, Steve Jenkins’, musings on how to present science as an authority without undermining the ever-changing/improving nature of the field in this post on The I.N.K. blog.