I just did my first national radio interview for the book–with NPR’s Living on Earth. They put together a really fun segment in which I not only explain the book’s arguments to host Jeff Young, but also provide running commentary on one of the best examples I’ve seen of using the new media to communicate positively and entertainingly about science–CERN’s “Large Hadron Rap” video:
You can listen to the whole “Living on Earth” segment here. Here’s an excerpt:
YOUNG: Well give me some examples of challenges we face where the average Joe needs to know something about science.
MOONEY: Well there are certainly many and I think by far the largest right now is the climate change issue. That’s the one where the most is at stake for the future, and it’s also the one where you see such a huge gap between the average American in terms of what they think the state of scientific understanding is and then the scientific community on the other hand. The scientists are something like 85 percent sure that it’s human caused. And the public is more like, you know, 50 percent sure. And if you break it out by party affiliation, and this has been done many times, the Republicans overwhelmingly don’t accept the science. So you got a politicized issue and you’ve got a huge gap between scientists and the public. You add that to unfortunately a lot of bad media coverage of the issue over time and you pretty much get the gridlock that we have.
YOUNG: Something you point out here I found pretty interesting and that is among those Republicans who do not think that climate change is caused by humans, it doesn’t seem to matter how educated they are. Even well educated Republicans hold that belief.
MOONEY: Yeah, it’s really amazing, isn’t it? This is a different Pew study. They studied global warming opinions and they looked at party affiliation and level of education. And what they found for Republicans is that the higher the level of education, the less likely they are to accept scientific reality. And for Democrats and Independents it’s precisely the opposite. I don’t find that actually surprising having been involved with debating the climate debate for a long time.
You look at someone who doesn’t accept the science of global warming, like George Will the Washington Post Columnist or Michael Criton the late novelist, someone like that, these people are not stupid, you know, they’re actually quite intelligent, and their intelligence itself is what lets them come up with arguments against the scientific position of the scientific community that are quite ingenious and very misleading.
Again, the full “Living on Earth” segment is here.