Back when the FDA was testing ads to discourage kids from smoking, they tried arguments based on science: smoking will give you cancer; smoking will give you emphysema; smoking will hurt your unborn child. They tried appealing to kids’ social anxieties: smoking will make your teeth yellow; smoking will give you bad breath. None of these arguments worked very well. What worked was telling kids that the tobacco companies were lying to them, tricking them into smoking so that they could make money off them for the rest of their lives. The Madhouse Effect: How Climate Change Denial Is Threatening Our Planet, Destroying Our Politics, and Driving Us Crazy, by climate scientist Michael Mann and cartoonist Tom Toles, serves the same purpose. It makes it quite clear that the “debate” about climate change has nothing to do with science and everything to do with wishful thinking, exploited by vested economic and political interests. Only when that false debate is put behind us will a productive discussion about what to do about climate change finally begin, returning scientific evidence to its rightful place as a powerful tool, not a punching bag.

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Sure, the Olympics have the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat. But do they have the thrill of discovery (Neanderthal fashion, dinosaur armageddon)? And how about the agony of denial (Ark Encounter X 3, and even some flat-earthers)? No, no they don't. That's OK. As a reader of NCSE's blog, you get both.

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Some time ago, I wrote about Lamar Smith (R–Texas and chairman of the House Science Committee) and his efforts to intimidate climate scientists. In that post, I noted that Smith had issued:

…a Congressional subpoena—the King Kong of information requests—for all emails and correspondence between the paper’s authors and NOAA officials.

You might say that as taxpayers we have a right to see everything that government employees and government-funded scientists write to each other…but when the only correspondence that is sought is that concerning a scientific finding that pisses off a politician, society’s collective you-know-what detector really ought to go off.

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Here at NCSE, we talk a lot about the people who reject climate change science, how they are threatening science education, and what we can do to ensure teachers have the support they need to teach the science. What we don’t always discuss is why people reject climate change.

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If you had two minutes with John S. Watson, the CEO of oil industry giant Chevron, what would you ask? Climate scientist and NCSE Board member Ben Santer recently got that opportunity, when he attended the company’s annual shareholder meeting in San Ramon, California.

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Donald ProtheroIs it possible that Donald Prothero, one winner of NCSE’s 2016 Friend of Darwin award, is actually several tiny paleontologists in a trenchcoat? Consider: His website says that he’s the author of “over 35 books.” That he seems a bit uncertain of the exact count is understandable when you start looking at the publication dates.

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The sun has a much bigger effect on the climate than humans, doesn’t it?

The climate’s always changing. So what?

Won’t animals just adapt to a changing climate?

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Katherine Hayhoe, photo by Ashley Rodgers, Texas Tech UniversityKatherine Hayhoe, photo by Ashley Rodgers, Texas Tech University

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When you think of warriors against science denial, many names probably come to mind. Two of NCSE’s favorites are our 2016 Friend of the Planet award winners: professor John Abraham, and environmental scientist Dana Nuccitelli. Collectively their actions have pushed back against rampant climate change denial and misinformation that is spread voraciously through the media.

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