Preface to the Oxford Encyclopedia of Climate Change Communication

July 19, 2017 — Because of the complexity and urgency of climate change, efforts to understand the problem’s social, cultural, and political dimensions must stretch beyond the environmental sciences and economics to be truly multi-disciplinary. To this end, over the past two decades, a growing community of scholars have focused on the factors that influence public […]

The science literacy paradox: Why really smart people tend to have the most biased opinions

September 1, 2016 —When presented with contradictory evidence about a politically contentious issue, it’s easy to fall into the trap of reacting emotionally and negatively to that information rather than responding with an open mind. We may not only discount or dismiss such evidence, we are also likely to quickly call into question the credibility of […]

Engaging in science policy controversies: Insights from the U.S. debate over climate change

August 4, 2014 —Nearly forty years ago, sociologist Dorothy Nelkin commissioned a series of case studies examining the nature of controversies over science and technology (1978; 1984; 1992). In the decades since, research inspired by these original studies has identified a generalizable set of insights that inform our understanding of today’s leading controversies such as those over […]

Beyond partisanship in biopolitics: Reservations about science transcend political boundaries

February 13, 2014 —During the next decade, advances in the life sciences are likely to generate intense political debate in the United States and around the world. Even as conflict over human embryonic stem cell (hESC) research has largely subsided, controversies may resurface as such investigations move forward, and as political conditions change. High-profile debates at […]

Opinions about scientific advances blur party-political lines

Reading about the rapid pace of advances in biomedicine, you may have wondered why more politically liberal countries like Germany and Canada have stronger restrictions on embryonic stem cell research than the politically conservative US. History and happenstance play a role, but these differences also reflect public concerns that do not conform to traditional left […]