Beyond the Evidence


This class is about the science of science communication. Why, when all evidence points to the growing threats of climate change, is it so difficult to create movement toward addressing it? Why, when we have so much evidence that vaccines reduce illness and death and are extremely safe, do individuals still choose not to vaccinate their children? What if I told you that the scientific evidence does not matter? Over the last few decades, not better education, nor guilt, nor fear has worked to produce change on important environmental and public health issues. In this class, we will explore how values, beliefs, emotions and identity shape how we receive and process information and make decisions. We will explore themes of moral world view, cognitive linguistics and framing, cognitive dissonance, risk perception, empathy, habit changes, and difficult dialoguing through the case studies of climate change and vaccination. Course activities will consist of regular reading, some online research, reflective journaling at home, and engaging in conversation during class. There are no prerequisites, but the class is designed for fourth-year students in environmental majors and pre-health studies. Upper-level environmental majors and minors will receive priority enrollment from the waitlist.
Course Attributes: EN S; BU BA; AS SSC; FA SSC; AR SSC

Section 01

Beyond the Evidence
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