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      Science and the Public: Debate, Denial, and Skepticism

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          Abstract

          When the scientific method yields discoveries that imperil people’s lifestyle or worldviews or impinge on corporate vested interests, the public and political response can be anything but favorable. Sometimes the response slides into overt denial of scientific facts, although this denial is often claimed to involve “skepticism”. We outline the distinction between true skepticism and denial with several case studies. We propose some guidelines to enable researchers to differentiate legitimate critical engagement from bad-faith harassment, and to enable members of the public to pursue their skeptical engagement and critique without such engagement being mistaken for harassment.

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          Most cited references 81

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          Positive affect and the complex dynamics of human flourishing.

          Extending B. L. Fredrickson's (1998) broaden-and-build theory of positive emotions and M. Losada's (1999) nonlinear dynamics model of team performance, the authors predict that a ratio of positive to negative affect at or above 2.9 will characterize individuals in flourishing mental health. Participants (N=188) completed an initial survey to identify flourishing mental health and then provided daily reports of experienced positive and negative emotions over 28 days. Results showed that the mean ratio of positive to negative affect was above 2.9 for individuals classified as flourishing and below that threshold for those not flourishing. Together with other evidence, these findings suggest that a set of general mathematical principles may describe the relations between positive affect and human flourishing. ((c) 2005 APA, all rights reserved).
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            The organisation of denial: Conservative think tanks and environmental scepticism

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              Recent climate observations compared to projections.

              We present recent observed climate trends for carbon dioxide concentration, global mean air temperature, and global sea level, and we compare these trends to previous model projections as summarized in the 2001 assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The IPCC scenarios and projections start in the year 1990, which is also the base year of the Kyoto protocol, in which almost all industrialized nations accepted a binding commitment to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. The data available for the period since 1990 raise concerns that the climate system, in particular sea level, may be responding more quickly to climate change than our current generation of models indicates.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                JSPP
                J Soc Polit Psych
                Journal of Social and Political Psychology
                J. Soc. Polit. Psych.
                PsychOpen
                2195-3325
                18 August 2016
                : 4
                : 2
                : 537-553
                Affiliations
                [a ]School of Experimental Psychology and Cabot Institute, University of Bristol, Bristol, United Kingdom
                [b ]School of Psychology, University of Western Australia, Crawley, W.A., Australia
                [c ]Departments of Meteorology & Geosciences, Penn State University, State College, PA, USA
                [d ]University Medical Center, University of Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands
                [e ]University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA
                Jagiellonian University, Kraków, Poland
                Author notes
                [* ]School of Experimental Psychology and Cabot Institute, University of Bristol, 12a Priory Road, Bristol BS8 1TU, United Kingdom. (@STWorg). stephan.lewandowsky@ 123456bristol.ac.uk
                Article
                jspp.v4i2.604
                10.5964/jspp.v4i2.604

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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                Self URI (journal-page): https://journals.psychopen.eu/
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