FT 05-F Global Warming: Fact or Fiction?
Paul LePlae, Department of Chemistry, 9:45 TTh
It would seem that everyone has an opinion on global warming, but what do we really know? In this tutorial we will sample the available information concerning global warming. Through a variety of books, articles, videos, discussion papers, and presentations, we will learn the difference between testable theories and nonsensical beliefs. It is hoped that by the end of the term each student will have developed his own informed opinion concerning global warming. Readings will include fiction and nonfiction such as Michael Crichton’s most recent novel State of Fear. Although a work of fiction, State of Fear has been accused of arguing that the scientific evidence for global warming is weak and that people concerned about global warming follow a herd mentality, failing to critically examine the data. Spencer Weart’s critically acclaimed work of nonfiction, The Discovery of Global Warming, will also be read. This book begins as a sort of detective story, describing how a few scientists became obsessed with the mysteries of climate change. By the end it becomes an epic tale where entire governments, national publics, and communities of scientists press upon one another.