The Science of Why We Don’t Believe in Science – with Chris Mooney

Chris Mooney offered a course on “The Science of Why We Don’t Believe in Science” during May, from May 1 to May 31, 2014.

Description: Ever wonder why we can never seem to stop fighting about settled scientific issues like climate change, evolution, and the safety of vaccines? Or simply why you can never seem to change a science denier’s mind? Renowned science journalist Chris Mooney has been reporting and writing on this subject for the past three years, and in this course, he walks you through a growing body of research on the psychology and emotions behind science denial. Topics covered include motivated reasoning, conspiratorial beliefs, and the psychology of political ideology and of religion. At the end of this month long course, not only will you understand what you’re actually up against when dealing with science deniers — you’ll know how to make headway against them.

start/end dates – May 1 / May 31, 2014

Schedule: Four modules in four weeks will cover Motivated Reasoning; Trust, Distrust, and Conspiracies; The Left and the Right, the Religious and the Irreligious; and The Solutions. We will start off with Chris’s path-breaking article “The Science of Why We Don’t Believe in Science” published in Mother Jones in 2011, and then examine a variety of similar inquiries into the psychology of science denial. There are no live events currently planned. Everything about the course is provided on the PSA Moodle website. Course lectures, links to websites, and forums for discussions with the instructor and students are included in the Moodle website classroom. Visit the class anytime to contribute your posts in discussion forums. There is nothing “live” you can miss – log in and participate anytime day or night, 24/7, throughout May.

Ask Chris about this course by tweeting to him at or posting on his facebook wall at

Chris Mooney is an award winning author, science and political journalist, and experienced trainer of scientists in the art of communication. He works as a correspondent for the Climate Desk and a contributing writer at Mother Jones magazine, where he covers science (especially climate science) and co-hosts the popular podcast Inquiring Minds (along with neuroscientist and opera singer Indre Viskontas). Chris is the author of four books, including the New York Times bestselling The Republican War on Science – dubbed “a landmark in contemporary political reporting” by and a “well-researched, closely argued and amply referenced indictment of the right wing’s assault on science and scientists” by Scientific American–Storm World, and Unscientific America: How Scientific Illiteracy Threatens Our Future, co-authored by Sheril Kirshenbaum. His most recent book is The Republican Brain: The Science of Why They Deny Science – and Reality.