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Awkward encounters with laymen

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Yesterday I met my first climate change denier. Sue me, I go to school in New England. These guys are like leprechauns around here. Misinformed, nonsensical leprechauns.

I couldn’t do anything but smile and nod (again, sue me, but I was on the clock and I love my job), so here are some responses I very nearly screamed:

That textbook is just somebody’s opinion. I’d like to see his credentials. 

Yes, well, gravity was just someone’s opinion, but then we did all this research to back it up, and…oh, no, the textbook has that stuff too. Speaking of credentials, where are yours?

My brother is a scientist, and he told me it’s all bunk.

What field is your brother in, exactly? Something tells me it isn’t environmental science. I mean, my mom was a great OB/GYN in her day, but I wouldn’t ask her to perform a kidney transplant.

I’ve had a whole lifetime of experience to observe this stuff.

I’ve had four years of hardcore studying to actually analyze this stuff, you’ve spent fifty-odd years telling people about how much snow you think there was that one time. I don’t know, maybe we both suck.

Like the whole oil spill thing. The ocean secretes way more oil naturally than we ever spilled from drilling.

What the what? Oil does not equal petroleum. You keep saying that word, I do not think it means what you think it means.

There’s just as much data against it. More data. 

Hm. I bet if I got my laptop out, I could find data that supported a negative human impact on the environment. Want to race?

Climate change is just a natural geological process. The earth goes through cycles. Like with the ice age.

I want to hit you in the face.

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About Rachel

Rachel Feltman is a 20 year old Simon's Rock alum and a grad student at NYU SHERP. She loves writing about science, and would one day like to be paid to do so. Please.

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