Arguing With a Climate Change Skeptic? There's an App for That.

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Image via Version 1.0.1 of the Skeptical Science iPhone app

For every argument tossed forward by climate change skeptics, there's a body of scientific research that clarifies the issue. Thanks to an Australian solar physicist by the name of John Cook, you can access those skeptics' arguments, and the science-based counter-arguments, on your iPhone. The Version 1.0.1 of the Skeptical Science iPhone app provides the perfect solution for being able to just point at your phone the next time someone argues against climate change without a scientific leg to stand on. As Cook states in a blog post about the app, "This is a good idea for two reasons. Firstly, because now more than ever it's imperative that the climate debate focuses on science so the more readily available the science, the better. Secondly, well, an iPhone app is pretty cool."

When you turn on the app, you can look at the top 10 most used arguments, or search through three main argument categories - including 'It's not happening', 'It's not us', 'It's not bad'. As you search, you can pull up a skeptic argument (there are 90 arguments listed in the app with their rebuttals so far), then a summary of what the science says. It even includes graphs and links to scientific papers and other sources.

And, if you hear a new skeptic argument, you can report it so it can be added to the database.

The Guardian notes, "One suspects this app will only act to increase the polarisation between the two sides of this "debate". (Still think a debate's going on? When was the last time you heard someone from either side say, "Thank you for this information. Actually, I'd never thought of it like that before. I'm now prepared to change my mind on climate change.")"

True indeed, but the person may go home at the end of the conversation and, on their own terms, start to accept that maybe - just maybe - a whole hell of a lot of science proving climate change is happening at a rapidly distressing rate could perhaps be right.

Still - there's going to be some that, well, won't. The Guardian points out some of the reactions the app is garnering from skeptics:

For example, Climate Realists, a site manned by sceptics such as weatherman Piers Corbyn, is already jumping up and down in horror at the news of the app's release:

"WARNING! There is an iphone app trying to put down what we have to say under the heading of 'Skeptical Science'. We need as many of you as possible to promote that this iphone app is yet another attempt to discredit 'Climate Realists'. We can only hope the general public can see through this as a cheap trick to prop up the FAILED SCIENCE OF MAN MADE CLIMATE CHANGE. Climate Realists need another iphone app that shows our side of the argument as it is, rather then what a supporter AGW thinks it is! Please send this message to all known friendly sites that support our side."

This call to arms appears to have worked as the first reviews on the iTunes app store are deeply negative. This is what the reviewer "GabesiPod" said:

"This is app from an AGW [anthropogenic global warming] supporter and just supports his views and NOT the views of SKEPTICS! I find that iPhone apps have mislead people, in that, the name of the product is NOT what it is claimed to be. This is a cheap trick to support the FAILED SCIENCE OF AGW, AND HAS NO SCIENTIFIC VALUE. This app should be withdrawn!"

For anyone who has been stuck in a conversation with someone who passionately says something about climate change that is utterly uninformed, you'll know how nice it is to not only be able to talk about the since that proves them wrong, but now you can actually show them research on it right there in the middle of the moment.