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Department of Communication

Is the question of global warming really a controversial issue or is it just framed as such by politicians, and the like, even though the majority of scientists agree on the facts?

UW Communication Associate Professor and Associate Chair Leah Ceccarelli discusses the dynamics of this quandary in her article titled “Manufactured Scientific Controversy: Science, Rhetoric, and Public Debate.” This past November, The American Forensic Association recognized Ceccarelli with the Daniel Rohrer Memorial Outstanding Research Award. The honor, named after the Director of Forensics at Boston College from 1970 to 1982, is given annually to the exceptional monograph in the research concerns of the Association.

Ceccarelli’s article was published in the journal of Rhetoric & Public Affairs in 2011 and teaches scientists how to respond to special interest groups that manufacture controversy over a subject that the scientific community actually has a consensus about. Examples include whether or not HIV causes AIDS, the existence of global warming, and the topic of intelligent design.