If science is so awesome and facts are so perfect and incorruptible and truthful, then why do so many people think there isn't a scientific consensus about climate change?
Though facts are objectively the truth as proven by science, you may have noticed that facts are sometimes assigned to a side, and in the process they get a bit bent out of shape, which is what I've been calling fact drift. The newly coined "alternative facts" also describes the phenomenon very well, though it's a darker, scarier, deliberate form of drift. More like fact shove down the stairs.
Fact drift isn't always malicious, though. Even when people have good intentions, the ways in which we receive our information can turn into a game of telephone.
What might that filtering look like? How do facts start drifting? The journey might go something like this:
Row, row, row your fact, gently down the stream
Well HECK. What do we do now?
Now we know what's happening; how do we solve it?
Look at the "media reports on the fact" panel. You see the wee little "informed citizen" off to the right? That person (dog?) circumvented this whole trickle-down telephone game by going directly to the published report and getting their facts from the source. That fix is the most time-intensive, but it's also the most straightforward and reliable.
If you don't have time to pour through scientific journals, then the next step is to audit your news sources for potential bias. I think everyone (EVERYONE!) would benefit from reading/watching news and opinions from a variety of places, and allowing themselves to experience discomfort. I get extremely uncomfortable when I see things that defame science or condemn one of my strongly held beliefs, but I try very hard to look at why it makes me uncomfortable--is it because what they're saying is incorrect, or is it because I want what they're saying to be incorrect? If it's the latter, I have work to do.
On the most basic, basement level, the solution is still, always, endlessly, to ask questions, of yourself, of what you see, and of what's presented to you. Bring out your inner scientist and cultivate that inquisitive voice in others, so that facts stay right where they're supposed to be: rooted in objectivity as the result of a scientific process.
Next time: Finally, we get to the point. Part III-- the science of climate change.