The public reception of scientific ideas depends largely on two factors: people’s ability to grasp factual information and the cultural lens through which that information is filtered. The former is what scientists tend to focus on when they give popular accounts of issues such as climate change. The assumption is that if they explain things very, very clearly, everyone will understand. Unfortunately, this is an uphill battle. .. The lesson for today’s scientists and policy-makers is simple: they cannot assume that a public presented with ‘the facts’ will come to the same conclusion as themselves.