"By encouraging, or even requiring, students to take stands where they have neither the knowledge nor the intellectual training to seriously examine complex issues, teachers promote the expression of unsubstantiated opinions, the venting of uninformed emotions, and the habit of acting on those opinions and emotions, while ignoring or dismissing opposing views, without having either the intellectual equipment or the personal experience to weigh one view against another in any serious way."
Thomas Sowell, 'Intellectuals and Society', http://www.amazon.co.uk/Intellectuals-Society-Sowell-Thomas/dp/0465025226
Saturday, 16 August 2014
Climate Scaremongering Antidote: fight back with optimism and good cheer
Matt Ridley, August 2014 : http://www.rationaloptimist.com/blog/reasons-to-be-cheerful-%281%29.aspx
One of the underpinnings of the pathological pessimism such as Paul Ehrlich and other extreme 'environmentalists' have promoted for decades is a sense of foreboding. A sense that everything is getting worse, and that we need drastic, revolutionary change to have any hope of surviving. Climate scaremongering is but one vehicle for such promotion, and it was one seized upon with relish by the likes of the Club of Rome, Maurice Strong, and sundry other modern millenarians whose biggest and most successful political monsters have been UNEP and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
The deliberate insertion of climate scaremongering into schools and the mass media has harmed many. Surveys of children reveal high levels of anxiety about the future. Several such surveys are reported on here, along with more specific reports of children scared about climate: http://climatelessons.blogspot.co.uk/p/climate-anxiety-reports-of-frightened.html
But as Matt Ridley points out in his book, The Rational Optimist, and in the recent article from which the quote above is taken, we humans are actually doing pretty well when it comes to progress. This includes our ability to cope with climate variation. Unfortunately we are still vulnerable to superstition and deliberate scaremongering, especially when it is dressed up in pseudo-scientific guises and treated with an astonishingly low level of critical review in the mass media. The reality is that ...
There is a lot to be cheerful about. (hat-tip Richard Drake, http://www.bishop-hill.net/discussion/post/2396918).
And our children should be told about it.