'Every year climate science seems to get less sure until I want to shout 'Just vanish back into obscurity until you've got a handle on this mess! Go on, go to your room and don't come out till your predictions last longer than it takes the ink to dry on them." '

Jun 29, 2013 'TinyCO2' commenting at Bishop Hill


Monday, 16 January 2012

Climate Change Conflict in the Classroom: positions provided for the teachers vs questions provided for the pupils

On the one hand, a large non-profit organisation in the United States, the National Center for Science Education (NCSE) is reported today as intending to  'mount an aggressive effort to teach the nation’s schoolchildren that climate change is real and is being driven by human activity.'  (hat tip: Tom Nelson)

On the other hand, a professor in Australia, Ian Plimer, has recently published 101 questions on climate in a book entitled 'How to Get Expelled from School' .

They both take an aggressive stance:

NCSE: 'Climate change denial is already threatening the integrity of science education in public schools and elsewhere. These attacks occur in individual classrooms, local school boards, state boards of education and state legislatures, and informal learning environments. And even in the absence of explicit attacks, science educators report experiencing implicit pressure to compromise on the scientific accuracy of their presentations of climate change. NCSE helps concerned citizens to defend accurate science education in all of these settings.'
Plimer: 'The issue of human-induced global warming is about power and has little to do with the environment, saving the planet, creating a better world and freedom of speech.  Except when travelling in communist and other totalitarian countries, all my life I have enjoyed freedom of speech.  The present state of public debate on climate is such that the government-approved beliefs are virtually compulsory.  Those imposing their apocalyptic doctrinal views upon want no rational civilised argument (e.g. "the science is settled"), claim that there is a "consensus", attempt to denigrate, and vilify and marginalise those who question the dogma (e.g. "climate deniers").'

The report in the Washington Times, suggests that the NCSE wants to 'launch a public relations effort. If it is successful, climate change skeptics could become a small minority and might be derided for their beliefs.'  The NCSE site's new section on climate change is already replete with frequent use of the 'denier' insult, and of course is maintaining that its proposed attack on climate realists is akin to its attack on religious fundamentalists over 'intelligent design'.  I think they have fallen off their fence on to the wrong side - their new campaign will support the green fundamentalists and those who ride on their backs to win political power.  The cause of good science, and honest straightforward schooling, will be advanced not by them and all the wealth of Big Green, but by such as Plimer and his humble list of questions in the minds not just of pupils but of parents, politicians, and teachers themselves.

Note added later: This report describes the NCSE as 'small':
'NCSE, a small, nonpartisan group of scientists, teachers, clergy and concerned individuals, rose to prominence in the last decade defending evolution in the curriculum.  The controversy around "climate change education is where evolution was 20 years ago," said Eugenie Scott, executive director of NCSE.'

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I've had a look at the NCSE climate site, and very creepy it is, too. For instance, it encourages would-be climate activists to gather "any piece of information" about "the local climate deniers" which can be used against them. I'm encouraged, though, by the fact that the group remains relatively small, and this overt nastiness could be interpreted as a sign of desperation.