Keep Climate Deniers Out of Class

March 4th, 2010 at 3:08 pm | 82 Comments |

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In 1987, the Supreme Court ruled that singling out evolution for criticism in public schools violates the doctrine of separation of church and state. To circumvent these rulings, critics of evolution have also begun to object to the teaching of climate change in schools. In doing so, they claim to be championing academic freedom, insisting that “all theories” be taught to America’s children.

Before I go further, I should state that I am a Christian who also accepts the overwhelming evidence in favor of Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection and the overwhelming evidence that suggests climate change is real. I see no incompatibility here. That said, I can understand and respect the right of others to reject these scientific findings, so long as they do so privately. However, the assertion that because some in society happen to hold these dubious and completely unverifiable beliefs privately it follows that they should be taught in our schools alongside tested and verified scientific reality is deeply troubling.  Furthermore, it could in the future compromise America’s position as a military and economic superpower.

Educational policies like the one passed last year in my home state of Texas which mandate teachers to present “all sides of the evidence on evolution and global warming” treat verifiable science the same way they treat ideas that have no real world scientific support. At a time when American students are already falling behind the rest of the world in science and math proficiency, this just sends the message to young people, suggesting to them that science has little merit or truth.  The scores from the 2006 Program for International Student assessment showed that American students trailed 16 of the 30 countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in science knowledge.  Americans performed even worse in math, trailing 23 countries.

One of the first steps towards closing this gap is to teach our young people that these subjects matter. Science can sometimes get the answers wrong, and those who disagree with its findings are entitled to do so, but to teach accepted science as just “theory” alongside unverifiable personal beliefs will only convince American students to not take this subjects seriously. And a nation that cannot educate its students can count on becoming irrelevant on the world stage.

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82 Comments so far ↓

  • Carney

    CentristNYer @ 47 wrote, “The problem with your assertion is that you need to focus on VOTING Americans, not illegals.”

    But the amnesty pushers seek to create a “path to citizenship” among illegals. Even amnesty pushers who disavow such intent and insist they only support guest worker status know full well that that would result in near-irresistible pressure for citizenship later. After all, if being illegal is not grounds for deportation, how much less could being a legal resident who has played by the rules since his legalization? Also, all either an illegal or a “guest worker” has to do is produce offspring on American soil to have an anchor baby making his deportation a non-priority or a cause celebre. And that child and its siblings will be citizens with the right to vote same as you or me. No, no alternative to mass deportation of illegals exists in order to avoid major changes to our electorate.

    “And the demographic trends among voters are not favorable to Republicans in the long run, who have largely been hostile to minority groups or treat them with barely concealed contempt. Why should hispanics and gays (taking two groups that were demonized in past campaigns) flock to a party that has increasingly become an outpost for angry white men?”

    The question is never phrased in the reverse. Democrats are never put on the spot, and asked why they are rejected among men, who are half the population, or whites, who remain a large majority of the population. No Democratic electoral victory is portrayed as tainted and lacking in moral authority because it lacked white or male support. Democrats feel no imperative to appear before groups of whites or males and fall over themselves to reassure us of their respect, affection, and zealous passion for our interests. Of course, no such groups are permitted to exist in any case.

  • franco 2

    Of course CentristNYer is a troll, I called him/her out long ago. In fact, balconesfault used to pretend he was a moderate until I exposed him. Now he’s out as the partisan Democrat he is.

    And talk about getting a “life” leftofCentrist, what the hell is a committed marxer (I’m liking the -er endings, they sound more insulting than the -ist endings) like you doing operating as a troll on an ostensibly Republican web site. You are unable to maintain your facade and you are making a fool of yourself on a daily basis. Googling someone takes a moment and it’s called “gathering evidence” which reasonable people do when they debate.

    CentristNYer // Mar 5, 2010 at 10:26 am

    “franco 2 // Mar 5, 2010 at 9:55 am

    “Can you say Scott Brown? Chris Christie?”

    Can you say “incredibly weak opponents”? Can you say “the demographic trends are not in favor of aging southern white males who represent the core of the GOP”?”

    Too funny!

  • franco 2

    Carney,

    I enjoy reading your posts, so I’m not asking you to stop writing, but CenristNYer doesn’t deserve, appreciate or understand reasonable arguments.

  • franco 2

    Actually Centrist Nyer is a good example of why the GOP should be wary of catering to these types.

    CNYer is one of those Democrats who are always lamenting the state of the Republican party – if only they were more moderate, more reasonable etc. But this is in reality just a ruse, a tactic to bash Republicans in general by smearing the moderates with the conservatives, and by goading and chiding the moderates for not distancing themselves sufficiently from the “extreme” elements of their party.

    It’s a win-win strategy for Democrats. They get to pretend they are reasonable, they get to bash conservatives AND they get to be the arbiters of and judges of what exactly constitutes a “good” Republican, all the while remaining loyal, committed partisan Democrats.

    “I admire what Frum has tried to do with this site and the dialog he’s tried to foster, but when I read the comments here, I think it’s destined to fail. Every time a blogger or commenter here posts a constructive (and much needed) criticism of the GOP it’s immediately pounced on as “liberal” propaganda and the person is denounced as a “far left” troll. I just find it extremely discouraging. And anyone who cares at all about having a healthy two party system should be, too.”

  • franco 2

    Centrist says: “Republicans … have largely been hostile to minority groups or treat them with barely concealed contempt. Why should hispanics and gays (taking two groups that were demonized in past campaigns) flock to a party that has increasingly become an outpost for angry white men?”

    This is A: false and B: insulting

    This is unfiltered leftist propaganda he’s spouting, and he pretends to be a “Centrist” Real centrists don’t believe Republicans are bigots.

  • CentristNYer

    Franco: It’s called an analogy. (Look it up.) The point was that you cherry picked your facts in the same manner that climate change deniers do.

    Carney: I owe GOProud nothing. He’s the rude, self-loathing drunk at the end of the bar who spouts nonsense. I will continue to respond to him accordingly. (On my very first post — back when he was MI-GOPer — he was insulting and hostile and he’s only gotten more toxic since then.) For what it’s worth, although I find I don’t often agree with your brand of conservatism, I can at least respect the fact that you don’t have a pathological need to label everyone who disagrees with you a “far left troll,” like Proud and his intellectual twin Franco.

  • CentristNYer

    franco 2 // Mar 5, 2010 at 4:41 pm

    “CNYer is one of those Democrats…”

    Um, wrong. I’ve been a registered Republican for thirty years. Thanks for showing us all how you simply make up your own facts to suit your opinions.

    I’ll give you this: you’re a perfect emblem of the modern GOP.

  • anniemargret

    Well, GOPer will get his fervent wish.

    I’m leaving this blog permanently. Too bad as I had thought it would be a forum for intelligent people to debate the issues, but it’s become a virtual slugfest. I want to discuss issues with adults but the adolescent name-calling here is appalling.

    There should be no problem for this blog to accept and tolerate people with moderate or liberal-leaning ideas to bounce their views off others, but apparently for some bloggers here – they want to keep it segregated.

    So be it. Best wishes to all the nice guys (and gals) here . Good luck.

  • franco 2

    CentristNYer // Mar 5, 2010 at 5:37 pm

    “I’ve been a registered Republican for thirty years.”

    So I guess you’re a white male from the south (Southern NY?) with concealed contempt for minorities.

    OK, got it.

    Talk about LABELING people, Centrist, you are #1 in that department.

    And by the way, Scott Brown is quite the centrist. One would think another centrist “registered” Republican would be proud of Scott Brown. A centrist would say, as some here do, that Scott Brown is a perfect model of what the Republican party should be across the board. But no, Centrist NYer says he only won because his opponent was “incredibly weak” – and don’t forget, this is Mass. where incredibly weak Democrats beat Republicans as a rule.

  • franco 2

    anniemargret // Mar 5, 2010 at 6:32 pm

    I’m sorry but I just have to laugh.

    I’ll remember anniemargaret for one quote…. it’s priceless,

    “Just because science isn’t static does not mean we should doubt every certainty.”

    There is something magically revealing in this quote. You see, in annies world there are certainties.She knows global warming exists. It’s certain. Black holes exist too even though physicists, PhD’s admit that its just a theory they don’t really know, annie knows. Don’t question them, don’t doubt. That’s dangerous. If you doubt and question that keeps people uncertain and that’s bad. People need to be certain of things.

    These are the people who make fun of religion. I’m not religious myself, but I respect them. At least they KNOW they are believers (the non-fundamentalists) some of these liberals like annie, they don’t even know they are believers. They think they are “knowers”.

  • sinz54

    anniemargaret: I’m leaving this blog permanently. Too bad as I had thought it would be a forum for intelligent people to debate the issues, but it’s become a virtual slugfest. I want to discuss issues with adults but the adolescent name-calling here is appalling.
    I have pleaded with the operators of this blog to take action against those trolls who are repeatedly violating the Comment Policy (which is available for anyone to read for themselves; see below after the Copyright).

    So far, no luck.
    They seem completely unable to comprehend that certain commenters have come onto this blog not to voice opinions, but to dirty and degrade this blog and serious discussion. They are employing all the tools of radical political activism to drive decent people into submission or drive them away.

    It may have worked with you, but it ain’t gonna work with me.

    I’m originally from New York.

    And I’m going to stick around until I can get the operators of this blog to take real action.

    Who knows? After they do that, I may be one of the only two or three regular commenters who isn’t banned.
    And then I’ll cordially invite you to return.

  • sinz54

    CentristNYer: And the demographic trends among voters are not favorable to Republicans in the long run, who have largely been hostile to minority groups or treat them with barely concealed contempt.
    Times change.
    Back in the 1950s, the GOP was the party of WASPs.

    But starting with Nixon, the GOP learned how to appeal to Northern urban ethnics like Italian-Americans and Irish-Americans (mostly Catholics), and even made some inroads into Jewish Americans (Reagan got over 40% of the Jewish vote in 1980). These became the so-called “Reagan Democrats”–working-class Democrats who could no longer stand the counterculture and pacifism of the modern liberal movement.

    If the GOP could appeal to these ethnics in the 1970s and 1980s, there’s no reason why other similarly visionary Republicans couldn’t figure out ways to appeal to native-born Hispanics in 5 or 10 years. Bush, in his runs for the Presidency, got over 40% of the Hispanic vote. In fact, after the 2004 election, disappointed Democrats were beginning to wonder if Bush’s appeal to the Hispanic vote meant a permanent GOP lock on the Southwest! (But as I said, times change.)

    Political parties want to WIN. If winning means appealing to white southern nativists, the GOP will do that–it has done that. If in the future, winning means appealing to Hispanics, believe me, the GOP will find a way to do that.

    I’ve been observing politics for over 40 years, and that’s how I see it.

    (BTW, the Dems learned to dump McGovern style pacifism and welfare state liberalism too–with Bill Clinton. Now with Obama, it looks like they’ll have to learn it all over again.)

  • sinz54

    franco 2: Don’t question them, don’t doubt.
    Even you gotta admit,
    after the A-bombs of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and hundreds of nuclear reactors,
    there’s no point in questioning whether E = m c^2 anymore. :-)

  • Carney

    CentristNYer, I’ll have to admit that GOProud is not impressing me with the quality of his comments and arguments, and I understand your annoyance towards him.

    Also, regarding my post @ 53, I was really responding to kevin47 @ 50.

  • GOProud

    CentristNyer: “Um, wrong. I’ve been a registered Republican for thirty years. Thanks for showing us all how you simply make up your own facts to suit your opinions.”

    Ok, now that is the lie of the month on this blog by the farLeft types. Registered GOP my butt, CentristNyer.

    You’re a fake. 100% on that score. Even TeaBagged has dropped the “I was a Republican” lie in favor of “I’m a hard core partisan Democrat” after someone copied his DailyKos profile. As for you, CentristNYer, the truth is that Stephen Colbert’s and JonStewart’s audience, according to ComedyCentral, is 79.8% Democrat, 11.1% independent and the balance unsure. No GOPer watches those idiots –it’s worse than being waterboarded by John Kerry and Howie Dean.

    According to you, on MediaIte blog where your profile says you are a Democrat, who voted for Obama, Kerry and Gore, you said: “CentristNYer says: December 16, 2009 at 4:47 am @ImNotBlue: Colbert is not only watched, but still generates tremendous enthusiasm and passion from his audience. It’s hard to imagine TV without his and Jon Stewart’s brilliant skewering of political hypocrisy, journalistic laziness and media obsessions.”

    I’m not blue had quipped “Ugh… do people still watch that show? The same shtick over and over again. I find it so very tiresome.”

    Oh yeah, you’re a registered Republican. What a shallow sort of troll you’ve proven to be this day.

  • GOProud

    Annie writes: “So be it. Best wishes to all the nice guys (and gals) here . Good luck.”

    Thanks Annie. And good luck to you as well.

  • franco 2

    RIP anniemargerate, you were a real trooper. You fought your battles and made your case, but in the end it was the name-calling, the despicable name-calling that did you in.

    I myself, still struggle when that guy called me a dweeb. I was once referred to as a “loser” and many times a “crazy right winger”. It’s been difficult. Funny is doesn’t matter to me if people imply that I and those who share my beliefs are “racists” bigots” or somehow afraid of my own sexuality. This bothers me not a bit. But when they call me a NAME, why, then it’s just too much.

    Still, I try to persevere and ignore the persecution, knowing my cause is righteous, and when the names leap off the computer screen and attack my eyeballs and bore into my very soul I take refuge in knowing my cause is just and the politically oppressed still need my voice.

    But annie is a more refined creature, who has high intelligence and sweet and certain sensibilities . She deserves none of the wanton abuse that flies around these crude comment boards. So I say, go forth annie, and find a place for your ideas. May they blossom and thrive, and may you never be so rudely treated or disparaged for your lofty and flawless insights! Adios!

  • franco 2

    Sinz (65) is incapable of detecting sarcasm.

  • franco 2

    GOProud,

    Centrist likes to vote for the weakest GOP candidate. He’s THAT kind of registered Republican.

  • Carney

    sinz54 @ 64, your thesis seems reasonable at first (it’s pushed by Michael Barone, Karl Rove, etc.), but it’s just not going to work.

    First, that much-ballyhooed 40% for W. was not a triumph, but a 40 point-margin rout. And it was a ceiling, not a floor. It happened in a time of peace and roaring prosperity, and Bush sold out on every imaginable issue that would annoy the usual left-wing Hispanic groups. From the march of official Spanish (including towns doing government business exclusively in Spanish), to “bilingual” education, to affirmative action (particularly outrageous because immigrants cannot claim, as blacks can, that their ancestors had been discriminated against), to immigration enforcement by local and state law enforcement, to immigration policy overall, Bush took NO position at variance with the demands of the left, and stuck it to the right at every turn. And what was the gratitude he got for this? A stinging rejection, a humiliating 40 point wipe-out.

    Second, the precedent of non WASP white “ethnics” is not a cause for optimism but a gravely serious warning. The Irish and Germans arrived in the 1840s and were not considered fully American until perhaps after World War 2 or even 1960. That century plus timeframe was hardly smooth sailing. The Irish (whose story I know better) were a major problem, bringing disease, squalor, and depressed wages to start with, and massive urban corruption afterwards. The Irish were also heavily involved in both petty and organized crime. Both groups brought new traditions of drunkenness, and all the associated social pathologies, that shocked the native-born. It took generations of heavy effort, especially in schools that strongly and unapologetically insisted on Americanization, inculcating our heritage and “civic religion”, and so on, to assimilate this group.

    And yet the Irish and Germans are extremely close to the English! They have been neighbors for centuries. Their cultures (northwestern European, Christian) are very similar. Quite often there is no discernable physical difference at all from the original native British stock of this country. Genetic studies show that they are very closely related relative to other groups in the world.

    The next wave, the Southern and Eastern Europeans, were an even bigger challenge to assimilate, and that process is still only at the tail end of completion for some of them. I’ll skip their story for space.

    But both groups, despite the second being somewhat visually distinguishable, had and have an enormous advantage compared to the third – they are all white. The Third Wave, from outside Europe, is not. The vast majority of Hispanic immigrants are mestizos (mixed white and Indian, emphasis on the latter) or indios, pure Indian. Being what the Canadians call a “visible minority” means you can NEVER anonymously blend in to the crowd, never even seem as if you are part of the original founding stock. Psychologically the whole situation is permanently different. We don’t like to admit this because of racial sensitivities and because of our earnest hope that the positive story of white ethnic assimilation will apply to others (and our chasm of fear that it will not).

    Whatever chance we do have of assimilating them, it will be much more difficult than the prior waves, and will thus require even MORE intense, unapologetically confident efforts to Americanize them than the first two went through. But not only have we not done that, we haven’t even matched the efforts of the prior waves. We haven’t even done less, or nothing. We’ve had the world policy of all – of actively and intensively DE-Americanizing and alienating them. The school system teaches them not about Washington and Lincoln and Robert E. Lee, but about Cesar Chavez. It teaches them in Spanish to bristle and Americanization, to hate their new country, and to militantly cling to their old identity. Condemning America for the Mexican War and treating our ownership of our Southwest as illegitimate is routine. And instead of crossing a physical and psychological ocean to get here, they wade across a river or overstay a visa, and watch Spanish TV, either on satellite or beamed from a tower right here.

    Finally, each prior wave was assimilated in part because it ended. Without more newcomers from the Old Country to keep up the language and culture, the immigrants were forced to Americanize to get by. This tidal wave has gone on and on and ending it will be fiercely resisted by the Barones and Roves, who are thus undermining the very assimilation they say they want.

  • SFTor1

    CAGW is a question mark at this point, and needs a reboot after the sloppy work that has been done by several leading scientists in the field.

    Ocean fisheries management is the big one. The U.S. joining the ban on fishing Atlantic bluefin tuna is a start. We need to rebuild the fish populations before they crash. This is not scare propaganda. The Newfoundland cod fishery topped out at 500,000 tons annual yield in the 80s, if my memory serves me right. Now it’s at zero, twenty years later. If we keep going we’ll see more population crashes.

    Fish makes up 40% of the protein supply of many developing countries. There will be real problems if we don’t act intelligently. On this one we need international oversight. There are too many nations fishing for too few fish.

    As far as the Southwest being an illegitimate part of the U.S.: I suppose it’s all illegitimate if you really want to press the point. Maybe we could have a public vote down there to see if they would like to rejoin Mexico. And we can give the Dakotas back to the Sioux if I get to wear a feather headdress and ride a horse.

  • teabag

    “Even TeaBagged has dropped the “I was a Republican” lie in favor of “I’m a hard core partisan Democrat” after someone copied his DailyKos profile.”

    This is absolute and utter bullshit. I have never claimed to be a Republican. I did once have Conservative tendencies, then I grew Up.

    I don’t have a profile at Daily Kos.

    You are a complete liar.

  • AlVeerhoff

    “so, teabag, how well does the left accept the science on differences between the sexes and races?”

    See Post 9. Small problem:
    All women have the same mitochondrial DNA and all men have the same Y chromosome. All women are related to all other women and all men are related to all other men.There is no such thing as “different” races among humans.
    Liberals, conservatives, “teabaggers,” radicals, reactionaries, jingoists, centrists, traitors to their cause, patriots, heroes, slackers are all credits to their race. OUR race.

  • trajan

    In light of recent disclosures of fraud on the part of IPCC, CRU and a number of other Warmers it would be appropriate to suspend the teaching of anthropogenic climate change in American and other classrooms. It is beyond obvious that the teaching of this subject is not science and never has been but au contraire is religious indoctrination. And the teaching of religion in publicly financed schools is clearly prohibited under the constitution.

  • kevin47

    “Carney: I owe GOProud nothing.”

    Then let your actions speak.

    My last two comments have been ignored. I’d like to think I have engaged the argument presented by the original post, and by the other commenters here. Maybe not.

    This isn’t about owing anything. We write because we want to test our ideas, and to refine them.

  • sinz54

    Carney: The next wave, the Southern and Eastern Europeans, were an even bigger challenge to assimilate, and that process is still only at the tail end of completion for some of them. I’ll skip their story for space.
    Actually, I would like to hear your views on this group.

    Because I come from that group.

    As long as you’re sitting in judgment on all the non-WASPs, you might as well tell me what you think of my ancestors too.

  • sinz54

    Getting back to the original topic:

    The scientific community doesn’t need to bother popularizing string theory or black holes with the general public right now.

    Because the application and philosophical implications of these theories won’t affect Americans’ daily lives–at least not for a long time. :-) (insert courtesy bow to Star Trek fans here)

    But with global warming, scientists aren’t just analyzing the problem in the abstract. They’re also suggesting that American society will have to change–dramatically–to deal with the problem. And that will be costly. For that reason, the scientific community must get its act together and be able to explain to the American public why they should spend trillions of dollars to deal with a problem they can’t even see. They need to find themselves another Carl Sagan or Isaac Asimov: Photogenic, personable, articulate, sincere, and honest, able to explain a scientific issue in the deepest philosophical and historical contexts.

    When I was a kid, I saw the SF movie “When Worlds Collide,” and I read the book the movie was based on. In it, a bunch of astronomers discover a new planet moving through deep space. They calculate that the planet is going to collide with Earth, destroying it and our entire civilization–unless we can spend zillions of dollars to build space ships to evacuate our people to another planet.

    These scientists were laughed at: A few astronomers make a few mathematical calculations and we’re doomed? Predicting the end of the world yet again? And so while a few idealistic people decided to build at least a couple of space ships to leave Earth, the vast majority of people did nothing, preferring to just keep things the way they are.

    Until the planet moved so close to Earth that it became visible in the sky with the naked eye, growing bigger each night. And then the panic really started. But even then, most other scientists believed it was impossible to evacuate a sizable fraction of Earth’s population. And so they still did nothing. Except pray to God for a miracle to save them. Forgetting that God helps those who help themselves.

    Global warming represents a real challenge to the scientific community: Humans have a poor track record in dealing with potential threats before they become gigantic crises. We often act only after we’ve already been pushed to the wall. If these scientists are going to avoid the fate of the scientists in “When Worlds Collide,” they’re going to have to make a case that is clear, untainted by ANY–and I do mean ANY–chicanery or fudging–and they’re going to have to be HONEST about what dealing with it will mean for us in our daily lives. They have to stop keeping two sets of books, privately telling each other that the current American way of life (personal transportation in suburbia) is doomed, while carefully avoiding telling that in their interviews on CNN or lectures to average Americans.

  • 3/6/10 Links | HBD Books

    [...] teach global warming in schools and a link to an article demanding a purge of the anti-war right.  Apparently, [...]

  • rbrtwjohnson

    I think maybe aneutronic energy could be an important breakthrough towards a new way of producing electric power without neutron hazards.
    http://www.crossfirefusor.com/nuclear-fusion-reactor/overview.html

  • Carney

    sinz54 @ 76, I’m a non-WASP, being a first-wave descendant myself. And I’m married to a second-waver, so my “judgment” about them is that they’re attractive and make for a great family to marry into.

    But who cares? What if I were a blue-blooded Boston Brahmin, married to the same? What’s true is true, regardless of who says it, or who hears it. Reality is utterly indifferent to all our feelings.

  • PracticalGirl

    On one side, the fervent Climate Deniers who would have us ignore the plausible in favor of the cheap and politically expedient. On the other, the fervent who insist that climate change is all manmade and want us to ignore the possible in favor of the expensive and politically expedient. Each side has taken on the shine of an emotional, religious experience and they’re both toxic to forward movement

    If I had to pick a side, though, I wouldn’t hesitate. Call each side narrow, but I’d rather work with the people who see the invisible problem rather than those who seek to make the problem evaporate through nastiness and dogma.

  • Carney

    To correct myself @ 70, I meant that it was a 20 point rout, not 40, and that our current handling of the Third Wave is the worst, not “world”, policy of all.

    It would be really nice if FrumForum allowed editing of past posts…