Once again, science teachers are under fire by the “scientifically ignorant” for “just trying to teach science,” and they’ve decided that it’s time to fight back:
“There’s a climate of confusion in this country around climate science,” says McCaffrey, and NCSE’s goal will be to ensure that “teachers have the tools they need if they get pushback and feel intimidated.” Recent surveys, such as one done among K-12 teachers in September by the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA), suggest that attacks on climate education are far from rare. NSTA found that over half of the respondents reported having encountered global warming scepticism from parents, and 26% had encountered it from administrators. And a December survey from the National Earth Science Teachers’ Association found that 36% of its 555 K-12 teachers who currently teach climate science had been “influenced” to “teach the controversy.”
NCSE expects this task to be much harder than fighting creationism. “The forces arrayed against climate science are more numerous and much better funded,” Scott says, and are better able to get their message across in the mainstream media than creationism supporters. Organizations such as the Heartland Institute, which questions whether humans cause climate change, send out free educational materials to teachers and school boards. As Science reported in September, teachers who already struggle with small science budgets and little time for teaching have no time to fend off ideological attacks from students, parents, and administrators. Scott says that one of NCSE’s tasks will be to analyze these materials and educate teachers on why they are scientifically unsound. NSTA’s survey found that many teachers feel unprepared for global warming skepticism because of a lack of teaching tools.
Emphasis mine. Note the assumption that “the science is settled” just as much on climate change as it is on evolution. As someone who strongly believes in science and the scientific method, and who thinks that the “climate science” community has betrayed those values (as demonstrated by the scientifically nonsensical phrase “the science is settled”), I am continuously infuriated by the comparison between these two topics, and the implication that if one doesn’t accept the lousy science, not to mention the fraud, one is akin to a creationist. Note also from that link that in order to put together the bible to defend the climate-science religion, they have hired the notable hack Paul Gleick:
While Dr. Gleick is presented as an expert in climate science, he’s mostly about water and water systems. Climate seems to be just an angry diversion for him. But don’t take my word for it, have a look at how he treats others on the topic when he thinks he’s among friends.
Follow the link, he really is a piece of work.
But even leaving the fraud aside, here’s the problem with the comparison between creationism and climate skepticism. Evolution is a scientific theory. It is the one that best fits all of the available evidence. There is also a creationist theory that fits all the evidence: God did it, complete with evidence that evolution occurred. The problem with the latter theory is that, while it might be true, in some sense, it is not scientific, because it isn’t falsifiable. “Intelligent design” also isn’t a scientific theory — it’s merely a critique of one. And hence, it does not belong in a science class, except as an example to illustrate what is science and what is not. If people want to challenge the theory of evolution, they have to come up with an alternative one that is testable, and to date, they have failed to do so.
In contrast, even accepting for the sake of the argument that the planet is really warming abnormally (despite the cooling trend of the past decade), there are numerous scientifically testable alternative theories to explain this, which is why AGW skeptics “are better able to get their message across in the mainstream media than creationism supporters.” In fact, as has been pointed out on numerous occasions over the past several years, belief in AGW has taken on the aspects of a religion itself, complete with sin, a corrupt priesthood, indulgences for the rich to buy absolution and into green heaven, and the persecution of heretics.
In a discussion of this topic on my blog the other day, one of my commenters points out that, in fact, it is AGW theory that is akin to creationism:
Neither one is scientific. CAGW predicts that storms will get more severe, or less severe, or more frequent, or less frequent. Winters will become either warmer and milder or colder and more severe. Summers will be drier, unless they’re wetter. Global temperatures will increase, unless of course temperatures decrease because of the human-induced temperature increases change the oceans’ thermo-haline circulation. You can just pick from a host of completely contradictory papers, depending on what the latest weather event was, citing the one that was correct by random chance as proof that your consensus of credentialed scientific experts is as infallible as the Pope.
Just like creationism, no piece of data, observation, or negative result can refute CAGW, because the theory predicts anything and everything. Theories that aren’t logically refutable by any conceivable observation aren’t part of science. CAGW is something that isn’t science, something that in all respects maps as an offshoot of medieval Christianity, complete with sin, redemption, damnation, indulgences, inquisitions, and charges of heresy and apostasy.
Because its priesthood earned PhD’s in science, and claim what they do is science, their followers can boldly evangelize for an illogical, wacko religion while wrapped in the trappings of acceptable secular appearances, feeling smug and enlightened because what they believe is scientific “truth.”
…Certainly some skeptics are skeptical because they think CAGW conflicts with their belief in God’s creation, but many more are skeptical because they are devoted to science and are horrified by the abuses it is suffering at the hands of a bunch of zealots intent on saving the planet from man’s sin, regardless of actual science, reason, and logic.
Communism, Fascism, and Nazism were also “scientific” belief systems, arrogant in the certainty of their scientific truths, intent on saving the world, focused on exposing skeptics and non-believers, while arrogantly demeaning the un-enlightened, ignorant masses held in thrall by primitive religious beliefs. Do we need another one of these pseudo-scientific, dogmatic, self-destructive secular-religions running amok in our schools? Should we be subjecting students to mindless indoctrination in the hopes that they’ll lower their standard of living, and hopefully stop reproducing altogether?
There are two problems here that are fundamental (to use one of Newt’s favorite words). First is that when you have a public-school system to which everyone has to send their children if they can’t afford private schools, there is always going to be tension about what should be taught, not just in science classes, but in all subjects, given the indoctrinatory nature by which it often occurs. But specifically with regard to how science is taught, sadly, it often isn’t. It is taught not as a method for acquiring knowledge, but as a compendium of established “settled” facts, and that scientists have special knowledge inaccessible to the rest of us, and so we must rely on what they say (hence the priesthood).
I have a modest proposal. Instead of promulgating either the Christian religion, or the Green religion in our science classes, let’s get teachers who actually have degrees in science (as opposed to “education”), so they don’t need “teaching materials,” and teach kids how to do math (including statistics), think critically, and actually formulate testable and falsifiable hypotheses and test them, so that they will be inoculated to all religions, when it comes to learning science.