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Saturday, January 28, 2012

Dismissing climate change

My friend Janet sent me a very depressing article about the tactics being used to curtail the teaching of climate change in schools.  The issue is just so discouraging.  I keep thinking about the terrific movie, Agora, set in Alexandria during the rise of Christianity - the filmmaker is clearly making the point that the rise of Christianity coincided with a suppression of scientific pursuit that lasted over a thousand years.  Religion has its place, but its place in the modern era is not to deter the acquisition of information and understanding. And its place is certainly not to determine what is taught in public schools! Here's a couple of key paragraphs from the article:

Reminiscent of the evolution-vs.-creationism clash, the overwhelming scientific evidence that says humans are causing the warming of the planet has emerged as the new battlefield in middle and high schools in the U.S.
“Lots of teachers I talk to just won’t teach it,” said Manning, a geologist before turning to teaching 16 years ago. “They’ll teach about the historical changes but not current trends. Science teachers already get so much pushback on evolution vs. creation that they’re reluctant to invite more controversy. And some teachers don’t know that much about climate change themselves. They’re not sure how firm the ground is they’re standing on.”

Manning is a member of the National Science Teachers Association. Last year an online poll of its 60,000 members found that 82 percent had faced skepticism about climate change from students and 54 percent had faced skepticism from parents. Some respondents added comments: Students believe whatever it is their parents believe . . . . And administrators roll over when parents object. In a recent survey of about 1,900 current and former teachers by the National Earth Science Teachers Association, 36 percent reported they had been influenced directly or indirectly to teach “both sides” of the issue.



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