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Darwin Foes Add Warming to Targets - Comments

Jos Gibbons's Avatar Comment 1 by Jos Gibbons

[The bill] would encourage teachers to discuss “the advantages and disadvantages of scientific theories,” including “evolution, the origins of life, global warming and human cloning.”
What do you mean, advantages and disadvantages of theories such as human cloning? What theory? It's not been done yet, and we all agree on that. We know of no reason why it would be impossible, and we agree on that too. What theory is up for grabs there? Do they mean the ethics of it? This is very badly worded.
Texas Board of Education adopted language requiring that teachers present all sides of the evidence on evolution and global warming
If we're talking about evidence, then there aren't multiple sides.
“Carbon dioxide is not a pollutant,” the resolution said, “but rather a highly beneficial ingredient for all plant life.”
Which is rather like saying that oxygen is a pollutant due to plants. Look: each gas has multiple effects. Right now, we have more atmospheric CO2 than at any point in the last 15 million years, principally due to human industries, whose annual output of atmospheric CO2 is double the current rate of atmospheric CO2 increase; the rest is dissolving in the sea, acidifying it. I shouldn't need to expand on the implications of that. As for what does get into the atmosphere, it's causing very rapid heating of the Earth. (The fastest ever, unless I'm very much mistaken.) Life cannot be expected to adapt to such rapid change.
We think analyzing and evaluating scientific evidence is a good thing
Apparently you trust school students to do it better than the experts.
“Our kids are being presented theories as though they are facts,” he said.
Theories and facts are not mutually exclusive. Gravity is both theory and fact. The only way students will learn what terms like this mean is from paying attention in science classes.
with global warming especially, there has become a politically correct viewpoint among educational elites that is very different from sound science
Political correctness means fibbing to avoid offending certain groups of laypeople. If anyone is not doing it, with hilarious if depressing results, it's evolution's defenders in the science classroom.

Fri, 05 Mar 2010 08:24:00 UTC | #446701

DamnDirtyApe's Avatar Comment 2 by DamnDirtyApe

I remember my first secondary school science lesson. It went something like this:

1. Perform the following instructions
2. Do not perform actions 3 through 8.
3. ... Elaborate practical joke follows.
9. Congratulations!

Fri, 05 Mar 2010 08:57:00 UTC | #446702

axeanne's Avatar Comment 3 by axeanne

These people are ignorant.

Ignorant of what the word theory means.

Ignorant to think that creationism is a scientific alternative to evolution by natural selection.

Religious leaders like their followers ignorant so that they can tell their followers anything they want...and have their followers believe anything that they are told.

Fri, 05 Mar 2010 09:05:00 UTC | #446705

Laurie Fraser's Avatar Comment 4 by Laurie Fraser

What strikes me is that those who are beholden to creationism are far more likely to be conservative at every level of science. These morons assume that science is some kind of ideological enemy, so if science says it, it must be suspect. (Meanwhile they'll happily drive around in their Hummers listening to their iPods on their way to Walmart to buy a new LCD TV.)

Fri, 05 Mar 2010 09:46:00 UTC | #446708

theinquisitor's Avatar Comment 5 by theinquisitor

Right, that's it, we're totally fucked. While we're at it, let's tell the school kids not to bother raising families, especially if they're living along the coast.

Fri, 05 Mar 2010 10:32:00 UTC | #446711

keddaw's Avatar Comment 6 by keddaw

The germ theory of medicine is backed up by evidence and experiments.

The theory of evolution is backed up by evidence and successful predictions.

Anthropomorphic climate change theory is backed up by ... limited evidence and predictions, made using models that were not made available for independent review, that have been 'proven' by evidence that was not made available for independent review.

No matter what your view on the human impact on climate is you have to admit that it is orders of magnitude different from germ theory or evolution in terms of evidence or making successful predictions.

Fri, 05 Mar 2010 10:58:00 UTC | #446712

mixmastergaz's Avatar Comment 7 by mixmastergaz

I'd agree to this if we also encouraged critical thinking about religious ideas.

I'm struck by how easily people may be persuaded of certain ideas without any evidence whatsoever, and yet all the scientific evidence in the world is insufficient to persuade them of the truth of evolution.

The double-standard is infuriating - a cynically adopted argument of convenience. They must realise that they're lying to themselves surely?

Fri, 05 Mar 2010 11:48:00 UTC | #446716

Manson's Avatar Comment 8 by Manson

I find it fascinating how those most interested in promoting “critical thinking” of evolution in others are the same people who rarely, if ever, employ critical thinking themselves.

Fri, 05 Mar 2010 12:04:00 UTC | #446717

Luke_B's Avatar Comment 9 by Luke_B

Why would people who believe in a literal interpretation of the bile, including revelations and the rapture, give a dam about global warming? They’re probably praying for it.
Giving these people power over anything is like handing a shotgun to a baby. Power with no knowledge of consequence.

Fri, 05 Mar 2010 12:07:00 UTC | #446718

sundiver's Avatar Comment 10 by sundiver

Keddaw: suggest you look up James Hansen before you embarass yorself.

Fri, 05 Mar 2010 12:16:00 UTC | #446719

Wezzock's Avatar Comment 11 by Wezzock

Their religious beliefs, if literal, are certainly moronic. Their tactics for pushing their agenda onto, at times, unsuspecting students, certainly aren't.

We need to be careful that by pouring scorn on Creationist beliefs, we may inadvertently underestimate them. Give them a chance, and some carefully packaged and obscured inclusion in a textbook, or some initially unrelated change to the educational process, may result in some ancient nonsense gaining credibility in our classrooms.

Fri, 05 Mar 2010 12:19:00 UTC | #446720

billzfantazy's Avatar Comment 12 by billzfantazy

While I agree with the scientific consensus regarding AGW, lets not place it on the same footing as evolution, which is a scientific fact. After all there is a miniscule chance we could be wrong about global warming, which would then give the religious right the opportunity to say "See, they were wrong about that so they could be wrong about evolution"
Obviously that would be totally flawed logic, but the people who would listen tend not to be the brightest of energy saving lightbulbs :-)

Fri, 05 Mar 2010 12:30:00 UTC | #446724

DeepFritz's Avatar Comment 13 by DeepFritz

One of the interesting questions from the audience tonight at Professor Dawkins reading tonight was about this very thing.

Remember it's like the news story that reads:

The car lobby today released a report showing how public transport and bicycles are not worth taking and walking is overrated!

I find it interesting to find out not just who is writing such information, what their funding source is and what underlying motives they might have.

Fri, 05 Mar 2010 13:12:00 UTC | #446731

F_A_F's Avatar Comment 14 by F_A_F

Devil's advocate:

If the ID lobby are hoping that evolution and other scientific theories are critically examined in comparison to ID for example....then surely this will also involve a critical examination of ID itself?

And what better place to examine the "theory" of ID than in a science class? The students will be in the critical state of mind, the teacher will be a science graduate hopefully!

Compare it to the UK, where we study religion and beliefs in Religious Education classes. The basis of this teaching is "some people believe XYZ", whereas the basis in science class would be "some people believe in XYZ.....let's scientifically analyse their theories and claims".

Fri, 05 Mar 2010 13:17:00 UTC | #446733

locri's Avatar Comment 15 by locri

sundiver: Why would looking up James Hansen help in any way? He's an acknowledged AGW activist and has made extreme statements to the effect that various people who contribute to global warming should be charged with crimes and possibly sentenced with jailtime. He has also participated in and supported various extreme AGW rallys and eco-terrorist events. Do you really want to get your science from someone who has such an obvious bias?

Fri, 05 Mar 2010 13:57:00 UTC | #446741

keddaw's Avatar Comment 17 by keddaw

Thanks sundiver.

Why don't you read the transcript from the UK's Parliamentary Scientific Commission's inquiry into the climategate emails before you compare AGW evidence with evolution or germ theory.

I would suggest paying attention around 4:18 when it gets meaty...


Jones: "Why should I make the data available to you when all you want to do is find something wrong with it."

Want to explain how that's good science? Surely a criticism of this in a science class would actually be good for the kids. If they can find similar things for evolution, gravity or germ theory then I'd be all for discussing that in science class too, but there isn't any that hasn't been trampled over by scientists and allowed good science to come to the fore.

Quite frankly, the idea of comparing evolution with a science that uses a computer model on raw data to produce and output and then refuses to release either the model OR the data for scrutiny is in trouble. And if peer review consists of
The most startling observation came when he was asked how often scientists reviewing his papers for probity before publication asked to see details of his raw data, methodology and computer codes. "They've never asked," he said.
then that simply isn't real science.

Of course absolutely none of this says why ID should be mentioned at all.

Fri, 05 Mar 2010 14:03:00 UTC | #446744

Roger Stanyard's Avatar Comment 16 by Roger Stanyard

F-A-F - we've been through this argument before. Intelligent Design is not a scientific position. It's a religious position. Why should a science teacher be qualified to handle a US fundamentalist religious position£

There is no theory of Intelligent Design. Phillip Johnson, the de facto head of the ID meovement has not only admitted so but also admitted that it is not even a hypothesis, just a set of ideas.

If you let ID into the science classroom, for any reason, the fundies have won. They will have got their religion into the science lesson. It's exactly what they want.

Do you really think that once they have got it into the science lesson they are going to allow science teachers to rubbish it without their own proselytising£

Chance would be a fine thing.

They are committed hard line ideogues and want ID in the science lesson for the same reason why hard line Marxists want their ideology taught in schools.

It's political and about power.

ID has bugger all to do with science in the first place.

See the Wedge Document.

Fri, 05 Mar 2010 14:03:00 UTC | #446742

DeepFritz's Avatar Comment 18 by DeepFritz

There is a large amount of crossover between creationists and global warming deniers.

My former high school maths teacher (from a state school) is "head researcher" for this mob of lunies called SaltShakers.

The thing is that creationists have taken to the tactics used in global warming denial.

Fri, 05 Mar 2010 14:12:00 UTC | #446747

root2squared's Avatar Comment 19 by root2squared

Seems science, math, and language are not as important as football.

Fri, 05 Mar 2010 14:18:00 UTC | #446748

Ai Deng's Avatar Comment 20 by Ai Deng

I can't seem to create a Hyperlink, can anyone help me? I tried using "< a >", but no luck

Fri, 05 Mar 2010 14:41:00 UTC | #446752

staffi01's Avatar Comment 21 by staffi01

I was speaking to a creotard for the first time in the UK yesterday. Please can someone reassure me that the phenomenon isn't increasing on this side of the water.

She wouldn't answer my questions about the age of the universe but she was adamant that evolution was just a "THEEREEEEE" and there was no evidence for it. I followed RD's lead and just told her over and over again to go to a museum.

I'm afraid I started laughing at her and she left before I could ask about Global Warming but I imagine the response would have been something along the lines of "It's God's will".

Fri, 05 Mar 2010 14:57:00 UTC | #446754

bethe123's Avatar Comment 23 by bethe123

The simplest and most powerful reply to this is that politicians cannot and should not be allowed to legislate what is valid science.

We need only remember that Einstein's ideas were attacked in Germany because it was "Jewish" physics.
In the Soviet Union, Linus Pauling 's idea of resonance (in chemistry) was proscribed by the government for political reasons. Of course Einstein and Pauling were correct, but the damage to science in both countries had been done.

Anybody who attacks this on any other level than by not understanding that science is self regulating and that the politicians' legislation is not in any way about science or education, but about promoting a human ideology, has missed the boat completely.
Tim Moore and his ilk are liars, and they do not care about science, only their personal agendas.

Fri, 05 Mar 2010 15:03:00 UTC | #446756

keddaw's Avatar Comment 22 by keddaw

Fri, 05 Mar 2010 15:03:00 UTC | #446755

sundiver's Avatar Comment 24 by sundiver

So locri and keddaw, why was the Bush administration so anxious to muzzle Hansen? Oh, yeah, the Bush family is joined at the hip with oil and coal interests. Anyway, conducting an uncontrolled experiment with the atmosphere couldn't possibly have any negative effects, could it. I think Dr Jeremy Leggett might have some thing to say about it, as well.

Fri, 05 Mar 2010 15:09:00 UTC | #446757

DeepFritz's Avatar Comment 25 by DeepFritz

Comment #466707 by staffi01

The advice to go to a museum is a good one - but they will have no idea of where to look. It also doesn't engage them. Give them a story about why the comorant on the galapagos islands can't fly, yet is an expert diver under water and how this evolved over time. It's far more interesting and engaging to do this approach...

Fri, 05 Mar 2010 15:11:00 UTC | #446758

Ai Deng's Avatar Comment 26 by Ai Deng


Thanks very much, greatly appreciated.

Fri, 05 Mar 2010 15:12:00 UTC | #446759

keddaw's Avatar Comment 27 by keddaw


You entirely miss the point (and play right into Jones' hands).

We are not denying global warming, or even humanity's part in it (well, I'm not) we're simply saying that the science is flawed and that trying to conflate it with the amount of evidence and rigour that has gone into evolution or germ theory is insane. As the URLs I provided show quite clearly.

This, for me, is not a binary "you're with us or against us" thing, this is about the truth, this is about the scientific method and about integrity. And anyone who doubts that is treating climate change as a religious position.

Fri, 05 Mar 2010 15:15:00 UTC | #446761

sdando's Avatar Comment 28 by sdando

Sometimes I think we should just avoid saying global warming on this site. It really frustrates me to see the people who are supposed to be rational thinkers hop on the global warming denialist side. Why do they do that one wonders? ... I can see no reason except financial motivations. I guess BP employs atheists as well as theists.

We hear thing about how global warming is untrue. Or 'climategate' which was a nonstarter from the beginning just purposefully overblown by the anti_AGW side. Or we even hear that global warming would be a good thing cause we'd have more plants and could feed more humans (as if even more humans would not be an additional ecologic disaster for planet...

Fri, 05 Mar 2010 15:21:00 UTC | #446762

Tirnamona's Avatar Comment 29 by Tirnamona

"...dissenting views on both scientific subjects should be taught in public schools"

In that case shouldn't dissenting views on all subjects be taught in public schools£

In geography class, the idea that the earth is 4,000 years old should be seriously considered.

Also in geography class, the proposition that the topography of the earth can be excplained by a global flood cannot be easily dismissed, can it£

In history class, it should be explained that millions of people, including some very prominent ones, deny that the holocaust ever happened and they have some interesting arguments for their view... here they are..

Publicly funded medical schools should no longer be allowed to ignore the alleged benefits of homeopathy and should, to be fair, warn students of potentially very dangerous vaccines like MMR.

Surely time spent in class would have to be doubled to fit in all dissenting 'theories' - or else the time teaching reality would need to be halved.

Fri, 05 Mar 2010 15:32:00 UTC | #446765

Synaptix's Avatar Comment 30 by Synaptix

Keddaw you obviously can provide links to actual peer reviewed articles that show climate science being "flawed" right?

To me it seems you have bought into the media spin on climate science. The whole email fiasco is but an attempt to muddy the waters by people with no evidence. Whoever "exposed" the CRU emails only did it to damage the public perception of scientists. To suggest that was a credible expose into the flaws of climate science is absurd.

This article explains how bad journalism has essentially fabricated this "flawed science" you talk about.

The climate email hack is well paralleled with evolution denialism. They never actually produce any real evidence, they just look for ways to discredit or dismantle the scientific consensus. These methods never include any actual research and are only designed to muddy the waters of public perception.

Fri, 05 Mar 2010 15:46:00 UTC | #446766