Joe Romm has an important post about the folks down in Texas who are constantly trying to bring the textbooks into line with ideology. This is something we usually think of as affecting the evolution issue, but no–climate change is also a topic that is being watched closely by the watchers of educational content.
Romm himself is linking a Washington Monthly piece called “Revisionaries,” which reports the following:
A similar scenario played out during the battle over science standards, which reached a crescendo in early 2009. Despite the overwhelming consensus among scientists that climate change exists, the group rammed through a last-minute amendment requiring students to “analyze and evaluate different views on the existence of global warming.” This, in essence, mandates the teaching of climate-change denial. What’s more, they scrubbed the standards of any reference to the fact that the universe is roughly fourteen billion years old, because this timeline conflicts with biblical accounts of creation.
The strategy is identical, isn’t it? “Critically analyze” evolution, “critically analyze” climate change…and smuggle bad science into the classroom to sow doubt and confuse the kids. Frankly, I am wondering these days if climate denial may not be growing into an even more massive phenomenon than evolution denial in the US. I doubt it has the potential to be as long-lived. But the intensity of it, which I feel every day now, simply dwarfs what’s going on in the evolution fight….
Last week I mentioned participating in a discussion at ScienceOnline ‘10 entitled “Online Civility and Its (Muppethugging) Discontents” featuring Janet and Isis. But there’s another equally exciting panel I’m part of earlier in the day with Rebecca Skloot and David Dobbs. Here is the description:
Description: Much of the science that goes out to the general public through books, newspapers, blogs and many other sources is not professionally fact checked. As a result, much of the public’s understanding of science is based on factual errors. This discussion will focus on what scientists and journalists can do to fix that problem, and the importance of playing a pro-active role in the process. Discuss here.
After turning in my latest manuscript just one week ago, I have a lot to say on the topic. This should be a terrific session and I encourage readers attending the conference to join us next weekend!
With that, I’m off to day one of Michael Webber’s energy technology and policy course at UTAustin.