How should global warming be taught?

  • indoctrination center ahead

It is not surprising that climate alarmists, who desire above all else blind allegiance to their cause, would demand all school teachers toe the “official party line” and quash any dissent on the subject of man-made global warming in their classroom. What is absurd is that any teacher, or free-thinking person for that matter, would listen to them. In the past, of course, those who would even suggest such censorship would have been ridiculed and viewed as enemies of intellectual freedom. But the times-they-are-a-changin.’ News outlets such as the BBC and LA Times may benefit from freedom of speech, however, they are among the first to push censorship on those with whom they disagree.

Like all who want to limit free speech, the alarmists claim they are doing a great public service. After all, since 97 percent of total scientists are in agreement with them, why give equal (or any) press to the pitiful 3% who remain deniers? Sounds reasonable, right? Well not really.

Putting aside the reprehensible term “denier,” an obvious reference to those who deny the Holocaust (which is even more offensive to climate skeptics who happen to be Jewish), is there any validity to 97% claim?  If skeptics made the same 97% pitch in reverse, would the media demand they produce a solid source or study to back it up? You bet they would! And it’s doubtful any study skeptics actually did produce would be simply accepted at face value – no, the media would scrutinize it and put it through the ringer to see if it passed the smell test. But alas, such inquisitiveness is lacking whenever a climate alarmist squeals “consensus.”

So where does this 97% mantra come from? Well one major source to be sure is an April 2013 research paper by Australian scientist John Cook [John Cook et al., Environ. Res. Lett. 8 024024]. Now Cook did claim his research showed “97.1% endorsed the consensus position that humans are causing global warming.” And others, eager to promote his study, used his research to claim that “97.1% endorsed the consensus position that humans are causing at least 50.1% of the warming of the Earth in the last quarter of the 20th Century.” But a closer look shows something much different. Cook’s data actually showed only a lame 64 of 11,944 papers surveyed made this bold claim; the rest either ignored the subject altogether (two-thirds did not address the issue at all), did not quantify any percentage of warming they perceived to be caused by human activity, or flatly rejected the anthropogenic global warming (AGW) position. A consensus? Hardly.

Indeed, the gleeful distortion of Cook’s actual findings by the alarmists (with Cook himself one of the perpetrators) is just another example of the attempt to justify the canonization of pseudo-scientific dogma despite the real-world climate data. This near-conspiratorial attempt to declare an end to scientific research which might yield conclusions that are “inconvenient” for these dogmatists would be laughable were it not for the insistence that school children be indoctrinated with their propaganda.

The politicization of “science” in the public school system is just plain wrong, as is demonizing those who disagree or doubt the party line anywhere in society. Indeed, it is especially sad to see the press, even the National Journal itself, all too often mention “the 97% solution” as if it were the gold standard, the gospel that cannot be questioned by any sane person. They are being made look particularly bad, as polls indicate, as the public becomes more skeptical of alarmist claims. A recent Rasmussen poll found only 20% of the public thinks the debate about the science of climate change is over. Apparently the 97% mantra becomes meaningless to many when real-world climate data shows no increase in global temperatures over the past 17 years.

So what should children be taught? Well, how about both sides for starters. Yes, let the alarmists make their case. But what’s the fear that students should also learn that other, very credible scientists have published peer-reviewed papers attributing significant impacts on the Earth’s climate to solar activity (or inactivity). They can be taught that the Earth’s climate changes in cycles over long periods of time, and they’re impacted by changes in tides, ocean currents, winds, volcanoes, solar activity, meteors and comets, and of course to a limited extent, human activities. What they should not be taught is to parrot a political line, but for students to think for themselves, challenge ideas, and investigate every angle. Students should be taught that the scientific method demands that all scientists be skeptics – for it is by being skeptical that a number of scientific “laws” that stood for centuries have been disproven by better research.

If there is any national standard, then, it must be one that takes no position on the science itself, which is ever changing, but rather on the methodology for investigating the myriad scientific questions that have been and might be raised regarding how the Earth’s climate has changed all along.

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This article originally appeared at National Journal.

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About the Author: Craig Rucker

Craig Rucker

Craig Rucker is the executive director and co-founder of CFACT.

About the Author: Duggan Flanakin

Duggan Flanakin

Duggan Flanakin is the Director of Policy Research at the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow. A former Senior Fellow with both the Texas and Arkansas Public Policy Foundations, Mr. Flanakin has a Master's in Public Policy from Regent University. During the years he spent reporting on environmental regulation in Texas and nationwide, Mr. Flanakin authored definitive works on the creation of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and on environmental education in Texas.

  • Mike Bromley

    John Cook? A scientist? He’s a bloody cartoonist, as is his watermelon consensus website, Skeptical Science. He’s as scientific as a block of wood.

  • yaki534

    Of course the liberal idiots want to further their lies to our children. Climate change is normal and occurs naturally. It is hot in the summer and cold in the winter. That is climate change.

    • J.B. Young

      Couldn’t have said it better myself!

  • Turn9

    we should teach climate change for what it is — a naturally occurring part of the universe. Things warm, things cool. The debate is on the impact of humans on the process. IMO human affect is very low. Actually I believe it to be arrogant to believe humans have forced temperatures to increase – even though they haven’t. Another question to ask is how to undo the damage done by the numerous airings of Al Gores money maker that was forced into many schools and shown to countless students as fact with no room for debate. I believe when a chld learns something at an early age it becomes ingrained and can be hard to “un-do”.

  • FrankBlack

    I teach high school environmental science. I successfully deprogram more than 50% of my students. It’s hard and some students react very negatively when shown the data. Unfortunately I’m not the norm.

    • wiseoldfart

      Congratulations on not being a willing comrade in the Marxist training camps that were once our public schools and universities.

  • Mark Finchem

    The state legislatures have a grand opportunity to debunk the myth As the EPA attempts to foist onerous regulations upon the states and the infrastructure serving them, the various legislatures should call for sworn testimony in hearings before agreeing to implement regulations. Requiring the oath under penalty of perjury might just shake a few people up.

  • http://CoSy.com/ Bob Armstrong

    Teach the quantitative experimental physics and the wrong is squeezed out to the dung heap of history .

  • Karl

    If children were taught critical thinking skills, there would be many more climate change skeptics.

  • Concerned

    We must teach our children the Truth. If they don’t get the truth, then we must teach them to find the truth themselves, which will make them independent of their teachers. The only direct link to Climate Change is our Sun, not the computer models that miss key fundamentals and can therefore never give a true answer to simple fundamental questions. Our sun controls (along with the spin of the earth) the PDO, AMO, Ocean currents, high pressure systems, low pressure systems, and our jet streams. All of these items are critical to real Climate Change. CO2 is a very, very small influence.

  • wiseoldfart

    Climate change happens dramatically over long periods of time. We can do nothing about it. Therefore, we must predict and adapt because we are at its mercy.

    The REAL problem is air pollution. We CAN control that. So why does the left continue to perpetuate the global warming hoax and ignore the real problem? The truth gives them as valid a reason to stick us with a pollution tax as their hoax does a carbon tax. The problem with the truth is that it reveals what liars and schemers they are. Most of us know.