Left-wing newspapers lamenting student and parent skepticism? Good news!

The New York Times recently ran a long article complaining that President Trump quitting the Paris Agreement has emboldened high school students to be skeptical of climate change alarmism. This is good news, but of course that is not quite how the NYT puts it. They believe in climate alarmism, so they see student skepticism as a bad thing.

Their biased view is exemplified by their bogus headline:
Climate Science Meets a Stubborn Obstacle: Students

I would put “climate science” in quotes at best, because the NYT is doing the usual trick of falsely equating speculative alarmism with settled science. These students are indeed an obstacle to alarmism, but it is because they are being scientific and questioning dogma, which is good. Alarmism is not climate science, far from it.

The NYT article suggests that Trump quitting the Paris debacle has emboldened skeptical students. Let’s hope so, but the reality is that student skepticism is not new. After all, the majority of parents question alarmism. Moreover, polls indicate that many high and middle school science teachers are already teaching about the climate debate, rather than teaching alarmism.

The Denver Post ran a similar story, with the same trick in their headline: “How to teach kids about climate change where most parents are skeptics.

Like the NYT, the Denver Post is basically equating bogus alarmism with real climate science, as though skepticism were somehow unscientific. Nothing could be further from the truth. Climate skepticism is science at its best. Even worse, both articles suggest that poverty might be a motive for skepticism, which has an element of truth because climate alarmism is a prescription for energy poverty, but the legion of skeptics includes all income brackets, including the President’s.

It is worth noting that both articles refer to questionable data graphs from NASA as evidence for alarmism.

The Denver Post article says this: “Jacobson whipped out her cellphone and pulled up a NASA graph of global temperature records going back hundreds of thousands of years. With her pinkie, she traced the zigzagging line through the centuries, then pointed to where it shoots up sharply in the 1950s – right when humans started adding greenhouse gases to the atmosphere at a perilously fast rate.

We do not know what global temperatures were hundreds of thousands of years ago. They may well have been higher than today. We do have strong evidence that temperatures just a thousand years ago were as high, or higher, than they are today. It is no surprise that the Obama NASA graph does not show these high temperatures. Moreover the temperature’s “shooting up” in the 1950’s is at odds with the standard estimates, which show cooling from the 1940’s until the 1970’s. In fact the satellites show no warming until the late 1990’s.

It would help the parents, students and teachers if they had skeptical materials, written for their grade level, which countered these bogus alarmist claims. Unfortunately the Web is full of sites offering one-sided alarmist teaching materials. Many of these alarmist education websites are federal, such as the NASA site, or federally funded. Here is a sample list that I compiled for CFACT. While there are numerous skeptical websites, there are no skeptical education sites at this time. This gap needs to be filled.

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About the Author: David Wojick, Ph.D.

David Wojick is a journalist and policy analyst. He holds a doctorate in epistemology, specializing in the field of Mathematical Logic and Conceptual Analysis.

  • Immortal600

    Dr. Wojick, another good article. Thank you for your efforts.

    • David Wojick

      CFACT sponsored the research, so thank them.

  • bobmaginnis

    Here is another good website:
    https://www.skepticalscience.com/

    • David Wojick

      Despite the deceptive name skepticalscience.com, this is strictly an alarmist site. However it is very technical, so happily not suited for middle or high school education. See my sample list of 33 alarmist edu sites (developed for CFACT):
      http://ccdedu.blogspot.com/2017/05/33-alarmist-climate-change-teaching.html

      • Immortal600

        Thanks for your link. All those sites are only worth a laugh when reading them.

        • David Wojick

          I agree that the content is laughable, but the uncontested existence of all these alarmist edu sites is a serious concern, one I am working to challenge.

          • Derek

            David, there is some good stuff out there for those who want to look. Cfact for a start and then there is Watt’s Up With That and Jo Nova with her excellent Skeptic’s Handbook. In my own blog Climatescience.blogspot I have tried to draw a lot of good material together. Any decent school science teacher (and I bet there are lots of them) will be able to provide balance in the simplified global warming lessons in the ordinary under 16 curriculum. I am also confident that bright students will also ask challenging questions based on the things they have read in the press. Even though most of the coverage is biased in a warmist direction there are still some good sceptics (here in the UK we have Christopher Booker, James Delingpole and David Rose, and Matt Ridley).

            The problem with all these sites is how to get them noticed in the first place. I actually think the short written booklet is very effective, though the cost of getting it into schools is costly.

            • David Wojick

              Yes, Derek, there is a wealth of skeptical blog material, including yours and mine, but it is simply not suitable for classroom use. Virtually all of it is too specialized and too technical. Classroom material has to teach a single new concept, in 30 minutes or so, while using no other concepts that have not already been taught. This is a high standard which blog content never achieves, because that is not its intent.

              • Derek

                Do you mean providing simplified content all ready for a teacher to use in the classroom, like a lesson plan? That could be very useful, but how would a teacher know it was available. All the official material for teachers is provided by the government, and it is alarmist in content.

                I doubt if many teachers would do anything more than provide balance to the current content or they would be likely to lose their job.

                • David Wojick

                  In the US no content is mandated by the government, unless you consider school districts buying textbooks to be government. Most teachers (and students) supplement the textbooks with additional material.

                  As I have pointed out, the federal government has or funds numerous websites that offer alarmist teaching materials for this purpose. My goal is to do the same for skeptical materials that teach about the debate. I already have a number of lesson plans in hand.

                  I expect the teachers will find out pretty quickly that this material is available, because the alarmists will attack it. When Heartland sent theirs out the National Science Teachers Association sent every one of their members a letter denouncing it. Publicity doesn’t get any better tan that.

                  Here is my project:
                  https://www.gofundme.com/climate-change-debate-education

  • Jeffrey A Jones

    I am just nonplussed at how supposedly savvy scientists promote this hoax. I can’t imagine having so little integrity and professionalism. Hard to buy that they don’t believe what they are saying. And that the science behind the hoax is so easily disproved, exposing their lies is even more puzzling.

    • Leigh

      I might be able to answer your question. A few years ago I attended a function at my old alma mater during which I was invited to join the dean and some of the senior scientists at the supper table. I tried to steer the conversation with the old scientist sitting beside me to the “climate change” thing and he seemed uncomfortable with that direction of conversation. I mentioned that with his position and tenure he was bullet proof and thus didn’t have to toe the line of false science that we both knew was the dogma dominating the politically correct pseudo science. He agreed but said that he owed it to all the young students working in his department trying to get their advanced degrees to not jeopardize the flow of grants that funded this, and that if one breath of doubt was expressed the grants would certainly dry up. I didn’t know whether to feel pity or contempt for him.

      • Jeffrey A Jones

        That literally brings a tear to my eye. I have always been an idealist thinking science was immune to PC cancer. Alas, scientists are humans after all. As I tell people in my church who complain about this and that, ‘If you want a perfect church, get rid of all the people!’.

        • rhetorical1

          Galileo comes to mind, Jeffrey.

    • Bob Easley

      Stephen Hawking comes to mind as one of the supposed savants who support the Anthropological global warming nonsense. I’ve always been skeptical of his theorems concerning black holes. I have a problem with the way he tries to pass off his ideas and hypotheses as absolute truth by publishing non-vetted books in popular culture language. I have never actually read any of his works showing a conclusive mathematical basis for much of his work in physics.

      • Jeffrey A Jones

        That’s true. They never publish any proofs of his stuff. He is WAY out in left field in recent years, out there with Heaven’s Gate comet cult types.

  • jreb57

    You are not going to make a good scientist or engineer if you are not skeptical.