As goes Turkey, so goes Texas?
Placating the Taliban faction, Turkish authorities pull back from teaching science.

More proof that science is to dictators like sunshine is to vampires.

Great civilizations don’t have to stay great. Incredibly, there is a process in which humans back away from knowledge, toward ignorance, hatred, and superstition.

I used to marvel that, in places like Pol Pot’s Cambodia, teachers, scientists, scholars, the educated class, were specifically targeted for prison and death. That’s not an isolated example.
I don’t wonder about it so much any more – we can see the same dynamic at play all around us.  In the 90s, Newt Gingrich’s Republican congress zeroed out the Office of Technology Assessment. Too many inconvenient facts.
Now Republicans are gutting science in government agencies, going after the Center for Disease Control, degrading science education all over the country, attacking teachers and schools.

Islam’s retreat from science has lessons for the West, if it’s not already too late.

Guardian:

Evolution will no longer be taught in Turkish schools, a senior education official has said, in a move likely to raise the ire of the country’s secular opposition.

Alpaslan Durmuş, who chairs the board of education, said evolution was debatable, controversial and too complicated for students.

“We believe that these subjects are beyond their [students] comprehension,” said Durmuş in a video published on the education ministry’s website.

Durmuş said a chapter on evolution was being removed from ninth grade biology course books, and the subject postponed to the undergraduate period. Another change to the curriculum may reduce the amount of time that students spend studying the legacy of secularism.

Critics of the government believe public life is being increasingly stripped of the secular traditions instilled by the nation’s founder, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.

The secular opposition has long argued that the government of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is pursuing a covert Islamist agenda contrary to the republic’s founding values. Education is a particularly contentious avenue, because of its potential in shaping future generations. Small-scale protests by parents in local schools have opposed the way religion is taught.

There is little acceptance of evolution as a concept among mainstream Muslim clerics in the Middle East, who believe it contradicts the story of creation in scripture, in which God breathed life into the first man, Adam, after shaping him from clay. Still, evolution is briefly taught in many high school biology courses in the region.

The final changes to the curriculum are likely to be announced next week after the Muslim Eid or Bayram festival at the end of the fasting month of Ramadan. The draft changes had been put forth for public consultation at the beginning of the year.

Nature:

State and local legislatures in the United States are experimenting with new ways to target the topics taught in science classes, and it seems to be paying dividends. Florida’s legislature approved a bill on 5 May that would enable residents to challenge what educators teach students. And two other states have already approved non-binding legislation this year urging teachers to embrace ‘academic freedom’ and present the full spectrum of views on evolution and climate change. This would give educators license to treat evolution and intelligent design as equally valid theories, or to present climate change as scientifically contentious. Read the rest of this entry »

I’d go to this church for the music, and the food..

You’ll want to review this when Trump finally does shoot someone on 5th Avenue, and  Fox & Friends give a glowing recap.

Huh. I see the video above has gotten 125k views while I wasn’t looking.

Climate blogger Collin Maessen and I interviewed Richard Muller in 2014 at the American Geophysical Union. Muller, a one-time darling of denierville, got funding from, among others, the Koch Brothers, to apply his skeptical eye to climate science and review all the mainstream findings about global temperature and what drives it.
To his credit, Muller hired a crack team of scientists, including a recent Nobel prize physicist, and they set to work.
And, they confirmed what mainstream climate science has been saying for 60 years.

His work came up in a Senate hearing the other day.

ThinkProgress:

After a week full of misleading and inaccurate statements, Energy Secretary Rick Perry remained incredulous and defiant when confronted with climate science-related facts in a budget hearing Thursday.

Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) informed Perry that scientists have concluded that “humans are entirely the cause” of recent warming, to which Perry responded, “I don’t believe it” and “I don’t buy it.”

And when Franken reminded him this was the conclusion of a team of climate science skeptics funded by conservative petrochemical billionaires Charles and David Koch, Perry raised his voice and said: “To stand up and say that 100 percent of global warming is because of human activity, I think on its face, is just indefensible.”

Monday on CNBC, Perry falsely claimed that carbon dioxide was not the primary cause of recent global warming, along with a bunch of other nonsense. He also defended his right to be a “skeptic.”

On Wednesday, the American Meteorological Society (AMS) wrote Perry a letter informing him that he was simply wrong. The central role of greenhouse gases — of which CO2 is the “most important” — is “based on multiple independent lines of evidence that have been affirmed by thousands of independent scientists and numerous scientific institutions around the world,” the letter read.

The AMS called these “indisputable findings,” and pointed out, “we are not familiar with any scientific institution with relevant subject matter expertise that has reached a different conclusion.”

The AMS also explained that while some aspects of climate science are not fully resolved, this wasn’t one of them, adding, “skepticism that fails to account for evidence is no virtue.”

On Thursday, at an Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing, Franken asked Perry to defend downplaying the role of CO2 — and Perry reiterated his denial. Oblivious, Perry repeated, “what’s wrong with being a skeptic?”

Read the rest of this entry »

Coal Baron Sues Comic

June 22, 2017

If you saw John Oliver’s satirical piece on the joys of coal and coal mining, (posted here) – that’s earned him a legal threat from the coal baron he made fun of.
Coal barons don’t like being made fun of.

 

Trump announces magical wall will be solar powered.
I’m told, that as communicators, we’re not supposed to make jokes about the stupidity of Trump voters, – because it makes them sad.
But c’mon, people.

Fox and Friends are on board, of course.

President refers to the wall “..keeping drugs out..”. Really?
It’s going to keep all that Vicodin, oxycontin, fentanyl, and Norco that drug companies are flooding into rural areas, that patients, of course, demand…and that the new health care bill will likely not adequately address.

Right, that should do it. Read the rest of this entry »