Climate Deniers, Creationists, and the Practice of Science Denial

January 16, 2012

The  6 minute video above taken from a longer talk given by Eugenie Scott, of the National Center for Science Education, for the Glasgow Skeptics society. The longer, original version is here.

LA Times: 

Texas and Louisiana have introduced education standards that require educators to teach climate change denial as a valid scientific position. South Dakota and Utah passed resolutions denying climate change. Tennessee and Oklahoma also have introduced legislation to give climate change skeptics a place in the classroom.

In May, a school board in Los Alamitos, Calif., passed a measure, later rescinded, identifying climate science as a controversial topic that required special instructional oversight.

“Any time we have a meeting of 100 teachers, if you ask whether they’re running into pushback on teaching climate change, 50 will raise their hands,” said Frank Niepold, climate education coordinator for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, who meets with hundreds of teachers annually. “We ask questions about how sizable it is, and they tell us it is [sizable] and pretty persistent, from many places: your administration, parents, students, even your own family.”

Against this backdrop, the National Center for Science Education, an Oakland-based watchdog group that supports the teaching of evolution through advocacy and educational materials, plans to announce on Monday that it will begin an initiative to monitor the teaching of climate science and evaluate the sources of resistance to it.

National Center for Science Education:

Challenges to climate change education are common in the classroom, according to a poll of science educators conducted by the National Science Teachers Association. Although 60% of respondents to the on-line poll reported that they were not concerned about how climate change is taught in their school, 82% reported having faced skepticism about climate change and climate change education from students, 54% reported having faced such skepticism from parents, and 26% reported having faced such skepticism from administrators.


35 Responses to “Climate Deniers, Creationists, and the Practice of Science Denial”

  1. daveburton Says:

    Good to read that leftist indoctrination of schoolchildren is meeting resistance. It is a shame that the Left is so resistant to freedom of thought.

    • philip64 Says:

      Why is teaching the state of scientific knowledge regarding climate change ‘leftist’? The proposition is patently absurd.

      The fact that some people on the American right refuse to believe what the scientific world is telling them does not make the ideas in question left wing. Not so long ago those same ideas were being propounded by figures on the political right. Presumably at that time, to teach climate science in schools would have been equivalent to right wing indoctrination.

      The thrust of the climate science position is less scientifically controversial than the theory of relativity (without which we would have no space travel), quantum mechanics (without which we would have no microchips), evolution, and even gravity.

      The fact is: if the subject you are teaching is history, you should accurately represent what historians say about it, whatever the objections. If the subject is theology, your teaching should reflect what theologians say. If your subject is the Earth’s climate, you should teach what climate scientists say about it.

      Anything else – any tacking or censoring, especially on ideological or political grounds – THAT is indoctrination. And that is exactly what the states mentioned above are introducing into their schools.

      • daveburton Says:

        Pooh. By that logic, if you are teaching about National Socialism, you should teach what the NAZIs say about it.

        How about teaching the truth? How about not claiming that “the science is settled” or “97% of experts agree” when you know perfectly well that’s utter nonsense.

        • otter17 Says:

          Philip64’s logic would indicate that one should reference the historians and historical literature and evidence that they research.

          Oh, and the 97% figure is often referenced since multiple independent investigations have confirmed that an overwhelming majority of practicing climate scientists do indeed agree upon the central tenets of anthropogenic climate change. I believe Dr. Noami Oreskes and others within her university did a study that agreed by and large with a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

          Summary of Dr. Oreskes research:

          Proceedings of the NAS study abstract (Anderegg, et al, 2010):

          Nobody just made up that 97% figure. It was published in the NAS Proceedings.

    • So when are you going to start exercising yours? I haven’t seen a single post of yours here that showed any evidence of thinking.

    • greenman3610 Says:

      if you believe the earth is more than 5000 years old, you are a leftist.

      • daveburton Says:

        Wrong. I believe that the earth is more than 5000 years old, and I am most certainly not a leftist.

        If you believe that the rate of sea level rise has accelerated in response to anthropogenic CO2, then you are a leftist.

        • greenman3610 Says:

          As my most recent video indicates, the leftism has reached the highest levels of the US military. Dave and his tiny rebel band of tea bagger patriots know the truth – that’s why they’re all against you..trying to make you look stupid!! yes, that’s it…

  2. A few years ago, the University of California “dropped the hammer” on fundamentalist schools, telling them that if they did not address evolution properly in their science classes, the University would refuse to recognize those classes as fulfilling admission requirements.

    Time for UC to do the same thing with climate science.

  3. ozonator Says:

    The South Dakota quake was a correct AGW prediction. But will their corporate whorehouse collapse? “Jul 17, 2010 … My Global Warming Skepticism, for Dummies … By Dr. Roy Spencer … it only takes one of us to be right for the IPCC’s anthropogenic global warming (AGW) house of cards to collapse” (reality abuse by “Earthquake prediction is impossible. … it is just too complicated. … defined by three variables: you have to say when an earthquake will occur, where it will hit, and what strength it will have” (“Why Earthquakes Are Still Impossible to Predict”, Lars Ceranna, German Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources; editor: Thilo Kunzemann;, 4/7/09).

    In South Dakota, “Hot Springs area residents who hit the snooze button on their alarm clocks around 6:30 a.m. Monday morning, Jan. 16, may have received a more direct reminder to get out of bed at 6:41 a.m. as a 3.0 magnitude earthquake was recorded. … An employee at the Hot Springs Star … Monday’s quake was a sudden jolt that felt more like something hitting the building” (“Fourth earthquake in two months felt in Hot Springs”;, 1/16/12). “A). … 1). Regular qualitative predictions are US for “normal” qualitative predictions for catastrophic, violent AGW ecosystems (quakes to CMEs to toxic feticide) from the EssoKochs and their willing accomplices. … The tectonic energy releases over the next 2 weeks should harmonically approximate the AGW unleashed ~1,000 years ago from the flowering Islam, China, India, the pre-columbian Americas, Byzantium, and maybe the Vikings. This is the 1st of 4 weeks what should be a deadly 32nd WRECK of Pro-life Model (1/15 – 21/12) as Central America bounces or acts as a pile driver between the US and South America. … B). Including the odd chance of JJBAL Fireballs with each prediction, with included statistics, the specifics of the Giulaino – Gansu Model (1/15 – 21/12) of extreme AGW earthquake warnings among tectonic energy lines with individual predictions for regions (magnitude in Richters) are: 1). 32nd WRECK of Pro-life Model (1/15 – 21/12): a). Venezuela (5+) – Anguilla (4+) – Virgin Islands (4+, w/wo swarm) – Dominican Republic (5+) – Haiti (5+) – Honduras (6+) – Guatemala (7+) – Clipperton Island (6+), b). Evil Inhofe, Oklahoma (6+) – Texas (4+) – Veracruz (5+) – Mexico City (4+), c). South Dakota (3+) – Yellowstone (4+, w/wo swarm) – northern California (6+) – Hawaii (5+), and d). Nevada (6+) – Mammoth Lakes (4+) – Mojave Desert (5+) – Los Angeles (6+) – San Diego (4+) – Mexicali (5+) – Gulf of California (5+); 2). Armenia (5+) – Azerbaijan (6+) – Turkmenistan (5+) – Tajikistan (6+); and 3). Taiwan (6+) – Philippines (7+) – Guam (5+) – Vanuatu (7+) – Samoa (6+) – Tonga (6+). … n= 33” (“GBRWE 1/15 – 21/12”s Extreme Planetary Warnings for Earthquakes, Volcanoes, and Solar/Terrestrial Flares from Human Activities”; Robert Rhodes, Supplemental; GBRWE 1/15 – 21/12, 1/14/12).

  4. owlbrudder Says:

    I watched the full length (+/- 58min) video. SO glad to see the young minds are more likely to receive a sound education because of this group. Thanks for the post.

  5. kiwiiano Says:

    I can’t see that the requirement to teach climate denial (or creationism for that matter) as valid science is a problem, PROVIDED the teachers carefully explain the limits of the ‘science’ in the same way they would examine medieval blood-letting or the belief that malaria was caused by bad air and point out the myths, misinterpretations and outright lies. Claiming that, say, volcanoes produce more CO2 than humans is no different from teaching that there is no link between smoking and cancer or that Afro-americans are inherently inferior.

    We should regard the obligation as a golden opportunity to drag the garbage out into the full heat of the sun to see how bad it smells.

    • greenman3610 Says:

      wow. I’m always amazed when a post this ignorant shows up.
      Maurizio, Dave, are you going to set this guy straight?

      My source on volcanoes is the US Geological Survey

      Do the Earth’s volcanoes emit more CO2 than human activities? Research findings indicate that the answer to this frequently asked question is a clear and unequivocal, “No.” Human activities, responsible for a projected 35 billion metric tons (gigatons) of CO2 emissions in 2010 (Friedlingstein et al., 2010), release an amount of CO2 that dwarfs the annual CO2 emissions of all the world’s degassing subaerial and submarine volcanoes (Gerlach, 2011).

      The published estimates of the global CO2 emission rate for all degassing subaerial (on land) and submarine volcanoes lie in a range from 0.13 gigaton to 0.44 gigaton per year (Gerlach, 1991; Varekamp et al., 1992; Allard, 1992; Sano and Williams, 1996; Marty and Tolstikhin, 1998). The preferred global estimates of the authors of these studies range from about 0.15 to 0.26 gigaton per year. The 35-gigaton projected anthropogenic CO2 emission for 2010 is about 80 to 270 times larger than the respective maximum and minimum annual global volcanic CO2 emission estimates. It is 135 times larger than the highest preferred global volcanic CO2 estimate of 0.26 gigaton per year (Marty and Tolstikhin, 1998).

      In recent times, about 70 volcanoes are normally active each year on the Earth’s subaerial terrain. One of these is Kīlauea volcano in Hawaii, which has an annual baseline CO2 output of about 0.0031 gigatons per year [Gerlach et al., 2002]. It would take a huge addition of volcanoes to the subaerial landscape—the equivalent of an extra 11,200 Kīlauea volcanoes—to scale up the global volcanic CO2 emission rate to the anthropogenic CO2 emission rate. Similarly, scaling up the volcanic rate to the current anthropogenic rate by adding more submarine volcanoes would require an addition of about 360 more mid-ocean ridge systems to the sea floor, based on mid-ocean ridge CO2 estimates of Marty and Tolstikhin (1998).

      There continues to be efforts to reduce uncertainties and improve estimates of present-day global volcanic CO2 emissions, but there is little doubt among volcanic gas scientists that the anthropogenic CO2 emissions dwarf global volcanic CO2 emissions.

      For additional information about this subject, please read the American Geophysical Union’s Eos article “Volcanic Versus Anthropogenic Carbon Dioxide” written by USGS scientist Terrence M. Gerlach.

  6. @daveburton first comment:
    “By that logic, if you are teaching about National Socialism, you should teach what the NAZIs say about it.”
    I’m afraid not. When teaching about the history of National Socialism, you should teach what historians say about it. When teaching about the social psychology of National Socialism, you should teach what social psychologists say about it.
    By your logic, when teaching about fungi, you should teach what fungi say about it.

    (Hint: now you can name Pat Michaels, Richard Lindzen, Roy Spencer, Willie Soon, … and say that teachers can teach what these scientists say.)
    (To which I will reply that the 97% figure is not utter nonsense, as you claim. You can look up a study by Anderegg et al. published in the PNAS in 2010, called ‘Expert Credibility in Climate Change’.)
    (To which you will say: “that study was conducted before Climategate”.)
    (To which I will say: “I don’t see how Climategate would change the opinion of any expert on the topic, since there was nothing in the e-mails that showed fraud or that disproved climate change science in any way. I’m pretty confident that expert opinion has not significantly changed since. If you are not confident, feel free to conduct a study and publish it in a respected journal.”)
    (To which you will reply that science is not about consensus, look at Galileo! And how about this example of fraud in the e-mails: “…”)
    (Hey, who needs debates anyway? You rest while I continue to argue with myself…)

    Do me a favor, however, and tell whether you agree that your NAZI-claim was a logical flaw. It’s ok, you know. I’m not perfect either. Admitting to that doesn’t mean you’re an idiot, doesn’t mean you’re wrong about climate, … It only means you made a logical flaw about that one point.
    The reason I ask is this: I’d like you to show me where I’m wrong and if I’m not wrong, I’d like you to acknowledge the logical flaw because, if you happen to be unable to admit to something as innocuous as that, what’s the point in debating anyway?

    So, what’s it gonna be? Do you think there’s a logical flaw in this sentence?
    “By that logic, if you are teaching about National Socialism, you should teach what the NAZIs say about it.” As a response to “if the subject you are teaching is history, you should accurately represent what historians say about it, whatever the objections. If the subject is theology, your teaching should reflect what theologians say. If your subject is the Earth’s climate, you should teach what climate scientists say about it.”

    second comment:
    “If you believe that the rate of sea level rise has accelerated in response to anthropogenic CO2, then you are a leftist.” – leftist – leftist (1:18) – leftist

    (Hint: now your next move is to name a few rightwingers who believe the Earth is more than 5000 years old.)

  7. scrooge53 Says:

    Looking at some comments on this subject it looks like the education should have started long ago. Since the science of warming is not in question why must a denialist side have to be talked about. Its like having to teach the earth is flat. Not that there is no place things like creationism and GW denial can be discussed, like a theology or politics class. Sea level rise, you just had a nice presentation discussing that. 98% climate scientists agree. OK that is from surveys but you sure can’t get away not calling it a consensus.

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