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Is Climate Change the New Evolution?

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the carbon-dioxide-was-created-6000-years-ago dept.

Education 1055

sciencehabit writes "Is climate change education the new evolution, threatened in U.S. school districts and state education standards by well-organized interest groups? A growing number of education advocates believe so, and yesterday, the National Center for Science Education in Oakland, California, which fights the teaching of creationism, announced that it's going to take on climate change denial as well."

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1055 comments

Isn't that anti-science? (5, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 2 years ago | (#38731044)

I thought one of the fundamental aspects of modern empirical science is that, unlike a religion, it is ALWAYS open to revision and dispute. That's the whole point of the scientific method. Whether there is a significant modern consensus or not, I think it goes against the core spirit of scientific inquiry to EVER say "This matter is settled and no future scientist may ever question it." That's the very kind of anti-empirical position the Creationists themselves take in presenting their religious take on science.

And I'm certainly glad for Einstein's sake that no one ever thought this way about Newtonian physics. "Sorry little German, the matter is settled. Stop being a Newton denier."

Re:Isn't that anti-science? (3, Insightful)

bhcompy (1877290) | more than 2 years ago | (#38731098)

Exactly. Stop talking about issues as black and white and start talking about science. Teach the scientific method, teach reasoning skills, etc. Let kids figure it out on their own, otherwise they never learn how to think, only how to memorize and regurgitate talking points.

Re:Isn't that anti-science? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38731206)

Stop talking about issues as black and white and start talking about science.

Except that this isn't really about science. Much like the creationism debate, it's about people who are members of a crazed abrahamic cult that believe they have "dominion" over the earth, don't understand that the original wording was "stewardship" and that they're NOT supposed to fucking wreck the planet, and who refuse to acknowledge when a firm scientific consensus has been achieved because the recommendation of the consensus means they might have to change their lifestyles a bit.

Re:Isn't that anti-science? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38731356)

The 'they changing' includes you AC, and judging by some of the outlandish recommendations I've seen published that must be adopted to stop climate change, I doubt even you will ever change your lifestyle that little bit. So you can preach and feel superior all you want, but unless you live in a whole in the ground and pedal a bike to power your laptop and internet connection, you are as much of the problem as any "denier".

Re:Isn't that anti-science? (-1)

fusiongyro (55524) | more than 2 years ago | (#38731362)

I take it you didn't catch the episode of Penn & Teller's "Bulshit" on this one.

Penn & Teller are more bullshit than the show. (5, Insightful)

RobinEggs (1453925) | more than 2 years ago | (#38731648)

I take it you never realized that "Bullshit" is carefully crafted libertarian propaganda rather than independent investigative reporting for entertainment. I don't say 'libertarian' figuratively, either; they cite the Cato Institute constantly, of which Penn and Teller are both research fellows. I'm not saying the libertarian viewpoint is inherently incorrect, but it's hardly the place to go for unbiased reporting.

What is inherently incorrect are their interview tactics and editing techniques; they're even more misleading than Michael Moore's. Ever notice how rarely you hear the question that was actually asked? Penn's voice-over introduces a topic on their own terms, the video cuts to the interviewee answering an unknown question that was asked by a different interviewer off-camera, and he mocks their response - often while they're still talking. It's all trick editing and impatient over-simplification; it's reality TV disguised as an interview.

Believe what you want, but don't go around thinking "Bullshit" segments provide a good justification for any of your beliefs.

Re:Isn't that anti-science? (4, Insightful)

sneakyimp (1161443) | more than 2 years ago | (#38731686)

Would you agree or disagree that "there is no climate change" is a valid talking point? To "go after" people who say "there is no climate change" is valid because these people are morons. The geological record shows that climate changes constantly and to deny it without scientific reasoning is unscientific and backwards and should be assailed. Furthermore, to refute that humankind can cause climate change with an empty and baseless statement of religious conviction is not science, it's idiocy.

Long live the debate as to whether humans can cause climate change! Bring the facts! Leave the religious voodoo mumbo jumbo in church/synagogue/mosque/temple/whatever.

Re:Isn't that anti-science? (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38731116)

Nobody is saying that.

Re:Isn't that anti-science? (1, Insightful)

Suki I (1546431) | more than 2 years ago | (#38731130)

I thought one of the fundamental aspects of modern empirical science is that, unlike a religion, it is ALWAYS open to revision and dispute. That's the whole point of the scientific method. Whether there is a significant modern consensus or not, I think it goes against the core spirit of scientific inquiry to EVER say "This matter is settled and no future scientist may ever question it." That's the very kind of anti-empirical position the Creationists themselves take in presenting their religious take on science.

And I'm certainly glad for Einstein's sake that no one ever thought this way about Newtonian physics. "Sorry little German, the matter is settled. Stop being a Newton denier."

Precisely! That is the problem. This particular science is being elevated to religious status by a chorus of 'true believers' and anybody who questions it is deemed a heretic.

Re:Isn't that anti-science? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38731348)

Indeed. The thought that behavior in a nearly closed system can change the system's contents and the way it behaves makes a lot of sense. I'd question anyone saying that it isn't possible.

Re:Isn't that anti-science? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38731442)

How is a system that gets 99% of its energy from an external source (the sun) a "closed system"? How the fuck do you think all that petroleum was created? Magic?

Re:Isn't that anti-science? (1, Flamebait)

Score Whore (32328) | more than 2 years ago | (#38731672)

Damn that chorus of 'true believers' - aka, 97% of the worlds scientists:

And that's your problem... 96.5% of the world's scientists are not climatologists.

There would be much less pushback against the whole issue if there wasn't a core cadre of zealots who routinely avoid anyone checking their work. Given how often they've made stupid mistakes in their papers I can understand their desire not to have their work checked thus putting their various grants at risk. However understanding human nature doesn't have anything to do with the actual practice of science.

Honestly what we need is for all the first world countries that are funding climate research is to obligate all grant recipients to publish their data, their intermediate work, etc. This idea of hiding the ball isn't appropriate for publicly funded research and labor.

Re:Isn't that anti-science? (1)

im_thatoneguy (819432) | more than 2 years ago | (#38731266)

Exactly. Where is the creationist education in our classrooms? A bunch of religious status scientists and evolution "true believers" have deemed intelligent design heretical. /s

Re:Isn't that anti-science? (5, Insightful)

sneakyimp (1161443) | more than 2 years ago | (#38731374)

Creationist beliefs are not scientific. They are religious. It's fine to put them in a history class or a religion class, but they don't belong in a science class.

Re:Isn't that anti-science? (1)

riverat1 (1048260) | more than 2 years ago | (#38731484)

The only ones talking about religion and heretics are those opposed to the findings of climate science. When you can't come up with actual science to refute the findings all you are left with is tearing down the other side.

Re:Isn't that anti-science? (5, Insightful)

SpryGuy (206254) | more than 2 years ago | (#38731680)

That's not really the problem. The problem is that one side is claiming there's no data or no agreement, when the objective fact is that there is TONS of data and TONS of agreement.

The side that is on the side of science is tired of having last decades debates over and over and over again because the side against the side of science is just pushing an agenda (protecting the status quo).

Legitimate: Questioning and verifying the science, making sure results are duplicated, etc.

Legitimate: Questinging what policies or procedures should result from the scientific finding (aka "what do do about it" if anything)

Illegitimate: Smearing valid scientific results through ignorant half-understanding or misperceptions, simply because you're a paid lacky of an organization that feels "threatened" by the findings and is scared of what possible formt he solutions might take.

Recently one of the biggest climate-change skeptics, backed with massive funding from climate change denialsts with a huge investment in the status quo and a huge political agenda to push (aka The Koch Brothers) went over all the existing data, brought in new data, and put the entire thing through the scientific wringer (everything from the hockeystick graph, to "heat-island" theories, to solar influence, etc)... and this Climate Change Skeptic came out of it a convert, admitting that Climate Change is REAL.

We need to move beyond constantly questioning whether it's real or not, and get to the "okay, given the scientific findings in this area, what if anything should we do about it, and what are the consequences, pros-and-cons, of any given course of action, including complete inaction?"

There is a legitimate debate to be had there.

But to continue to question whether climate change is "real" is like those continuing to question whether "evolution" is real. Sure, some details almost certainly have yet to be discovered. But you know what? That's science.

Newtonion physics wasn't WRONG. Ensteinian/Relativistic theory just expands what was there and fleshes it out. It didn't throw it in the garbage. For many real-world approximations, Newtonian physics works just fine. For others, Relativity must be taken into account.

Similarly, I'm sure we'll continue to discover more and more about evolution and about climate change and humanity's influence on it. But it's not, at this point, going to completely invalidate all that has come before.

Re:Isn't that anti-science? (5, Insightful)

Dutchmaan (442553) | more than 2 years ago | (#38731152)

Well it's a little bit of both actually. Personally speaking I don't believe that climate change deniers are doing so from a science standpoint but rather from an ideological standpoint. You have a vast majority of scientists providing data about climate change and some very vocal naysayers trying to disprove not the findings themselves but the methods by which the results are achieved or the time frame in which the results occurred. In other words climate deniers aren't challenging the data, they're challenging the data collection. Which seems a very left handed way to try and disprove something using a scientific method.

I'm all for gathering as much data as possible because it can only lead to more accurate models, but it seems that climate deniers are putting the cart before the horse.

Re:Isn't that anti-science? (2)

bhcompy (1877290) | more than 2 years ago | (#38731180)

Well, there's the group that challenge the data collection and the models, and there's the group that says that "why should we punish ourselves when we're just a small portion of the world's population and China and India, who have the vast majority of the world's population, don't give a fuck at all?" as well as the group that says that it is inevitable anyways, since it's just influencing a trend(eg coming out of an ice age).

Re:Isn't that anti-science? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38731328)

"why should we punish ourselves when we're just a small portion of the world's population and China and India, who have the vast majority of the world's population, don't give a fuck at all?

How about because your per capita CO2 emissions are at 19.18 tons, while China's are at 4.91, and India's are at 1.31.

In other words... you're the bigger problem, not them.

Re:Isn't that anti-science? (1)

bhcompy (1877290) | more than 2 years ago | (#38731454)

That's an argument, but it doesn't change that China and India are both growing out of third world status into first world status nationwide, which means those numbers will rise significantly. So the question remains for many, really

Re:Isn't that anti-science? (4, Insightful)

MindPhlux (304416) | more than 2 years ago | (#38731678)

are you just trying really hard to be illogical and stone headed, or what?

who cares what the rest of the world is doing? who cares what anyone else in our part of the world is doing either, for that matter. the basis of consideration for ecological impact should always start with yourself, not your neighbor, china, elephants, or whatever. how is what anyone else is doing even relevant? once you understand that basis - ie, your own net impact on the world, measured however - you can begin worrying about other people. and by other people I mean the communities you live in, and directly impact.

if the net ecological and economic impact of you and your communities is unsustainable, it's time to make adjustments - regardless of what is happening in new york or china or wherever. being like 'well new york isn't taking a look at its net ecological impact on the world' isn't a free ticket to be a dickhead and stick your face in the sand despite being aware of the unsustainability of your own existence.

Re:Isn't that anti-science? (1)

snowraver1 (1052510) | more than 2 years ago | (#38731588)

Why do we focus on CO2 when there are lower hanging fruit? Why not start with harvesting methane from landfills? Why not reduce airborn soot? There was a show on CBC radio last night that estimated that as much as 2/3 of the warming may be from these two things. We can even make money from the capture of Methane.

Once we take care of the easy stuff, then maybe we can take another look at CO2.

Re:Isn't that anti-science? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38731276)

I'm left handed you insensitive clod!

Re:Isn't that anti-science? (-1)

Chemisor (97276) | more than 2 years ago | (#38731630)

Challenging the data collection is challenging the data. The data is only as trustworthy as the researcher who collected it, and the sort of people who go into climate science research are precisely the sort of environmentalists who are looking for any excuse to take us all back to stone age. Not that this automatically invalidates the data, but it sure does increase the burden of proof required to believe it is genuine.

Re:Isn't that anti-science? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38731160)

Thank you! If you read Dawkins and others, they make it very clear they would accept any scientific evidence that disproves natural selection and biological evolution. To date there has been none, which is why it's now accepted as a fact. The same cannot be said of anthropomorphic climate change which is flimsy on evidence and cannot be falsified to date. Not to mention the political forces that support it.

Re:Isn't that anti-science? (1)

cshark (673578) | more than 2 years ago | (#38731232)

Yeah but the evidence against it is shoddy too. And the big problem with evidence against climate change, is one of credibility. These are the same people who are against the idea are also the people who are calling in their "photoshop experts" to examine Obama's birth certificate.

Re:anthropomorphic climate change (5, Funny)

olsmeister (1488789) | more than 2 years ago | (#38731306)

So is anthropomorphic climate change when you blame it on Mother Earth or Old Man Winter?

Re:Isn't that anti-science? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38731164)

The issue is that the people disputing it have no real data, and are going through media and political channels rather than standard scientific channels.

If you have data disproving it, and it's verifiable, plenty of scientists would embrace it. (though plenty wouldn't...)

Re:Isn't that anti-science? (5, Insightful)

forkfail (228161) | more than 2 years ago | (#38731200)

So - you do understand what a theory is, right?

And if they're teaching it right, then they're also teaching that if verifiable evidence arises that contradicts it, that the theory is modified or thrown away.

Let's keep in mind that the deniers don't even want mention of the possibility that we humans just might be making a real mess of the eco system that we rely upon to exist. That might cut into profits.

PS: No, not everyone agreed with Einstein all [datasync.com] the [wikipedia.org] time [kerryr.net].

Re:Isn't that anti-science? (1)

next_ghost (1868792) | more than 2 years ago | (#38731210)

I thought one of the fundamental aspects of modern empirical science is that, unlike a religion, it is ALWAYS open to revision and dispute. That's the whole point of the scientific method. Whether there is a significant modern consensus or not, I think it goes against the core spirit of scientific inquiry to EVER say "This matter is settled and no future scientist may ever question it."

I think you've missed the little detail that elementary and high school students are not scientists. And neither are the vast majority of their teachers. They are not qualified to do the questioning properly without falling into some fallacy trap.

Re:Isn't that anti-science? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38731230)

"And I'm certainly glad for Einstein's sake that no one ever thought this way about Newtonian physics. 'Sorry little German, the matter is settled. Stop being a Newton denier.'"

Actually the Nazis did just this. See the Wikipedia article "Deutsche Physik".

However (2)

unity100 (970058) | more than 2 years ago | (#38731258)

Isnt denying that the huge-scale human intervention/activity on the planet - which goes from releasing boundless amount of heat to atmosphere to releasing radioactive substances to sea - can NOT have an effect that is considerable, as stupid as denying that the earth is older than 6000 years ?

one has the motive to control the masses by some private interests behind, the other has the motive to control the masses to protect profits.

Re:Isn't that anti-science? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38731286)

From the article:

But after hearing an increasing number of anecdotes about K-12 teachers being challenged about how they taught climate science to their students, she says she began to see "parallels" between the two debates --namely, an ideological drive from pressure groups to "teach the controversy" where no scientific controversy exists.

My question is, why the fuck do K-12 students need to learn anything about climate science to begin with? They should be given the fundamentals of science, math, physics, logic, and reason, and then if they become interested in it on their own, go ahead and foster that interest. But to just teach it as a fact on a list of facts to memorize isn't teaching science, it's teaching dogma. That "style" of teaching for math and science is what's gotten into this fucking mess to begin with.

Re:Isn't that anti-science? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38731320)

I think climate change belief is more scary. So many people so passionate about the topic with so few people able to name a single source or scientific method used make the predictions. I am not opposed to the idea but seriously how much do know about it other than "everybody knows"

Re:Isn't that anti-science? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38731468)

I know I've walked close to 3500 miles in the last 5 years.
I know where the maps had permanent glaciers.
I know where there were no glaciers to be found.

The maps and reality do no represent.

First hand knowledge that the world is no longer what it used to be.

Your turn. Name some first hand knowledge that the change is not scary.

Re:Isn't that anti-science? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38731706)

30 years ago, I was cold inside my home in winter and hot in summer.
Now, I'm cool in summer and warm in winter thanks to the A/C and heater.

Technology can help us defeat global warming. Instead of trying to prevent GW (which is impossible) why don't we learn to adapt to it?
Why do we worry so much about protecting nature when technology can replace it entirely?

Re:Isn't that anti-science? (2)

natophonic (103088) | more than 2 years ago | (#38731336)

Are you suggesting presenting varying findings from people actually working in the field?

Or "teaching the controversy" by presenting the rantings of retired weathermen from Kansas and Oklahoma railing against communist environmentalists?

Science works by consensus (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38731342)

The VAST majority of experts in the field believe AGCC is real. They might be wrong, but the burden falls fully on the critics (deniers) at this point. It is now an "extraordinary claim" to say that AGCC is false to any significant degree, and "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence."

Yes, it is possible that the few vocal critics are correct; if so, please pony up the extraordinary evidence to support your extraordinary claim so we may be convinced.

No, it doesn't. Politics works by consensus. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38731404)

Science works by what can be empirically proven. When you've got experimental proof, it doesn't matter what the "consensus" is.

Models are not empirical proof. Models are just software.

Re:No, it doesn't. Politics works by consensus. (1)

forkfail (228161) | more than 2 years ago | (#38731474)

Do you understand the Peer Review process, or are you obfuscating from a position of faith or economic interest?

Re:No, it doesn't. Politics works by consensus. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38731572)

Parent AC here.

>When you've got experimental proof
You need a consensus of experts to agree as to what constitutes valid experimental proof. Consider Pons and Fleischmann: they had been highly regarded in their field and thought they had experimental proof. Other people evaluated and found their work seriously lacking. For AGCC: lots of scientific eyes have looked at the problem and said "yes, this looks like pretty good evidence." That's science. Remember that science doesn't produce "TRUTH", it produces "truth." AGCC might well prove incorrect, but again, at this point the burden is on the critics.

Re:Isn't that anti-science? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38731376)

Nobody has come up with a scientific challenge to the theory of anthropogenic climate change. As soon as somebody can explain the current warming and correlation with the human burning of carbon-based fuels, they'll have a serious theory. Nobody has done that.

Deniers think of themselves as different, but they are virtually identical to deniers of evolution in every aspect.

Re:Isn't that anti-science? (1)

hakioawa (127597) | more than 2 years ago | (#38731394)

You are conflating scientific certainty with the need to make policy/engineering decisions. Yes relativity is a theory, not a certainty bu lLet's say you were in a position of designing a satellite. Would you say to yourself "self, relativity is just a theory so I can ignore it"? Or if you were drilling for oil would you say "tectonics is just a theory I'll spend $2million to drill this well and ignore the theory". Or a text book company "Climate change is just a theory, all other theories are exactly as valid. . . .

Re:Isn't that anti-science? (1)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 2 years ago | (#38731546)

Okay, A) The scientific method does not absolve from the requirement of scientific understanding. Anyone is free to question, but they still have to have relevant knowledge to be taken seriously.
B) Questioning science should be done in the public forum among peers, not by a teacher in a classroom using his authority to fabricate a controversy that does not exist in the real world. If scientist A says "I believe scientist B is mistaken" and scientist B responds, then that is a scientific debate. If schoolteacher A tells his students that "I believe scientist B is mistaken", then the students have to take his word for it.

Re:Isn't that anti-science? (1)

sneakyimp (1161443) | more than 2 years ago | (#38731578)

Oh come on. You can't deny global warming! Otherwise, how can you possibly explain the worldwide decline in the pirate population [venganza.org]. Obviously the surge in pirate activity in Somalia is the FSM showing us that He loves us and wants to preserve the constant climate as His promise to us.

Opposing teaching fake science isn't anti-science (5, Insightful)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 2 years ago | (#38731708)

I thought one of the fundamental aspects of modern empirical science is that, unlike a religion, it is ALWAYS open to revision and dispute.

It is open to revision in response to, and dispute in the form of, results that contradict the existing explanations and more parsimonious explanations for the results which have been produced.

Defending against pressure to teach, as science, "controversy" which does not actually exist within the scope of the scientific work in a field is not anti-science.

Whether there is a significant modern consensus or not, I think it goes against the core spirit of scientific inquiry to EVER say "This matter is settled and no future scientist may ever question it."

Yes, it would be, but that's not what the National Center for Science Education is saying, so that's what's known as a strawman.

That's the very kind of anti-empirical position the Creationists themselves take in presenting their religious take on science.

And its the anti-empirical ideological-based approach, and the pressure to present the results of that approach as science, that the NCSE is opposing in the two areas in which it is taking stands.

And I'm certainly glad for Einstein's sake that no one ever thought this way about Newtonian physics. "Sorry little German, the matter is settled. Stop being a Newton denier."

Unlike the non-scientific work at issue, Einstein's work was scientific, and there wasn't an enormous amount of pressure to teach "the controversy" between Einstein's models and Newtonian physics in primary and secondary education when no such controversy actually existed in the scientific community, so the issue is in no way parallel.

The climate change issue is a waste of time (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38731102)

Humanity is not going to give up modern convenience for something that will effect future generations.

You're a moron (0)

arcite (661011) | more than 2 years ago | (#38731406)

Please do some basic research on government and corporate initiatives around the world, they all realize what is happening and have plans to adapt to the changing planet. Why do you think China is investing so much in battery technology? What about massive investment in wind and solar power? I suppose an ignoramus such as yourself would write off such long term efforts as conspiracies.... wouldn't you? It's ok to admit it, being aware of your failings is the first step to correcting them.

Re:The climate change issue is a waste of time (1)

forkfail (228161) | more than 2 years ago | (#38731448)

Maybe not.

But consider this: the folks whose job it is to make predictions tend to think that the impact will be felt sooner, rather than later. Folks like those who work in the [nytimes.com] Pentagon [guardian.co.uk] and the [cdc.gov] CDC [cdc.gov], not to mention an overwhelming majority [usatoday.com] of the world's scientists.

Re:The climate change issue is a waste of time (1)

Digi-John (692918) | more than 2 years ago | (#38731726)

How many times are you going to post this exact thing in the thread?

Who cares (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38731108)

NCSC is run by a weirdo named Eugenie Scott. Pretends to be pro-science, but she's just pro-Eugenie. They're a tiny little nothing of an organization. Who cares.

Stop Thinking! (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38731126)

We should not allow anybody to teach anything that some parent does not agree with, and if we do we should always provide a "balanced" view of all sides. In every class no matter what. That way students can spend their entire school time on the first subject they encounter and never be able to move past it. That is how real science is done. Oh yeah, and we should also test the bejeebers out them to make sure that they understand it. Kids are so stuupid these dayz.

Nope. (5, Insightful)

Toonol (1057698) | more than 2 years ago | (#38731134)

No.

If the science for climate change continues to pan out for another fifty or hundred years, then maybe those people denying it can be classified as cranks. Right now, though, it's ridiculous to claim that climate change is as well established as evolution. That's insulting to the theory of evolution.

Re:Nope. (3, Insightful)

Suki I (1546431) | more than 2 years ago | (#38731196)

No.

If the science for climate change continues to pan out for another fifty or hundred years, then maybe those people denying it can be classified as cranks. Right now, though, it's ridiculous to claim that climate change is as well established as evolution. That's insulting to the theory of evolution.

Or even as well established as meteorology.

What kind of argument is that? (1)

arcite (661011) | more than 2 years ago | (#38731436)

You're arguing for ignorance. It's like denying that gravity doesn't exist just because some people can't understand how it operates. No sane person denies evolution in the world today, except for fundamentalist, semi-literate, buffoons. You are again speaking from a position of ignorance, I would pity you if it weren't so pathetic.

Re:What kind of argument is that? (2)

RebelWithoutAClue (578771) | more than 2 years ago | (#38731556)

It's easy to do experiments that test gravity. Much, much harder to test climate change.

Re:What kind of argument is that? (4, Insightful)

forkfail (228161) | more than 2 years ago | (#38731662)

Oh, we're doing an experiment, all right. Unfortunately, if it pans out the way the vast majority of the scientific community [usatoday.com], the military [guardian.co.uk], the disease control folks [cdc.gov] and the insurance industry [marketwatch.com] thinks it will, we're all pretty much screwed.

In other words, all the folks whose job it is to make predictions about what could go wrong and prepare for those things think that we're running such an experiment, and that it won't end well.

You are committing the problem I talked about (2)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 2 years ago | (#38731666)

Confusing facts and theories.

So with gravity there's the fact of gravity and the theory of gravity. The fact of gravity is that objects attract, or on a more human scale that things fall down. This is an observed fact. It's not up for debate, it just is. Only thing you could claim is that the observations were incorrect, but of course in the case of gravity there's way too much of that.

Then there's the theory of how gravity works. How fast do things attract, based on what, etc. This is a logical explanation to try and explain the facts observed and how they relate. So you get things like Newton's Laws of Universal Gravitation. An explanation of how it functions. However like any theory, it is possible it could be wrong, that the explanations could be incorrect.

Well, in the case of gravity, it is likely the case. There are things Newton's theory cannot adequately explain, and some inconsistencies with further observations. It is correct on the scale we deal with on Earth, but not in terms of large cosmic scale things. Einstein gave us a new theory, general relativity, which explains it differently. Newton's theory is still a very useful simplification for the every day world (much like the Ideal Gas Law is a useful simplification) but it isn't correct.

Now as that relates to climate change someone can very well look at the facts and say "Yes, the average temperature is increasing," but then say "However I do not believe the theory put forth to explain it is correct."

Do not conflate facts and theories. They are related, not the same.

Also (5, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 2 years ago | (#38731478)

The problem is that people seem to conflate the science, facts, and the politics of climate change. They think if you disagree with any part, you are a "denialist". So what do I mean?

Well first take the fact of climate change: That the average global temperature is changing outside of known cycles. Provided the data on which this is being based, this is true. It is a fact, a simple observation about the world.

Then there's the theory of climate change: That this change is being cause either primarily or exclusively by carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, as a result of human emissions. This is a theory, it provides a logical proposal to explain the facts. Like any theory it could be subject to revision or dismissal later should more information come to light. Doesn't mean it will be, but it can (if it isn't falsifiable, it isn't a scientific theory).

Now after that you get some additional theories like the theory that this will be a net bad thing for humanity. Remember that this is not a fact, it is a theory, and that the overall theory of CO2 causing climate change could be right, and this could be wrong. As such one could reasonably examine the evidence and accept the first theory and reject the second.

Then you get in to politics or policies: That the only thing to do about it is to massively reduce CO2 output, institute carbon taxes, etc, etc. That isn't a scientific theory there, it is politics. There are other solutions that would work. One example would simply be to prepare for the chance and deal with it. You could argue that even if this particular change is human caused, in the future a change will happen that isn't, so better to spend resources on becoming resilient to change than trying to avoid this one. Geoengineering would be another approach to dealing with it. Different policies can be debated, the costs, the benefits, and so on, there is no one right answer here, there are options.

However if you disagree with any part, you get labeled a denalist. So you can say "I think the Earth is getting warmer, and I think manmade CO2 is the cause. However my examination of the evidence leads me to believe it is not a bad thing, in fact it'll be just fine so we shouldn't do anything," and you get shouted down as "denying climate change." Or you can say "I think it is happening, manmade, and a bad thing. However I think reducing CO2 production is the wrong approach. I think we should do geoengineering because it is cheaper/more effective/etc," and you get shouted down as a "denialist."

That's my real problem, is people confuse the levels of it. There are facts (all scientific theories have to start with facts, observations), theories, and then policy suggestions as a result. Calling it all bullshit can be accurately called denying it. However being skeptical or disagreeing with parts cannot.

Also there's way too much stock put in computer models. Not that they are used, but that people think they "prove" something. No, a computer model proves nothing, it is a model. It makes predictions. If the predictions are repeatedly accurate, it is probably a good model of reality and can be counted on to produce accurate predictions in the future. If they are inaccurate, it needs to be revised. However it doesn't "prove" shit. It models.

So while models should (and must) be used in climate research, people need to stop saying things like "This model proves that X will happen in Y years!" No, it predicts it. Well and good, that's very different from proving it.

No, Climate Change is the new Global Cooling (4, Insightful)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 2 years ago | (#38731158)

It's an ice age! It's warming! It's change! It's not quite the new ethereal soup, that's dark matter.

Opposition: follow the money (2)

Papeh (1812414) | more than 2 years ago | (#38731174)

I am still fairly skeptical about climate change. Make no mistake, though - moderate skeptics like myself are NOT the ones arguing against the teaching of climate change in schools at the national, non-internet-commentator level. Oil companies (and related industries) have a LOT to lose if the next generation sees climate change as a real thing. Moves like this are not based on science as much as they are on the cash flow that follows peoples' opinions.

Only the ignorant continue to deny (1, Insightful)

arcite (661011) | more than 2 years ago | (#38731300)

It's only the ignorant who continue to deny man made climate change. The evidence is all around us, from massive deforestation, depletion of fresh water sources, desertification, acidification of the oceans, depletion of top soils, and the big one -- the continued and deliberate mass-extinction of Mammals and fish not seen since the last ice age.

A massive MAJORITY of world governments, corporations, scientists, leaders, and intellectuals in the world recognize that man made climate change is the number one challenge the human species faces this century. Climate change affects TWO of the top Human requirements on this Earth, Food production, and access to drinking water. Without a constant supply of either of these, misery will prevail.

You may continue to call yourself a 'moderate skeptic', but don't fool your self into thinking it is by any measure an intelligent choice.

Re:Only the ignorant continue to deny (1)

fusiongyro (55524) | more than 2 years ago | (#38731432)

I think man-made climate change is real. Unlike all your other talking points, there is actual evidence for it. Do note: your hippie friends play fast and loose with the facts to get bigger donations for their cause. They're building their political program on the back of your upper-class guilt that you'll do anything to alleviate. Fact-check yourself. Things aren't that bad.

Re:Only the ignorant continue to deny (2)

Orne (144925) | more than 2 years ago | (#38731514)

Warmer earth = more icecap melt = more freshwater. Warmer earth = larger temperate zones = more food production. More CO2 = more vegetation growth = more food production.

The only thing stopping food production and access to drinking water is militaristic governmental controls. Free societies don't seem to have these problems.

Depends... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38731184)

Should any school base its curriculum on the output of software simulations?

Unless you're an AGW cultist and/or really big Madden fan, the answer is "Of course not. Software models are not science."

Re:Depends... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38731284)

What about software modeling science?

Yes, let's take math out of science! (1)

F69631 (2421974) | more than 2 years ago | (#38731476)

Of course, if you understand even the very basics of computing, you realize that "software simulations" are just a relatively quick way of making very difficult calculations. If you have a problem with a model, attack the model (of course, that would require researching the subject a bit before being able to make bold accusations) but complaining about computers being used to take care of complex is incredibly stupid. I hope you also oppose all modern astronomy as most of the data is crunched by "computer simulations".

global warming IS religion (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38731190)

global warming IS religion

Same war, different day (-1, Flamebait)

jamesl (106902) | more than 2 years ago | (#38731192)

In creationism vs. evolution it is a war between religious zealots and scientists. In climate change it is the same war only the religious zealots are the climate change fanatics.

Re:Same war, different day (4, Insightful)

forkfail (228161) | more than 2 years ago | (#38731272)

So, 97% [cnn.com] of the world's scientists are religious zealots?

Re:Same war, different day (1)

ckaminski (82854) | more than 2 years ago | (#38731370)

quote:

however there remains divisions between climatologists and scientists from other areas of earth sciences as to the extent of human responsibility.

Re:Same war, different day (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38731398)

97% of the world's scientists once believed that Ward's patent drop rectified the humours.

Scientists are no more infallible than Sky Daddies.

Re:Same war, different day (1)

forkfail (228161) | more than 2 years ago | (#38731550)

So, let me get this straight.

Climate change shouldn't be accepted because "there's no scientific proof". But even though 97% of the world's scientists feel that such proof does exist, we shouldn't believe them, because they aren't qualified... to... talk... about...... science.....?

Re:Same war, different day (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38731318)

No

We have plenty of proof and independently gathered data. The deniers are the ones having faith that they aren't doing anything wrong. And are just lazy and like the cheap oil status quo.

I mean basic science is teaching that a gas layer can form a greenhouse by absorbing heat. Look at Venus compared to Mercury. Earth compared to Venus.

Now, what will happen if the Earth warms up and the weather gets more energetic is for debating and further research. But the basic Earth sciences are facts until they are disproved.

Re:Same war, different day (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38731450)

There would seem to be zealots on both sides, but one side has a butt load of scientists backing it up, and the other has the oil and coal industries being protective of their profits.

I've heard the right say that man made climate change has been invented by scientists to get grant money, and is being used by the left to gain control of the world through regulation.

Really? Wouldn't there be an easier way for them to do that? There's already a ton of evidence showing pollution is a bad thing, why invent something most people can't understand?

Re:Same war, different day (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38731494)

It's funny how quickly Libertarians will resort to the very same tactics as creationist nuts when their own values are challenged by science ... down to the very rhetoric; "Teach the controversy." What makes it so tragically humorous is how much they are unwilling to conceded the similarities despite the blindingly obvious parallels.

Is Climate Change the New Evolution? 15 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38731218)

Yes

Go for the Triple-Play (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38731224)

Anti-Evolution
Anti-Global Warming
Anti-Round Earth Theory

The Triple Play of Ignorance!!

Evolution is far more proven than global warming. (0)

gasmonso (929871) | more than 2 years ago | (#38731260)

Climate change need not be taught until it is as well established as Evolution. Period! Speaking of evolution... You gotta love The Simpsons [religiousfreaks.com] take on it. But seriously, the real issue is whether or not global warming is more of a natural vs a man-made process.

gasmonso

Yah for undermining USA science education! (0)

ad454 (325846) | more than 2 years ago | (#38731302)

Thank you nutcases, for under undermining America science education! Since after enjoying the 200 years of prosperity, economic and military might that science has provided to the USA, it is very generous they now start undermining it, by insuring that future generations don't properly learn that pesky science, so that many other countries can advance and overtake the USA.

If I was a Chinese official, I would be actively funding the National Center for Science Education, since they are the ones that benefit most from American stupidity.

Hopefully the National Center for Science Education can now start attacking math, since transfinite numbers and arithmetic can be use to justify that there are infinities bigger than god:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transfinite_number [wikipedia.org]

Is it so much easy to teach kids that 1+1 = whatever god tells them. Welcome to the new American Taliban.

Re:Yah for undermining USA science education! (1)

246o1 (914193) | more than 2 years ago | (#38731626)

Thank you nutcases, for under undermining America science education! Since after enjoying the 200 years of prosperity, economic and military might that science has provided to the USA, it is very generous they now start undermining it, by insuring that future generations don't properly learn that pesky science, so that many other countries can advance and overtake the USA.

If I was a Chinese official, I would be actively funding the National Center for Science Education, since they are the ones that benefit most from American stupidity.

Hopefully the National Center for Science Education can now start attacking math, since transfinite numbers and arithmetic can be use to justify that there are infinities bigger than god:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transfinite_number [wikipedia.org]

Is it so much easy to teach kids that 1+1 = whatever god tells them. Welcome to the new American Taliban.

I love your enthusiasm, but I think you misunderstood - the National Center for Science Education is actually appropriately named, and supports the teaching of science. A forgivable error, since so many lobbying groups take deceptive names these days.

does it even matter?! (5, Insightful)

rish87 (2460742) | more than 2 years ago | (#38731314)

What bothers me most about the controversy over climate change, is even if it turns out human actions don't actually have a significant impact on climate, we damn well know we affect the environment. We also know fossil fuels won't last us forever and acquiring them is becoming increasingly volatile due to who does and does not have access to their source. So sure, we should be cautious and treat climate science as we would any other science where we need a critical eye, but we need to be taking the same actions regardless of the conclusions (due to our knowledge of other affects). How is reducing pollution and non-renewable resource consumption a bad thing? Who the hell honestly thinks unregulated energy consumption and dumping of various emissions is okay?

The sad thing is.... (0)

arcite (661011) | more than 2 years ago | (#38731528)

The United States is pretty much the only country out there with a significant population that continues to deny Climate Change. Ok, Canada has some issues as well (they have a religious conservative government at the moment), but it is quite difficult to find any other developed country out there that denies the mountain of evidence before us all. It would seem many Americans would deny that the sun is shining, even if they were standing right under it sweating like a pig in the middle of a desert, all for the sake of some twisted demagoguery.

Two components to this arguement (5, Insightful)

micron (164661) | more than 2 years ago | (#38731346)

The climate science debate has two important components to it. This issue focuses on one component, and that is the anti-science attack on climate science. This has the same source of ignorance and zealotry that has challenged teaching evolution in the classroom. This is a stand of religious based ignorance against science. I have not met anyone who understands the scientific process who challenges the theory of evolution. I am using the scientific definition of theory, which is an operating model, and not the "theory is not a fact" arguement that my religious friends pick up.

The second component to climate science is that there are some great issues of modern science and society that can be taught here. To not teach this in the classroom is missing out on a real opportunity to teach critical thinking that children can get passionate about.

You can teach about data collection, and how this can be a source for controversy.
You can teach about computer modeling and statistical analysis. What these tools are great for, and where they fall short.
Plenty to teach about weather vs. climate, and what the climate means for other systems on the planet.
Lab experiements on basic components of the atmosphere, and why they don't always translate to the actual model of the world.
You can teach the ethics of how to prioritze science against society and economic concerns.

Lots more stuff that I am not getting in to.

My point being, this is another area where zealotry is screwing up a great opportunity to train the next generation of scientists.

WTF? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38731378)

For **** sake, of course climate is changing. Its normal. You know what would not be normal? If climate would stop changing.

They wish (0)

amightywind (691887) | more than 2 years ago | (#38731386)

Climate Science wishes it was as well rooted as evolution and genetics. Climate Science has the worst reputation for fraud and politicization of any science. It is richly deserved. Misery loves company. Climate activists should look to cold fusion science or Big Foot hunters as a peers.

Intelligent warming (1)

bugs2squash (1132591) | more than 2 years ago | (#38731422)

The reason climate science is open to this kind of attack is that climate scientists have done a reasonable job of getting the public to understand at least the basic points of the argument. Other fields, like say relativity, would be under more attack if the general population understood them better. Perhaps scientists won't say how a magnet works because they want to preserve some areas of science for future generations.

um, its called the WEATHER (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38731424)

This is the nonsense, it was called the weather, this is just an excuse to setup another stock market trading carbon credits, Al Gore is laughing all the way to the bank. As the Brits would say, this is all rubbish. Anyone who believes that temperatures stay the same on such a complex life form called the earth are fooling themselves.

Oh noes its hot! Oh noes its cold! Back in my day they were called seasons.

No, there is solid evidence for evolution. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38731496)

Nope, sorry alarmists, but Catastrophic Climate Change is not supported by anywhere near the level of evidence that Evolution is.

What if we create a better world? (1)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 2 years ago | (#38731576)

Is climate change education the new evolution, threatened in U.S. school districts and state education standards by well-organized interest groups?

Joke (a bitter one, though): during a presentation of a list of all the benefits to the earth and society of moving to renewable energy, at a 'Climate Summit' conference a person in the audience stands up and asks "What if it's a big hoax and we create a better world for nothing?"

Follow the money?

Why is climate change even taught? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38731582)

And I'm not talking about the political controversy. I mean, in some sense evolution is _the_ central concept behind biology, a major branch of science: it's what lets you ask "Why?" instead of just "What?" or "How?" and students really need to learn it deeply and well.

Climate change may become central to public policy in the years to come, but the science involved is in no way central to a traditional science curriculum, or even sufficiently accessible that its importance to policy makes it reasonable to cover. Sure, it'd probably be more helpful to learn about climate change than some of the topics we studied in my 8th grade "Earth Science" class (memorizing the names of _constellations_? seriously?), but that's more of a reflection on how bad middle school science education (and middle school education in general) is than an endorsement of climate change.

Patience is a virtue (1)

natewar (1542509) | more than 2 years ago | (#38731590)

As a society, we have come across a phenomenon that we're not sure about. Is the world temperature rising, and the problem man made; or, is this just another cycle of the world as is? We don't definitively know the answer to that question, but I lean towards the side of caution. Rational thought leads me to believe that we are causing the Earth to have a significantly higher percentage of CO2 in the air than there was previously: we are cutting down trees and polluting water that has in the past filtered out the CO2, while at the same time putting an increasing amount of CO2 in the air with our increasing industrialization worldwide. Even if this turns out to not be the case, and we're not causing any problems, what is the harm in slowing down our pollution and thinking rationally about our future as a race? The whole fight between the people who believe in Climate Change and the people who don't is childish. Take a few years, and figure out what's going on. This is something that the whole world is discussing, yet it seems that America is the only country making a big stink about it. Think about people first, and money later, then we can finally solve real problems.

No (0)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#38731600)

A bunch of people deny that evolution exists. Very few people deny that the climate changes, and their wacky 'Hockey Stick' graphs have been thoroughly disproven.

Is Climate Change the New Evolution? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38731618)

Welcome - ta them U nighted Statz of Jeazouz Land!

Some clarifications (4, Informative)

dyftm (880762) | more than 2 years ago | (#38731628)

As someone working in this field, I would just like to make some clarifications. The term 'Climate Change' is better viewed as two separate questions: is climate change occurring, and if so, is it due to human influence? The first question is effectively settled; temperatures are increasing and extreme weather events are occurring more frequently. The second question is more complex, although the vast scientific consensus is that it is indeed due to human influence. In particular, the greenhouse effect has been conclusively proven. The slightly-informed seem to misinterpret scientific uncertainty (a very specific term referring to statistical probabilities) with a much more general 'scientists aren't sure if this is true or not'.

It is true that there is a long way to go in climate science. However, this is no reason not to teach it in schools. There are many unknowns in the science (as with any field of science); these should not be understated, but neither should they be overstated - it would not be helpful for teachers to spread yet more excessive doubt. Finally, it is of particular importance that climate science is taught in school - the consequences of climate change are likely to be extremely grave for mankind and will impact the next generation much more than this one.

Done for different reasons, but just as delusional (1, Informative)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 2 years ago | (#38731658)

Unlike the evolution argument, the AGW crowd is generally seen as doing it not out of any sort of religious conviction, but out of economic greed and maybe a little bit of delusion, most of the anti-global warming activists use global warming as a springboard to attack conservation in general.

However, the delusions that come from rejecting them seem largely to be the same. Most of the AGW seem to think that as long as global warming isn't real then resources are infinite, so we can burn as much oil as we want and hey, since the planet isn't warming up there are absolutely no other problems associated with doing so....save for of course we are running out of oil, regardless of the temperature of the atmosphere.

Other than coal vs. nuclear(if you are AGW then it makes sense to burn coal as a power source, esp. in the US where we have tons of the stuff, and those worried about global warming should be relatively pro-nuke as it emits almost 0 CO2) there really shouldn't be a lot of practical differences between the groups, and yet there are.
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