Denialists of a feather stick together

NCSE’s Genie Scott in Scotland:

Comments

  1. #1 Hengist
    September 27, 2011

    49:20 “We do not make our children critical thinkers by wasting their time debating issues that are not really in contention” Liked that bit

  2. #2 Leon
    September 27, 2011

    I understand the similarities between anti-evolution and anti-global warming that have been outlined here. I don’t understand why this has warranted putting them together.

    Theory is adefined as a supposition or a system of ideas intended to explain something, esp. one based on general principles independent of the thing to be explained

    Supposition is defined as an uncertain belief

    The speaker states The “theory” of evolution

    she does not say the “theory” of global warming

    In school as a child I was taught what theory meant. I was then taught evolution as if it were fact. Why is this? I do not believe evolution is fact and I do believe global warming is fact. The similarities of disbelief in these to subjects does not make them comparable.
    Please check out my blog on health and nutrition to experience my form of non manipulated thinking.

  3. #3 Greg Laden
    September 27, 2011

    Leon, I see that there is some confusion here.

    First, the terms like “climate change” and “theory of evolution” are not really the technical simplistic formulae they sound like or that you apparently think of them as. These phrases are as much a cultural phenomenon as anything else, and arguing about the validity of the science based on high school textbook attempts to teach “the scientific method” to 15 year olds is reductio ad absurdum. Second, the “Theory of Evolution”‘s closest equivalent to “anthropogenic global warming” would be something like “Earth Systems” or “Global Dynamics” … which would then include climate change. Or, going the other way, global warming mapped on to the theory of evolution might be something like the role of feathered dinosaurs in relation to bird evolution … a small part of the larger whole. Perhaps in your statement you are recognizing that difference, I’m not sure. Third, I’m not sure what “I do not believe evolution is a fact” means.

    The reason that these two “things” are grouped together is not because it is appropriate to put The Theory of Evolution and AGW in one category, but rather, because the AGW denialists and the Creationists are very similar and very very often the same exact people, use similar techniques and most importantly, both are attacking science education from several angles.

    And my good friend Genie, in the video, is the Executive Directory of the National Center for SCIENCE EDUCATION thus the link, the talk, etc.

  4. #4 Anonymous
    September 29, 2011

    She was almost right about the climate deniers not yet using the “academic freedom” tactic:

    HOW TO GET EXPELLED FROM SCHOOL:
    A guide to climate change for pupils, parents and punters

    Ian Plimer
    Foreword by Václav Klaus,
    President of the Czech Republic

  5. #5 Jerry
    September 29, 2011
  6. #6 dhogaza
    September 29, 2011

    I was then taught evolution as if it were fact. Why is this? I do not believe evolution is fact and I do believe global warming is fact. The similarities of disbelief in these to subjects does not make them comparable.

    Leon, given that evolution and recent global warming are both observed facts, it does make them exactly comparable.

    Note that evolution-as-observed-fact wasn’t an invention of Darwin. Naturalists had long argued “what explains the apparent evolution of species in the fossil record?” before Darwin published. Look up “Lamarck”, for instance. Others were of the opinion that God put this evidence into the fossil record to tempt us into unfaithfulness.

    Darwin’s Theory of Evolution was his explanation for these long-observed-facts (note that Lamarck’s attempt to explain evolution preceded Darwin’s Origin of the Species by something like a half century!).

    Now there is a major difference between Darwin’s ToE and modern climate science.

    Darwin’s ToE explained observations in the fossil record that had been known for (roughly) a century) plus his own and others’ exhaustive cataloging and observing of modern life forms.

    Climate Science predicted that, if we put enough CO2 into the atmosphere, we’d cause earth’s climate to warm noticeably. Global warming is a *prediction* of radiative physics, etc, while the ToE was an explanation for many, many past and present observations.

    In a sense, that’s made climate science easier to deny, because the predictions pre-dated significant warming (i.e. a warming signal greater than noise in the system) by decades.

    Today, though, there’s no excuse, because prediction after prediction after prediction made by climate scientists has become true. As predicted, the apple has fallen and hit us on the head.

    But 20 years ago, it was reasonable to question how quickly and how significantly the planet would warm, as the signal was just emerging from the noise (though not necessarily in the migratory patterns of certain animals such as Golden Eagles, which about 20 years ago was my first exposure to the notion that warming was having an effect *now* rather than *in the future, someday, no one knows when*).

    No longer. And 20 years ago there was no rational reason to reject that evolution, as refined over the decades by evolutionary biologists, is real and very much in line with what Darwin had discovered.

    Note, too, that evolution doesn’t address the ultimate question as to how life arose in the first place.