By a 36-30 vote, the South Dakota legislature recently passed House Concurrent Resolution 1009, “Calling for balanced teaching of global warming in the public schools of South Dakota.”

Fans of the creation/evolution struggle will recall that the US Supreme Court in 1987 struck down a “balanced time” law for creationism and evolution in Louisiana. In that case, the creationist alternative was so clearly religious in nature that the bill was found to violate the 1st amendment, and the bill’s claim to be defending “academic freedom” was judged to be “a sham.”

South Dakota’s bill adopts a similar strategy to that of earlier creationist bills. In this case, though, it isn’t evolution that the authors seek to deny, but the overwhelming evidence that human actions are causing world climate to increase. In support of their science denial, state legislators cite oft-debunked claims that vineyards in Greenland disprove global warming, repeat CEI’s absurd characterization of carbon dioxide as “not a pollutant but rather a highly beneficial ingredient for all plant life on earth,” quote the absurdly mismanaged and inherently meaningless OISM statement, and repeat nonsense about global temperatures declining for the last 8 years.

Interestingly, NCSE has tracked no anti-evolution incidents in South Dakota for the last 5 years. I generally believe that to be an indication not of some failure of creationism in South Dakota, but the unwillingness of South Dakotans to complain about creationism when it pops up. This provides an opportunity to test the claim: will South Dakotans rally their state senate to the defense of good science and teachers’ freedom to teach the best science (rather than ideological pseudoscience), or will they sit on their hands?

Concerned citizens should call their state senators and Governor Mike Rounds to tell them that this bill needs to die.

Comments

  1. #1 kim
    February 19, 2010

    Give it up. Even my tire guy knew that AGW is a fraud and that the revelation that it is will be good for the economy.
    ==================================

  2. #2 denature
    February 19, 2010

    Wow. I thought this would die in committee (and I don’t think the Senate has passed this yet). South Dakota science standards are actually pretty good concerning evolution. There was a plank by the republican party in 2006 supporting teaching creationism, but it went nowhere and hasn’t reappeared as a resolution at their conventions since.
    http://www.rapidcityjournal.com/app/blogs/politicalblog/?p=1392

    The sponsor of the bill is definitely a creationist. And there is much global warming denialism in the state, but it’s by no means uniform. There are even some republicans who feel that legislating content in the classroom rather than standards is too much.
    http://www.rapidcityjournal.com/app/blogs/politicalblog/?p=4817#comments
    But the vote totals in the House are a tad disturbing.

  3. #3 Glenn Branch
    February 19, 2010

    “That there are a variety of climatological, meteorological, astrological, thermological, cosmological, and ecological dynamics that can effect world weather phenomena and that the significance and interrelativity of these factors is largely speculative.”

    If it comes to that, I guess that I am willing to believe that the significance of astrological factors in affecting world weather phenomena is largely speculative.

  4. #4 denature
    February 19, 2010

    Heh. Nice catch Glenn. I hadn’t seen that reported before.

  5. #5 Marion Delgado
    February 20, 2010

    It’s time to formally declare free market economics a religion and the people involved in things like this should be listed as not simple market believers, but market fundamentalists.

    Gods: corporations. immortal, all-powerful, unaccountable to human beings. Yet they’re also personal, alive, with full human rights – and it’s illegal to say they’re not.

    The supernatural: The market uses invisible hands to make everything perfect. The market has magic you can rely on.

    Poor understanding of information: The faith still teaches the Austrian doctrine that information processing by non-market groups is done by quill pen on horseback, so no bureaucrat could possibly know how many shoes schoolchildren will need next year – because a mysterious force would prevent them asking the schools. For the same reason, MITI couldn’t guess correctly what were the rising markets or desired products – which is why all the sales of Japanese cars in the US in the 1970s were hallucinations.

    Unfalsifiable: Whenever the market fails – Iceland, Argentina, Chile, the Great Depression – it’s not a true failure of Market-God. You can always find regulatory sins, however minor, that prove that we failed Market-God.

  6. #6 Modusoperandi
    February 20, 2010

    kim “Even my tire guy knew…”
    Agreed. Too many people listen to the so-called “experts” over the gut-feelings of their “tire guy”, I think. That’s why I’m ignoring my so-called “dentist” and listening instead to some guy who doesn’t know much, if anything, about teeth.

    “…that AGW is a fraud and that the revelation that it is will be good for the economy.”
    So, it’s false, but (I assume) “[if] it is” real, it’ll be good? I’m sure that the millions in sub-saharan Africa, as well as the nearly-billion in India, among other places, will be much chastened when they find out how good you, personally, will have it. I’m sure their suffering will be worth it.

  7. #7 Jack
    February 20, 2010

    Way to go South Dakota! AGW is a known fraud, an unproven theory. No wonder fewer and fewer people are buying what the global warming extremists are selling. I am glad good, decent folks are rising up against extremists!

  8. #8 DavidCOG
    February 20, 2010

    kim:

    > Even my tire guy knew that AGW is a fraud…

    You’d need to be an idiot to get your climate science from a ‘tire guy’. Everyone knows you get it from hotdog vendors.

    Marion Delgado,

    > You can always find regulatory sins, however minor, that prove that we failed Market-God.

    lol. Did you see PZ Myers’ recent post, defining libertarianism? Very accurate: http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2010/02/libertarianism_defined.php

  9. #9 Bill Stone
    February 20, 2010

    I will now prove that AGW is nothing more than science fiction:

    It has no control group.

    Anyone with the slightest training in the scientific method knows that a control group is absolutely necessary in order to determine what changes to the experimental group are actually doing.

    Period.

    If you argue against this, you are arguing against the scientific method itself.

    Period.

    Any “scientist” (and I am one) who argues otherwise completely discredits themselves and anything they may have ever said or done professionally.

    No control group == no science.

    Period.

    Particularly when dealing with something the size of Earth, the variables are numerous and complex. Does a butterfly flapping its wings in Africa cause a Tsunami in Asia? Maybe, but until we have a control group (i.e. a planet exactly like Earth whose only life form is one butterfly in Africa) we’ll never know.

    Period.

    AGW makes numerous, vast assumptions about the nature of the planet and the way it works. There is no control group behind any of the theories that back the assumptions, therefore the assumptions are themselves invalid.

    As to statistics, anyone who believes that modern statistics are in the slightest bit relavant have no conception of the geological timeframe in which climatology operates. Keep making measurements until about 2500 and you might have something that will show a short-term trend. Keep it up until 5000, and you might have the basis of a theory. Keep it up until the year 10,000, and you may have a theory you can prove.

    Until then, any measurements made prior to the invention of precise digital thermometers are useless. Any made since that time can only be considered the first few data points — and you need another 10,000 years’ worth to really see a pattern.

    Ice and geologic core samples? Useful, but not good data. A six-foot ice core has gone through who-knows-what over the course of the thousands or even millions of years that it might represent. We can only get — at best — a very gross idea of what might have been going on. But since no one was there taking measurements, we have no really accurate data.

    AGW is science fiction. Period. You want to impress anyone, bring the data back in another 10,000 years and we’ll see what you’ve got.

  10. #10 NJ
    February 20, 2010

    Anyone with the slightest training in the scientific method knows that a control group is absolutely necessary in order to determine what changes to the experimental group are actually doing.

    And anyone who is actually a scientist knows that your middle-school-level caricature of the scientific method demonstrates that your opinions are fundamentally ignorant and can be safely ignored.

  11. #11 guthrie
    February 20, 2010

    Actually, the first evidence for AGW was the observation that CO2 gas blocks infra red at some wavelengths. When this knowledge is added into equations describing the energy flux of the earth, what do you know but it turns out that the atmosphere, with CO2, water vapour, methane and other gases, keeps more heat in than would be the case without it.
    And all this has been and can be demonstrated physically.
    After that its simple – add more CO2 and methane and CFC’s etc, and the temperature goes up.

    No need for a control group or odd assumptions, its boring old physics all the way.

    By the way Bill, your claim to be a scientist is one of the first signs of a crank. Real scientists know more about how science works than you demonstrate, although I’ll admit I had to learn mine after university, since they didn’t do a good job of teaching how science works.

  12. #12 Rory Roybal
    February 20, 2010

    Are origins about science?

    We are told evolution is science and creation is religion, but this is false. Neither are science, since both views can’t be observed, tested, repeated or falsified as as required for proof by the scientific method. Since both views require faith to believe, they are both philosophies or religions, but do not meet the qualifications for true science. See the real story here.

  13. #13 guthrie
    February 20, 2010

    Roy – when the police find a dead body in a room which has been shot in the head, do they give up and say “we don’t know what happened here because nobody saw it, and we can’t shoot someone else in the head just to prove how it was done.”
    No, they gather evidence and work out what happened, within the known laws of the universe.

    Moreover we have the genetic code showing how all life forms on earth are related to each other, thus common descent; we have the fossil record showing changes over time, as you would expect with evolution; we have observed speciation and evoltion in everything from bacteria to fish.

    Thus your complaing is false and totally without any merit whatsoever.

  14. #14 Marion Delgado
    February 21, 2010

    Josh:

    On a less didactic plane, maybe someone should get this to Ed Schultz in an easily digestible form that shows why it’s not a good idea.

    I don’t listen to Schultz much but I believe he’s fairly influential in South Dakota.

  15. #15 denature
    February 21, 2010

    Ed is carried on some stations in South Dakota, but the citizen in me requires that I point out that he is from North Dakota not South Dakota. We’re a bit sensitive about confusing the two. South Dakota is home to Mt. Rushmore, the hometown of January Jones (and Tom Brokaw if that helps), and the someday functional Deep Underground Science and Engineering Lab.

    I believe the badlands of both states contributed important fossils to the field of paleontology.

  16. #16 Modusoperandi
    February 21, 2010

    There’s a North Dakota now? Sheesh!

  17. #17 Daniel J. Andrews
    February 21, 2010

    Great post, Joshua. You summed up my thoughts about the similarity between this legislation and evolution very nicely.
    –dan (a fellow ecologist and biologist from the Great White North)

  18. #18 Ralph Hansen Ph. D.
    February 23, 2010

    Wow, there are some really passionate believers in the global warming religion on this so-called science blog.

    There are a lot of misguided people in South Dakota, and many of them apparently read this ridiculous blog.

    Astrology is an archaic term for what we now call Astronomy.
    And while the author certainly meant “astronomical” instead of “astrological” in the bill, at least they weren’t stupid enough to believe human activity is causing dangerous warming of our planet.

    There was never anything beyond pure conjecture and fabricated evidence dumped into computer models to support the loony hypothesis of anthropogenic global warming in the first place.

    Meanwhile, in the years that socialists have been pushing this crazy idea on the world, mountains of evidence has come to light which makes it laughable to believe in that theory.

    Representative Kopp and supporters of this legislation are doing South Dakota and the world a favor by trying to stop Leftist propaganda from being foisted on unsuspecting school children.

    Ralph

  19. #19 Liberty1640SiouxFalls
    February 23, 2010

    Ralph I agree but unfortunately the global warming lies are only brought fourth under the cover of a Leftest paradigm when it’s nothing more than a banker backed NWO populatiopn control agenda to destroy the middle class.. That’s the real AlCIA-da.
    Since ClimateGate many of those in the lower levels of the warming fraud have resigned (Phil Jones and other elite thugs caught red handed defrauding climate science, the proof is out. This is old news. Warming and the cause via a live giving gas is exposed. But don’t worry. They will keep doing what they can too deliver the death blow to freedom.

    The problem is they think it’s liberals and not hell bent globalists.. If Global Warming was a real threat we would see these same people writing and protesting ten the times amount on GMO food which IS killing people NOW. Where is the investigation by these folks to the food? /Well that’s their main system to reduce the population.. Get it??

  20. #20 Modusoperandi
    February 23, 2010

    Oh, come on! At least try to stay in the real world, you two.
    You’re both forgetting the secret Freemason cabal, not to mention the International Communist Conspiracy and the insidious Gay Agenda!

  21. #21 denature
    February 24, 2010

    If he meant ‘astronomical’ then what was the point of putting in the word ‘cosmological?’

    Classroom education should be about what the balance of evidence indicates, not providing equal time for every alternative viewpoint. What’s next, requiring our teachers to illustrate the connection between genetically modified organisms and the new world order? Oh wait.

    If you want the litany of points from the South Dakota resolution in the classroom, the first step is to actually get valid research published into peer-reviewed journals, not do an end around. Given Don Kopp’s views on creationism and homosexuality, I doubt his interest is in improving science education.

  22. #22 Marion Delgado
    February 24, 2010

    The barbarians of science denial, finally driven out of biology, have moved to the outskirts of climate science, where they’re encamped, committing atrocities, and planning raids.

  23. #23 Jesse Fell
    February 24, 2010

    Is AGW a fraud? If so, we need to find out why the arctic ice cap and almost all of the world’s glaciers are melting; and why nights are staying warmer; and why the number of tropical cyclones that reach the highest intensity is increasing; and why there is kudzu in Long Island; and why the oceans are rising. All of these changes are consistent with increases in atmospheric CO2. If someone insists that they are caused by a “cycle of nature”, two questions arise: 1) How can CO2 NOT be causing all of these changes, when the laws of physics state that it naturally would be the cause?, and 2) What is the cause of the cycle of nature? (Cycles of natures are just repeated strings of events that themselves have causes.) But, I see some value in teaching a “balanced” view of AGW — it could, if done right, lead students to a deeper understanding of science, and it could also provide them with an understanding of the ways that human beings deceive themselves, for false comfort, and for profit.

  24. #24 Jesse Fell
    February 24, 2010

    In a previous posting, we read: “Phil Jones and other elite thugs caught red handed defrauding climate science, the proof is out.” Actually, what Phil Jones referred to, now famously, as a “trick” when he constructed his version of the hockey stick, was to use a set of direct instrumental data in place of a highly problematic proxy data. This choice is justifiable on scientific grounds. Proxy data always has a much higher margin of error than direct data, and the particular set of tree ring data that Jones decided not to use is highly anomalous and probably reflects factors such as pollution and the recent slight decrease in solar radiation. When better data is available, who would not use it? And to assert that Jones and company are thugs, elitists, and leftists out to destroy freedom is to assert what one does not know, and therefore to violate the old admonition: “Thou shalt not bear false witness.”

  25. #25 Sam
    February 25, 2010

    Global warming is just a theory, like Obama’s birth certificate, no facts are there. And look at all this record snow we’re getting to know global warming is thoroughly debunked.

  26. #26 Josh Rosenau
    February 25, 2010

    Liberty1640SiouxFalls: “Get it??”

    You mean what you’ve got is communicable?

  27. #27 sailrick
    February 27, 2010

    Posted by: Sam

    “Global warming is just a theory, like Obama’s birth certificate, no facts are there. And look at all this record snow we’re getting to know global warming is thoroughly debunked.”

    I hate tell you this Sam, but gravity is also just a theory.
    You don’t understand the difference between a theory and a hypothesis. A theory is an idea that is backed by evidence and has made it through the process of rigorous peer review and has shown repeatability by other scientists.

    Snow disproves global warming?

    FACTS:

    Fact
    One of the big snowstorms that hit Wash DC happened on the warmest Feb 6 on record.

    Fact
    Washington DC is having normal winter temperatures.

    Fact
    Warmer air carries more moisture and hence more precipitation. This says nothing about it being colder than normal. It just has to be cold enough to snow. It’s winter

    Fact
    No one said global warming eliminates winter.

    Fact
    This has been the warmest winter (November-January), so far, in the satellite records.

    Fact
    This snow was a few days in one region, and is local weather variability, not long term global climate. The U.S. only represents about 2.5% of global land mass.

    Fact
    At the same time, Vermont and Vancouver (where the Olympics are being held), don’t have enough snow for sking. It was 55 F in Vancouver.

    Fact
    A study has shown that most to the United States gets more snow during warm winters than during cold winters.

    Fact
    Climate scientists only say the earth has warmed about 1.4 deg F over a century or so. They didn’t say winter would turn into summer at your house.

    Fact
    What they have said is that there will be weather extremes, more and more. But they don’t as a rule claim that any particular storm or extreme season is the result of global warming. The fact is that we are experiencing El Nino again, which probably explains the wierd weather.

    “”It’s important that people recognize that weather is not the same as climate, and record-breaking storms neither negate nor prove climate change,” Jane Lubchenco of NOAA said.

    What’s interesting, is that while scientists are loath to attribute any particular storm or patch of bad weather to global warming, they have said that there will be more weather extremes. So what do the deniers do? As soon as there is extreme weather, they claim it’s proof against global warming.

    Fact
    Latest scientific data shows 2009 as second warmest since 1830.

    Fact
    Last month was the 4th warmest January since 1830.

    But to these idiots, one week of snow in a few percent of the globe cancels all that out.
    Do you think maybe they are ignoring a few facts?

    “Donald Trump has called for Al Gore to be stripped of the Nobel Peace prize he was awarded for campaigning on climate change. The billionaire tycoon said record-breaking snow storms proved that the former US Vice-President was wrong on global warming, and that policies aimed at tackling carbon emissions were harming America’s economy.”

    If that is his contribution, he is an idiot. A 5th grader could explain the difference between one week of bad weather in one region; and long term global climate change.
    What has he contributed to society? He’s famous for what, being rich, making deals, having trophy wives and a bad toupe?

    Sean Hannity made similar comments, with a nod of approval from Sen McCain.
    McCain has done more flip flops than a Mexican jumping bean. Now he claims he has never supported cap and trade, when actually he co-authored a cap and trade bill.

    Our addiction to Oil is what is ruining our economy, our national security and the environment.
    Even the Pentagon understands that. The costs from climate change, with a business as usual scenario, would stagger the economy far beyond anything ever experienced.

  28. #28 sailrick
    February 27, 2010

    Obama’s birth certificate?

    You must be kidding. You’re also a birther?

    Funny, but Obama’s birth was also recorded in the newspaper in Hawaii that day. Of course there’s always the chance that they had a fortune teller who knew that Obama would run for U.S. President 50 years later.

  29. #29 Mary Jordaine
    February 27, 2010

    Not only do the South Dakatoka teachers now have to tell their students that global warming may caused by astrology, they have to confess that it may also be caused by medical thermal imaging, that’s what thermology is. It doesn’t surprise me that the idiots who drafted – and passed – this bill are birthers.

  30. #30 goodtallviking
    June 1, 2010

    The congregation and the High Priests of the Church of the AGW are growing frantic. Why, it has only been a few years since they had many folks snowed with their razzle dazzle, and now look.
    People are treating the AGW “crisis” just as they treated the Y2K crisis on January 2, 2000. Or worse, they are laughing at how the AGW hysterial reminds them of other “crises” spawned by the academo-entertainment complex. People are recalling the (a) Population Bomb (a bust!), the (b) “Horrors of DDT” (now being brought back into use as quite safe after an estimated 50M children died of malaria) (c)the comming ice age (Time,INc., 1975), the (d) “heterosexual break out of AIDS” (odd… never happened either).
    BUMMER… What shall the academo-entertainers do for attention when all the really smart people (those who have real jobs and produce real stuff) simply ignore them ?

    Can you cry “WOLF” just once more?

  31. #31 Tommy
    September 1, 2010

    Global warming deniers are ignorant, uninformed, as well as traitor to Earth and to all that lives in it.

Current ye@r *