The Arkansas Times has an excellent article on the difficulties of science teaching in that state (an article that was originally published in the Reports of the NCSE, too). It's darned depressing: the creationists don't need to get their laws passed in order to kneecap science teaching. Here's a geology teacher who has been muzzled by fear:
Teachers at his facility are forbidden to use the “e-word” (evolution) with the kids. They are permitted to use the word “adaptation” but only to refer to a current characteristic of an organism, not as a product of evolutionary change via natural selection. They cannot even use the term “natural selection.” Bob feared that not being able to use evolutionary terms and ideas to answer his students’ questions would lead to reinforcement of their misconceptions.
But Bob’s personal issue was more specific, and the prohibition more insidious. In his words, “I am instructed NOT to use hard numbers when telling kids how old rocks are. I am supposed to say that these rocks are VERY VERY OLD ... but I am NOT to say that these rocks are thought to be about 300 million years old.”
How can this happen? Arkansas doesn't have any laws mandating this kind of hesitancy, and evolution is one of the subjects they are supposed to teach. What we have, though, are religious extremists who don't give a damn about science teaching anyway, and are ready to go into a hysterical fit over it and withdraw support for education. The article is very gentle with the administrators, but I won't be: these guys are cowards.
With regard to Bob’s geologic time scale issue, the program director likened it to a game of Russian roulette. He admitted that probably very few students would have a real problem with a discussion about time on the order of millions of years, but that it might only take one child’s parents to cause major problems. He spun a scenario of a student’s returning home with stories beginning with “Millions of years ago …” that could set a fundamentalist parent on a veritable witch hunt, first gathering support of like-minded parents and then showing up at school board meetings until the district pulled out of the science program to avoid conflict. He added that this might cause a ripple effect, other districts following suit, leading to the demise of the program.
We have to realize that administrators are a craven lot who are going to bow to the loudest, so there is one thing we have to do: when some fundamentalist loon tries to poison science education in your school district, you have to turn out and outnumber the kooks ten to one. It's all we can do, and it can be done. The Minnetonka school district did a fantastic job of shutting out a few creationist school board members. I really think local activism is the most important component of any strategy to beat back these nutcases.
Of course, we've still got rot at the top. Huckabee, the governor of the state and another crackpot Republican considering a run for the presidency, is another science illiterate who thinks kids should be taught garbage.
Here is an excerpt from one of [Huckabee's] broadcasts, from July 2004:
Student: Many schools in Arkansas are failing to teach students about evolution according to the educational standards of our state. Since it is against these standards to teach creationism, how would you go about helping our state educate students more sufficiently for this?
Huckabee: Are you saying some students are not getting exposure to the various theories of creation?
Student (stunned): No, of evol … well, of evolution specifically. It’s a biological study that should be educated [taught], but is generally not.
Moderator: Schools are dodging Darwinism? Is that what you …?
Huckabee: I’m not familiar that they’re dodging it. Maybe they are. But I think schools also ought to be fair to all views. Because, frankly, Darwinism is not an established scientific fact. It is a theory of evolution, that’s why it’s called the theory of evolution. And I think that what I’d be concerned with is that it should be taught as one of the views that’s held by people. But it’s not the only view that’s held. And any time you teach one thing as that it’s the only thing, then I think that has a real problem to it.
The author has the same feeling I do about all of this.
Because anti-evolutionists have been quite successful in placing members of their ranks and sympathizers in local legislatures and school boards, it is imperative that we point out the danger that these people pose to adequate science education. The science literacy of our future leaders may depend on it. Although each school, each museum, or each science center may seem to be an isolated case, answering to — and, perhaps trying to keep peace with — its local constituency, the examples suggest that evolution is being squeezed out of education systematically and broadly. Anti-evolutionists have been successful by keeping the struggle focused on the local level. The fallout is widespread ignorance of the tools and methods of science for generations to come.
All of this out-of-hand dismissal of scientific theories is beginning to get physically nauseating for me. The next time I hear something like "There is no evidence for global warming" or something in the same vein about evolution, I'm going to puke.
I'll just be sure to aim for the offender's shoes.
Nothing new here, really -- I never took any biology at university, but in high school the teachers all self censored to avoid getting into trouble -- I learned about evolution because I was fascinated by dinosaurs and "cavemen" (& Edgar Rice Burroughs, but he was definitely into teleology rather than natural selection -- still, NOT the six days of creation that I was taught in Baptist Sunday School)
At the risk of getting puked on myself, once again I'm going to point to psychomarketing, the mass media, how mass decision making in America is currently, actually done, and the way human beings process information.
Science has got BIG problems and a totally new communication environment in which to cope with them. Here's one of the milder comments I made on Carl Zimmer's latest post about Randy Olson's film, Hipster Dodos
It would be great if someone could figure out a way to educate the science community about psychomarketing without those community members having to first admit they don't get it. [Sigh.] I've come to realize it's gonna be tough to convince such smart, knowledgeable, and analytical people that they aren't behaving in a such a smart, knowledgeable, and analytical manner . . .
Maybe it will take a catastrophic defeat -- or two. Those are clearly coming if the present thinking is maintained. Let's hope, at that point, the hole science has dug itself into isn't too deep. But the writing is on the wall, bigtime.
Sadly, I think you'll find that the sam ething happens in many states with "good" science standards. Anything perceived as even remotely controversial will be skipped or given only the briefest treatment.
Science is not in danger. Science education is in danger, and anyone who's concerned about the future economic and technological viability of this country should get involved in supporting it.
It's no wonder that the poorest states in the country are those that harbour the highest numbers of these kooks. What biotech company would want to locate in a state where kids don't know anything about the most basic theory in biology coming out of high school? This will only get worse as biotech becomes a larger industry. I can only hope that eventually, governers like Huckabee are held responsible for taking their state's economy in the tank for years to come.
I would think the fastest way to fix this would be elite colleges to stop accepting anyone from schools that didn't teach evolution. Eventually, when their kids are being denied opportunities (or even threatened with denial of opportunities), more moderate parents that right now don't care whether their kids are taught evolution or not will get off their butts and make some noise.
I don't like the idea of punishing students so severely for their school system's inadequacies.
How about this: mandate an extra semester (or possibly even a full year) of biology, on top of any existing science requirements, for students whose high school education did not include evolution. That isn't as onerous as not admitting them at all, but having to lose out on that many elective credits will be a sufficient wake-up call to the moderate parents.
Just to rub it in, the remedial biology classes could also include a full analysis of creationism and intelligent design as examples of pseudoscience. :)
Dustin, no no not on their shoes, down their shirt front. That might give them some idea of how this garbage makes us feel.
I didn't like the idea of punishing the students either, but really, anything less would probably fail to get the attention of some of these parents.
I mentioned that it might be possible to use it as more of a threat than anything else; something like "We're revising our standards and in five years, we expect all of our incoming biology students to have a background in evolution". I think that could have enough of an effect, at the very least to get the truly concerned parents to change their school system.
Of course, it would depend on which schools did this -- obviously schools run by fundamentalists aren't going to be doing this any time soon and small state schools far away from Arkansas (Like, say, Morris) aren't likely to affect an Arkansas school district. On the other hand, if prominent state schools like Michigan or selective private schools like Harvard did this, it could have a bigger effect.
Something close to this is happening in California, The UC system will not accept science classes from some Christian high schools as valid credits for admission due to their teaching of creationism. Now the fundamentalists are suing the UC system claiming religious discrimination. I expect this suit to work its way up the legal food chain and given the Supreme Courts current makeup I feel worried.
I also oppose that punishment, I think. Those students get punished enough when they show up at college and find their background is deficient and that they are going to have to work twice as hard to catch up.
I think we should advertise the fact that the universities aren't diluting their standards, and that the students typically get lots of evolution in their freshman year and beyond, if they're in biology. Maybe we could even make those standards more stringent.
The "punish the student" bit is probably undoable, anyway. My daughter took AP Biology here in Texas, and the teacher told her class, "The next three chapters are about evolution. You can read them if you want, but it won't be on the test." Oh, and some instruction in evo is required by the state standards, but nobody's watching...
They'll be punished enough, as PZ says, when they get to college. Kind of like 'lil me, going off to Michigan State 40 years ago with Arkansas "college prep math" under my belt. Except it never mentioned trigonometry. That made calculus a lot less fun.
I must say that I support the UC systems choice in not accepting bio credits from schools that DO NOT teach biology. Maybe UC could offer an alternative for those students, like three semesters of biology just to get them up to a reasonable standard of knowledge. This should apply to any student who comes from a high school that doesn't teach biology. The first semester would be a remedial intro, then the second would be a kind of cram session of the high school level, then the last would be a solid college level course. If they don't pass, they don't get their degree.
Being on the agnostic end of things, I would say that a faith that ignores the lessons of the natural world isn't much of a faith. It falls to the level of not letting black cats cross your path.
I take your point.
Let me rephrase. Some/many scientist's jobs and careers, and funding for whole areas of research, in the U.S., are in danger of disappearing. A process of selling these out for votes has begun and is unlikely to end anytime soon. It's probable you can add tenure to that list soon. All tenure.
The specific quote makes more sense in the context of two other posts I made there.
Dustin, no no not on their shoes, down their shirt front. That might give them some idea of how this garbage makes us feel.
Heh, I'll remember that next time Ted Haggard and his lackeys decide to invade the campus bookstore again. That shouldn't take long -- they're practically there on a weekly basis.
Ted (does his weird lip thing): OMG U CALLED MY CHILDREN ANIMALS!
Ted: Aaagh! What is that?
Me: 2 pounds of Chipotle burrito, fool!
Just a random thought to stir the pot: is it actually a bad thing that school boards (as opposed to qualified individuals) can present this sort of threat to a teacher? As the teacher is there as a representative of the scientific community, shouldn't it be that community that's responsible for deciding whether or not the teacher's subject material is acceptable?
If it is indeed a bad thing in some ways, are there any alternative systems that would be better (or is this the best of a bad bunch)?
I'm not sure I understand the question.
And what I'm pointing to is that the real question is HOW to proceed. It's quite possible to do it incorrectly and fail. This is really about political control of the nation being played out, on this issue, locally.
If pro-science people can't figure those two things out.....
The way to proceed is to present the facts, and to continue to keep creationisms out of schools. We have managed that since the inception of the creationist movement, and they are losing ground. I am not about to resort to a bunch of psycho-marketing and mind games to sway a fickle public to our side. It's dishonest, temporary, and the very fact that people remain susceptible to it is extremely dangerous. It is better for science and for the public that we teach them to think for themselves, and also that doing so is much more satisfying than giving over to Nuremberg-like fervor, slogans, and a shallow sense of belonging.
I've brought a number of my own students over to the side of sense and reason by appealing to their sense and reason. To do less is not only insulting to both them and myself, but it also cannot have the lasting effect that honest reasoning can have. Once someone learns how satisfying it is to think for themselves, they never stop doing it.
PZ, I like to read things from RSS feeds, and as it happens, in your feed only the above-the-fold part is included. That is fine, but there is no way to tell from the RSS feed which posts have more and which don't. Even posts that don't have any "below the fold" part have a "Read the Rest" link in the feed. Is there anything that can be done to remedy this?
...that could set a fundamentalist parent on a veritable witch hunt, first gathering support of like-minded parents and then showing up at school board meetings until the district pulled out of the science program to avoid conflict. He added that this might cause a ripple effect, other districts following suit, leading to the demise of the program.
So instead of risking a fight, they'll just roll over for the creationists' demands? What the hell is the point of keeping a science program that doesn't teach science?
You guys are living in a fantasy world.
Dustin, I completely disagree with you. The current issue of Science News has a feature, "Evolution in Action." Haven't read it yet, but I have an intuition. It shows a map of the U.S. all in green except Oregon, the two Dokotas, Maine, Mass, Rhode Island, New Jersy Delaware, and Alaska. These are the only states where there hasn't been anti-evolution activiity at the legislative or state school board level in the last 4 years.
On what data do you base your conclusion that creationists are losing ground? All the indications I see are exactly the opposite. Go read my posts on Zimmer. You are positing a fictitious construct when you talk about dishonesty, mind games, fervor, slogans, and a shallow sense of belonging, etc. as if this is some sort of tinselly overlay. That's not what's happening, that's not how it's done. It's manipulation based on the way human beings process information. Science tells us this.
Of course "the very fact that people remain susceptible to it is extremely dangerous". You cannot teach enough people to think for themselves. Calculate the numbers. There is no way in hell to educate ourselves out of this problem. It's impossible to educate enough voters one-on-one. And this is not a problem that can be productively analyzed using anecdotal and/or local data.
I'm not talking about people's education, I'm talking about the political control over your job [sounds like many of you are teachers] and what you're allowed to teach. These are two completely different things. Of course it's "better" for people to think clearly for themselves. But there's a great mass of people in this country who actively run away from that, and they are being systematically mobilized. There is another great mass of people who are being expertly manipulated using science-based technology. The goal of all this is to produce voters in voting booths casting ballots. Very slowly but very steadily this is being successfully carried out.
How will teaching your students to think prevent a national campaign to eradicate tenure in ten years?
Universities all over the country are fighting for financial wherewithal. State legislatures are getting involved, on the wrong side, usually. Do you have any idea what the cost will be if a Nevada-like ID referendum intitiative gets on a California ballot? If it gets onto a Nevada ballot, there's now way to stop the same in California. Our last big referendum election cost as much as a national presidential election did when Clinton ran. How much of the $20 million to run a campaign are you willing to cough up? The states that can stand up to fight this do not have enough electoral votes to control the country.
The U.S. Senate is trying to pass pro-creationist material, for crying out load.
What biotech company would want to locate in a state where kids don't know anything about the most basic theory in biology coming out of high school? This will only get worse as biotech becomes a larger industry. I can only hope that eventually, governers like Huckabee are held responsible for taking their state's economy in the tank for years to come.
The people behind this "anti-science" trend don't give a rat's ass about this! They don't, and they've got the votes. And the people behind them, the one's pulling the strings and strategizing, the upper-echelon, are running circles around, everyone else. The opposition is clueless, without any understanding of how this is being done, and thus no idea how to counteract it. How you plan on communicating to everyone else yaht their retched economic condition is due to poor science education. Get them to sit in a class?
You can't get through, people. Truth and facts, by themselves, will not be heard. The information revolution has come and gone and left American culture a zero sum game.
This description of Arkansas is true all across the country.
I live in California. The issue about UC admissions above, is a retrograde example. It's a sign of strength for and to these morons that the challenge is even being made. Meanwhile, the exact same reality on the ground in Arkansas is the reality in much of California.
[I give up on the formatting] Why should local teachers be expected to put their miserably-paid, already-overworked butts through a nearly unending series of impromptu debates with parents, formal school-specific administrative crap, and drawn out school-board procedural investigations, and shoulder the bulk of the responsibility, when all they have to do is shut up? Nobody else is there daily in the classroom with them.
You can't see the forest for the trees.
It's votes, votes, votes, votes, votes, votes, votes, votes. Votes equal power. Power equals money. Lots and lots of money.
You are not facing a grassroots opposition. It's unlikely that a grassroots campaign, alone, will succeed across the nation. The intelligent design challenge has exploded in just a couple years. Why? How? It ain't a natural social phenomenon.
You are misunderstanding that this is fundamentally a problem about science and education, when is 100% political in nature -- science and education are simply sacrifical lambs.
They are being sacrificed for votes, from which derives immense power. We live in the most powerful, richest, most abundant and magical nation that has ever existed on the planet. Leading and directing this nation politically puts one at the pinnacle of history and power [so far]. They'll screw science in a heartbeat.
SkookumPlanet, whoever you are, please start a blog or something.
You are 100% absolutely right on the money.
I would add: it doesn't matter if you are right. What matters is how you *frame the issue*.
Here's the best example that I know of: "pro life."
All I have to say is... wow...
Whoever came up wtih calling the anti-abortion movement "pro-life" is a genius. That name guarantees victory, unless the opponent knows how to counter it. What did the clueless left do? They called their side "pro-choice." Great! Now the fascists get two for one! Choice (freedom) is anti-life now, and who wants to be anti-life?
When I step way back and look at the big picture, this is what I think:
Democracy has been hacked. It is now possible to implement a dictatorship *through* democracy using psychomarketing.
I am not about to resort to a bunch of psycho-marketing and mind games to sway a fickle public to our side. It's dishonest, temporary, and the very fact that people remain susceptible to it is extremely dangerous.
Yes, it's dishonest and dangerous. But it works, and it is demonstrably un-temporary. In fact, it's the only thing that works when you're dealing with more than a handful of people at a time. The DI has known for a long time that propaganda trumps education, and that credulity is far more widespread than inquisitiveness.
It is better for science and for the public that we teach them to think for themselves, and also that doing so is much more satisfying than giving over to Nuremberg-like fervor, slogans, and a shallow sense of belonging.
It's very difficult and time-consuming to teach people to think for themselves. It's trivially easy to terrify them so badly of "eternal damnation" that they'll believe whatever you say. All you have to do is wear a funny hat and point at the sky a lot.
I've brought a number of my own students over to the side of sense and reason by appealing to their sense and reason.
A wise philosopher once said: "A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky, dangerous animals and you know it."
To do less is not only insulting to both them and myself, but it also cannot have the lasting effect that honest reasoning can have.
Psychomarketing and fearmongering are exactly how religions work in the first place, and I doubt anyone here would claim that these tactics have not had a "lasting effect" on humanity writ large.
The fact remains that creationists don't care about being right, they care about winning. It's not a scientific argument for them, which is why they never try to do any actual science, and never will. They know this just as well as we do. It's purely political. Hell, it's not even a religious issue per se, it's just being framed in religious terms.
Skookum Planet is 159% correct.
I suggest that those of you in the USa start making praprations to leave, and relocate to either Canada or Europe - Britain has a thriving boitechnology sector.
At the very latest, before the inauguration of 2016, which is my prediction for ... Gilead.
"Red state" folk sometimes complain that the rest of the country perceives them as stupid. Stories like this remind us about where that perception comes from. If you come from a place where people deliberately don't teach their children basic facts about biology, geology, history, then, yes, you probably are pretty stupid.
"The science literacy of our future leaders may depend on it."
I'm sorry, I must be hallucinating... the entire UK cabinet has one science graduate, the rest are lawyers, economists and other lowly life forms. What about the U.S.? Are congress and the Senate populated by hordes of chemists, biologists and physicists; or by ex used-car salesman, old money professional politicians and media personalities? Let me guess.
When I finished reading this I wanted to do two things. 1. Find out which rock these guys have been under and smash it, and 2. Make rude gestures at the computer screen, directed esspecial at Huckabee. "Evolution is just a theory" "We need to see all sides" "I got Ds on my report card at school" "EHHHHHHHHH!!". One word, ARRRGGGGGGGGG!!!! With these people ruining the school system it will be a wonder if evolution can last unless god comes down and says "I quit. Darwin's theories are in charge. See ya!", and even if that does happen, the extremists still aren't gunna believe it. I think all the democrats, bioligy proffesers, and aithiests who beleive in evolution should all move to canada.
all im gonna say is... im gonna feel bad when i look down on you from heaven.
youll probably just delete this comment anyway, because it contradicts your "scientific" views.
but im prayin
I went to high school in a small town in Arkansas, and I don't remember evolution being mentioned at all in my biology class. However, it was well-known that the biology teacher was fairly liberal and had a long-standing (but good-natured) feud with the chemistry teacher, who was vehemently Republican. There were no geology classes in my school, but I did attend a 2-week summer program called Project GO that involved traveling around the state looking at rocks and studying minerals. They didn't shy away from big numbers at all, and part of the objectives of the program was to learn about the time periods the various rock formations were formed in.
I also went to college at the University of Arkansas, and took freshman biology. The first day we studied evolution, the professor made a big deal out of saying that acknowledging evolution doesn't keep you from being a Christian, and if anyone had a problem with this they should see him after class. Then he went on with it and taught about it. I also took a geology class, and the professor didn't mention the political or religious problems of big numbers at all, she just taught the class the way she was supposed to.
I'm trying to stop, actually. Or at least slow way down. I do have a life I have to attend to.
I'm very frustrated. Scientists, and others, virtually all the SBers/readers, are perfectly capable of understanding what's being done. But it's as though there is a psychological blind spot.
I'm a freak. It's just my interests over a long time that have let me follow this. No way am I the smartest kid in the room.
Again, I speak to this in more detail on Carl Zimmer's latest post about Randy Olson's film, Hipster Dodos, which went up last Saturday.
And "pro-life" is as good of an example as there is. "Pro-choice" is a very poor counter. I've seen a few mention that the latter should be changed. Of course, the smart way is to have gotten it correct at the beginning. One could imagine trying to change it now leading to a horrendous internal movement battle in which lots of people would have very strong opinions based on ignorance.
Also, your phrase, Democracy has been hacked, is excellent. Mind if I use it?
I second the motion for a SkookumPlanet blog. All in favor, say, "Aye!"... Skokum's absolutely right, unfortunately, about all of this being about politics. Science has always been a victim of politics (Dembski's so full of BS about the "establishment" of science).
"Get them to sit in a class? You can't get through, people." Oh, yeah, it's a challenge. Plus, Jerry Falwell is leading a new movement to train rapid-fire debaters calculated to leave the opposition floundering. But dammit, we've got to get through. I have friends in low places (teachers, etc.) who can help me work on a science communication curriculum--we may all be Arkansans now, but I am not going to put up with this.
As for fleeing to elsewhere, I regrettably cannot think of any country with sensible science, technology and education policies ... Canada has less trouble with creationists, but our government wants to fund technology and devalue basic research, which IMO is exactly backward.
"Also, your phrase, Democracy has been hacked, is excellent. Mind if I use it?"
Go for it.
The founders could never have anticipated the information revolution and what statistics and cognitive psychology would do.
Then pray for apostrophes.
And a shift key.
For those of you who've read this far and think I'm overdramatizing what's going on, here's an example.
This is a detailed analysis of the far right's campaign to overwhelm progressive students on college campuses, Why Conservatives are Winning the Campus Wars.
Remember, all of the detail there accounts for one skirmish [organizing students, framing student thinking], in one battle [fighting for control of colleges], in the larger war [fighting for control of the U.S.].
This is one more example of "...the upper-echelon, are running circles around, everyone else. The opposition is clueless, without any understanding of how this is being done..."
In the piece there's also some explication of the national strategies their campus campaign is based on.
"Arkansas: Keeping our kids ignorant and dumb."
"This is a detailed analysis of the far right's campaign to overwhelm progressive students on college campuses, Why Conservatives are Winning the Campus Wars."
I personally think that college campuses are going to be overrun by the right very shortly. A tipping point is already occurring in smaller state schools. Private schools may hold out longer.
When that happens-- be afraid. The right will now have all three branches of government, a big chunk of the media, and a big chunk of academia. This is all being top-down organized and there is a *lotlotlotlotlotlot* of money behind it. Moreover, as many people have stated, they are using *scientific* methods from areas such as statistics and cognitive psychology to do this.
I have a request:
Could anyone post a reading list related to psychomarketing? Journal articles, books, newspaper articles, links, videos, even links to companies that do this kind of work are great!
How is this any different than what Galileo faced in the 17th Century? Religious zealots refused to believe what science was presenting them about the natural world, so the scientists were frightened into submission. Thanks, catholics.
"Eppur si muove"
The founders could never have anticipated the information revolution and what statistics and cognitive psychology would do.
They were well aware of how easily a democracy could be subverted.
Hell, they were building on the Greek and Roman traditions. They invented psychomarketing, and mastered the fine art of manipulating a fickle public through carefully-chosen words.
That is precisely why the Founding Fathers kept direct political power out of the hands of the people, while simultaneously convincing them that they held the reins.
I used to teach Geology at Misssissippi State University, and I wholeheartedly agree with your statement, Dr. Myers:
Those students get punished enough when they show up at college and find their background is deficient and that they are going to have to work twice as hard to catch up.
Geology 101 at the university level is often a key choice for non-majors who must take a science elective. Often, its chosen because people think its EASIER than physics or chemistry (my response to that is always to start the semester with a nice review of physics and chemistry, because you need a good foundation in both of these disciplines to understand many ideas in geology).
In Mississippi, I found your statement to be true: students coming into my class were so deficient in basic science understanding that 1/2 of my introduction to geology was teaching the BASICS of science: from the scientific method, all the way to how atoms work (and their relation to mineralogy, etc...).
I really and truely feel that this ridiculous "controversy" at the high school level, ruins young people for when they get into college. they come to an introductory science class in college without even the most fundemental understanding of what's going on.
sad and pathetic: and unfortunately a problem that has to wait until COLLEGE to be addressed.
I would LOVE to see my classes populated by students who have a good foundation in science: that way I could show them the true beauty and glory that is in geology (and in turn, in all the sciences. The elegance in the simplicity and power of superposition, cross cutting relationships, and may other geologic principles is what we should get to teach a the college level!!!!)
I have a bit of link resources, but not time right now to put them together. So I'm going to try something which could be poor netiquette in a least a couple ways. I hope not. If there's not an obscenely long comment after this one, it did't work for some reason.
Scientific American blogger, George Musser invited global warming skeptics to post comments. He got a lot. Two weeks ago I posted a medium length comment responding to one of his stated reasons for being interested in this, having to do with "discussions about science are being infected by a certain style of political debate." Another poster called me out on some of my comments, which I then seem to have cleared up.
But he also asked a question similar to Adam's. I wrote a very long and detailed note to his blog, with links in it. I'm going to post in below. I'll put a few caveats at the top of it.
The SciAm blog is pretty interesting. The original comments were closed, and now George has posted a second topic, a summary of the GW criticism with an open comments section. I've posted three times to that, first making an observation about the original comments and then stepping off into the deep end in the second and third by actually speaking to some science. Some of that analysis of the original comments are in the note that follows.
This political debate intruding into science discussion is itself part and parcel of what's being engineered in the country.
Then I've got to see to my life the rest of the day.
It was, not without reason, held for the approval of PZ.
Not everyone in Arkansas still runs around barefoot, and as ignorant as you suppose (although it's still a luxury we enjoy). Please go ahead and explain to my christian children that a rock is 300- million or 90-billion years old. I don't expect my children to believe that our god sat around for eternity doing nothing waiting on a seven thousand year blip to blink through time. We do believe that God created everything in the universe (see Holy Bible). We do not monkey around with our children's education.
This should apply to any student who comes from a high school that doesn't teach biology.The first semester would be a remedial intro,then the second would be a kind of cram session of the high school level.then the last would be a solid college level course.
Arkansas Treatment Centers