Michael Asten on how scientific debate is warped in Australian schools:
Web resources relating to climate science provided by this committee contain at least three teaching resource references using the derogatory term “deniers”. One listed article titled “Climate deniers cause dangerous confusion” addresses claims made in a web presentation by climate science contrarian Leon Ashby and contains the telling line: “Let’s look at Ashby’s presentation from the point of view of science. (You don’t need to have seen Ashby’s presentation to follow this one. The claims he makes are typical of so called ‘climate sceptics’. )”
If we ignore the multiple subheadings in the genre of “deniers”, “deception”, “nonsense” and “dangerous”, this article contains useful if incomplete material for science teaching. But the suggestion that it is not necessary to read the source material before engaging in a critique shows a lamentable teaching methodology.
The presentation of conclusion as incontrovertible fact, coupled with the use of derogatory terminology for the “other side”, fails to provide our future scientists with an appropriate sense of the scientific method of objective argument, hypothesis and experimental method or produce that inspiration which comes from studying scientific controversy.
I remember my year nine science text-book doing a similar thing with the moon landing conspiracies; giving the conspiratorial argument alongside a scientific reply. The difference is that – to my knowledge anyway – there is no scientific reply by the conspiracy theorists. This hatchet job on Ashby makes a mockery of science by excluding one side of the argument and forgetting that science is defined by debate. Students are being sucked into this fallacy that science is unquestionably authoritative and one-sided.
In my Environmental Science classes, only one lesson was devoted to the other side of the debate. Our teacher merely informed us that there was another point of view, and showed us a video featuring Andrew Bolt. A token gesture. The rest of the course was dedicated to renewable energy, greenhouse theory, energy efficiency and alarmist outcomes, while ignoring the key parts of the debate; namely the hockey stick controversy and climate sensitivity.
We were uncritically shown Al Gore’s now debunked movie, forcing us to sit through the hysteria and self-adulation the former vice-president engaged in. We were told that the film contained errors, but none were specified. This is unfortunate, considering the deception surrounding the Vostok ice cores. For high school students, it is difficult to critically evaluate what appears to be irrefutable evidence of man-made global warming, especially when we’re dissuaded from questioning “the science”. The concept of causation did not occur to anyone. For us, this was proof.
The precautionary principle was taught as though it was scientific idea, rather than as the flawed approach to policy-making and environmental propaganda that it is. We learned about the potential beneficial uses of organisms, something which I now realise provides environmentalists the excuse the preserve every possible species, justified on the off-chance they might hold the cure to cancer or something like that. Together, these two ideas provide the green crowd with a potent tool to prevent industrial development. Of course, I couldn’t see through that at the time.
On the plus side, I did have one science teacher who was dismissive of global warming alarmism.
(Via Andrew Bolt)