Global Warming Denial and Its Evolutionary Cousin
Leslie Kaufman has a good article in today’s Times about how Creationists are latching on to the “controversy” over climate change and arguing that just as science classes treat climate change with skepticism, so should they treat evolution.
This, to me, seems like learning precisely the wrong lesson: science classes should treat neither subject with very much skepticism, as consensus on those issues is as solid as one could possibly expect. But the article does mention something which I have thought for some time: that the know-nothing movement demanding that we “debate” climate change uses the same tactics, and is likely made up of many of the same persons that demand “alternate viewpoints” to evolution be taught in the classroom.
Its no surprise that the Texas Board of Education has mandated teachers present “all sides” of the Climate Change and Evolution “debates”, but Kentucky and other states are considering legislation of similar impact, and a vocal minority would like to see such rules nationally mandated. (Ironically, the same minority that usually demands “small government”)
Meanwhile, The Times Magazine has a fantastic article by Elizabeth Green on new paradigms in improving elementary school teaching techniques. The article mostly focuses on how to teach math to an 8-year-old – a fascinating enough subject, but one which, I think, deserves less scrutiny than she gives it. If he’s smart, an 8-year-old will eventually learn arithmetic. But if he’s continually told that evolution and climate change are all massive “left-wing conspiracies”, he may just leave the classroom believing that.