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August 30, 2007


Hmm...I'd be interested to know how the "neutral" category is determined. It sounds like a potentially tricky problem. A paper could appear "neutral" even if the author does accept the consensus view (if the author doesn't come out and state it). I wonder how Dr. Schulte sought to deal with that problem of detection.

Ahhh...Global Warming. Through principles and tactics I've learned from STR, I gained the knowledge and courage to react (I think appropriately and graciously)when our teachers from our local school decided to unfairly weigh in on the issue. Below is an excerpt of my response...

Although I am a Professional Environmental Engineer, I admit that I am not an expert on the issue of global warming. However; to borrow words from someone else, I support the principle that young people should be educated, not propagandized -- and I know something about what that means.

One of the most important differences between education and propaganda is how they deal with great controversies.

In education, students are taught about the controversies. In propaganda, they are shielded from them.

In education, students are taught both sides of the important debates. In propaganda, they are taught only one.

In education, students are taught both the strengths and the weaknesses of the officially favored theory. In propaganda, they are taught only its strengths.

In short, education is the training of minds, while propaganda is the training of prejudices. In a democratic republic, the public schools should not propagandize, but educate.

The mandatory curriculum guidelines for Texas, called Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS), agree with me. As we find in the science section of these guidelines, students must learn to "analyze, review, and critique scientific explanations, including hypotheses and theories, as to their strengths and weaknesses using scientific evidence and information." - 19 TAC Chapter 112.7(b)(3)(a)

If the TEKS guidelines agree with me, then what is the issue? The issue is that although students should be taught about both sides of a scientific theoretical controversy, your assignment, based on the description in your permission request, appears to only present one side and are shielded from the weaknesses contained in Al Gore’s video. How can a 5th grade student write a critique about assertions made in a global warming video without having anything to compare and contrast the assertions to? Your permission/assignment sheet gave no indication as to how, if any, the views counter to Al Gore’s video would be taught. In addition, it is not clear what alternate assignment is available to the student should they choose not to view the video.

If the theory of global warming is to be taught in your classroom, I urge that the topic should be taught like the other sciences and like other controversial theories -- with honesty about both sides.

To the Honorable members of the Board: When classroom activities and/or textbooks are biased, you (and the Texas Education Agency) are the check and balance. If global warming is to be taught within PISD, I urge you to require that the scientific data to both sides of this controversy be taught and that not one side be suppressed. To do so would be not only good training in science, but good education in citizenship.

Michael said: "To do so would be not only good training in science, but good education in citizenship"

Well said!!

The point of testing opposing views came up in the McGrath/Dawkins video linked in an earlier post.

Thank you for the good example, Michael. Please share how the school personnel responded to your letter.

"Global Warming Consensus Myth"

Based on what? A report on a paper that has yet to be published? Shouldn't we wait to see the paper and the feedback? Why is STR taking an editorial stand on a subject that is totally outside it's area of expertise? Why go out on a limb here?

Do a Technorati search and you will see an interesting pattern. Meanwhile Tim Lambert has an interesting take.

"In education, students are taught both the strengths and the weaknesses of the officially favored theory. In propaganda, they are taught only its strengths"

I don't seem to remember the Flat Earth Society's presentation in science class; perhaps I was absent that day.


Are you implying you think it is a theory that the earth is flat and that this theory has not been either proven or disproven to be fact?

When was the Flat Earth Society's position
the "officially favored theory" in science?

Uh-oh, Alan must reflexively defend the atheist-church's position or risk excommunication. AAAA! The ice caps are melting! No wait! We're heading into an ice age! No wait, whatever is bad for free trade is now a scientifically proven to kill Mother Earth! No war for oil! The fetus is a clump of tissue!

I thought Miss Teen South Carolina's answer the other night was disjointed until I read Alan's comments.

All it needed was a few:
"US Americans" The Iraq" "therefore" "such as"

I must have missed the presentation in medical school about the “bloodletting” of patients.

Bloodletting is still accepted as a form of treatment for some conditions. Those who might hyper-accumulate iron are encourage to donate blood.

Research Haemochromatosis also spelled hemochromatosis.

And Kevin, we still use leeches.

Anyway, my tongue was somewhat in my cheek with the flat earth comment but I do believe that presenting post doc issues to school kids for evaluation is a foolish waste of classroom time.

It seems to me that, if a consensus exists, we would have a declining number of papers supporting the consensus as research is supposed to advance the ball not sit on it.

My point was why is a lay person leaping to a conclusion based on a post about a paper that has yet to be published and thereby becoming available to the larger community for evaluation?

Doug and Lumbergh, instead of snarking at me, why don't you evaluate the methodology used in the paper as well as the conclusions? BTW, given your response to me, I assume both of you have the paper and have read it. Would you send to me?

"BTW, given your response to me, I assume both of you have the paper and have read it. Would you send to me?"

Sure, I'll print it out on the back of the paper that provides positive evidence for man's cause of global warming and justification of this hysteria.

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