SCHOOLS in three US states - Louisiana, Texas and South Dakota - have been told to teach alternatives to the scientific consensus on global warming. The moves appear to be allied to efforts to teach creationism in public schools. Such efforts have in the past been thwarted when courts ruled them unconstitutional, but those advocating the teaching of sound science may find it harder to fight misrepresentations concerning climate change.I can't tell if this is the "teach the controversy" ploy, the "teach the full range of scientific views" ploy, the "critical analysis/thinking" ploy or the "strengths and weaknesses" ploy. Who is telling them to do this, you ask? Why, those bastions of scientific learning, the state legislatures, of course. There is a concerted effort here that becomes plain later in the article:
Last week, South Dakota's state legislature adopted a bill which "urges" schools to take a "balanced approach" to teaching about climate change, because the science is "unresolved" and has been "complicated and prejudiced" by "political and philosophical viewpoints".
Bundling warming with evolution in calls for "academic freedom" may make it harder to challenge these laws. Steve Newton of the National Center for Science Education in Oakland, California, observes that the US constitution restricts the teaching of religious ideas in state schools, but not the teaching of bad science. A study last year found that evangelical Christians, who account for most creationists, are up to three times as likely as other Americans to deny that warming has human origins.If this is the case, then contrary to what the Moderate Voice has to say, evolution education in this country may be in for the battle of its life. Much depends on whether the courts view the connection favorably or whether they will see this as grandstanding on the part of organizations promoting the watering-down of evolution education. It may be that if court cases arise, the plaintiffs can focus on the fact that the bill covers evolution and, therefore, is religiously-based. Hard to tell how this one is going to go.
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