Teaching Global Warming in Mesa County, CO

A petition with 600 signatures was presented to the Mesa County school board in Colorado state, asking that teachers present a “balanced” view of global warming in the science classrooms. Balanced Education for Everyone (BEE) is behind the petition and has chosen the Mesa County school board as a national test case for banning the teaching of human caused global warming in the classroom or at least to present anthropogenic global warming as a political opinion rather than well-established scientific consensus. So far, the school board has accepted the petition, but has not yet taken action. Check out this Denver Post article with more details about the situation.

This sounds eerily similar to the “teach the controversy” issue about teaching creationism/intelligent design alongside¬† evolution in public schools.

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One thought on “Teaching Global Warming in Mesa County, CO

  1. Alex B. Berezow Post author

    Global warming is occurring; that fact is not up for debate. But the extent to which it is man-made, the precise causes, and the amount of damage it may or may not cause the planet are based on computer models which are, by their very nature, inherently speculative. Computer models are imperfect (and sometimes inaccurate), and nobody really knows what’s going to happen 100 years from now. In a 2009 Geophysical Research Letters article, the authors are unable to fully explain why current global temperatures have not been rising as expected, and they predict that global warming will be “on hold” for the next 30 years. (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/29469287/wid/18298287/)

    The point is, even among climate scientists, the extent to which global warming will occur, how long it will occur, and what damage it may cause are completely unknown. So, why shouldn’t students be free to debate it? It’s not like they’re debating whether or not the earth is round.

    What I feel is particularly disturbing is an increasing trend among scientists (and politicians, like Al Gore) to shut down debate rather than foster it. We are a free society that relies on freedom of thought— and that includes all the stupid thoughts, too. If scientists are correct in their beliefs (and they often are), then there is nothing to fear from a little public debate.

    Reply

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