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Climate Change Teaching contains “omissions, simplifications and misrepresentations”

Teenagers will learn about the threat to the environment from climate change and what they can do about it, under reforms to geography teaching.

They will be encouraged to recycle consumer goods and to question whether they really need another imported pair of trainers. Other topics to be studied include the Asian tsunami and Hurricane Katrina.

Alan Johnson, the Education Secretary, said: “With rising sea temperatures, melting ice-caps and frequent reminders about our carbon footprints, we should all be thinking about what we can do to preserve the planet. Children are the key to changing society’s attitudes to the environment. Not only are they passionate about saving the planet but children also have a big influence over their own families’ lifestyles.”

In a parallel move, the Department for Education announced that it would send a copy of Al Gore’s film on climate change, An Inconvenient Truth, to every secondary school.

The reforms, to be published next week by the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority, follow criticism by scientists of the way schools have addressed issues such as climate change. Last month the Royal Society of Chemistry said that textbooks were out of date and that lessons had “omissions, simplifications and misrepresentations”.

And Al Gore and Alan Johnson's lessons don't contain “omissions, simplifications and misrepresentations”? The scientific lesson to teach them is that there is a debate and there is evidence to weigh up, and that simple slogans are rarely right. Luckily most teenagers properly distrust political messages, and are savvy enough to recognise bullshit when it is shouted at them.
The Gordon Gecko generation were all taught by corduroy bearded lefties peace, love and understanding, it was the making of them!

Comments

I wish I shared your optimism. I don't believe teenagers are savvy enough. I for one would have fallen for the "saving the planet" doctrine if it had been taught as science. My greater worry is what are they dropping from the syllabus to make room for this pseudo science?

Absolutely fascinatingobserving this process:

1] clearly there is climate change - the overwhelming majority of scientists in the fiels say so;
2] Blair and Bush latch onto it and make it a political issue, along with the EU, the UN and all the rest of the illuminati;
3] the blogosphere goes into denial, on the grounds, not of any sort of factual analysis but because a] the baddies support it and b] the blogosphere kneejerk reaction is anti-baddies.

Makes no difference how many words are written anyway - it's still happening, whether we agree or not.

James

1. This is a dynamic system. There always has been climate change, and there always will be. Consensus does not provide proof, it is at best a "best guess". For a historical example compare with Copernicus.

2. Blair and Bush have fought a good rearguard action to slow down the eco-socialist doomsayers. The EU and UN are both left-oriented organisations and to my mind, are best ignored. Apart from being unelected, they are corrupt.

3. The bits of the blogosphere that I read haven't gone into denial at all. What it has done is actually look at the Stern report and others and provide some analysis. Whether you agree with that analysis or not is up to you, but the blogosphere has at least cast a critical eye over the data, unlike the MSM which has merely echoed the "Chicken Little" message.

Whether climate change is going to be as dire as they say it is or not, I couldn't begin to guess. What I object to is having a thesis stuffed down my throat without any chance of a debate, and those that challenge the thesis are drowned out in howls of "heresy".

The "scientists" have repeatedly been shown to be selective in their data and the models they use. I believe they have been intellectually dishonest in doing this, and morally weak in not correcting the issue when caught out. Until that situation changes and they actually debate the issue, they can kiss my a**e.

James Higham writes: clearly there is climate change - the overwhelming majority of scientists in the fiels say so;

You don't need to be a scientist to know that climate changes.

And he writes: the blogosphere goes into denial, on the grounds, not of any sort of factual analysis but because a] the baddies support it and b] the blogosphere kneejerk reaction is anti-baddies

That on which there is proper scepticism is the cause of the climate change. This is an issue appropriate for scientific analysis, not spin either one way or the other. But it is spun beyond tolerance.

There are, in the current spat, two primary hypothesised causes for global warming: the anthropogenic effect of "greenhouse gases", with much emphasis on CO2, and variation in solar effects as received by planet earth. In fact both affect the climate; it is the balance between them that is the real issue.

In so far as there is any knowledge of these things, the solar flux is only known since around 1978 (from satellites). Thus we have no adequate knowledge of this as far back as the beginning of the "industrial age", let alone further. Such information as we do have concerning the past (eg the Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age) are very useful in showing us the extent of our ignorance.

Computer models are used, supposedly, to fill the gap. However, this is on the basis of assumed solar flux (about which we have inadequate knowledge). Furthermore, the computer models have ad hoc parameters that are set to better model the knowledge that we do have, given the embodied assumptions that are made. The accuracy and consistency of the models over the known period is, roughly, crap; given this, the models must clearly be crap for making predictions outside the known period. That this is so is not explained, is overlooked, is even hidden. The models tell us little to nothing that can be relied upon.

On the basis of this "little to nothing" is based a vast political and environmental spin.

As to reason, it is very difficult to know. However, I think it is based on a desire, by a large number of people, to do the right thing, and it's easier to believe a simple thing than the right thing, especially if you are told it again and again: "we sin and that's it". Then there is a political desire to control (and tax) where that is easiest.

[As an aside, James writes nice stuff on his blog. I feel with him and for him more often than not. However, I decline to emote overmuch in conflict with that appropriate scientific scepticism that I have been taught applies to science, and have learned through living to respect it as useful beyond any rhetoric from any side of any political spectrum.]

Best regards

I'm in 6th form college at the moment and I am oft overpowered by the stink of bullshit (no dairy farms nearby, it must be the propoganda). To be fair, 'enviromental issues' and the like are not talked about much. I remember at school they taught i.e. indoctrinated us with, stuff about green house gases and the rain forest. It was taught as fact, no "some scientists believe that..." or anything. I havn't been 'taught' that sort of thing in a while, but there are posters up around the school about it, and also about how, apparently, carrying man's earliest tool is going to get me killed. We were forced to watch (and write coursework on) Bowling for Columbine. I don't think my teacher appreciated my conclusion that Michael Moore is a lying, decietful scumbag, and that armed teachers would have worked better than any gun law you care to name. I find it quite ironic that in one history lesson we're learning about how the Nazis indoctrinated children, and in the next we're being told that carrying a lockback Moki or driving a Land Rover is countermount to being...an American :O

Not quite sure how the tsunami is related to climate change. A rise in temperature will affect tectonic shifts?

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