For longer than I care to reveal (OK, over 50 years) I have been distressed by the actions of the creationists. Until about 1989 I just let the matter slide. Starting that year I began to take action. I started reading their books and attending their meetings and their lectures. Through it all ran a common theme: Creationists wanted “creation science” taught in the public schools. Else they wanted Darwinian evolution not to be taught. Else they wanted a disclaimer attached that modern biological science is “just a theory” and that students should doubt it. Else they wanted schools to “teach the controversy.” They wanted pupils to know that the biological evolution is a controversial topic. And it is. The creationists have made it so by raising counter (and false) arguments.
To the creationists various fields of science are controversial. Nuclear physics is controversial. This science provides evidence that contradicts the Bible on the age of the Earth. Modern cosmology is controversial. Modern cosmology provides natural explanations that contradict the Bible, and cosmology got a rough ride in the Kansas public school system several years ago:
This standards document was before the State Board of Education for three months awaiting approval. However, one state board member put forward an alternative proposal that had completely bypassed any process of review or public comment. It was largely ghost-written by members of a local creation science organization. This document eliminated any mention of evolution and also removed reference to any unifying scientific theories. It rather put the focus on “technological science,” and dismissed “theoretical science” as unproven speculation with little practical application. Fully half the members of the State Board of Education (an elected body under no other political, educational, or legislative body) favored this proposal over the document developed by the education committee, resulting in an immediate deadlock.
In the last turn of events, 3 members of the Board rewrote the standards to produce a “compromise” document. While not including the more objectionable parts of the alternate proposal, it still eliminated the theory of evolution as a model for understanding the history and diversity of life. Furthermore it does not mention cosmology (Big Bang) or the Age of the Earth. It also includes errors of fact and misrepresentations of scientific methodology and content. This version passed the Board on August 12th by a 6 to 4 vote. The original standards document written and unanimously endorsed by the appointed committee was not even brought to a vote. This decision was made in opposition to the recommendations of virtually every scientific and educational body in the state. The Governor of Kansas and all of the presidents of the regents institutions (state universities) appealed to the Board to reject the alternate document. The academic and educational communities are very irritated by the current situation.
By now you’re getting the idea. When science contradicts personal belief, science is going to have to give a little.
A school director in Pennsylvania is demanding that an environmental science textbook used in high schools be supplemented with a pamphlet about the “true science” of global warming.
Saucon Valley School Director and Tea Party Republican Bryan Eichfeld claimed “there’s a lot of clear propaganda…based on bad science” in the chapter, the point of which “is to teach our students to fear the future and to hate our modern industrial economy.”
He urged his fellow school directors to reject the textbook.
Or maybe a lot.
The National Center for Science Education (NCSE) has long been an advocate for teaching evolution in public schools and conversely for keeping ideologically-driven matter out. Starting a few years ago they realized that the science behind global warming is going to require similar attention:
In recent years, most state-level legislative attacks on evolution have taken the form of “academic freedom” bills, which permit — but do not require — teachers and students to introduce creationist material into science classes. Because these bills are permissive rather than prescriptive, they may have a better chance of surviving judicial scrutiny than has past anti evolution legislation.
There are two main strains of “academic freedom” bills. The first mandates that teachers be able to discuss “the full range of scientific views regarding biological and chemical evolution,” and offers students “protection for subscribing to a particular position on views regarding biological or chemical evolution.” Bills of this strain typically also include unsubstantiated claims of widespread persecution of teachers and students who criticize evolution. The Discovery Institute’s “Model Academic Freedom Statute on Evolution” is of this form.
The second strain does not purport to be concerned with student rights, and cites the need to help students develop “critical thinking skills” on “controversial issues.” To this end, it permits teachers to discuss “the scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses of existing scientific theories.” The listed “theories” often cover several topics of concern to the religious right: primarily evolution and abiogenesis, but also global warming, human cloning and stem cell research. One example of this strain is 2008’s Louisiana Science Education Act.
Eichfeld stated his case and his demands in a letter, which says in part:
Paul Saunders, a local expert on the deceptions of global warming alarmists, has prepared a 10+ page analysis of the most egregious portions of the book. A quick example of the deceptiveness of the text, from page 344 – “some of the findings of the IPCC state that since the third report in 2001, the average global surface temperature increased by 0.75° C”. What is not stated is they picked 2001 because it was a particularly cold year of surface temperatures compared to 1998 and 2002. If they used the trend of global temperatures from 1998 to 2013, then the temperature increase would be trivial and far below the temperature increase predictions of the 1988 computer climate models that were used to scare the Congress and the public. This type of statistical deception is scientifically dishonest, Eichfield believes, that the only reason that such deceptive techniques are used, is to scare our students to fear the future and to hate our modern industrial economy.
Eichfeld believes that it is the school board’s obligation to provide our students with a balanced point of view. Science is not the study of a consensus of thought, it is the study of the actual data and the application of the scientific method. There is credible, rational scientific evidence challenging the man-made global warming alarmist claims and our students should be exposed to it.
The text in question is Environmental Science by Michael R. Heithaus, Karen Arms and Holt McDougal (Houghton, Mifflin, Harcourt, 2013). I do not have a copy of this book, so I cannot confirm what Eichfeld says about page 344. That given, an examination of history from meteorological stations and the Land-Ocean Temperature Index does not quite quite confirm Eichfeld’s assertion (“they picked 2001 because it was a particularly cold year”). If the authors had wanted to pick a particularly cold year they could have better gone to 2000, which seems to have been colder, or at least just as cold. What they would not do is use 1998, because, as the plot shows, 1998 exhibited a temperature spike. See the following:
What matters more and is easier to interpret are the averages, shown in the following:
This does not go all the way to 2013, when the book was published, but it does show the five-year average, and that is particularly telling. The 1998 peak is smoothed out, and the red line (five-year average) shows a monotonic increase following a dip about 1994. The black horizontal bar shows the period when the Pinatubo eruption cooled the atmosphere.
I have attempted to identify the “Paul Saunders” in question. The Lehigh Valley News elaborated on Saunders’ testimony:
Paul Saunders, a self-proclaimed “local expert of the deceptions of climate change alarmist,” was invited by Eichfeld to speak on the matter at Tuesday’s board meeting.
In a presentation of his 11-page report on the topic, Saunders said that the textbook’s assertion that carbon-dioxide emissions have driven global climate change over the centuries is mistaken.
He said the book confounds group consensus with scientific fact.
“The temperature is driving [carbon dioxide] emissions, not the other way around,” he said. “The Environmental Science textbook does not adhere to the scientific method. It delivers one-sided advocacy.”
The Bethlehem resident was allowed to present his findings in spite of not being a member of the school district, to the chagrin of some officials and local residents.
I did find this Paul J. Saunders, who posted the following in 2007:
As the worlds leaders gather in New York this week to discuss climate change, youre going to hear a lot of well-intentioned talk about how to stop global warming. From the United Nations, Bill Clinton, and even the Bush administration, you’ll hear about how certain mechanisms cap-and-trade systems for greenhouse gas emissions, carbon taxes, and research and development plans for new energy technologies can fit into some sort of global emissions reduction agreement to stop climate change. Many of these ideas will be innovative and necessary; some of them will be poorly thought out. But one thing binds them together: They all come much too late.
For understandable reasons, environmental advocates don’t like to concede this point. Eager to force deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions, many of them hype the consequences of climate change in some cases, well beyond what is supported by the factsto build political support. Their expensive policy preferences are attractive if they are able to convince voters that if they make economic sacrifices for the environment, they have a reasonable chance of halting, or at least considerably slowing, climate change. But this case is becoming harder, if not impossible, to make.
The Center For The National Interest provides the following profile of Paul J. Saunders:
Paul J. Saunders is Executive Director of the Center for the National Interest and a member of the Center’s Board of Directors. He is the Center’s Chief Operating Officer and directs its U.S.-Russian Relations Program in addition to leading projects on other issues, including energy and climate change and U.S.- Japan relations. He is also Associate Publisher of the foreign policy magazine The National Interest, published bi-monthly by the Center for the National Interest.
Mr. Saunders served in the Bush Administration from 2003 to 2005 as Senior Advisor to the Under Secretary of State for Global Affairs. In that capacity, he worked on a broad range of transnational issues, in particular with respect to Russia, Ukraine, and the former Soviet Union, as well as Iraq, China and India.
Paul Saunders on Facebook is this Paul Saunders, who appears to live in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania:
From Paul Saunders’ Facebook profile
This is an excellent article debunking the claim that most scientists agree that global warming is a crisis. P.S. Dr. Roy Spencer is an award-winning former NASA scientist who with Dr. John Christy is the co-Father of global satellite temperature measurement. It is shameful that any organization uses the utterly corrupt surface temperature data anymore. Only global satellite data is meaningful and even it has problems.
The “link” in question is to this