For the last year or so, I’ve been in touch with a reporter at the New York Times about a growing trend of creationists adding global warming to their enemies lists. Tomorrow, her storyÂ â Darwin Foes Add Warming to Targets â hits the front page of the paper of record:
Critics of the teaching of evolution in the nationâs classrooms are gaining ground in some states by linking the issue to global warming, arguing that dissenting views on both scientific subjects should be taught in public schools.
In Kentucky, a bill recently introduced in the Legislature would encourage teachers to discuss âthe advantages and disadvantages of scientific theories,â including âevolution, the origins of life, global warming and human cloning.â â¦ In Louisiana, a law passed in 2008 says the state board of education may assist teachers in promoting âcritical thinkingâ on all of those subjects.
Last year, the Texas Board of Education adopted language requiring that teachers present all sides of the evidence on evolution and global warming.
Oklahoma introduced a bill with similar goals in 2009, although it was not enacted.â¦
In South Dakota, a resolution calling for the âbalanced teaching of global warming in public schoolsâ passed the Legislature this week.
Kaufman does a good job laying out where this trend comes from:
The linkage of evolution and global warming is partly a legal strategy: courts have found that singling out evolution for criticism in public schools is a violation of the separation of church and state. By insisting that global warming also be debated, deniers of evolution can argue that they are simply championing academic freedom in general. â¦
The legal incentive to pair global warming with evolution in curriculum battles stems in part from a 2005 ruling by a United States District Court judge in Atlanta that the Cobb County Board of Education, which had placed stickers on certain textbooks encouraging students to view evolution as only a theory, had violated First Amendment strictures on the separation of church and state.
Although the sticker was not overtly religious, the judge said, its use was unconstitutional because evolution alone was the target, which indicated that it was a religious issue.
After that, said Joshua Rosenau, a project director for the National Center for Science Education, he began noticing that attacks on climate change science were being packaged with criticism of evolution in curriculum initiatives.
He fears that even a few state-level victories could have an effect on what gets taught across the nation.
Of course, the bad guys get their voices heard, but carefully sandwiched by good science:
For mainstream scientists, there is no credible challenge to evolutionary theory. â¦ And there is wide agreement among scientists that global warming is occurring and that human activities are probably driving it. Yet many conservative evangelical Christians assert that both are examples of scientistsâ overstepping their bounds.
John G. West, a senior fellow with the Discovery Institute â¦ said that the institute was not specifically promoting opposition to accepted science on climate change. Still, Mr. West said, he is sympathetic to that cause.
âThere is a lot of similar dogmatism on this issue,â he said, âwith scientists being persecuted for findings that are not in keeping with the orthodoxy. We think analyzing and evaluating scientific evidence is a good thing, whether that is about global warming or evolution.ââ¦
âWherever there is a battle over evolution now,â [physicist Lawrence Krauss] said, âthere is a secondary battle to diminish other hot-button issues like Big Bang and, increasingly, climate change. It is all about casting doubt on the veracity of science â to say it is just one view of the world, just another story, no better or more valid than fundamentalism.â
A good piece, and good that the public is learning about this latest round of assaults on science education.