Teaching Climate Change Should Not Be Controversial: Science Educators Defend Themselves

Family Matters on 01.18.12
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Photo: Quinn Dombrowski/Creative Commons

I asked the other day whether unborn generations need protecting from ourselves when it comes to environmental stability, but it looks like we need to defend existing generations first. And that's not just from the impacts of climate change itself, but from efforts to meddle in their understanding of it too.

Forbes reports that the National Center for Science Education is stepping up efforts to defend the teaching of climate science from politically motivated attacks:

Eugenie Scott, the executive director of the organization, based in Oakland, California, has been for years an outspoken defender of the teaching of evolution in U.S. classrooms. The NCSE provides resources to teachers, schools and school boards, and has challenged the efforts of creationists to undermine the teaching of evolution in various states.

As colleagues and textbook authors around the country began sharing their personal experiences and concerns about the teaching of climate science, Scott realized she needed to expand NCSE’s mandate to include the politically charged issue as well.

Now every time I write about climate change versus climate denial, there are usually those who argue that there are "two sides to every story", and we shouldn't try to silence alternative voices. But we are not talking about silencing anybody's voice here.

Science is not a popularity contest and it is not an exercise in who shouts the loudest. It is a rigorous analysis of the evidence available - undertaken by people with the knowledge and expertise to analyze that evidence. If my kid learns about neuroscience in school, I want the curriculum to be informed by experts in the field of neuroscience. (They may be the brain surgeons of the future after all.) Likewise climate science. Our children's future already looks like it may be defined by crisis. We must fight those who want to keep them in the dark.

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Tags: Education