EVOLUTION AND GLOBAL WARMING REDUX (from NCSE’s Evolution Education Update)
“Critics of the teaching of evolution in the nation’s 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,” reported The New York Times (March 3, 2010). “Wherever there is a battle over evolution now,” Lawrence M. Krauss told the Times, “there 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 — to say it is just one view of the world, just another story, no better or more valid than fundamentalism.”
The article suggested that the linkage of evolution and global warming was in part due to legal considerations. NCSE’s Joshua Rosenau told the Times that he began to notice the linkage after the 2005 decision in Selman v. Cobb County. At issue was a disclaimer about evolution affixed to textbooks; although the text of the disclaimer was not religious, it was held to be unconstitutional because it endorsed the creationist view that evolution is a problematic theory lacking an adequate foundation. “By insisting that global warming also be debated, deniers of evolution can argue that they are simply championing academic freedom in general.”
Reporting the scientific consensus, the Times explained, “For mainstream scientists, there is no credible challenge to evolutionary theory. They oppose the teaching of alternative views like intelligent design, the proposition that life is so complex that it must be the design of an intelligent being. And there is wide agreement among scientists that global warming is occurring and that human activities are probably driving it.” Nevertheless, it seems clear that around the country, attempts to undermine the integrity of science education are increasingly likely to include global warming as well as evolution.
(Ed. Note: Those who live in the OKC area may recognize this linkage as the wife of a local member of the Oklahoma House of Representatives recently penned a letter to the Oklahoma Gazette, a weekly publication found on-line and in many area restaurants, in which she called Evolution and Global Climate Change as two hoaxes the teaching of which was illustrative of the failure of Oklahoma public schools. Needless to say, there were many responses in rebuttal to her letter from scientists and educators.)
For the story in The New York Times, visit: