Study: 31% of public school science teachers including that global warming might be natural.

Study: 31% of public school science teachers including that global warming might be natural. February 15, 2016

A new study has found that about 31% of public school science teachers are including the opinions of people who contradict scientific experts as part of the course:

One of the most striking findings: 30 percent of teachers said in the survey that they tell students that the current warming “is likely due to natural causes” — contradicting major scientific assessments of the matter. Thirty-one percent of teachers also said that they include both the scientific consensus position — that global warming is human-caused — but then also a “natural causes” position that contradicts it, thus presenting “both sides,” in the study’s words.

“We think any amount of legitimization of nonscientific perspectives sends a message to students that this may be a matter of opinion and values, and not one that can be adjudicated by evidence,” says Plutzer, who has also conducted research on the prevalence of the teaching of creationism and intelligent design in high school science classes.

I’m flummoxed.  In what other discipline is it permissible to teach the opposite of what the experts in that field say?  Like, what if 31% of math teachers were teaching that 2+2=4, but also that some people think the answer is 22 (without also saying that the latter people should be ignored because they’re wrong)?

Yes students, the experts on physics are virtually unanimous in agreement that light takes millions of years to get from galaxy to galaxy, but you should also be aware of a collection of people who are not experts, do not have the relevant education, who contradict the experts…

(The following is the only reason I can imagine for the previous statement)

…this is not because they are right, but because a disturbingly high number of people are way more confident about their opinions than they should be.  You see, the experts have established fact using experiment and evidence.  The latter group have a hair-brained opinion that is 100% wrong.  Part of being a responsible person is being able to distinguish fact from people who have no clue but lots of confidence.  Don’t be those other people.

Sadly, that’s not how it’s being presented.  It’s being presented as if the overconfident derps without the expertise, experiments, or evidence are just as credible as the experts.  Education isn’t about conveying the opinions of people who are wrong, it’s about teaching the facts.

What a sad state of affairs.

Browse Our Archives