Friday, February 19, 2010

Legislating "science"

Idiot politicians in the South Dakota legislature recently passed, by 36-30, Resolution 1009 which calls for "balanced teaching of global warming in the public schools of South Dakota."  Similar to the bills occassionally popping up in Bible-belt states calling for "balanced" teaching of evolution (in other words, attempting to insert creationism pseudoscience in public schools), this bill is full of completely erroneous statements of fact and a naive misunderstanding of the words "theory" and "fact" in science.

Read what the resolution says and then go to a reputable site like RealClimate (run by climate scientists) and learn how much of it is complete nonsense. I'm always amazed at the hubris shown by politicians and political commentators (most of whom, I'd be willing to bet, have never had a college-level lab science course) who think that they're experts on a subject area whose practioners have had years of graduate work in science and decades of research experience.  Efforts by politicians to interfere with science education should always be vigorously opposed (anyone today remember Trofim Lysenko?).

I do, however, agree with one statement in the resolution - "the debate on global warming has subsumed political and philosophical viewpoints which have complicated and prejudiced the scientific investigation of global warming phenomena."  The complications and prejudice, however, come from politicians who know nothing about climatology, atmospheric chemistry, or the practice of science.

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