Nothing in Movement Conservatism Makes Sense Except in the Light of Creationism: Global Warming and Educational ‘Balance’

The reason I keep bastardizing biologist Theodosius Dobzhanky’s aphorism about the importance of evolution is that creationism is so daffy that it makes movement conservatives’ tactics and methods crystal clear (that there’s significant overlap between movement conservatives and creationists is just a coincidence, I’m sure). Bill Walker makes that point explicitly in “Conservatives Use Creationist Playbook to Attack Climate Change Education in Schools” (boldface mine):

Reminiscent of the evolution-vs.-creationism clash, the overwhelming scientific evidence that says humans are causing the warming of the planet has emerged as the new battlefield in middle and high schools in the U.S.

“Lots of teachers I talk to just won’t teach it,” said Manning, a geologist before turning to teaching 16 years ago. “They’ll teach about the historical changes but not current trends. Science teachers already get so much pushback on evolution vs. creation that they’re reluctant to invite more controversy. And some teachers don’t know that much about climate change themselves. They’re not sure how firm the ground is they’re standing on.”

Manning is a member of the National Science Teachers Association. Last year an online poll of its 60,000 members found that 82 percent had faced skepticism about climate change from students and 54 percent had faced skepticism from parents. Some respondents added comments: Students believe whatever it is their parents believe. . . . Administrators roll over when parents object. In a recent survey of about 1,900 current and former teachers by the National Earth Science Teachers Association, 36 percent reported they had been influenced directly or indirectly to teach “both sides” of the issue.

…“We have been hearing for several years now that teachers were getting pushback on teaching climate change, and some of the playbook used by those promoting teaching ‘both sides’ was very similar to the attempt to have evolution ‘balanced’ by creationism and intelligent design,” said Mark McCaffrey, who is spearheading the Center’s new initiative. “From my experience working with teachers, it is clear that the so-called ‘controversy’ about climate change science is a major impediment to teachers and the polarized political climate around teaching the topic is a big problem.”

And this isn’t just a few theocrats or loonitarians, in some cases, this is part of a larger, national effort:

Attacks on the teaching of climate change often go hand-in-hand with efforts to insert creationism or “intelligent design” into public schools. In 2009, the Texas Board of Education mandated that teachers present all sides of the debate on both evolution and climate change. Leslie Kaufman of The New York Times wrote that the linkage was a canny 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.

That last sentence is key: we are not dealing with honest people. Words are weapons for them and lack meaning. Always remember that.

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