Eugenie Scott Focuses on Climate

by Dr. Elizabeth Mitchell on January 21, 2012
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Eugenie Scott offers her services to squelch even more academic freedom.

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Eugenie Scott, director of the National Center for Science Education (NCSE), is expanding NCSE’s “mandate” beyond anti-creationism activism to include the way “global warming” is taught in the classroom. An NCSE statement declares, “Educators trying to teach climate change, like their counterparts trying to teach evolution, are often likewise pressured to compromise the scientific and pedagogical integrity of their instruction.”1

Scott says, “We can use some of the expertise that we’ve gained over the years dealing with evolution to apply to this related problem.” She considers “climate change a critical issue in our own mission to protect the integrity of science education.”1

In 2011 a National Earth Science Teachers Association survey of earth-science teachers revealed “25–30% of respondents reported that students, parents, administrators or other community members had argued with them that climate change is not happening or that it is not the result of human activity.” Furthermore, since some school boards and legislatures “have threatened to require educators to ‘teach the controversy’ about climate change,” Scott believes these teachers are being unfairly pressured by ideological opposition.

The NCSE strategy to shut down classroom discussion of controversial aspects of this issue is to “clarify for students why science is an appropriate tool for understanding the natural world” and help “people to understand the reasons why scientists overwhelmingly accept climate change.” Scott, convinced NCSE views are indisputable, says “people are very emotionally concerned” and if they “feel threatened ideologically, politically or economically, ‘all the science in the world won’t convince them.’”

So how is the climate-change issue “related” to the creation-evolution issue? Why is it many theologically conservative Christians who acknowledge their God-given responsibilities as good stewards of the earth are often demonized, being portrayed as indifferent or hostile to the notion that global warming is a man-made crisis of epic and urgent proportions? Pointing out that a scientific question should be examined from all sides certainly does not suggest science is not “an appropriate tool for understanding the natural world.” The problem comes down to questions about observational science and academic freedom.

We often make the point that observational science cannot decipher the origins of the universe. because those origins cannot be subjected to observable repeatable scientific tests.

We often make the point that observational science cannot decipher the origins of the universe, the earth, and life because those origins cannot be subjected to observable repeatable scientific tests. “Evidence” gathered by humans is always subject to interpretation, and interpretation always involves some sort of presuppositional bias.

Climate change is observable, but observations have not matched the magnitude of predictions based on models. Climatology models typically predict massive and rapid temperature changes. Yet past increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases have produced only a fraction of the predicted change. Therefore, many people do not accept the catastrophic predictions those models suggest for the future.

The climatology models in use were influenced by uniformitarian interpretations of abrupt temperature-related oxygen isotope changes in ice cores.2 Such uniformitarian interpretations ignore the influence of the global Flood and Ice Age it triggered. By misinterpreting the cause of isotope changes, uniformitarian climatologists naturally construct their models for the future on an incomplete understanding of the past.

Thus, these issues are related on the basis of the foundational thinking at their heart. The global warming issue involves observational science that does not support certain conclusions based on worldview-based interpretations of the untestable past. The evolution-creation issue involves the fact that observational science cannot answer questions of origins buried in the untestable past.

The issues are also related because in each instance the true nature of science as an open-minded inquiry in pursuit of knowledge is being subjugated by dogma and rhetoric. Scott claims the NCSE mission is to protect “the integrity of science education.” To raise a generation of good scientists, children in school should learn how to gather available facts, ask questions, devise experiments to test ideas, and examine all sides of issues—including global warming. When scientific models fail to make accurate predictions, those models need to be re-evaluated, not protected because they agree with the agendas of people in positions of power. Refusal to consider scientific alternatives damages the integrity of science education. As a popular global-warming advocate recently said, “To have an open mind, we have to use the brains that God gave us to look at the science.”3

Many theologically conservative Christians—as well as many secular scientists—are uncomfortable with the politically correct version of the man-made global warming crisis as well as the increasing popularity of exalting “Mother Earth’s rights” above the concern for human beings. The impact of global warming initiatives on the well-being of people all over the world is also a concern to many who simply want to be sure decisions are based on sound scientific reasoning and not emotional overkill. As Bible-believing Christians we see the “dominion mandate” of Genesis 1:28 as a call for a balanced, responsible view of environmental stewardship.

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