JoNova

A science presenter, writer, speaker & former TV host; author of The Skeptic's Handbook (over 200,000 copies distributed & available in 15 languages).


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The Skeptics Handbook II

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Love it: Skeptics winning in the classrooms

“Climate change skepticism seeps into science classrooms”

The LA Times laments the loss of the totalitarian educational view — pity the poor students subjected to hearing both sides of the story:

Texas and Louisiana have introduced education standards that require educators to teach climate change denial as a valid scientific position. South Dakota and Utah passed resolutions denying climate change. Tennessee and Oklahoma also have introduced legislation to give climate change skeptics a place in the classroom.

In May, a school board in Los Alamitos, Calif., passed a measure, later rescinded, identifying climate science as a controversial topic that required special instructional oversight.

The news itself is interesting, but sadly viewed through the usual green-colored glasses.

Is it “reporting” or a propaganda piece? Let’s check the three boxes:

Box 1: One half of the story is reduced to Orwellian nonsense. Tick yes! — who, exactly, teaches children to deny we have a climate? Johnny, there are no clouds… Which state passes resolutions declaring that the climate does not change? Henceforth California will be 78…

Box 2: Look for the Mandatory Ritual Pean: “scientific evidence increasingly shows that fossil fuel consumption has caused the climate to change rapidly”. [...]

Friday night reading: the eloquent take-downs

Today, while I work on something else, I thought I’d just share a few of the more entertaining pieces of writing I’ve come across lately.

How many mistakes can you pack in one phrase?

Remember how all defenders of the Man-Made-Catastrophe were trained to say that skeptics are funded by big oil, and Big Oil had that insidious agreement… that internal memo that said they were aiming to “reposition global warming as theory rather than fact” (which has all the meaning of “repositioning McDonalds as a fast food chain”, it being tritely obvious and all). Well, Russell Cook points out that this popular bumper-sticker line that’s quoted ad lib across the ether, is full of mistakes, misattributions and misinformation. It seems it’s not only not a smoking gun, but it’s not a weapon, and wasn’t fired by the prize winner shooter they attributed it too, and the guy that didn’t fire the dud shot, didn’t win a prize either.

With fanfare according to Gore it was “discovered by the Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Ross Gelbspan”, but the Pulitzer site doesn’t know about Gelbspans “prize”, and you can read all the sordid details at the Climate Gate Country Club, or a [...]

PNAS: Witchdoctors of science — Anderegg’s blacklist of scientists

Proceedings of the National Academy of Science: a step back to the Stone Age

A shameful day in the history of science. The once esteemed National Academy of Science is reduced to pagan witchcraft: point the bone at the blacklist, count the tea-leaf-citations, put on your funny hat and make a prophesy about the weather.

Some critics are saying the survey is flawed because it uses artificial groupings. Artificial be damned — the survey is flawed because it’s a waste-of-time work of anti-science for even existing. Science is not a democracy. Natural laws don’t form because anyone says so, and the only way to find out the answer is to … look at the evidence. Doh.

This adulation of individuals and tests of character, “success”, or popularity is the anti-thesis of what the great brains-trust of science ought to do. In science all minds test their theories against the universe, and only the real world matters. The petty world of human reputations is steeped in bias and conflicts of interest with personality defects and political power grabs, not to mention the corrupting influence of money. Science achieved vast success for civilization by freeing us from exactly this cess-pool of [...]