My mom once told me that there are 3 things you don’t discuss at the dinner table: politics, religion, and sex. Of course, all three topics were prime discussion fodder in my family at dinner while growing up. It was just impolite to bring it up in company. It seems that my mom’s advice has been taken up by the scientific illiterati.
A recent article in Science indicates there may be something worse than evolution to discuss in the science classroom… climate change (Climate Change Sparks Controversy in the Classroom, Reardon, 5 Aug 11). Apparently, parents and school administrators are pissy about Earth Science teachers talking about climate change in the public schoolrooms of the United States. They want teachers to teach both sides of the controversy. WTF???? This is not skepticism, this is denial and misinformation.
Biology teachers still have the First Amendment to defend their right to talk about evolution, but climate change doesn’t have that religious tinge. It is pure politics. However, like religion, politics doesn’t belong in a science classroom. Science should be used to inform and create good policy, but politics should not be used to muzzle science.
I am still in Tanzania at the moment, educating rural Tanzanians about climate change and facilitating opportunities to discuss adaptation options. No one here would argue that climatic changes are NOT occurring. Only in the United States do we have the luxury of buying our way out of food, fuel, and water shortages. But given our current economy and recent credit downgrade, how much longer can we do this?