Last week, Treehugger and ThinkProgress reported that the South Dakota state legislature passed a resolution to urge schools to teach climate science and facts about global warming as "astrological" and "cosmological" theories rather than hard science. This is a similar argument that creationists and proponents of intelligent design have used to encourage that their beliefs should be taught in schools.
On Thursday, the New York Times reports that legislatures or boards of education in Louisiana, Kentucky and Texas have also suggested that climate change be treated like one theory in a spectrum of beliefs.
The NYT points out,
The linkage of evolution and global warming is partly a 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.
Yet they are also capitalizing on rising public resistance in some quarters to accepting the science of global warming, particularly among political conservatives who oppose efforts to rein in emissions of greenhouse gases.
Treehugger points out in its article about South Dakota, that the legislature cites debunked theories, such as "global cooling" as a rationale for its efforts, which illustrates how legislators and administrators are acting without a basic understanding of the proven reality of climate change.
The efforts of creationists to put global warming on the table for debate comes at a time when climate science is being increasingly politicized. In November, hacked emails from University of East Anglia created fuel for climate deniers, despite the fact that further investigations made it clear that the reality of climate change is not at all in doubt. (Check out our slideshow of The Most Dubious Claims About ClimateGate.) Recently, Texas Governor Rick Perry sued the EPA over its attempt to regulate greenhouse gases, citing the ClimateGate emails, and recent mistakes made about glacier melt by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
As these groups join forces, it will be interesting to see who helps fund these campaigns and initiatives in schools to question the science behind global warming. After all, oil and energy companies have well-documented links to think tanks that promote climate skepticism.
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