Children - Education or Indoctrination?

A young person I know is now revising for some school exams.

He wanted some advice on a homework question from a book which covered the effect of humans on the environment, global warming, pollution, and so on.

The question went along these lines - what do you think will happen in the future regarding climate change and carbon emissions?

He had to choose between three possibilities and then write a paragraph of explanation. The options were:

a) That we would worry and blame ourselves for climate change for thousands of years.

b) That fossil fuels would run out and renewable energy would save us.

c) That oceans would evaporate as the Earth heats up and humans would become extinct.

I commented on the poor quality of the question and the absence of a fourth, more sensible option.

a) shows a poor grasp of even basic climate science terminology, though maybe does reflect the ‘worry’ mindset being spread around in some quarters.

If you have to choose, I said, choose b), because fossil fuels will run out, or at least become too expensive to extract. They are finite.

As to whether renewable energy will 'save’ us, it depends on how many of us there are, and how we live, and what is meant by 'save'. But it seems unrealistic for renewable sources to meet all current and projected energy demands.

As for c)...is this really a serious question?

Science education should be evidence-based.

It should not use 'closed' questions presupposing a belief in an externally - imposed agenda.

    Related news item .... what happens to those who disagree with those pushing 'man-made global warming' propaganda:

    18 Feb 2011; victimisation of science educator:

    TES,18 Feb 2011, reported by Stephen Exley, summarised by ND.

    The TV presenter Johnny Ball has said that his views on climate change have sparked a malicious campaign which may end his career speaking about science in schools.

    The long-term science educationalist, who rose to fame in the 1970s and 1980s presenting science and technology programmes for youngsters, is a frequent speaker at schools, science festivals and teacher training events each year, talking about the environment, maths and science.

    His bookings have dropped by 90 per cent over the past year; JB has blamed this on harassment by extreme environmentalists who object to his description of some of their claims as alarmist nonsense.

    A website with pornographic images, bearing his name, was put online.

    Police were contacted and the dubious items disappeared.

    An imposter attempted to cancel JB's booking at a training day for Maths teachers in Northampton next month.

    JB who has also written books on maths and produced five educational stage musicals, hit the headlines in 2009 after speaking out about the “bad science” of man-made global warming at an event at the Bloomsbury Theatre in London. He is concerned that the young are being given the wrong messages - for example, that technology is harmful and that we should reject much of it and return to a more frugal existence.

    “Yet, in truth, great strides are being made. Gas-fired power stations now produce twice as much power for the same fossil fuel as they did 15 years ago. Cars have far cleaner exhausts and have doubled their mileage and tyre wear, and they are all recyclable or reclaimable. These are success stories.”

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