Anthony Watts has swung into hyperbolic overdrive. He is incensed that in this day and age, university professors are balking at teaching creationism, and flat earth truths, and that gravity and climate science are a hoax. He didn't mention all those specifically. He only mentioned climate science, but it's the same thing.
Anthony has written a headline:
Intolerance by the Climate Thought Police at University of ColoradoAccording to Anthony's outraged copy and paste, some college professors wrote to their students and said:
The point of departure for this course is based on the scientific premise that human induced climate change is valid and occurring. We will not, at any time, debate the science of climate change, nor will the ‘other side’ of the climate change debate be taught or discussed in this course,
Deniers yearn for the Dark Ages of Disenlightenment
Do you ever feel as if you're in the dark ages? When academics in one of the most advanced countries in the world still feel the need to explain to their students that a university is not the place to argue that:
- the Earth is 6,000 years old and was created by a man in the clouds (which somehow magically existed without earth)
- gravity is a hoax. The only reason apples fall to the ground is because, unlike birds, they haven't learnt how to fall to the sky.
- our world is flat, and if you go too far you'll fall off the edge (into hell?). Though with gravity being a hoax, you might be able to fall up to heaven. Who knows? There are always two sides to a debate.
- Greenhouse gases don't exist. Earth is kept warm by God's will, or his warm breath, or the sun, which preferentially shines more on us because we're better than the men on the moon and deserve it.
What shocks me
To me the thing that's shocking isn't that there are wacky conspiracy theorists who flock together for comfort in dim dark corners of cyberspace. I got over that shock a little while ago. No, what is quite shocking is that university professors feel the need to explain to potential students, who should be normal people, that climate change really is real and we are causing it. I mean we're 16 years into the twenty first century. The Scopes trial was almost 100 years ago! People know how to tap on their computer keyboard but don't accept basic science?
It's moments like these that make you wonder how deniers made it through school and into college. I don't expect these students are 80 year olds who haven't opened a book in seventy years and don't read the papers (most 80 year olds wouldn't fit into that category anyway). These would be budding adults who've just had the benefit of a high school education in the United States of America. If a discernible number still believe in nonsense after all those years at school, what hope has society?
(I hope to write about a book that touches on that topic one day soon.)
From the WUWT comments
Most people commenting are equally outraged that university professors don't teach both sides of the gravity debate, the witch debate, the alchemy debate, the young earth debate, the men on mars debate, and the "did NASA fake the moon landing?" debate.
John thinks America is heading in the wrong direction. It's trying to go forwards instead of toward the Dark Ages. He wrote how he weeps for the lost arts of superstition and snake oil magic:
August 31, 2016 at 10:04 am
This is entirely ludicrous! All three need to be removed from that institution immediately. America, I weep for you.
Judy W. opts for a logical fallacy, and extrapolates the explanation that the course starts with the acceptance of mainstream science, and decides it means that students are discouraged from exploring and questioning. I guess she also yearns for her doctor to diagnose her ailments by reading her tea leaves.
August 31, 2016 at 10:20 am
This is prevalent in academia, at least on the East Coast of America. The management now is in the business of “telling what the student is to think”. And that is considered “Critical Thinking”. This is why I am no longer teaching in a local community college. I wanted my students to be able to sort things out for themselves, so I taught them all sides. They often were able, on their own, to realize the truth. I taught geography.
Paul Westhaver thinks that anyone who bases their teaching on science must be a Stalinist. That's kind of inconsistent with the usual denier's cry of Lysenkoism, isn't it.
August 31, 2016 at 10:22 am
Yes sir -eeee folks,
Spend your life savings to send you treasured children to a university to have their minds destroyed by Stalinists.
It is important that we record the names of these people who intellectually harm our children and damage our society.
Please put them in the database for future considerations at a time of our choosing.
ScienceABC123 is another one for logical fallacies. Saying that a class starts from a position that gravity is real doesn't mean that SETI claims cannot be questioned.
August 31, 2016 at 10:25 am
To say that there is no debate allowed in science is to say there is no science.
ptolemy2 ponders all the climate conspiracy books that must be being burnt and must have some very odd notions about what is done at University. (Hint: tea leaf reading is not on the class list at most places):
August 31, 2016 at 10:43 am
This exercise in book-burning contradicts the meaning of “university”.
nc is very worried that education will become the norm in America if Hillary Clinton is elected President. I wonder if nc "studied" at Trump University?
August 31, 2016 at 10:48 am
If Scary Hillary gets in and has all the Supreme Court justices on her side this will become the norm. The once great US is crumbling before our eyes and China is laughing all the way to the bank. It is also happening in Canada with Trudeau 2.0 in office, the master of political fluff.
Where will we be in 5, 10 years, the outlook is scary.
About the only hint of hope is the political turn around in England hopefully will expand.