Sunday, November 29, 2015

Eric Worrall's WUWT: Stop educating children

Sou | 4:43 PM Go to the first of 9 comments. Add a comment
On Anthony Watts' Eric Worrall's blog WUWT**, he is complaining that Australian children are being prepared to face climate change (archived here, cached here).  Eric calls climate education "green indoctrination". If you didn't know, Eric is not in favour of natural resource conservation or science education. I deduce from his article that Eric is not in favour of education at all. I'm guessing, but I'd say that like many people at WUWT he thinks that children should not learn how to learn, instead they should be taught how to read, write and do sums. And that's about all. (Oh, teaching children to be Islamaphobic would go down well with Eric, too.)

Eric quoted from an article in the Sydney Morning Herald from May this year, about the latest global education rankings published by the Organisation for Economic Development (OECD). He was quite rightly critical of the fact that Australia has slipped in the rankings in the PISA tests (science and maths). From the SMH article:
In 2000, when the first tests were held, Australia ranked 6th for maths, 8th for science and 4th for reading (out of 41 countries), dropping to 19th for maths, 16th for science and 13th for reading in 2012 (out of 65 countries).
However he doesn't mention that Australia was reported as ranking 14th overall out of 76 countries, or that the USA is ranked 28th overall. Instead he links the drop in PISA rankings with what he calls "green rhetoric". Eric bemoans the fact that some schools have been taking part in a new program in Western Australia, the Low Carbon Schools Pilot Program. Taking a leaf out of Anthony Watts' book, Eric copied and pasted a slab from an article on SBS. Unlike Anthony, Eric editorialised, giving his own take on the topic and linking it to the standard of education in Australia (the OECD global education rankings).

Eric confuses science with religion, which is not uncommon among science deniers. He wrote:
Ignoring normal education standards, while celebrating the conversion of government funded schools into climate madrasas, preaching extreme religious doctrine, is the kind of trend which is normally associated with third world trouble spots, not with a modern country like Australia.
Perhaps if Australian schools put more effort into teaching children basic skills like reading, writing and mathematics, and spent less money, time and effort on useless green gestures, like installing photovoltaics, they could afford to leave the air conditioner switched on. They could use the money they saved to provide a comfortable learning environment, and better quality educational materials for their students.
The reason that other schools are racing ahead in science and maths rankings is more likely to be because they are focusing on advanced science and mathematics, going beyond basic arithmetic skills. If Eric Worrall had his way, Australia would drop in the rankings much more quickly. It would be off the bottom of the chart if it taught "science" the way it's taught at WUWT.

Eric is one of those deniers who wants to add to greenhouse gases by "leaving the air conditioner switched on", presumably powered by burning dirty fossil fuels rather than by photovoltaics or wind turbines.

When he talks about "extreme religious doctrine", I think Eric is referring to subjects like physics, chemistry, biology and probably meteorology and geography. He might also be referring to what used to be called social studies (geo-politics, civic studies, international relations, humanities etc).

Eric's use of the word "madrasas" is presumably a cue to the Islamaphobes at WUWT, which seem to be in the majority. (You'll recall the disgusting display from Roy Spencer, who is also a science denier.)

**Anthony Watts hands the WUWT reins to Eric Worrall

I noticed that WUWT seems to have been passed on to Eric Worrall, so I did a check. In November so far, there have been 123 articles, comprising 36 articles by Eric Worrall, 6 articles by Bob Tisdale, 5 by Willis Eschenbach, 4 by Christopher Monckton, 4 by Tim Ball and 3 by Paul Driessen of CFACT and miscellaneous by others.

Anthony Watts also listed himself as author of 36 articles, matching Eric Worralls'. Unlike Eric's articles, 29 of Anthony's were just copies and pastes, mostly press releases of scientific papers but also copies and pastes of articles elsewhere on the internet. Some had a two or three lines of introduction by Anthony so his readers would know what they were supposed to think, and some didn't. The remaining seven comprised:
  1. an open thread - a (redundant) article boasting how he was travelling so wouldn't be posting any copies and pastes articles that day
  2. an article begging for money to go to AGU15, 
  3. a Josh cartoon, 
  4. an article about how he complained to someone at Southern Methodist University that they used the word "denier" when talking about climate science deniers
  5. an email from Bjorn Lomborg
  6. how he couldn't find a fifteen-year-old article on the website of the Independent (not explaining that the Independent had just had a site upgrade)
  7. an article about a Paul Ehrlich review of Mark Steyn's book attack on Professor Michael Mann.
I didn't check how many of the seven were original articles by Anthony himself. Some of them were (he doesn't write well and has a distinctive style).

From the WUWT comments

wolsten is correct. The UK is ranked below Australia (but higher than the USA) in this list.
November 28, 2015 at 9:20 am
We are no better in the UK according to teaching friends of mine.

Zeke advocates further "dumbing down" and seems to think that "eliminating differences between genders" is a "radical agenda", and that learning about climate change is "indoctrination":
November 28, 2015 at 10:35 am (excerpt)
...At any rate, the nationalization of curricula in the US, the UK and Oz (plus any other Commonwealth member) is all designed to facilitate the implementation of UNESCO trash directly into the schools of these English speaking countries. Other UN treaties which will be implemented in the classrooms are UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and CEDAW. CEDAW among other things would eliminate any differences between the genders in the curricula.

Freedom of education is the only way some children will receive a good education in the basics. The use of international environmentalist and radical agendas in the classroom through treaties involves far more than just climate change indoctrination. 

michael hart thinks mathematics is "touchy feely", give him good old rote learning of times tables "2 times 4 = 8" and he'll be happy:
November 28, 2015 at 4:32 pm
It sounds like the revenge of the zombie urban-planners.
During my time in UK primary and secondary schools I experienced a slightly similar ‘paradigm shift’. In the 1970’s they introduced a teaching of “Modern Maths” in my region. Obviously I was quite young and of limited mathematical abilities, but I still noticed a change. The change seemed to be more of an emphasis on touchy-feely-relating-things like “sets”, “matrices” and “groups”, and away from the ‘hard’ manipulation of numbers and algebra.
...I’m not commenting directly on those worthy aspects of mathematics, but the whole scheme really was a bunch of incompetent hippies trying to get hold of the school teaching curriculum.

As a contrast to michael hart, noaaprogrammer longs for the good old days of hippies:
November 28, 2015 at 1:28 pm
One only has to listen to the children who are now a little larger as they are in college, but still small of brain – crying for SAFE PLACES! – safe from anyone using an un-pc word within their earshot! At least when I was in college during the 60s we exercised our freedom of speech out in the open market place of ideas.

A few people decried the green-bashing at WUWT.  FJ Shepherd wrote:
November 28, 2015 at 9:39 am
You have a valid point, in my opinion, malanlewis. Green bashing is no better than “denier” bashing.

Menicholas quickly put the anti-green-bashers in their place, saying he is an anti-environmental environmentalist (deniers are known for being inconsistent):
November 28, 2015 at 12:18 pm
When people stop being reasonable and become fascists, they deserve bashing.
It is the greens who have forsaken legitimate environmental issues in zealous fervor to promote the CAGW alarmist meme.

I see many people here who are, like me, actual environmentalists…who care about real issues and not made up political BS which is tirelessly promulgated in order to further a leftist agenda.

How can one have anything but scorn for people who care not one whit about facts?

It is the people that are derided, not legitimate concern for good environmental stewardship of the Earth.

The so-called green movement has long since forfeited any right to being considered environmentalists. 

noaaprogrammer is a regular WUWT climate science denier so is probably against development of renewables, but relies on "the ingenuity of scientists and engineers" to replace fossil fuels when they run out:
November 28, 2015 at 1:36 pm
We have enough fossil fuel on this earth for many more centuries – (yes shale oil will be hard to extract.) When we do run out, the ingenuity of scientists and engineers will provide other sources. 

This little exchange illustrates what typically passes for evidence at WUWT:

Menicholas begins with some bold unsubstantiated statements:
November 28, 2015 at 12:29 pm
I’ve never met a teacher who was a global warming zealot. I must live a sheltered life.
You must not be paying one single iota of attention.

Kids are being taught that they are living on a dying world, that ordinary weather is proof of a poisoned atmosphere.

In order to make people believe lies, critical thinking skills must be omitted from the curriculum, along with all of the actual facts and knowledge that is counter to and contradictory of those lies.

Since nearly every aspect of our world is now viewed by many through the muddy lens of CAWG alarmism, the above includes omitting entire libraries of factual knowledge from our children’s education.

malanlewis asks for evidence:
November 28, 2015 at 12:32 pm
This is very interesting. Do you have some documentation of curricula that teach that “children are living on a dying world, that ordinary weather is proof of a poisoned atmosphere”? That ” critical thinking skills must be omitted from the curriculum”? That omit “entire libraries of factual knowledge from our children’s education”?

Menicholas tells malanlewis to go jump - aka there is no evidence:
November 28, 2015 at 1:00 pm
You can do your own homework.

JohnKnight declares himself as an evolution denier:
November 28, 2015 at 3:08 pm
Somehow, I learned about evolution, and eventually earned a PhD with evolution as the central premise of my studies ….”
I believed in the Evolution concept for many years, even after I came to believe in a Creator God . . and it was only when I was trying to convince a fellow Christian that it had really happened, and went looking for the very strong evidence I assumed I could produce, that I realized I didn’t actually know of any myself. And I never did find any strong evidence, just dogmatic belief (and a lot of double-talk ; ) 

jclarke341 was going to right a book :)
November 28, 2015 at 11:37 am
I was going to right a book on the importance of sustainability and then everything changed! 

Menicholas says it's not the drought that's the problem in California, it's lack of water:
November 28, 2015 at 12:37 pm
1 old and wise:
Water is not in short supply, it is merely poorly distributed in space and time.
California has wet years and dry years.
Regions not too far away have massive rivers which run into the sea unused.
The only reason California is suffering now is because of short-sighted efforts to prevent new dam construction, and other infrastructure projects that might make unusable water useable, or bring water from where it is plentiful to where periodic scarcity exists. 

1oldnwise4me@reagan.com replies "mercy me":
November 28, 2015 at 12:40 pm
Menicholas says: “The only reason California is suffering now is because of short-sighted efforts
Gee, I thought it was because of the drought, mercy me, ya learn something new all the time.

That's enough. The 227 "thoughts" include a lot of to-ing and fro-ing between a very small number of people who accept science, the majority who don't, and the occasional (and rare) person who thinks the natural environment is worth looking after. That's intermingled with the "thoughts" of people who think children should not be given an education, but instead they should be schooled in how to read, write and do arithmetic and no more.


  1. "more of an emphasis on touchy-feely-relating-things like “sets”, “matrices” and “groups”, and away from the ‘hard’ manipulation of numbers and algebra."

    .... sets, matrices, and groups are "touchy-feely-relating things"?

    Whoever wrote that is, quite simply, bone-ignorant and evidently proud of it.

    1. It signifies that anything introduced into a school curriculum in the past 50 years - after the mid-1960s - is touchy feely nonsense. To keep to the period - it's hippy stuff, you know.

      I wonder what he thinks of chaos theory, or informatics, or mobile phones, or personal computers, or the insidious sedition of the internet?

    2. Whoever wrote that is, quite simply, bone-ignorant and evidently proud of it.

      ... and has never been asked to solve partial differential equations with matrices (although I think the rise of computing has made that skill less useful), because "touchy, feely" was the complete opposite of my second-year maths subjects when I studied Engineering.

      And what are matrices but (very) advanced algebra? As you say, completely ignorant!

      Does this come from the "anything I don't understand isn't important" 'thought' processes?

    3. Set theory is not just touchy-feely but dangerous. Nay, dare we say corrupting”? Trusty Christiens in the USA are alreading taking a strong stand against such modern perversions as set theory

      A Beka Book teaches that the laws of mathematics are a creation of God and thus absolute....A Beka Book provides attractive, legible, and workable traditional mathematics texts that are not burdened with modern theories such as set theory http://boingboing.net/2012/08/07/what-do-christian-fundamentali.html

      I had never thought of matrices as (very) advanced algebra but I would imagine they are out too but who knows?

  2. WUWT is the safe-place for deniers who don't want to be challenged on their nonsense beliefs, where they can sit and do colouring and play with cuddly toys and talk about how nasty the Professor Mann is and how it's all a hoax.

    As for teaching - I keep telling my students you don't have to believe me or believe what anyone tells you in science. But if you don't, you need to produce cast iron evidence for why you don't. And, like a court of law, you have to stick to the same rules of evidence.

    1. The subject I teach, astronomy, challenges Biblical literalism in much the same way biological evolution does -- the universe is way more than 6000 years old, for example.

      To head off difficulties this might cause, I always tell my students at the start of the term that when I ask them a question on a test, it always comes with the implied prefix "Scientists think that the evidence shows that ... ".

      I make it clear that I am NOT asking about their PERSONAL beliefs, so even if their Pastor back home says they'll burn in hell if they don't bee-leeve in the Bah-ble, they can still answer "13.6 billion years" if I ask them the age of the universe.

      And of course, I layer on evidence and focus on physical processes and chains of deduction, so by the end of the term students who've been paying attention know WHY scientists think the universe is that old.

  3. Worrall is an Australian computer programmer with a sack full of opinions. That should be all the qualifications he needs to overturn the field of climate science, no?

  4. Eric was known as BOZO @watching the deniers in 2013.


  5. "noaaprogrammer" as a username ??
    I am too quick to make connections, but the hilarity potential is simply too great if this guy is the Lamar "whistleblower"


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