Yes, it did snow today in Atlanta, and indeed all around the southeastern region of the USA. It normally does not snow in March in Atlanta.
This year has been the year snow, especially in the eastern part of the USA. Some pundants, and especially one US Senator have used this year’s snowfalls to support their contention that global warming is a hoax, or nothing more than a theory.
In South Dakota, where it snows throughout the Winter (as it should), the State Legislature has called for a balanced teaching of global warming. According to HCR 2009, the Legislature urges that all instruction on the theory of global warming be appropriate to the age and academic development of the student and to the prevailing classroom circumstances. Why? Because the S.D. legislature says so.
The politicians in the state have borrowed the language of the “intelligent design” and “creation science” advocates. Here is some of the language from the bill:
(1) That global warming is a scientific theory rather than a proven fact;
(2) That there are a variety of climatological, meteorological, astrological, thermological, cosmological, and ecological dynamics that can effect world weather phenomena and that the significance and interrelativity of these factors is largely speculative; and
(3) That the debate on global warming has subsumed political and philosophical viewpoints which have complicated and prejudiced the scientific investigation of global warming phenomena
Steven Newton, writing for the National Center for Science Education reacted with this analysis:
HCR 1009 is so egregiously inaccurate, so appalling wrong in its contemptuous dismissal of established science, so mind-numbing in its appeals to long-debunked pseudoscience, that it is hard not to entertain the thought that perhaps it was meant as an elaborate parody. However, HCR 1009 was not a jest, but rather a serious attempt to influence the science South Dakota students learn. It is the latest volley in a broader assault on science itself.
When the bill reached the Senate floor on February 24, it was amended to strike most of the scientifically erroneous justifications. South Dakota’s teachers and even a few of its legislators know better than to repeat the creationist canard of equating a theory with uncertainty. As the state’s science standards explain, a theory is “an explanation for some phenomenon that is based on observation, experimentation, and reasoning”—a way to explain facts, which are merely “statement[s] or assertion[s] of verifiable information.” The stars were not aligned for the puzzling references to “astrological” and “thermological” explanations for global warming, and some legislator must have seen the irony of decrying politically biased science while seeking to legislate a scientific result. But the Senate strengthened the final line, insisting now that teachers offer a “balanced and objective” presentation of global warming. However reasonable such advice may be in the abstract, the effect of the law will be chilling to teachers on the ground. Science is not and should not be resolved through the legislative process, and the details of what teachers present as science should not be dictated by legislators with no experience as scientists or teachers.
The Bill passed 36 -30.
I’ll return later to this, and provide updates on the progress of this bill.Tags: Balanced Treatment, global warming, South Dakota