If recent elections have taught us anything, it’s that young Americans have taken a decided turn to the left. Young voters delivered Obama the election: the under-44 set voted Obama and the over-45 set broke for Romney. The youngest voters, age 18-29, gave Obama a whopping 60 percent of their vote.
Now Republicans have a plan to try to recapture the youngest voters out there: Take over the curriculum in public schools, replace education with a bunch of conservative propaganda, and reap the benefits of having a new generation that can’t tell reality from right-wing fantasy.
How well this plan will work is debatable, but in the meantime, these shenanigans present the very real possibility that public school students will graduate without a proper education. To make it worse, many of these attempts to rewrite school curriculum are happening in Texas, which can set the textbook standards for the entire country by simply wielding its power as one of the biggest school textbook markets there is. With that in mind, here’s a list of 11 lies your kid may be in danger of learning in school.
Lie No. 1: Racism has barely been an issue in U.S. history and slavery wasn’t that big a deal.
The Thomas B. Fordham Institute reviewed the new social studies standards laid down by the right-wing-dominated Texas State School Board and found them to be a deplorable example of conservative wishful thinking replacing fact. At the top of list? Downplaying the role that slavery had in starting the Civil War, and instead focusing on “sectionalism” and “states’ rights,” even though the sectionalism and states’ rights arguments directly stemmed from Southern states wanting to keep slavery. There’s also a chance your kid might be misled to think post-Civil War racism was no big deal, as the standards excise any mention of the KKK, the phrase “Jim Crow” or the Black Codes. Mention is made of the Southern Democratic opposition to civil rights, but mysteriously, the mass defection of Southern Democrats to the Republican Party to punish the rest of the Democrats for supporting civil rights goes unmentioned.
Lie No. 2: Joe McCarthy was right.
The red-baiting of the mid-20th century has gone down in history, correctly, as a witch hunt that stemmed from irrational paranoia that gripped the U.S. after WWII. But now, according to the Thomas B. Fordham report, your kid might learn that the red baiters had a point: “It is disingenuously suggested that the House Un-American Activities Committee—and, by extension, McCarthyism—have been vindicated by the Venona decrypts of Soviet espionage activities (which had, in reality, no link to McCarthy’s targets).” Critical lessons about being skeptical of those who attack fellow Americans while wrapping themselves in the flag will be lost for students whose textbooks adhere to these standards.
Lie No. 3: Climate change is a massive hoax scientists have perpetuated on the public.
The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) has been hard at work pushing for laws requiring that climate change denialism be taught in schools as a legitimate scientific theory. Unfortunately, as Neela Banerjee of the L.A. Times reports, they’ve already had some serious success: “Texas and Louisiana have introduced education standards that require educators to teach climate change denial as a valid scientific position. South Dakota and Utah passed resolutions denying climate change.” Other states are taking the “teach the controversy” strategy that helped get creationism into biology classrooms, asking teachers to treat climate change like it’s a matter of political debate instead of a scientifically established fact.
The reality is that climate change is a fact that has overwhelming scientific consensus. In 2004, Science reviewed the 928 relevant studies on climate change published between 1993 and 2003 and found that exactly zero of them denied that climate change was a reality, and most found it had man-made causes. To claim that climate change is a “controversy” requires one to believe that there’s a massive conspiracy involving nearly all the scientists in the world. So, your kids are not only not learning the realities of climate change, they are also learning, if indirectly, to give credence to conspiracy theory paranoia.
Ken Ham doesn’t think we should worry about things like asteroid impacts because the Bible tells him so. Recently on his ridiculous “Answers in Genesis” blog, he wrote,
What you believe about the Earth’s past doesn’t just influence how you view it—your belief also determines how you view the future! Because of their beliefs about the past, many evolutionists are concerned that somehow mankind will be catastrophically wiped out and life as we know it will end on Earth. One of the most popular versions of this apocalyptic tale is that a massive asteroid, or several asteroids, will strike Earth and obliterate life.
Can you see where he’s going with this?
The Discovery Channel even recently made a video simulating what it would look like if a 500-kilometer (310-mile) asteroid smashed into the Pacific Ocean. According to their simulation, such an impact would destroy Earth and vaporize life.
And why shouldn’t we take them more seriously than someone like you? As bad as the Discovery Channel may be at times, they’re still far better when it comes to science than Ham, and that says a lot.
Why is it that evolutionists are so concerned that humanity will someday be catastrophically destroyed? Well, according to man’s ideas about the past, life arose naturalistically and the universe is governed completely by the merciless laws of physics. According to their worldview, evolutionists contend there isn’t anyone upholding or sustaining the universe. We are simply at the mercy of naturalistic processes. Also, according to one evolutionary idea about the supposed dinosaur extinction event, a massive asteroid impact wiped out the dinosaurs about 65 million years ago. If such an event happened once before, what’s to stop it from happening again and wiping out humanity this time?
Man’s ideas about the past? You mean what real science tells us, as opposed to your fundamentalist religious views that you try to pass off as “science” to the uneducated masses? Also contrary to what people like you seem to think, evolution is not incompatible with a belief in God. Being an “evolutionist” doesn’t make you are an atheist or mean that you believe that everything is governed by natural forces alone. You can be a Christian and not reject science, you just can’t be a creationist of any kind, and not reject science. Even if God exists through, he ( or she ) would have to have created the Universe through the same processes that science says the universe was created. If not than why do scientists, regardless of their religion come across all this evidence that shows us a universe vastly different than the one you believe in? Is God a liar?
Unfortunately there is abundent evidence that an asteroid really did wipe out the dinosaurs, who were thriving all over the world before it hit. It would not have been pleasant to be on the Earth’s surface for a long time after it hit either, given the fact that it plunged the planet into a the equivalent of a nuclear winter, minus the radiation. We have tons of data to back up the claim that asteroids have hit the Earth in the past, unlike the mythical Noah’s flood, that biblical fundamentalist like Ken Ham and Answers in Genesis insist happened somehow. I really hope his stupid “Ark Park” crashes and burns.
Asteroids, meteorites and commits on the other hand have hit the Earth throughout the planet’s history. There is nothing to stop it from happen again, unless we take action to protect ourselves. Extinction level events have occurred in the Earth’s past, multiple times. They’re as real as anthropogenic climate change, which I’m certain that Ham also denies or at least doesn’t think is a threat to human well being because of what he thinks the Bible says.
Even if there is a God of some sort out there, he/she doesn’t seem to answer prayers consistently, since people all over the world suffer through horrible natural disasters and die in horrible ways, regardless of how good or bad they were, and their faith, didn’t seem to matter much either.
Those who start with the Bible, however, get a completely different picture of Earth’s future because we start with a different picture of Earth’s past.
Yes, Mr. Ham, and one that is contrary to reality.
According to God’s Word, the universe is not here as the result of naturalistic processes. God created the universe and has imposed order on it. The universe is not strictly governed by unfeeling natural laws. God upholds and sustains the universe that He has made (Hebrews 1:3). And we don’t need to worry that an asteroid will obliterate life. The Bible has already told us how things will end—with judgment from God when Jesus Christ returns to Earth (2 Peter 3:10; Revelation 20:11–15).
Okay, and why should we believe the Bible over any other religious text when absolutely no evidence exists that supports things like a six thousand year old Earth, or a talking snake? Oh wait, you don’t want anyone to do actual science and you don’t care about evidence do you?
I have to agree with youtuber WildwoodClaire. It would be so much better if people like Ham, wouldn’t try to spread their delusions. As if we needed another reason to not let creationists destroy education. The long term survival of our species may literally depend on it. I for one do not want to go the way of the dinosaurs!
Update : 3/17/15 at 6:06 PM
Skip Intro has posted an excellent question for Mr. Ham, that I don’t think he’ll be able to answer!
Where did the moon come from, and why does it have all of those craters?
Since 2012, California has been in the midst of a record-setting drought, with extremely warm and dry conditions characterizing the last three years in that state. A new paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences concludes that warming caused by humans is responsible for the conditions that have led to this California drought.
This study, published by scientists affiliated with the Department of Environmental Earth System Science and the Woods Institute for Environment at Stanford University, used historical statewide data for observed temperature, precipitation, and drought in California. The investigators used the Palmer Hydrological Drought Index (PHDI) and the Palmer Drought Severity Index (PDSI), collected by the National Climatic Data Center, as measures of the severity of wet/dry anomalies. They also used global climate model simulations from the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP) to compare historical predictions for anthropogenic and non-anthropogenic historical climates.
The authors performed their analysis using an approach called bootstrapping. Bootstrapping techniques allow statisticians to utilize the same sample repeatedly to improve their estimates of specific effects. In this analysis, bootstrapping was used to compare the climate data with measures of populations from different time periods to allow for analysis of how changes in population are associated with different climate conditions.
This analysis found that the statewide warming in California occurs in climate models that include both natural and human factors, but not in simulations that only include natural factors. It’s a difference with a very high (0.001) level of statistical significance.
In their discussion and conclusions, the investigators state that their results strongly suggest that anthropogenic (human-caused) warming has increased the probability of co-occurring temperature and precipitation conditions that have historically led to California’s droughts. They also state that continued global warming is likely to lead to situations where every future dry period, whether it’s seasonal, annual, or multiannual, will be accompanied by historically warm conditions.
Dr. Richard Alley on the frustrations of a conservative climate scientist.
I went out to the post box and found the latest issue of Nat Geo, March 2015, there with this cover photo:
And the headlines:
THE WAR ON SCIENCE:
Climate Change does not exist
Evolution never happened
The Mood Landing was fake
Vaccinations can lead to autism
Genetically Modified Food is evil
It was a relief to see that this old, respected & sometimes stodgy journal take a strong stand against the deniers & other idiocies of our day. Even better was the discussion of why people doubt and deny what science tells them. It starts with the classic comedic example that has come full circle of late:
There’s a scene in Stanley Kubrick’s comic masterpiece Dr. Strangelove in which Jack D. Ripper, an American general who’s gone rogue and ordered a nuclear attack on the Soviet Union, unspools his paranoid worldview—and the explanation for why he drinks “only distilled water, or rainwater, and only pure grain alcohol”—to Lionel Mandrake, a dizzy-with-anxiety group captain in the Royal Air Force.
Ripper: Have you ever heard of a thing called fluoridation? Fluoridation of water?
Mandrake: Ah, yes, I have heard of that, Jack. Yes, yes.
Ripper: Well, do you know what it is?
Mandrake: No. No, I don’t know what it is. No.
Ripper: Do you realize that fluoridation is the most monstrously conceived and dangerous communist plot we have ever had to face?
The movie came out in 1964, by which time the health benefits of fluoridation had been thoroughly established, and antifluoridation conspiracy theories could be the stuff of comedy. So you might be surprised to learn that, half a century later, fluoridation continues to incite fear and paranoia. In 2013 citizens in Portland, Oregon, one of only a few major American cities that don’t fluoridate their water, blocked a plan by local officials to do so. Opponents didn’t like the idea of the government adding “chemicals” to their water. They claimed that fluoride could be harmful to human health.
Actually fluoride is a natural mineral that, in the weak concentrations used in public drinking water systems, hardens tooth enamel and prevents tooth decay—a cheap and safe way to improve dental health for everyone, rich or poor, conscientious brusher or not. That’s the scientific and medical consensus.
To which some people in Portland, echoing antifluoridation activists around the world, reply: We don’t believe you.
The article goes on from there and talks about the whole range of denial on the Right & Left wings - from evolution to GMO’s. It’s a good cross section of the crazy that has infected the majority of the nation.
You can read the whole text online at the link above. I would, however, suggest finding the magazine at your favorite retailer as they deserve the support for taking this stand.
No surprise, one of the few scientists who rejects the overwhelming scientific consensus that climate change is real and caused by humans, works for big oil. Doktor Zoom has more on this, rather unsurprising, but still extremely important story,
In what could turn out to be helpful news for the reality-based community, a new trove of documents show that one of the leading “scientific critics” of global warming has been funded directly by the fossil fuel industries. Wei-Hock Soon, who goes by “Willie,” has traded on his position as a part-time employee of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics to present himself as a legitimate scientist who’s simply not convinced that human activity is responsible for climate change, which has made him very popular with conservative groups and politicians. But documents obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request show that his research was directly paid for by industry sources, to the tune of over $1.2 million. Worse, he’s published at least 11 papers that failed to disclose those payments, a serious no-no in scientific ethics.
Say, New York Times, please share with us a paragraph that should make us all say “yikes!”
“While we’re all obsessed with DeflateGate, let’s keep in mind that’s there’s something about which you should give a fuck!” he continued. “Yes, like Tom Brady, the world is getting hotter and hotter, because we humans are pumping carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.”
But what you do about it? “You should vote for congressmen and senators that appreciate the threat of climate change and the rate at which the world is getting warmer, so that we can preserve the Earth for humankind for generations to come!”
Mittens has it all figured out. “Let’s deal with poverty,” he said Wednesday night. “Have we done it? No. Let’s do it.” I thought he did that last time in his bid for POTUS. I thought he covered that quite well. But wait. He’s also one of those republicans who don’t exist. Except in his mind, I presume. Wow! It’s an all new RomneyBot! But didn’t he say that his one good thing as Governor of Massachusetts (Romney Care) was a mistake and he’s against the ACA? Maybe he’ll be “One Of Those Republicans? and back it? Yeah! That’s the ticket! Why on earth would I believe a single thing this marionette would say?
MANILA — Pope Francis waded into the global debate on climate change and the environment on Sunday, saying in the text of a speech that man was destroying nature and betraying God’s calling to be stewards of creation.
Francis offered his thoughts about the environment and climate change for the second time in four days at a rally with young people at a Manila university on the last full day of a week-long Asian tour that has taken him to Sri Lanka and the Philippines.
He did not read all of a speech prepared for delivery at the university, improvising after he was moved by the story of an abandoned girl. When he does this, the Vatican says the prepared text is official.
“As stewards of God’s creation, we are called to make the earth a beautiful garden for the human family. When we destroy our forests, ravage our soil and pollute our seas, we
betray that noble calling,” he said in the text.
Another line he read to the crowd noted that “this country, more than many others, is likely to be seriously affected by climate change”.
Of course the wingnuts at freep are reacting accordingly…
Regardless of your religious beliefs or non-beliefs, it’s a fact that this is the only world we get to live on. If we f*ck it up, it’s not like we can just move someplace else.