Year 3, Month 11, Day 3: Don’t Think Of An Elephant!

Those crazy Kansans are at it again:

Kansas State Board of Education races this year are shadowed by an emerging conflict over science standards for public schools — and it’s not all about evolution.

Climate change is emerging as a potential political flashpoint in Kansas and possibly 25 other states working with the National Research Council on common standards. If adopted, the guidelines could encourage public schools to spend far more time teaching students about the Earth’s climate and how human activity affects it.

Kansas state school board candidates are used to questions about the state’s science standards because of past debates about how evolution should be taught, but the possibility of a similar debate about climate change is a new twist as the Nov. 6 election approaches. Five of the board’s 10 seats are on the ballot, and three races are contested.

The winners, along with the hold-over board members, are expected to vote on new science standards early next year. At least a few conservative Republicans in Kansas are wary of what the standards will say about climate change amid support from educators and scientists for addressing the topic more thoroughly than in the past.

“When you’re looking at 100 scientists, you’ve got 90-some, high 90s, that have no question about climate change, and so for them, they have no problem with that being in,” said John Richard Schrock, a veteran biology professor at Emporia State University.

But, he acknowledged, to others, “It looks political.”

We are sooooooo fucked. Sent October 27:

As the East coast prepares for an oncoming superstorm, and the corn belt struggles to recover from a season of devastating drought, it beggars belief that climate-change denialist positions are under serious consideration for inclusion in Kansas’ science curricula. If, as the Emporia biology professor notes, the subject “looks political,” that’s not because it’s under any serious scientific dispute, but because a group of cynical, profit-hungry opportunists have exploited a complacent and complaisant media to push the spurious notion that there still remains any meaningful dispute about the existence, causes and genuine dangers presented by climate change.

Conservatives’ conflation of scientific methodology with religious doctrine is revealing. For these folk, the notion of a gradually-strengthening scientific consensus supported by empirical evidence and the logical analysis of data is simply another dogma. Americans should reject such thinking as more appropriate to an earlier, and far more barbaric, chapter in human history.

Warren Senders

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