Advocacy Group Forces Catastrophe ‘Consensus’ on Schoolkids

Published August 19, 2014

Part II – This is the second in a two-part column on how the National Center for Science Education is targeting the nation’s schools to enforce a mythical consensus on global warming alarmism

Casting Science Against Religion
Underscoring the mindset of anti-religious groups, in 1996 prominent scientist Richard Dawkins was declared the American Humanist Association’s (AHA) Humanist of the Year. In his acceptance speech he stated, “Faith is one of the world’s great evils, comparable to the smallpox virus but harder to eradicate.”

In 2009, the National Center for Science Education (NCSE) accidentally leaked talking points it provided for activists in Texas which stated, “Science posits that there are no forces outside of nature. Science cannot be neutral on this issue. The history of science is a long comment denying that forces outside of nature exist, and proving that this is the case again and again.” The document even encouraged activists to wax theological: “All educated people understand there are no forces outside of nature.”

Dr. Eugenie Scott, a physical anthropologist, insisted NCSE’s “goals are not to promote disbelief” but rather to push people to “understand evolution and hopefully accept it.” Nonetheless, she has stated evolution is “threatening” to those who take “a human exceptionalism kind of view.” She added, “Darwinian evolution needs to be coped with, and it may not be psychologically easy.”

Taken together, NCSE’s affiliations and the comments of Scott and others suggest a lack of sincerity in NCSE’s outreach to religious believers and to conservatives, Republicans, and non-liberals in general.

From Evolution to Global Warming
In 2009, NCSE got involved in the fight over education policy in Texas, intervening to influence the state’s standards on the teaching of evolution. It was unsuccessful, for the most part, with regard to evolution. But evolution wasn’t the only controversy facing Texas schools.

The state’s new standards also required students to “analyze and evaluate different views on the existence of global warming,” and NCSE was obliged to take a position—which led to the group’s involvement in the global warming issue.

In January 2012, the NCSE declared its plan to launch a “new initiative to defend and support the teaching of climate change” and to oppose “climate change denial.” In December of that year, NCSE hosted a Climate and Energy Literacy Summit in Berkeley, California. The summit brought together approximately 50 “climate activists” representing think tanks (Brookings Institute, Frameworks Institute, Will Steger Foundation), environmentalist groups (Campaign for Environmental Literacy, Alliance for Climate Education, BlueGreen Alliance, Climate Nexus, Social Capital Project, Ecological Society of America), education organizations (National Science Teachers Association, Technical Education Research Centers), philanthropy (Nonprofit Finance Fund, Carnegie Museum), journalism (National Geographic), scientific societies (American Geophysical Union), federal and state agencies (National Science Foundation, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Global Change Research Program), and the National Academy of Sciences.

According to a summit report, their goal was to develop a “coordinated national initiative” to “substantially and measurably improve climate and energy literacy,” with “literacy” defined as a belief that “human activities are warming the planet, that the resulting climatic changes have serious consequences, and that steps can be taken to minimize negative impacts.” The initiative aimed to dramatically increase the number of teachers who cover climate change, and to assist educators “in coping with climate science denial, including scientific rebuttals and guidance on best practices for countering denial and manufactured doubt.” (“Denial” and “manufactured doubt” are terms used by environmental extremists to denigrate scientists and others who express skepticism on the Global Warming issue, likening such skeptics to Nazi sympathizers, heretics, or unscrupulous Madison Avenue ad men.)

The summit report made clear that cash was critical to the “climate literacy” effort. Central to the initiative was raising both public and private funding from government sources such as the NSF, NOAA, and NASA as well as from private foundations. The money would go to help develop curricula and to put pressure on schools to “become living laboratories for climate and energy studies” so that “most students in the nation could attain basic climate and energy literacy in less than a decade.” The involvement of religious leaders and members of environmentalist or “social justice” groups was encouraged.

NCSE’s website laments, “People and organizations who deny or doubt the scientific consensus around climate change have attempted to undermine climate change education.”

‘Call to Arms’ Against Skeptics
Since launching its Climate Change Initiative, NCSE staffers have published articles in prominent journals encouraging scientists to serve as advocates. Writing last year in BioScience, NCSE deputy director Glenn Branch issued a “call to arms” to biologists, saying, as with creationism, “It is time for biologists to help resist the danger posed by climate change denial, too.” He charged, “Unlike evolution, climate science is not yet comfortably ensconced in the K-12 educational system; there is a lot of work to do before it is.”

Today, roughly a year and a half after the Berkeley summit, NCSE serves as a hub, coordinating efforts through the schools to persuade students and the general public to accept the supposed “consensus.” Citizen Engagement Laboratory, a summit participant, openly admits the agenda is to “strive to make those who deny climate science or stand in the way of action politically toxic.”

Casey Luskin ([email protected]) is an attorney with a graduate degree in earth sciences, and serves as research coordinator for the Discovery Institute in Seattle, Washington. This article was first published by the Capital Research Center, reprinted with permission.