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Education Earth Science

Wyoming Is First State To Reject Science Standards Over Climate Change 661

Posted by Soulskill
from the in-the-case-of-science-v-politics dept.
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes: "Time Magazine reports that Wyoming, the nation's top coal-producing state, has become the first state to reject new K-12 science standards proposed by national education groups mainly because of global warming components. The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) are a set of science standards developed by leading scientists and science educators from 26 states and built on a framework developed by the National Academy of Sciences. The Wyoming science standards revision committee made up entirely of Wyoming educators unanimously recommended adoption of these standards to the state Board of Education not once but twice and twelve states have already adopted the standards since they were released in April 2013. But opponents argue the standards incorrectly assert that man-made emissions are the main cause of global warming and shouldn't be taught in a state that ranks first among all states in coal production, fifth in natural gas production and eighth in crude oil production deriving much of its school funding from the energy industry.

Amy Edmonds, of the Wyoming Liberty Group, says teaching 'one view of what is not settled science about global warming' is just one of a number of problems with the standards. 'I think Wyoming can do far better.' Wyoming Governor Matt Mead has called federal efforts to curtail greenhouse emissions a 'war on coal' and has said that he's skeptical about man-made climate change. Supporters of the NGSS say science standards for Wyoming schools haven't been updated since 2003 and are six years overdue. 'If you want the best science education for your children and grandchildren and you don't want any group to speak for you, then make yourselves heard loud and clear,' says Cate Cabot. 'Otherwise you will watch the best interests of Wyoming students get washed away in the hysteria of a small anti-science minority driven by a national right wing group – and political manipulation.'"
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Wyoming Is First State To Reject Science Standards Over Climate Change

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    Standards? Politically-specified truth? In science?

    Good luck, USA. The rest of the world has already seen through the scam...

  • by benjfowler (239527) on Sunday May 11, 2014 @07:27AM (#46971677)

    It's called 'motivated reasoning', but I doubt these idiots have ever heard of it.

    Must be a conservative state, because this peculiar strain of stupidity is generally right-wing in nature. It's all about me! me!! me!! and screw the consequences, especially for the environment, our grandkids, or poor people.

    • by Hardhead_7 (987030) on Sunday May 11, 2014 @07:39AM (#46971717)
      Don't forget ideology. Get ready to read a bunch of posts from people who pride themselves on being scientific, but reject a theory that enjoys more support in climatology than the Standard Model does in physics. Just because they're conservative and it would be inconvenient for their politics.
      • I think this example has less to do with the actual Climate debate, than it does with good, old fashioned, Don't bite the hand that feeds you, company-town loyalty.

        FWIW, I grew up in a small town where my father, uncles, and friend's parents worked in a local mill. Three quarters all the jobs in this town were at that mill, in addition to almost all the good paying ones; and hell, they had a softball league and gave us each a turkey at Thanksgiving.

        For reference's sake, try to get something in a German s

      • by stenvar (2789879) on Sunday May 11, 2014 @11:27AM (#46973177)

        Get ready to read a bunch of posts from people who pride themselves on being scientific, but reject a theory that enjoys more support in climatology than the Standard Model does in physics

        There is no "theory of climate change" to reject. There are dozens of different hypotheses, and people advancing political action switch what they call that theory according to what argument they want to make. To deconstruct this:

        (1) Human activity has raised the level of CO2 and methane in the atmosphere beyond what it would otherwise be. [Uncontroversial]

        (2) Mean global temperatures have increased over the 20th century. [mostly accepted]

        (3) Human activity has contributed to some degree to that increase. [mostly accepted]

        (4) Human activity is the primary cause of temperature increase over the 20th century. [unproven]

        (5) Human activity will result in temperature increases in the 21st century that are larger than those experienced in the 20th century. [unproven, speculative]

        (6) Temperature increase in the 21st century will have devastating consequences for humans. [highly speculative, controversial]

        (7) Government intervention now can reduce temperature increases in the 21st century significantly. [highly speculative, completely implausible]

        So, the only thing that scientists agree on are (1-3). The rest is unproven, speculative, and often implausible. But without (4-7), observations (1-3) simply aren't worth teaching in school. And activists and politicians promoting government action like to pretend that agreement on (1-3) implies agreement on (4-7).

        And in terms of politics, I used to be a solid Democrat. But digging into the science behind climate change (and then some other issues where Democrats like to talk about science) has made me an independent, because Democrats are abusing science for political purposes. They like to pick some half-ass scientific result that fits their agenda, try to use it to get people riled up to vote for them or transfer billions into the coffers of their corporate buddies, and accuse anybody who disagrees with their political agenda as "unscientific". Just like you did.

        Let's be clear: like most scientists, I agree with what is actually the agreed upon theory of climate change, namely points (1-3). But that's all science supports right now; the rest is speculation and politics.

    • It's all about me! me!! me!! and screw the consequences, especially for the environment, our grandkids, or poor people.

      Indeed - though I wonder why, if they feel that the science side is too one-sided (not sure how that works out, as long as it's science), they wouldn't simply counter with a new program in social studies / economics. Surely they can convince the kids that, yes, coal is a horrible pollutant - but considering it employs their daddy, uncle, aunt, Bob, John and Mary, and brings in $xB to the

      • You misunderstand the scope of the problem. The issue is that there is a very real risk that we might be headed towards a global extinction event. Which no amount of money is worth enough to compensate for.

        Further, it is a "risk" because it is a future event. But at this point it is also a very highly probable one. And you talk about religion, which is probably one of the root of the problem: too many people refuse to consider the risk because religion.

        There is further a lot of uncertainty about whether we

        • You misunderstand the scope of the problem. The issue is that there is a very real risk that we might be headed towards a global extinction event.

          For some species, possibly, although species are going extinct all the time for various reasons and there is little we can do about most of them. Homo Sapiens Sapiens is not at risk of extinction in even the direst of CO2-based climate projections.

          If you think "it's clear that solar and wind are our future" then you have either a poor understanding of the energy needs of our current civilization, or you have a very long view of "our future." Certainly solar/wind and deep geothermal are in "our" future, bu

          • Even without the CO2 problem, we need to get going with alternatives for fossil fuels, as they will be getting too hard to produce in sufficient quantities in a few decades.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Nimey (114278)

      Wyoming is an extremely conservative state. It comes from being mostly rural; the state has only about 582,000 people and its population density is the second-lowest of all US states. Per Wikipedia, it also receives more tax dollars per-capita than any state but Alaska, and its per-capita tax aid is more than double the US average, /and/ its taxes are among the lowest of all states because they can suck Uncle Sam's teat to make up the difference.

      From the above, it's pretty evident that like most conservat

  • Stupidity rules (Score:5, Interesting)

    by X10 (186866) on Sunday May 11, 2014 @07:28AM (#46971681) Homepage

    Or is it the money that rules?

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Money rules the stupid.

    • by Xyrus (755017)

      Nah, Wyoming saw how stupid Kansas is and are now trying to take the crown. They have a ways to go, but this is an excellent start.

  • Why the hell... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by NoKaOi (1415755) on Sunday May 11, 2014 @07:30AM (#46971687)

    ...should a lawyer get to determine the science curriculum? Shouldn't it be, you know, people who are educated in science that decide the science curriculum? (yes, that was rhetorical, I know damn well what the answer is)

    I think Wyoming can do far better.

    I agree!

    • by dkf (304284)

      ...should a lawyer get to determine the science curriculum?

      Perhaps we should get a musician to determine the law curriculum and a scientist to determine the arts curriculum. It makes just as much sense.

      • ...should a lawyer get to determine the science curriculum?

        Perhaps we should get a musician to determine the law curriculum and a scientist to determine the arts curriculum. It makes just as much sense.

        No, it makes much more sense. Musicians often have to deal with the law and most scientists like art. Lawyers however appear to have less respect for the law than anyone else.

  • by cookYourDog (3030961) on Sunday May 11, 2014 @07:34AM (#46971693)
    As someone who believes in climate change, I'm growing very uneasy with the language being used by both sides to describe dissenting opinions. It feels like the biggest threat we'll face in the future is not a changing environment, but one another.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 11, 2014 @07:38AM (#46971707)

      Yes, in particular, language like the word "believe" being used for scientific theories.

    • As someone who is certain about his own observations about climate change- the real problem is playing the blame game. Assumptions about cause have obscured the effect to the point that we can no longer deal with the effect politically because everybody is too busy pointing fingers about the cause.

      With the melting of the tundra 10 years ago, we hit a tipping point, it became too late to stop climate change. It is now a positive feedback loop. You could remove every human being from the planet, and global

    • Of the 4 routes out of my area, all of them require driving 100+ miles before you reach another major town (as defined as having more than 1 gas station and a post office that opens atleast an hour a day).

      Your claim is not exactly a shocking revelation.

    • Roughly two-thirds of the coal-fired electricity generated in Wyoming is consumed in other states. It's hard to blame just Wyoming when Oregon finds it cheaper to burn coal in Wyoming and transmit electricity than to ship Wyoming coal and burn it in Oregon.
  • What you get (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hebertrich (472331) on Sunday May 11, 2014 @07:43AM (#46971729)

    Yep .. that's what you get when you let corporations pay for the politicians bills.
    They are owned by industry and will never side with the People they are supposedly there to represent .. which they are not.
    Democracy is dead in the US .. rather .. it never existed. All an illusion.

  • by BonThomme (239873) on Sunday May 11, 2014 @07:45AM (#46971737) Homepage

    it's not happening.

    if it is happening, it's a good thing.

    ok, it's happening, but it's not man-made.

    ok, it's not good, but it's still not man-made.

    jesus would fix it if we had prayer in school.

  • by masonc (125950)

    Wyoming has the best politicians money can afford. It won't matter as kids get information from all over, so they will see this through this pretty quickly.

  • by mwvdlee (775178) on Sunday May 11, 2014 @07:49AM (#46971765) Homepage

    Amy Edmonds, of the Wyoming Liberty Group, says teaching 'one view of what is not settled science about global warming' is just one of a number of problems with the standards.

    It's may be "one of a number of problems", but for some reason it's also the only "problem" mentioned.

    • The other problems they had probably weren't interesting to reporters.

      • by careysub (976506)

        The article does mention one other problematic issue - it is this unsettled scientific question called "evolution". Seriously, read TFA.

  • This is why the US needs to import foreign knowledge workers. The US school system teaches falsehoods and outputs ignorance.
  • I question why climate science needs to be part of the standards at all. It seems weirdly specific. When so many kids leave high school not knowing what an electron is, I'd say there are other areas where we might focus our pedagogical effort.

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