Young Students Against Bad Science

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Your parents may have had to walk uphill, both ways, to get to school. But as ideological warfare threatens the teaching of climate science and evolution in many schools, it is clear that today’s students face their own obstacles on the road to a respectable science education — and some are speaking out.


For his high school senior project, Zack Kopplin started a campaign to repeal the Louisiana Science Education Act, a 2008 law passed in his home state that opens a “back door” to teaching creationism in public schools, he says. Currently taking a year off from Rice University to work and travel, Mr. Kopplin, 20, is widely recognized as the state’s leading voice against science denial education. He has expanded his campaign to fight similar laws across the country, as well as the use of public vouchers to send students to religious schools. He argues regularly, if unsuccessfully, before the Louisiana Senate to strike down the law, and his April appearance on “Real Time With Bill Maher,” in which he faced off against a conservative economist, Stephen Moore, went viral.

“I’m proud to be from Louisiana, but I don’t want people to laugh at me when I go out of state. ‘Oh that’s the guy from the stupid state with the creationism law,’ ” Mr. Kopplin said.

In Britain in March, Esha Marwaha, a 16-year-old from Hounslow, West London, started an online petition calling for Education Secretary Michael Gove to abandon a plan to remove references to climate change from the geography curriculum for students under 14. The petition got more than 30,000 signatures, and in July, Mr. Gove changed course.

Ms. Marwaha, a self-described geography fanatic, said lessons about climate change — whether it is caused by people or not — are crucial to keeping future students engaged in evidence-based science.

Written By: Douglas Quenqua
continue to source article at nytimes.com

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  1. Dear RDFR mods. Can I nominate young Esha and Zack for a, “Dawkins Medal of Courage” ? What’s that? You’ve no dosh – £money$ Perhaps a wealthy sponsor will institute the D.M’s idea. :) m

    • In reply to #1 by memetical:

      Dear RDFR mods. Can I nominate young Esha and Zack for a, “Dawkins Medal of Courage” ? What’s that? You’ve no dosh – £money$ Perhaps a wealthy sponsor will institute the D.M’s idea. :) m

      I second the nomination.

    • In reply to #2 by serfdood:

      Bad Science?

      May be a take on Phil Plait’s ‘Bad Astronomy’.

      Where the heck are ya Zack, a christian campus? You look, dare I say it, “angelic” and ready to fight the foe.

  2. “Irritated by her actions, Ms. Campbell said, her principal threatened to tell Wellesley College, where Ms. Campbell had been accepted, that she was a troublemaker.”

    I find it hilarious that the principal thought Wellesley would agree with him on this.

  3. Ms. Marwaha, a self-described geography fanatic, said lessons about climate change — whether it is caused by people or not — are crucial to keeping future students engaged in evidence-based science.

    Why the strange proviso?

    • In reply to #4 by Peter Grant:

      Ms. Marwaha, a self-described geography fanatic, said lessons about climate change — whether it is caused by people or not — are crucial to keeping future students engaged in evidence-based science.

      Why the strange proviso?

      I had a second look at that, but it is important to know which climate changes are parts of the natural cycles, and which are man-made variations on these. – Especially if denialists are going to pretend that all the changes are parts of natural cycles.

  4. Given that we know how much fuel we have burned, the amount of CO2 generated for each kg of each type of fuel, and given that Arrhennius figured out the expect temperature rise for each kg of CO2, way back in the 1800s, how can anyone dare claim climate change is not human caused. It is absurd. This did not become “controversial” until the 1990s. This shows the power of outrageous lying.

    • In reply to #11 by Roedy:

      Given that we know how much fuel we have burned, the amount of CO2 generated for each kg of each type of fuel, and given that Arrhennius figured out the expect temperature rise for each kg of CO2, way back in the 1800s, how can anyone dare claim climate change is not human caused.

      It is crucial that kids are taught to look at all the arguments, all the logic, all the evidence and then reach a rational, evidence based conclusion. There are people out there who believe in creationism. I might think it’s barmy, but I do not have the right to, not would I want to, deny kids the opportunity to learn about it and why people think this way, provided it is balanced with other, relevant arguments. Kids are not stupid; they can make their own minds up given the right level of information. Same goes for climate change.

      As a side note; why is Michael Gove involving himself in curriculum detail anyway? Surely his remit is policy.

      • In reply to #12 by daphnescombine:

        It is crucial that kids are taught to look at all the arguments, all the logic, all the evidence and then reach a rational, evidence based conclusion.

        This makes no sense. Children are not capable of making such judgements until they have matured enough and learned scientific methodology. That is why the charlatans want them to be taught rubbish before they are old enough to have developed evidence seeking and reasoning skills.

        There are people out there who believe in creationism. I might think it’s barmy, but I do not have the right to, not would I want to, deny kids the opportunity to learn about it and why people think this way,

        So are kids limited years of education going to taken up with ALL the balmy theistic concepts past and present? List of deities

        provided it is balanced with other, relevant arguments.

        Why on Earth would educators want to waste valuable teaching time on lies and deliberately misleading nonsense, when there is such a wealth of valuable knowledge and so little time for children to learn?

        Kids are not stupid; they can make their own minds up given the right level of information.

        No they can’t! They rely on the honesty and integrity of their parents and teachers.

        Same goes for climate change.

        Many of the methods and calculations are advanced science – far beyond the levels of mental capacity of young children.

        Apart from a passing mention that there are/were incompetent and dishonest people promoting misleading nonsense (such as a Flat Earth or Young Earth), children need to concentrate on the basic skills of science, numeracy and language; – with some wider historical and geographical knowledge added.

        It is ludicrous to suggest that young children are in a position to judge the accuracy of climate science. They need the basic measuring skills, understanding of averages, understanding of seasons, water-cycle, carbon-cycle, nitrogen-cycle, and physical geography first, – plus the simple statement, that the world’s climate monitoring stations are recording year on year increases in temperature.

        As a side note; why is Michael Gove involving himself in curriculum detail anyway? Surely his remit is policy.

        He is a clueless twit, who wants to appear to be doing something to distract from the damage he is doing with budget cuts and daft “faith-school” semi-privatisation schemes.

        Curriculum is an area where he can dump they blame for the consequent disruption and failures on the schools, (particularly those which miss out on grants for his pet schemes), while he postures as the great champion (some would say CHUMPion) of education.

  5. And as a further side note, I am so glad that young people like Zack Kopplin and Esha Marwaha continue to stand up against ‘bad science’. A four year old, or a seven year old ask ‘why?’ incessantly for a reason and too many get it [metaphorically] beaten out of them for all of the wrong reasons.

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