A few days ago, The Australian reported on the fact that, in the Queensland curriculum, science is regarded as a “social and cultural activity”, an approach totally at odds with the concept of the scientific method:
“Science is a social and cultural activity through which explanations of natural phenomena are generated,” it says.
“Explanations of natural phenomena may be viewed as mental constructions based on personal experiences and result from a range of activities including observation, experimentation, imagination and discussion.
“Accepted scientific concepts, theories and models may be viewed as shared understandings that the scientific community perceive as viable in light of current available evidence.”
In other words, we are talking about here is “post-normal science” where objective truths are no longer paramount, and where various societal “interpretations” can be overlaid on bare scientific facts. As I quoted in a blog post back in 2010:
The guiding principle of normal science – the goal of achievement of factual knowledge – must be modified to fit the post-normal principle…For this purpose, post-normal scientists should be capable of establishing extended peer communities and allow for ‘extended facts’ from non-scientific experts…In post-normal science, the maintenance and enhancement of quality, rather than the establishment of factual knowledge, is the key task of scientists… Involved social actors must agree on the definition of perceptions, narratives, interpretation of models, data and indicators…scientists have to contribute to society by learning as quickly as possible about different perceptions…instead of seeking deep ultimate knowledge. (source: Eva Kunseler, Towards a new paradigm of Science in scientific policy advising)
It’s utter garbage of course. But nowhere has this new flexibility of post-normal science been exploited more effectively than in the teaching of climate change in schools. Political correctness and “social and cultural interpretations” have trumped scientific objectivity, so that students are fed a stream of eco-propaganda cut-and-pasted from environmental activist groups press releases, which masquerades as impartial science.
The typical line would go like this:
Man-made emissions of CO2 are causing global temperatures to rise and we should cut our emissions urgently to avoid the risk of dangerous climate change. A tiny minority of scientists (or “deniers” as we should call them), funded by large oil companies who want to maintain the status quo, are paid to state that climate change is not happening/is a hoax/is a Marxist plot/etc etc…
Dissent is suppressed at all costs and only the “authorised” line is plugged. If you think this is exaggerated, have a look at the extract from a geography text book at the end of this post (see original here).
But it seems that a number of Queensland Liberal National Party (LNP) members are in favour of an overhaul of Queensland’s education system, specifically the teaching of climate:
LNP members have overwhelmingly voted to ensure the removal of “environmental propaganda” about climate change from schools.
The motion, proposed by the LNP’s Noosa State Electorate Council, calls on Education Minister John-Paul Langbroek to require Queensland schools to “remove environmental propaganda material, in particular post-normal science about ‘climate change’, from the curriculum and as adjunct material at exam time”.
The mover of the motion, LNP member Richard Pearson, railed against “those false prophets who would poison the minds of our children in our schools”.
“Few people understand that the so called science of climate change is really what can be defined as ‘post-normal’ science,” he said, arguing it went beyond traditional understanding of science based on experimentation and falsifiable theories.
Another member spoke against the motion, saying he was concerned when people tried to dismiss differing opinions and he believed children to have access to all information.
The motion was nonetheless passed with overwhelming support from the LNP members at the gathering.
At last year’s conference, LNP president Bruce McIver questioned the role of humans in driving climate change, arguing the climate was always changing and children were being “brainwashed” in the way climate science was taught. (source) [Update: The Australian has more here]
I guess we wait for the brainless alarmists to start saying that this is akin to teaching creationism alongside evolution or that gravity isn’t settled science or some other idiotic comparison. No, it isn’t. Whereas there are centuries of hard empirical evidence for both evolution and gravity, there are about 20 years of flaky computer modelled projections on which the entire climate scare is based, not to mention the massaging of temperature data to prop up The Cause.
Furthermore, whereas there are no political gains to be made from evolution and gravity, climate change has been swamped by political motivations of global organisations like the UN and the IPCC (which, having been infiltrated by environmental activist groups, have already made up their minds that CO2 is to blame and are just desperately searching for evidence to back it up) and national governments, implementing pointless gestures like the carbon tax to appear politically correct (and in Australia’s case, stay in power).
For anyone to claim the “science is settled” and that only the approved version be taught in schools is delusional. At least Queensland LNP is taking a stand against this brainwashing.
Extract from NSW Year 8 Geography text book: