When esteemed experts question the value of education in addressing climate change–which  happened to me again last week at Stanford–I’m initially surprised. But then I remind myself that, while they may be experts in their realm, they don't necessarily appreciate the worth of providing young people with the background and skills so they can understand the causes, effects, risks, and responses to climate change.

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Enrico Fermi

Once in a while, a journalist will ask a question that really makes me think. Such a question arose recently, when I was asked whether Missouri’s House Bill 1472—which I earlier said “would eviscerate the teaching of biology in Missouri”—was the worst antievolution bill to come down the pike in a long time. At first, I was inclined to respond by saying that they’re all horrible, which indeed they are. But pondering it further, I realized that there was enough survey data available for me to make a back-of-the-envelope estimate of the expected effect—measured in lost student-hours of effective evolution education—of the two antievolution bills currently before the Missouri General Assembly.

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It's like the ultimate movie monster: invisible, slowly creeping until it rears its ugly head, suddenly lashing out, disguised as dramatic extreme events, growing more powerful and destructive over time. It strikes fear and terror in the populace, causing some to deny its existence and others to weep and wail as they try to warn their friends and neighbors.

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Bob Dylan in the “Subterranean Homesick Blues” video

I learned about some new research on meteorologists’ views about climate change when Keith Seitter, executive director of the American Meteorological Society, posted a rebuttal to denialist misrepresentations of the research.

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"A what?" he said.

"An SEP."

I Can Haz Cheezburger image: Cat sitting in front of many dogs, saying “someone else’s problem field - ai haz it”

"An S…?"

"…EP."

"And what's that?"

"Somebody Else's Problem."

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Do you take global warming seriously and think it is caused by humans? Do you know a lot about the topic? How do you feel about specific strategies to limit its impacts? And is it extremely important to you personally?

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A friend e-mailed the other day wondering just how many people in the United States are young-earth creationists.

The answer begins with a question the Gallup poll has been asking since the early ’80s:

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Update: The survey described below reflects the input from a group of self-selected educators, not a randomized sample. A more robust national survey to determine whether, where, and how climate and global change topics are being taught is much needed, but until such a survey is deployed, the "user needs" survey described below provides a snapshot of the interests and practices of many science educators today in the United States.

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