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Ban, Balance, and Belittle: Teaching Evolution and Anthropogenic Climate Change

Eugenie C. Scott, Ph.D.

Eugenie C. Scott

October 29, 2013

McGill University
Montreal, Canada



Both evolution and anthropogenic climate change are “controversial issues” in education, although not in the realm of science. Proponents of antievolutionism and climate change denial use remarkably similar approaches to promote their views. The scientific issues are presented as “not being settled”, or that there is considerable debate among scientists over the validity of claims. McGill University logoThe consequences of accepting either evolution or the reality of climate change are said to strike against core values. And in the educational setting, cultural values of fair play and free speech are invoked to encourage the teaching of both creationism and denial of anthropogenic global warming.

Denialists in both camps practice “anomaly mongering”, in which a small detail seemingly incompatible with either evolution or global warming is held up as dispositive of either evolution or of climate science. Although in both cases, reputable, established science is under attack for ideological reasons, the underlying ideology differs: for denying evolution, the ideology of course is religious; for denying global warming, the ideology is political and/or economic.


A presentation for
The Lorne Trottier Public Science Symposium Series