From evolution to global warming?
House Concurrent Resolution 1009, now under consideration in South Dakota's legislature, borrows language from antievolution legislation in encouraging teachers to present "a balanced and objective" presentation of global warming, and two NCSE staffers react — Steven Newton at the Huffington Post (February 25, 2010) and Joshua Rosenau at the Center for American Progress's Science Progress blog (February 26, 2010). As the Rapid City Journal (February 24, 2010) reports, "The resolution, which does not have the force of law, asks schools that present the threats of global warming to balance the information with the skeptical view of climate change as well."
Analyzing HCR 1009 as it was introduced, Newton commented on the resolution's "startling lack of knowledge about the particulars of climate science and how science works," observing that it refers to "a variety of climatological, meteorological, astrological, thermological, cosmological, and ecological dynamics" — "Do they think glaciers melt slower when Virgo is ascending?" Newton added, "Even more disturbing than these errors is the underlying premise of HCR 1009: the assumption that political bodies, rather than scientists, should have the final say over scientific issues. ... This political interference in science education is a problem that extends beyond merely getting the facts wrong. Students deserve better than to be pawns of science denialists."
After discussing the history of creationist activism and its increasing affinity for global warming denial, Rosenau noted that HCR 1009 was revised by the Senate to remove most of the scientific errors — including the reference to astrology, prompting the quip "[t]he stars were not aligned." He warned, however, that "the Senate strengthened the final line, insisting now that teachers offer a 'balanced and objective' presentation of global warming. However reasonable such advice may be in the abstract, the effect of the law will be chilling to teachers on the ground. Science is not and should not be resolved through the legislative process, and the details of what teachers present as science should not be dictated by legislators with no experience as scientists or teachers."