Tuesday, January 08, 2013

We really have work to do

And evolution had more than a one hundred year head start on global warming (with the public!)

Climate scientists and educators can actually learn a lot from the long battles over the teaching of evolution in schools.


Caspar Henderson said...

My, that Google predictor can turn into an effective reinforcement of ignorance and willful stupidity. Scarey

david lewis said...

www.google.no, i.e. Google Norway, produced this as the third term displayed in the drop down AutoComplete box:

just a theory so well is gravity and i do not see you jumping out of buildings

Imagine the sheer number of people required to search using this thought in order for it to get this high in Google Autocomplete....

david lewis said...

I meant to also include a link to an NPR story aired about a year ago "Defending Climate Science's Place in The Classroom".

NPR says: "The National Center for Science Education has long defended educators' right to teach evolution in public schools. Now climate science too is under attack. NCSE executive director Eugenie Scott talks about how teachers and parents can fight the push to get climate change denial into the classroom."

I read your October 20 2011 post "Can we make the climate part of the human world" that you linked to in this post.

What came to my mind was my reading of a play by Sophocles, i.e. Antigone, some twenty years ago. I don't have a copy in front of me. But what is in there are two references that I took to be indicative of a contradiction in Greek thought that still exists today.

One, the Earth is described as inexhaustible. Two, the Earth is described as inevitably being exhausted. The reference has something to do with an observation that ploughing and growing food year after year after year must in the end wear the land out.

The Greeks had some realization that they had ruined their home country by logging which caused much topsoil to run off into the sea. But they were seafarers and great traders who could rely on distant sources for anything their practices at home caused their homeland to no longer produce.

What we face now is a necessity to resolve this contradiction, to realize we can "run out of planet" in a way that has serious consequences compared to running out of enough arable land in our home country.

Simon Donner said...

David: The contradiction in Greek thought that you report seems to foreshadow much more modern debates about Malthus and the Limits to Growth ideas. Perhaps we are as divided on the issue of resource scarcity today as in ancient times.