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GiveItABreak
10-03-2007, 03:54 PM
I guess an interesting tidbit from across the pond . . . .

Take it for what it's worth.

From the Daily Mail:

03/10/07 - World news section

Schools must warn of Gore climate film bias

Schools will have to issue a warning before they show pupils Al Gore's controversial film about global warming, a judge indicated yesterday.

The move follows a High Court action by a father who accused the Government of 'brainwashing' children with propaganda by showing it in the classroom.


Stewart Dimmock said the former U.S. Vice-President's documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, is unfit for schools because it is politically biased and contains serious scientific inaccuracies and 'sentimental mush'.

He wants the video banned after it was distributed with four other short films to 3,500 schools in February.

Mr Justice Burton is due to deliver a ruling on the case next week, but yesterday he said he would be saying that Gore's Oscar-winning film does promote 'partisan political views'.

This means that teachers will have to warn pupils that there are other opinions on global warming and they should not necessarily accept the views of the film.

He said: 'The result is I will be declaring that, with the guidance as now amended, it will not be unlawful for the film to be shown.'

The outcome marks a partial victory for Mr Dimmock, who had accused the 'New Labour Thought Police' of indoctrinating youngsters by handing out thousands of Climate Change Packs to schools.

Mr Dimmock, a lorry driver from Dover with children aged 11 and 14, said at the outset of the hearing: 'I wish my children to have the best education possible, free from bias and political spin, and Mr Gore's film falls far short of the standard required.'

His solicitor John Day, said yesterday that the Government had been forced to make 'a U-turn', but said it did not go far enough.

He said 'no amount of turgid guidance' could change the fact that the film is unfit for consumption in the classroom.

The case arises from a decision in February by the then Education Secretary Alan Johnson that DVDs of the film would be sent to all secondary schools in England, along with a multimedia CD produced by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs containing two short films about climate change and an animation about the carbon cycle.

David Miliband, who was Environment-Secretary when the school packs were announced, said at the time: 'The debate over the science of climate change is well and truly over.'

But during the three-day hearing, the court heard that the critically-acclaimed film contains a number of inaccuracies, exaggerations and statements about global warming for which there is currently insufficient scientific evidence.

The Climate Change Resource Pack has now been sent to more than 3,500 schools and is aimed at key stage 3 pupils - those aged 11 to

Children's Minister Kevin Brennan said last night: 'The judge's decision is clear that schools can continue to use An Inconvenient Truth as part of their teaching on climate change in accordance with the amended guidance, which will be available online today.

'We have updated the accompanying guidance, as requested by the judge to make it clearer for teachers as to the stated Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change position on a number of scientific points raised in the film.'

Link to original article: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/worldnews.html?in_article_id=485336&in_page_id=181 1

Cal.Kellogg
10-03-2007, 04:55 PM
I’m afraid that folks both here in the U.S. and in England are in denial about global warming. The evidence is clear, the climate on earth is warming and the warming is likely caused completely or in part by the actions of humans. Unfortunately this issue has become a political football and both the left and right are using the issue to their advantage.

I see global warming as an example of the disservice that the squabbling between the left and right does to the humanity and the environment. There is a problem that can be documented scientifically and statistically, yet we are too busy shouting back and forth from our two political camps to explore how or if we can take steps to slow or stop the warming that currently threatens a host of ecosystems worldwide. If we care about future generations we need to unite and think about solutions rather than the endless finger pointing that now occupies our time.

If I understand the article cited in the previous article correctly a taxi driver has challenged the idea of using Al Gore’s film in the classroom with out a disclaimer saying it is bias. Well if I had to choose between the opinions of the scientists cited in Gore’s film and book against the opinion of a taxi driver, I’d have to take the word of the scientists. It is unfortunate that a taxi driver with a political agenda can effectively censor the school curriculum in the sense that the disclaimer undermines the impact of the film. The school should certainly outline both sides of the issue, but hiding our heads in the sand and telling the students that one group of scientists has a bias without basing such a statement on fact is a poor policy.

Here is a recent national newspaper article that provides some interesting information about global warming:

Scientists reported recently that they have detected the clearest evidence yet that global warming is real -- and that human industrial activity is largely responsible for it.
Researchers at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science cited a range of evidence that the Earth's temperatures are rising:
-- The Arctic regions are losing ice cover.
-- The populations of whales and walrus that Alaskan Eskimo communities depend on for food are crashing.
-- Fresh water draining from ice and snow on land is decreasing the salinity of far northern oceans.
-- Many species of plankton -- the microscopic plants that form the crucial base of the entire marine food web -- are moving north to escape the warming water on the ocean surface off Greenland and Alaska.
Ice ages come and go over millennia, and for the past 8,000 years, the gradual end of the last ice age has seen a natural increase in worldwide temperatures, all scientists agree. Skeptics have expressed doubt that industrial activity is to blame for world's rapidly rising temperatures.
But records show that for the past 50 years or so, the warming trend has sped up -- due, researchers said, to the atmospheric burden of greenhouse gases produced by everything industrial, from power plants burning fossil fuels to gas-guzzling cars -- and the effects are clear.
"We were stunned by the similarities between the observations that have been recorded at sea worldwide and the models that climatologists made," said Tim Barnett of the University of California's Scripps Institution of Oceanography. "The debate is over, at least for rational people. And for those who insist that the uncertainties remain too great, their argument is no longer tenable. We've nailed it."
Barnett and other experts marshaled their evidence and presented it to their colleagues for the first time at a symposium here.
For the past 40 years, Barnett said, observations by seaborne instruments have shown that the increased warming has penetrated the oceans of the world - - observations, he said, that have proved identical to computer predictions whose accuracy has been challenged by global-warming skeptics.
The most recent temperature observations, he said, fit those models with extraordinary accuracy.
But a spokesman for the Bush administration -- which has been criticized for not taking global warming seriously -- was unfazed by the latest news.
"Our position has been the same for a long time," said Bill Holbrook, spokesman for the White House Council on Environmental Quality. "The science of global climate change is uncertain."
"Ice is in decline everywhere on the planet, and especially in the Arctic, " said Ruth Curry, a physical oceanographer at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, "and there is large-scale drying throughout the Northern Hemisphere."
Ice cores drilled deep into the Greenland ice cap show that salinity of the ice at the upper layers of the cores has decreased sharply due to the incursion of fresh water draining from melting snows on the surface, she reported, and land ice and permafrost are in decline all around the Arctic. In the meantime, she said, measurements show that salinity of the ocean waters nearer the equator has increased as the rate of evaporation of warmer tropical and subtropical oceans quickens.
It may take several centuries for all the ice that covers Greenland to melt, Curry said, "but its release of fresh water will make sea-level rise a very significant issue in this century." In fact, she said, changes in the freshwater balance of the oceans has already caused severe drought conditions in America's Western states and many parts of China and other Asian countries.
Already, the physics of increased warming and the changes in ocean circulation that result are strongly affecting the entire ecology of the Arctic regions, according to Sharon L. Smith, an oceanographer and marine biologist at the University of Miami.
Last summer, on an expedition ranging from Alaska's Aleutian islands to the Arctic Ocean above the state's oil-rich North Slope, Smith said she encountered the leading elder of an Eskimo community on Little Diomede island who told her that ice conditions offshore were changing rapidly year by year; that the ice was breaking up and retreating earlier and earlier; and that in the previous year the men of his community were able to kill only 10 walrus for their crucial food supplies, compared to past harvests of 200 or more.
Populations of bowhead whales, which the Eskimo people of Barrow on the North Slope are permitted to hunt, are declining too, Smith said. The organisms essential to the diet of Eider ducks living on St. Lawrence Island have been in rapid decline, while both the plants and ducks have moved 100 miles north to colder climates -- a migration, she said, that obviously was induced by the warming of the waters off the island.
Another piece of evidence Smith cited for the ecological impact of warming in the Arctic emerged in the Bering Sea, where there was a huge die- off in 1997 of a single species of seabirds called short-tailed shearwaters.
Hundreds of thousands of birds died, she said, and the common plankton plants on which they depend totally for food was replaced by inedible plants covered with calcite mineral plates. Those plants thrive in warmer waters and require higher-than-normal levels of carbon dioxide -- the major greenhouse gas -- to reproduce, Smith said.
"What more convincing evidence do we need that warming is real?" Smith asked.

GiveItABreak
10-04-2007, 07:18 AM
If I understand the article cited in the previous article correctly a taxi driver has challenged the idea of using Al Gore’s film in the classroom with out a disclaimer saying it is bias. Well if I had to choose between the opinions of the scientists cited in Gore’s film and book against the opinion of a taxi driver, I’d have to take the word of the scientists. It is unfortunate that a taxi driver with a political agenda can effectively censor the school curriculum in the sense that the disclaimer undermines the impact of the film. The school should certainly outline both sides of the issue, but hiding our heads in the sand and telling the students that one group of scientists has a bias without basing such a statement on fact is a poor policy.


I don't think the decision out of Great Britain questions the concept of global warming - it just recognizes that the "movie" (and that's what it is - a movie) is politicized. This Orb is warming - no doubt - the question is how the material gets presented in an educational setting.

I'd also take issue with you questioning whether a "taxi driver" should be able to do what he did. That's elitist. I've met some taxi drivers that make more sense to me than some of the professors I had in graduate school. The issue is not the opinion of the taxi drivers versus that of the "scientists," rather, it is whether the movie should be held out as an accurate representation of scientific fact/hypothesis when it is clouded with political rhetoric.

Are we going to allow only "educated" people, or people with important titles, to dictate public discourse? Geesh - I sure hope not.

The problem, as I see it, is politics has become like Saturday morning cartoons (when I was a kid). Where is the philosophical discourse and critical thinking? It's all but gone from today's political arena. Too bad.

thomas
10-04-2007, 07:27 AM
Good response GiveItABreak, I agree with you.
thomas

fishrman4life
10-04-2007, 01:02 PM
If anyone has taken a science class, there are 7 steps to the scientific method before a hypothesis becomes a theory. Theory is a HIGH RANK in scientific fields.

A theory is a generalization based on many observations and experiments; a well-tested, verified hypothesis that fits existing data and explains how processes or events are thought to occur. It is a basis for predicting future events or discoveries. Theories may be modified as new information is gained. This definition of a theory is in sharp contrast to colloquial usage, where people say something is “just a theory,” thereby intending to imply a great deal of uncertainty.

http://biology.clc.uc.edu/courses/bio104/sci_meth.htm

Notice how there are practically ZERO scientists in disagreement over whether the earth is warming. It IS WARMING. The movie isnt politicized, it isnt propaganda in one side or the other's favor. I didnt hear "Vote for Democrats" in there anywhere. It is asking US (the viewer, the one with the vote) to do something about it. Is that what the propaganda is? Asking humble us to do something about a problem that could end up killing off a percentage of us or our brethren? That's the problem with us. When we see a movie that doesnt ask us to do anything about it, at the end of the movie, we're left asking, "Well, what can I do about this issue? I dont have the slightest clue what they want me to do!" Then when some movie lays the steps out for us to do something about it, then it's propaganda. I say show the film, if for nothing else than to make an impact on the generation that gives a care about whether all of humanity or only part of it makes it till the next generation. They wont argue about the cause, they'll figure out what to do about it!

GiveItABreak
10-04-2007, 01:59 PM
Notice how there are practically ZERO scientists in disagreement over whether the earth is warming. It IS WARMING. The movie isnt politicized, it isnt propaganda in one side or the other's favor. I didnt hear "Vote for Democrats" in there anywhere. It is asking US (the viewer, the one with the vote) to do something about it. Is that what the propaganda is? Asking humble us to do something about a problem that could end up killing off a percentage of us or our brethren? That's the problem with us. When we see a movie that doesnt ask us to do anything about it, at the end of the movie, we're left asking, "Well, what can I do about this issue? I dont have the slightest clue what they want me to do!" Then when some movie lays the steps out for us to do something about it, then it's propaganda. I say show the film, if for nothing else than to make an impact on the generation that gives a care about whether all of humanity or only part of it makes it till the next generation. They wont argue about the cause, they'll figure out what to do about it!

I think you may have misread my post - or just misunderstand the point. First - I never called into question whether the planet is warming. It is (I actually think "zero" scientists disagree with that). Second - I do believe AIT is politicized. That doesn't mean I don't "believe" the global warming hysteria - and it doesn't mean I don't understand basic science or that I didn't pay attention in science class (although I do recall tuning out for a bit in 8th grade chem . . . ).

The question is whether we're going to have this scientific debate by politicians - or by those who can think critically and have an apolitical discourse. You're not going to get that from the right or left - regardless of who's "in power."

What's causing this grand old rock to warm? I don't profess to know. But I can tell you that there are many people - much brighter than you, I, or Al Gore - that have ideas. I'll let them debate the issue. in the meantime - I think the decision discussed above is a reality check on what constitutes proper educational materials in school.

The_Big_Sinus
10-05-2007, 01:28 PM
What's causing this grand old rock to warm? I don't profess to know. But I can tell you that there are many people - much brighter than you, I, or Al Gore - that have ideas.

I dunno... Al Gore is a pretty bright guy.

• EDUCATION: St. Alban's Episcopal School for Boys in Washington; Harvard University, B.A. 1969; Vanderbilt School of Religion, 1971-72; Vanderbilt Law School, 1974-76.

Do you have a BA from Harvard? I don't... Did a stint in the army for 4 years, and also worked as a reporter for 4 years... In addition to his well-documented 14-year career as an elected official (that was BEFORE he was vice president).

I don't always agree with Al, especially on social issues (he's hardly much of a liberal on those, to be sure). But his intelligence isn't something I've wasted a lot of energy questioning.

GiveItABreak
10-05-2007, 02:07 PM
What's causing this grand old rock to warm? I don't profess to know. But I can tell you that there are many people - much brighter than you, I, or Al Gore - that have ideas.

I dunno... Al Gore is a pretty bright guy.

• EDUCATION: St. Alban's Episcopal School for Boys in Washington; Harvard University, B.A. 1969; Vanderbilt School of Religion, 1971-72; Vanderbilt Law School, 1974-76.

Do you have a BA from Harvard? I don't... Did a stint in the army for 4 years, and also worked as a reporter for 4 years... In addition to his well-documented 14-year career as an elected official (that was BEFORE he was vice president).

I don't always agree with Al, especially on social issues (he's hardly much of a liberal on those, to be sure). But his intelligence isn't something I've wasted a lot of energy questioning.

I don't have a degree from Harvard. Al Gore's degree is in government - and I understand he only took "courses" at Vanderbilt, no degree. So . . . he's bright. What's his background in science?

I graduated from a 4-year college with a similar degree (summa cum laude) , and hold a graduate degree from a well-respected west-coast university (which will remain nameless). Am I a bright guy? My kids think so.

Dubya went to Yale and, if I'm not mistaken, Harvard for his MBA. Bright guy? I don't know.

What's the point?

metalmouth
10-05-2007, 02:08 PM
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