Posted by keith on 19th May 2011
I’ve just had a very interesting and productive email discussion with Dr Jeffrey Barke. Some of you may be familiar with his position on the teaching of climate science. Here’s some background information, from MSNBC:
LOS ALAMITOS — A new high school advanced placement class that addresses global warming has prompted the school board to start requiring teachers to present opposing views in courses that include controversial topics.
Los Alamitos Unified School district trustees unanimously agreed to update the policy on controversial issues at the request of board member Jeffrey Barke, who said he is concerned about “global warming dogma” and wants students to be offered a balanced perspective on the topic.
“There are two clearly divergent opinions on global warming,” Barke said in an interview. “There are those who believe that global warming is a fact, created by man’s impact on the environment and the consequences will be devastating. There are others on the conservative side who believe it’s much ado about nothing. It’s overhyped and politically motivated, and the science is not solid, and there’s room for more studies.”
Since news of the board’s decision was posted on a numerous national blogs, Barke said he has received more than 100 e-mails criticizing the district’s move and attacking him personally.
Los Alamitos resident J.M. Ivler, who has a daughter at the high school, did not e-mail Barke, but he was critical of the school board.
“There is consensus in the field that we have global warming happening, it is getting warmer and it is related to what we are doing to the planet,” he said. “That is not in dispute in the scientific community. It is in dispute in the political community. This is a science class. Teach science.”
Below is a word for word copy of the emails we exchanged in relation to an interview published in The Guardian yesterday. The outcome of our discussion is that he agrees (twice) that science teaching should reflect the balance of evidence in current climate science. Dr Jeffrey Barke will now need to go back to the school board and state that clearly before kids really do start thinking that science is just politics with numbers.
>>>> Dear Dr Barke
>>>> I have just read an interview between you and Leo Hickman in today’s Guardian, and have a question that Leo either left out in the printed version or did not ask. I think it should sort this out once and for all.
>>>> Would the school board be amenable to the science class teaching climate science based on the balance of information that climate scientists can attest to (rather than just “believe”)? In other words if, as I believe, the balance is between 100 and 1000 climate scientists being able to show scientifically that civilized humanity is the predominant cause of current climate change, for every 1 who opposes this view, then between 0.1% and 1% of the science class should relate the dissenting view, with the remaining 99% to 99.9% of time spent teaching the majority view.
>>>> This seems like a fair and logically inarguable outcome for a science class which, I would assume, teaches according to scientific principles.
>>>> Kind regards
>>>> Keith Farnish
>>> From: Jeff Barke
>>> Sent: Wednesday, May 18, 2011 2:28 PM
>>> To: Keith Farnish
>>> Subject: Re: Fair Balance re Climate Change Science
>>> Facts are facts. I disagree with your premise. The following is a partial list of scientists who also disagree.
>>> Global Warming Skeptics (Scientists and Thought Leaders) partial list:
>>> Tony Abbott
>>> Don Aitkin
>>> Dennis Avery
>>> Sallie L. Baliunas
>>> Tim Ball
>>> Robert C. Balling of Arizona State University
>>> David Bellamy
>>> Sonja Boehmer-Christiansen
>>> Douglas Carswell M.P.
>>> Robert (Bob) Carter
>>> Ian Castles
>>> John R. Christy
>>> Ian Clark
>>> Alexander Cockburn
>>> Martin Cohen, and philosophical objections to the global warming theorists
>>> Joseph D’Aleo
>>> Martin Durkin
>>> Paul Driessen
>>> David Evans
>>> Ray Evans
>>> The Rt. Rev. Peter R. Forster The Bishop of Chester
>>> Stewart Franks
>>> George Fox
>>> Robert Giegengack
>>> Steve Goddard
>>> Bill Gray
>>> William Happer
>>> Chris Horner, the author of “Politically Incorrect Guide to Global Warming
>>> Sherwood Idso
>>> Andrei Illarionov, chief economic adviser to Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin
>>> James M. Inhofe
>>> Aynsley Kellow
>>> William Kininmonth
>>> Czech president Vaclav Klaus
>>> Donna Laframboise
>>> Lord Lawson
>>> David Legates
>>> Marlo Lewis, from the Competitive Enterprise Institute;
>>> Richard S. Lindzen
>>> Bjorn Lomborg
>>> Stephen McIntyre
>>> Ross McKitrick
>>> Patrick J. Michaels
>>> Christopher Monckton
>>> Andrew Montford
>>> Alan Moran
>>> Luboš Motl
>>> Alan Oxley
>>> Garth Paltridge
>>> Tim Patterson
>>> Roger Pielke Jr.
>>> Ian Plimer
>>> Arthur B. Robinson
>>> Frederick Seitz (deceased 2008)
>>> S. Fred Singer
>>> Willie Soon
>>> Roy Spencer
>>> Carlo Stagnaro
>>> Bob Stallman
>>> Philip Stott
>>> John H. Sununu
>>> George Taylor,
>>> Wolfgang Thüne
>>> Jan Veizer
>>> Len Walker
>>> Anthony Watts
>>> Sammy Wilson
>>> Jeffrey I. Barke, M.D.
>>> Hi Jeff
>>> I’m not sure about your list. Sammy Wilson, for instance, is a politician from Northern Ireland, Tony Abbot is an Australian politician, Lord Nigel Lawson is a politician, Martin Durkin is a journalist, Bjorn Lomborg is an economist and so on. Even Tim Ball isn’t a climate scientist, even though he claims to be (he’s a geographer).
>>> So, all I ask is that the balance of *climate scientists* be reflected in the teaching. I can’t see why you would disagree with this.
>> From: Jeff Barke
>> Sent: Wednesday, May 18, 2011 3:17 PM
>> To: Keith Farnish
>> Subject: Re: Fair Balance re Climate Change Science
>> And look at all those that signed off on the IPPC position. Certainly not all “scientist.”. Answer me this why is the majority of true believers on the left if this is not a political issue and simple just scientific fact? The IPCC is a UN political body. The list I provided you includes politicians because ultimately they are the ones that determine governmental policy. To suggest that the science is settled is intellectually dishonest.
>> Jeffrey I. Barke, M.D.
>> Jeff, please could you just consider what science is – that is, after all, what this issue is about. Politicians, activists, businesspeople etc. on any side of the fence should not determine the balance of what is taught. Human biology for instance wouldn’t now be taught based on the writings of Aristotle, even if a large number of politicians agreed that it should, because Aristotle has been shown by modern science to be wrong on almost all aspects of anatomy. The same should stand for climate change in science: it should reflect the current view of climate science which is overwhelmingly on the side of anthropogenesis.
>> Anyone who suggests the science on anything is settled doesn’t understand science. That’s why I said “current view”.
>> So do you agree that climate change should reflect the views of climate scientists or not? That’s all I am asking.
> From: Jeff Barke
> Sent: Wednesday, May 18, 2011 3:49 PM
> To: Keith Farnish
> Subject: Re: Fair Balance re Climate Change Science
> Agree. But what I do not think you realize is the large number of main stream scientists that are skeptics and their work is not reported by the media.
> Jeffrey I. Barke, M.D.
> That’s good – I hope that is reflected in your discussions with the school board. Don’t forget that there may be many mainstream scientists who are skeptics, but if their evidence doesn’t support their position then it’s not scientifically valid. In the end verifiable evidence is what counts, and there is very little around that stands up to scrutiny.
Jeffrey I. Barke, M.D.