A Captive Audience

by Robert Maynard

Robert Maynard

There is no more of a captive audience for the purpose of promoting political propaganda than the public school system. Students who attend our public school system are mandated to do so at the taxpayer’s expense. With this in mind, it is of the utmost importance that our school system restrict itself to purely educational purposes and steer clear of political advocacy. A blatant example of such an abuse was taking school students out of class during the Iraq war to protest it. Whatever one’s opinion on that subject may be, it is not appropriate for the school time to be used to thrust a political agenda upon captive students.

The other day I was talking to a friend of mine who has a 14 year old in the public school system. She was told by her son that the students at his school had to attend a session on global warming. Attendance was mandatory and needless to say, the presentation was not at all balanced. This is not the first time our public school system has used captive students to propagate their one sided view of global warming. Back in 2007 I wrote a piece for True North on the same subject.

The March 17th edition of the Burlington Free Press carried an article entitled “Global warming discussions in schools”. A number of parents were quoted as being concerned that taxpayer supported public school classrooms were being used as indoctrination centers for politically correct fads. It was noted by some of those concerned individuals that there is significant scientific dissent from the notion that human generated CO2 emissions are a major cause of global warming. One parent noted the views of S. Fred Singer, an atmospheric physicist at George Mason University. Dr. Singer is one among a number of scientists worldwide who have raised doubt about the validity of this theory. There are numerous think tanks, which publish the work of dissenting scientists. One such site is the Heartland Institute. Another site is the PaleoMap Project.

In that article I recommended “The Great Global Warming Swindle” as a counterbalance to Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth”, which was being shown in schools at the time. This video is still available but the link I provided then is out of date. Here is the current link: http://www.greatglobalwarmingswindle.co.uk/

I would like to recommend an additional resource to provide balance in this discussion. James A. Peden is the Editor of the Middlebury Vermont Community Network. He is also a former Atmospheric Physicist at the Space Research and Coordination Center in Pittsburgh and Extranuclear Laboratories in Blawnox, Pennsylvania, studying ion-molecule reactions in the upper atmosphere. In 2008 he wrote an editorial entitled “The Great Global Warming Hoax?” This editorial went global in 48 hours.

Here is how he described his approach:

There’s a philosophical principle called Occam’s Razor, which essentially says one should not increase, beyond what is necessary, the number of entities required to explain anything. While the whole world argues over melting ice caps, drowning polar bears, droughts and floods and other complex catastrophes, I simply asked myself, “What is the maximum amount of the earth’s agreed-upon Black Body radiation that the atmosphere’s agreed-upon amount of CO2 is capable of absorbing?

In other words, the simplest explanation is the best. To address this subject he simply used the generally agreed upon concentration of CO2 in our atmosphere and its physical properties to calculate how much of climate change can be attributed to CO2. Here is a short summary of his conclusions:

My very simple calculations, using generally acceptable CO2 absorption and Black Body radiation spectra, yielded a result that seemed to indicate that CO2 wasn’t much of a player in the so-called Greenhouse Effect. So, you can argue all day about polar bears and such, but in the end, whatever you decide has to obey the fundamental laws of physics.

If our children are mandated to attend sessions on global warming, or climate change, it is important that they be exposed to a balanced presentation where they hear both sides of the argument and not merely be subject to the propagating of a particular agenda.