I have been debating whether to post this email exchange with the NCSE. In light of the recent Gleick burnout, it seems worthwhile. Readers will recall that I posted on Gleick’s attack on conservative political candidates on behalf of his tax-free 501c3 company. Advertising for or against any political party is illegal activity for a tax-free company in the US (although it is a far too often broken rule). Rarely though, has the attempt reached the magnitudes of Gleik’s letters. Considering that most of his company money comes from taxes taken from business owners, the political aspect of his organization is hard to swallow. I hope to turn him in for tax law violation as soon as he files in 2011.
The NCSE (National Center for Science Education) had focused in the past on evolution science. Something which I think most of us agree. I don’t want to get into “belief” here as this is a settled item in my mind and the focus of different blogs. Still, there are corollaries between evolution and climate science. Both are highly politicized due to individual ‘belief’ rather than science. My point on the matter is that NCSE was on the apolitical side of evolution. Still, they attracted leftist leaders based on the atheist appeal of the science. These leaders failed to recognize that climate science has the same problems as evolution – except in the opposite direction.
Now you may disagree about evolution but this thread isn’t about my opinions on religion. It is about a warning I gave to the NCSE on the extremism of Peter Gleick — well before his recent flame out.
Robert Luhn firstname.lastname@example.org
Some hot news going over the wire today. Note that Peter Gleick and Mark McCaffrey are both involved in our new initiative:
It’s official: NCSE is now stepping into the climate change arena. We’re expanding our mission and we’re expanding our web site.
What follows is our official release, links to our new mission statement, a video introducing NCSE and our new initiative, links to an exclusive excerpt from “Merchants of Doubt”, and more.
Stay tuned: more announcements coming this week!
Qs? Want to interview executive director Genie Scott or our new climate change policy director? Let me know!
I was surprised at the contact.
NCSE TACKLES CLIMATE CHANGE DENIAL
A new initiative in the struggle for quality science education
OAKLAND, CA January 16, 2012
Science education is under attack–again.
This time it’s under attack by climate change deniers, who ignore a mountain of evidence gathered over the last fifty years that the planet is warming and that humans are largely responsible. These deniers attempt to sabotage science education with fringe ideas, pseudoscience, and outright lies.
But the National Center for Science Education won’t let ‘em get away with it.
“We consider climate change a critical issue in our own mission to protect the integrity of science education,” says Dr. Eugenie C. Scott, NCSE’s executive director. Long a leader in the fight to defend the teaching of evolution in public schools, NCSE now sees creationist-like tactics being used in the attack on climate education.
“Climate affects everyone, and the decisions we make today will affect generations to come,” says Scott. “We need to teach kids now about the realities of global warming and climate change, so that they’re prepared to make informed, intelligent decisions in the future.”
In this expansion of its core mission, NCSE will help parents, teachers, policymakers, the media, and others to distinguish the real science from the junk science that deniers are trying to push into the science classroom.
The scientific community is applauding NCSE’s new initiative. Said Alan I. Leshner, CEO of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS):
Added Scott Mandia, the meteorologist who cofounded the Climate Science Rapid Response Team:
“The cavalry has arrived. NCSE, with its passion and experience defending science in our schools, will ensure that teachers can educate students about climate change without fear of reprisal.”
Tackling climate change denial head on
In its initiative to defend climate change education, NCSE will:
* Help parents, teachers, and others fight the introduction of climate change/global warming denial and pseudoscience in the classroom.
* Act as a resource center to connect teachers, scientists, and policymakers with the best information available.
* Provide tools and support to ensure that climate change is properly and effectively taught in public schools.
* Aid those testifying before local and state boards of education, and before local, state, and federal legislative committees.
* Connect local activists with one another, and with scientists and other relevant experts.
New program, new faces
As part of this new initiative, the NCSE has added two key members to its team:
* Dr. Peter Gleick, president and co-founder of The Pacific Institute, joins NCSE’s board of directors. Gleick is a noted hydroclimatologist, an internationally recognized water expert, and a MacArthur Fellow. Gleick’s research and writing address the critical connections between water and human health, the hydrologic impacts of climate change, sustainable water use, privatization and globalization, and international conflicts over water resources.
* Mark McCaffrey, a long-time climate literacy expert, joins NCSE as climate change programs and policy director. Previously at the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES), McCaffrey helped spearhead a number of climate and energy literacy programs, and the creation of the Climate Literacy & Energy Awareness Network (CLEAN), and testified before Congress about climate and environmental education.
Director of Communications
National Center for Science Education, Inc.
My reply was a little less positive:
I am curious that you contacted me for this. I’m a strong believer in
evolution and believe that if there is a god, it was his way. It is
a real and proven science. Global warming is also a real and proven
effect, yet nobody has made a convincing argument for the amount of
warming we’ve measured that is related to human activity or that it is
dangerous. All arguments against that statement are amazingly weak
from a scientific standpoint. Allowing teachers to repeat the
mainstream nonsense about global doom is not a good idea for our
I wonder why your organization would take the dubious step away from
evolution which is known to be politicized by the religious groups and
relatively apolitical from the science side to a political campaign
like AGW science. Is it about money? AGW currently promotes highly
politicized public-polarizing and flat extremist left wing policy.
The data in climate science is improperly used so often that it can
only be described in the worst of terms, yet nobody in the IPCC can
seem to detect it under their government checks. I am published in
climate science. I believe your group has made a huge mistake which
will backfire in time. Now instead of winning the minds of the
uneducated about evolution, you will have painted yourselves into an
unattractive political corner with extremist left wing environmental
groups on the decline.
Also, incorporating politically extreme personalities in the board
like Gleick is a very bad decision which will take a group with a
proper message about evolution and make it into the politically
unattractive nightmare Greenpeace has become. I fear that there is
little balance left in the leadership group if they cannot see the
insanity of his publicly stated anti-industrial political positions.
Evolution is a strong science with traceable evidence from many paths.
AGW is a weak science based on a kernel of truth that is highly
Still, I am curious as to what you think my review of this situation
would help. Negative press is still press but it would be decidedly
The reply took a bit of time but here is the main letter:
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