Comparing climate skepticism to "creationism" in the classroom

Alternate title: Science education gets Gleicked

From AAAS:

“Is climate change education the new evolution, threatened in U.S. school districts and state education standards by well-organized interest groups? A growing number of education advocates believe so, and yesterday, the National Center for Science Education in Oakland, California, which fights the teaching of creationism, announced that it’s going to take on climate change denial as well.”

Peter Gleick

Peter Gleick

“It’s not like we’re bored,” says NCSE Director Eugenie Scott: Five state bills that would allow teaching intelligent design in schools have already surfaced in 2012. But after hearing an increasing number of anecdotes about K-12 teachers being challenged about how they taught climate science to their students, she says she began to see “parallels” between the two debates –namely, an ideological drive from pressure groups to “teach the controversy” where no scientific controversy exists. To get expertise in this area, NCSE hired climate and environmental education expert Mark McCaffrey as its new climate coordinator and appointed Pacific Institute hydroclimatologist Peter Gleick to its board of directors.

“There’s a climate of confusion in this country around climate science,” says McCaffrey, and NCSE’s goal will be to ensure that “teachers have the tools they need if they get pushback and feel intimidated.” Recent surveys, such as one done among K-12 teachers in September by the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA), suggest that attacks on climate education are far from rare. NSTA found that over half of the respondents reported having encountered global warming scepticism from parents, and 26% had encountered it from administrators. And a December survey from the National Earth Science Teachers’ Association found that 36% of its 555 K-12 teachers who currently teach climate science had been “influenced” to “teach the controversy.”

Full story here


Besides the obviously ridiculous attempts to link creationism to climate skepticsim (apparently the serial use of the word “denier” isn’t denigrating enough anymore) we have the unfortunate appointment of Dr. Peter Gleick of the Pacific Institute. PI is another handout seeking non governmental organization that publishes its own science opinions.

While Dr. Gleick is presented as an expert in climate science, he’s mostly about water and water systems. Climate seems to be just an angry diversion for him. But don’t take my word for it, have a look at how he treats others on the topic when he thinks he’s among friends.

Here’s some of Gleick’s recent publicly viewable tweets. Does NCSE really want someone on their board of education who says things like this? Think of the children.

Vampires? Hmmm, next he’ll be calling us zombies. Oh, wait, see below.

I find the “whining about water” crack incredibly insensitive in light of what is going on in California’s central valley with artificially (and natural) induced water shortages related to the Delta Smelt.

Really? We all think like that? Who knew?

He really hates Donna LaFramboise’s book. Probably because he got caught reviewing it without actually reading it. Gleick denies not reading it, but the evidence and opinion suggests otherwise.

I invite WUWT readers to read the book for yourself, and see how much “made up crap” is in it.

This one is puzzling:

It seems Dr. Gleick, the world renowned water expert, doesn’t understand/appreciate the immediate need for easily transportable drinking water when water supplies are cut off in earthquakes, floods, etc. He doesn’t seem to get the idea that when disaster strikes, ordinary people respond to the call for help and go buy bottled water to be trucked or airlifted in because they know it is something the will get immediately used. He seems to have a hatred of bottled water so intense that he’d rather see people suffer in emergencies than use it. You can read the Forbes article here. His solution? The worlds largest zipper on a 200 meter long water bag towed by tugboats. Yeah, that’ll work. Try airlifting that.

Sigh…another book he’s reviewed but apparently not read. It’s easier just to call people names than read it I guess. WUWT readers can read it here.

If you can’t argue the facts, call people names and denigrate them with ugly labels that have nothing to do with the issue. Truly professional behavior for a scientist on an education board, right?

This one though, takes the cake:

Yes, Peter, get an axe to attack those you disagree with. Class act sir.

Then we have Gleick’s Climate B.S. of the year” awards, where he tries to downplay the obvious crudeness in the title. I’m a proud recipient at #5. Of course Gleick never bothered to ask me any questions, so he doesn’t apparently know the story of why I withdrew my support for BEST and Dr. Richard Mueller. For him, I suppose it doesn’t matter when your primary work product is public denigration of others.

James Taylor sums up Gleick on Forbes:

Reading Peter Gleick’s January 5 blog post here at, I experienced that empathy in full force. Gleick’s global warming beliefs are misguided and unsupported by sound science, but I nevertheless empathize with his pain and frustration that few people seem to agree with him. A person of thinner skin than me might be offended by Gleick’s frustration-induced rant, but I believe the best remedy is truth and understanding. Accordingly, I understand Gleick’s pain and I will present some truths that might ease Gleick’s anguish if he listens to them with an open heart and mind.

Now compare Gleick’s angry tweets to this video of him in his office espousing as an expert on climate change, where he knows people are watching that may not be part of his Twitter follower clique. I don’t trust my own deteriorating hearing anymore, so I’ll leave it to readers to pull out and transcribe items of interest to post in comments.

The video has 217 views since Dec 30th, 2011. I’m sure he’ll be pleased that WUWT creationists chain smokers flat earthers moon landing deniers readers will make up the majority of his viewers now.


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The major issue is that it just isn’t happening. That and the entire “climate change” we are talking about here is 0.8 degrees over 150 years.


Ladies and gentlemen we are entering a whopping period of record jaw dropping LOW temperatures well below record low averages take a look
-0.35C read whole article at Icecap please Mr Gleick

Here’s a personal message for Peter. I live right down the street here in Sacramento. Anytime you feel froggy.


We will have to very very wary of attempts by the AGW to try to hide some pretty massive declines in temps soon, because you see this would make it absolutely positively impossible to show any warming over the last 30 years. Also be wary of changes to NH ice extent data as they often try to manipulate the borders of each section to avoid showing any declines in melting

I did manage to persuade Peter that I’m not a climate change denier… When I queustioned him about his use of it on Twitter…
But then he blocked me 🙁


The issue I have with activists like Peter Gleick is that they appropriate common ground (e.g. temperature records of *whatever* bracket you like, showing warming) as partisan evidence instead of admitting that it’s common ground and that it doesn’t support what they’re trying to prove. That’s dishonest and irritating. Not irritating enough to make me waste the energy on lifting an axe, though.


OK, I’ll state the obvious–Gleick should never bring an axe to a gunfight, but that would be wasting more mental energy on the guy than he’s worth.

bazza norwood

[snip – personal appearance isn’t a valid issue. -A]


Sounds to me like it is part of the “Education_for_sustainable_development”
E.M. Smith had a must read post including this.

bazza norwood says:
January 19, 2012 at 12:36 am
[snip – personal appearance isn’t a valid issue. -A]

True. What about Facial Expressions? Compare this to the similarly-formatted Hansen video.
And where did the African continent vanish to on the map behind?

afiziquist says:
January 19, 2012 at 12:09 am

take a look
-0.35C read whole article at Icecap please Mr Gleick

I agree, excellent Bastardi article. But you didn’t give the link, just the image. Here it is:

Personal appearance is not a valid issue, but PI clearly needs additional funding so Peter can eat, and afford a barber!

John F. Hultquist

The issues associated with CAGW – often wrongly called “global warming, climate change, climate disruption” and other stranger things – are complex. Many folks and many K-12 teachers do not understand the basics of Earth. Maybe they should concentrate on simple concepts. For example


Just the person you would not want involved in education, absolute rock solid on the propaganda and no room for opening the wonderful world of science or purity of fact. I find this mindset weird and unpalatable in his dogmatic presentation of skewed science. And disturbing that he has been appointed to an educational board.

“How do I lie to thee –
Let me count the ways”.
Actually, I lost count at about the seven minute mark.
And there aren’t even any NEW ones. Just the same old, same old.
Climate change IS happening.
Most scientists agree climate change IS happening.
Climate change is man-made.
Climate change is unprecedented.
Denial = Big Oil.
Denial = like Big Tobacco.
Denial = well-funded, well organised.
Denial = politically motivated.
Denial = evolution versus creationism.
Climate change = hotter/drier.
Climate change = colder/wetter.
Climate change = more/less (insert whatever required).
Climate change = more extreme climate events and more of them.
Climate change = rising sea levels.
Climate change = increased spread of diseases.
Climate change = loss of agricultural production.
Yada yada yada yada.
Anthony, I want my fifteen minutes back.

Richard Keen

… a December survey from the National Earth Science Teachers’ Association found that 36% of its 555 K-12 teachers who currently teach climate science had been “influenced” to “teach the controversy.”
In other words, the “controversy”, i.e., evidence that there is no global warming, is misinformation and should not be taught. Universities, reasearch institutions, funding agencies, journals, and media have employed this rationale for censorship for years, so why not in that last bastion of free exchange of ideas, K-12 schools?
Next, obstetric wards. Get ’em while they’re young.


Twitter has a wonderful tendency to bring out the inner idiot of warmists.

Ripper at 12.42 said;
‘Sounds to me like it is part of the “Education_for_sustainable_development”
E.M. Smith had a must read post including this.
—— —–
In response to your post I have just posted this to Chiefio
“Sorry to be coming so late to this from a link at wuwt today.
I wrote about agenda 21 several years ago within the context of The British governments developing policy on climate change, and the push to become the Worlds first country to legally enforce a reduction in carbon emissions.The article is still relevant and forms an interesting footnote to your own excellent piece
Like you I had originally thought the whole idea of an ‘agenda’ was crazy-but it’s not.”
I don’t know if someone like Donna , who wrote about the IPCC, has been looking into this but there is definitely a developing story here when you look at this article, together with Chiefio’s, my own, and no doubt lots of other pieces currently not linked together.


It’s easier to indoctrinate children, especially when they are not allowed to question
“Give me a child until he is seven and I will give you the man”


There is a lot of similarity between global warming and creationism. Global warming is the belief that “mankind must have done it … and it is true unless or until someone proves they didn’t”. Creaiontism is the belief that “god must have done it … and it is true unless or until someone proves she didn’t”.
You can no more have a sensible argument with a global warmists than you can with a creationist. All you can do is stick to the facts and hope that most people are too sensible to go along with it. … or perhaps more practically, hope that it is essentially harmless and can be tolerated. Which unfortunately, isn’t yet the state of affairs with warmists.

Poor Peter Gleick
The man is sick
Screaming hate when facts don’t stick
Demanding those who disagree
Kowtow to his pomposity
Conflating Creationism
As if it relates to anything
Remotely resembling
Empirical facts
Currently missing
From Gleick’s mad ramblings…

Peter has nailed us ‘deniers’ I’m afraid when he says;
“(climate change denial) is incredibly well funded.’
He’s right, I dont know what to do with all the money that Big Oil passes to me for writing my articles on climate history, other than shovel it on the fire to keep warm. Willis is paid by the word and is currently building a large warehouse to house his collection of thirty expensive vintage cars, Monckton has just bought his third castle, whilst a myriad others who contribute here and elsewhere have got their snouts in the big oil trough. Just apply to Big oil and you too can be incredibly well funded and enjoy an Al Gore type lifestyle.

In the UK, the Guardian online reported this last week – the article was focused on UK faith schools and the teaching of creationism
“The Department for Education has revised its model funding agreement, allowing the education secretary to withdraw cash from schools that fail to meet strict criteria relating to what they teach. Under the new agreement, funding will be withdrawn for any free school that teaches what it claims are “evidence-based views or theories” that run “contrary to established scientific and/or historical evidence and explanations”.
Our legislation is often hijacked for uses other than the original intent – creationism this week, next week – objectivity in science. The Climate Change Act 2008, passed through parliament almost without dissent by our elected sheep, represents the “established” science.

old construction worker

Do I believe in Climate? Yes. How asked me the “Real Question”. Do I believe that CO2 Drives the Climate? No. If it did, our planet would have burned up a long time ago.

Alan Bates

Mike Bromley the Canucklehead January 19, 2012 at 12:44 am

And where did the African continent vanish to on the map behind?

May have something to do with the fact that Africa is not a part of Eurassia! (see large-letter heading to the map)


MangoChutney says: January 19, 2012 at 1:13 am
“Give me a child until he is seven and I will give you the man”
Give me a global warmist at any age and I will show you a child!


There are similiarities and dissimiliarities on this issue.
The creation/evolution debate has as its background differing worldviews, namely there is versus there isn’t a God. I doubt if this is true of climate science. I have the creation view, having moved from the evolution view, so I have the minority view. I appreciate WUWT isn’t a religious forum and I don’t wish to make it one, but I think we could all agree that evolution isn’t true because the majority think so, but can only be claimed as true to the extent the scientific evidence points to this, and those who enjoy arguing this kind of issue can no doubt find places to do so, hopefully with civility. A warning light went on for me when the argument was used that just as there is a ‘consensus’ that evolution is true, sceptical views of climate change should be suppressed because there is a ‘consensus’ in favour of the IPCC/AGW view.
As education is about imparting knowledge and information and teaching people to think critically, the suppression of any view, unless it has absolutely no scientific credibility at all – like a flat earth, amounts to indoctrination. Something has gone wrong when one side fears people being exposed to views that are different, and I suspect this is often because a legitimate fear such views cannot withstand scrutiny. My experience of ‘warmists’ is that they are unwilling even to consider evidence that does not fit the party line, it has some parallel with the mentality of people in religious cults I have spoken to, though they will hotly deny it.
Of course it’s debatable whether a consensus veiw has ever really existed about climate change, it’s asserted without evidence(!), but the numbers holding a particular view do not determine how true it is, sometimes the majority is right, and sometimes one man or woman is right and everybody else is wrong. If truth were decided by democratic vote, then I suspect by now the sceptical side of climate change would likely win it anyway!

I’ve learnt to never trust what people say if they have a beard. I know that’s a bit of an ad-beardinem argument but it always seems to work.

Mutationism and global warming together being forced on young mind’s… makes sense…

Christopher Hanley

Dr Gleick, on the off-chance that you are reading this thread, I have a question….now where do I start?
These fossil fuel “Merchant of Death” for instance, who like the tobacco barons know full well the harm they are doing but do it just the same, having wrought world-wide climate devastation and disease etc., do they have a secret rocket launching site where they and their families have planned to head off to a new intergalactic home?

Alan the Brit

All this is very interesting of course. However, considering that a couple of millenia ago in Exeter, UK, (well it seemed like it & it was v boring & predictable) a bunch of neo-leftist/warmist/dogoodist psychologists/psycho-analysts, I’m not biased ;-), held a forum one weekend to discuss the “mental health” issue of climate denial, what would a reasonablely minded psychologist make (& I know we all say it, “I’ll murder the swine” or “I’ll kill the so-on-so”, when we’re angry – it’s a figure of speech) of someone who is to be most gainfully employed, either directly or indirectly in the public education system, who advocates taking an axe to another for disagreeing with his point of view? I know what I would conclude, being a former primary school governor of 10 years standing!!!!!! Irrational & potentially homicidal, keep well away from children! 🙂 I have met a few psychologists in my time, most seemed reasonable people, but there were one or two I would think twice about remaining in the same room with……………………………. alone!

Henry Galt

Having read and watched his … stuff (for far too long a time) I suggest; This guy (along with everyone who claims to love the environment) should be furious that environmentalism has been over-run by lawyers, government and corporations to the point where “climate change” gets the billions and everything else get the (small) change.
Instead he talks out of his arse.

John Marshall

I have bought and read ‘The Book’. It is very good and it only takes a few pages to realize that it was well researched and probably 100% true. It is one book that Amazon does not sell, apart from the short Kindle version, so perhaps the story it relays is too close to being true for those Amazon activists.


[snip. “Deniers” is an unacceptable label. Please read the site Policy. ~dbs, mod.]


Isonomia January 19, 2012 at 1:14 am : makes a really important point. “Global warming is (a) belief ….”
This is what I note amongst some of my good friends – they simply “believe” in global warming because they have been told – they really have read very little on the matter, and take the ‘science is settled’ phrase as a truth – it really strikes mean that it is a matter of ‘faith.’
Mind you, they think I’m crazy!


Latest news is in! It’s worse than we thought! “Global warming causes global cooling!”
Global warming has increased Eurasian snow cover which cools boreal winters
Increased cloud cover has slowed summer warming in Eurasia
Study finds no statistically significant changes in Antarctic snowmelt since 1979


The question is why should NCSE appoint a controversial character such as Peter Gleick to its board of directors. How do the NCSE react to legitimate skepticism over CGAW being freely expressed in the classroom, be it from student, parent, administrator or teacher, when all they have to rely is a torrent of Peter Gleick verbal abuse and threats.
Are teachers going to say to kids, “You are all going to burn in hell and so to your parents if you don’t all believe in Global Warming”.
It may scare the heck out of kids but it is not a convincing and ethical educational position.


Years ago, my wife and I, both teachers and academics, decided to home school our children. They are now in University, honor rolls and top of all their science classes. If they get a 99%, they feel the need to work harder. We opened this discussion up to them years ago because their public school friends were saying certain things about global warming. My kids decided to find out if this was true. They wrote essays, conducted experiments, and read thoroughly about climate history, the GISS, JAXA, and ARGO datasets. They studied ancient geography, glacier advances and retreats, human settlements and analyzed statistics. They debated their friends and their teachers, and came away winners each time because all of the people they discussed this subject with, had no actually grounding in basic math, physics or history. They learned that even adults will manipulate data to serve their own purposes and interests with no regard for the truth. Our children realized at that point what my wife and I had given them………………….an independent and open mind.

Paul Marko

We may be at the beginnng of the best of times and the worst of times. If the quietness of solar cycle 24 is followed by and equally subdued cycle 25, CAGW proponents like Gleick will be silenced by the temperature realities of another LIA. But then what nation will be prepared for its effect on world agriculture. Not much of a victory.

Gleick does that rhyme wit Prick or Geek?

And, no doubt, Gleick’s next fact-free smear ‘n whine will be that you’ve “unfairly” taken his tweets “out of context”!
In formulating his “arguments”, Gleick does seem to rely on appeal to authority – particularly his own. The conspicuous absence of any evidence to substantiate his claims doesn’t seem to trouble him, in the slightest. (See also: Odes for Peter Gleick)

Looks to me like the usual attempt to get the text books turned into propaganda machinery.
Nice thing is that the snow we’re getting makes it hard to convince folks it’s hot… especially kids…
I grew up in a VERY religious town. Oddly, the more dogma was pushed at the the kids, the more they turned out non-religious…. Heck, I was subjected to a near constant stream of Southern Baptist (were I was taken most of the time), Catholic (where I went some times) and Mormon (as they were most of the town and are required to have ‘missions’) attempts to “teach” me. Mostly just convinced me to find more fun things to do on Sunday… SO I’m pretty sure the kids will see the snow and just snicker…
Still, it’s a worry that yet again State Money is being used to a propaganda effort.


““There’s a climate of confusion in this country around climate science,” says McCaffrey, and NCSE’s goal will be to ensure that “teachers have the tools they need if they get pushback and feel intimidated.”
uh-uhh-huhh. They can’t even push back the obvious, i.e. creationism, but think they will succeed on something that isn’t made out one way or the other scientifically? If the discussion surrounding creationism is any indication, I don’t see this taking off.

Sam the First

Most posters so far have responded with humor but this is no joke. This attempt by California’s Education Board to stifle debate and to enforce the brainwashing of children is sinister in the extreme. Californians should oppose this development with every tool at their disposal; esp since where CA goes in this respect the rest of the US may well follow
It’s an attack on every precept of true education; no wonder if Education Boards think this is acceptable, people are no longer capable of thinking for themselves – which is just what the elites want, of course, so they can continue to milk us of taxes while ordering us about


After reading such idiocies, I refuse to give him traction by viewing his video. Where do such morons come from and how do they gain such influence? He does not deserve the appellation “scientist”. I trust K-12 teachers have more sense than to listen to him.

Sorry if this is old news but as I blogged yesterday, the IPCC itself (Nov 2011) does not expect any discernible effect of CO2 emissions on climate extremes for another two or three decades, so anybody claiming the contrary in the name of “scientists” is uninformed or a liar.
It’s at page 9 of the SPM for the “Special Report on Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation (SREX)”:
Projected changes in climate extremes under different emissions scenarios generally do not strongly diverge in the coming two to three decades, but these signals are relatively small compared to natural climate variability over this time frame. Even the sign of projected changes in some climate extremes over this time frame

„To get expertise in this area, NCSE hired climate and environmental education expert Mark McCaffrey as its new climate coordinator and appointed Pacific Institute hydroclimatologist Peter Gleick to its board of directors.”
It is a great temptation in all social areas including the area of science community and education, to give targets based on old and new ‘holy’ books to tell people to follow idols – and to tell what are the wrong idols – , but that is not the philosophical sense of education. Education is an offer of teachings, and each child is free to recognize the truth and is free to analyze the teachings. An uneducated slave has recognized himself that the area of a square grows with a square function of the sides. Sokrates has listened to him 2500 years ago.
It’s hard to avoid the temptation to count all the empty phrases and sayings without reasonable valid arguments (Climate science, Climate change, Climate, irreversible, science opinion, climate science expert, happening, ….. ). Another temptation is to throw all the avoided explanations to the feet of the so called experts, what are the dammed
physical reasons is of i.) global ice age oscillations of fixed frequencies and ii.) global temperature spectra with periods of about 1000 years until global periods of about 3 month. But it is senseless, because they say quietly ‘We don’t know, but we must tell anything for the money we get’.
As hard it is to avoid the temptation to disqualify strange authorities because of their senseless words, on the other side it seems to me that it is also hard to walk the heavy lonesome way of science, because the crowd follows the smiling leader, despised his fallacies.
However there are two main heat mechanism to discover, and in both the Sun is involved:
It is not very easy to verify, but it is possible – also for a high school person – to simulate the global terrestrial temperature function for 1 Million years using simple the photon diffusion physics on the Sun:
The second mechanism is still not understood, but the mechanism must be explainable from the sum of the tide functions on the Sun corresponding to the synodic frequency functions of special objects in the solar system with high densities, because of the empirical strength fit to the know temperature reconstructions. This can recognized best for the temperatures in the years of 1645 to 1715 AD, historians call it ‘Maunder Minimum’, because of the lack of sun spots using the tide functions of 6 planets:
A higher resolution of the simulation can be reached using the tide functions of density 4 relevant fast running objects like Mercury:
A detailed simulation can be reached over great time intervall using 11 relevant objects:
This can also be recognized for a simulation over a time span of 4500 years using only one or two synodic tide function in comparison to a d18O stalagmite sample from Austria.
Education is an offer of teachings, and each child is free to recognize the truth and is free to analyze the teachings.
Pink Floyd sings:

“We don’t need no education
We don’t need no thought control
No dark sarcasm in the class room
Teachers leave those kids alone
(yells) Hey, teachers! Leave those kids alone!”

(Pink Floyd)


So we are increasing CO2 in the atmosphere and this is creating more downward infrared radiation to hit the earth, which is basically increasing the greenhouse effect. And Peter Gleick thinks the greenhouse effect has something to do with the earths temperature?. Because its clear the earth is not getting warmer and Antarctic Ice Mass is not declining I mean look over the last 10 years, no warming


I think that the argument in schools was whether to include Intelligent Design (ID) in addition to the theory of evolution. ID is a rigorous science, not religion (creationism), see Michael Behe, William Dembski et al. I still have not obtained a satisfactory explanation of how the self-replicating RNA molecule came to be here on Earth, using processes like self-organization, random mutation and natural selection. Even after life emerged on Earth, micro-evolution was very limited in scope, adaptive changes. And after reading about recent human/ape genome comparisons, there seems to be less evidence for common descent, i.e., large non-random differences between the two genomes. The idea of macro-evolution (speciation) requires ad hoc fixes like “punctuated equilibrium” and most recently “horizontal gene transfer,” which violates the rules of random mutation and natural selection. So the idea that both theories (strengths and weaknesses) be presented to students is really the best choice, in my opinion.

cui bono

Sigh. More propoganda for the children. At least, those who haven’t exploded yet.
But one day AGW will publically implode, the truth will out, and those kids who have been solemnly taught the party line will be very annoyed at having been fooled.
For some propoganda blitzes that didn’t quite work, this (from an impeccable source):