The Vancouver Sun added its voice today to the campaign to remove science – or even common sense – from the climate change debate.
In response to an initiative to show the award-winning Inconvenient Truth in British Columbia classrooms, the Sun has joined the effort to “balance” that movie by also showing The Great Global Warming Swindle , a shoddy counterpoint featuring a host of discredited scientists and industry apologists questioning the role of CO2 in climate change. As reported here before, the single reputable scientist in that UK documentary, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Professor Carl Wunsch, has complained loudly about the blatant manipulation of the program – demanding, without response thus far, that his contribution be removed from future broadcasts.
The Sun’s premise that students “need all the facts” in this case is ludicrous. The aptly named Swindle is not overburdened with fact. It is larded with the kind of misinformation that could only appeal to an oil company executive – to someone like EnCana director Mike Chernoff (inset), who is offering to pay to have the Swindle distributed. Equally silly is the notion that students should be exposed to all opinions, so they may learn better how to make up their own mind. If teachers, school trustees and newspaper editors are too thick to recognize the Swindle for what it is, why should we foist it on adolescents? Students have a right to expect that their teachers are showing some degree of discrimination – some due diligence – before presenting “facts” in the classroom.
Of course, you could go all the way with this alternative theory exercise. We could show the slick Unlocking the Mystery of Life, a manipulative religious tract that questions the science behind evolution. We could show Loose Change, the documentary that “proves” that 9/11 was an inside job, orchestrated by the U.S. government.
We could, but we should not.
It doesn’t matter if the Fraser Institute alumni writing editorials at the Vancouver Sun want to deny the science of climate change – to themselves or to B.C. students. Or it shouldn’t matter in setting high school curriculum.
What should matter is the best science currently available. The Inconvenient Truth is in accord with that science – perfectly in accord with the most recent report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The Swindle is a bad joke by comparison. We should not be collecting our students in classrooms for the purpose of playing bad jokes, no matter how willing oil company executives or newspaper editors are to promote that option.