Let’s look at questions pop science media do and don’t ask.
In “Education campaigner wants to expel climate denial” (New Scientist, 24 January 2012), Peter Aldhous, interviewing house lobbyist Eugenie Scott, retails the US Darwin lobby’s claims about why it is suddenly segue-ing into climate change:
You have battled for decades against the teaching of creationism in science lessons in the US. Why are you now also tackling climate change denial?
We have been receiving more and more reports of teachers being pressured against teaching climate change, much as they are pressured against teaching evolution. Right now the evidence is anecdotal but we have heard enough to suggest that it is a problem.
The interview, like all we have seen so far, shows a decided lack of curiosity. The subject’s account is taken for granted to be not only correct but without need of supplement.
Here are some obvious questions New Scientist should have asked her. Pretend UD News was temping there:
1. Who is funding this new venture? Money doesn’t materialize out of thin air during a recession.
2. The new venture will draw some strength away from Darwin-in-the-schools, which you were founded in 1986 to promote, after many years of agitation. As you complain in your own fundraising boilerplate, most Americans aren’t sold on it yet. So you have failed to raise up a generation of young American Darwinists. Is this new move a retreat?
3. Darwin’s followers have had bad luck with recent legal ventures, mainly because the targets of their aggression chose to fight back using non-courtroom civil law strategies which focused on the wrongs done to them. Your organization was involved in at least one of them, the Martin Gaskell case (on the losing side). Did this shift play any role?
4. NCSE’s pass into publicly funded schools, due to court decisions, is valuable, and the climate changers don’t have it yet – isn’t that the product your new, well-heeled “climate change” funders are really buying? They want the same thing, surely? Do they think you can get it for them? Why? How?
Okay, UD News would soon be back to regular employment, and the New Scientist staff would be placating their Yankee pet big time. Still, real answers would have been useful.
On the other hand – don’t we have some real answers already, just by thinking about it?
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