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Think Tank Calls Textbook ‘Too Conservative’

From Phoenix, Arizona’s local television station KTAR:

Teacher Defends Controversial Government Textbook

April 10th, 2008

by Bob McClay/KTAR

A New York-based think tank is criticizing a high school textbook as being “too conservative.”

The Center for Inquiry says the book, “American Government,” contains numerous erroneous statements, including one that scientists aren’t sure global warning exists. The center issued a scathing report about the book after a New Jersey high school senior raised concerns about its content.

The book is used in some Arizona high schools, and the state Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tom Horne, says there’s no reason to pull it from classes.

“The mere fact that a textbook may have a statement that can be argued about doesn’t mean anything because it’s up to the teacher to present the student with a lot of different sides about all kinds of issues,” Horne said.

He added, “I wouild say the claims made for conservative bias are very mild, compared to the liberal bias that I see in most of the textbooks. To the extent it (the book) says that there’s a dispute about global warming, I would say it’s up to the teacher to present the students with the evidence and let the students make up their own minds.”

Washington High School teacher Dan Darrow uses the textbook in his advanced placement government class and says, “To say it has a conservative slant, I think is incorrect.”

Darrow says it is difficult to find a textbook without some sort of bias “because we’re talking about those issues that drive our society, those issues that are important to our society, that get to the fundamental root of who we are as individuals.”

Darrow says he will continue to use the book to prepare students for the advance placement exam “which is what it was written for and what it’s intended for. It gives the basic fundamental ideas of what our government was founded on and what our government is about.”

He plans to talk about the controversy with his students.

“American Government” was written by John Dilulio, a University of Pennsylvania professor, and James Wilson, the Ronald Reagan Professor of Public Policy at Pepperdine University. The publisher, Houghton Mifflin Co., said it will work with the authors to evaluate the criticism.

Yes, even suggesting that some scientists might doubt global warming is certainly heresy.

From the Center for Inquiry’s spittle-flecked report (pdf file):

ANALYSIS

I. Global Warming

The discussion of global warming contained in Chapter 21 (“Environmental Policy”) suffers from egregious flaws and clear factual errors. The textbook wrongly portrays the settled, firmly-established science of global warming as a product of “activist scientists” and the source of “profound disagreement” within the scientific community. The textbook levels the outrageous charge that global warming “has resulted in a conflict among elites who often base their arguments as much on ideology as on facts.” Astonishingly, the textbook questions whether the greenhouse effect itself “exists at all.”

The textbook’s discussion of the science of global warming is devastatingly inaccurate. As explained below, the overwhelming weight of scientific evidence establishes that global climate change caused by global warming is already underway and requires immediate attention. The international scientific community is united in recognizing the extremely high probability that human generated greenhouse gases, with carbon dioxide as the major offender, are the primary cause of global warming and that this global warming will produce harmful climate change.

The textbook grossly misinforms students about one of most important policy issues facing American government and society.

In its current form, the textbook can only feed the existing ignorance and confusion about global warming. Its factually erroneous treatment of global warming should be corrected immediately.

A. The Textbook Repeatedly Casts Doubt on the Fact of Global Warming

The textbook uniformly misstates the science of global warming. Every passage addressing the issue attempts to cast doubt on the relevant facts and science by inaccurately portraying global warming as a topic of ongoing, heated debate within the scientific community

Burn this dangerous book!

By the way, this is how the so-called Center For Inquiry describes itself:

A Global Federation Committed to Science, Reason, Free Inquiry, Secularism, and Planetary Ethics

The Center for Inquiry is a daring new concept. Although modern world civilization is based upon the achievements of science and technology, until this time there has been no authoritative and credible voice defending the scientific outlook in examining religion, human values, and the borderlands of science. If the naturalistic outlook is to supplant the ancient mythological narratives of the past, it needs a new institution devoted to its articulation and dramatization to the public. The Center for Inquiry is that institution.

It is to laugh.

This article was posted by Steve on Thursday, April 10th, 2008. Comments are currently closed.

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