The Questionable Teaching About Climate Change

Thursday,January 16, 2014

blog.NASA picture earth In 2013 in the summer month of December (for the Southern Hemisphere), an Australian climate-change professor led a group of scientists and tourists to retrace a 1912 research expedition in Antarctica. One of goals of the trip was to gauge how a warming climate has affected the continent. However, two weeks into the trip their ship was firmly trapped in ice. Two more ice breaker vessels were sent to rescue the ship, and one of them also became trapped in the ice. Unable to break the thick layers of ice, the passengers were finally rescued by a helicopter, leaving only the crew to remain and hope the ice would soon melt enough to break free.

Meanwhile in the United States, record cold temperatures covered more than half of the country. For the past twelve years, average world temperatures have remained unchanged. There has been a vastly smaller warming trend than what was predicted by the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) about 24 years ago. Since the late 1800s, the rise in average global temperatures has been a little over one-half degree Celsius.

So, have the world’s climate researchers had second thoughts about a global warming trend? Well, yes and no.

There are basically two groups of climate researchers and they have come to very different conclusions, even as they study the same data. Both groups acknowledge that CO2 and other greenhouse gases have the potential to warm the earth’s average temperature. Both groups acknowledge that there is an increase in the amount of CO2 and other greenhouse gases that are going into the atmosphere.

However, one group staunchly believes that as a result of an increase in greenhouse gases, the temperature of thee earth will continue to warm, the polar ice caps will begin to melt, sea levels will rise, coastal cities will flood, and eventually the world’s health and economic structures will be significantly disrupted. This group even found a way to blame the colder than normal temperatures of December and January on disruptions caused by warming temperatures.

The other group finds the threat of global warming to be greatly exaggerated. They have concluded that the slight increase in average global temperatures will be absorbed by the earth’s natural systems with minimal and non-catastrophic effects on the earth. They consider that earthquakes, volcanoes, and other natural events play a role in climate changes.

The first group believes that the cause of the warming trend is anthropogenic or human-induced. The solution, they believe, will be found in international treaties, stricter laws and regulations, and carbon exchanges. The Kyoto Treaty from several years ago was an attempt to get the world’s nations to agree to a series of dramatic restrictions on industries and sources of energy. One of the problems with Kyoto is that all nations are not willing to accept the restrictions. China, in particular, has greatly increased greenhouse gas emissions during the past five years. Even if the U.S. agreed to the restrictions, China and other nations would offset our efforts.

It would seem that the two groups of scientists would find a way to resolve conflicts regarding how they interpret the evidence in a professional manner. For decades, scientists have submitted their research to open debates and professional critiques from other scientists in order to filter out weak explanations and reinforce the more valid ones.

However, when it comes to certain environmental issues, there is a decidedly non-professional aspect. Instead of just presenting scientific research that is subject to open debate and critical reviews, there is often an attempt to malign competing researchers. Competitors are often accused of lying, falsifying data, and participating in other unprofessional actions. One large publication blames Fox News and talk radio with inciting “climate change deniers” with emotionally charged arguments. A number of publications refuse to print articles written by those they call “climate change deniers.” Large federal research grants, pressure from certain groups of scientists, and support from certain politicians seem to be more of an incentive than an honest search for what is really true.

I am referring to this situation because there is a new push in education to convince young children of the dangers of climate change, so they will be prepared to take decisive action on environmental issues as adults. The proposed Next Generation Science Standards are designed to fit with the math and language Common Core standards.

This program approaches climate change and environmental issues, as well as evolution, from the position that debate and challenging scientific evidence are not necessary. The claim is made that all reputable scientists agree that evolution is true and that climate change is a major problem that needs to be addressed in order to prevent catastrophic events in the future.

There is a decided shift in the new science standards to include more information about both evolution and environmental issues. In the life science category, evolution and the environment make up about 50% of the standards. Both topics will be taught without scientific challenges. Furthermore, these topics will begin in the earliest grades and continue in a progressive way through high school.

I expect that if children are taught from K-12 that humans are causing great damage to the earth with factories and machines and burning fuels, they will be ready as young adults to accept international treaties and laws that will restrict many of our freedoms. This is especially true for the youngest students. After all, many children believe in Santa Clause, the tooth fairy, and the Easter bunny, so believing whatever their teacher tells them is not a great stretch.

Parents, teachers, and school officials have a huge responsibility to be diligent and informed about what children are being taught. Taking care of the environment has been, and continues to be, a very important topic for students to learn. Recycling, maintaining clean water supplies, keeping the air free from pollutants, and protecting our food supplies are a few of the environmental issues about which students need to stay informed.

My warning is directed toward controversial scientific topics where no debate is allowed, claiming that all reputable scientists agree that one side is true. Since Next Generation Science Standards have yet to be adopted in most states, parents, teachers, school officials, as well as elected legislators need to take sufficient time to adopt a balanced science curriculum that doesn’t promote an agenda.

Explaining the Ice Age

Saturday,March 9, 2013

The President’s agenda for his second term includes dealing with climate changes, which many scientists claim are caused by man-made technologies.  There have been major climate changes in the past, but none of them resulted from man or man-made technologies. Here’s something to consider as a national debate develops.

One of the great mysteries of world history is the Ice Age and the Ice Age animals that lived within the past few thousand years. The usual assumption is that the Ice Age began because something caused the earth to begin cooling.

However, this is a false assumption. Colder temperatures alone could never start an Ice Age with the buildup of massive amounts of snow. A drop in the average world temperature would produce fewer rather than more snow-producing clouds. This is because little water evaporates from cold oceans, and cold air does not hold much water vapor. In fact, super cold environments are technically deserts.

A combination of two extremely rare conditions is necessary in order to put enough moisture into the air to produce large amounts of snow. These conditions are cooler summer temperatures and warmer ocean waters, especially in the Polar Regions.

In order for snow clouds to form, liquid water must evaporate as water vapor. The process of evaporation occurs faster when the water is warm. The air above the water must also be warm enough to hold large amounts of water vapor until it can rise into higher regions of the atmosphere where the air is colder.

Eventually, the water vapor will condense back into tiny particles of liquid water and form clouds. At colder temperatures, tiny ice crystals quickly form within the clouds and eventually fall to earth as snow.

In addition to warm waters and warm air, one additional condition is needed to start an ice age. There must be something that prevents all the winter snow and ice from melting every summer. During an ice age, new layers of snow are added every year on top of older layers.

So, what is a possible explanation for why the ocean waters became warmer at the same time the average temperature of the world became cooler? The Biblical history of the world gives a very plausible, straightforward explanation.

Genesis 6-8 gives an account of a worldwide Flood that occurred more than 4000 years ago. There were unrepeatable conditions around the world following the Flood that would have been optimal for starting an ice age.

Michael Oard, the author of Frozen in Time and a specialist in meteorology, agrees that a worldwide Flood occurred over 4000 years ago that was followed by an Ice Age. He estimates that the Ice Age would have lasted from 500 to 800 years from beginning to end. He is one of several scientists who propose the following explanation for what happened.

The earth’s crustal plates broke open as the Flood began, exposing the oceans to the warmer temperatures of the deep crust. There was also an increase in volcanic activity on the ocean floor, which would have warmed the oceans even more. Then the warmer ocean waters would have warmed the air above it.

The evaporation of water from warm oceans, as well as the warm air above the oceans, would have put huge amounts of water vapor and clouds into the air.  Abundant snow would have occurred around the Polar Regions, with glaciers first forming in the higher elevations and later expanding to low-lying areas and shorelines. Eventually glaciers would have moved even farther into more temperate regions.

At the same time, the movement and shifting of tectonic plates in the earth’s crust would have caused a great increase in volcanic activity. The large amount of volcanic ash in the atmosphere would have blocked some of the radiations from the sun, causing the overall temperatures of the earth to remain cooler than usual. This cooling period would have aided in the buildup of huge glaciers and sheets of ice, because it prevented much of the snow on the ground from melting.

The Ice Age would have ended as the oceans cooled and the intense volcanic activity slowed. The unrepeatable conditions that would have been present at the end the Flood are a logical explanation for why the Ice Age began and ended and why another ice age will never occur again.

What does history say about this period of time? The very early cities and civilizations of the earth during the Ice Age were located in the more temperate areas of the earth and were not greatly affected by the icy conditions. They were, however, receiving abundant rain for the same reasons other parts of the world were receiving huge amounts of snow.

The Ice Age provides a very credible explanation for the extinction of woolly mammoths and other Ice Age animals. There is no question that these animals were living on the earth within the last few thousand years. A few probably remained as recently as a few hundred years ago.

The covering of flat lands with sheets of ice would explain why millions of woolly mammoths rapidly became extinct. The ice would have destroyed the large fields of grasses and the fresh water that they depended upon for their survival. Some ice age animals probably moved to more temperate regions. Unable to adapt and survive in these new environments, they also became extinct.

Reference: Frozen in Time by Michael Oard, MasterBooks.

Marked Urgent

New Emphasis on Darwinian Evolution June 27, 2014

I wrote the following article as a Guest Opinion in the May 25, 2014 issue of The Baptist Record. It … Continue reading

The Questionable Teaching About Climate Change January 16, 2014

 In 2013 in the summer month of December (for the Southern Hemisphere), an Australian climate-change professor led a group of scientists … Continue reading

Where Are Next Generation Science Standards Taking Us? May 6, 2013

The new Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) were released in April of 2013. They are not requirements, but they will … Continue reading

Explaining the Ice Age March 9, 2013

The President’s agenda for his second term includes dealing with climate changes, which many scientists claim are caused by man-made … Continue reading

Dr. Carolyn Reeves is the co-author of several elementary textbooks in the

Investigating the Possibilities

series, and the author of

Understanding Science While Believing the Bible. Read more.

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