More about the Anti-Science Nonsense in New Textbooks for Texas

As we reported on Monday, a National Center for Science Education review finds that a number of proposed social studies textbooks for Texas public schools promote climate science denialism. One geography textbook, from publisher McGraw-Hill, even includes a passage written by political hacks at the polluter-funded Heartland Institute — the right-wing organization that a few years ago launched an infamous billboard campaign that featured “Unabomber” Ted Kaczynski supposedly claiming: “I still believe in global warming. Do you?”

The McGraw-Hill textbook passage, written by Heartland’s Joseph Bast and James M. Taylor, also attacks the overwhelming scientific evidence showing that climate change is a real and growing threat. The textbook irresponsibly uses that factually inaccurate passage as a counterpoint to a paragraph from the Nobel Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

So who are Bast and Taylor?

Taylor is a senior fellow for Heartland and serves as managing editor of the organization’s Environment and Climate News publication.  He is also a spokesperson on a variety of media outlets and at events held by political groups like the similarly right-wing American Legislative Exchange Council. And he writes a regular column on “energy and environmental issues” for Forbes magazine.

But Taylor isn’t a scientist. He’s a lawyer. His Heartland bio says he “studied atmospheric science” but majored in government in college. So what does “studied atmospheric science” mean? He took a class in the subject? Who knows? The point is that Taylor is simply not a credible authority on science. But McGraw-Hill essentially portrays him as a climate science expert in a textbook for millions of public school students.

Just as bad (maybe worse) is that the McGraw-Hill textbook portrays Bast in the same light. Bast is Heartlands’s president and CEO. You might recall that he testified last year in a major school finance court case in Texas. Check out state District Judge John Dietz’s scathing criticism of Bast in his ruling in that finance case last month:

Mr. Joseph Bast, president and CEO of the Heartland Institute, testified for the Intervenors regarding the Texas Taxpayers’ Savings Grant Programs (“TTSGP”), a school voucher bill that failed in the 82nd Legislative Session. As a threshold matter, this Court finds that Mr. Bast is not a credible witness and that he did not offer reliable opinions in this matter. While Mr. Bast described himself as an economist, he holds neither undergraduate nor graduate degrees in economics, and the highest level of education he completed was high school. Mr. Bast testified that he is 100% committed to the long-term goal of getting government out of the business of educating its own voting citizens. Further, his use of inflammatory and irresponsible language regarding global warming, and his admission that the long term goal of his advocacy of vouchers is to dismantle the “socialist” public education system further undermine his credibility with this Court.

You read that right. The highest level of education Bast completed was high school. He is not a scientist. Nor is he an economist. He’s a political hack who, like Taylor, shills for polluters who claim climate change either isn’t happening or isn’t a problem. But now his and Taylor’s factually inaccurate criticisms of climate science are presented in a high school social studies textbook alongside the IPCC’s factual information.

Had enough of publishers bowing to the ideological demands of politicians on the State Board of EducationSign our petition telling publishers to remove climate science denial from their textbooks.

4 thoughts on “More about the Anti-Science Nonsense in New Textbooks for Texas

  1. Bizarre ain’t it?

    What any sane and thinking person needs to ask with regard to man-induced climate change is this:

    “If man-induced climate change is real and it is the ALREADY HERE crisis that most credible scientists think it is, who in American culture has the MOST TO LOSE from broad public recognition of that fact and their doing something about it?”

    Being a professional anthropologist, I can tell you who—the current Lords of the worldwide cultural status quo. The thing here that is simultaneously funny and tragic is that these Lords are not stupid. In their quiet dens with their closest friends, they know that man-induced climate change is real. You do not build a billion-dollar corporation by practicing ludicrous stupidity about simple scientific facts. They know. The only issue for them is how to manipulate and game that knowledge so it will benefit them financially in the short-term rather than hurt them: “How can I game climate change to make money for my organization and at the same time ensure that my business competitors are ruined by it? And how can I get the Christian conservatives and the other two-bit suckers on the street to help me out?”

    Conservative religionists forget the parable about Lazarus sitting in the gate of the rich man and what happened to the rich man in that parable. American business tends to think short-term rather than long-term. “How can I make a quick killing now?” In business, the only real consideration for management is the welfare of the company. The managers may go to church on Sunday, but what they learn there must be left at the front door on Monday morning for the near-term good of the company. I think conservative Christians in America would be really surprised to learn how many of the corporate moguls they worship could honestly make this statement:

    “This 78 years of life is all I have. There is no afterlife. There is no God. This alone is it, and the only pleasure or peace I will ever have is right here and right now. I as a man will grub for all the money and pleasure it will buy right now—in the near term—because there is only death and blackness afterwards—forever. Screw everyone else on this planet, I am getting my piece of the cake now while I can, and if the oceans rise and drown all the coasts after I die, then that is not my problem because I had my cake and ate it too while I still could.”

    This attitude among the Lords of the Earth is a major undergirding of climate change denialism. Christians who read their Bibles and truly understand what it says need to understand that this position is not of Christ and is evil incarnate. Jesus said that a time would come when people would be so distressed that they would cry out for the mountains to fall on them to put them out of their misery. That time is coming, and man-induced climate change will be a big part of it. Jesus may intervene. If so, the only question is how long he will allow the suffering to go on before He does. Will it be 1 year, 50 years, 500 years? He will also be taking notes on what is transpiring and asking a key question: “Which specific people denied man-induced climate change and by so doing allowed the destruction of this precious Eden that I created and declared “good.” Hear what God has to say on this point conservative Christians:

    “And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth.” (Revelation 11:18).

    God is going to be taking names and kicking ass—and those who participated in destroying his Earth and inflicting great suffering on all of creation as a result of it (when they had the power to stop it) are going to be on that list. Better get with it conservative Christians. Your ass is hanging in the balance, and you are about to be found wanting on the subject of man-induced climate change.