Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The Indoctrination of Children

remove all fragile objects from your reach before you read.

Childhood indoctrination. It’s a dirty word. Hitler did it. Stalin did it. It can never happen here in the free world, now can it? Of course not.

In the past few days, I have had a couple of disturbing conversations about AGW with the younger generation, including my own daughter. Particularly striking is the one I had with the 12-year old daughter of a friend.

(Warning: The following transcript may incite anger in libertarians and parents).

Dee: So, do you believe in Global Warming?

Melissa: Oh, yes!

Dee: Oh? Do you think that people are responsible?

Melissa: Uh huh. They put all that junk in the air and it has to be causing the world to get warmer.

Dee: Is that so? That junk is called carbon dioxide and of all the carbon dioxide that is going into the air, how much of it do you think that people are adding?

Melissa: I dunno… Maybe 75 percent?

Dee: 75%? What if I told you it was less than 5% and the rest was all natural?

Melissa: Well how about all the polar bears that are drowning? The ice cap is melting.

Dee: Ummmm… How many polar bears have drowned?

Melissa: I dunno, but they’re going extinct.

Dee: Oh, really? Polar bear population had doubled in the last few of decades.

Melissa: You are making me mad.

Dee: Why is that?

Melissa: Cause you are.

Dee: OK, so where did you learn that the polar bears are dying?

Melissa: A movie they showed at the school.

Well, gentle readers, I knew to which movie she was referring: Al Gore’s Oscar winning documentary, An Inconvenient Truth. In fact, I was there that day when the school’s earth science class sponsored a public showing and did my best to correct some of the more glaring errors made by Mr. Gore, but it seems that I failed in my task.

To this day, the indoctrination continues to warp the opinions of children too young to understand the science or politics behind AGW and who only care about the cute, cuddly polar bears having to swim 50 or more miles between melting ice flows just to stay alive.

Our Friend, the Polar Bear

Recently, the American Institute for Public Service, a national foundation that honors community service, recognized Cool the Earth for the efforts to educate the youth of the San Francisco Bay Area about the dangers of Global Warming. The founder of Cool the Earth, Carleen Cullen had this to say:

“What I love about working with young people is their absolute optimism,” said Cullen. “You tell them, ‘Hey, we’ve got this little problem over here with our friend, the polar bear, and with humans as well,’ and they’re not overwhelmed by it; they’re not skeptical or cynical. They just ask, ‘What can I do to fix it?’ “

Read the entire article at the SF Chronicle here: Carleen Cullen fights global warming or see it for yourself at Cool the Earth.

P.S. I haven’t given up hope for Melissa - she is a bright kid. I am planning on making a special middle school-level presentation to help her understand both sides of the debate so she can make up her own mind. Who knows, perhaps I can shame the school into letting a skeptic have equal time.

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