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Wednesday, May 09, 2007
Students Presented One Side of the Story

We hear in the news that many school systems around the country have made An inconvenient Truth required viewing for their students and in one system in California even the student’s parents. We know most students are being told in the classroom that the science is settled. This is true from the elementary to the college level. I have personally received e-mails from students at major universities seeking help finding more balanced information on climate change. They have told me their professors presented the science as indeed settled and no longer open for discussion, in more than one case calling skeptics shills for big oil or simply crackpots.

This story by Randy Hall of Cybercast News Service “ RI Students Must Watch ‘Inconvenient Truth’ to Graduate” is especially telling. 

To receive a degree from Roger Williams University in Rhode Island, students are being forced to watch “An Inconvenient Truth,” the documentary on global warming produced by former Vice President Al Gore. After learning of the requirement, Dana Peloso, an RWU junior and president of the school’s chapter of the College Republicans, sent a letter questioning the course requirement to Jeffrey Hughes, assistant dean of marine and natural sciences. “With the issue of global warming being such a highly politicized topic, with the scientific community unsure if global warming is man-induced or part of the natural cycle of the earth, do you think that it is intellectually honest to only show the alarmist viewpoint?” Peloso asked. “If the movie is still shown, what plans are there to incorporate the ideas of leading global warming skeptics into class discussion?” he added.

Assistant Dean Hughes replied “After an initial and heated debate, scientists no longer question whether the atmosphere is being warmed due to human activities and instead are increasingly impressed with the speed and impact of the process,” Hughes wrote. “I repeat: there is no doubt that we’re warming the earth and that a continuation of our activities will lead to profound changes.” “Penguins, polar bears and your unborn children have no vote in this. They must live with decisions we make today,” the assistant dean said.

The science class requirement has prompted one conservative student to declare that “we should stop calling these schools ‘bastions of knowledge’ since they’re really bastions of leftist thought.” Jason Mattera, who graduated from RWU in 2005, responded that Hughes’ behavior amounted to “gross intolerance” at a university that promotes itself as a place that values “collaboration of students and faculty in research” and “appreciation of global perspectives.”

Posted on 05/09 at 07:01 PM
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