Several years ago the creationist movement in the US brought out a rather silly little film called “Expelled: no intelligence allowed”.
It claimed – ludicrous as this sounds – that a) Darwin’s theory of evolution lead to the Holocaust and b) the scientific establishment was suppressing alternative views due to its left-wing/materialistic world view.
The film itself was widely dismissed critics. It offered nothing new in terms of furthering the scientific debate, but was rather a mish-mash of conspiracy theories and the same tired old creationist arguments.
In fact, the film is so bad that it rates a measly 10% on Rotten Tomatoes based on 42 reviews. The film bombed at the box office, and earlier this year the production company that made the film declared bankruptcy and was sold to unnamed persons for $211,000 USD.
One of the tropes the film tried (badly) to milk was the idea that “the kids” would “dig” on being rebellious and question the “Darwinian orthodoxy”.
Indeed, the films trailer made a really cringe worthy plea to “the kids” to question fuddy-duddy old scientists and their evil dogma of evolution:
Which is why I was highly amused to see former PM John Howard and noted climate change denier Ian Pilmer join forces to launch a book asking kids to question the science of climate change called… wait for it… “How to get expelled”.
Yes, that’s right Pilmer and Howard have taken a leaf directly from the creationist playbook:
Climate change sceptic Ian Plimer’s book “How to Get Expelled from School: A Guide to Climate Change for Pupils, Parents and Punters” arms children with 101 questions to challenge their teachers.
It has been billed as an “anti-warmist manual for the younger reader”.
Mr Howard attacked the one-sided teaching of climate change in schools.
“People ought to be worried about what their children are being taught at school,” he said
Laugh? Didn’t I!
But I guess when you’ve lost the scientific argument, your next target audience is children.
Just like the creationists.
Won’t somebody think of the children?
One wonders how Pilmer, who once spend many years debating creationists, sleeps at night. No, really. How does the man sleep at night knowing he has morphed into the very thing he fought?
I mean Ian – couldn’t you have even come up with a more original title?
Or are like “the kids” just gonna go “sick” for this “climate change scepticism” and like, totally question the uh… scientific… paradigm!
And if you don’t think this tactic isn’t ripped straight from the creationist playbook, take a look at the “Question Evolution” campaign from some US creationists that asks students to question science:
Creation Ministries International (CMI) created its “Question Evolution” campaign last spring. It is a direct attack on the standing doctrine that every child in the Western world hears in school, and especially in college. The most powerful ammunition: a set of tracts, titled “15 Questions for Evolutionists.” CMI asserts that no evolutionist has ever answered these questions satisfactorily
At least some in the mainstream media are alert to just how appalling this tactic is. Tory Shepherd of Perth Now notes:
Plimer has tried to battle scientists, and failed. His claims have been contested time and time again. If you want to have that argument, see here, here and here.
So he’s picked an easier target, and says a teacher that can’t answer his loaded questions is proof of the big conspiracy.
It’s not. If that’s what happens, it’s proof that teachers don’t have time to answer 101 questions designed to mislead. It’s proof that teachers are not climatologists.
As a librarian, I’ve seen plenty of this guff. It goes straight into the bin.
Not because there is a conspiracy. It went straight to the bin alongside because it was as worthless as all the other religious tracts and crazy conspiracy materials people would try to flood libraries with.
Not because of some big ol’ conspiracy.
But because resources are scarce and educators, librarians and scientists have a duty to arm our children with the information and critical thinking skills they need to become thoughtful adults.
The last thing they need are lies.