It’s Getting Hot in Here, So Extract All Your Coal!

It seems as if there is no end to attacks on science education in the United States. Most often it is evolution that bears the brunt of these attacks, with court cases such as Kitzmiller v Dover, or the evolution hearings held by The Kansas State Board of Education coming to mind most recently.

Yet, while many states are adopting Next Generation Science Standards, it wouldn’t be America unless somebody was opposing those standards for all the wrong reasons. This time it is Wyoming, and they are going after climate change.

Wyoming has become the first state to block the Next Generation Science Standards. The key figure behind the move is State Representative Matt Teeters. Teeters believes the consequences of accepting climate change would hurt the economy of Wyoming, which relies heavily on coal mining. In other words, Teeters and Wyoming’s stance on climate change involves cupping their hands over their ears and screaming out “La la la la la la la la la la…”.

This avoidance of the truth is unsurprising in (Republican dominated) government, yet the support from the Chair of the State Board of Education, Ron Micheli, is equally appalling. In a statement, Micheli notes the science standards have been changed:

‘to present climate change as a theory, instead of a fact, and to present the benefits mineral extraction has brought Wyoming.’

WTF. Is he really dragging out the ‘it’s only a theory’ defense? It would be more convincing if he used the Chewbacca defense.

How can the Chair of the State Board of Education not understand the scientific meaning behind the word theory? Is Mr. Micheli also questioning the theory of gravity? Perhaps airplanes, balloons, and the ISS are proof the theory of gravity is just part of the liberal tree hugging agenda

None of this could have happened, however, without the approval of Governor Matt Mead. Mead, knowing his state economy thrives on coal, is a fervent climate change denier. Yet, honestly, it is understandable if the Governor, even though ignorant and incorrect is his scientific analysis, is simply interested in preserving the economy of his constituents.

Yet, a free market, as any white, god fearing, capitalist, patriot should know, flourishes without regulation. In this instance, Wyoming is creating regulation by dismissing fact (aka scientific theory). It is a manipulation, and while in the short term the economy of Wyoming may be safe, it neglects the long term sustainability of the state.

Change is good. It requires discovery, and new ideas. That means engineers, scientists, and thinkers. As the economy of not only Wyoming, but the entire world will someday (sooner than we think) require energy from something other than long dead, compacted, plants and animals, those with the foresight to pursue new energy sources will be the heroes of tomorrow. Now thats a message a state should be sending to inspire their youth, instead of hiding the truth.

Featured image: Marion Post Wolcott

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Richard teaches art at a Catholic school, and spends most of his days coloring and pretending he is not an atheist. He likes vintage furniture and french bulldogs.

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