Father challenges plan to show climate film in schools
1 October 2007, source edie newsroom
An inconvenient case: a father is challenging Government plans to have Al Gore's Oscar winning film shown in schools
The pack was due to be sent to 3,500 schools and was aimed at Key Stage 3 pupils, aged 11 to 14.
A truck driver and school governor from Kent, Stewart Dimmock, is now fighting the plan, arguing that showing children the film amounts to indoctrination.
"I wish my children to have the best education possible, free from bias and political spin and Mr Gore's film falls far short of the standard required," he said.
"Climate change is important but it should be taught to children in a neutral and measured manner. Indoctrinating school children in this manner is unprecedented and unacceptable."
While the vast majority of scientists accept that rapid climate change is a reality, the debate about the degree to which mankind is responsible is ongoing.
The court case begun last Thursday, September 27, with Mr Dimmock's lawyer arguing that the film contained a number of serious scientific inaccuracies and promotes a particular political viewpoint.
The Education Act prohibits the political indoctrination of children in the classroom.
The act has never been used to challenge Government education policy in the courts before.
Mr Dimmock's court action is being backed by the New Party, a political party which argues for greater personal freedoms and less Government control.
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By Dr Chris
Maybe the showing in March of this year of Channel 4 documentary "The Great Global Warming Swindle" should also be made available. These together should encourage meanigful debate!
I'm all for open debate and am inclined to agree that showing kids a slightly woolly film on climate change is, on balance, useful. But I can also see the father's concern about what exactly the evidence is that's being made available. Where are his children supposed to hear the (albeit dubious) counter arguments? It's like your religious education argument - the problem with RE lessons is that they often lack balance/a full blown disclaimer along the lines of 'however, most rational people think that these are just the stories of an ancient desert people (or whoever) and should be considered as moral fables rather than literal truths'. It's not that it's wrong to teach children about religious texts, the issue is context - which presumably is this dad's gripe. Along with the desire for publicity for his fledgling political party.
By David Hopkins
Torquemada, you're absolutely right, science itself should always be open to scrutiny. This is why I think the Father in this case is wrong to challenge the screening of the film. He should allow his kids to watch it and then also to take part in a debate about the issues raised. Then they can make their own minds up based on available evidence. It does seem though, that the balance of scientific evidence suggests that climate change is a man made reality. The argument against that theory seems based more on assertion rather than submitted evidence. Wouldn't you agree?
Surely Mr Hopkins you're not suggesting the world is older than 6,000 years and fossils are not the bones of dinosaurs? Also, science itself is, by its nature, full of scientific inaccuracies - if a theory is not open to testing and scrutiny, it's not really science, eh?
By David Hopkins
Presumably the concerned father in this story (http://www.edie.net/news/news_story.asp?id=13592&channel=0#cmt ) will also be challenging the right to teach kids religious education? After all, any lawyer could argue that also contains "serious scientific inaccuracies" from a particular political viewpoint.
Although this is very regretable, I for one am a little ashamed that this is all we can come up with. Yes the film is politicised and has a very American agenda. It is a useful film as background material only.
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