Click images for more details



Recent comments
Recent posts
Currently discussing

A few sites I've stumbled across recently....

Powered by Squarespace
« Your money or your lights | Main | A comfortable chat »

Who would have guessed it? Green studies indoctrinate not educate

I would have loved to be there when Brown University environmental studies student Jaqueline Ho suddenly realised that the course she had (presumably) forked out oodles of cash for was not actually an education at all. It turned out to be just a very expensive brainwashing exercise. Can you imagine the look on her face?

At Brown, ideas first planted by [Bill] McKibben were reinforced in courses where she read classics by Aldo Leopold and Garrett Hardin, along with recent books by Van Jones and Elizabeth Kolbert.

With these authors anchoring her understanding, it was easy for Ho to believe about climate change “that fossil fuel corporations were to blame, that we had a suite of low-carbon technologies we could deploy immediately, and that grassroots solutions held promise,” she recalls.

Yet only after taking an upper-level political science course on renewable energy and completing a summer fellowship with the Breakthrough Institute, an environmental think tank, was Ho introduced to alternative ways of thinking about climate change as a social problem and the possible solutions.

There are other ways of thinking about a problem! Who would have thought it?! Really though, you have to feel sorry for children who are indoctrinated throughout their school and university careers and only once they get into the wide world do they start to realise what has been done to them. Ms Ho's response to this horrible realisation has been admirable:

Motivated by her experience, in [a] recent study, Ho and Eric Kennedy (a doctoral student at Arizona State University) analyzed 22 syllabi from introductory environmental studies courses taught at top-ranked North American research universities and liberal arts colleges. They recorded course descriptions, objectives, activities, and readings according to specific themes, topics, and perspectives.

Of the 22 syllabi assessed, less than half explicitly mentioned the importance of critical thinking or exposing students to competing perspectives. Only 10 made any reference to the fact that even among those advocating for action to address a problem like climate change, there are competing narratives about the major societal challenges, the possible technological solutions, and the political strategies needed.

Instead, in most cases, diverging views on climate change were defined relatively simplistically in terms of the clash between mainstream scientists and the false claims of climate “deniers.”

Yes indeed. You wonder whether the students could sue the universities for fraud.

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

Reader Comments (44)

I see a supportive professor has come back with:

<,i>... The focus of the study is that there is a diversity of legitimate, evidence-based perspectives about environmental problems and their solutions....

But if you pick the WRONG perspective, presumably that makes you a DENIER...

May 4, 2015 at 2:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterDodgy Geezer

It would not be fraud, if it could be established that the consumer/student got what was advertised.

If the University knew that what was being sold, was not what was being delivered, that might be different.

May 4, 2015 at 2:32 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

What an amazing discovery. How ironic though, for The Conversation to publish an article calling for a broader range of viewpoints!

May 4, 2015 at 2:47 PM | Registered CommenterPaul Matthews

"Kennedy and Ho are clear that they are not recommending that environmental studies courses “teach false or manufactured controversies (ie, climate change denial)""

I bet they wouldn't know what those were if they came up and bit them. At this late stage in the game I'm not sure I want greens to wake up to their own blinkered view of the world. I prefer them dumb and risible.

May 4, 2015 at 2:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

"You wonder whether the students could sue the universities for fraud."

Educators have been sued for the failings of their students, I understand. It would be interesting as golf charlie says to see what was actually offered, & what was delivered!

May 4, 2015 at 2:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan the Brit

Alternatively, how can it be fraud to sell something to the gullible, which indoctrinates them on how to sell, to the gullible. It would be a fraud, not to

May 4, 2015 at 3:11 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Blog Power is the way to sort out this mess, every university course should have its own blog, containing all lecture notes and student/reviewer questions and comments. Such public exposure would weed out a lot of propaganda and contrived certainties, and would be able to drastically shorten most courses, students would be expected to have read everything before attending lectures, which would be more discussions than lectures.

May 4, 2015 at 3:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterMikky

Greenery is the same as every other religion: it wouldn't survive without indoctrination.

May 4, 2015 at 5:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterJimmy Haigh

Need to bear in mind that many University courses, especially in the US, are tailored to what they think will be popular. Back in the day, I recall being amazed, from a UK perspective, that people could do elective undergrad courses in things like Badminton.

Later, in the US, I saw sociology-of-science courses based on The Matrix (movie) being advertised in traditional science departments. And today we have people like ATTP teaching astrobiology courses.

I never met a serious science student who didn't laugh at such offerings. But it is part of universities having to market themselves. Just like the current Pope is embracing global warming probably because an advisor has told him it will put bums on seats.

May 4, 2015 at 5:32 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

Bill McKibben, Garrett Hardin, ... Van Jones...?

Garrett Hardin should be read an example of Malthusian psychopathology, not a 'classic' text. It's like reading Oreskes' The Collapse of Western Civilization but forgetting that it is a work of fiction. Books like this are useful as a morbid fascination.

The boat politicians of Europe should Hardin. Haha. :)

Michael Tobis tells us he read Stewart Brand near-religiously but does not feel that way anymore as Brand as changed his tune.

May 4, 2015 at 5:53 PM | Registered Commentershub

It's not just in the US, it is alive and being practised in Australia.

There has to be something in the air or food at universities that cause this, or is it the green tea that they appear to drink?

May 4, 2015 at 5:55 PM | Unregistered Commenterivan

Did they try this experiment in the University Physics lab next door.

May 4, 2015 at 6:16 PM | Unregistered Commenterjamspid

"There has to be something in the air or food at universities that cause[s] this, or is it the green tea that they appear to drink?" --ivan

For a while, I thought it might be a dangerous psychedelic insecticide ("Agent Maroon?") sprayed on ivy-covered halls of Academia, then accidentally ingested by the academia nuts therein. But then someone pointed out to me that ivy-covered halls are not ubiquitous in the area with the highest concentration of Lysenkoist thought. So I shall move on to the next indicated thing, scientifically speaking, and construct a mathematical model that will prove my initial hypothesis valid.

May 4, 2015 at 7:23 PM | Unregistered Commenterjorgekafkazar

I would look closer to home and wonder why the Green Party appeals readily to the under 25s . Nothing at all to with the change in the educational paradigm of climate change since the turn of the century. I find it hard to believe that Julian Simon and Richard Lindzen appeared on BBC educational videos such as World2000, yet they would be edited out today for sure. This is Kafkaesque or Room 101, yet the censors and brainwashers believe in their divine right to deceive.

May 4, 2015 at 9:27 PM | Unregistered Commentertrefjon


Thanks for posting this. This is exactly the point I was trying to make on the thread about Tamsin's article. i.e.: the 'mainstream' (IPCC WG1) scientific view that there is a wide range of possible climate sensitivities does not necessarily imply adherence to any particular policy response.

In the table above, those categorised as 'ecomodernists' such as Hulme and Pielke Jnr don't disagree with the wide range of future climate projections, they just disagree with the typical 'green' view of how to respond.

May 4, 2015 at 9:42 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Betts

Richard Betts "........don't disagree with the wide range of climate projections"

The wide range of climate projections all presumed a +ve figure. If the wide range had been centred on zero change, on average, they would have been more accurate projections.

The Hiroshima bomb destroyed its target, but that was not due to 'precision' bombing.

May 4, 2015 at 10:25 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

I knew as an Economics undergrad at Cambridge in the 1980s that I would get a worldview in which Keynes was on the "right"! I read Hayek, Nozick, Buchanan, Tullock because I was intellectually curious. I suspect most Environmental Studies students are already ideologically committed.

May 4, 2015 at 10:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterHayekian2

Dr Betts are you as disingenuous as you come across? Roger Pielke Jnr has been treated as a pariah by the 'main stream'. The IPCC report is only valid when it's used to prove how catastrophic everything is going to be, not how there are a range of possibilities.. Even this report expresses surprise that people like him exist but he's ok because he's not one of those nasty deniers. I don't give a stuff how balanced and inclusive climate scientists are behind closed doors, in public you're a closed shop and the more alarmist the scientist the more feted they are by group. If this is not how you see yourselves then you need a better mirror.

May 4, 2015 at 11:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2


I'm afraid I don't understand your point. Yes, Pielke is often portrayed as a sceptic or even 'denier', when he's neither, and Hulme also sadly comes under fire for reasons which mystify me. But none of that is relevant to my point that neither of them say the future projections are wrong (so they are not lukewarmers either), they just disagree with widely-held views on policy.

Anyway, if I was part of the 'closed shop', do you really think I'd be talking to you now?

May 4, 2015 at 11:37 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Betts

Richard Betts, Tiny CO2 can respond as he sees fit, but my understanding is that Pielke and co, have been excluded from 'policy making debates' because they do not reach conclusions that match the consensus. I would refer to that as a set of closed minds.

The Vatican are not known for inviting atheists to help choose a new Pope, but are open to those of non religious beliefs, to provide guidance on scientific policy, however their chosen scientific advisers, only have one scientific belief.

At least one of these respected bodies, is going to look gullible.

May 5, 2015 at 12:00 AM | Unregistered CommenterGolf Charlie

…neither of them say the future projections are wrong…
A bit disingenuous, there, Mr Betts. Neither of them say that there are no aliens, either, so, using your logic to its extreme, aliens must exist.

Bearing in mind the insistence that warming has to start again, what will be the spin should the global temperatures plummet over the next three years?

May 5, 2015 at 12:16 AM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent

Richard Betts studiously avoids answering questions about the "original research" done by the HELIX project ( he's the director, but seems very unsure where such information might be found ), yet has the time to come to a new thread.

Less blather, and more evidence of the "original research", Richard Betts.

May 5, 2015 at 1:23 AM | Unregistered Commenterjolly farmer

"Anyway, if I was part of the 'closed shop', do you really think I'd be talking to you now?"

Thank you, Richard Betts, for taking our money and then deigning to come on to the bishophill site. We are all so grateful.

May 5, 2015 at 1:34 AM | Unregistered Commenterjolly farmer

Perhaps a little less attacking Mr Betts would be in order?

After all, far better to be engaging with you than giving up in a huff though being picked on. Really, reading the comments here is like watching an attack of the school bullies.

My suspicion is the Mr Betts will end up shunned an on the outside simply by being here at all (a bit like Curry).

But please, he needs encouragement to engage - not the confrontational being picked-upon that seems to pervade so many comments.

Engagement on all sides leads to open minds. Bullying just closes minds.

May 5, 2015 at 4:00 AM | Unregistered CommenterWally

jolly farmer

The original research in HELIX is listed on the HELIX website under "Our research" in the bar at the top, and also under work packages (in the footer at the bottom)

I'm prioritising answering questions from people who are at least making the effort to be respectful and constructive. If you see me overlooking your questions in future, it's because you're being rude again.

May 5, 2015 at 7:47 AM | Registered CommenterRichard Betts


Thank you. Well said.

May 5, 2015 at 7:49 AM | Registered CommenterRichard Betts

Radical Rodent

Niether Pielke nor Hulme say anything at all on aliens, but they both comment on climate projections. Pielke says he agrees with IPCC WG1 (and indeed points out when IPCC is being misrepresented, eg. on attribution of extremes). Hulme says:

The diverse human influences on the climate system are large and growing, with burning fossil fuels the single biggest one. The risks to people, places and ecosystems posed by extreme weather and through more systemic changes in physical processes will therefore increase.

But what these bald scientific facts mean is another question….

…I believe that this singular focus on fossil fuel divestment as the pre-eminent strategy, tactic or policy tool to deal with the risks of climate change is misguided.

May 5, 2015 at 8:05 AM | Registered CommenterRichard Betts

Would commenters please keep their remarks civil and stick to argument not adhoms.

May 5, 2015 at 8:11 AM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill

Wally, and if this was ten years ago or even five years ago I'd probably agree with you. But there have been too many instances where things should have changed and they haven't. The ONLY thing that will budge the status quo is the climate and as far as I know that could be either way. No engagement from either side necessary. The only outcome from any of the contact with those like Betts and Tamsin is the suggestion that most sceptics are just low end warmists so it's ok to procede as if there was nothing wrong with climate science. I suppose that since they're academics they can be forgiven for not understanding how important quantifying a problem is before you act upon it but surely the decades of wasted money should be giving them a clue by now.

Betts cannot be in ignorance that no matter what the IPCC report has within its covers, the political view of AGW is always at the upper end of the scale and often off it. Politicians and other activists didn't arrive there on their own. It's not enough to shrug and say 'I never told them that'.

As for engaging here, a lot of people turn up and post stuff. Nobody would be fooled into thinking ATTP, Russell or ZBD (or whatrever his last incarnation was) were open to new ideas. They were intitially here to change OUR minds not the other way round.

May 5, 2015 at 8:31 AM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2


The reason I'm here is because I think debate is useful and helps avoid groupthink - yes partly so you guys get a different perspective, but also so I do. If I only ever listen to people I agree with, what will I learn?

Some colleagues try to tell me that I'm wasting my time and won't be able to discuss climate science in good faith here. My experience suggests that this is not entirely true, but neither is it entirely false. As is evident from the last few days, some commenters are willing to engage constructively, whereas others sadly are not.

I do appreciate that some commenters just use this blog for sounding off. However, I'll leave it to you guys to decide how you want to be perceived by the rest of the world, including those you are (presumably) hoping to influence. I've not seen TheBigYinJames lately - he understands very well that behaving badly doesn't do your cause any favours.

May 5, 2015 at 9:01 AM | Registered CommenterRichard Betts

You would spend you time better reading the output of your own side Dr Betts. That’s what creates sceptics, not the words of Monkton or Montford or Watts. Nothing I, or anyone here writes is more effective at souring public opinion than a lazy lie by a prominent believer. By the time people come looking to see what sceptics have to say, they’re already turned.

You shouldn’t need to come here for a different view of the science, just look around you. Look at all the people not giving climate change a second thought. They’ve formed a judgement without ever reading a single line from one of us. Read the comment sections under articles, many if not most of them are not regulars at sceptic blogs. Most of us started out believers but hit a point where we'd heard one whopper too many.

The Bish and Watts have always done a great job presenting balance, although you suggest it’s a welcome new change. Sure, sometimes things have been off the wall but they’ve had to generate a clear picture of what the science really says from scratch.

May 5, 2015 at 9:31 AM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

Mr Betts, your use of the word “cause” is interesting, as “the cause” has been a term used often in part of the discussions between the loose links of your colleagues in their defence of what is rapidly becoming indefensible. The “cause” you suggest sceptics are engaged in is a cause where they want science to win, where hypotheses can be tested and questioned; where theories can be strengthened or destroyed without shame or rancour; where students be actively encouraged to look at ALL aspects of the argument; where huge amounts of tax-payers’ money is not frittered away on pretty-looking ideas or forcing upon the citizenry drastic social change, or the arrogance of humans in their vainglorious attempts to influence powers beyond our petty imaginations; where FACTS trump any religious or governmental doctrine, and are neither denied nor hidden, for fear that: “… you only want to prove me wrong.

Yes, more research is required; yes, this will need the expenditure of tax-payers’ offerings, but NO, this should not be taking prominence over almost every attempt to improve the lot of people on this planet, nor should it be used to leverage money or power to a select few, some of whom seem intent on “world government”. You should be grateful for the change left over after all the more important issues have been addressed.

To repeat myself: where will your “cause” stand, should global temperatures inexplicably plummet?

May 5, 2015 at 11:54 AM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent

radical rodent
~I'm sure we'll find out if they inexplicably plummet since Richard does engage in discussion politely

May 5, 2015 at 1:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterEddieo

Anyway, if I was part of the 'closed shop', do you really think I'd be talking to you now?

Putins Russia is organised using the same techniques:

To combat the accusation that people can not speak about Russian politicians, TV programs are broadcast, similar to 'Newsnight' where opposition politicians can really vent against an establishment figure.

The problem is: its all scripted, and all have a good ending.

Putin and his cronies can go around and talk of 'cut and thrust' of political discourse in Russia but it is all fake.

Move over to Green washing, is their anyone person within the 'climate establishment' who has genuinely voiced ANY concerns over data, models, transparency, peer review AT ALL?

Control of official green output is total.

I think one of our best hopes is for someone line Dr Richard Betts to have an awakening to the overall situation.

He seems reasonable, intelligent but seeped in Green wash to such a depth the he has difficulty differentiation the team line versus all others.

Perhaps he could pop over to UEA and have a chat to Prof Phil Jones and ask:

RB: Phil, "did you mean what you said when why you did not want to share your data for fear of others find fault"?

If he says, to the effect that:

"Yes, I did not realise as a scientist, researcher and author of papers I was meant to share my results and methods"


He repeats the line, "Why should I...."


He says to the effect: "You know how it is, we need to stick together on this".


or "I have invested so much of my life in this, it must be correct".....

Then hopefully you will be able to draw some conclusions along the lines: that the whole output of UEA/CRU is flawed along with all other derivative works.

You know that by any measuring system in use that the global average temperature has ceased to rise for a considerable time, yet your organisation is still publishing material stating extreme weather events are increasing due to global warming.

Wake up young man before it is professionally too late.

More rigour please.

May 5, 2015 at 1:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterSteve Richards

It is commenable that the students realized what was going on. Now, the students need to get out there, everywhere, and let others know what is happening. There needs to be mass protests from those who paid for the indoctrination. Parents and students need to audit classes before paying for indoctrination. This will only stop when the money stops and so many people just blindly write checks for their kids and their own education, without quality checking. I wonder if these people buy cars and houses by looking at an ad? Yet people pay huge sums of money for an indoctrination, not educaton, based on an ad. Wake up and realize education is as much a commodity as cars and the salesment are just as honest as those car salesmen.

May 5, 2015 at 2:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterSheri

"I'll leave it to you guys to decide how you want to be perceived by the rest of the world"

The rest of the world? It's hyperbole like this...


May 5, 2015 at 5:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterBad Andrew

But I do wonder... does Richard Betts really think his cultural bubble is "the rest of the world"?

Maybe he'll answer if I ask politely.

Mr. Betts, do you really think your cultural bubble is "the rest of the world"?


May 5, 2015 at 5:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterBad Andrew

"advocating for". This blog shud no better.

May 5, 2015 at 7:05 PM | Unregistered Commentermpalmer

Bad Andrew

No, I mean anyone who happens to look at the Bishop Hill blog either now or in the future. There is probably very little overlap between this and my 'cultural bubble' as you put it. Most people I know have never heard of it.

May 5, 2015 at 8:53 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Betts

"I mean anyone who happens to look at the Bishop Hill blog"

"Most people I know"

Still not close to the actual "rest of the world", friend.


May 5, 2015 at 10:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterBad Andrew

Interesting that even when RB makes a comment largely agreeing with BH, he still gets criticised!

May 5, 2015 at 10:35 PM | Registered CommenterPaul Matthews

"I mean anyone who happens to look at the Bishop Hill blog either now or in the future"

"Most people I know"

Neither is close to the actual "the rest of the world."


May 5, 2015 at 10:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterBad Andrew

I see an Andy Revkin comment on that post. Interesting.

May 6, 2015 at 6:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterMikeR

When I shopped for a Master's programme on environmental science over a decade ago, I immediately rejected the uni in my own town, Boulder, Colorado (the University of Colorado). The vomitus in charge of it there was a deluded "environmental justice" cause-head.

Fortunately, she was let go, and Roger Peilke, Jr - whose earlier work I did not then know - was newly hired.

Instead, I went with Imperial College, London - whose programme was then headed by economist Jonathan Kydd (SEE his Wikipedia entry, here

It was a degree opportunity notably free of advocacy. On global warming, even the importance of the sun got invoked against IPCC orthodoxy.

I have to wonder at Ho's experience at Brown - an elite US uni especially renown for being fashionable and trendy of the Ivies. She was cheated of genuine education and at maximum expense.
Kydd's programme initiated a "sustainable development" master's degree. I believe this is oriented towards the traditonal and eminently practical science of conservation, rather than lacunae of saving the planet from humanity (like economist Jeffrey Sachs does at Columbia Universirty)! But I still wonder at that excess

May 8, 2015 at 7:37 AM | Unregistered CommenterOrson

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>