Posts Tagged 'greenhouse effect'

Greenhouse Nonsense

Last month the Royal Society of Chemistry issued a press release, Downing Street petition demands reversal of catastrophic decline in school science exam standards, about the ‘dumbing down’ of school science exams in the UK:

Armed with the first hard evidence of a catastrophic slippage in school science examinations standards, the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) has launched a Downing Street e-petition calling for urgent intervention to halt the slide.

The RSC report, also being supplied to industrialists and educationalists, raises major concerns over the disappearance from schools science examinations of vital problem-solving, critical thinking and mathematical manipulation.

However, the RSC is hardly free of blame itself. In this post we will demonstrate how the RSC is contributing to muddle-headedness in teaching. For the background, I’m grateful to a friend who works as a lab technician in an English school who brought to my attention that the RSC promotes an experiment in classrooms about the role of CO2 in ‘global warming’; details can be downloaded from the RSC website. Now, it’s one thing to jump on the global warming bandwagon to try to be ‘relevant’ and trendy; it’s quite another to be a party to promoting disinformation and claptrap about physics. The exercise in question relates to the English National Curriculum. Briefly, the trial compares the increase in temperature of a transparent plastic bottle filled with 100% CO2 and illuminated by a heat lamp, with a control bottle filled with atmospheric air under a similar lamp. As the bottle filled with CO2 is seen to warm faster than the control bottle filled with air, the inference to be drawn is that CO2 is contributing to global warming.

Now this is dumbed down science if ever we saw it, and the test is accompanied by teachers’ notes that contain falsehoods about the physics, which the teacher is encouraged to pass on to the class.

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