ME - posted on 04/18/2010 ( 64 moms have responded )
Ok...So, I am teaching Intro to philosophy this semester...This past week, i was teaching Phil. of Science...not my favorite subject, but I made it through...and then we were discussing evironmental issues and the debate over global climate change (as a "contemporary" issue in philosophy). I have about 25 students this semester, and NONE of them spoke up in defense of the Environment; NONE of them admitted to believing in climate change as a human related issue. I brought support/evidence from the IPCC and NASA and other scientific studies; I pointed out that most scientists support this theory to some extent. They didn't care...they believe that Al Gore is trying to get money (for something, they're not sure what), and that as a politician, he can't possibly know what's really going on. No matter what I said, no one spoke up in support of this science...
Ok...so, I assumed that none of my students believed this was real, and none of them understood that several thousand experts agreeing is usually a decent reason to trust the scientific evidence...It turned out (after reading their assignments on the topic) that the majority actually DO believe in climate change...they just never spoke up in class. It was a VOCAL minority who did all the talking...
I guess my question is...is this what's happening on a larger scale in the US right now? Is a vocal minority making us all look like crazy conspiracy theorists? Is that minority stopping debate and stalling progress? If so, is it our fault for not speaking up as loudly as they are? Is our national fear of offending others leading to a sort of relativism (you believe what you want, and I'll believe what I want, regardless of the evidence)? I'm not sure how to deal with this in my small class let alone on a national level...anyone have any thoughts?