Didn’t we learn anything from Fahreneit 451? Perhaps not.
Portland Public Schools recently decided to ban textbooks expressing any degree of skepticism regarding man-made global warming. This decision comes on the heels of a presentation from the leftist activism organization, 350PDX, an group that is perhaps most well-known for its advocacy of fossil fuel divestment.
“PPS will abandon the use of any adopted text material that is found to express doubt about the severity of the climate crisis or its root in human activities,” stated the school board’s resolution.
Portland climate change activist David Appell took this absolutism a step further in an op-ed earlier this week. “On climate change, there is no need to teach both sides,” said Appell.
This is insane.
It’s also strongly reminiscent of the book-burning “firefighters” in Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451. “If you don’t want a man unhappy…don’t give him two sides to a question to worry him; give him one,” one character quipped.
This action is a direct assault on both free speech and scientific inquiry itself. First, teachers, let alone students, should be able to examine and discuss all aspects of any scientific theory. This goes for everything from gravity to climate change. In Portland, however, the school board is eliminating scientific debate before it ever enters the classroom. Speech isn’t free when only one opinion is tolerated.
Additionally, isn’t the entire point of scientific inquiry to repeatedly question and analyze theories in an effort to make them stronger? If climate change skepticism is so “absurd,” why do climate change activists fear it seeping into the classroom? Capable teachers and inquisitive students are more than capable of noting fact from fiction and making up their own minds.
Most importantly, this school district isn’t even giving its students the opportunity to hear both sides, let alone debate them. In Portland, political correctness rules all. Open debate and free inquiry is out. Indoctrination is in.