Teaching the Controversy: Why You Need to Listen to the Experts
Teaching the Controversy: Why You Need to Listen to the Experts

Why Climate Change Denial and Creationism Aren’t ‘Opinions’

Diversity of perspective is a critical part of college, but not when it comes to empirical knowledge.

Uncovering Truth

Diversity of perspective is a critical part of college, but not when it comes to empirical knowledge.

By Phillip Bugajski, Loyola University Chicago

The culture of the United States is one that’s based on reason, science and peer review.

So, then, isn’t it necessary that all the evidence concerning evolution, including alternative theories, is taught in schools? Teaching Creationism, sometimes called Intelligent Design, in addition to the theory of evolution is a way to better educate children, to have them critically evaluate ideas and reflect on their inner faith on a personal, spiritual level.

After undergoing many legal battles about what to teach as science, Creationism and Intelligent Design have had their places in American state curricula for years. Most famously, in the Scopes Monkey Trial, the definition of evolution was determined. Still, in a nation devoted to scientific fact, being skeptical of anything that claims to be unconditional truth is nearly an American value. After all, science has been changed and corrected time and time again, so how do you know that what you’ve been told is accurate?

Teaching the Controversy: Why You Need to Listen to the Experts
Image via Politico

In addition to scientific fact, the people of the United States have always prided themselves in being open to listening to different, often controversial opinions. The value of free speech is so fundamental in the minds of the American people that it is protected under the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights. In addition to better educating children and preserving Constitutional freedoms, teaching the controversy will allow for students to better listen to new ways of thinking, as they will come from a background of diverse perspectives.

In an increasingly globalized and communicative world, being open to new ways of thinking, new culture and new theories is a crucial life skill. In a nutshell, this is why I believe that the Anti-Creationists have monopolized the school system, and why evolution needs to be taught alongside evolutionary theory.

And all of that was pure bullshit. I hope that you thought so too after reading for a little bit.

Full disclaimer: I do not believe in Creationism or Intelligent Design. I understand evolutionary theory to a significant degree, because it is a rigid scientific field of study that explains much of the natural world. The real reason why I’m writing this article is not because the U.S. has a deep culture of understanding regarding the sciences. I’m writing this because right now, the U.S. has unfortunately become stuck in the world of the “alternative fact.”

It isn’t a new development; there have been several debates on a lot of subjects, ranging from evolution and Creationism to global climate change or the true history of the Holocaust. While in theory, discussion and debate is good, in each of these areas, there is a clear, evidence-supported side that has been challenged by people who simply do not want to accept the truth of the matter, either because they want to remain ignorant or because they have even more sinister intentions.

Take, for example, the issue of climate change. Personally, I thought America moved past this back in the ’90s. Yet, there is a “healthy” debate around the nature of why the change is happening, whether or not it is really anthropogenic or whether it is merely part of the Earth’s natural cycle.

One side of the debate proposes a clear process that causes climate change, as well as evidence that shows that the release of fossil fuels (mainly carbon dioxide), coinciding with the use of coal during the first industrial revolution, has increased the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

The other side of the debate attempts to justify the change by claiming that the Earth has gone through its history of temperature fluctuations, though they fail to mention that there has never been this large of a fluctuation in such a short amount of time. Even worse than scientific ignorance, though, is the promulgating of false information to push a narrative that personally benefits you. The Koch brothers, a dominant political force in conservative politics, have funded studies that conclude that climate change is not caused by any human action.

Upon further examination of the Koch brothers, it becomes clear that they have significant investments in the fossil-fuel industry. Trying to change the fuel source of the U.S. to renewable forms of energy would no doubt hurt their bottom lines. So, instead of diversifying their portfolios, or investing in new technologies, they may as well create competing studies to counter the current scientific knowledge, muddying the waters.

Climate change is just one example, and that’s why it’s important to look deeper than the news headlines. America needs to teach applicable science in schools and, as a nation, needs to figure out how to personally educate its people with new issues. Isn’t that why so many people go to college in the first place? Students want to seek out both new ideas, and the truth about old ones? To both expand their horizons as well as cut out the nonsense?

Students want to become experts in their fields and understand everything about what they’re studying. On the most basic level, this is why universities and higher education exists in the first place. As a center of learning, college creates experts and individuals qualified to discuss matters in their fields. I will listen to the opinions of my political science professors rather than any celebrity or newscaster. I have seen that my professors are qualified to share their opinions.

Lately, it seems that the American people have been fed a lot of nonsense by large industries, political figures and celebrity opinions. If this article convinces you of anything, I hope that it’s to critically evaluate ideas of your own, and not to take every graph or dataset as a fact.

It’s not just a matter of seeing the positives of both sides or giving each argument its due. Just because someone presents information, it doesn’t mean that they’re right. Some arguments are wrong, and it’s time to acknowledge that so people can continue to progress.


  1. Religious education is important, yes. Parents should teach their children and send them to religious instruction.

    Parents. Houses of worship. Not public schools. If you open public schools to religious education you need to teach all religions, not just your own.

  2. “Just because someone presents information, it doesn’t mean that they’re right. Some arguments are wrong, and it’s time to acknowledge that so people can continue to progress.” How is anyone supposed to know if anything is correct? Your final statement is very paradoxical and disproves your whole argument because you presented information and that doesn’t mean you’re correct. So why trust you, or what evolutionists say? Science has no proof for the beginning and evolution, just theory’s. God is the creator of all. I do not have enough room to write my proof of this but to say the universe was created from a bang of chemicals is an insult, just like saying we are from monkeys is. Where did those chemicals come from? There had to be a start, that science could not do alone. Religion is science.

  3. Respectfully, Lauren, I believe you may be scientifically illiterate. There are literally mountains of evidence for evolution, and you don’t seem to understand what a theory is. A theory is not a hypothesis, nor is it a best guess- those are common misuses of the word from lay-people. Also “just a theory” are gravity, electricity, and germ; but they allowed us to predict the existence of planet Neptune before it was directly observed, build the internet we’re conversing across, and drastically reduce disease. Saying, “I don’t know, therefore god did it” isn’t a real answer, just an assertion with no evidence. Why should we believe your god created everything rather than the Hindu gods or the flying spaghetti monster? Science is a methodology that tests falsifiable hypotheses, religion is superstition and ritual handed down from dark ages- the two have nothing in common.

  4. What I’m really interested in is whether God could have made the world in a different way; that is, whether the necessity of logical simplicity leaves any freedom at all. ALBERT EINSTEIN.
    After the knowledge of, and obedience to, the will of God, the next aim must be to know something of His attributes of wisdom, power, and goodness as evidenced by His handiwork.
    The book of nature which we have to read is written by the finger of God
    I have looked into the most philosophical systems and have found none that will work without God.
    Believe in God, in His providence, in a future life, in the recompense of the good; in the punishment of the wicked; in the sublimity and truth of the doctrines of Christ, in a revelation of this doctrine by a special divine inspiration for the salvation of the human race.
    All my discoveries have been made in answer to prayer.
    Mathematics is the language with which God has written the universe.
    Science is the process of thinking God’s thoughts after Him.
    “Overwhelming strong proofs of intelligent and benevolent design lie around us.””I believe that the more thoroughly science is studied, the further does it take us from anything comparable to atheism.” “The more thoroughly I conduct scientific research, the more I believe that science excludes atheism.””The atheistic idea is so nonsensical that I do not see how I can put it in words.” WILLIAM THOMSON, LORD KELVIN, the quintessential, science-based sceptic.

  5. What say we discover geology and history? I cover Climate in the monograph, “Climate Moderation Magnetic Interaction Sun – Earth”. On – line. Here is an attempted brief facts insertion.
    The geologic record, ice cores, and human history, prove that carbon gases can not possibly be closely linked to climate.
    The fraud and ignorance involved here is unbelievable.
    Rather than drown the entire forum in downloads, I mention in passing the blindingly obvious fact that NO GREENHOUSE GAS OF ITSELF could possibly be the sole driver of global climate. We don’t actually have fairies up in the sky, metering in the various atmospheric components, to give us the climate. Atmospheric gases and carbon gases in particular arrive/arrived in our atmosphere from volcanoes, from Space, from chemical processes of the Earth. The amount of CO2 currently in our atmosphere is a ‘flea bite’. Point zero zero zero four atmospheres. By measurement/estimation of carbon in rock strata and the Earth’s water bodies, guess how much CO2 or it’s equivalent must have been processed through our one atmosphere during the 4 thou. mill. yrs + of Earth history?
    Of the order of twelve atmospheres consisting of nothing but CO2 or its equivalent.
    Those fairies were busy, regulating gases in and out every day, stopping the disasters.
    One huge fairy tale.
    Zero science, zero meaningful facts.
    And while these blind men are seeing all future, they aren’t seeing the obvious climate disasters that overtook the planet during Man’s brief so-journ here. Everyone knows about one-quarter of our land surface turned desert. Hot, dry, disasters. CO2? If ice cores mean anything — they are not ironclad — CO2 was lower, much lower, when half Africa, the Middle East, the Gobi, Australia, etc etc. were hit by hot/dry climate disasters. And even the Arctic went nearly ice-free at one stage. Look it up. Do what the ‘experts’ criminally fail to do. Climate is a massive and a futuristic study.

  6. My goodness, such small numbers! You must totally be 100% right about it all! And a creationist, to boot! My goodness, why are you NOT a presidential advisor on all science?

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