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Reader Letter: Don't just march for climate change, learn about it

PUBLISHED: 14:41 10 October 2019 | UPDATED: 14:41 10 October 2019

Extinction Rebellion demonstrators in Parliament Square, London, in April 2019. Picture: Victoria Jones/PA Wire

Extinction Rebellion demonstrators in Parliament Square, London, in April 2019. Picture: Victoria Jones/PA Wire

PA Wire/PA Images

This reader thinks that Extinction Rebellion is reducing climate debate to a tribal entity and says children should learn about the science of global warming, not march.

Re his letter, "I think Climate Change is our Big Issue" (EDP, October 8).

Mr Lacey claims we are guardians of the earth and the universe. I think Flash Gordon might take issue with the second statement and Mother Nature perhaps with the first, as she will flourish even if we doom ourselves to a short tenure.

There have been five major extinctions in the past and we seem well on the way to the sixth. Only a good and honest understanding of the science may offer us a future.

Extinction Rebellion reduce a serious intellectual and scientific question to a badge of tribal identity, parading under a single banner, their evangelical conviction built on a belief.

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Science isn't about "belief". It's about facts, evidence, theories, experiments. You wouldn't say, "I believe in evolution". You understand it's laws and the evidence for them; or you don't.

"Belief" doesn't really enter into it, unless you are a creationist. Climate science is so complicated and uncertain that eminent climate scientists still sit on both sides of the fence.

The motto of the Royal Society is nullius in verba "on no one's word", which is intended to ensure that scientists resist the pressure of external authority and verify results with facts determined by experiment.

We are told that 97pc of scientists "believe" in global warming, but only a tiny percentage of these are climate scientists.

I'm not sure that the opinion of a dermatologist carries any more weight than that of the average man in the street. But it is into this arena that files of school children are marched; carrying banners demanding solutions to a problem they have little understanding of. I suspect that if they asked their teachers what the second law of thermodynamics was not all would get an answer.

If you are a teacher and don't understand the basis for your position and just accept it as a "belief", then you don't really know it, and are in no position to tell children that they "must" believe it.

Instead of parading with banners these children would best be served sitting at a desk learning about it. The bending of children's minds toward cults, political, scientific and religious have disturbing precedents; we would be wise not to forget that.

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