High School Guest Post: Why America Doesn’t Pay Attention to Global Warming

Two weeks ago, I wrote about the high school science bloggers in Ms. Baker’s biology classes at Staten Island Academy. Over the next few weeks, I will be publishing several guest posts that have been written by Ms. Baker’s students.

Today’s post comes from 12th-grader Michael, who would like to be a computer engineer. (Note: At Ms. Baker’s request, I am withholding the last names of the students–if you are interested in contacting any of them, Ms. Baker asks that you please get in touch with her at extremebiology@gmail.com.) I have not done any editing–the post, which begins below, is all Taylor’s own work. –EA

Why America Doesn’t Pay Attention to Global Warming
By Michael
12th Grade
Staten Island Academy

“In the summer of 2003, an intense heat wave was blamed for an estimated 35,000 deaths across large swaths of Europe. A study says that global warming has doubled the likelihood of heat waves of this magnitude.” (From NRDC)

Now, I don’t live in Europe, but I certainly do remember that summer. I remember not only how hot it was in America, but also the news talking about all the people who were dying day after day, mostly the elderly, the children, and the homeless. The NRDC brings this memory back, as well as some other past events, to warn us of the dangers of global warming. But why isn’t America paying attention?

I’m sure you have heard about it on the news; they have a segment on whenever I watch. Everywhere you look, there are the warnings: “GLOBAL WARMING WILL DESTROY US!”, or “SAVE THE POLAR BEARS!” Commercials on the TV are constantly advertising “cleaner, more energy efficient appliances” in order to get more people to buy. Politicians are always seen bickering over how humanity on a whole should stop it. Yet America seems to ignore all of this and continues on its merry way, regardless of the effects on the environment. In a recent poll by Gallup, 48% of Americans believe that the threat of global warming is “greatly exaggerated”.  That’s right, about half of America believe that.  But the question is: Why? Why do Americans ignore the warning signs? I have 2 hypotheses that could answer this question. One: people are not educated properly about global warming, and are thus more likely to believe whatever the media says. Two: there has been so much media coverage on global warming; Americans have become desensitized to it.

Well, an easy way to start by educating the people is to actually EDUCATE PEOPLE.  The people over at NASA know a lot about global warming, so allow me to spread some of this knowledge around, since chances are many people would never find it (It’s in the middle of very first page when you Google “global warming”, but who ever goes beyond the first 3 or 4 links?). And I quote: “Global warming is an increase in the average temperature of Earth’s surface. Since the late 1800’s, the global average temperature has increased about 0.7 to 1.4 degrees F (0.4 to 0.8 degrees C).” The first part is pretty much self-explanatory. However, many people will read the second part and say ‘So what? What’s that little change going to do?’  And there lies the problem. Only a person ignorant of the truth of global warming would say that, so therefore I must continue: “Global warming could melt enough polar ice to raise the sea level. In certain parts of the world, human disease could spread, and crop yields could decline.” All of that could happen due to a small change in the global temperature; a change by a single degree could spell disaster for us. However, would the average American really comprehend what I just quoted? Would that American be able to go to the NASA website, read all about global warming, and understand it? Sadly, chances are this person wouldn’t. It’s the scientist’s job to find the information, and then show it to the world in a way people understand.

Of course, with the media always spouting how global warming will end us, there comes the second possibility: desensitization. The media doesn’t educate, instead it scares everyone to death with portends of doom, “The Day After Tomorrow” style (although MSNBC was kind enough to debunk this apocalyptic myth). They show the ice caps melting, and the occasional polar bear stranded on an iceberg. I mean, look at ABC news! They have an entire webpage dedicated to global warming, with headlines such as: “Charging Your iPod could Harm a Polar Bear?”Let’s face it: Americans have come to see global warming as just another part of daily life.  I also blame the internet for desensitizing the public, although this is more due to an information overload than anything else. Type “global warming” on Google, and the search engine will immediately suggest about 10 different choices regarding the topic. If you want quick, simple answers on global warming, the best was the EPA’s website.

Now, the problem isn’t that Americans don’t believe that global warming doesn’t exist. The problem, as the poll I mentioned before suggests, is that Americans believe the dangers are blown out of proportion, and that humanity is not at fault for causing the global warming.  Again I blame the internet as one of the causes. Type in “global warming” on Google, and among the suggestions are “global warming myths”, “global warming hoax”, and “global warming lies”. While I was looking at the links these suggestions provided, I came across this lovely website. With websites such as this, a person with little understanding of global warming could easily be duped into believing that it is all a lie. However, most of the reasoning this website uses to debunk global warming is absolutely ridiculous: “Global warming is causing ice to melt on Mars. There are no cars on Mars.” WHAT?!? What does Mars have to do with global warming on EARTH? Also, the website mockingly gives suggestions on what one can do to stop producing carbon dioxide: “Quit school – Those school buildings produce more carbon in a year then you do in 20 years.” Now, while you may think that’s simply satire, read this blog, and you will find out how close that remark is to becoming true.

Why would people prefer to think that global warming does not exist or is greatly exaggerated?  How could people be convinced that global warming is a threat, and is caused by humanity, if they are already desensitized to the danger?

Image: Flickr/doug88888

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41 Responses to High School Guest Post: Why America Doesn’t Pay Attention to Global Warming

  1. Brad Fregger says:

    There’s a sadness when I read an article like this one; so many mistakes and misunderstandings. First, he starts off with a hot summer which means he hasn’t read the global warming fanatics screams that cold winters don’t have any relationship to Globsl Warming. You can’t state one means nothing and then state the other is proof.

    Then, in his ignorance, he mentions the polar bears. Again, this young person is believing the hype and not doing the research. Those of us who have done the research KNOW that the polar bear populations are not In trouble and never will be. Over the past thousands of years it’s been much warmer up there and polar bears have easily survived, in fact thrived. The whole polar bear was invented so young children would tell their parents that they had to stop global warming.

    For my last example I will point out the ignorant (nothing wrong with being ignorant, especially if you are young) statement where he pretty much states that what’s going on on Mars has NOTHING to do with the earth. This means he is completely unaware of the body of scientific research that suggests a strong correlation between Solar activity and weather throughout the solar system. He should read Cold Sun by Casey.

    Young man, don’t worry so much. Most of what you read in the media is hype. To feel better check out Lomborg’s Cool It, or his recent article in Newsweek

  2. Russell C says:

    My simple curiosity would be to find out what this young man’s impression is of the 880 page report called “Climate Change Reconsidered: The 2009 Report of the NONgovernmental International Panel on Climate Change” (NIPCC), a collection of peer-reviewed published scientific papers. It can be seen at http://www.nipccreport.org/reports/2009/2009report.html

    The report basically contradicts what this young man and the IPCC says. So, will our writer re-assess his position after reading through it, or will he do some quick google searching and mimic what others have said about the report being a fabrication funded through fossil fuel industry efforts. Or will he go one step further and attempt to determine if such accusations can actually be supported.

    I wrote an article about my own journey through that kind of tough questioning, see “Global Warming Promoters’ Unsustainable Accusation Tactic” http://www.globalwarming.org/2011/05/26/global-warming-promoters-unsustainable-accusation-tactic/

    Lets hope our blogger here has the courage to read this instead of taking the tactic that’s undermining the credibility of the entire so-called global warming crisis: deleting criticism, avoiding debate, and hurling unsupported accusations.

  3. Pingback: High School Guest Post: Why America Doesn’t Pay Attention to Global Warming – PLoS Blogs (blog) | CARBON CREDITS

  4. Dr. Killpatient says:

    You’ve unfortunately left out a third and much more plausible reason Americans are no longer interested…

    That would be simply because none of the predictions have proven to be correct:

    The sea levels are not rising. The polar ice is thickening. The coral reefs are growing. Polar bears are thriving. The rain forests are denser. The average sea-surface temperatures are completely stable. Most importantly, there has been no statistically significant warming in over a decade, and certain measurements show a cooling.

    Empirical data trump these silly models seven days-a-week and twice on Sunday, despite what these environmental-extremists hiding under the guise of “climate scientists” have been trying to sell you.

    Best of luck. Hopefully you’ll get past the propaganda some day soon and open your eyes to other possibilities.

  5. Rob says:

    Sorry but WTF?? A 12th grade student writes a paper on global warming and the first 2 comments are from patronizing and condescending morons who say “best of luck with the propaganda” and calling the massive international consensus of politicians, scientists, and research institutes “environmental extremists” and “fanatics”?? Please enlighten us with some references or evidence that the polar bears are “thriving” and the polar ice is “thickening” – I’d love to see them! Brad “those of us who have done the research” Fregger should at least be able to show some illuminating evidence with regards to polar bear populations from his time in the Arctic…
    Further reading:
    http://www.sciencemag.org/content/306/5702/1686.full
    http://nationalacademies.org/onpi/06072005.pdf

  6. Rob says:

    To answer the 12th grader’s question though: America doesn’t pay attention to global warming because it’s in its vested interests as “business as usual” not to. Simple as that. The US and Afghanistan are the only two countries who didn’t sign the Kyoto Protocol. I think that pretty much speaks for itself.

  7. Jack Bushong says:

    Emily, I thought your article was well written. Brad Fregger and Dr. Filpatrick clearly have no background in meteorology, climatology or atmospheric sciences. Almost all of the items they used as examples were absolutley false. Mars has warmed but it was due to a global wide dust storm that changed the decreased the albedo of the planet due to the dust settling with darker soils at the surface. Once the dust storm was observed by NASA they measured the albedo and determined the planet would warm before it did. They’re predictions were correct as their polar ice caps made of frozen CO2, shrunk. There is no way to directly measure the temperature of a planets atmosphere other than Earth. I’ve actually read in blogs where there were claims that Venus and Pluto’s atmosphere’s have warmed. There is no way to measure the temperature of either of these planets. Pluto is warming, only because it’s unusual orbit is taking it on a course closer to the sun at this time in it’s 200 year orbit around the sun. So we’re guessing that micro-planet is warming.

    The Arctic ice cap has shrunk by 30 percent in surface area since 1979 and the volume of sea ice has decreased 75 percent meaning it’s much thinner and is very close to becoming mostly ice free for the summer months in the next few years. The rapid decline in ice was way underestimated. Feedback loops due to the lowering of Earth’s Albedo is causing the melt off to accelerate.

    2010 was the warmest year on record. The last 10 years have gotten warmer overall. The cold weather in the eastern US over the last two winters was due to La Nina combined with a strongly negative Arctic Oscillation and a positive North Atlantic Oscillation. There are some scientists that think and will be studying to see if the loss of ice results in negative AOs. Last winter brought upside down weather where Eastern Canada and Greenland had record warmth while the US was cold.

    As far as Antarctica, the ice has increased very slightly for different reasons. It grew even though the temperature of Antarctica increased. How much ice melts when the temperature warms from a summer time high of -30 C to -10 C? NONE! It’s still below freezing! How much snow do you get? More! Because warmer air holds more mositure. Why is it colder in the Antarctic than in the Arctic? 2 reasons; Maritime Polar (mP) climates are warmer than Continental Polar (cP) climates. Antarctica is (cP) the arctic is (mP) while Greenland is (cP) and contains up to 2 miles of thick ice while the ice over the Arctic ocean is about 3 to 6 feet thick on average until most of it melts in the summer.

    At the present time I worry the most about what lack of ice will do to the AO and the NAO and what a warming planet will do to the ENSO. We’re having more and stronger El Ninos in the past 30 years. The lack of ice will change global atmospheric and oceanographic currents.

    As a meteorologist for the National Weather Service for the past 22 years, I have been studying climatology over the past 10 years. At the current time I’m doing a project on the Oscillations and cycles we have that affect the rainfall rates of the southeast USA. I would be quite negligent if I didn’t at least have some understanding of global warming as this may be a variable in the way these oscillations behave and whether it will affect the precipitation in the Southeast.

    A few other reasons people do not pay attention to global climate change or warming, which btw, the term was changed due to political reasons and not by the left as some people claim is because of their lack of understanding in this very complex science, due to politics, and becuase of politics where people get their news, misunderstanding of science by journalists including terrible misquotes of scientists by journalists and because it’s a very long term problem. Past a persons lifetime. Not many people worry about asteroid strikes even though we know we’ll have one as we always have.

    At the present time, countries bordering the Arctic are carving up the region to stake their claim for resources due to the easier and easier travle due to the thinning ice.

    Through out history, humans reacted to changing environments only when food became scarce. People will not take global warming seriously until their tummys are empty due to the higher cost of food which is predicted due to predicted crop failures as the weather becomes more extreme across the planet.

    As far as Polar Bears. I’m sorry, not my expertise.

    Good Job, Emily!

  8. Emily Anthes says:

    Thanks for your comment–but all kudos go to Michael, the student who wrote this post. I merely provided a forum for him.

  9. Jack Bushong says:

    Correction… good job, Michael!!! BTW, if you would like sources or if you have other questions. please let me know

  10. Dave says:

    Global Warming is and always was Propaganda it is a total junk science political agenda for taxing Carbon Dioxide taxing human activity, C02 is not pollution its an invisible gas heaver than air the facts about Carbon-dioxide are being twisted im over it!

  11. Jack Bushong says:

    You have no idea how wrong you are. The military is making preparations for the effects of global warming and the opening of the arctic to shipping, oil platforms and industrial fishing. The Russians have been very proactive in staking their claims to most of the Arctic Ocean. All the while congress has been either quiet on the subject or telling the public AGW is a hoax, they have been making plans and back room deals on the positive and negative effects. Congress knows, like I know, we are committed to at least another 3 to 6 degree c increase. There’s just no way we can stop this runaway train now. Feedback loops are a reality. Sarah Palin herself was very concerned with what was happening in Alaska and her brother took climate courses on the subject. It’s time now to prepare for the inevitable.

    It will be beyond our lifetimes before we see sea level increases that become problem some. But we are and will continue to see extreme contrasts in weather. Looking at the weather across the world each day as a part of my job, I can see something is going on.

    If you were smart you’d invest in businesses progressive enough to see the money that will be made in the arctic, it’s time to buy land in Camada or at least Minnesota , preferably with access to a lake and hope and pray we’ll adapt. This is the largest experiment in human history. As for me, I’ve made my plans and are ready for surprises. I hope the changes will be very gradual with time for us to adapt so we can continue to feed 7.3 billion people. But there are no guarantees. If we are going into a solar minimum, it will buy us time but nothing else. Co2 will continue to rise 3 ppm and will soon rise to 4 ppm per year.

  12. Maria Walther says:

    Please when stating something against a topic can you please provide facts and links to your “facts’. I would like to see your opposing argument but just calling it propaganda doesn’t give me a reason the “change” my mind about the subject.

  13. Maria Walther says:

    That comment was not for Jack it was for Dave by the way… Thank you…

  14. Maria Walther says:

    Brad did you know that this article I posted below shows where, “Polar bears were declared a threatened species in 2008 by the Interior Department under former President George W. Bush because of diminishing sea ice. Polar bears use sea ice to hunt and breed.”? Bush signed it! So is your ex- Republican president wrong in signing off on this?
    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110514/ap_on_re_us/us_polar_bear_lawsuit

    Can you pleas epos links or facts that you are stating? It would be nice to see those rather than some guy who wrote a book to make money off of opposing views. Thank you!

  15. Maria Walther says:

    Great Job Michael! We need more young people such as yourself getting more involved in our global community and its protection!

  16. Maria Walther says:

    Dr. Killpatient, did you know that this article I posted below shows where, “Polar bears were declared a threatened species in 2008 by the Interior Department under former President George W. Bush because of diminishing sea ice. Polar bears use sea ice to hunt and breed.”? Bush signed it! So is your ex- Republican president wrong in signing off on this?
    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110514/ap_on_re_us/us_polar_bear_lawsuit

    Can you pleas epos links or facts that you are stating? It would be nice to see those rather than some guy who wrote a book to make money off of opposing views. Thank you! By the way nice name. You should change it to Dr. Kill the Earth…

  17. Brad Fregger says:

    One of the problems liberals have is assuming that we all belong to one group or another, believe it or not some us actually think for ourselves instead of accepting the group think. Of course I think Bush wad wrong in signing that political act supporting making Polar Bears an endangered species when they obviously aren’t.

    Here’s a quote for, Wikipedia has the source:

    Mitchell Taylor, who was director of Wildlife Research for the Government of Nunavut, wrote to the US Fish and Wildlife Service arguing that local studies are insufficient evidence for global protection at this time. The letter stated, “At present, the polar bear is one of the best managed of the large Arctic mammals. If all Arctic nations continue to abide by the terms and intent of the Polar Bear Agreement, the future of polar bears is secure…. Clearly polar bears can adapt to climate change. They have evolved and perisisted for thousands of years in a period characterized by fluctuating climate.”

    The polar population in the 50s was around 5000 today between 20000 and 25000. Much of this increase comes from laws prohibiting hunting. Whatever impact the lose of sea ice will contribute is speculative at best. There is no doubt that adding them to the endangered species was premature and political in nature, with two main purposes: 1) as a billboard for global warming, and 2) to make it even more difficult to drill for oil in Alaska.

    Please, in the future, don’t suggest that I am a Republican or even begin to support any bad decisions of the Bush Adminisration. I am a passion independent, teaching at a local university that insists that my students do their own research and draw their own conclusions.

  18. Maria Walther says:

    Did you just seriously quote Wikipedia? Please people when supplying facts can you PLEASE you credible sources!
    Even scarier is that you TEACH and you are using Wikipedia as a source and everyone who has even the basic education (no college) knows Wikipedia is NOT a CREDIBLE source. HAHAHAHAHAH But it only shows where Republicans get their info. if it’s not FOX News then it has to be from another NON-credible source. Please tell me what school you teach in to be sure NOT to let my children attend there…

  19. Maria Walther says:

    Sorry but Jack has you out done with FACTS. Those don’t sound like they came from Wikipedia… LOL

  20. Brad Fregger says:

    Maria,

    The accuracy of Wikipedia’s posts would surprise you. You probably believe that anything can be posted on Wikipedia, that nobody is policing entries. That, of course, is, like all elitist opinions, very wrong. In fact, there is no other single source more accurate in regard to current information. However, knowing there were some elitist progressives here I mention Wikipedia as the place people could go if they insisted on knowing where the original source was located. Since I trust Wikipedia in this regard, I choose to use them rather than quote the original. As I would have done had I been referencing an encyclopedia. Get off your high horse and realize the world is changing and sites like Wikipedia are, in many ways, doing the best job ever in providing us with high quality, relevant, information. If you’re not allowing your children or students to use Wikipedia, you might as well take away their calculator and make them do their calculations by hand.

  21. Brad Fregger says:

    Oh yes, if you’d bothered to trace the original source, which is a very good idea when you believe the original source is unreliable (read all of the medias news sources), you’d have seen that ALL of my facts were absolutely accurate … this is a fact that you can choose to ignore. But, that doesn’t say much about your process.

  22. Maria Walther says:

    I can sit here and debate about credible sites back and forth but I won’t bother. But as many as my personal professors at the University of Florida do not let students use Wikipedia, I guess that would determine who actually trust that site and who doesn’t. I don’t. Google Scholar and other scholastic sites should be used over Wikipedia. So there is more than just Wikipedia for students to use. So your comparison to calculators is not a very good one anyways because what do you think students did before the invention of calculators? They actually had to work to get their answers! Wikipedia isn’t working to get your answers it’s a guess at answers. A bad one at that.

  23. Maria Walther says:

    My process came from actual interviews done on people who are ACTUALLY there not some wild guess like your Wikipedia by the way! So my process has much more credit than yours… Wikipedia credible by a teacher? What a joke you are…

  24. Brad Fregger says:

    Opps … I am a professor here at a university in Texas (10 years at two university, the founder of three leading-edge MBA courses). And, I can support your contention that academia does not like Wikipedia. Doesn’t mean that academia is correct, in fact, when it comes to new technology and the benefits, academia is often way behind.
    The slow adoption of electronic media into the curriculum is an excellent example. Wikipedia is just another one. Within this decade you will see Wikipedia gain the respect it deserves. Again, it is the best source for current, relevant information that has ever existed. In it is so well respected by 10s of millions of us that they are able to operate the largest source of information in the world and deliver it to users at no cost and without advertising of any kind. Mark my words they will receive the respect and acknowledgments they more than deserve.

    Not allowing this excellent source for students use is punishing students for ignorant reasons and the height of elitism.

    I dare you to pass this on to your professor friends.

    Brad
    http://www.fregger.com/bio.htm

  25. Brad Fregger says:

    Sorry about the typos … iPhones make it difficult to do proper proofing.

  26. Maria Walther says:

    Frankly your resume means absolutly nothing to me. And online can talk a good game about what they do when in fact do much of nothing but all talk. But Texas does expalin the “right winged” commentary. And like I stated before Wikipedia is only to get some info not full facts. Therefore making it NOT credible. If you choose to allow your students to use faulty info for thier education than so be it. As plenty of professors who are fine with the use of it for education should reconsider because I was just able to go into it and make a change on it about Sarah Palin. Am I a credible source? I think not as I just changed something simple and it was done right away. And Wikipedia deserves about as much acknowledgement for and respect as YOU TUBE for educational info. Which I think is a joke when used for “facts”. And not allowing students to use it is a great way to make student work to get their info from scholastic sources not media filled, junk typed and uncredible sources. Anyone can just google something and it pops into Wikipedia. Including googling garbage and it still give whimscal info. I will pass it on to my professors as I fear no simple little dare you might have. Just an FYI ~ One of my professors is Dr. Kinade. (Inventor of Gatorade) Top that resume!

  27. Maria Walther says:

    Funny I mention You Tube and that is one of the things attached to your website. Now I know this must be a joke! Ok who is punking me? It that you Mark?

  28. Brad Fregger says:

    You are not being punked my lady, and I do love Gatorade, in fact it was recommended by my
    Urologist. However, card solitaire has also made it’s mark on the world. Alas, I was not moxie enough to realize any wealth from its pervasive use.

    It’s interesting that you would relate Wikipedia with YouTube. I’m sorry to say that your ignorance about such subjects continues to blossom. Everyone knows that YouTube allows everything, well almost everything to be published, while you do not seem to be able to grasp the rigor that is found in Wikipedia.

    However, YouTube is an excellent venue for providing videos that you wish to share with family, friends, or potential clients. Since I lecture on leadership internationally, especially the Middle East. My potential clients can get a sense of who I am very easily. It is sad that your prejudices are such a block to your being able to take full advantage of modern technology. Or, be able to understand the immense value of thousands of educated, intelligent, and dedicated individuals committed to providing the world with the best source of information that ever existed; free of charge.

    I’m sorry that you don’t understand that wisdom and knowledge are not exclusive with the elite or the wealthy. A very intelligent man once said, “You never know where the solution is coming from.

    Thank you my lady, for giving me this opportunity to speak to those who might be listening. Perhaps this conversation has cause one or two to reconsider previous beliefs and therefore have the courage to give serious consideration to others whom they may disagree with.

  29. Maria Walther says:

    Ignorance is bliss there for you must be a very happy individual. Ignorance is one thing I am not. But for you I feel it is more up your alley as you continue to skip around in your field of daisies. I take you neither have the want or the efforts to doing research that requires any merit but that of Wikipedia. So you tube would be right up there for you as well. Wikipedia allows changes and any info. anyone wants to plop in their site. Guess you failed to read that I posted something in Sarah Palin’s Wikipedia bio and it’s still there as fact. HAHHAHAHAHAH Professors of higher statures obviously know that letting students use such an inconsistent and unreliable source such as Wikipedia would benefit students into FACT finding not just googling and getting the first thing that pops up which 9 times out of 10 is good ol’ Wikipedia with partial facts and the rest being “guess work”. So to each his own on the use of crappy resources. You’re okay with letting your students use it but UF and plenty of other colleges and universities do not allow the use of it. So good for you for making it “easy” for your students to do their work. Business majors usually don’t have much to learn anyway. Most don’t even put their actual degrees to use in the field. Nothing has stopped me from taking full advantage of technology as you see I found this blog and many others. Things that talk about things that matter to me. I get my info from several sources. NOT WIKIPEDIA! Factual, logical, CORRECT sites not sites where someone can just throw in information and it be considered facts. And those thousands of individuals that you state provide info. free of charge are not all knowing individuals and if they are why would they be placing their info. in Wikipedia and not their own sites for better detail and research material? Maybe because their info. is not as credible as it should be or guess work or worse opinion! Facts my dear man facts is all I am interested in and Wikipedia though some may be facts some is also fiction. I just love to see it when people look into the spot I place in Wikipedia and it is taken as facts, when it’s just my opinion. Bet you can’t find it. And you are right that wisdom and knowledge isn’t only for the elite and wealthy because all one has to do is go to google scholar or may other credible sites that are created by many colleges and universities and know that facts can be found somewhere other that Wikipedia. Most smart people I know don’t use Wikipedia for facts they use it as a punch line. And I do hope and pray for the intelligent out there with a brain that functions outside of googling and going straight for Wikipedia will read this and see that man there is more the Wikipedia for facts and do what’s right and learn to research before using “half-assed” sites to do their work for them. Research I say! Not Wiki-wacky! GOOGLE SCHOLAR ~ GET EDUCATED folks! Not fooled!

  30. Brad Fregger says:

    Source: CNET

    December 15, 2005 3:35 PM PST
    Study: Wikipedia as accurate as Britannica
    By Daniel Terdiman
    Staff Writer, CNET News
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    December 5, 2005
    Wikipedia is about as good a source of accurate information as Britannica, the venerable standard-bearer of facts about the world around us, according to a study published this week in the journal Nature.

    Over the last couple of weeks, Wikipedia, the free, open-access encyclopedia, has taken a great deal of flak in the press for problems related to the credibility of its authors and its general accountability.

    In particular, Wikipedia has taken hits for its inclusion, for four months, of an anonymously written article linking former journalist John Seigenthaler to the assassinations of Robert Kennedy and John F. Kennedy. At the same time, the blogosphere was buzzing for several days about podcasting pioneer Adam Curry’s being accused of anonymously deleting references to others’ seminal work on the technology.

    After two scandals in one week, Wikipedia’s founder decides to make a change to the anyone-can-contribute encyclopedia.

    In response to situations like these and others in its history, Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales has always maintained that the service and its community are built around a self-policing and self-cleaning nature that is supposed to ensure its articles are accurate.

    Still, many critics have tried to downplay its role as a source of valid information and have often pointed to the Encyclopedia Britannica as an example of an accurate reference.

    For its study, Nature chose articles from both sites in a wide range of topics and sent them to what it called “relevant” field experts for peer review. The experts then compared the competing articles–one from each site on a given topic–side by side, but were not told which article came from which site. Nature got back 42 usable reviews from its field of experts.
    In the end, the journal found just eight serious errors, such as general misunderstandings of vital concepts, in the articles. Of those, four came from each site. They did, however, discover a series of factual errors, omissions or misleading statements. All told, Wikipedia had 162 such problems, while Britannica had 123.
    That averages out to 2.92 mistakes per article for Britannica and 3.86 for Wikipedia.

    “An expert-led investigation carried out by Nature–the first to use peer review to compare Wikipedia and Britannica’s coverage of science,” the journal wrote, “suggests that such high-profile examples (like the Seigenthaler and Curry situations) are the exception rather than the rule.”

    And to Wales, while Britannica came out looking a little bit more accurate than Wikipedia, the Nature study was validation of his service’s fundamental structure.

    “I was very pleased, just to see that (the study) was reasonably favorable,” Wales told CNET News.com. “I think it provides, for us, a great counterpoint to the press coverage we’ve gotten recently, because it puts the focus on the broader quality and not just one article.”

    He also acknowledged that the error rate for each encyclopedia was not insignificant, and added that he thinks such numbers demonstrate that broad review of encyclopedia articles is needed.

    He also said that the results belie the notion that Britannica is infallible.

    “I have very great respect for Britannica,” Wales said. But “I think there is a general view among a lot of people that it has no errors, like, ‘I read it in Britannica, it must be true.’ It’s good that people see that there are a lot of errors everywhere.”

    To Britannica officials, however, the Nature results showed that Wikipedia still has a way to go.

    “The (Nature) article is saying that Wikipedia has a third more errors” than Britannica, said Jorge Cauz, president of Encyclopedia Britannica.
    But Cauz and editor in chief Dale Hoiberg also said they were concerned that Nature had not specified the problems that it had found in Britannica.

    “We’ve asked them a number of questions about the process they used,” Hoiberg said. “They said in (their article) that the inaccuracies included errors, omissions and misleading statements. But there’s no indication of how many of each. So we’re very eager to look at that and explore it because we take it very seriously.”

  31. Brad Fregger says:

    These results are extraordinary, especially when you consider that individuals determined to prove the unreliability of Wikipedia will consciously enter bad data. That is not possible with a normal encyclopedia. Of course, it is not possible for a normal encyclopedia to have thousands of dedicated contributors keeping the information both accurate and up-to-date.

    Again any teacher that doesn’t allow the Wikipedia as a source for relevant and current information is punishing his/her students because of unfounded academic prejudice.

  32. Maria Walther says:

    I can sit here and copy and paste 100s of site that would counter-challenge any site you put up. We can go back anf forth on this and it still stands that anyone can debate anything and find differnces of OPINION and that is what it leads to OPINIONS. Fact still remains is that Wikipedia is not credible and I can sit here and post link after link after link stating so. But I have neither the want nor the time for such time consuming efforts. You can use it, you will use it and when someone points out how wrong you are with REAl facts then you can look like the ignorant one for not looking up facts and just using wikipedia. I will NOT use Wikipedia no matter what you post or say and you will continue to use it no matter what I post or say. I would never go as far as insulting Encyclopedia Britannica with stating they are equal to Wiki-wacky as I can research directly on their web site without using Wiki-wacky. So let’s agree to disagree.

  33. Maria Walther says:

    Only smart professors wouldn’t let student use it because students should be doing WORK to earn their degrees not going on one sit that isn’t fully credible to get info. Research not half-ass work… Ilove my professors for making me learn and research not google wikipedia garbage….

  34. Maria Walther says:

    Again I can copy and paste several site disputing that one. When Earthquakes happen in areas that haven’t ever had one, Hurricanes that pummle cities, tidal waves washing out island, tornadoes destroying several states in it’s path and snow fall in areas that never snows or draughts in areas that were once lush with water, then you explain to me what exactly is happening. And it’s not called Global Warming anymore for those who do not “get it”, and think it only has to do with heating of the Earth. It’s called Global Climate Change. Because what those ignorant conservative don’t look at is what is BELOW the Earth’s surface is also affecting our planet’s climate. So please spare me the babble on what goes on, on the surface and show me what you know below it! But I am sure you will have some Wikipedia info to pass along….

  35. Brad Fregger says:

    You’re hopeless, but I do wish you a nice life. Of course you could cut and paste 10 times more articles than I could … that’s a “Dah!” I didn’t post that article for that reason, I posted it so you might see that some influential scientific organizations are beginning to have second thoughts about the whole Global Warming issue. There is a massive problem when governments stick their noses into the midst of the scientific process. Very often, what science considers pretty strong evidence toward one hypothesis gets tossed out when new research comes to light. I had hoped that you might at least see that the science regarding AGW is not yet proven, that there may be other factors playing am even bigger role. Too bad. This is my last post, good luck to you.

  36. Maria Walther says:

    I only pasted ONE article. Look back at how many you have. Then babble… And it’s DUH not Dah! HAHAHAHAH But seeing your no spring chicken it shows. And as I stated before you can babble about Global Warming all you want and post all you want, there are 2 sides to it all and is one side wrong or the other? Who knows. Plenty of scientist state 2 sides against and for. All smart, creditble men and woman so you can paste all you want against and I will post all I want for it. And niether of of will get anyways as far as changing each others mind. I just also go but what I have see with my own eyes. I have been to New Orleans to volunteer after Katrina, I have been to Haiti to volunteer there and Arkansas after several tornadoes hit. Everything below the surface also affects above the surface. But you are not a scientist you are just a business teacher who reads about it and picks a side…. Good luck to you and those who think weather is just above the surface….

  37. Marcus says:

    Brad, you want to do research like a big boy, you use big boy sources.

    Sciencemag.org
    Nature.com
    Scholar.google.com

  38. Maria Walther says:

    Thank you Marcus! Those who think they are smarter than the ones they are speaking too are usually blind to their own ignorance…. Thanks again!

  39. Brad Fregger says:

    Oh Marcus,

    You’re so old fashioned. I, of course, tell my students that their only source for reference material should be Wikipedia. After all, modern technology will always win … I think there’s a scientific concensus that has stated this.

    In addition, even though Wikipedia sources much of what they publish, except of course when a fanatical progressive enters bad information just to prove that there is bad information on the site, I tell my students that there is no need to check the original source because Wikipedia has proven to be so accurate in their posts.

    All of these others sources are a waste of time when you have one source that is so accurate and timely. Please enter the modern age before it’s too late.

    Okay … I’m through here … wrote this post just to see if Rush Limbaugh was right when he said that liberals have no sense of humor.

  40. Maria Walther says:

    We have a sense of humor we are just not ignorant to thinking Wikipedia is an accurate or credible source. Guess you do not know how to read either when I stated I made a change on Sarah Palin’s wiki-wacky info. And it is still on there. How credible is that? Oh that’s right its not… HAHHAHAAH But just like a conservative to believe that they are correct and know it all like O’Reilly! HAHAHAHHA