Nature magazine has published the article “Ignorant children should be used to propagandize their more knowledgeable parents.”
I might have got the title wrong (click link for actual), but it’s correct in spirit.
The authoresses (and one author) of this piece are Danielle F. Lawson, Erin Seekamp, Kathryn T. Stevenson, M. Nils Peterson, Sarah J. Carrier, Renee L. Strnad [sic], and Erin Seekamp. Their departmental affiliations are Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management, Fisheries, Wildlife and Conservation Biology, Department of Teacher Education and Learning Sciences, and Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources, all at North Carolina State University.
This is important because the propaganda the authoresses (and one author) wish to push is global warming, a field in which none of them has any expertise.
Quoting the abstract “Because climate change perceptions in children seem less susceptible to the influence of worldview or political context, it may be possible for them to inspire adults towards higher levels of climate concern, and in turn, collective action.”
Reality would say, Because children are absolutely ignorant about the physics of fluid flow on a rotating sphere, their opinions of this matter should not be heeded by anyone.
Them: “Child-to-parent intergenerational learning—that is, the transfer of knowledge, attitudes or behaviours from children to parents—may be a promising pathway to overcoming socio-ideological barriers to climate concern.”
Reality: Children annoying their parents with state-sponsored propaganda may deceive the parents into accepting anything. Nice euphemism, though, for the corrupt and immoral practice of using the kiddies to spread misinformation: “Child-to-parent intergenerational learning”.
Here we present an experimental evaluation of an educational intervention designed to build climate change concern among parents indirectly through their middle school-aged children in North Carolina, USA. Parents of children in the treatment group expressed higher levels of climate change concern than parents in the control group. The effects were strongest among male parents and conservative parents, who, consistent with previous research, displayed the lowest levels of climate concern before the intervention.
Reality: A bunch of arbitrary questions with ad hoc quantified questions were given to a handful of folks in a highly controlled setting, the result of which was a “climate change concern score”, which, when put into a complicated regression model, with missing data filled in with guesses, spit out some small numbers.
But—and I have hand it to these ladies (and one man)—there are no p-values! Only regression parameters and their standard errors. This still exaggerates evidence, as all parameter-focused analysis does. But it is a step, a small one, in the direction of Reality.
Them: “Daughters appeared to be especially effective in influencing parents.”
Reality and also Them (now in body of paper): “Sons delivering the survey may trigger parents to think more about the topic as they associate science more with boys than with girls”.
Them: “We chose middle school children as the target age group for this study because early adolescence represents a developmental stage in which children are capable of understanding complex topics, such as climate change, and are still in the process of forming their own opinions on controversial subjects.”
Reality: Kids don’t know jack about these topics, but we thought we might be able to addle their wee minds so as to push our ideology.
Them: “The compulsory nature of primary and secondary education in the United States and similar systems elsewhere represent an opportunity for curricula to increase the reach of climate change communication.”
Reality: This sentence confirms why the paper wins the Pavlik Morozov Science Communication award.
Morozov, you will recall, is celebrated as the boy who ratted out his own parents to the Godless commies and was martyred for it. There used to be a statue of the rat, but it disappeared. We’ll put a new one up in honor of these ladies (and one man).
Now I say “and one man”, because I thought at first all the authors were non-males, and only discovered late that M Nils Peterson was a male. He’s a busy guy:
–“Educational attainment predicts negative perceptions women have of their own climate change knowledge (2019)”,
–“Predicting development preferences for fishing sites among diverse anglers (2019)”,
–“Developing a model of climate change behavior among adolescents (2018)”,
–“Are we working to save the species our children want to protect? Evaluating species attribute preferences among children (2017)”.
Science only progresses.
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