Inconvenient Truth blocked by a Swindle-touting trustee

Update #2: the Surrey School Board issued a correction late yesterday stating that: “On Monday, the Curriculum Review Committee recommended the “An Inconvenient Truth” video as an instructional resource, as per the Surrey School District's regular curriculum approval process. When the DVDs are received by the district, they will be distributed to all secondary schools.”

“A Notice of Motion from Trustee Heather Stilwell was presented at the Surrey School Board’s public meeting of April 26, 2007.

The Notice of Motion is expected to be voted on at the board’s public board meeting on May 31. The proposed motion says: 'That the school district’s Instructional Resources staff ensure that the resource The Great Global Warming Swindle is made available to schools as a companion resource to An Inconvenient Truth so that students can be provided with the range of perspectives associated with the issue of global warming.'

Stilwell stated yesterday: “I am not sure. I mean I see evidence. I think there is climate change, there's no question about that. Whether what Al Gore says about it is the truth, I have questions.” Stilwell goes on the explain that if the documentary is aired, teachers should provide “alternative theories” on climate change.

In a letter to a local paper this weekend, Stilwell states:

“When I read that Al Gore’s movie “An Inconvenient Truth” was being mailed to every high school in B.C., my first reaction was to put forward a motion to my fellow trustees.

I was simply asking for “The Great Global Warming Swindle” or another resources to be provided as balance. I was simply asking for “The Great Global Warming Swindle” or another resources to be provided as balance.I was not denying climate change. Science is not democratic – the idea with the most votes is not necessarily right. Sometimes, as in the past, ‘everybody’ was not right. The lone questioning voice proved to be correct. Galileo’s voice was a lone one, as was Pasteur’s.

Scientific ideas should be debated openly without rancor, name-calling and presumptions of bad intent. Al Gore’s movie is not a provincially approved resource. It has simply been mailed to the schools from an outside organization. Is this how the public wants education to be delivered? Make a film, win an Academy Award and then you get to show your movie to all students?

The public has the right to expect this – no one gets to indoctrinate our students – we must place all perspectives of a scientific issue before them.

Heather Stilwell,

School Trustee

Ms. Stilwell got a few things right in her letter.

She's absolutely correct that “science is not democratic.” Science is based on the testing of hypotheses and the process of publishing in peer-reviewed academic journals. Nothing democratic about it. While The Inconvenient Truth accurately reflects the state of the science on global warming, the Global Warming Swindle contains many questionable statements, uses scientists who have not published any peer-reviwed research in over 10 years and was produced by an UK-shockumentary filmmaker that is well-known for bending the science to his forgone conclusions.

Stilwell also rightly points out that the “lone questioning voice” of Pasteur and Galileo turned out to be correct. The difference between Pasteur and Galileo and most of the contemporary global warming deniers, is that Galileo and Pasteur were in the lab doing research, not running from TV station to newspaper touting talking points instead of peer-reviewed research.

Of course, like every post we do as we follow this Inconvenient Truth in classrooms debate, I will get a barrage of e-mails saying we support censorship of “both sides of the story” in the global warming “debate.” So to save everyone the trouble of sending me long, ranting emails accusing me of everything from MCarthyism to being a “brown shirt,” here's my response:

Thanks for the email,

I understand where you're coming from on the need for our children to be exposed to countering viewpoints in science and all areas of academic pursuit. They should be, and in that light I hope soon to see copies of Loose Change in our schools countering the notion that 9/11 was the work of terrorists and Unlocking the Mystery of Life, which clearly states an evangelical alternative to the theory of evolution.

- [email protected]


This is great, if the Fraser floods this year, she can get out to the dykes, or as near as one could what with the water and all, and explain that she was just making sure all the “i”s were dotted. Then she can jump in.

I'm sure a video has produced showing that it is scientifically proven that humans can live underwater – so no problem. Going to send the video to high schools, they should know there is this controversy. 

Didn’t FOS-NRSP make that video? It was called “Drowning Cancelled”. I think I saw it on youtube.

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She was only one voice in the Surrey school board, so I have to wonder about the other trustees here. There obviously was a vote. Oh, and she obviously didn’t do a grammar check before she sent her letter, as this doesn’t make ‘sense.’ I was simply asking for “The Great Global Warming Swindle” or ANOTHER RESOURCES to be provided as balance.

So where are all the people who are so concerned about censorship? Where’s John Dowell? Where’s Green Taliban? What a bunch of hypocrites.

I updated the story:

On April 24, 1997, Surrey school trustee Mary Polak moved, and trustee Heather Stilwell seconded, a resolution that the Board, under Policy #8800 – Recommended Learning Resources and Library Resources – not approve the use of three learning resources (submitted by Surrey teacher James Chamberlain): Asha's Mums, Belinda's Bouquet, and One Dad Two Dads, Brown Dads, Blue Dads. The motion carried four-two.

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I really don;t know anything about Heather Stilwell or this local B.C. issue. It isn’t exactly front page stuff in eastern Canada.

If she is advocating showing something to balance the Goracle’s sci-fi propaganda, how does that promote censorship? It seems to me it promotes debate.

What a joke! There is no debate. AGW is happening. Nothing can refute that.

Stilwell is simply ideologically blinded like nearly all the denier crowd.

Heather Stilwell? Heather Stilwell, founder and president of the Christian Heritage Party, past president of the Pro-Life Society of BC, member of REAL Women, and past chair of the Surrey School Board who voted to ban sex education in schools and was temprarily successful in having books on Native spirituality and Halloween banned from school libraries. That Heather Stilwell?

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I have some questions about this subject. 1. It is a fact that the climate is changing. 2. It is also a fact that Mar’s ice cap is shrinking due to warming on that planet in the last decade or so. 3. The other planets in our solar system are all showing signs of increased warming. 4. So why are the majority of scientists acting as though human activity is the sole cause of global warming here on earth? 5. Isn’t this rush to a disturbingly simple, easy to understand answer, to a complicated issue, exactly what we criticise religious people for doing? Your criticisms of the proposed film are quite fair. I wish better material were available. I agree that human activity is affecting the rate of climate change, however given the other things that I mentioned I find the evidence for a sole human causation somewhat spacious. Sadly I think this is a topic where more politicing than science ( on both sides )is going on. I also wish to point out that if the Al Gores of this world are wrong and this is a normal warming trend in our climatic cycle our energies could end up being dangerously diverted from dealing with the consequences of climate change.

1) Yes, without question, degree of change varies from region to region, with the Canadian Artic for example changing very rapidly.

2)The southern ice cap is shrinking the but no change is observed in the northern. No accurate climate measurements are taken on any planet other than Earth but it is assumed that a regional climate change on mars could be occurring. Most of the attribution has been suggested to be due to climate instability based on the geography of the region. Thus has been said to be a regional change. Colaprete et al. Albedo of the South Pole of Mars. Nature 435: 184-188. Other explanations have been based on orbit irregularities. The notion of solar based regional warming has not been well accepted but obviously has been proposed. Problems with that are related to the only recent (within the last 3 years) change in mars’ icecap while warming has been occurring on Earth over the past 100 years. See NASA site for mars facts, don’t have specific reference, but search tool works.

3)Like mars there is no climate monitoring any other planetary body. So many questions cannot be answered for these places, such as why do some show signs of changes but not others, what are the normal climate fluctuations of these planets and moons, what “is” the climate like on them. Which ones are cooling and which ones are warming, as signs of climate change are not always indicative of exactly what the temperature is doing. There are far too many unknown variables to even begin to draw firm conclusions about much of anything from these phenomena, which is why the published articles don’t draw any significant conclusions only possibilities.

4) They act this way because it’s what the scientific evidence and knowledge supports. Best answer I can give, see the best summary of the scientific basis for the conclusions at

5) All I can say is that Earths climate is not simple, nor are many contributing factors that affect it. The IPCC reports on the scientific basis go into great detail on the various factors that all influence Earths climate, including the level of understanding and degree of influence on climate. Increasing greenhouse gasses leads to warming, most of the increase in greenhouse gases is related to direct or indirect human activities. That part is simple; the effects however, are not.

As for the evidence of human influences in climate being spacious, you need to read actual scientific publications and documents, I’d recommend reading the IPCC report for starters if you are versed enough in understanding the science itself. Its very well laid out and written summary on a huge swath of research that has been conducted. No blog, new paper article of media presentation can encapsulate the entire picture. As for more politics than science you can’t be more wrong, there is a plethora of scientific publications and research being conducted on the issue. The latest IPCC report included over 2000 different scientists conducting climate related research. That’s incredible actually. Al Gore is no scientific authority, his attempt was to echo what the scientists are saying and thus became the target for the denier crowd, but in essence what he says is of little consequence his is the messenger for a large scientific community.

Does Ms. Stilwell also lobby the School Board to remove the ban on students smoking while at School? After all, the junk science says that smoking is not bad for you at all.

Of course the same junk scientists and their methods are also used by the AGW denier brigade. So, should we allow smoking in our schools?

Ian Forrester

There is evidence that smoking is bad for you, Ian, so I doubt this trustee will be promoting pro-smoking material, assuming any exists.

AGW, on the other hand, is an unproven hypothesis. There are other plausible explanations for global warming/ climate change other than human activity. Until such time as you and your AGW co-religionists can point to some proof, distinguishable from natural background forces, that humans are the cause of planetary warming, students should be exposed to the full range of possibilities.

As for your statement about proof of AGW, you have been told many times that evidence to support AGW is to be found in the scientific literature and in the various IPCC AR’s. You people never offer any evidence to disprove the scientific consensus. When you can show us some peer reviewed and truthful data, we will start listening to you. Otherwise you are nothing but a blabbermouth who knows nothing about what they are talking about. There are other less polite words to describe you but I will refrain from using them.

Ian Forrester

Science does not operate on the basis of consensus. That has been pointed out to you many times, Ian, but you and your AGW co-religionists keep repeating this falsehood.

“Science does not operate on the basis of consensus”. That is one of the most stupid things you have said on this blog. Just how do you think science operates? Science becomes accepted and appears in textbooks once the “consensus” i.e. all intelligent and honorable scientists, agree on what is correct. There would be no discipline called science if it operated any other way. Can you imagine the confusion if every text book had a different view point on Boyle’s law, laws of gravity, differing genetic codes etc. You are so stupid to even think in such an arrogant fashion let alone put it down for everyone to see.

I don’t know what your background is but it must be in law or politics since there is no consensus on what is right and what is wrong in these two “professions”. In science, the one thing all good scientists strive for is TRUTH.

Such a word is obviously not in your vocabulary.

Ian Forrester

*** They should be, and in that light I hope soon to see copies of Loose Change in our schools countering the notion that 9/11 was the work of terrorists and Unlocking the Mystery of Life, which clearly states an evangelical alternative to the theory of evolution.** Please Kevin, don’t provide Stilwell any more ideas!!!! She has probably already ordered the Mystery of Life…

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Here is a excellent debunking of the “Great Global Warming Swindle” by Chris Merchant, who is a lecturer at the University of Edinburgh.

Scam of the “Great Global Warming Swindle”

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