Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Fossil fools

As true today as it was then - from The Fossil Fools by the inimitable George Monbiot:
There is a discussion about whether global warming is due to anthropogenic (manmade) effects. But it is not – or is only seldom – taking place among scientists. It is taking place in the media, and it seems to consist of a competition to establish the outer reaches of imbecility.

Science ... learns from its mistakes. A hypothesis is advanced and tested. If the evidence suggests it is wrong, it is discarded. If the evidence appears to support it, it is refined and subjected to further testing. That some climatologists predicted an ice age in the 1970s, and that the idea was dropped when others found that their predictions were flawed, is a cause for confidence in climatology.

But these dolts are rather less dangerous than the BBC, and its insistence on “balancing” its coverage of climate change. It appears to be incapable of running an item on the subject without inviting a sceptic to comment on it. Usually this is either someone from a corporate-funded thinktank (who is, of course, never introduced as such) or the professional anti-environmentalist Philip Stott. Professor Stott is a retired biogeographer. Like almost all the prominent sceptics he has never published a peer-reviewed paper on climate change. But he has made himself available to dismiss climatologists’ peer-reviewed work as the “lies” of eco-fundamentalists.

This wouldn’t be so objectionable, if the BBC made it clear that these people are not climatologists, and the overwhelming majority of qualified scientific opinion is against them. Instead, it leaves us with the impression that professional opinion is split down the middle. It’s a bit like continually bringing people onto the programme to suggest that there is no link between HIV and AIDS.

Sounds more than a little like our own Fox "News," and the other new organs which have shamefully attempted to emulate its innovations in truth. But since Monbiot's standards of reporting are higher than the American public's, I suspect the BBC leans much closer toward "fair and balanced."

In any event - just because you can find skeptic doesn't mean he or she should actually be listened to. See http://www.lhup.edu/~dsimanek/fe-scidi.htm for information on how the earth is really flat. Really.

But hey, if you don't believe George, you could always listen to a slightly more conservative source: The Pentagon. See Now the Pentagon tells Bush: climate change will destroy us, and for more on the Pentagon's report, see links at http://www.climate.org/topics/climate/pentagon.shtml, and MSNBC. Granted that this is a Pentagon visionary, but the current administration has certainly listened to him on ballistic missile defense...

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