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BBC's Climate Thought Police In Action

Remember the BBC’s Science and Environment team dedicating more than twice as many words to critical rather than to supportive comments for the Japanese Government’s recent decision on emission targets?

They’re back. Only this time, the trouble is how to report about a call by a group of AGWer “to ditch climate policies”. Rather awkward, one would think, as the opponents are AGWers as well. Then magic strikes.

It’s 180 words supporting the “call”; against 177 words making the point against it (and 77 neutral words).

And so it’s full AGW Balance restored! Saving AGW, one day at a time!

0 replies on “BBC's Climate Thought Police In Action”

Erasmussimo – See my other comments on “G8” & “buzz aldrin” for you.

“When there’s a political controversy”
But science is apolitical (or rather and this is the crux of the matter, the facts are, the process isn’t and the people/organisations aren’t). From my other comments you seem to miss the fact / opinion issue. My concern is the demarcation between facts and interpretations within climate science. Loaded narratives & words convey far more than the base facts (“pre-industrial”, “anomaly” etc). Rhetoric usually trumps logic in politics.

Back with your nAS fixation -the Royal Society’s motto is nullis in verbia – on the word of no-one, and yet they’re quite happy to issue a press release that climate change is true. Is that a scientific process or a (small p) political one?

Does the number of people for or against an idea make a difference? Socrates was forced to drink hemlock after a trial with a majority of 280 to 220. Clearly, at the time of every previous scientific PoV shift, the majority of scientists were/are “wrong” otherwise we wouldn’t talk of revolutions. Remember Robert Anton Wilson’s secret of power – “you know how dumb the average person is, well half the people are on average even dumber than that.”

As Alan Chalmers puts it:
“Scientific theories are fallible and remain subject to improvement or replacement.”
This is true and will remain so.

I can continue with some good examples etc, but am not sure if it’s worth it. You clearly think I’m political and/ or acting in bad faith. If we could scrape a blog from the time of the phlogiston controversy it would all become clear as day – although I don’t know who the target of Godwin’s Law would have been. (“you sir, are a whig and a royalist”… “Piffle to you and your phlogistical airs”… etc)

alexjc38 posted almost a year ago a quote by physicist Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, famous victim of Eddington’s close-mindedness (and political power in British academic circles)

The moral is that a certain modesty toward science always pays in the end. These people… terribly clever, of great intellectual ability, terribly perceptive in many ways, lost out because they did not have the modesty to say ‘I am going to learn what physics teaches me.’ They wanted to dictate how physics should be.”

“first, my eternal optimism in the good faith of people”

So what you’re (not) saying about we “deniers” is…?

Erasmussimo (16:17:07) :

For example, I have many times challenged people here to explain why they consider their own judgement to be superior to that of the NAS scientists. And my challenge has never been answered.

It has many times Erasmus but you don’t seem to notice. Firstly, judgement is simply not an issue here – however much you claim that it is. It’s about measured data and scientific caution- not aristotolean (sic-It’s OK though-I’ll get better-thank you for asking) playstation scenarios where the heavier ball must fall faster.

You’re clearly exceedingly bright and I really mean that but, at times, your naive acceptance of authority does you a disservice. I expect NAS(A) scientists to be better scientists than judges but when I listen to others equally misqualified (and I meant misqualified) who say otherwise then I believe those who qualify their judgements with uncertainty more than those who judge without uncertainty!

Ergo, to me anyway, the challenge was without substance and, hence, ignorable.

Luke, you raise a good question: why do I bother talking to you fellows? I think it stems from a combination of two factors: first, my eternal optimism in the good faith of people, and second, a desire to understand what’s going on. When there’s a political controversy, I try to understand the controversy from the psychological angle. What’s going on inside the minds of people on both sides? In the case of AGW, I find that it’s pretty much an extension of all the environment battles. It’s pretty much a tribal thing: left-wingers endorse environmental efforts because it’s the left-wing thing to do; right-wingers oppose it because it’s the right-wing thing to do. This pretty well describes the great majority of people on both sides.

Fortunately, there are also some thoughtful people on both sides who raise interesting issues. I’ve often impressed with Steven McIntyre’s probing analyses into the flaws in a number of studies — although in the last year or two he has become very shrill. On the pro-AGW side there’s plenty of interesting material. Real Climate is good, as are a number of other sites. In general, the sites that talk only or primarily about the science are the best. I find the commentary of both Pielkes interesting. (BTW, they are often cited by deniers, but they have both explicitly declared that they accept the AGW hypothesis.)

Anyway, the deniers are interesting to explore because they loudly proclaim their rationalism, which makes me think that they are amenable to rational discussion. Yet in practice, I have found that they are not, in fact, willing to discuss the matter rationally. For example, I have many times challenged people here to explain why they consider their own judgement to be superior to that of the NAS scientists. And my challenge has never been answered. We all know why nobody has answered the challenge: because the absurdity of the denialist position would become clear if anybody attempted to answer the challenge. Either you publicly admit to towering egotism, or you concede that you’re wrong.

A few times a year I step into a denier blog to poke around and evaluate the rationalism of the membership. Sometimes I discover real ugliness, and I am subjected to vicious vituperation because I’m “one of them”. Here, I am pleased to say, I have encountered nothing like that: all commentators have been completely civil, and I appreciate that. So I tip my hat and offer genuine best wishes to one and all. Goodbye!

> the absurdity of the denialist position
> would become clear if anybody attempted
> to answer the challenge

A nice thing about blogging and the internet is that there is no such a thing as an obligation to answering on-the-spot. It is perfectly legitimate behavior to answer immediately, after a week, after two years or never.

That has nothing to do with the strength of one’s position (think about it: every single discussion would turn into a never-ending exchange with each side trying to state the last word…that would be absurd indeed).

ps thank you about the “civility” remark

Erasmussimo – if its simply denial that we’re doing, and (presumably) this stems from some psychological problem that we have, why are you trawling this website trying to debate with us.

That’s interesting behaviour in itself. If we’re deniers, nay- and gain-sayers etc then surely simple argument won’t ever persuade us.

I suspect you’re an evangelical warmer. Trying to shore up your own certainty/doubts (testing your faith) by picking dumb arguments here. The length of the paragraphs you type stands out for blog comments.

You are suffering from acute scientism – seek help – read up on H.Pylori, plate tectonics, Eddington’s eclipse experiment, phlogiston or any other secular scientific ‘controversy’ to understand more about how science really works. (But don’t simply read a Wikipedia summary by other scientism-sufferers, or if you do read the notes/discussion to see how complex facts really are).

Underlying your reasoning here is the assumption that all points of view are equally deserving of publicity. Such is not the case: some points of view are so absurd as to be undeserving of publicity. Some points of view are of such limited intellectual merit as to be deserving of only limited publicity. Such is the case with AGW denial. The fact that you and a minority of people deny AGW does not make your POV equally deserving of news coverage.

Before you leap to a paranoid conclusion, I am NOT asserting that you should be marched off to a concentration camp for holding a minority point of view. Nor am I asserting that you should shut up. I am instead asserting that you have no claim to supportive coverage from third parties.

The rest of the world has come to the conclusion that AGW is real and that action must be taken. Governments all over the world are seriously discussing precisely what those steps should be. The irony about this is that by steadfastly denying a conclusion everybody else has agreed upon, you serve only to remove yourself from the ongoing debate about what actions should be taken. There’s a very serious debate to be had as to the how we should respond to AGW. But the AGW deniers are off in never-never land arguing a case that nobody takes seriously.

I am not sure which blog you are responding to. The point of mine was that when the BBC wants to mantain a balance, they find it almost down to the smallest digit in the word count.

When they want to push their own ideas instead, they are completely unbalanced (and partial, thereby undermining their Charter).

And I am not talking about climate skeptics here: neither the people involved in the climate policy call for change, nor the Japanese Government can be classified as such.

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