A Weblog monitoring coverage of environmental issues and science in the UK media. By Professor Emeritus Philip Stott. The aim is to assess whether a subject is being fairly covered by press, radio, and television. Above all, the Weblog will focus on science, but not just on poor science. It will also bring to public notice good science that is being ignored because it may be politically inconvenient.

Thursday, December 11, 2003

Aliens and consensus in the moral maze.....

Well, I did enjoy facing the heat of 'The Moral Maze' yesterday evening on climate change - great to lock swords with Ian Hargreaves and Steven Rose, and to witness the precision of Michael Gove and the clever questioning of Claire Fox. And Ceri Dingle was very brave in the face of some tough questioning. I have to say that Michael Buerk is an admirable chair, while the producer paces it all to perfection. What our licence fee is for - BBC Radio 4 at its best (makes up for so much dross on the box).

And here is the most glorious and timely follow-up (only just discovered), Michael Crichton's splendid Caltech Michelin Lecture from January 2003: 'Aliens cause global warming'. Below is a feeler quotation, but do take time to read the whole piece:-

"I want to pause here and talk about this notion of consensus, and the rise of what has been called consensus science. I regard consensus science as an extremely pernicious development that ought to be stopped cold in its tracks. Historically, the claim of consensus has been the first refuge of scoundrels; it is a way to avoid debate by claiming that the matter is already settled. Whenever you hear the consensus of scientists agrees on something or other, reach for your wallet, because you're being had."

Philip - also morphed into an alien this morning. As the Daleks would say: "Need more coffee! Need more coffee!"

[New counter, June 19, 2006, with loss of some data]

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