February 4th, 2011 by Zachary Shahan
BBC had created a pretty great feature recently, Science Under Attack. “Nobel Prize winner Sir Paul Nurse examines why science appears to be under attack, and why public trust in key scientific theories has been eroded,” the YouTube page for the first video above says. Sir Paul Nurse, head of the Royal Society, a world-leading scientific organization, focuses a good deal of attention on climate change here.
He talks with one of the ‘leading’ climate scientists who is skeptical that humans are causing climate change and thinks it has more to do with the sun. And he pretty clearly explains why this one scientist’s lifelong focus is a bit too narrowly focused, and debunked, to hold sway.
He also has a long one-on-one with James Delingpole, a UK journalist critical to the Climategate media scandal (no, not climate science scandal, but climategate media scandal).
On the series, Bryan Walker of Hot Topic writes:
Nurse considers not only the NASA data but also the work of seven decades of research from scientists across the globe and concludes that the extent of the data gives us reason for confidence in the idea that the globe is warming and we are causing the change. Yet this evidence is clearly not convincing a substantial part of the wider public.
And quoting one of Nurse’s main conclusions, on the topics of peer review and skepticism:
As a working scientist I’ve learnt that peer review is very important to make science credible. The authority science can claim comes from evidence and experiment and an attitude of mind that seeks to test its theories to destruction…. Skepticism is very important… be the worst enemy of your own idea, always challenge it, always test it. I think things are a little different when you have a denialist or an extreme skeptic. They are convinced that they know what’s going on and they only look for data which supports that position and they’re not really engaging in the scientific process. There is a fine line between healthy skepticism which is a fundamental part of the scientific process and denial which can stop the science moving on. But the difference is crucial.
Check out the videos on climate change above and below to enjoy this wonderful piece.
Tree Rings, “The Nature Trick,” and the Infamous James Delingpole
A Little More with Delingpole, Press Reports on Climate Change
A Little More with Delingpole, the Importance of Peer Review and Healthy Scientific Skepticism, & then Other Topics
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