I am starting to do a fair amount of media again for Unscientific America–I think there is a renewed interest as people get back to campuses–and just did a major international interview with the television program “Lateline,” a nightly news program aired by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (the other ABC). You can download the video here; it is about 12 minutes long.
Anyways, I see my segment has already prompted an Australian climate skeptic response, in which I and the ABC interviewer, Leigh Sales, are accused of “smearing scientific skepticism.” The critique, from one Jennifer Marohasy, runs like this:
IT was once the case that if you didn’t believe in anthropogenic global warming (AGW) and the climate crisis you were a scientist in the pay of big oil. That was also an accusation in Chris Mooney’s first book ‘The Republican War on Science’.
No, it wasn’t. I did demonstrate that big oil had sought to influence the climate debate and to sow doubt about the science, but I never said (and never would say) that every single scientist who fails to accept “AGW” is on the dole. That simply isn’t true. Indeed, one such scientist, a climate skeptic not working for the fossil fuel industry, was the main character featured in my second book, Storm World–William Gray of Colorado State.
Mr Mooney now has a second book out entitled ‘Unscientific America’. I haven’t read the new book yet, but according to an interview Mr Mooney gave last night on Australian television if you don’t believe in AGW you aren’t even a scientist. Indeed he told well-known ABC journalist and television presenter Leigh Sales that while society hasn’t agreed on the facts, the scientists have.
“If you don’t believe in AGW you aren’t even a scientist…” Um, no. There are some dissenters who are indeed scientists, like William Gray. But as I have explained constantly in the past, there is also a scientific consensus that the current warming is caused by humans. These two statements don’t contradict one another; “consensus” within the field of climate science, or in the scientific literature, is not the same thing as unanimity across every person who ever got a Ph.D.
Ms Sales initially queried Mr Mooney, suggesting that many claim there is no scientific consensus on AGW. But she didn’t then pursue the point when Mr Mooney reframed, side-stepped the question and then contradicted himself.
Ha! That sounds like quite a maneuver I performed. Anyways, watch the video–although I’ m flattered, I think this report of my agility is significantly overrated.
For my part, I am glad to be sparking debate in another great country, Australia–where I was impressed to learn, from listening to “Lateline” before I myself came on, that global warming skepticism only has a hold on 20 percent of the public down there.
Would that the numbers were so small in America….
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- Unscientific Australia « Evolving Thoughts | September 18, 2009