Another good BBC program on iPlayer is Horizon: Science Under Attack. Sir Paul Nurse, president of The Royal Society looks at why scientists appear to be losing the trust of the general public. The skewering of blogger James Delingpole is particularly illuminating (Delingpole’s blog, Guardian article on programme). What it clarifies is: would you rather trust a Nobel winning scientist steeped in scientific method or a non-specialist journalist with an axe to grind? Not much contest I think!
It does raise some profound issues about how the media presents science and the influence that bloggers can have on important issues (and I don’t mean whether Paramo works). It’s right to be sceptical, it’s part of the scientific methodology, but we should also be sceptical of the sceptics. There’s a fair bit of soul-searching by Sir Paul on how scientists can communicate better. Although the internet has been a wonderful tool for the dissemination of information, it can also be a terrible deceiver. The print press also bears a heavy responsibility for turning reporting into polemics. Watch it before it disappears.