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’.
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.
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.
Much of the preamble compiled by Margo O’Neill and the interview by Ms Sales suggested that being a climate change sceptic was equivalent to being part of the minority against vaccinating children or part of the religious right that argues against the teaching of evolution. Their argument essentially went that there is always a part of a community that holds beliefs that are illogical.
The solution, Mr Mooney explained to Ms Sales, is a better educated population particularly in the area of science which he suggested provides a foundation in critical thinking.
But there was no much critical thinking on display and a small amount of research ahead of the interview would have discovered that Australia’s best known climate change sceptic, Ian Plimer, fought a long and hard campaign against the teaching of creationism in schools. But then again understanding what motivated Professor Plimer to speak out against the teaching of faith as science in our schools would have spoilt their story because the Professor might have explained that speaking out against AGW fundamentalism is really just a continuation of his campaign for critical thinking and real science.
Notes and Links
Public must engage with scientific fact: book
Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 17/09/2009, Reporter: Margot O’Neill
A new book called Unscientific America has put forward the theory that we are facing a dangerous divide between science and culture.