Here’s what happened. Richard Bacon has a talk ‘show’ on BBC Radio 5 Live. Last week he interviewed James Delingpole. Until mid-April 2012, you can hear it here – the relevant piece starts about 8 minutes in. (Hat-tip to Andy P)
They were discussing Climate Change.
|(Click his book cover for more about Delingpole)|
Now then, James Deligpole is politically somewhat to the right (“right about everything”), whilst Richard Bacon is neutral and sits in the middle objectively as a news and information gatherer interested in prising views out of his guests.
Maybe he isn’t. From the interview it became very obvious that Bacon was taking a very uninformed yet politically left perspective. Hey, I’m guessing this was a BBC ploy to assert ‘balance’. A leftie interviewer debating with a righty guest? Robin Day is probably turning in his grave.
Two things were fascinating. Firstly, how ill-prepared and lacking in research Bacon was. He came out with standard superficial statements like “97% of scientists agree that Climate Change is man-made”. As usual with this sort of meme, when challenged by Delingpole he had no idea who this 97% was. When Delingpole enlightened him that it was 97% of 79 self-selecting scientists that bothered to respond to two slightly loaded questions put out by the Doran and Zimmerman 2009 survey (Read more about it here), he acted as if what he’d now been told couldn’t possibly be true.
So, why didn’t he know the facts? If not him, why hadn’t his researchers told him that to wield such a phrase as “97% of scientists agree” would look very silly when it was de-constructed and its origins shown by a sceptic?
As a sceptic, and as an atheist, I often find that the ‘other side’ wildly quote random sentences as a matter of faith, yet have little to no knowledge of the origins of what they are quoting. This appears to be the problem facing ‘those of faith’. Those of faith, whether that be the faith in a godhead as represented by a traditional religion (God, Jesus, etc.), or faith in ‘the environment’ (with humanity firmly outside of ‘the environment’ in their view), will usually know less on the subject that a sceptic.
I suspect this is because a sceptic hears what is being said and taught as an ‘undeniable truth’ and questions it, then he actually looks into it to discover more. Meanwhile the ‘believer’ just accepts everything he’s been told without actually looking into it.
I’ve asked many times, “Whose thoughts are yours?”
It’s hard to make them your own and to set oneself free from the pack. Especially if the ‘pack’ is saying the earth is flat and anybody who disagrees will be killed. It’s just so much easier to ‘accept’ the thoughts of those who shout the loudest. That’s why so many of the unquestioning are being sucked in and suckered by the ‘man-made climate change’ scam.
But back to the radio interview.
Despite being personally biased to the views spouted by Delingpole (in other subjects I think he is raving mad and I mainly disagree with him, but on climate change, he and I are in accord), I do usually have an overriding ability to listen to things, anything, objectively.
So then. Who won the interview? Who pwnd the other?
This I actually found a little difficult to determine, if I’m honest. In many respects it was probably a one-all draw. If somebody with no views on the subject was listening I don’t think it would have suddenly given them views. Maybe just left them a little confused. Or bored.
I polled around the ‘net after the interview to see what was being said. I couldn’t really find anybody declaring a light-bulb moment and that they’d had a revelation from it. Those who were already sceptical remained sceptical and thought Delingpole flattened Bacon. Those who are Climate Change alarmists remained Climate Change alarmists and thought Bacon flattened Delingpole.
For a while, as a sceptic, this annoyed me. The whole point of publicly advocating scepticism is to try to get people to think for themselves and to examine the facts rather than to just ‘believe’ what they are told. In this context, Delingpole, through no fault of his own, had failed to release the minds of those of faith.
Then it dawned on me that we have reached the “There is a God!” : “There is no God!” moment in conventional religious debate. That is either a hurdle it is impossible to leap over, or it is the position we need to be at in order for one meme to replace the other.
However, I’d much rather people realised that man is having no real effect on climate change, because they’d examined the facts and come to that conclusion themselves, rather than because they blindly followed those who told them it was all ok and there’s nothing to worry about. That would make us sceptics as bad as those who propagate the climate change scam.