3 thoughts on “Freedom of press vs scientific responsibility

  1. So, Nigel Lawson was allowed to speak on Newsnight in 2008, and 6 years later you are whining about it?

    I wonder if you have read his book? I doubt it. If you had, you would know that he largely accepts the scientific aspects of climate change and is concerned with the economic aspects, on which he is an expert.

    It is not true that sceptics are allowed on TV “Every day”. Lawson had 2 minutes on the BBC Today programme back in February, resulting in a hysterical outcry, and I don’t think he’s been heard since. Meanwhile Rapley, who seems to have a very patchy publication record (nothing between 2007 and 2012 according to his web page) is appearing in a one-man play at the Royal Court; one reviewer writes “it’s probably the worst play ever seen on that hallowed stage”. He also recently produced a highly opinionated report on climate communication, which was much criticised by climate scientists.

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  2. Paul, you are correct, I have not read Lawson’s book. This post was written as a very small part of a module that makes up a fraction of the assessment of this year at university. It is a module designed to prompt thought and discussion about the politics, perception and philosophy of physics, including how it is represented in the media, and what effect this might have on scientific practice. The assignment was to write an opinion piece – I am not claiming complete knowledge on the subject, but it is my opinion that the media does need to take more responsibility for misrepresentation of science to the public. Allowing, for example, a mother to sit and chat for ten minutes on “This Morning” about their autistic child’s MMR vaccination (a feature I remember well), for example, is highly irresponsible now we know that the claims of links between the the vaccine and the disorder were entirely spurious. All the comments that you make about this specific example may well be true, however that does not mean that this phenomenon does not occur. I merely chose it to illustrate my point as Lawson’s views are well known and there was a nice video clip to illustrate.

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