I posted this on Facebook ( www.facebook.com/froups/weatherschool/ ) yesterday, but thought it may be of interest for those of you who haven't seen it...
Climate change discussions make me feel incredibly uncomfortable regarding freedom of speech.
Note that below I make no statement about my own climate change views.
There is no doubt that the over-whelming conclusion of peer review science is that human induced climate change is underway, but our understanding and theories of science evolve and get better because people are free to express their views in public platforms.
There are scientists who do dispute human induced climate change (and/or the amount of our contribution) and it is important, regardless of how wide of the mainstream their views are, that those views are heard, examined, and where necessary refuted.
But today's phone-in on BBC 5 Live left me feeling particularly uneasy. Take a listen yourself here https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m0009ydw
I've transcribed two pieces of conversation below and the 'we don't need to talk about them', and the statement about impartiality and the BBC leave me very worried about science and other matters being discussed.
After all, where do we draw the line?
Here's what was said (NC = the presenter, Nicky Campbell...
NC: "And I'm still getting texts saying this is all a hoax. This is all a lie."
Caller1: "Do you know what? We don't need to talk about them."
Caller2: "Jacob Rees-Mogg seems to get everywhere doesn't he? (laughs)"
Caller3: "We should have no time for that kind of thing, whatsoever."
NC: "Can I read you all a text, because I think we are all kinda on one side of this. And we're not required to have impartiality on overwhelming peer-reviewed science. [caller breaks in] We're not as the BBC required to have impartiality on the level of peer-reviewed science. It's the same with evolution, we don't have evolution debates anymore, apart from Northern Ireland (laughs)."
That's leaves me concerned about the future of scientific debate, regardless of the field of interest. We win scientific argument by evidence and proof. We must be willing to both fund and accept scientific arguments which may go against the received wisdom of the time, we must never close down discussion regardless of how ridiculous that view may be seen through the yes of the time.