Anybody who follows my blog more likely than not also follows Skeptical Science.
That said, I realise that this post is not really needed, but I wish to further highlight what John has already done and comment on an excellent post created by Matthew Glover at Renegade Conservatory Guy.
This graphic by Matthew clearly demonstrates the amazing contrast between the scientific consensus, media coverage and ultimately the confusion carried over into the public. It shows one of the sources of my frustration (the main reason why I began this blog to begin with) and the recent posts that I’ve targeted at horrible inaccuracies by hack journalists and is also without a doubt some of Mike’s fuel at Watching the Deniers (before I had his blog on my reader, I hadn’t even heard of Jo Nova and Andrew Bolt, but that is the result of my selected ignorance of pop-media).
A few months ago, a scientifically ignorant economist haunted this space for a week or so and in that time, I commented on his own space. As I tend to subscribe to the comment streams that I add to, I’ve noticed that very recently similar comments to those that flood Watt’s up with that (especially the few Monckton posts of late) or typical to Andrew Bolt’s blog and are no doubt those shared by another denialist, Pete, who pops up from time to time to let me know just what the novels have explain to him to be the “real story” behind this climate scare. With all of these characters, the point is that they are unperturbed to learn that there is a very strong consensus among the related experts. It seems to do little but bury them ever more firmly against the evidence.
As the economist and later Pete made obvious to me, they will selectively choose grey literature (the former choosing swindle economy rags and the latter, novels that reinforce the climate conspiracy) regardless of how much research is offered for them to digest. In both cases, they have developed a Strawman argument that roughly goes; paleo-climate is wrong (generally, the hockey stick is flawed) therefore all climate concern is baseless. You can offer papers on physical chemistry, to cover our understanding of greenhouse gases. You can provide papers that show atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases has changed and that the signature of temperature change shows an amplified greenhouse effect. You can more on beyond this to my main area of interest and show the observed bio-physical responses to climate change…
Soon you realise that you’re merely talking to a brick wall that has a guise of being informed and certainly open to learn, but in reality ignores all the available information that is contrary to their already held views.
These hardcore fanatics are obviously in the minority, however, it is clear that, like them, the vast amount of public perception is the result of media opinion and other grey literature. It doesn’t help when this includes the scientifically illiterate “Bolt’s” of the world who continually write the most appalling anti-science pieces while the public has little reason to question them.
Media is, like politics, opinion/ideologically based and therefore has no reason to be ethical, transparent and rigorous in the search for understanding and truth, unlike good science, yet many of the loudest throwbacks in media and politics enjoy prestige. Breaking down this mock of a debate, as Matthew has done, further illustrates just how ludicrous Gillard’s civilian consensus truly is.
In a time of change, when there is a wonderful driving force for innovation and development, what is needed is strong leadership and brave reporting. Yet, what we’re stuck with is do-nothing pollies and anti-science writers. How long do we think we can keep up this façade?