"My humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together." “When I hear people say politics and religion don't mix, I wonder what Bible they are reading.” (Archbishop Desmond Tutu)

"And what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, and to love kindness and mercy, and to humble yourself and walk humbly with your God?" Micah 6.8

"Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things." Philippians 4.19

"Work out your salvation with fear and trembling." Philippians 2.12

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The BBC and fringe views in science

According to today's Guardian the BBC is giving a false balance in its coverage of climate change writes its Science correspondent Ian Sample. An independent review, while noting that the BBC’s science coverage was generally of high quality and praiseworthy for its breadth, depth and accuracy, concluded that the network was at times so determined to be impartial that it put fringe views on a par with well established fact, a strategy that made some scientific debates appear more controversial than they actually were.

The criticism was particularly relevant to stories on issues such as global warming. “There is a consensus in the scientific community that anthropogenic climate change exists,” said the report writer, Emeritus Professor Steve Jones of University College London. By failing to move the discussion on, the BBC was missing other stories, he added. Jones likened the BBC’s approach to oppositional debates asking a mathematician and a maverick biologist what two plus two equals. When the mathematician says four and the maverick says five, the public are left to conclude that the answer is somewhere in between.

Professor Jones lamented the narrow range of sources reporters use for stories and a lack of scientific knowledge of the breadth of science.
Alison Hastings of the BBC Trust said that clearer identification of individuals’ expertise and agendas would help audiences judge their comments.

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