31 Jul 2012
Perhaps a better analogy to propose to a person in his 20s would be to suppose that, instead of a single major operation, the doctors were recommending a life-long, daily course of painful, expensive and time-consuming treatment of unproven efficacy, and provided by a company in which they had shares, coupled with a stringent diet and total abstinence from sex and alcohol, in order to reduce - but not to eliminate - the risk of a cancer which he would probably - but not certainly - otherwise develop when in his 60s. How enthusiastic would your son be about that?
7 Aug 2012
Delingpole has a different take on it.
Nurse's analogy is shabby, dishonest and patently false. The "consensus" on Climate Change; and the "consensus" on medical care bear no similarity whatsoever.
In the field of medicine, treatments are tested in a semi-open market. Those with more favourable outcomes (the patient gets better) will quickly gain popularity over those with less favourable outcomes (the patient gets worse). Sure there are market distortions (eg the vast marketing budgets and rampant greed of the big drug companies; inefficiency and incompetence in the public healthcare sector), but generally in the field of medicine, the "consensus" on what constitutes good, bad or indeed "quack" treatment is a fair representation of the facts as they are currently known and empirically tested.
The "consensus" on 'Climate Change', by contrast, is a figment of Al Gore's – and, I'm sorry to say, Sir Paul Nurse's – imagination. It exaggerates the number of scientists who believe in Man Made Global Warming and it grotesquely underestimates the number who have many good reasons for suspecting that there is far, far more to "Climate Change" than anthropogenic CO2.
What's more such "consensus" as there is is an artificial construct. It has not been subjected to the rigour of an open or even semi-open market. It is the creation, almost entirely, of politically-driven funding from US government, from various UN bodies, from the EU, from left-leaning charitable foundations on a scale unprecedented in the history of science. So far, in real terms, no less than five times the amount of the Manhattan Project has been squandered on research into AGW. For that kind of money you can buy an awful lot of scientists prepared to suspend any belief they might have that global warming is anything other than man-made. (I put this point to Nurse but he wasn't having it. As a scientist he just "knew" that scientists didn't behave like that.)
But you can't say all that in a TV friendly sound bite. And even if I'd managed, it would no doubt have ended up with the rest of the three hours' of reasonably cogent argument I made to Nurse – on the cutting room floor.
11 Aug 2012
Surely once we accept that environmentalism/ecologism is no more and no less than the pseudo-religion or religion-substitute of the materialist age, than everything falls into place. Like any religion or ideology, it is a spectrum, with fanatics at one end, luke-warm believers at the other, and some balanced modernate people in the middle. The fault of James Delingpole (or anyone standing against the irrational passions of the age) was exposing himself to live, face-to-face confrontations, in which anything can go wrong, and debating skills, or reporters/media bias, can have total affect; better to debate with well-considered <i>written</i> words - look at the crazy comments blogs attract: once fanatics have to use writing, they quickly expose themselves with their intemperate language and name-calling substitutes for reason and logic.
11 Aug 2012
- Incidentally, it may be worth remembering that "Miss Anscombe" always denied that she had in any sense "beaten" Lewis in that debate (actually, I would have thought Anscombe and Lewis would have had more in common than Anscombe and Wittgenstein - she was an RC, who was strongly pro-life, apparently, Lewis a very orthodox Anglican).