Ocean acidification is an inevitable consequence of increasing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. That’s a matter of fact. We don’t know exactly what will happen to complex marine ecosystems when faced with the additional stress of falling pH, but we do know those changes are happening and that they won’t be good news.
UK journalist James Delingpole disagrees. In an article for The Spectator in April 2016, he took the sceptical position that all concerns over ocean acidification are unjustified “alarmism” and that the scientific study of this non-problem is a waste of money. He concluded that the only reason that the study of ocean acidification was ever funded at all was because there was insufficient (and decreasing) evidence for global warming and it acted as a “fallback position”.
As a boffin, Williamson decided to shut the guy down.
Having first gone to The Spectator with my concerns, in late August I submitted a formal complaint to the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO). The key issues were whether or not due care had been taken to avoid publication of inaccurate information, and whether comment and conjecture had been clearly distinguished from fact.
At the end of a long and frustrating process IPSO’s final ruling was published on 5 January and it doesn’t seem we are much further forward. My complaint was rejected on the basis that the article was “clearly a comment piece” and that it was not IPSO’s role to resolve conflicting evidence for contentious issues. More.
In the United States, that would be called the First Amendment to the Constitution. And there is a reason why it was the first amendment. Can anyone guess the reason, just from reading this story?
To the extent that Western media can repair their dignity after certain recent forays into misleading people for a cause, they won’t be institutions that zealous snitches and bullies can just run to, demanding that people be fixed good.
Delingpole may be mistaken but the public has the right to hear him. If media don’t want to carry him but a lot of people think that what he has to say is important, that could become part of a pattern as to why those media are just not so mainstream anymore.
Is there a law of information theory that underlies this pattern?
See also: Nature: Scientists stunned by Trump victory Really? What does that say about the scientific method? What good did it do those scientists to listen to “correct” media who misled them about the U.S. election – doubtless, for the very best of politically correct reasons?
Part I: What is fake news? Do we believe it?
Does fake news make a difference in politics?
Part III: What can we do about fake news that would not diminish real news? Critics of ‘fake news’ should go to China — only the government has the right to post fake news there.
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