Last night, ABC TV showed the controversial film “The Great Global Warming Swindle”. I didn’t watch it last night, but I have seen it on TV Links. So I didn’t need to. But they also hosted a debate amongst some Australian scientists about the claims made in the film.
ABC Radio’s Science Show put up a counter-episode here.
I think this raises an interesting question about the levels of public awareness about issues. For example, if you can make a glossy film that looks like a documentary, and you can use captions on screen to say someone is a scientist from such and such a university, then the format and the information presented gains some credibility. Even if everything they say, and the positions and qualifications you say someone has are completely false.
So who can you trust? Not just on this issue, but on any issue? Unless I know someone personally, or have their legitimacy vouched for by someone whose judgement I do trust, how can I tell if someone is really a professor of atmospheric climatology or an actor with a subtitle on the screen?
Over at George Marshall’s blog, he explains that the main reason the Swindle film gained traction with many people, amongst other reasons, is that the public want to believe in it. They want to believe that their lifestyles aren’t threatened.
Personally, my views are a mixture of what I have gained from study, absorbing the words of Will over twenty years, reading New Scientist each week, following the issue in the media, attending talks and seminar like the Earth Dialogs last year and my own readings.