An ExxonMobil spoof c/o Avaaz.org. I still like the “clean” coal ad c/o the Coen Brothers a bit better, but still a worthwhile jab. I’ve heard a way of thinking about the climate change debate that makes sense to me. Some of the best aspects of both science and the media are also being inverted to hurt the institutions themselves.
Some of science’s best qualities – its transparency, its democratic consensus, and its humility have been flipped to introduce an overemphasized and heightened sense of confusion, doubt, and hesitation. Check. Second, addressing two sides to every story can be a great framework for “balance”, but it automatically sets this debate as 50% likely, 50% unlikely. Panelist here, panelist there. Pro con, yes no, nuit blanche. You get it. If the press reflected science, a stickler would expect 95-98 stories exploring climate change science and action and 2-5 stories showcasing skepticism or denial. This very small/loud 2-5% utilize the very strengths of the scientific method and chorus “If we’re not 100% sure, we shouldn’t invest”. Being scientifically doubtful and honest is a sign of a good scientific researcher. However, it’s also what TV pundits and partisan politics devour. I think it’s true that this is a big part of why the climate debate has primarily stagnated for over a decade. Impressive but understandable given the backing, and of course proof of what money can buy.
Same goes for evolution. I won’t rant, same 50/50 not 50/50 debate. People are working on big things. Lobbies push for the black and white debate, but same things. At least you can dig your own holes.