Wednesday, March 14, 2007

RIP incandescent bulbs

Being a global warming denier is currently a bit fashionable. It's all tied up with people thinking they have a better handle on the subject than professionals who know several orders of magnitude more about it than they do. Just because a Channel Four documentary digs up some renegade (failed!) researcher who has a theory it doesn't mean there is any truth in it. George W. Bush depends on this kind of double-think when he says 'science is divided'- well, it is divided if you think the opinion of a tiny minority (in the pay of the petro-chemical industry) holds weight against 99% of climatologists. The fact that the vast majority of scientists have come to the conclusion that man-made CO2 is responsible is not proof, anyone that suggests that is wrong. But it does imply a very high-probability that it is the cause. To not accept that high-probability is to pick your science like a sweet in a sweet-shop to suit your own taste.
To a degree I blame Kuhn, or rather the poor half-baked understanding lots of folks have of the nature of scientific revolutions. They have the notion that scientific advances always come from mavericks who tirelessly labour outside the mainstream. People like to think that they too 'just might have something there' and produce something valuable even though they have no scientific training - well it isn't true - it never happens!
Anyhow, the Aussies have done it, and now Europe is going to use legislation to phase out incandescent bulbs - good stuff.
Interesting take on the programme here and Marcus Brigstock had a brilliant rant (2.9 megabyte MP3, 7 minutes) on The Now Show where producer Martin Durkin gets some of the heat he deserves.

In the end you have to remember that all programmes on Channel Four (in common with all commercial television) are the loss-leaders for the commercials. The channel wants you to watch the ad breaks and so will make programmes that play fast and easy with the truth so long as it gets people watching them. The BBC is the only place you find accurate science programmes.

1 comment:

Saul said...

Good work Philly. Been arguing with Mark recently by any chance? ;)