Why scientists won’t debate Lord Monckton

The New Zealand Herald Online has published a strongly-worded editorial from Australian cognitive scientist Stephan Lewandowsky on the nature of scientific debate and those who refuse to partake.

This follows closely on the heels of an article from Herald reporter Isaac Davison highlighting the less than enthusiastic response from scientists and other public figures who were invited to face off against Lord Christopher Monckton in public forums during his New Zealand visit.

An excerpt:

Notwithstanding their refusal to participate in scientific debate, so-called climate “sceptics” crave attention and want to engage in phoney talkfests, preferably with real scientists, at their public showings. Equally, the media who give a denier’s opinions equal weight to that of an established climate scientist, need to re-examine the “balance” they purport to be representing. A review of the BBC’s treatment of science stories last month found that Britain’s state broadcaster had given too much air time to fringe views – particularly on the subject of climate change.

“Scientists simply live up to their responsibility to the public when they decline to participate in such charades, or when they consider Mr Monckton’s rhetorical exhibitions to be unworthy of an invitation by a university.

“No one is out to censor Mr Monckton or any other climate denier, no matter how ignorant or misleading their utterances might be. Anybody is free to air their views; however, scientists have a duty to inform the public honestly about who the “skeptics” really are. Exposing their techniques is not censorship. Neither is it censorship for a serious university to make choices about what information it seeks to promote, and which to identify as unscientific, in the same public interest.”

Read the editorial in full.