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This forum is about wrong numbers in science, politics and the media. It respects good science and good English.

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To JB again

Very nice to be able to read you again John on current topics, as always better put than almost anyone else. Thought you might have something to say on the, by now, notorious Horizon programme.

Re: To JB again

I am somewhat puzzled by your comment, considering that this programme produced our first NOM of the year and was back-linked in February.

Re: To JB again

Apologies, seem to have missed that one.

Re: To JB again

JEB covered the Horizon documentary in his January piece "BBC more outrageous than ever". I can provide a few observations on the programme.

On the issue of James Delingpole being stitched-up by the documentary-maker (the subject of January's "Number of the Month"), I was fairly surprised that Delingpole was caught out given that he is highly aware of the BBC's pro-AGW bias in his blog. In TV they have a thing called a 'release form' which somebody who appears in a documentary is asked to sign (not counting the situation where it's an undercover documentary with secret filming), and it normally allows the documentary-maker to edit the material as they wish. Delingpole must have signed that, presumably on the basis that Horizon and Paul Nurse looked like fairly safe people to do business with, but he seems to have been caught out by Horizon then making an unexpected polemic-style documentary. More wisely he didn't sign the release form, along with Anthony Watts and possibly others, for the "Meet the sceptics" documentary, so that documentary ended up only featuring Monckton.

The main thing I learned from that documentary is that Paul Nurse seems to be a disastrous choice for the President of the Royal Society, and he's only been in the job for two months. For those of us who thought you couldn't get anybody worse than Robert May (President from about 2000-2005), it looks like we were wrong. I am even beginning to think that with Nurse in charge, the Royal Society could start to fold up. His defence strategy for climate science is that science is some sort of uniform whole, and if you think one bit of it could be wrong then you are opposed to all of it. You criticise the climate scientists and you are sticking two fingers up at Newton and Darwin. The previous presidents were more sophisticated than that.

This blog post from AGW sceptic blogger Frank Davis expresses a view broadly similar to mine. He calls Nurse's approach to defending climate science "the death ride of science":

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