Image credit: BBC
From classics major Lord Monckton's claims that non-scientists shouldn't talk science to climate-skeptic Nick Griffin's past of holocaust denial, the skeptic world is not short of blunders and missteps. Apparently British columnist James Delingpole, who recently accused London zoo of having "eco-fascist leanings" and complained that there "there just aren't enough bullets" to deal with those of the "warmist faith", has reportedly complained that the BBC "intellectually raped" him in a recent interview.The encounter was filmed as part of the BBC television show Horizon: Science Under Attack, which was presented by the new president of the Royal Society Sir Paul Nurse. The idea behind the program was not just to tackle climate skepticism, but rather to examine why scientific thought and public opinion often seem to be so far apart.
Interestingly enough, the show also tackled many topics—from attitudes to genetically modified crops to the safety of vaccines—that see many in the green movement straying from what might be considered the scientific consensus too.
As far as Delingpole was concerned, Nurse's line of questioning followed a medical analogy—asking Delingpole whether, if he were diagnosed with a fatal disease, would he accept the wisdom of a consensus of medical doctors, or advice from a heretic fringe to drink more orange juice. It was not, apparently, an analogy that Delingpole appreciated—the outspoken columnist was reportedly lost for words and at one point asked for the crew to stop filming. James Randerson over at the Guardian, reports on the results of Delingpole's interview at the hands of Sir Paul Nurse:
"I must confess, I am also intrigued to see one of the most forthright and at times vicious commentators on global warming, James Delingpole, torn apart (by his own admission) in an interview. The Telegraph blogger is not on the receiving end of an acerbic Jeremy Paxman or belligerent John Humphreys. He is questioned by the new president of the Royal Society, the distinguished geneticist and Nobel prize-winner Sir Paul Nurse. I have not seen the programme, but Delingpole apparently complained to the BBC afterwards that he had been "intellectually raped" by Nurse."
To be fair, Delingpole later told The Guardian that he doesn't think he used the term "intellectual rape," he denies asking for filming to stop and he claims that his interview has been cut to exclude his more cogent arguments. (See Delingpole's post entitled Oh no, not another unbiased climate change documentary for his side of the story.)
I have yet to see the video for myself, but whatever the truth about Delingpole's subsequent complaints, it does not sound like this was a good day for the prominent opponent of all things "warmist". Sadly the show is not available on the BBC website for viewers in the US, but I am sure video will be making the rounds of the internet.