Delivered almost every year since its inception in 1972, the BBC’s Richard Dimbleby Lecture has been given by a variety of scientists, theologians, politicians, business folk and others. This year’s lecture was given on Monday by Paul Nurse, president of the Royal Society, and was titled The Wonder Of Science. By most viewers it was well received, but in one corner of south London, dissent was stirring.
And that dissent was not confined to mere disagreement, but, thanks to the bully pulpit afforded by the bear pit that is Maily Telegraph blogland, spewed out in a torrent of abuse, bile and screaming denunciation as James “saviour of Western civilisation” Delingpole raged at the Beeb, Nurse, and science in general as he penned a sneerfest to satisfy the most discerning rant connoisseur.
While many observers watch Paul Nurse at work, giving lectures, or discussing science with a variety of colleagues and pundits, and see an agreeable and avuncular being, Del Boy has the inside track on what is really a political activist. No, don’t laugh, this has to be true because Del said so on his own blog, and a report from the GWPF agrees with him.
That the GWPF is another of those Astroturf lobby groups set up to rubbish climate science is not allowed to enter. And, sadly, while he accuses Nurse of “boo-boos” (an alumnus of Malvern College and Christ Church Oxford clearly has that much more of a grasp of the English language), he makes the most elementary of howlers before even getting into his stride.
That is the mantra “The Science Is Settled”. Paul Nurse never said that, and nor did anyone else that Del Boy has routinely insulted and denigrated on his odyssey of occasionally incoherent rage. The science is never settled, and because of this, one cannot say that Global Warming is proven. This enables the denial lobby to dismiss it as an “unproven hypothesis”.
But let’s cut to the real issue here: Paul Nurse kebabbed Delingpole in two minutes flat in the Science Under Attack documentary. Del Boy was found to be wanting on the most basic of subjects – like bothering to read around the science. By his own admission, he relied on others’ interpretations. This also brought his interpretation of the “Climategate” emails into question.
As one of the commenters put it: “Must be difficult to avoid holding a grudge against someone who has humiliated you on TV”. For Del Boy, it’s beyond difficult: he won’t stop ranting at Paul Nurse, and thus will look ever more like a caricature of himself. He’ll keep on getting the media coverage, but will be brought on not as a sage, but a figure of fun.
Perhaps he could try doing Panto this Autumn? Just a thought.