Since the start of the year, we have seen numerous issues brought about through pseudoscience, and science denialism. Right now, Europe is sweltering under the worst heatwave in recorded history. In the US, the number of measles cases is higher than 1992, and we’re not even halfway through the year. Now pushback has started in earnest. Facebook, Amazon and YouTube are introducing quality controls, and Google is working on downgrading pseudoscientific and quack websites.
There is a great deal of anger directed at fossil fuel companies. What has emerged over the last few years shows them to be like the tobacco companies in their mendacity. The fossil fuel companies funded research to disprove global warming, only for that research to confirm what others were saying. Just like the tobacco companies, instead of coming clean, they lied, covered up their results, and heavily funded climate denialist organisations and the like.
A few days ago, I saw an article on News24 – Science denialism is a litmus test for quality journalism, written by News24’s editor George Claassen. It mentions that good journalism should follow the principle of hearing both sides, but that in Science and science journalism, there is often not two sides. There is what is right, and there is nonsense. Please read it.
Claassen’s article contains this quote from Michael Shermer:
The best knowledge filter ever invented is science. Flawed as it is at times, the methods developed over the past four centuries were specifically designed to help us avoid errors in our thinking.
The harm done by denialism is fast becoming undeniable. Hopefully, we can return to a point of safety before too long.