The Island of Doubt

Archives for February, 2009

Like Carl Zimmer, I can’t get past the George F. Will/WaPo climate change denial scandal. Carl’s latest piece delves deeper into the nature of journalism and fact-checking at the Post, and I’m going to weigh in with my observations of working at newspapers off and on for the past 22 years.

Once more into the breach

How do I put this politely? It is not possible for a reasonable person equipped with a secondary education to read the material George F. Will cites in his columns arguing against the scientific evidence for global warming and come to the conclusions that Will reaches.

I owe author Eric Roston a book review. He was kind enough to send me a copy of The Carbon Age: How Life’s Core Element Has Become Civilization’s Greatest Threat late last year. It took me a while to get around to it, and I regret not reading it earlier.

Al Gore vs. George F. Will

My apologies if you’re weary of posts revolving around George F. Will and his inability to accept responsibility for getting climate science completely wrong. But the contrast between that sorry episode in one non-scientist’s efforts to communicate science with those of Al Gore’s is too stark to pass up.

I just returned from delivering an hour-long presentation on climate change to the local chapter of American Association of University Women. It was one of the most intelligent and educated audiences I’ve had the pleasure to appear before. Followup questions were poignant and well-considered. But then someone piped up with: “This is all makes a…

The focus has shifted from George F. Will’s refusal to accept the science of climate change to the Washington Post‘s refusal to accept responsibility for Will’s breach of journalism’s most sacred tenets. I don’t have more to say, but Carl Zimmer’s second analysis of the problem is bang on. There’s also Joe Romm (again) and…

Obama talks climate change in Canada

Barack Obama and his Canadian counterpart, Stephen Harper, just wrapped up a joint press conference. Of course, no one said anything particularly newsworthy, but a few comments are worth mentioning.

I’m dwelling on George F. Will’s latest violation of journalistic ethics because it seems to have hit a nerve. Journalists ordinarily too polite to attack another journalist for fear of appearing biased and unprofessional have broken with their habits to call Will on his misrepresentation of the mythical “global cooling” consensus of the 1970s.

Darwin on the silver screen

There’s bound to be some fuss over a new film scheduled for release later this year. Creation follows Charles Darwin as he ponders whether to write On the Origin of Species. Sounds like a great subject, but there are some worrying signs. PZ Myers, for example, doesn’t like the producers’ decision to include the ghost…

George F. Will has once again waded, some might argue over his head, into the hazardous waters of climatology. His latest Washington Post column restates long-discredited arguments against anthropogenic global warming. Rather than waste an entire afternoon examining the flaws in Will’s case — if you’re interested, Joe Romm has already performed that service —…