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Climate Change: the Watershed Issue for Two Davids

by Dr. Elizabeth Mitchell on February 16, 2013
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Telegraph: “David Bellamy tells of moment he was “frozen out” of BBC” and “BBC backs down on David Attenborough's climate change statisticsA few years back BBC television viewers could enjoy both David Attenborough and David Bellamy bringing wildlife and plants into their homes.

Both were (and are) extremely environmentally conscious spokesmen for conservation of earth’s resources. And both men are gifted with the ability to engage their audience and make their subject matter interesting and vital. But Bellamy says the BBC dropped him suddenly in 2004 after he expressed his opinion that the scientific consensus about global warming was “poppycock.”

What of Bellamy? Soon after the BBC dropped him, he was ousted as president of the Royal Society of Wildlife Trusts. Nevertheless, he has continued to promote preservation, both of the environment for its own sake and for the sake of people who depend on it. He says he advocates a common sense approach, citing how a boy he’d encountered in botanically rich Sierra Leone died of malnutrition. “He died because we [humans] had gone in there and dug up the diamonds and chopped down the habitat,” Bellamy says.1

The tide may be turning just a bit, though, at least for Bellamy’s fortunes if not for the dominion of the popular and politically correct version of the climate change story. Bellamy just received an invitation from the Duke of Edinburgh to speak at Buckingham Palace next month in the inaugural David Bellamy Lecture. Who knows, if Prince Philip gives him a platform, perhaps the BBC will let him back on the air?

“For the last 16 years, temperatures have been going down and the carbon dioxide has been going up and the crops have got greener and grow quicker.”

“I still say it’s poppycock,” Bellamy says. “For the last 16 years, temperatures have been going down and the carbon dioxide has been going up and the crops have got greener and grow quicker. We’ve done plenty to smash up the planet, but there’s been no global warming caused by man. If you believe it, fine. But I don’t and there’s thousands like me.” Incidentally, the UK National Weather Service, according to The Telegraph, has downgraded its forecast regarding global warming to say that by 2017 global temperatures will have been about the same for two decades.

The BBC just backed off of a claim made by Attenborough in last week’s final episode of its Africa series that “some parts of the [African] continent have become 3.5C hotter in the past 20 years.” After a storm of protests questioning the scientific evidence of the claim, the BBC agreed the evidence is disputable and played loud music to drown out that portion of the program during its re-broadcast a few days later. Evidence actually indicates that since 1850 global temperatures have risen about 0.8C, they report, and the script for Attenborough’s program used a poorly documented and rather outlandish figure. The BBC said its own production team was responsible, not Attenborough.

It is unfortunate when a popular and gifted teacher—and that’s really what TV personalities like Bellamy and Attenborough are whether one agrees with their various positions or not—are thrust out because of a non-mainstream opinion on issues like climate change. In essence, we see the same thing in American public schools when the academic freedom of teachers to even mention the controversial “scientific weaknesses” about climate change requires protection from equally controversial laws. We’ve written before about the Tennessee Teacher Protection Academic Freedom Act and Louisiana’s Science Education Act. Both of these laws and others like them have generated controversy not only because they allow scientific weaknesses of evolutionary dogma to be discussed but also the issues surrounding global warming.

Dr. Andrew Snelling, who holds a PhD in geology from the University of Sydney in Australia, has pointed out that the debate over climate change is far from a settled issue even among secular scientists. He says, “There is a lot of controversy, not over climate change itself, as everyone agrees climate changes, but over the cause of such changes, specifically whether man has contributed significantly to such changes. I am personally aware of several secular professional scientific societies whose memberships are very divided on this issue, and the continuing debate is heated.”

Neither educational programming nor schools should arbitrarily screen out the critical analysis of such “minority” opinions on issues like these just because they are unpopular. Keeping the media and the schools politically correct is no way to build critical thinking skills in either children or adult TV viewers.

As Dr. Snelling points out, the questions about climate change are not so much whether it is occurring but whether man is the cause of it. Unfortunately, some of those who contend vehemently that climate change represents a manmade crisis base their views on unverifiable ideas about the untestable past. The answers for how best to responsibly care for the earth God gave us (Genesis 1) will not be found by silencing and ignoring those who disagree with the majority about complex scientific issues.


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Footnotes

  1. www.independent.co.uk/news/people/profiles/david-bellamy-i-was-shunned-they-didnt-want-to-hear-8449307.html

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