I recently read Barry Novak’s letter to the editor concerning climate change.
I have a lot to say about the content of his letter but I felt compelled to address my response to The Morning Star instead.
But first, a little bit about me. I wore a lab coat and safety goggles for four years. I know the difference between a beaker and an erlenmeyer flask.
I can take you out to lunch and explain ad nauseam all of the complex metabolic reactions that occur in your body while you eat your sandwich.
And if you get sick of me? I’ll be sure to explain how your immune response fights to keep you healthy.
I’ve been learning about science my whole life. I even have a degree in biochemistry. But I am not a scientist. And I am not an expert qualified to speak about climate change.
In fact, I’m not an expert in a lot of things. It’s why I’ve never told my mechanic my opinion about how cars function and it’s why I wouldn’t expect The Morning Star to publish these thoughts (it has something to do with pipes and gears, right?).
So why do so many of us feel as though we can speak openly as authorities regarding complex scientific issues?
Since when has opinion been a substitute for research and the scientific method? And why is The Morning Star providing a platform for this?
Studies have consistently shown that the overwhelming majority (97 per cent) of papers published about climate change affirm that it is man made; yet only about 50 per cent of the public believes the same.
Part of the vast disconnect with the public has been credited to the media for providing undue weight to the minuscule minority.
The Morning Star should not publish opinion letters regarding complex scientific issues (even pro-scientific majority letters) unless the author is qualified to speak about the topic or the author is relaying information from a qualified individual.