I listened to Stephen Nolan's bumptious phone-in show on local radio this morning. He had a few people on discussing our climate change denier Minister for the Environment, Sammy Wilson and his latest kerfuffle in Stormont. The Belfast Telegraph reports that his department admitted that he, "did not consult any scientific articles when deciding not to air the Westminster-sponsored Act on CO2 ads."
Naw, our Sammy came up with that grand idea off his own back. He knows better that them scientists with their ungodly evidence.
He called another assembly member the 'carbon king of Stormont' because he lives 100 miles from the parliament building and has to drive, public transport links in NI being utterly pathetic, and getting worse the further west you go.
But then, once the drone of whinging politicians blended to innocuous background noise to my kitchen cleaning endeavours, Johnny Ball was on the air again, blustering about matters he doesn't understand and ruining my good opinion of him.
He used to be an exuberant presenter of children's TV shows about maths and science, and is fondly remembered by nerdy types of a certain age:
But he has turned cranky in his old age. He said today that "Sammy Wilson is right."
"People are talking about a carbon footprint. Carbon dioxide is half as heavy as air again. It falls to the ground and it feeds the plants. A tree is made of CO2, it puts the oxygen back into the atmosphere and takes the carbon. 85% of every tree is CO2...
When you're talking about CO2 you're helping the plants, you could say you're greening the planet."
I think that here, Johnny has employed the logical fallacy known as the WTF? fallacy.
But he goes on (and on and on) and eventually, near the end of the interview, he gets to the "dangers of scientific consensus." He even has examples, 100 years ago, so Johnny says, all the scientists agreed about eugenics. I think he's trying to make the point that we're more enlightened now and have moved on from those bad old days, something I'm not so sure about. He also mentions how in Darwin's day, the consensus was against him. But he neglects to mention that the science consensus changed to adopt the new ideas when they were explained, understood and backed up by huge amounts of evidence. Does Johnny really think that scientific consensus is always dangerous? What about our ideas on gravity, germ theory, what about consensus on units of measurement? What a ridiculous argument.
Silly old duffer. And why on earth has he been asked to come on to the programme to talk about climate change? Is it really reasonable for the BBC to allow this man 7 minutes to talk a load of old nonsense, just because he was once a wacky kind of kids TV presenter?