Before commenting on the BBC Trustâ€™s report into the BBCâ€™s science coverage, I thought Iâ€™d take the trouble of reading the actual document rather than the press previews. Iâ€™m very glad I waited because the finished product is an absolute corker. Let me take you through some of my favourite moments.
The report, as you may be aware, was written by my fellow Telegraph columnist Steve Jones. Besides being a fine and engaging writer, Dr Jones is a geneticist ofÂ distinction and I would certainly never dream of questioning his judgement in his fields of expertise (notably Drosophila and snails). Fortunately, as becomes quite clear reading the report, climate science isnâ€™t one of them.
Dr Jones sets out his ideological position fairly early on when he strives to bracket global warming â€œdenialismâ€ with a range of other syndromes: believing that â€œAIDS has nothing to do with viruses, the MMR vaccine is unsafe, complex organs could never evolve, or even that the 9/11 disaster was a US government plot.â€ Iâ€™d love to see his evidence for this casual slur-by-association.
The distinction he tries to make between â€œscepticismâ€ (good, up to a point, he thinks) and â€œdenialismâ€ (bad, obviously) is in any case a straw man argument. Of all the sceptics Iâ€™ve ever met or read, not a single one has ever striven to deny that climate changes nor that modest global warming has been taking place since 1850 (when we began emerging from the Little Ice Age).