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« Atherton on Hinkley Point | Main | Greenery grubbery »

Windy miller

Andrew Miller, the Chairman of the Commons Science and Technology Committee has written to the BBC to complain about sceptics being given airtime.

The BBC has come under fire from the chairman of an influential committee of MPs for favouring climate change sceptics in its coverage – and, according to documents seen by the Guardian, replied by saying that putting forward opinions not backed by science is part of its role.

That has enraged MPs further. Andrew Miller, chair of the science and technology committee, told the Guardian: "At a time when poor editorial decisions have dented trust in the BBC, the organisation should be taking much greater care over the accuracy of its reporting – especially in the area of science where misreporting can cause disastrous results, as the MMR media scare has shown."

He seems particularly incensed over Andrew Neil's pressing of Ed Davey a few months ago.

It's not clear if this letter was written in his capacity as chairman of the committee or simply as a run-of-the-mill MP, but it does throw a certain light on the Committee's whitewashing of Climategate under Miller's leadership.

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Reader Comments (38)

has Kafka taken over the writing of life?

Oct 30, 2013 at 9:29 AM | Unregistered CommenterDolphinlegs

The BBC's reply stated that putting forward opinions not backed by science is part of its role. Which, and whose, opinions were those?

Oct 30, 2013 at 9:30 AM | Unregistered CommenterRoy

It seems that any coverage of the sceptic viewpoint, scant as it is, is now referred to as

“The BBC… favouring climate change sceptics in its coverage”

Clearly the CAGW propaganda machine, of which there are many proponents both in Westminster and Holyrood, is at full throttle trying to silence any dissent.

Oct 30, 2013 at 9:42 AM | Unregistered CommenterChaveratti

I think the beeb meant to say 'Opinions not back by heavily-politicized science which we approve of'.....

Oct 30, 2013 at 9:43 AM | Unregistered CommenterOtter

In other news, the Chairman of the Commons Literacy Committee criticised libraries. He said, "Me no like buks. Buks BAAAAD! No understan buk. No pikturs."

Oct 30, 2013 at 9:44 AM | Unregistered CommenterStuck-Record

I would think that the more emails, tweets, and letters Mr Miller receives pointing out his complete ignorance of the facts and suggesting he actually do some personal research into this matter the better.
I'm not a fan of harassing people but since it appears that the current campaign by the 'natural variation' deniers is to spread as much misinformation as possible about climate realists then they have made themselves fair game.
Apart from which we should try to educate those we elect before condemning them as being pig-ignorant boors.
That bit can come later when they refuse to listen.

Oct 30, 2013 at 9:55 AM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

How strange that the BBC including skeptic views can be considered "favouring climate change sceptics in its coverage". Miller sounds like someone who misunderstands what the IPCC consensus position is and is aghast that policies supported by parliament and by his committee are not being given the deference he thinks they deserve. His is a political complaint more than it is a scientific one imo.

Oct 30, 2013 at 9:58 AM | Unregistered CommenterGareth

If that mewling missive was not so pathetic, you'd have to laugh.

Is potato-Ed a mate of Windy Miller or something, for I deem he must be.

Thoughtless knee jerk muppets haunt, indeed form the ballast of the Labour party, it was ever thus. And strewth, just think mind boggling stuff though it is, that, the Red Ed's team are likely to win the next GE - only the prophet can save us then.............oh wait!

Oct 30, 2013 at 10:22 AM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

In this debate, I have noted that the number of self-declared/admitted non-scientists who vicariously attempt to pull-rank on cAGW sceptics sometimes beggars belief.

By their own usual standards of hypocrisy, perhaps the BBC should have replied that, having listed his education as a Diploma in Industrial Relations, Miller is not a scientist and should therefore take a running jump?

Oct 30, 2013 at 10:32 AM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

This really takes the biscuit in terms of sheer chutzpah - the BBC has been relentlessly party-pris against any scepticism for years, so can hardly be accused of any pro-sceptic bias whatsoever. The idea that merely to allow even a single interview is somehow 'off limits' is satire beyond belief.

What is actually happening is - not for the first time, alarmists are attempting to silence dissent. They cannot and will not debate the science as they face humiliation on any objectively discussed point (Unknown and increased range of climate sensitivity, complete failure of models, 17 year 'pause', no hot spot, missing heat!!, missing positive feedbacks, missing amplification, being shown to be wrong on almost all of the above etc etc etc) so instead seek to close down publicity to any contrary opinion.

This is simply the latest in a long line of concerted and co-ordinated attempts by alarmists to target the relevant topic of choice, witnessed by all pro-alarmist organs spouting and promoting the same 'approved' line.

More proof of what we all know - they're losing the argument.

Oct 30, 2013 at 10:50 AM | Unregistered CommenterCheshirered

Fiona Harvey's article in question yet again not allowing comments. I wonder why?

Oct 30, 2013 at 11:11 AM | Unregistered CommenterCheshirered

For once: words fail me!

Oct 30, 2013 at 11:13 AM | Unregistered CommenterPeter Stroud

Could someone refresh my memory as to this Miller's scientific achievements and credentials, please?

Oct 30, 2013 at 11:25 AM | Unregistered CommenterUncle Badger

Censoring dissenting voices does seem to be very much the flavour of the moment in the world of the Warmistadors.
Climate Catastrophe Questioners do seem to be lacking in calls for shutting down debate and it's not easy to understand why so many neo-liberals seem determined to legitimize the stifling of honestly held opinions while crusading for a 'fairer' society for all through greater transparency and openness.
But, the blue-pencil brigade triumphantly shriek, you may be entitled to your opinion but not to your facts and they would have a valid point if they actually examined the facts dispassionately without regard to their source.
Steve Mc's post, on the extraordinary Mannian contortions on SH reconstructions where predominantly Northern Hemispheric proxies are used, beggars belief is just the most recent evidence of fact distortion. Will they look? Likely not for a moment!
Theres none so blind as those that will not see and none so petty than those who would willingly gag any who dare speak against the Gospel.

Oct 30, 2013 at 12:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoyFOMR

I liked the Steve Jones quote about not having a homeopath next to a surgeon. Yet he's a biologist pontificating on climate which is mostly if not entirely an applied physics / engineering issue.

I mean, really...more of a case of someone who likes the sound of his own voice.

Oct 30, 2013 at 12:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterMicky H Corbett

Andrew Miller
W H A T . A R E . Y O U . A F R A I D . O F . ?
journalists sense the kill & do your job

Oct 30, 2013 at 1:06 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

'.....misreporting can cause disastrous results....'

You said it, Mr Miller..!

Oct 30, 2013 at 2:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterSherlock1

It is 36 years since the poor chap had a proper I suppose one must give him a bit of leeway

Oct 30, 2013 at 2:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid Chappell

Why should the skeptical TALK be restricted to 0.1% when the public's DO is 99% skeptical ?
- Flying repeatedly to climate conferences .. that's pretty sceptical action

- In Millar's world 95% of AUTHORITY is certain in IPCC projections that the climate will have catastrophically changed by the end of the century, so it's unthinkable to allow more than 0.1% of TV time to consider any alternatives.
- Only take a look at the real world buddy It's 99% of people who are NOT doing anything about it.
- 99% BEHAVE SKEPTICALLY and have a CO2 footprint just the same as 30 years ago
- and they are not running out to stop development in China, India and Africa, where 3-4-5- new UK's worth of CO2 are created every year.
Talk & Do are 2 different things .. Alarmists control the "Talk", but they have no grip at all on the "Do"..
- cos they simply don't have the maths to show people
"Mummy Miller why do we have to do that ?"
- "Cos I say so !!!"
..sorry that's not good enough

Oct 30, 2013 at 2:15 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

"A spokesman said" reads another "BBCNews" item
- The BBC will air without question, press releases straight from The Subsidy Mafia corps and all dressed up with IPCC ClimateScarePorn.... but no comment is to be allowed against that, cos that would be against Consensus ! Does that make sense ?
- Does Andrew Miller know anyone with interests in such companies ? Of course he does. Seems like half the parliament have their noses in the trough
... no wonder he wants questioning banned.

Oct 30, 2013 at 2:31 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

Shouting down the 'opposition' is always a preferred tactic. Admitting (even the possibility of) alternative hypotheses casts doubt on the official version, and might lead to the little people becoming confused and less willing to support the harsh but fair measures which are needed to tackle whatever crisis we may be discussing. So, shout down 97% of them on the grounds that they are 'not qualified' (though would you have needed to be a 'qualified' person to condemn the kind of 1930s [peer-reviewed, academic expert] research in Germany which produced ever finer arguments for why Jews were a 'bad thing'?); and shout down the other 3% by some ad-hom appeal which allegedly disqualifies their expert opinions from being considered eg Christy doesn't completely dismiss creationism, Singer once did some work for tobacco firms, probably something wrong with Lindzen too, the sea level guy has some nutty views about something completely unrelated to what he knows lots about, ie sea level, etc etc etc.

Oct 30, 2013 at 3:39 PM | Unregistered Commenterbill

The Feedback Programme this week did discuss the controversial opinions in the previous episode on bias. To be fair to the programme and the BBC they stated that they were not plugging any side, and crucially noted that the reason for this was the critical and sceptical stance of many of its viewers and listeners. I think we should all listen to every word in this debate, much of it is code.

Oct 30, 2013 at 3:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterTrefor Jones

This obsession with silencing sceptics is a measure of how much they see their carefully built schemes collapsing. As Stewgreen points out, it's a waste of their time. Why can't they see that sceptics are not the barrier to their success? Why can't they understand that there are a great many questions to be asked and if they're not asked and answered on the BBC they will be asked elsewhere? Trying to keep a lid on the voices of dissenters has rarely succeeded in the past, it's never going to work in the internet age. Behaving like the KGB or some other totalitarian police force isn't ever going to win them anything but scorn and the suspicion that they're covering things up.

Steve Jones' comparison of climate scepticism with homeopathy is a joke. You might put a homeopath against a surgeon but only to show the medical person wipe the floor with the charlatan. They don't do the same with sceptics because the opposite tends to happen. The truly risible thing is the NHS funds homeopathy but nobody funds sceptics.

One could almost hope that this kind of intervention by an MP would make the BBC go the other way and be truly impartial. I won't hold my breath.

Oct 30, 2013 at 4:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

" . . . opinions not backed by science', opines the BBC. This, to the alarmists and their assorted teat-sucking hangers-on, is a critical point, one they return to relentlessly: to wit, that the 'science' is settled and, by extension, that only a bizarre assemblage of crazies contests it.

It is a stance, obviously political and strikingly reminiscent of Gordon's Brown's claims to be 'investing' in vital public services when he was in fact shamelessly attempting to buy votes while simultaneously bankrupting the country, that should be contested at every turn.

The most effective means of doing so, I would say, is to use a similarly simple message that is similarly capable of endless repeating: where is the evidence?

Keep plugging away with this very basic message and you will discomfort even the most fervent alarmist. The point being of course that there is no evidence for Global Warming. At all. Of any description.

There are opinions, there are models, there is the stern voice of authority. But there is no evidence.

Very simple. Very effective.

Oct 30, 2013 at 4:20 PM | Unregistered Commenteragouts

Would this be the same Andrew Miller MP who employed his wife his cousin and his sister in-law and charged it all to his MPs expenses .

Nice work if you can get it.

PS Google "Andrew Miller MP They work for You"

He voted for Trident ,The Iraq War , Climate Change Legislation,ID Cards and Tougher Anti Terror Laws.

He does seem to like MPs being in charge.

The News Papers lost today's high court challenge to Lord Levison Press Regulation wonder what his views are on that.

Oct 30, 2013 at 4:54 PM | Unregistered Commenterjamspid

Indeed true that "misreporting can cause disastrous results". You can't really blame the politicians when the scientists are foursquare in pretending to know things that nature hasn't yet revealed.

Oct 30, 2013 at 5:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

"... according to documents seen by the Guardian, replied by saying that putting forward opinions not backed by science is part of its role."

Apparently, these "documents" are "Written evidence submitted by the BBC (CLC064)" [Linked within the Guardian story.] In fact, nowhere within this "Written evidence" does the BBC say that "putting forward opinions not backed by science is part of its role." At best this seems to be a severe distortion of the BBC's statement “... that the treatment of a scientific story will depend upon its nature and context. Sometimes it is appropriate to present it as a debate within the scientific community whereas at others a range of views, including from non-experts, is justified given the social, political and cultural context.” The Guardian would have been more accurate to have reported that the BBC (quite rightly, in my opinion) regards it as part of its role to "put forward opinions not backed by credentialed scientific experts."

Oct 30, 2013 at 5:33 PM | Unregistered Commenterj chisholm

@jamspid interesting to see Miller's view of reality.

Steve Jones, 2011:talking abourt Sceptic Scientists vs Warmist Climate Scientist “This goes to the heart of science reporting -– you wouldn’t have a homeopath speaking alongside a brain surgeon for balance, as that would be absurd”
- One side has a strong belief system with absolute certainty that they are right way beyond evidence , they will never debate the other side in public, have never validated their predictions, get government money, but could be called a bunch of charlatans
Yep : Steve Jones says warmist Climate Scientists are like Homeopaths
but I don't agree with his view that whenever homeopaths appear on TV they should be given a free ride
- as @TinyCO2 say they deserve full criticism

BTW which newspaper would you expect homeopaths read ?

Oct 30, 2013 at 5:35 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

'can cause disastrous results, as the MMR media scare has sh'own

Oddly it was the Observe , or the Guardian's Sunday paper which was principle behind this 'scare' , but like maths , science , and common sense I take Miller does not do history either .

Oct 30, 2013 at 5:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterKnR

"You might put a homeopath against a surgeon but only to show the medical person wipe the floor with the charlatan"

Unless the topic of expertise was homeopathy, in which case the homeopath would clean the floor with the surgeon. So what they want is the homeopath on TV and no surgeon challenging them.

A second thing: Surgeons are so caught up in learning the craft and 'cutting' that many might and do end up as bad as homeopaths.

Oct 30, 2013 at 5:49 PM | Registered Commentershub

... and homeopaths are very popular with media people

Oct 30, 2013 at 5:55 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

I thought Miller wanted the BBC to put forward only "opinions not backed by science"?

Oct 30, 2013 at 7:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterArthur Peacock

I would call the guy's bluff and ask him what the Scientific method is. Then, if I had a new theory how would I test it using this method?

He would either fail to get the method right or have to admit the predictions don't match the actuals. Theory fail, back to the drawing board.

Geronimo's Hall of Fame entry is also worth repeating:

"but keep in mind any scientist worth his salt doesn't want you to believe him, he wants you to try to prove him wrong, while he looks on smugly watching you fail ".

Shutting down dissent is the opposite of this scientific ideal.

I'm fed up with these activists hiding in the Trojan Horse of science to sneak into positions of power and push their aims.

Publically call them out as non-scientists.

Oct 30, 2013 at 8:38 PM | Registered CommenterSimonW

Another remarkable malfunction of a UK politician.

Put this in context of the (not implemented) criticism of the IPCC's own enquiry after climategate:

"Lead Authors should explicitly document that a range of scientific viewpoints has been
considered, and Coordinating Lead Authors and Review Editors should satisfy themselves
that due consideration was given to properly documented alternative views.."


Oct 30, 2013 at 9:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterManfred

For the first time, I actually burst out laughing when reading a blogpost about the ongoing climate shenanigans.

Well with my tin-foil hat firmly in place, I start wondering whether, with the BBC charter up for renewal in the not too distant furture and some noises being made already about bias in BBC reporting, they have lined up a few fellow-travellers to make the right noises:

"See! We're not biased! Important people have been complaining!"

Oct 31, 2013 at 5:51 AM | Unregistered CommenterAsmilwho

with my tin-foil hat firmly in place, I start wondering whether, with the BBC charter up for renewal in the not too distant furture and some noises being made already about bias in BBC reporting, they have lined up a few fellow-travellers to make the right noises:

"See! We're not biased! Important people have been complaining!"

The spinmeisters, the propagandists, common purpose, the bbc - at work.


A very perceptive observation, I think that is exactly what is occurring here.

Oct 31, 2013 at 8:22 AM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

Andrew Neil did a nice put down on Jonathan Porritt on "This Week" last week. Demolished him in fact.

Oct 31, 2013 at 9:49 PM | Registered Commenterdennisa

There's none so blind as they that will not listen when others speak from a different position.

Nov 1, 2013 at 10:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterBob Layson

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