Science under attack

I’m a bit behind with this one; it’s the second most talked about show of the week (sorry, nothing can beat My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding – is there anyone on this planet not watching that?) but I only just finished watching Monday night’s Horizon episode “science under attack” and thought I’d flag it up in case anybody hadn’t seen it.

Presented by the new Royal Society president, Paul Nurse, it documents the shift in public perception of science and the growing mistrust for scientists and their results.  Kudos to the BBC for producing a science show that doesn’t feel the need to repeat itself every 10 minutes in the misguided belief that the general public is so stupid they can get up to make a cup of tea and forgot everything they just watched.  It’s engaging and easy watching and probably less damaging to the grey matter than watching teenage travellers buy wedding dresses that come complete with built-in lights and a mini fire extinguisher.

I do have one criticism.  Why climate change?  Don’t get me wrong; it’s important and the more we get it out there and discuss it the more chance we have of coming to some sort of societal conclusion on this topic but really, global warming, again?  There are lots of other topics; gene therapy, selective abortions, GM (covered briefly in the programme), stem cell research, animal testing… and they all challenge people, possibly even more so than climate change.  I know ‘science under attack’ is very relevant to climate change after the email scandal of 2010 (UEA and the Research Park features quite heavily in the show) but if people are going to sit and stare at the TV all evening we should at least challenge them a bit.  Now, which wedding dress was best, the pink one or the white one…

The episode can be watched on iplayer: http://www.bbc.co.uk/i/y4yql/

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