As the newsy types among you probably already know, Chris Mooney has managed to convince the Washington Post to run a rebuttal to George Will’s nonsense. It is a short piece, but it shouldn’t be read the way you’d read a couple of typical paragraphs of blogging; it’s a very polished, well-thought-out little gem of an essay. The bulk of it takes on some of Wills’ most egregious errors, but the opening and closing paragraphs are what make it memorable:
A recent controversy over claims about climate science by Post op-ed columnist George F. Will raises a critical question: Can we ever know, on any contentious or politicized topic, how to recognize the real conclusions of science and how to distinguish them from scientific-sounding spin or misinformation?
Yes. That is indeed the question.
Readers and commentators must learn to share some practices with scientists — following up on sources, taking scientific knowledge seriously rather than cherry-picking misleading bits of information, and applying critical thinking to the weighing of evidence. That, in the end, is all that good science really is. It’s also what good journalism and commentary alike must strive to be — now more than ever.
Yes again! That is pretty much the only answer I’ve ever been able to come up with.