Science and the ‘Two versus One’ debates
The 21st century will see the rise of the ‘2 versus 1’ debates, wherein the supposedly ‘impartial’ host of a debate appears to take sides, hence what should be a ‘1 versus 1’ debate becomes ‘2 versus 1’. The main reason for this is that the host/chairman is adopting a supposedly scientific stance due to the increasingly dominant role of science as we move towards a science based dictatorship. I am not opposed to science and ‘experts’, providing they are genuinely expert with genuine scientific facts, but science has always been corrupted by Politics and Business and Religion. A good way of telling a lie or of winning an argument is to get a ‘trusted expert’ to deliver the lie or to make the argument, e.g. the famed physicist Stephen Hawking was deemed an ‘expert’ on the Brexit debate according to the British PM David Cameron who recruited Hawking for his ‘remain’ campaign.
2 versus 1 debates tend to occur when one side appears to have the support of science, or at least the support of the ‘science consensus’. Note- a consensus of opinion is not a science fact. There are plenty of examples of the scientific consensus getting it wrong. ‘Soft science’, as opposed to ‘Hard Science’, is so-called because scientific proof is harder to come by, e.g. economics, psychology and any study of human behaviour.
I saw a 2 versus 1 debate on the BBC’s news channel – to be precise – the current affairs show “The Victoria Derbyshire Show”, in which the dangers of immunisation were debated. You won’t be surprised to hear that the BBC host (not Victoria Derbyshire, but a replacement) adopted the view of the ‘scientific consensus’ that immunisation was basically safe, hence the host constantly interrupted the anti-immunisers to tell them their views weren’t factual or weren’t aligned with the stance of the World Health Organisation. The pro-immuniser didn’t have to argue much because the BBC host did her arguing for her!
The ‘centre ground’ of Politics is increasingly adopting a more science based approach, independent from opinions (supposedly). Political ‘Think Tanks’ are also keen to promote their supposed independence from any particular party or philosophy, e.g. MARY ANN SIEGHART, chairman of the ‘centrist’ think tank, the SOCIAL MARKET FOUNDATION, boasted of its’ independence from political parties. Sieghart has been a newspaper journalist. She presented a BBC Radio 4 program: “Can The Centre Hold?”
In the future, opinions will be shunned, maybe even outlawed if they challenge the official view.
The former BBC News Editor (Business and Economics) ROBERT PESTON proposed on BBC Radio in 2018 that experts (including himself) should accompany all debates and should end each debate by judging which side of the argument has the best evidence. In that case, why have the debate in the first place if it’s going to be settled by supposed experts? He expressed his opinion in “Economics 101” (BBC Radio 4, 27th July 2018) at the same time when he also hosted the ITV Political discussion show PESTON ON SUNDAY and was ITV News Political Editor.
The ‘experts’ appear to be withdrawing to the side lines of debates as ‘impartial’ judges, to be replaced by the supposedly ignorant ‘non-experts’ who will get some limelight for a change, but only to expose their ignorance and to portray them as biased and closed-minded. If the ‘experts’ have the answers, then perhaps it would be better if they committed themselves more fully to one side of a debate, rather than pretending to remain aloof and impartial.
A BBC debate on Brexit in 2019 included the BBC’s supposedly ‘impartial’ Brexit ‘expert’, CHRIS MORRIS, dubbed the REALITY CHECK CORRESPONDENT. Morris was occasionally consulted during the debate hosted by NICKY CAMPBELL, in which members of the public voiced their opinions (BBC News and BBC Radio 5, March 1st 2019).
A BBC debate on vaccination in 2019 had no anti-vaccinators amongst the panellists. “The Evidence: Vaccination” (June 19th 2019), a discussion on BBC Radio’s World Service, included the BBC host (SHAIMAA KHALIL) acknowledging that vaccines weren’t perfect. All the panellists wanted compulsory vaccination.