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03/08/2015
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This morning, during the first of this year's Reith lectures, we hosted a live chat about the lecture and the topics discussed here on the blog. Lots of listeners joined in, by typing comments directly into the live chat here, by sending email to thereithlectures@bbc.co.uk and by tweeting using the hashtag #reith. You can replay the resulting conversation below (it might make sense to listen to the lecture while you're doing so) and subscribe to the Reith 2010 podcast. If you joined in, please leave a comment below to tell us what you thought of the exercise. Would you join in again? Would you like to see this kind of live conversation around other programmes? How could we improve it?

And don't forget to join in again next week, at 0900 on Tuesday 8 June. The lecture's title is 'Surviving the Century.'

Steve Bowbrick is editor of the Radio 4 blog

Comments

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  • Comment number 117. Posted by weaver682

    on 1 Jun 2011 09:23

    This comment was removed because it broke the house rules. Explain

  • Comment number 116. Posted by Wilberfalse

    on 7 Jun 2010 11:38

    I am both an astronomer (more a polymath) and of Martin Rees’s generation—slightly older, maybe!

    As I have already commented, Rees’s book “Our Final Century” should be required reading not just for these lectures but also for a prescription for the future.

    I would concur wholeheartedly on the universality of the sciences. We have become too compartmentalized in both our thinking and our behaviour.

    On “Big Bang” and “Parallel Universes” I may beg to offer a different perspective from Martin Rees; but then I am, relatively speaking, a mere “man in the street”.

    Infinity—the chicken and the egg

    All those stars we say are out there,
    too many to put a figure on,
    too many to contemplate,
    too far away to comprehend,
    yet we say it all began with a bang—
    pull the other one!

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  • Comment number 115. Posted by in_the_uk

    on 6 Jun 2010 18:08

    114. At 2:13pm on 06 Jun 2010, northofperth wrote:

    Why has our lecturer had no real "dialogue with Creationists"? Creation is a subject I have studied seriously for over 25 years. I have set out to argue against it deliberately, and cannot find one flaw. There is not one scrap of evidence to support or substantiate the Theory of Evolution. I hope this might be addressed over these next Lectures. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, believed in Creation, and held firmly to that truth. He was present when it all took place. Our morality, our ethical behaviour, and so much more, is rooted and grounded in God the Creator, as revealed in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments.

    ---------------------------------

    Your comment is probably the reason why he didnt bother. If he wanted facts and proof he looks to scientists. Religion cannot exist in a world of facts and proof. As for morality there is a link (proven by science) that religion disables morality and lets good people be evil. There is solid evidence for evolution and it is demonstrated in life which has been observed. Creationism has no proof and relies entirely on the theory that god exists. This is a poor theory as there is no proof and is exceptionally unlikely.

    If you cant find a flaw I recommend starting with Dawkins. I hear it makes the science accessable to all. There is also much knowledge available on the internet but make sure to look at reputable sources not religious stories.

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  • Comment number 114. Posted by northofperth

    on 6 Jun 2010 13:13

    Why has our lecturer had no real "dialogue with Creationists"? Creation is a subject I have studied seriously for over 25 years. I have set out to argue against it deliberately, and cannot find one flaw. There is not one scrap of evidence to support or substantiate the Theory of Evolution. I hope this might be addressed over these next Lectures. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, believed in Creation, and held firmly to that truth. He was present when it all took place. Our morality, our ethical behaviour, and so much more, is rooted and grounded in God the Creator, as revealed in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments.

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  • Comment number 113. Posted by in_the_uk

    on 4 Jun 2010 10:30

    I would be interested to know if on tuesday he will be talking about the following-

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/06/03/pacific_islands_ok/

    Which is a major issue of sea rises. The speculation of the sea rising is also contested (exept in the IPCC).

    Also will the BBC be reporting on this too? I feel the BBC could gain from staing these facts which are little reported on

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  • Comment number 112. Posted by Steve Bowbrick

    on 3 Jun 2010 14:15

    Thanks to everyone for your hugely varied and interesting comments. This has been one of the most popular posts in the history of the Radio 4 blog and since the main topic of your comments has been climate change and the integrity of scientists I know you'll be interested in next week's second lecture in the series: Surviving the Century. Please come back to the blog at 0900 on Tuesday 8 June for another thought-provoking lecture and more spirited discussion!

    Steve Bowbrick, editor, Radio 4 blog

  • Comment number 111. Posted by TheSamePeopleAlwaysGetPicked

    on 3 Jun 2010 07:06

    #86. At 10:15am on 02 Jun 2010, Count Otto Black wrote " The latest prediction from the IPCC suggest that the Earth will warm by 1.1 to 6.4 °C in the 21st century. That is a huge variation. In order to overcome scepticism about MMGW the science needs to get much more precise. There needs to be predictions along the lines: if man's carbon output is x between now and 2020 (or 2030 or 2040 or whatever) then the Earth will be y degrees warmer (within a more precise range than 1.1 to 6.4 °C!)."

    -----------------

    But how many scientists will continue to push other scientific evidence that on average the past decade has actually been cooler than the previous decade??!

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  • Comment number 110. Posted by Tom Bombadil

    on 2 Jun 2010 16:30

    109. At 2:17pm on 02 Jun 2010, in_the_uk wrote:

    Put simply. If the data model is wrong (hurricanes) and no acknowledgable change in activity has occured. Why are the models right about everything else (with a huge margin of error) but yet can be wrong about the actual present day facts?
    -----------

    The prediction that global warming would continue has proved correct. Attempts to test a possible link to changes in hurricane frequency or intensity did not really start until after Katrina in 2005. Research in this area is pretty new and subject to further research but the latest consensus is that the frequency of hurricanes will not change but the intensity of a few will increase.

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  • Comment number 109. Posted by in_the_uk

    on 2 Jun 2010 13:17

    To 108. Tom Bombadil

    Put simply. If the data model is wrong (hurricanes) and no acknowledgable change in activity has occured. Why are the models right about everything else (with a huge margin of error) but yet can be wrong about the actual present day facts?

    There usually are checks and balances of science, hopefully there will be. But so far there is a lot of protectionism over the methods and data which gives rise to skeptics. Data models are consitently proven wrong but considered ok for predicting CC. Personally I hold little trust in the models as they have yet to prove themselves right.

    There is still other evidence for MMCC I am sure so I wont write it off until the scientists agree.

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  • Comment number 108. Posted by Tom Bombadil

    on 2 Jun 2010 12:58

    107. At 1:12pm on 02 Jun 2010, in_the_uk wrote:

    Dont take this as a jab but I have noticed that if MMCC co2 theory is not accepted totally a believer will mention DNA, nuclear power or another advancement. This is like comparing chalk and cheese. Nuclear power works, I know because my home is powered by electricity from those power stations. I dont care about the theory but there are certainties about nuclear power such as it provides power.
    ----------

    Science is a systematic process of collecting data, formulating theories to explain the findings and making predictions that will test the theory. The results are then published so that other scientists can check the findings, repeat the research using the same of different data sources and propose ways of improving the work to make it more precise. It doesn't matter what area of science is researched the technique is basically the same.
    --------------------------------------------


    Compare that with data models (the backbone for MMCC) which was proven wrong very recently about hurricane activity. The model showed increased hurricane activity which was then speculated as a result of MMCC. The funny side is that actual fact (observational data) showed NO increase. Not a blip.
    ----------------
    Research into Hurricanes and Tornados is fairly new the models at present predict no increase in the number but an increase in severity for a small number of them.
    -------------------------------------------

    Still we wait to see if the scientific predictions (with large margin of error) are true or false. And still further discoveries are being made.
    -----------

    The trend in temperatures is rising steadily at about 0.2C per decade, 40 times the natural rate of increase since the last ice age. The last 12 months from May 2009 to April 2010 has been the warmest 12 month period since instrumental records began in 1880.
    ----------------------------------------

    As for the time for action, scaremongers wanted immediate action for mobile phones (cancer), MMR (autism) and various other scares which didnt happen. All because people want the right answer and want it now, making it easier for scaremongers to damage science.
    --------------

    The press speculated about risk from mobile phones and the MMR vaccine. Scientists carried out research and showed there was no evidence of risk for either. One Doctor published a letter in Lancet claiming risk from the MMR vaccine he has since been disciplined and struck off the medical register. The Lancet has retracted the publication.
    There are checks and balances in the scientific process.

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