Here are my observations on Auto Replies with the BBC Trust Science Review and Steve Jones. The attached graphic shows the exchange (click for a closer view). I submitted some comments online - using the BBC form. Then I received fairly immediately a seemingly personal note of thanks from Steve Jones saying that he had read my comments with interest. (Somewhat unlikely as the message was sent at 3:30am, and his response was titled 'Auto Response'). So much for either honesty or intelligence at the BBC.
Here are the texts of the messages. They are rather sadly funny. The BBC is organizing a 'Trust Science Review' and wants to be doing the 'right' thing. But in the process the BBC just cannot be honest. Then there is the "Do not use, copy or disclose the information in any way nor act in reliance on it and notify the sender immediately." What is the point of the BBC sending email if the resulting text cannot be used in any way? I presume that the lawyers intended this to say 'If you have received this in error, then...' but perhaps the lawyers don't like to check up on how people are using their portion of the licence fee.
Anyway -I shall be most interested to see if I receive a threatening letter from the BBC on this post! (I may post it here!).
Trust Science to me; Subject: Trust Science (Auto Reply Message)
show details 9/22/10
Thank you very much for your email and your contribution to the BBC Trust's Impartiality Review of Science Coverage which I've read with interest.
The findings of the Review will be published in spring 2011.
Background notes about this Review can be found at http://www.bbc.co.uk/bbctrust/news/press_releases/march/science_impartiality.shtml
Thank you for contacting us.
Professor Steve Jones Author,
Impartiality Review of Science Coverage
This e-mail (and any attachments) is confidential and may contain personal views which are not the views of the BBC unless specifically stated.
If you have received it in error, please delete it from your system.
Do not use, copy or disclose the information in any way nor act in reliance on it and notify the sender immediately.
Please note that the BBC monitors e-mails sent or received.
Further communication will signify your consent to this.
Z T to Trust; Subject: Re: Trust Science (Auto Reply Message)
show details 9/22/10
Thanks for reading my message at ~3:30am UK time and titling your reply 'Auto Reply Message'. Something tells me you aren't being completely honest (that is - you haven't really read my message with interest). Let's call that my hypothesis.
I would be delighted to be proved wrong on this hypothesis - this would be what we call 'falsification' (in science).
So - I would also like to submit this exchange to your 'trust science' review as an example of the lack of intrinsic honesty currently transparently apparent at the BBC.
I doubt that Steve Jones has had much to do with this particular email trail yet (another hypothesis). Though, Steve, you should be careful how your name is being employed in these dishonest messages.
However, someone or some people at the BBC have thought that it would be 'nice' to give the impression that my input had already been factored into Steve Jones' thinking. This is not honest or factual. (Assuming my hypothesis is correct).
Science is about the facts, about how things actually are. Not about how we would like them to be or how we would like people to 'feel'.
So - when someone is lying about something in science - like hiding the discrepancy between temperature proxies and thermometers - it should not be hidden - it should be reported on and discussed. If the BBC, of all organizations, cannot deal with this - then god help us all.