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ChangingMinds Blog! > Blog Archive > 14-May-10

 


Friday 14-May-10

Duelling ideologues and the ancient prince

I recently went to the 'President's Lecture' at the RSA where Professor Bjorn Lomborg was speaking on climate change. The president, who is HRH the Duke of Edinburgh (Prince Philip) was chairing the meeting. I sat in the front row, between an architect and a consultant, and just in front of the Prince.

The presentation was interesting enough, though the architect next to me kept twitching, shaking his head, muttering and making hurried notes. When it completed and questions began he leapt up, pretty much grabbed the microphone and launched into a diatribe about how the speaker was misquoting research and using fallacies in his argument. The speaker started to respond and the architect interjected again and a bit of a shouting match ensued. Prince Philip joined in, telling the architect to let the speaker finish and I patted him (the architect, not the Prince) on the arm to sit down, which he did.

The next questioner then went off on another rant, criticizing the RSA for inviting such a charlatan and renouncing his fellowship before storming out. And in a show of outraged solidarity, the architect followed suit.

In the stunned vacuum that followed, I took the microphone and posed the question that perhaps the deeper question for climate change, as illustrated so graphically here, is one of agreement. Curiously, the speaker didn't answer my question, thought the word 'agreement' did seem to crop up a number of times after.

Prince Philip was marvellous throughout. He directed questioners and hushed interlopers with a vigorous directness that belied his 89 years. At the end, he sat back and said, with a wry grin, 'Well, with all this business, I'm glad I'm old!'


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