By Vijay Jayaraj
YouTube’s recent move to flag videos that do not align with the company’s beliefs is a shocker to many viewers.
This is no small move. YouTube is setting a dangerous precedent for other social media platforms, which may soon espouse this anti-science attitude.
Recently, YouTube decided to post a banner beneath videos that questioned the consensus on global warming. More precisely, it even flags videos that do not question the warming. All the video has to do is question the magnitude of warming and its related impact.
The banner on these videos is a Wikipedia preview-banner, and people who click on it will be taken to the Wikipedia page on global warming.
Now, there are at least three major problems with this move.
First, YouTube has made itself the authority on climate-change science by choosing to flag selective videos that communicate information contrary to what YouTube’s select few enforcers believe about climate change.
YouTube is supposed to be a platform where people share their videos, not a self-appointed ”ministry of truth” that decides on the science of climate change. YouTube is neither accredited as a university nor has any say in the science of climate change.
Second, YouTube’s classification of videos from skeptics as “conspiracy videos” or “hoax videos” is a mockery of traditional scientific methodology. Testing hypotheses with empirical evidence to validate or invalidate them is the fundamental way of doing science – not settling on official, unchallengeable dogmas.
If YouTube believes that questioning the intricate details of climate change is equivalent to conspiracy, then we’d have to shut all our climate research centers. As one who did his M.Sc. in Environmental Science at the famous, or, because it was the epicenter of the Climategate scandal, infamous University of East Anglia, specializing in climate science, followed by pre-doc studies in it, I can testify that there is no research center that does not seek to improve on existing knowledge, and sometimes that means overturning past conclusions.
The science of climate change is still in its infancy. We are still trying to understand our paleoclimate and every year hundreds of peer-reviewed scientific articles are published, and they all have differing opinions on the way climate behaved.
Although it is highly unlikely that the actual YouTube team that flags these videos will read this article, I would still like to inform them that top climatologists still struggle to predict the future climate of our planet and are divided on their predictions.
Top global warming proponents like Michael Mann admitted that the climate forecasts being used now are flawed because of the highly biased computer climate models. Scientists (from all different camps of thought) regularly correct themselves based on empirical evidence. A hypothesis always stands to be corrected if evidence disproves it, which is a common occurrence in climate sciences.
Third, the Wikipedia banner leads users to the Wikipedia page on global warming, which is nothing but a one-sided, heavily moderated propaganda page.
It is difficult to comprehend how a webpage in Wikipedia can be treated as the ultimate source of authority, and it is insane that any video that disagrees with the narrative is being flagged.
Wikipedia pages are not a valid source of information in scientific literature. Universities do not accept papers for peer-reviewed publication if one’s arguments on global warming is based on the Wikipedia page.
Whoever suggested the use of the Wikipedia page must never have gone through the rigorous process of writing a scientific thesis using primary sources. The use of Wikipedia is a mockery of hard-working scientists in climate science.
If anything, YouTube should flag movies and videos from Al Gore, who from the early 1990s to now has repeatedly made false claims on climate.
Gore has consistently misrepresented the health of the Arctic and Antarctic, the population of polar bears and the frequency of extreme weather events.
This charge against Gore cannot be dismissed as baseless. Scientifically approved studies contradict his claims. Yet the Thought Police at YouTube will give Gore a free hand and instead target a section of respected and experienced scientists with proven academic credentials. YouTube’s move if anything is anti-science. It has no business deciding scientific truths, for it is neither an academic forum nor a validated institute to regulate scientific discourse.
Vijay Jayaraj (M.Sc., Environmental Science, University of East Anglia, England), research associate for developing countries for the Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation, lives in Chennai, India.