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An enlightened Q&A

December 18, 2014

A delicious unease and embarrassment in the studio at Q&A

Just occasionally one tunes into this leftist stacked and undemocratic debate on ABC’s Q&A with Tony “Can I Interrupt You” Jones. One can never tell what surprises might be in store.

The show on the 24th November started out inauspiciously with predictable topics — political lies, the government narrative, Rupert Murdoch, and understanding terrorism — and the loudest and smuggest panellist ever seen on the show: the self-proclaimed Marxists and passionate spokesman for animal rights, James “He-who-dares-to-be-an Artist” Cromwell. He is an American actor, here in Australia to appear in David Williamson new play about Rupert Murdoch.

Other panellists were Noel Pearson, Chairman, Cape York Partnership; Amanda Vanstone, Former Liberal Senator; Holly Ransom, Youth Advocate and Co-Chair G20 Youth Summit; and Waleed Aly, Host of RN Drive and ABC in-house expert on Islamic terrorism.

With this glum line up, and dread in heart, there was a surprise performer nevertheless, Noel Pearson.

Cromwell, after giving a particularly sneering run-down on Rupert Murdoch’s multiple short-comings — things like supporting racists, bigots and war-mongers — Tony Jones turned to Noel Pearson and suggested, in fairness, that he might have a different take on Murdoch. Well, he certainly did, and Pearson became the surprise performer of the evening with views we had never heard expressed before on the ABC.

He went straight to it, and the more he went on, the more an eerie silence filled the studio.

Yeah. I mean, without the support of The Australian over the last 15 years, I don’t think we would have made the ground we have in Indigenous affairs. I think a reorientation in Indigenous affairs was necessary and, quite frankly, The Australian was the only national media vehicle that got behind that. I also think that in prospect, such as with constitutional reform, recognising Indigenous Australians, that quite frankly, Rupert Murdoch is probably one of, I would say, five or six people who are absolutely key to a successful referendum. I would count Paul Keating and John Howard as the other two white Australians who are key to that success, as well as Patrick Dodson and Lowitja O’Donoghue. So, I understand the whole critique of News Corporation and Murdoch and so on but when it comes to Indigenous affairs in this country, Murdoch has a history that goes back to the Stuart case for the Adelaide Advertiser in 1959, the fight against the death penalty for Max Stuart and his flagship paper, in particular, has been completely assiduous in its support of what I would say is the right set of radical centre politics. Now, that might not be beautiful music to the ears of people on the left but I would argue that the radical centre policies that we are trying to prosecute here are absolutely essential for Indigenous people.

After recovering from this enormous elephant in the room, Cromwell blathered out a feeble:

“Well, you know, I’m playing a character called Rupert Murdoch who has this journey in the play. It’s not Rupert Murdoch. I have no idea what goes on in Rupert Murdoch. I don’t understand this. His voice certainly is louder than anybody else’s voice …[???]

He finished this part of his diatribe by talking about the Native Americans, ‘ripped off’, dominated by the the ‘Anglos who surround them’ and appealed for the need of a dialogue for them. “Everybody has to have a voice”.

Pearson then explained very calmly what it felt like not to have a proper voice.

Go Noel:

Well, some of our most gut-wrenching fights for the rights of our people in relation to land and the ability of our people to develop and have employment and so on have been supported by Murdoch’s papers solely. Not a word from the ABC. Not a word from Fairfax. The Murdoch press has argued for our right not to live in poverty and they’ve supported us in the fights. They’ve also supported justice for deaths in custody, the Mulrunji case in Palm Island. The Australian newspaper left every other outlet for dead in advocating Mulringi’s case in the death in custody at Palm Island. So, I detect in Murdoch, and I have met him a number of times, I detect basic Australian fealty to the Indigenous people. There is a human being under the mogul and I think that whatever he might do in the United States, the way in which he has influenced his outlets here in Australia, I can’t be more thankful for the support they give us and our causes. People might not agree with the causes I advocate but they are causes about land rights, human rights but also about welfare reform and economic development. We’ve got to have both and we’ve got to combine those two things in an intelligent way because it can’t just be that we live off a leftist prescription and abandoning the right’s prescription. We have got to bring the two together.

What a brilliant reply. What an iconoclastic view for our ABC and its audience. There was a palpable sense of embarrassment and silence in the studio.

The caravan moved on eventually to the tricky problems concerning our Muslim minority and terrorism. The question from the floor was about whether or not the Government had done enough to understand the point of view of these people or is our reaction to ISIS simply producing ever more radicalised individuals?’

After some unsatisfactory waffling from the ABC’s Waleed ‘Nothing-to-See-Here’ Aly, Tony Jones at this point turned to Noel Pearson with a beautiful slime question, the quality for which he is an expert:

I’d actually quite like to hear from Noel Pearson on this. It is not a subject we often hear you talking about but it’s occupied a huge amount of space in The Australian newspaper, for example, which you obviously read.

Noel decides to talk about Assimilation and the Enlightenment. Pure gold.

I can’t speak directly to it. I can only speak about my thinking about assimilation. I came upon the idea that, you know, assimilation is a bad thing. It has been utterly opposed by Indigenous people. We don’t want to lose our identity, religion, culture, traditions but there is one thing in which – in respect of which a process of assimilation is unavoidable and that is assimilation to the enlightenment. And I think the problem we are grappling with in Australia, as throughout the West, is that the enlightenment has been conflated with kind of western culture, white fellas. Associated with white fellas, when the enlightenment was a human achievement. It wasn’t a western achievement or a British achievement or an English achievement. It’s a human achievement contributed to by people from the Arab States and China and India. All over the globe have contributed to the enlightenment and I think we’re on a wrong course here in Australia when we insist on Muslims assimilating on the basis of “Well, you’ve got to be like the white fellas of Australia” when, really, the essential – and the same goes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. The only assimilation, if I might use that very untrusted word – the only assimilation that should ever be a kind of requisite of citizenship, is assimilation to the enlightenment.

TONY JONES: And what do you do when something – a phenomenon pops up like ISIS, which is sort of the antithesis of the enlightenment?

NOEL PEARSON: Yes, and absolutely it’s got to be opposed and I think that but the way in which we deal with our own citizens who might be attracted to radical ideologies like that is not to hector them about the superiority of the white enlightenment but the human achievement of the enlightenment, which is as much a heritage of Muslims and Indigenous Australians as it is for Anglo Australians.

An outstanding night for Q&A and for the clear headedness of Noel Pearson.

WHY CLIMATE SCIENCE HAS FAILED

December 17, 2014

Would you bet your paycheck on a weather forecast for tomorrow? If not, then why should this country bet billions on global warming predictions that have even less foundation?      Thomas Sowell

A concerned friend wrote to warn me of a scientific mistake I was making in a recent post I made of the nonsense that this year was already the hottest on record.

I thanked him for what I took to be a constructive criticism and yet again pondered why there is such a breakdown between the two sides of the debate on climate change.

I have also been struck by the futility of both sides hurling cherry-picked contradictions at each other on almost every possible detailed point in the science, mainly because the science is diabolically complex and most or us are not scientific experts. It always ends up as an exhausting and ultimately futile tit for tat way to proceed, particularly between friends.

So I thought I should respond to my friend by finding questions of fact that we could agree on and then explore the answers to see if we could come to some better understanding. The distinguished science philosopher Karl Popper once said that “no one can give us more service than by showing us what is wrong with what we think or do, and the bigger the fault, the bigger the improvement made possible by its revelation”.

It was in this noble spirit I embarked on this piece.

The most important question that needs to be asked is: why, after so many billions of dollars of research by leading science institutions throughout the world is it that the warmists have failed to convince me and half of the rest of the world of rapid and catastrophic climate change?

The first problem I have is with all the hundreds of failed claims. Here is a short list of five. I ask therefore, why should I now trust any predictions about future weather from anyone in our climate science community?

FALSE PREDICTIONS

1. Whilst not a climate scientist himself, Tim Flannery was paid hundreds of thousands of dollars by the Australian Government to tell us “that the science was clear”, that all the major capitals in Australia would run out of water. He was successful. Our governments believed him and spent billions of dollars on now useless mothballed desal plants.

2.   Similarly, the BOM and CSIRO both claimed the science showed that the long drought we had at the turn of this century was the sign of a new climate — “so get used to it” — due to anthropogenic climate change. Later, when the rains returned, they themselves admitted they were wrong.

3. In March 2000, Dr David Viner, a senior research scientist at the climatic research unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia said that the science showed that within a few years winter snowfall would become “a very rare and exciting event. Children just aren’t going to know what snow is,” he said.  The British Met Bureau concurred and spent the next few years spectacularly predicting warmer winters that ended up bitter and snow bound.

4.  Michael Mann produced a Hockey Stick graph, used in at least two IPCC reports as definitive proof of spectacular and unusually rapid warming due to man-made climate change, only to be found to be a fraud by a US Senate Committee. The Hockey Stick was quietly dropped from the 5th IPCC Report and is now no longer used.

5. On the ‘mistake’ reported by my friend, on the “hottest year on record, this turned out to be a trivial claim. Matt Ridley, a British science writer in The Times observed “that the World Meteorological Organisation … issued a press release which confirmed that this is likely to be the warmest year in a century or more, based on surface temperatures. Yet this predicted record would be only one-hundredth of a degree above 2010 and two-hundredths of a degree above 2005 — with an error range of one-tenth of a degree. True scientists would have said: this year is unlikely to be significantly warmer than 2010 or 2005 and left it at that.”

These five points indicates gross errors, admissions of errors down to trivial conclusions about 1/100 of one degree temperature rises. This is not reassuring and essentially no warmist will address any of  these points honestly when asked.

THE IPCC CONSENSUS

To understand clearly what scientists mean by a “consensus” the IPCC 5th Summary Document for Policy Makers. September 2013 is essential reading.

It is a key document which reflects the most recent thinking from our international climate scientists.

1. The IPCC admits that insignificant warming has occurred in the last 15 years.

2. The IPCC admits that in 34 years there has been no new assessment made as to the effect a doubling of CO2 will have on temperature.

3. The IPCC admits a “low confidence” that damaging increases will occur in either drought or tropical cyclone activity due to climate warming.

4. The IPCC admits uncertainty to the positive or negative radiative effect of clouds [the most important green house gas].

All of these statements were made in the report and yet there is a baffling claim of settled science and 95 percent certainty in the consensus view of the science. I have never heard anyone in the ABC or Fairfax admit the uncertainties expressed here in the report itself.

CLIMATE MODELS  HAVE COMPLETELY FAILED

As a result of these uncertainties and the failure to address them, it has now been realised that the Climate Models are seriously wrong. IPCC scientists themselves have now admitted that they cannot explain why their climate models did not predict the present 17-18 year pause in warming. According to one independent climate scientist, former NASA scientist Dr Roy Spencer, almost all of the climate models used by government agencies and scientists to calculate and predict this century’s weather are completely wrong, going back to 1975.

One look at this graph shows why:

Therefore, I ask, on what basis is anyone to believe a thing these people say when it is from these models that they issue their dire warnings.

GLOBAL WARMING VERSUS CLIMATE CHANGE

Evidence shows that the world has been warming for the last two centuries but this proves nothing about what is causing it. Up until about 2008 my superannuation fund was also rising but then it stopped. I am mildly panicking but should I blame the Earth’s temperature pause.  On the other hand, my house has gained in price as has the CO2 content of the atmosphere. Should I thank carbon di-oxide?

This may sound silly or trivial but correlations are important, and at the moment there is a stronger correlation between these things than temperature to CO2.

Nobody that I know disagrees that the Earth has been warming; both warmists and sceptics agree, although most warmists don’t know this. The only reason that sceptics constantly bring attention to the pause in warming is simply because it exposes ALL the predictions listed above to a failure of the theory. This is why Global Warming became Climate Change.

I asked my friend, given the above facts, whether it wasn’t reasonable to be at least a little sceptical about the certainty claimed by climate scientists?

Uncertainty and the desire to test theories by falsification is one of the fundamental demarcations of science claimed by Karl Popper in his Logic of Scientific Method. He was a highly critical falsificationist and urged scientists at a methodological level not to evade refutation of their theories. It is this systematic failure of climate scientists to willingly question their assumptions or even begin to consider the legitimate questions of sceptics that has brought them to the present failure. As the Chinese proverb says, “To be uncertain is to be uncomfortable, but to be certain is to be ridiculous”

AN IMPORTANT UPDATE

After writing this, I received in the post this morning the most timely of Christmas presents: a new, comprehensive book on climate change, Climate Change: The Facts 2014It addresses the problems I raise here in great detail.

Published by the Institute of Public Affairs, it is edited by Alan Moran. It has brilliant contributions from a range of the best Australian and international climate scientists and journalists. A delightful, entertaining and informative read. I urge anyone grappling with the issue to have a read over Christmas. It is the perfect reference book. I hope copies have been sent to all ABC producers and journalists.

ANOTHER UPDATE

In a blog today, Andrew Bolt, a contributor to the book, gives a detailed list of the crazy false alarms that warmist scientists and the media have promoted. When will the veil lift from the warmists’ eyes?

THE INTOLERANT LEFT

December 13, 2014

“They were almost all absolutist, whining liberal lefties, whose capacity for intolerance is unbounded.”

There was an outstanding piece in The Speccie [29 November] on divorce by British journalist Rod Liddle about the intolerance of the Left. This basically means intolerance towards whatever it is they disagree with.

Conservative in Australia knows that saying almost anything that is heartfelt, obvious or true at a dinner party leads to a chill in the atmosphere, followed by accusations of being ‘controversial’ or ‘provocative’ and then ostracism. This leads over time to a gradual loss of friends. Same process in Great Britain: it is in the nature of the bird.

A recent survey of attitudes towards Ukip found that people believe it to be a ‘toxic’ party, with nearly a quarter of those surveyed admitting that it would be “hard to remain friends with someone who felt warmth and fellowship towards Nigel Farage”. Liddle observes that it says more about this quarter of those surveyed than it does about Ukip: “They were almost all absolutist, whining liberal lefties, whose capacity for intolerance is unbounded.”  That description of certain people would of course be familiar to those of us who watch the ABC in Australia.

Liddle continues with a delightful description of this intolerance that is worth sharing:

Another survey, a year or two back, suggested you were also likely to be ‘defriended’ on Facebook by lefties if you disagree with something they say — far more likely than you are to be defriended by a right-winger for daring to suggest that, say, slavery perhaps had its downsides, all things considered. These people have the tolerance of the ADHD toddler, pre the administering of several thousand ccs of Ritalin. In essence, they are as flexible of mind and as democratic of spirit as the Islamists to whom they are habituated to offer sympathy and even solidarity. They may not actually chop your head off but — as the writer David Goodhart discovered when he wrote a book which was mildly challenging of the liberal mindset on immigration — they may prevent you from appearing at the Hay-on-Wye literary festival. I suppose, on the grand scale of things, that’s less incommodious than being separated from your own head. But the principle is the same.

ABC CONTINUES TEDIOUS CLIMATE PANIC

December 7, 2014

Because of global cooling it was an even-money bet whether England would survive until the year 2000

1969 Paul Ehrlich

The doomsayers never stop, one way or the other. The ABC was full of the news of the hottest year on record. There were headlines everywhere. The warmists were so relieved with this new piece of reassurance. There was no thought or possibility by the orthosphere that this might be an exaggeration or, dare I say it, totally wrong.

Jo Nova has a very clear version of what is happening:

When will the Bureau of Meteorology discover satellites? How many years will it take to train the ABC journalists to ask the BOM if satellite measurements agree or disagree with their highly adjusted, altered, deleted, and homogenised ground stations?

I used exactly no tax dollars to email John Christy of UAH, get the latest data, and graph it to show that in Australia 2014 was not the hottest spring, and not the hottest winter, summer or autumn either. Why can’t the BOM or the $1.1 billion ABC do that?

If the BOM served the public, they would make sure the public knew that these records depend entirely on their choice of dataset and on their mysterious homogenization procedures. …

It’s as if the BOM were working for Greenpeace instead of us …

Quelle surprise!   Nova also provides some interesting graphs.

RACE RELATIONS IN AMERICA

December 5, 2014

“Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote of thy brother’s eye.’’

There is a palpable hardening in the polarisation of the moral values stakes with regard to almost everything in the political domain  — refugees, Aboriginals, free speech, same sex marriage, mining, global warming, gender offensive language and religion.

This was again put on display recently from the same left sources over the riots after the shooting of the young black man Michael Brown by Darren Wilson of the Ferguson police in Missouri.

Theodore Dalrymple, following the valiant comments by ex New York Mayor Rudi Giuliani and many others to explain the reality of the so-called racist motivations of white police, observes the same dangerous righteousness in France too. He reports on the leading Left wing journal Liberation where the journalists there “think not with their brains but with their skins”.

The figures speak for themselves, and whilst confusing for ideologues who are more interested in theory than fact, they have a sobering reality about them. Dalrymple explains: 

When demonstrators held up placards saying “Black lives matter’’, they did not mean those 5375 blacks murdered last year, overwhelmingly by other blacks  … What they meant was that black lives matter when they are ended by whites, especially by policemen.

Here the figures are indeed startling, though also instructive. Between 1980 and 2008, about 12,000 people were killed by the US police (and 2000 policemen were killed). White officers killed twice as many white suspects or felons as they killed black; black officers killed nearly four times as many black suspects or felons as they killed whites.

More than a quarter of blacks killed by police — about 1300 of 4500 — were killed by black officers; and as black officers represent only a sixth of the force, a black man should therefore be warier of a black policeman than a white.

Dalrymple points out that this condescension by Liberation towards the “objects of its sympathies, is itself outright racist”.

He concludes:

For if Brown had been shot by a black policeman in similar circumstances, the case would not have merited a line.

Righteous Feminism versus brilliant Science

December 4, 2014

Ayaan Hirsi Ali pings the handbag hyenas for pursuing “trivial bullshit”. 

I noticed the extraodinary wailing and subsequent humiliation of Dr Matt Taylor, project scientist of the European Space Agency who managed the remarkable feat of landing an exploratory spacecraft onto Comet 67P for wearing a colourful shirt at his press conference.

His sin was to wear a pop-art style shirt with pictures of “gun-totting women” dressed in what otherwise might have been classed as “sisterhood approved burlesque“. But no.

With the whiff of complaint by the sisterhood, the American Astronomical Society (AAS), The Astronomical Society of Australia (ASA), the Royal Astronomical Society (RAS), and the American Geophysical Union all caved in to the Barking Spiders and fell over backwards to apologise. The RAS even added, just in case we hadn’t got the message, that behaviour such as clothing choices “can discourage women from pursuing careers in science.”  Ouch.  Of course.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a harsh critic of Islam’s treatment of women, speaking at the American Independent Women’s Forum Women of Valor recently reminded the guests that “once upon a time, feminists fought for the access — basic right — access of girls to education.”

But now she feels they have squandered this victory with “trivial bullshit”.

“What we are now doing with the victory, and I agree with you if you condemn that and I condemn whole-heartedly the trivial bullshit it is to go after a man who makes a scientific breakthrough and all that we as women — organized women — do is to fret about his shirt?”

“We must reclaim and retake feminism from our fellow idiotic women.”

Hirsi Ali has a rather broader perspective than our spoilt middle class feminists. Talking of her own life as a young girl in Somalia she explained:

“If something wrong were to happen to me, and where I come from that happened all the time — you were groped, you were harassed, you were raped — you had no recourse because you weren’t supposed to be where you were.” You were married off as a child and you had to obey the person that you were married to, it was just your luck.”

Indeed, trivial bullshit. But I feel for Dr Matt Taylor and his pillorying by a humourless and embittered feminism gone wrong and also by scientific institutions that quake at the slightest accusation of political incorrectness.

I’m back again. I can’t stand the hypocrisy, the lies and the spin

December 4, 2014

“To be uncertain is to be uncomfortable, but to be certain is to be ridiculous”        

Chinese proverb

I stopped my blog just over a year ago for various reasons. But with the outrage of media bias, the hypocrisy of various public figures and the general hardening and bitterness with political polarisation in the social sphere, I have decided to return to the fray. Perhaps at a slightly slower pace, but I am there for the count nevertheless.

Baddies versus Baddies

September 1, 2013

“It is not goodies versus baddies, it is baddies versus baddies”  Tony Abbott

Tony Abbott is quite right.

It is a question of baddies versus baddies. Unfortunately, the ALP and the commentariat can’t help themselves, being blinded as they are by reality. Whether it is the Arab Spring, the election of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt as a sign of a return to democracy, or the insurgents in Syria valiantly fighting for freedom, there is amongst so many politicians of both sides a simplistic and dangerous Manachean view of the world.

Acting Finance Minister Penny Wong (that is, acting for the next five days) asks sarcastically, “I mean, is this the sort of approach that you want from a prime minister on foreign policy?” Well, yes, Penny, that is exactly what we want from a Prime Minister. Commentators beyond Australian shores are saying the same, and obvious, thing. Take American historian Dr Tim Stanley: .

We could be about to make a huge mistake.
We’ve spent the last twelve years fighting a war on terror, by which we mean a war on al-Qaeda. Now we’re proposing intervening in the Syrian conflict on the side of – wait for it – al-Qaeda. We’ve lobbed a grenade at the looking glass and jumped straight through.

Similarly, Mark Styen gives us a little bit of reality that escapes the likes of Henny Penny:

So we’ll get rid of Assad and install the local branch of al-Qaeda or the Muslim Brotherhood or whatever plucky neophyte democrat makes it to the presidential palace first — and then, instead of napalmed school yards, there will be, as in Egypt, burning Christian churches and women raped for going uncovered.

Thank god the Rudd era is coming to a close.

British Met in disgrace

August 25, 2013

“Never has the Met Office had more scientists and computing power at its disposal — yet never has it seemed so baffled by the British weather.”

A devastating critique of climate science through the dishonest and feet dragging British Met Office has been made by Rupert Darwall, the author of The Age of Global Warming – A History.

He covers the deceit and cover-up of what he concludes is the largest case of public misfeasance in British history. It is still astonishing to me that, confronted with this sort of evidence of political conniving and plain wrong predictions from senior figures in a supposedly reputable scientific body, people still do not believe that something is seriously amiss in the whole shoddy business.

It is sobering to realise that in Britain alone, the cost of this deceit is costing the British taxpayer a sum approaching half a trillion pounds.

Only this week has Britain had a small taste of the kind of temperatures the Met Office has been promising for over a decade. In September 2008, it forecast a trend of mild winters: the following winter turned out to be the coldest for a decade.

But there is no paradox. It is precisely the power of this technology in harnessing climate scientists’ assumptions about global warming that has scuppered the Met Office’s predictions — and made it a propagandist for global warming alarmism.

The obfuscations …

Last November, the Labour peer Lord Donoughue tabled a written question asking whether the government considered the 0.8˚C rise in the average global temperature since 1880 to be ‘statistically significant’. Yes, came the reply. Douglas J. Keenan, a mathematician and former quant trader for Morgan Stanley, knew the answer was false. With Keenan’s help, Donoughue tabled a follow-up question. The Met Office refused to answer it, not once, but five times. Its refusal to clarify its stance left the energy minister, Baroness Verma, in an awkward position. Only then did it confirm that it had no basis for the claim.

The Met Office’s record of obstruction and denial should give pause to even the firmest believer in global warming and illustrates the profound incompatibility of state science (which climate science has become) and the real thing.

Read the whole article …

 

The West confused about Egypt

August 20, 2013

“An attitude is a vanity accountable to a conscience but is not a solution”

In a remarkably lucid piece in the Wall Street Journal, Brett Stephens looks at the way Obama’s policies in Egypt, for the sake of moral vanity,is just going to make the suffering and the problems worse. Stephens correctly asks, what is a realistic and desirable policy for that country? 

Restoring the dictatorship-in-the-making that was Mr. Morsi’s elected government is neither desirable nor realistic—at least if the millions of Egyptians who took to the streets in June and July to demand his ouster have anything to do with it.

As it is, the people who now are most convinced that Mr. Obama is a secret Muslim aren’t tea party mama grizzlies. They’re Egyptian secularists.

It would be nice to live in a world in which we could conduct a foreign policy that aims at the realization of our dreams—peace in the Holy Land, a world without nuclear weapons, liberal democracy in the Arab world. A better foreign policy would be conducted to keep our nightmares at bay: stopping Iran’s nuclear bid, preventing Syria’s chemical weapons from falling into terrorist hands, and keeping the Brotherhood out of power in Egypt. But that would require an administration that knew the difference between an attitude and a policy.

Why does our media constantly fail to consider uncomfortably realities? 


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