Andrew Bolt picks up the Davidson-Robson piece I mentioned here. I know Bolt mainly from his writing about global warming and (to a lesser extent the Iraq war) where he is about as wrong as it is possible to be, in every possible way. He gets basic facts wrong, recycles long-exploded propaganda exercises like the Oregon Petition and commits just about every kind of logical fallacy known, all in an attempt to push a position that has literally no credible scientific defenders left*. He compounds all this by explaining the virtually unanimous verdict of the scientific community, including such bodies as the US National Academy of Sciences, Royal Society of the UK, Australian Academy of Sciences and so on as the product either of a crude conspiracy to scare up grant money or a quasi-religious cult.
Fortunately, in the case of global warming, anyone with access to the Internet can easily check the facts, so the only people deluded by Bolt on this topic are those complicit in their own delusion, believing an implausible story because it suits their ideological or cultural/tribal prejudices. But Bolt’s opinions on general politics are routinely featured on such programs as the ABCs Insiders. As the name of the show indicates, we are supposed to accept on faith that Bolt has access to facts and insights not available to the rest of us, except through the intermediation of Bolt or his fellow-insiders.
The obvious question is why anyone should pay attention to someone who has shown such a monumental capacity for deluding himself and others. If wishful thinking can lead him to reject science wholesale (global warming is only one example where Bolt’s views on scientific issues are clearly derived from his own prejudices), how likely is it that his treatment of political questions is any better?
I note that Bolt finally seems to be facing some questioning from fellow-insiders on this, but it seems to me to be too little, too late.
The interesting question is whether Bolt, the Oz and others who have got this issue so badly wrong will suffer any long-run penalty for it or whether they will just bounce back and opine, with equal dogmatism, on other topics.
* There are a few credible scientists who dissent from some aspects of the mainstream consensus, but none who back the wholly delusional position espoused by Bolt.