Home > Oz Politics > The great Windschuttle hoax

The great Windschuttle hoax

January 7th, 2009

The publication by Keith Windschuttle of a hoax article on science has been all over the papers and the blogs. I agree with Tim Lambert (who gives lots of links) that the article sounds reasonable by comparison with the nonsense commonly published on scientific topics by Quadrant.

Just before this, I was thinking about another hoax, namely the repeated promise of a Volume 2 of The Fabrication of Australian History. When Volume 1 came out back in 2002, Windschuttle promised further volumes on an annual schedule, covering Queensland and WA. Since Queensland in particular was the focus of Henry Reynolds’ main work, and since the evidence of numerous massacres seems incontrovertible, this promised volume was central to Windschuttle’s claims of fabrication. The promise was repeated year after year, but no Volume 2 ever appeared, and the “research” supposedly already undertaken has stayed out of sight.

Then in February 2008, Windschuttle published extracts from a Volume 2, promised for publication “later this year”, but now on a totally different topic, that of the Stolen Generation. His target this time was Peter Read, an eminent historian who’s done a lot of practical work reuniting Aboriginal children with their birth families. It’s 2009, the promised volume hasn’t appeared, and there hasn’t been any reference to it on Windschuttle’s site for some time.

The real hoax victims here have been those on the political right, who’ve repeatedly swallowed Windschuttle’s promises to refute well-established facts about Australian history “later this year” and who are now getting their “science” from his discredited magazine.

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  1. Socrates
    January 7th, 2009 at 09:12 | #1

    Clearly a case of “Do as I say and not as I do”. I see that Windshuttle has learnt his unrepentent stance from the John Howard school of political debate. Maybe the teaching was the other way around; I don’t know.

    You make a good point about the missing Volume 2 and Qld and WA cases. It is a conspicuous silence.

    I dare say that a similar hoax claiming climate change was a fraud would be published just as eagerly.

  2. cows say moo!
    January 7th, 2009 at 10:49 | #2

    Agree John been waiting for these mysterious volumes on QLD and WA myself. WA and QLD have ample records/books to review why isn’t he in the archives doing it? My guess is he hasn’t got the hook like Lyndal Ryan In Vol 1 to hang his inflammatory rhetoric on. Then again it may just mean he is too lazy to do any actual archival research.

  3. R J Stove
    January 7th, 2009 at 13:24 | #3

    I am probably the only reader of Professor Quiggin’s website who has ever applied (unsuccessfully of course) for the editorship of Quadrant. As such, I thought the following comments, even if they do savour of sour grapes, might be worth making. I have not seen anything like them made by anyone else.

    (a) Quadrant‘s editorship is an unpaid post. (This is something I didn’t know till after I applied for it.) The assumption has long been not only that successive editors will do their work for free, but that they shall frequently top up the available taxpayer funding by subsidising Q from their own pockets. Which puts me, for one, in mind of the old saying “You pay peanuts, you get monkeys.”

    (b) In America (which is where I am usually published), the prevailing attitudes towards editors of intellectual magazines are very different to Australia’s, and much more stringent. If Quadrant were based in the USA, and if anything like this brouhaha over “Dr Gould” ever occurred, Mr Windschuttle would lose his job. Furthermore, he would be considered lucky if he were given more than 10 minutes to clear his desk. This is in the unlikely event that he had not already been dismissed through making such extraordinary pro-plagiarism remarks as “There are very few cases where plagiarism should be a sacking offence for a university teacher” (Quadrant, May 2008). In America, plagiarism is regarded across the political spectrum as the intellectual sin.

    My own dealings with Mr Windschuttle over the years, when they occurred at all, were civil enough. Previously I have praised some things he has written, and condemned other things. While I have my reservations about some things that the hoaxer has said, this whole business is not the first time I have wondered (perhaps wrongly) if Mr Windschuttle now has time in his universe for anyone except 24/7 sycophants.

  4. Alanna
    January 7th, 2009 at 13:33 | #4

    Windschuttle is a 24/7 sycophant himself. At least now we know he only picks through other academics’s footnotes for political reasons and not academic reasons… Windschuttle the white ant.

  5. Hal9000
    January 7th, 2009 at 17:01 | #5

    Integrity and Windschuttle appear to be complete strangers. Having boasted of his work on the allegedly forthcoming Queensland tome, he has been unable to find time to comment on Jonathan Richards’s extensive documentation of officially-sponsored atrocities in The Secret War (Brisbane: UQP, 2008). I’m sure the obscurantists down at the Oz would pay handsomely for any number of Windschuttle words advancing their rapidly expanding population of denialist positions. Can it be that the facts refuse to be fitted around this position?

  6. Alanna
    January 7th, 2009 at 19:15 | #6

    In fact I think there should be a new word meaning to deliberately seek to distort facts or to lie by deliberately obscuranting. Instead of just ordinary fibs, porkies, snowing the snowman etc – Keith created a very special sort of distortion didnt he?. How about blowing in the Windschuttle?.

  7. January 7th, 2009 at 19:45 | #7

    Isn’t it possible that there is a bit of “Sharon Gould” in all of us?

  8. Ange
    January 8th, 2009 at 07:50 | #8

    Re the fraud perpetrated on Keith Windschuttle and Quadrant here’s my assessment, to counter the perfervid lefty analysis of Margaret Simons and the Crikey gang.

    1. Looking at the fraudulent article it looks to me like the fraudster went to a lot of trouble to confect this bonbon. So I’m not sure if many editors of journals would have checked every citation to uncover the lie buried deep within. Would the ABC? Would Crikey with its myriad suspect contributors spouting their partial points of view? Did the climate change errors perpetrated by Hanson get checked before publication such as the recent temperature fraud/error re Russian temperatures, late in 2008?
    2. Here Simons/Crikey et al are gloating over a fraud perpetrated against a target and taking the sides of the fraudster. Is Simons a supporter of Norma Khoury, Helen Demidenko’s fictional perpetration, or perhaps of Bernard Madoff or the Project Wickenby tax avoiders who falsify their records to evade tax? Is Simons a supporter of crimes generally or only against “people not like us.”
    3. The ethics of this stinks from a journalistic sense also. Would a journalist with knowing of an upcoming murder, or a Bernard Madoff scam, or Bilal Skaf’s plans that day in Sydney, wait until it’s done to respect the source? Would Simon s hold back an expose of Tony Mokbel or HIH or Skase to enjoy it being perpetrated?
    4. I think that Windschuttle should take comfort from this. After all he exposed the scientific frauds perpetrated by various famous historians in the aboriginal genocide fraud. This should if anything confirm his desire to expose fraud and confirm that we are all disadvantaged by fraud. It should also teach him to have a science editor to head off such frauds.
    5. Re the reports of Robert Manne laughing about this, nothing would surpriser me from that bilious hating quarter.

    So, Simons and Crikey should sit down and think about the larger issues involved before they get moist and hot about the pleasure they’ve just had watching an assisting in an unethical act.

  9. nanks
    January 8th, 2009 at 08:36 | #9

    Whilst I would hate to be associated with views such as those expressed by the righteous Ange(r?) I think the real strength of the hoax – and the earlier one of Sokal – is to demonstrate the importance of peer review.
    Otherwise it is a bit like those clunky mainstream radio prank calls – anyone can be conned if targeted appropriately.
    Nonetheless Windschuttle seems to me to be akin to the climate change denialists – there is more personality on view than understanding.

  10. Ken Nielsen
    January 8th, 2009 at 08:38 | #10

    I think that all this illustrates how tribal Australian debates have become. It reminds me of two groups of kids at opposite ends of the paddock, throwing rocks and abuse at each other. With a hit, there is loud cheers and laughter.
    Good fun, perhaps, but not informing us much.
    I am not sure whether the net and blogs have made it worse or just exposed something that has always been there. The comments sections of blogs rarely produce debate or discussion. Either everyone piles on: “yeah, what you said” or add the verbal version of a raspberry (“bronx cheer” to any confused Americans who have got lost and wandered into all this) before running off.
    I just wish that we could use it to sharpen and polish the debate. I want to have my opinions challenged and modified, not just confirmed. I want to be made to think.
    But maybe I am just getting old…
    PS To further my campaign, my Christmas present (to myself) was a T Shirt bearing the text:
    “I think you will find that it’s a bit more complicated than that”
    (With acknowledgment to the wise Ben Goldacre)
    I have cross posted this to the skepticlawyer blog.

  11. Socrates
    January 8th, 2009 at 12:14 | #11

    Thinking about Ken’s comments on the tribalism of such debates (which I agree is a major problem) I suppose I could add some comments on several aspects of Ange’s defence of Windshuttle, which I find questionable:
    - referring to unspecified errors by Hansen is just mudying the water, by trying to argue that its OK because others do it, without any proof that they have in fact done so.
    - Simmons actions are not a “fraud”. As per the Ian Plimer case (“Lying for God”) in Australian law a deception is only a fraud if done with the intent of personal gain. That was clearly not the case here. Hence it is not a fraud; deliberate deception yes.
    - Ange has criticised Gould’s journalistic ethics without specifying any aspect of journalists code of ethics that has been breeched. He then compares it to covering up Madoff and other criminal frauds, where a journalist may have a duty to disclose. That is a non-sequiter – the tricking of Quadrant is not a crime, but a deliberate deception to (successfully) prove a lack of adequate checking. There appears to be no unethical conduct here.
    - Why should Windshuttle take comfort? He has been exposed for doing precisely what he has criticised others for. He is a hypocrite.

    It seems to me that it is precisely the inability to admit when one’s own “side” is wrong that makes these debates so tribal.

  12. Ben
    January 8th, 2009 at 12:46 | #12

    I much as I hate to admit it, I think this entire affair is overblown.

    When I first heard this story break on Tuesday, my schadenfreude was palpable. I was expecting something of the level of Alan Sokal’s prank on ‘Social Text’. However, upon further reflection, and the subsequent reading of the actual article involved, I am somewhat disappointed.

    Firstly, however much they may like to pretend, ‘Quadrant’ is not an academic journal, nor is it peer reviewed – it is a platform for opinion pieces. In the case of the Sokal hoax, ‘Social Text’ is both an academic journal and it is supposedly peer-reviewed. Windshuttle’s only sin as editor is in not even bothering to find the time to use Google to see if a) the author even existed and to check their credentials; and b) whether the author had actually given the presentation which they claimed they had based their essay on.

    Secondly, the first half of the essay is quite reasonable in its claims, right up until it mentions that “a full understanding of life cannot be understood simply from amino acid patterns. Physics, chemistry and biology alone cannot alone explain the grace of living systems. Religion and humanity also suggest there is more to us—and all living creatures—than the sum of our quantifiable parts.” As an ecologist trained in both biology and chemistry, I find this claim rather absurd. However, for someone with a religious bent, it is an entirely reasonable statement to make. It’s not until the article dips in the use and misuse of epigenetics that the science-fiction begins.

    Here again is the difference from the Sokal hoax. Only the most rudimentary understanding of physics is required to realise that Sokal’s paper was making ridiculous claims – i.e. that quantum uncertainty means that all scientific knowledge is relative and that therefore G is not constant. The ‘gotcha’ in Gould’s paper relies on an ignorance of epigenetics. This is no sin – epigenetics is a reasonably new (and rarefied) area in the field of genetics (it was still pretty theoretical when I studied genetics back in undergrad 10 years ago). I’m sure the average person would not even know the difference between them or that epigenetics even existed.

    Of course the article does pander to a certain conservative mindset (i.e. the government can’t be trusted; the public can’t be trusted; oblique religious references to human ‘specialness’ etc.), but considering that the article is an opinion piece in a conservative publication that is not surprising.

    All Windshuttle is really guilty of is being duped into publishing something by what in the internet parlance is called a ‘concern troll’. I wouldn’t put it on level of the Sokal hoax at all. With this rather ham-fisted effort, Gould has wasted a golden opportunity to lampoon a bastion of ‘conservative’ ideology.

    I’ll bet Windshuttle’ll be going though all the articles he receives now with a fine-toothed comb and I also expect there’ll be a rash of copy-cats attempting to do the same thing to ‘progressive’ publications.

  13. nanks
    January 8th, 2009 at 13:01 | #13

    Ben, I don’t think Social Text was peer reviewed at the time of the Sokal publication.

  14. Ben
    January 8th, 2009 at 14:06 | #14

    Nanks, you are indeed correct :-)

  15. Ken Nielsen
    January 8th, 2009 at 14:16 | #15

    Socrates said: “It seems to me that it is precisely the inability to admit when one’s own “side” is wrong that makes these debates so tribal.”

    Nup, it starts with deciding that you have a side, as distinct from a point of view on a particular issue.

  16. Crispin Bennett
    January 8th, 2009 at 14:50 | #16

    While it’s true that an editor of any independent magazine, let alone a diminished little rag like the current Quadrant, can hardly be expected to perform a full-scale peer-review, surely at a minimum he might be expected to have done a cursory provenance check? Windschuttle had no reason to believe that ‘Sharon Gould’ had done him the basic courtesy of existing, let alone writing the proferred article.

    It’s manifestly incompetent on his part, and a simple admission of this would have diffused the whole thing. His petulant defence makes it appear that he doesn’t even understand the error he’s made. Which raises the question: is Windshuttle a fit person to sit on the board of our national broadcaster?

  17. Philip B
    January 8th, 2009 at 17:53 | #17

    I’m amazed by “Ange”‘s comments. She (he?) can hardly contain her (his) indignation. I can’t help wondering if (s)he is for real. He starts off excusing Windschuttle for stuffing up big time, attacks global warming research, gets really upset about everyone gloating, questions the ethics of publishing it, says Keith should be ‘comforted’ by this and then has a go at Robert Manne.

    Sorry ‘Ange’, but you are wrong on every count. The whole reason this is a big story (and it is – it will be another Ern Malley) is because it was Keith Windschuttle. He built his career on nit-picking. To see him so effectively hoist with his own petard is just hilarious. And yes, there is a lot of gloating, but it is the gloating of seeing the sanctimonious, the vicious, the contemptible, falling face forward in their own muck. As for the ethics of publishing the story – it’s news. It is very much in the public interest to see that Windschuttle is far more sloppy than any of the victims he attempted to get sacked were, and to see that he will publish any rubbish as long as it conforms to his own prejudices.

  18. Very amused
    January 8th, 2009 at 18:04 | #18

    I think there are some interesting lessons to be learnt from this. The first is the absolute scientific illiteracy of the Right. The fact that Keith took an obviously fake article seriously, strongly supports the claim that when it comes to global warming, the Right do not have the foggiest notion as to what they are talking about. The second is that the Howard years are at last over. Windschuttle was Howard’s favourite historian and favoured him with numerous gifts – most notably ABC board membership. After this, how can anyone take any of these people seriously anymore? The Right has had its economic credibility shattered, its electoral credibility shattered and now, its intellectual credibility shattered. These are indeed the last days of the Right.

  19. Alanna
    January 8th, 2009 at 19:15 | #19

    Very amused

    You are correct in the following statement

    “Windschuttle was Howard’s favourite historian and favoured him with numerous gifts – most notably ABC board membership. After this, how can anyone take any of these people seriously anymore?”

    Exactly – windschuttle received direct poecuniary benefits from taking an ideologically far right position. He and Janet Albrechtsen (another of Howards favourites) somehow managed to secure ABC board positions despite their noted aversion to anything publicy owned (the private sector should be the source of all wealth and the public sector should be greately diminished).

    That they still accepted their remuneration for their public positions is hypocrisy in the extreme. If they think the private sector so wonderful – let them go elsewhere.

    The two of them spent years attacking academia (any academia) and universities as left wing compounds.

    This argument isnt tribal. Its about seeing justice done for many.

    Windschuttle spent years picking his way through any historian who dared to research black history in Australia, contributed actively to the culture wars that set about trying to deride and condemn Australia’s national museum and Australia’s publis universities.

    This is far from a tribal argument.

    It is a sign of society in decay when the genuinely intelligent amongst us are derided, misprepresented and lampooned by the likes of Albrechtsen and Winschuttle.

    Wake up Ange. Go and really read how Windschuttle spent his time in the past decade or two – making claims like “history should be about the study of great men and mighty battles”.

    Well Im female and others are black and some men were working men and we were all here as well and thats real history and Windschuttle is the liar.

  20. Alanna
    January 8th, 2009 at 19:37 | #20

    Furthermore – this argument goes back decades but the greatest Australian historian was always Manning Clark and he will be the greatest Australian historian well into the future through the passage of time – and what was done to Manning Clark by the extreme right wing friends, associates and funders of the organisation (amongst other noted proganda centres) that Keith Windschuttle now prostrates himself in the service thereof just beggars belief. We are not talking just attempted discrediting (as in picking through his footnotes) – we are talking about the destruction of peoples entire careers for political reasons.
    Windschuttle is the type of person who would busy himself burning books, libraries and incarcerating innocent people, along with spouting propaganda if they paid him something for it. That is all he knows how to do. That is all he has ever done. He is no historian of any repute whatsoever in my books and for John Howard or KW to claim so is a very sad sorry little tale.

  21. Ubiquity
    January 8th, 2009 at 22:19 | #21

    This is certainly a great moment for democracy. For all of democracies flaws, the Hoax/fraud of Windschuttle, has contributed postively to the essential function of our democracy.

    This article, says it better than I can

    “On Dissent And Democracy” by Shiv Visvanathan
    http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/1502268.cms begins as follows:

    “One of the great indicators of any society is the creativity of its radicals and the availability of its eccentrics. Equally critical is the tolerance and understanding that society shows its dissenters.

    One needs the notion of human rights not just to emphasise that you are human but recognise that within that humanity, you can be utterly different.

    This is easier said than done, especially in a society where time begins accelerating and mobility rather than justice becomes the tuning fork of welfare. One dreams and demands the instant infrastructure of roads, refineries, dams and laboratories.

    A society in double quick time may be impatient with those who are slowing it down, rendering viscous its dreams of speed, desire and acceleration. Viewed within such a perspective, one can understand a society’s intolerance to the dissenter.”

    It is obvious that for left to exist right must prevail as well. That without Quadrant no Crikey, Withtout “Deniers” their would be no “believers”. etc.

    It would be utterly boring, dull and dangerously statist without all of this firey commentary.

    Windshuttle will no doubt not take this lying down. He will be back for more, wether the Lefties like or not. Face it without eccentric nutty individuals like him (from the left and right) most of these blogs would be dull and boring. We would all go back to gardening.

    So Ange and Alanna be angry, and Very Amused, well your in your own perfect imaginary world at this moment, but not for long I predict.

    It is all a welcome struggle.

  22. Nick K
    January 8th, 2009 at 22:29 | #22

    To be sure, incidents like this do prove a legitimate point about the extent to which people are susceptible to believing false claims that happen to flatter their ideological prejudices.

    But in this case it seems the author went to a lot of effort to disguise the fraud. So what does this prove exactly? The fact that the author had to go to elaborate lengths to disguise the false claims is surely an implicit acknowledgement that Windschuttle would not have fallen for a more obvious fabrication. If Windschutlle is such an imbicile, then surely the author could have got away with making more transparently hyperbolical claims throughout the essay.

    Maybe the folks over at Crikey are such an intellectually astute bunch that they could detect a carefully hidden fraud like this in anything submitted to them. I doubt it though.

  23. Jill Rush
    January 8th, 2009 at 23:15 | #23

    Windschuttle is the kind of person who will happily privatise the ABC by degrees. How much involvement does he have in the decision taken to transfer the publishing arm of the ABC to Rupert Murdoch? How much is he involved in the decision to privatise other parts of the ABC?

    If he is now embarrassed and his standing and career are affected it is something akin to kharma. There are many sayings beloved of conservatives “Pride goes before a fall”, Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”, “as you sew, so shall you reap”.

    The damage is caused to his standing because he makes demands of others that he is not prepared to meet himself. It is as much that he wasn’t interested in verifying the identity of the author as it is about the theories where religion and science were wrapped into the same package. Interestingly people are debating about whether the hoaxer has done right or wrong, how important it is in the scheme of things, but expressing little sympathy for the hoaxed.

    It is about values and if the hoaxer has achieved nothing else there is a strong reflection on Australian values – something that both John Howard in 2006 (from memory) and Kevin Rudd in 2007 reflected on at the same time of year. It is a very Australian characteristic to play a joke at another’s expense – usually not so publicly. Another Australian response would be “Couldn’t have happened to a nicer fella”.

  24. gerard
    January 8th, 2009 at 23:28 | #24

    Reminds me of that other fraud from about a year ago – Carbon dioxide production by benthic bacteria: the death of manmade global warming theory? Journal of Geoclimatic Studies (2007) 13:3. 223-231.

    http://www.scienceblog.com/cms/climate-change-great-gotcha-14750.html

    a fake scientific article published in a fake journal “disproving” AGW. The Right jumped all over it like flies on poo, just as the hoaxters anticipated, proving how pathetic they are when it comes to science (in fact if you google the title it will lead you directly to some choice Rightwing websites).

  25. January 9th, 2009 at 05:04 | #25

    Pr Q says:

    The real hoax victims here have been those on the political right, who’ve repeatedly swallowed Windschuttle’s promises to refute well-established facts about Australian history “later this year” and who are now getting their “science” from his discredited magazine.

    THe award for the biggest and best hoax of the past year goes to Kevin Rudd for his masterful duping of the Left at the 2020 conference. It is unfortunate but apparently inevitable that intellectuals have a chronic tendency to fall at the feet of New Messiah’s. Rudd and Obama have politically benefited from this tendency.

    AUstralian intellectuals were true to social form. They came in droves to Rudd’s Labor-love fest, still in the credulous post-Howard electoral euphoria. And, like Pilgrims to the New Jerusalem, they swallowed Rudd’s political agenda hook, line and sinker.

    Whilst we have so many Left-wing kettles denouncing Windschuttling pots as black I cant resist quoting one attendant at the conference who could barely contain his enthusiasm.

    * As numerous speakers said, the sense of new possibilities and a new openness to ideas has been one of the striking outcomes of the change of government, to an extent that has certainly surprised me.

    * From the government’s point of view, the Summit … raise[d] expectations that the government will actually achieve things in areas like climate change and indigenous policy, rather than putting a better spin on marginal changes to the policies inherited from Howard.

    Of course Rudd’s govt, far from displaying “new possibilities and a new openness to ideas”, has indeed concentrated on “putting a better spin on marginal changes to the policies inherited from Howard”. Even as some much derided Machiavellian commenters were exposing the hoax at the time in its aftermath.

    The “real hoax victims here have been those on the political” Left who fell for the hoax like lemmings.

  26. ange
    January 9th, 2009 at 06:09 | #26

    I’m pleased that the reporting on the outing of this fraud is more balanced, even that of the Spencer Street Soviet of The Age. I think that there’s a recognition that the fraud by the Fitrzroy organic veggie farmer PhD raises many ethical issues (and how appropriate that such a person should figure centrally in a Crikey story – Fitzroy thinking for a Fitzroy crowd). I note alanna’s comment above – I paraphrase it as “Windschuttle is not people like us and burns books like Nazis so we have no suympathy for him” Did I get that right Alanna? Is that intellectual discourse?

    What are the takeaways:
    1. Windschuttle and we all need to recognise that every writer is a potential fraudster liar and deceiver, not just history professors like Lyndall Ryan and Stuart Macintyre (why, even Robin Williams of the ABC with the notorious ‘global warming will cause the seas to rise 100 metres’ fraud might cause the ABC to check its facts or the veracity of its content makers)
    2. I agree that Windschuttle should do a stronger identity checking on his contributors in the future
    3. Margaret Simons and Crikey should consider their journalistic ethics, or else we’ll all let them shill for crooks conmen and fraudsters. Margaret Simons who writes in a blog pretentiously called the Content Makers, sort of a Crikey media Watch, should think long and hard about her role and her moral position in this.

  27. jquiggin
    January 9th, 2009 at 06:14 | #27

    This is utterly lame, Jack. One of your standard diatribes about immigration suddenly becomes an astute prediction that Rudd will capitulate to the brown coal power lobby. In previous iterations of this same comment, I’ve seen you citing (as evidence of your superior insight) something you wrote on another blog a few weeks before the White Paper, when the government’s intentions had been pretty plainly telegraphed.

    As regards the Summit, I expressed cautious optimism. It turned out the caution was more justified than the optimism, which is usually the case I guess. But none of this justifies your absurd retrospective triumphalism.

  28. Socrates
    January 9th, 2009 at 08:34 | #28

    Ken 16

    Quite right, please substitute POV for side in my comment. I don’t personally subscribe to the complete doctrines of any one “side”. The trouble is though, that many people accuse you of belonging to a particular group simply for having a view that group holds, and criticising you on the basis of other views that group may hold which you don’t. Hence I find it difficult not to become polarised while taking part in such a debate.

  29. Chris Warren
    January 9th, 2009 at 08:36 | #29

    Submitting the fake article was a mean trick – but Windshuttle himself is a volcano of dirty tricks.

    Remember too, that early Australian economic growth was based on the genocide of the Aboriginal race, and dispossession for the survivors. Windschuttle (and otehr Quadrant ranters) try to deny this and offers no other explanation for Australian property rights.

    The genocide of Aborigines is the hidden secret to Australian economics.

  30. Steve
    January 9th, 2009 at 08:57 | #30

    Ange’s fault: She uses the words ‘hoax’, ‘fraud’ and ‘error’ interchangeably, and when you are able to slide meanings so easily, its understandable that you could come up with preposterous analogies such as to Skaf and Mokbel.

    An issue with Ben’s comment: “Windshuttle’s only sin as editor..”
    The use of the word ‘only’ suggests that it is perhaps an inexcusable sin to not check the credentials/legitimacy of an author. IMO, Winschuttle should be sacked for this alone – even if the actual article had made perfect sense and been flawlessly footnoted.

    Jack’s mistake: he caricatures all people on the left and intellectuals, assuming that everyone of them is identical to his imaginary caricature. I would hazard a guess that cynicism (or at best, wary curiosity) were the predominant attitudes from many left-leaning people towards the 2020 summit and its cult of celebrity. Having worked in the public service and seen so many whiteboard and sticky-note sessions come to naught, and so many consultation processes be more about ticking the box instead of genuinely getting feedback, I certainly thought the entire exercise was a negative for Rudd.

  31. Jill Rush
    January 9th, 2009 at 09:23 | #31

    #27 Love this comment for its internal contradictions.
    “I’m pleased that the reporting on the outing of this fraud is more balanced, even that of the Spencer Street Soviet of The Age”.

    and

    ““Windschuttle is not people like us and burns books like Nazis so we have no suympathy for him” Did I get that right Alanna? Is that intellectual discourse?”

    The use of quotation marks for an imaginary statement is a new kind of punctuation worthy of Quadrant. The rhetorical question sits quite well after the mention of Nazis burning books.

    Nicely balanced – we have the Communists and the Nazis within the same paragraph.

  32. disinterested observer
    January 9th, 2009 at 09:28 | #32

    I think that we should put aside for the moment all of Keith Windschuttle’s past history and treat him as if he were a non-controversial editor of a small magazine, but one which has a significant history in Australia, some influence, and which aims to be seen as a high quality magazine.

    We should also recognise that this is a literary/cultural/political opinion magazine and that it is not a peer-reviewed academic journal.

    Also as I understand from earlier comments (either here or somewhere else) he is not paid for this editorial job.

    For the purposes of balance we should also ignore the ethics of sending a hoax paper to this magazine, as that is a separate issue to be debated.

    However, what we would then conclude about this affair?

    Well I would conclude that this editor is willing to publish material he doesn’t really understand and has no expertise in; that he didn’t appear to pass this on to anybody on his editorial board or anyone sympathetic to his editorial aims who has the ability to make a reasoned assessment of the article, or if he did they also didn’t have the requisite knowledge or judgement to do so.

    I would also conclude that his standards for accepting an article run as far as that it will “promote debate” and that it appears superficially plausible. When you read the article, my reaction – perhaps influenced by knowing that it is fake – is that it is indeed superficially plausible, but that the arguments are all over the place, and that there are many assertions of fact that I wasn’t particularly aware of, and there are bits of it that I don’t particularly follow.

    Also if I were an editor and received an unsolicited manuscript, I think that I would also like to check the qualifications of the author to write on this subject, and I think that this would involve confirming that the author actually exists, and has been pointed out, in the age of Google this is not a difficult task.

    So my overall conclusion would be that this non-controversial editor – even though unpaid (except in prestige) – has not adequately done the basic job he is supposed to do.

    Still leaving aside Windschuttle’s past history, but bearing in mind the other articles on scientific subjects that he has published in Quadrant, and bearing in mind the articles he hasn’t published (as Harry Clarke has pointed out) I think that I would also conclude that this editor and therefore the magazine is not a reliable guide to scientific issues, and possibly other issues that are supposed to be related to facts rather than literary qualities.

    Now if I was the proprietor or on the editorial board, I would consequently be fairly unhappy with the editor for lowering the perception of magazine quality. If I was a potential author, I would probably think about looking elsewhere for publication opportunities, at least until the editor had been replaced.

  33. Chris Warren
    January 9th, 2009 at 09:58 | #33

    I do not think ‘disinterested observer’ has spotted the real issue.

    Windschuttle cannot be divorced from his past history because he continues in the same rut.

    He needs to be treated with the same respect he shows to others.

    Giving right-wing dogmatists and provocateurs protection is a recipe for a disaster.

  34. Alanna
    January 9th, 2009 at 10:17 | #34

    Ange

    As usual people like you do not get it right. You quote me directly

    “I note alanna’s comment above – I paraphrase it as “Windschuttle is not people like us and burns books like Nazis so we have no suympathy for him” Did I get that right Alanna? Is that intellectual discourse?

    What I said was

    “Windschuttle is the type of person who would busy himself burning books, libraries and incarcerating innocent people, along with spouting propaganda if they paid him something for it.”

    In other words Ange, but definitely not yours or your kind, he sold his soul like a puppet to his political masters for a buck in his own “rational” self interest. I guess that makes him a good little conservative but a very poor academic.

  35. Alanna
    January 9th, 2009 at 10:30 | #35

    Oh and Ange. Im surprised Windschuttle hasnt changed his allegience lately – given his history – if I recall he was once a Trotsky lover and contrary to how you place me – I dont care one way or the other – I just dont like to see people manipulating political views, claiming false science is on their side (anti accepted science), while they busy themselves attacking genuine hardworking researchers who do put the hard yards in while they sit around creating divisive, insulting and downright objectionable media blurbs.

    That doesnt make for a tolerant society. They have been the vicious attackers – not the imaginary “wave of lefties.” I dont know many “lefties” in fact. Do they really exist?

    Universities encompass all views – they are not and never were “lefty” compounds. Thats just an argument for privatisation as was the purpose of Windschuttles position on the ABC board under Howards close watch, and the electorate (myself included) would like to see more balance and common sense back (have had enough of economic rationalism and the worship of the individual gone mad) – such balance the recent Coalition government was severely lacking.

  36. January 9th, 2009 at 11:36 | #36

    I agree with most of what Ange says.

    The deceitful (they can’t be that ignorant) assaults on Windschuttle are becoming hysterical.

    The difference between the mini-deception that Windschuttle fell for and the mega-deceptions professors Manne, Quiggin et al fall for is that the former was corrected quickly at Quadrant’s expense and the latter are propagandized interminably at taxpayer’s expense.

  37. Ben
    January 9th, 2009 at 12:51 | #37

    Lol – this is turning into, excuse the phrase, a ‘wingnut circle jerk’, with the leftie/pinko/moonbats squaring off against the rightwing/nazi/deathbeasts.

    It’s truly amazing how quickly people slip back into tired and hackneyed ideological positions.

    I have no particular love for Mr Windshuttle, his politics, his scholarship or his magazine. However all he has done in this instance is to show that he is a fallible human – just like all of us – and that he is able to be blind-sided by confirmation bias – just like all of us.

    The rest, as disinterested observer says, is irrelevant.

  38. O6
    January 9th, 2009 at 13:11 | #38

    Does anyone have a view on the content of the faked article, never mind the ethics and the Schadenfreude? Was it intended to discredit ‘genetic engineering’ through guilt by association, or what? Has it helped to do so?

  39. January 9th, 2009 at 13:17 | #39

    @Ben – nailed it. The issue with most commentators here, apparently, is Windschuttle – his personality and politics.

    If, as @Chris Warren says, you believe “Windschuttle cannot be divorced from his past history because he continues in the same rut.” why bother worrying about the “rights and wrongs” of submitting a fraudulent article at all?

  40. January 9th, 2009 at 13:26 | #40

    @O6 – It wasn’t a very well written article, but much of what it said was reasonable too… especially the first half on the reporting of science and the “rationally irrational public” from the Thomas Gilovich book (a must read btw).

    Also, human genes are used in plenty of genetic research. E.g (from here): http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20026844.500-pig-organs-ready-for-humans-at-last.html

    To deal with this, two groups have produced pigs carrying human genes for anti-clotting substances. Revivicor has inserted a gene for a protein called tissue factor pathway inhibitor, which neutralises tissue factor, a key trigger of clot formation. And at the University of Melbourne in Australia, Anthony d’Apice and his colleagues have bred pigs that make human CD39, a protein that stops platelets from aggregating into clots.

    So arguing that it should happen is a BFD?

    And the conclusion:

    Great moral questions can only be dealt with when the facts are laid out accurately. In applying their ethical calculus to complex scientific questions, the media and the public—and consequently, policy-makers—very often err.

    Well, yeah. On it’s own, what wrong with that?

    The implication I got from the article, however, was that therefore the public and the media should “just butt out”, which I completely disagree with.

    In saying all that, it’s very poor editorial work in using an article that: “…was presented at the 19th International Conference on Genome Informatics in Brisbane. And not check out if it’s acceptable to reprint it (apropos of copyright). It took me about 5 second to find the conference program and see that “Sharon Gould” was not on it…
    http://mlaa.com.au/giw2008/GIW%20Program.htm

  41. jquiggin
    January 9th, 2009 at 13:46 | #41

    A lot of the discussion above is about the current hoax. As I said in the post, this seems a lot less interesting than Windschuttle’s failure to deliver the goods on the central claims he made in 2002 and earlier.

    JD, as regards immediate correction of hoaxes, can you point to a correction of Windschuttle’s claim to have evidence (to be published in a Volume 2 of Fabrication) refuting the historical analysis of Reynolds and others for Queensland.

  42. January 9th, 2009 at 14:55 | #42

    You have correctly identified a far more important point than the hoax, Prof Q. Windy seems to have a chronic case of writer’s block.

  43. Ernestine Gross
    January 9th, 2009 at 15:45 | #43
  44. Smiley
    January 9th, 2009 at 16:55 | #44

    (why, even Robin Williams of the ABC with the notorious ‘global warming will cause the seas to rise 100 metres’ fraud might cause the ABC to check its facts or the veracity of its content makers)

    Ange, the only problem with your argument is that geodesists (you know people who actually study the size and shape of the earth) have acknowledged that if all the land based ice melts the sea level rises at the equator will be in the vicinity of 100 metres. But don’t let those scientists who study these things get in the way of a good story.

  45. Alanna
    January 9th, 2009 at 22:57 | #45

    I wouldnt mind so much if I hadnt read the history of the culture wars – and lets face it – I am a newcomer having only read about these things in the last few years. But I did read a lot. I am horrified that economics historians – once a vital and integral part of the teaching of any econics qualification – and now almost extinct – were so hunted out of universities – by the “free marketeers” of the extreme right who saw economics historians as “left”. I dont want to go into it – but I will provide a link instead. I just teach economics to students who want to hear economics history, and the history of economic thought (yes, the current generation ask “why cant we have more of this” – and I wonder why they cant also).
    Bring back economics history – for some desperately needed meaning to the science.

    http://www.asslh.org.au/sydney/hummer/vol4no1/irving.htm

  46. Alanna
    January 9th, 2009 at 23:07 | #46

    If you read the link I posted in the previous post you may notice a name – Peter Coleman. He has something in common with Keith Windschuttle. Both editors of Quandrant.

  47. Alanna
    January 9th, 2009 at 23:46 | #47

    In only have another link here – all Windschuttle is interested in is the almighty dollar but frankly he isnt thinking straight at the moment – there is more money to be made in switching from left to right to left again. Too slow.

    http://atheism.about.com/b/2005/09/18/keith-windschuttle-goes-off-the-deep-end.htm

  48. January 10th, 2009 at 02:27 | #48

    jquiggin Said:

    A lot of the discussion above is about the current hoax. As I said in the post, this seems a lot less interesting than Windschuttle’s failure to deliver the goods on the central claims he made in 2002 and earlier.

    JD, as regards immediate correction of hoaxes, can you point to a correction of Windschuttle’s claim to have evidence (to be published in a Volume 2 of Fabrication) refuting the historical analysis of Reynolds and others for Queensland.

    JD Responds:

    Is this really the best you have Professor Quiggin? This is Windschuttle’s big hoax? This justifies all the bile?

    It is not Windschuttle who is under an obligation to prove or produce evidence for the non-deaths of Queensland Aborigines – it is a logical impossibility to prove a negative. It is Reynolds who is logically under an obligation to prove, or at least to present evidence for, his 1981 claim that 10,000 Queensland Aborigines were killed by white settlers. This he has never done, and until he does, Windschuttle has no evidence he can challenge.

    Reynolds originally implied that his evidence was in his 1978 monograph titled Race Relations in North Queensland. But in 2000 Windschuttle revealed that it recorded only white deaths – no evidence of black deaths at all. Reynolds didn’t dispute this revelation but propagandized that: “the evidence concerning the ubiquity of conflict is overwhelming. It can be found in almost every type of document …The evidence for a great loss of life is voluminous, various and incontrovertible…I had done 10 years of research during which time I read every sort of document in every major library and archive in Australia… During my research I collected hundreds of references to frontier violence…I could have written a large and detailed book on frontier violence with copious documentation but it would have been a repetitive and ultimately depressing exercise.”

    So in 1981 Reynolds presented no evidence for his estimate of black deaths in Queensland, and in 2000 he declined to present his evidence because he found the job too depressing. Three years later, in Whitewash, he made a similar claim about all the evidence he had of hundreds of black deaths in Tasmania, but on that occasion he declined to produce his evidence on the grounds that he had insufficient space. In 2004 he wrote a chapter for a book on Genocide and Settler Society, but again he declined to present any evidence of any killings.

    All his career Reynolds has been supported by the academic establishment, but we taxpayers who fund it all are still waiting for a presentation of even a summary or sampling of all this evidence that Reynolds has been invoking since 1981!

    And you, Professor Quiggin, have the nerve to call Windschuttle a hoaxer because, between editing Quadrant and making a living, he hasn’t found the time to write and publish the second volume of Fabrication yet!!

    Like I said – it’s propaganda interminable at taxpayers’ expense.

  49. January 10th, 2009 at 02:53 | #49

    Alganna said: “Universities encompass all views” Of course they do, the full spectrum, from Lenin to Trotsky, and everything inbetween.

  50. jquiggin
    January 10th, 2009 at 06:29 | #50

    Shorter JD “the dog ate my homework”

    As Reynolds says, quoted in the passage, the evidence is overwhelming. Here’s an example which took five seconds to find on Google, citing among others Geoffrey Blainey as a source

    http://www.kalkadoon.org/index.php/history/

    But the absence of Windschuttle’s v2 is even better evidence – if he had looked and found nothing, he would certainly be saying so.

  51. January 10th, 2009 at 09:30 | #51

    Get a life, John Dawson. I sometimes trap and kill rabbits on my property and so do my neighbours. Since each individual rabbit death isn’t recorded does that mean it didn’t happen? Isn’t it reasonable for someone to draw conclusions on how many rabbits are killed by landowners each year by using indirect evidence?

    For obvious reasons there will be no documented record of many, maybe most frontier killings and hence historians must make inferences that are necessarily no more than educated guesses.

  52. January 10th, 2009 at 09:34 | #52

    So, since 1981, Reynolds has been saying: “I’ve got nothing [more] to offer, so I’ll just say again what I said last time”, which is that 10,000 were killed in Queensland, and I have mountains of evidence for this, but it’s too depressing/I have no space/I don’t feel like presenting it for scrutiny.

    And since 2002 Windschuttle has been saying: “I’ve got nothing [more] to offer, so I’ll just say again what I said last time”, that Reynolds has produced no evidence to back his Queensland estimate.

    And according to the self-righteous, self-perpetuating, self-deceiving academic mindset this makes Windschuttle the big hoaxer, while they simply ignore the demolition of their Tasmanian genocide thesis or respond with more misrepresentation, adhominem and vilification.

    It would be laughable if it wasn’t so tragic that this is what passes for academic scholarship in this country.

  53. nanks
    January 10th, 2009 at 10:06 | #53

    @53 – John Dawson “Alganna said: “Universities encompass all views” Of course they do, the full spectrum, from Lenin to Trotsky, and everything inbetween.”
    Why do you say such silly things – how is your comment true of the work of my colleagues and I in Neuroscience? Or the work of others in Maths or Music or Management or Tourism or Physiotherapy or Nursing etc etc? Why do you denigrate the valuable work produced by academics in teaching and research?

  54. January 10th, 2009 at 10:37 | #54

    You are right nanks, there are some real scholars in academia who do very important work. A few of these, a very few, are in humanities and social science departments.

  55. Alanna
    January 10th, 2009 at 12:02 | #55

    JD
    John Dawson Says:
    January 10th, 2009 at 2:53 am
    Alganna said: “Universities encompass all views” Of course they do, the full spectrum, from Lenin to Trotsky, and everything inbetween.

    This is exactly the point I am trying to make. A society for historians forms (an apolitical society of labour historians) and the ratbags amongst us set about destroying it and making accusations that it is ?”a secret society of communists.” That was US funded campaign of McCarthyism. I thought I lived in a tolerant country JD and I intend to fight for tolerance in our society. Stereotyping people in groups (such as all those in universities) as “dangerous” just because some MAY have different political views to you or want to belong to a different political party is the truly dangerous thing for a TOLERANT society.

    Time to end the witch hunt of the last vestiges of McCarthyism JD.

    We live in Australia not America and I resent the US funding, political infliltration, and the pathetic and foolish Australians prepared to avail themselves of financial opportunity from it (and in so doing rob Australia of tolerance in our society).

    Windschuttle is one of those weak individuals.

  56. cows say moo!
    January 10th, 2009 at 12:02 | #56

    oh for heavens sake John Dawson what is this fantasy world you inhabit? There was just a Senate Inquiry into bias at Universities which found no evidence. You can’t be taken seriously.

  57. Alanna
    January 10th, 2009 at 12:09 | #57

    As I said JD – I only found out about this a mere few years ago. I am a swinging voter but this 40 year witchhunt, the McCarthyism behind it, the role of US funding being deployed into our society to influence peoples voting habits and to smear innocent people (for their political views) and Quadrants role in it, and Windschuttles role in it has me absolutely disgusted.

    We live in Australia and I will commit myself towards the objective of a tolerant society simply by stating the facts – I do not like the use of dangerous stereotypes and the misuse of the media to further political objectives disguised as science (or anti science) and I do not like what I read in any of this debate.

  58. January 10th, 2009 at 12:14 | #58

    OK Dawson, you’ve made a claim about facts, that being all Australian university academics have views ranging from Trotsky to Lenin. The question is will you now do a “Windschuttle” and name and document each individual case or will you do a “Reynolds” and simply spew out propaganda to support your claim.

    Come on champ, prove that you’re something more than a broccoli and radish hawker with a chip on his shoulder.

  59. January 10th, 2009 at 13:07 | #59

    melaleuca Says: Get a life, John Dawson.

    Thanks for the advice melaleuca, believe me there are things I would rather be doing, but these academics keep outdoing themselves in the preposterous-argument stakes, and I get sucked in again.

    melaleuca Says: I sometimes trap and kill rabbits on my property and so do my neighbours…. Isn’t it reasonable for someone to draw conclusions on how many rabbits are killed by landowners each year by using indirect evidence?

    Sure – but where is Reynolds’s direct, indirect, or any other evidence to back his claims, except: “trust me, it’s all here at my place, I just don’t want to show it”?

    melaleuca Says: For obvious reasons there will be no documented record of many, maybe most frontier killings and hence historians must make inferences that are necessarily no more than educated guesses.

    What obvious reasons? Either you claim that the murder of Aborigines would be condemned and prosecuted, in which case there would be an obvious reason for it to be hushed up, but in that case the deaths can’t be blamed on the authorities; or you say that the authorities turned a blind eye or condoned such murders, in which case there would be no obvious reason to hush them up. The black armband-ers switch back and forth between these two scenarios depending on the stage of the argument they are at.

    There might have been a sensible case to be made that could have gone something like this: “Okay, Windschuttle, you have presented a tally of 120 killings of blacks in Tasmania, but you should add this killing because of this evidence and these killings because of this evidence, and over and above this, because of this evidence, we think there were killings that went unrecorded, and therefore it is reasonable to assume that the death toll was probably more like, say, double that figure”. If the response of the academics had been something like that we could have had a sensible debate and truth and justice would have been served. Instead, the academics frothed at the mouth and embarked on a campaign that amounted to: “how dare he contradict the orthodoxy and show up our fabrications, we must gang up to destroy his credibility by any means necessary”. The “Great Windschuttle Hoax” that delights academia so much is just one tiny manifestation of this disgraceful approach.

    Alanna talks hysterical nonsense.

    melaleuca Says: Come on champ, prove that you’re something more than a broccoli and radish hawker with a chip on your shoulder.

    Ah, to be dealing with something as healthy as broccoli and radish again! For my proof read my book: http://www.macleaypress.com/Washout.htm

  60. Michael of Summer Hill
    January 10th, 2009 at 13:55 | #60

    John, if I may reply to John Dawson by saying at the time Windschuttle’s wrote his fallacious piece of history it was well known that tens of thousands of aboriginies inhabited the Sydney Basin and debunks the erroneous argument that this land was terra nullius. Maybe if Windschuttle understood aboriginal culture just a tad he may have learnt that there was a direct relationship between a totem and the ownership of the land.

  61. January 10th, 2009 at 14:33 | #61

    Michael of Summer Hill, like so many Windschuttle critics, can’t have read his book, if he had he would know that Windschuttle didn’t say anything about terra nullius.

  62. Alanna
    January 10th, 2009 at 15:04 | #62

    You flatter me JD but the facts are out there – lists of “names” from released ASIO documents 30 years later, of so called “communists” “reds” “lefties” (and so what – this is Australia and we all recognise the dishonesty and danger any democracy of the McCarthy period – it was witchunt that destroyed innocent people’s lives).All these innocuous Australians names compiled and documented by paid conservative sycophants with funding from US and Australian well resourced sources (likely Wall street power brokers and Australian scions of industry)- the very same merchants who have probably pushed for the removal of most forms of regulation over the past 40 years that, in any way curtailed their ability to rent seek (the same sort of rent seekers responsible for the almighty mess we are in now).

    They dont like governments because they have the power to moderate corporate excess.

    Follow the money trail is good advice that holds in this case very very well JD and if you or Windschuttle had an academic history researcher’s bootlace – you wouldnt be in here saying such stupid things now.

    Yet all you do is keep pointing the witchdoctor’s stick at imaginary red ghosts without noticing time has passed it by. The recent coalition government excelled at political pointscoring by scaring the electorate to death. One scare after another. Not much of a government if they had to stoop to that, but thats my opinion. Where have the moderates gone in that party (scare campaigns also mounted within I would suggest).

    JD – you need to recognise when politicians go too far. It can happen in any political party. Blind faith to one party is never a good idea.

  63. Nick K
    January 10th, 2009 at 23:05 | #63

    Ben says “Lol – this is turning into, excuse the phrase, a ‘wingnut circle jerk’, with the leftie/pinko/moonbats squaring off against the rightwing/nazi/deathbeasts.”

    Ben, I agree. The extent to which a lot of these debates have become bogged down in knee-jerk partisan barracking has become quite tiresome and boring.

    The truth is that a lot of left-leaning publications and forums would be every bit as vulnerable to this kind of hoax trolling as Quadrant was.

    I’m sure that I could quite easily draft a bogus article making a whole lot of false and exaggerated claims about (say) the level of economic inequality, throw in a bit of well-worn rhetoric about ‘Australia’s great egalitarian traditions being undermined by neo-liberalism and excessive individualism’, and then submit it for publication to The Age, Dissent, the Monthly, or Eureka Street, and it wouldn’t take long for someone to take the bait.

  64. Alanna
    January 11th, 2009 at 11:54 | #64

    Nick,

    The point is – it doesnt matter whether the ideological view becomes too far to the left or too far to the right, that is, the particular direction is irrelevant – both are dangerous. The most valuable thing that each person has is their vote and it should not be given away lightly or unquestioningly. There are a lot of people in Zimbabwe who still vote for Mugabe – those people obviously cant see dishonesty and poor management in politics (or perhaps they are too frightened). I just hope the majority view favours common sense and sound, honest, civil, ethical, leadership; not unduly influenced by large business, or unions, or developers, or media manipulation by vested interest groups (such as Quadrant et al). I acknowledge media manipulation can go both ways but as always the extreme right is better resourced but as for your argument about inequality – you better go look up some numbers if you think worsening inequality is a left view rather than a fact (again the distortion of reputable data by Peter Saunders and others in social welfare policy research as a “supposed lefty view” by the likes of another Peter Saunders – now moved to London I understand – perhaps the pickings got too slim here).
    I dont like to see good people’s work twisted and misprepresented by fanatics Nick. Its fairly simple. You give respect where respect is due and I have respect for Australian academics even if others in this discussion dont. I have little respect for the deriders.

  65. Chris Warren
    January 11th, 2009 at 12:35 | #65

    Has Dawson a reference for the following quote?

    So, since 1981, Reynolds has been saying: “I’ve got nothing [more] to offer, so I’ll just say again what I said last time”,

    Or is this a fabrication?

  66. Chris Warren
    January 11th, 2009 at 13:00 | #66

    How does Dawson place Plato, Aristotle, Aquinas, Hobbes, Locke, in between Lenin and Trotsky?

    Or was his statement a fabrication?

  67. January 11th, 2009 at 13:59 | #67

    Chris Warren Said: Has Dawson a reference for the following quote?

    So, since 1981, Reynolds has been saying: “I’ve got nothing [more] to offer, so I’ll just say again what I said last time”, Or is this a fabrication?

    Dawson replies: It was paraphrasing jquiggin, so I guess it could have been a fabrication.

    Chris Warren Said: How does Dawson place Plato, Aristotle, Aquinas, Hobbes, Locke, in between Lenin and Trotsky?

    Or was his statement a fabrication?

    Dawson replies: Gee, you got me – it was not only a fabrication but a hyperbole too.

  68. January 11th, 2009 at 17:02 | #68

    John Dawson, irrespective of my above comments, I do believe there is a significant element of black-armbandism in how indigenous cultures are viewed. But you take it to an hysterical extreme. Take a chill pill.

  69. January 11th, 2009 at 17:21 | #69

    Melaleuca, can you give me an example of my “hysterical extreme”?

  70. January 11th, 2009 at 19:53 | #70

    The Lenin to Trotsky comment. I hope you were using your panty liner when you wrote that one ;)

  71. Alanna
    January 11th, 2009 at 20:18 | #71

    He was Mel,…. he was. One liners are always a trap.

  72. Alanna
    January 11th, 2009 at 21:13 | #72

    Its not the fabrications that count now – or who has fabricated – it is the economic policy failure of a series of governments in Australia from Fraser, Hawke Keating through Howard that adopted extremist economic policies and failed to achieve constitutional change (to correct the vertical fiscal imbalance) that contribued to C’wealth fiscal control that liquidated large parts of the public sector. (Not just Howard – Hawke Keating as well). This has greatly increased unemployment relative to the three decades post WW2 years because people forgot the ability of governments to add to demand and the nature of public goods and services. Thats why I object (not to WQindschuttles rantings about a stupid left, or any political party in particular – I couldnt care less – both major parties in Australia are guilty of mismanagement – for decades – and I do object to the denials (state of permanent denials) coming from succesive governments and the general state of degradation of public infrastructure through lack of public investment).

    For some foolish man like Windschuttle (and friends) – oh and you can add Keating and Hawke and Howard to the ship of fools of economic extremism, to go around castigating and stripping public infrastructure and public services has more in common with social system destruction, than sound governance to me.

  73. Alanna
    January 11th, 2009 at 21:22 | #73

    Windschuttle is just a small cog on the big wheel of denial.

  74. Nick K
    January 11th, 2009 at 22:52 | #74

    Alanna, I am not saying that leftist commentators or academics are the only ones to blame for the current state of debate in Australia. I was merely referring to those who want to condemn Windschuttle for falling for this hoax, when in fact many other people would be just as vulnerable to such a hoax.

    That is what I am objecting to. The kind of knee-jerk barracking and triumphalism every time the other side takes a hit, without anyone stopping to consider each case on its merits or whether others could have just as easily made such an error. The truth is that everyone lets their eye off the ball sometimes, and I’m sure people other than Windschuttle have occasionally failed to thoroughly scrutinise every article submitted to them (especially when, like Quadrant, it is merely a magazine for opinion pieces, not a peer-reviewed journal).

    I realise it’s not just one side of politics that contributes to these problems. The standard of conservative commentary in this country (such as Janet Albrechtsen, Andrew Bolt, Piers Ackerman) is not particularly good either. There are only so many articles you can read turning every issue into a simplistic divide between so-called inner city urban latte-sippers and the so-called commonsense, average folk before you start to want some more considered analysis of the issues.

  75. Brucetta
    January 11th, 2009 at 23:43 | #75

    John Dawson wrote:
    it is a logical impossibility to prove a negative
    Nnnnnnnnnnnrgh…
    I invite you to consider the following statement:

    It is not the case that there exists a square which has (at most) three sides.

    Now, as for Windschuttle, we are talking not about logical deduction but about empirical claims. As such, it’s true that he cannot prove that (say) 10,000 aboriginals were not killed during some specified time period. But it would be disingenuous to pretend that this is what the debate is about. What’s at issue is what we have reason to believe – or, what claims are consistent with the evidence.

    If Windschuttle believes that (a) the evidence does not support Reynolds’ claims about aboriginal deaths, and/or (b) there is evidence supporting some different claim about aboriginal deaths, then it is certainly his responsibility to provide us with his arguments and evidence. That he has not done so means that we have no reason to believe his claims.

  76. Alanna
    January 12th, 2009 at 09:09 | #76

    Nick#75
    “There are only so many articles you can read turning every issue into a simplistic divide”

    On that point I completely agree. Its the divide over left and right and meanwhile the economic policies to do whats needed dont get done. The Commonwealth plays politics with State funding and the State invent new ways to user charge us, and the infrastructure is left to rot while politicians play hockey.

    I pay taxes and deserve better governance than the great “footy grand final – yobs and all” that characterises Australian politics and media political discourse. Im actually completely over the words left and right and sometimes even wonder if there are any decent economic advisers left in whats remains of government systems.

  77. January 12th, 2009 at 11:01 | #77

    Brucetta said: Now, as for Windschuttle, we are talking not about logical deduction but about empirical claims. As such, it’s true that he cannot prove that (say) 10,000 aboriginals were not killed during some specified time period. But it would be disingenuous to pretend that this is what the debate is about. What’s at issue is what we have reason to believe – or, what claims are consistent with the evidence.

    I agree.

    Brucetta continued: If Windschuttle believes that (a) the evidence does not support Reynolds’ claims about aboriginal deaths, and/or (b) there is evidence supporting some different claim about aboriginal deaths, then it is certainly his responsibility to provide us with his arguments and evidence. That he has not done so means that we have no reason to believe his claims.

    I disagree.

    (a) Windschuttle’s claim that the evidence does not support Reynolds’ claims about 10,000 aboriginal deaths was proved in 2000 when he revealed that the only reference Reynolds had given in support of his claim was a paper which presented no evidence of black deaths at all. From 1981 to 2000 everyone, including Windschuttle, quoted Reynolds’s estimate assuming it was solidly backed by empirical data. Then, when Windschuttle investigated the paper, he discovered that it recorded only whites being killed by blacks, and that Reynolds had simply multiplied the number of whites killed (850) by 10 and rounded it up to arrive at his figure of 10,000 blacks killed by whites. Reynolds then asserted that he had mountains of other evidence but declined to present it for scrutiny. Until he does, Windschuttle has nothing more he needs to, or can disprove.

    (b) To my knowledge Windschuttle has not made any claim as to what the real death toll in Queensland was. He has made a claim about the Tasmanian death toll. His tally of black deaths for which there is credible evidence of some kind was 120. After all the huffing and puffing by the academics was said and done, they came up with just one black death that Windschuttle had missed. So his tally now stands at 121. None of Windschuttle’s critics have ventured any tally to back any specific estimate to challenge his case, they prefer scholarly tactics such as calling him a holocaust denier, hoaxer etcetera.

  78. Alanna
    January 12th, 2009 at 12:16 | #78

    For Windschuttle there was never any middle ground. He criticsed other historians estimates who he blanket stereotypes as “left”, people far more able than himself, but offered no alternative estimates and let us remember that estimates may be used in historical research given a paucity of documents. If this was not the case history could not be written. History is not a series of irrefutable empirical facts. In many cases there arent any. Windschuttle demands ironclad irrefutable fact without realising that the science he devotes himself too cannot provide such a thing in all circumstances and he would be well aware of that. It is up to Windschuttle to provide an alternative “estimate” given he is suggesting Ryan’s too high. How would Windschuttles have proceeded ? Lets hear it?

    What Windschuttle was expecting was unrealistic for the discipline and he would have been well aware of that.

    Let us not digress from Windschuttle’s real objective – to pick meticulously through footnotes to discredit (not just a few but a lot of) people Windschuttle perceived and decided and announced were “leftwing.”

    What facts and what evidence did Windschuttle base his observation that these academics were left?
    Did he present any evidence or facts for that? Was he aware of their voting patterns for the past decade or two? Had he followed them into polling booths? Did he have access to electoral data?

    That is the greatest fabrication in the entire debate and far more telling than the number of black deaths.

  79. January 12th, 2009 at 12:39 | #79

    Alanna has a good point re estimates. For a current example, look at the disparity between the numbers at Iraq Body Count, and the handful of statistical studies about excess deaths. IBC has impeccable evidence for their tally, but such rigorous requirements mean they undercount actual deaths. How far under the real number, no-one knows for certain, but that it is less is obvious. Therefore pointing to recorded deaths (in Iraq or Tasmania) as some sort of repudiation of an estimate is mendacious.

  80. January 12th, 2009 at 13:34 | #80

    Jarra said: “Therefore pointing to recorded deaths (in Iraq or Tasmania) as some sort of repudiation of an estimate is mendacious.”

    So how could any “estimate” ever be repudiated?

  81. January 12th, 2009 at 15:17 | #81

    “So how could any “estimate” ever be repudiated?”

    As Windschuttle did, by criticising the methods and sources. Which is fair enough. But to say “I can only confirm 121 deaths” is neither – it’s an error of composition.

  82. Ken Miles
    January 12th, 2009 at 15:44 | #82

    To my knowledge Windschuttle has not made any claim as to what the real death toll in Queensland was. He has made a claim about the Tasmanian death toll. His tally of black deaths for which there is credible evidence of some kind was 120. After all the huffing and puffing by the academics was said and done, they came up with just one black death that Windschuttle had missed. So his tally now stands at 121. None of Windschuttle’s critics have ventured any tally to back any specific estimate to challenge his case, they prefer scholarly tactics such as calling him a holocaust denier, hoaxer etcetera.

    The big problem with Windschuttle’s estimate of the Tasmanian death toll is that it is absolutely ludicrous to expect that one can simply derive a death toll by counting up the bodies listed in the historical records. It is enormously likely that large numbers of casualties will be missed. While I don’t agree with comparing Windschuttle to a holocaust denier, he practically begs people to do it to him by using a methodology which is specifically design to give a large undercount.

  83. January 12th, 2009 at 17:49 | #83

    It’s interesting that Windschuttle is being pilloried for not producing a tally (for Queensland) and for producing a tally (for Tasmania).

    Jarra and Ken Miles.

    In Fabrication Vol 1 Windschuttle exposed the exaggerations and fabrications of academic historians that had supported the Tasmanian genocide myth. If he had left it at that the black-armbanders could have continued making vague statements about bloody massacres and “general estimates” of the death toll. The only way to combat that misleading approach was to tally up the evidence of killings that had any credibility and explain why other massacre stories had no credibility. This could be done surprisingly thoroughly because, as everyone agrees, the colonization of Tasmania was particularly well documented, officially, unofficially, and by the likes of G. A. Robertson who spent years with the Aborigines recording what they told him.

    As I said above, Windschuttle’s work could have led to a sensible debate about the evidence and the likelihood of unrecorded killings etcetera. Instead the academics chose lynch-mob tactics – a strong indication that Windschuttle’s case is factually and logically (if not politically) correct.

  84. January 12th, 2009 at 18:09 | #84

    Windschuttle has ultimately done history a service, but he has said some things that are callous and others that are downright barbaric.

    It’s worth pointing out at this point that the white man’s disease killed far more Aborigines than the white man’s gun or poison.

  85. cows say moo!
    January 12th, 2009 at 18:51 | #85

    *sigh* …What is this John Dawson, groundhog day? It has already been pointed out (years ago I might add) that academic historians such as Reynolds and Ryan did not, despite what Windschuttle asserts, claim that Tasmania was a site where genocide occurred. Windschuttle misrepresented their work, mixed up what they were arguing with non specialist authors such as Phillip Knightly, then refused to acknowledge any correction despite both historians protestations – a position which he holds to this day. See Bain Attwood’s account of this is ‘Telling the truth about Aboriginal History’Allen and Urwin. 2005 pp 87-100. which is available online in a two second google search.

  86. January 12th, 2009 at 18:56 | #86

    melaleuca: Your observation about diseases versus guns is exactly Windschuttle’s point.

    But what has he said that is “callous and … downright barbaric”?

  87. Alanna
    January 12th, 2009 at 19:47 | #87

    As Vicki Grieves noted very well in 2003

    “Though Windschuttle poses as the ‘value free’, ‘objective’ and ‘thorough’ historian, he ignores any evidence that contradicts his argument. There are several telling instances of this. Evidence given by an Irish ex-convict, Edward White, to the 1830 Select Committee about the incident at Risdon Cove has been ignored, while the testimonies of Moore and Mountgarret, military men and participants, have been carefully edited. White testified to the peaceable intentions of the Indigenous Tasmanians and described a massacre of ‘a great many of the natives’.Whatever else Windschuttle’s omission can be described as, it is not the methodology of an historian.

    Windschuttle’s treatment of the situation of Tasmanian Indigenous women is so flawed that it almost defies explanation. His is a tirade of point-scoring in which he does not stop to question the motives of his sources. Neither does he consider that the motives of the Tasmanians may be culturally based, for example to incorporate the British into their society by the offering of women as ‘wives’. He does not consider the impacts of being in a state of war and socially, culturally, economically dislocated and with their backs to the wall. Perhaps this is why women were traded for so little goods; it was all the receiver was willing to give, from a position of greater, even ultimate power. He appeals to a sense of moral outrage at the trading of a 14-year-old girl. It is useful to remember that the age of consent in Britain was only 12 years until 1885 and remained at 14 years until 1910 in NSW. When the gaze is turned on the culture and society of the coloniser, the situation for ‘white’ women is less than optimal in this period.”

    I suppose also that Windschuttle conveniently overlooked the fact that white female convicts were also treated apallingly and handed out like chattel at wharves after being transported for very minor crimes, relative to male convicts.

    Had Windschuttle honed his craft in a more balanced fashion and more objectively, or even entered the debate and repudiated what he didnt agree with in a civil intellectual and academic manner (instead of deriding people as one left wing stereotype ie name calling), he might have drawn to himself more respect as a genuine historian and somewhat less negative attention. In the long run his pursuit of political objectives, via historiography, has cost him his credibility as a historian.

  88. jquiggin
    January 12th, 2009 at 20:41 | #88

    JD, the post makes one complaint about Windschuttle: he (twice) made claims that were to be supported in Volume 2, and in neither case has he delivered. Despite many comments, you haven’t responded to this complaint.

  89. January 12th, 2009 at 21:07 | #89

    sigh* You are wrong on every point cow says moo. For an update on the arguments of Reynolds, Lyndall Ryan and James Boyce on this issue, I refer you to my article in Quadrant November 2008. With regard to Atwood: In The Australian, 6 January 2003, he claimed that Windschuttle “misses the point” of Ryan’s use of the Nazi analogy in the introduction to her book. Ryan, insisted Attwood, discussed the analogy in order to debunk the “myth of extermination”. But it is Attwood who missed the point. Ryan clearly implied that the British, like the Nazis, tried to exterminate a race, but “did not quite succeed”. In her review of Fabrication published 17 December 2002, Ryan stated unambiguously that her book:”asserts that the Tasmanian Aborigines did indeed constitute a threat to British settlers, that the Black War was ‘a conscious policy of genocide’, though not in the end a successful one, as the Aborigines survived.”

    Attwood could have been confused in January 2003, but by the time he wrote his book he must have known that his claim on this issue was invalid, but he chose to repeat it anyway. And in the very chapter in which he denounced Windschuttle for linking him with the genocide thesis Attwood states that: “In the case of Tasmania, the Aboriginal spokesperson Jim Everett has asserted that a ‘colonial holocaust’ occurred there, while another leader, Michael Mansell, has claimed more generally that: ‘the British had more impact on Aborigines than the Holocaust had on the Jews. In dismissing the claims of genocide, ‘revisionists’ similarly failed to grasp that many Aboriginal people believe that ‘genocide’ is an appropriate word for remembering the historical experience. It amounts to a truthful myth, and they tell the story in this manner.”

  90. Jeremiah
    January 12th, 2009 at 21:18 | #90

    Rather unimaginative, John Quiggin, to suppose that Windschuttle’s failure to produce Vol 2 of Fambrication so far is either a hoax or otherwise reprehensible. It apparently took Henry Reynolds decades of reading to achieve what he regards as sufficient mastery of the Queensland material. And Windschuttle may have begun to see the Queensland leg as a lot longer and tougher than that for Tasmania, especially as the description of some battles like that of future Police Commissioner Urquhart and his native police in 1883 at Battle Mountain would have made Windschuttle’s primary case less clear cut than for Tasmania. Besides, a man as busy as Windschuttle, without the resources behind him that “Alanna” fantasises about, might have had other reasons for changing his priorities. Even a second bomb as well designed and executed as Vol 1 would only add marginally to the total effect of Windschuttle’s exposure of the deficiencies of a large part of Australia’s academic historians. In the meantime he has published many pieces, mostly in Quadrant under Paddy McGuinness’s editorship, on false versions of Aboriginal history.
    FWIW I commend this comment on another blog from Julius : “Another small point: Windschuttle obiously published it for the reasoning rather than the factual premises underlying the reasoning so treated the facts with indifference, presumably because he knew (or believed, correctly I suggest) that another set of facts could be found and substantiated to support the thrust of the article even if not as sensational as the CSIRO behaving in the extraordinarily craven way depicted. At least that is my suspicion about his failure to arrange for the footnotes to be checked. It is a more commonplace explanation than one which is given in portentous terms of Windschuttle’s ideological fixations.

    And on the underlying substance, is it not worth considering the conditions of the nineteenth century when one’s great-grandparents had as many children as nature allowed and the pressures of expanding populations in a world where barely 2 or 3 per cent of people were comfortably prosperous by today’s standards and understand that right and wrong are much more difficult to discern than seems so today. Following a link you gave and finding, eventually, David Lowe’s “FORGOTTEN REBELS
    Black Australians Who Fought Back” even the most belligerent settlers come across as economically driven and no more tribal or racist that the more extreme Zionists (and less violent in words than Hamas or Hezbollah or the Iranian PM). It mightn’t suite Windschuttle’s case entirely, or anyone else’s, but it is hard to see how things could have been much different in the late 19th century than the fighting of a war which had no clear rules or conventions, let alone treaties, to govern it. Practically none of the connotations of the word genocide, let alone its literal meaning, apply to what the colonial authorities sought to do, though many tough minded, not to say callous, realists clearly anticipated the virtual extinction of some Aboriginal peoples with equanimity and even a grim satisfaction. One comparison with the most obvious idea that “genocide” brings to mind is to point out that the mixture of motives for German anti-Semitism, including not least religion and rancorous envy, had no part in the motivation of white frontier settlers and their supporting police.

  91. January 12th, 2009 at 22:06 | #91

    “Windschuttle’s work could have led to a sensible debate about the evidence and the likelihood of unrecorded killings etcetera. Instead the academics chose lynch-mob tactics”

    Perhaps they chose to respond in kind? As Alanna and others have noted, Windschuttle was rather denigrating, and not above (what could be seen as) fabrications himself. Such an approach doesn’t seem designed to provoke “sensible debate”.

  92. January 12th, 2009 at 23:10 | #92

    JD, here Gerard Henderson, who is hardly a lefty, fingers Windschuttle’s unnecessary unpleasantness and produces a convincing argument re why he is that way: http://www.theage.com.au/news/Gerard-Henderson/The-trouble-with-Keith-Windschuttle/2004/12/06/1102182220823.html

  93. January 13th, 2009 at 06:30 | #93

    Professor Quiggin. I thought I had responded re Reynolds and Queensland. I haven’t been following the “stolen generation” debate so I can’t respond re that. As Jerimiah explains there could be a number of reasons for delayed delivery of Vol. 2. Windschuttle doesn’t have tenured income, research assistants, ARC grants and all the other publicly funded support that academics take for granted. He wouldn’t be the first writer to underestimate the tasks in front of him or overestimate his capacities or be diverted by unforeseen circumstances or findings, and one of the (erroneous) criticisms leveled at him over Vol. 1 was that he had spent insufficient time to possibly get it right. How that adds up to a hoax in your mind is beyond me. But I guess if it’s the best you’ve got to divert attention from the chronic defaults and distortions of the academics or get revenge for Windschuttle’s disclosure thereof, you have to make what you can of it.

  94. cows say moo!
    January 13th, 2009 at 06:49 | #94

    John – Lyndal Ryan used the term but with a different meaning and in any case she was not even writing about the frontier period which was the topic of Windschuttle’s book. I invite readers to have a look at Attwood’s explanation.

    And what does it matter how Aboriginal people view their experiences of colonisation – the pieces Attwood quotes? If they view it as a trauma then they would know surely.

    I’m curious John do you have any historical training in historiography?

    Sorry must run my partner is giving birth to twins this morning!

  95. January 13th, 2009 at 06:55 | #95

    Jarrah said: “Perhaps they chose to respond in kind?” If they had done that, the sensible debate could have followed. Fabrication is indomitable but it does not engage in the adhominem and misrepresentation that characterizes the academics’ responses. Critics should try reading it.

  96. Jeremiah
    January 13th, 2009 at 07:34 | #96

    #94. Thanks for the link. What a prospect of gaiety: Henderson on Windschuttle (or W on H but that might have a bit more hot chili in it). In fact Henderson, as is often the case, makes one wonder when lingering Irish (Catholic more than Orange which seems to be long dead) folk memory will totally disappear, Henderson only being 60ish. At least that might be a starting point for a Henderson-Windschuttle incompatibility. As to Henderson’s condemnation of the White Australia Policy tout court and suggesting it only lasted 50 years, surely he can see a good argument for retrospective thanks for a policy which began, for example with “Made by Chinese Labor” stamps on furniture and the like (evidence of course of the economic motive for the WAP)in the 1880s if not earlier and continued too long by a couple of decades or so. As an Indian-Australian pointed out to me and a Chinese friend agreed the WAP allowed Australia to establish itself as a stable prosperous tolerant well-ordered society with plenty of opportunity for anyone of talent or energy which made it very attractive to immigrants of talent from Asia. My personal observation is that part of the ingredients for such a livable country that one would include in the design is a more or less world’s best practice modernity as the mainstream culture (which, obviously, was European, despite everything, and specifically British, from the 17th century for about 300 years) and lots of small minorities none of which could be large enough to challenge the mainstream. It didn’t save European Jewry that they were only a small minority in Germany, and largely assimilated and even inter-married by 1933. but all sorts of circumstances of religion and history, both recent and ancient, made that a special case – certainly not unrepeatable but happily not something to fear in the English speaking world, partly because of its long history of receiving useful immigrants. The obvious envy factor in the rancorous anti-Semitism of Europe could, as one of my lefty friends opines, be prompted by Chinese clannishness and success as in the Phillipines or Indonesia but, personally, I don’t fear that for a number of reasons, including the fact that Chinse qua Chinese, as against being Hakka or Cantonese or whatever, are not clannish, although outbreaks of Han nationalistic pride can make one think of Wilhelmine Germany. One can’t pretend that an envy factor never operates even in a happily prosperous and relatively egalitarian country like Australia, and one might even consider that the Hanson view of privileged Aborigines (not an untrue view of the few controlling huge unearned mining royalties but hardly apt for the “beneficiaries” of largely wasted welfare billions)was a half baked version. Like the thuggish ignorance of the Nazis Hansonism’s aims were never accurate or the middle class welfare that flourished under Howard would have been targeted much more tightly – very little proportionately goes to battlers, though they were certainly better off in 2007 than 1997.

  97. Alanna
    January 13th, 2009 at 09:01 | #97

    Jeremiah #92 says “Besides, a man as busy as Windschuttle, without the resources behind him that “Alanna” fantasises about, might have had other reasons for changing his priorities.”

    Oh come now Jeremiah. The IPA, the CIS, Quadrant have all been well resourced enough to produce a veritable snowstorm of divisive media articles that engaged in howls of protests against “enemies within”.

    What interests me is $U.S. dollar denominations of some of their accounts and the very wealthy profiles of some of their most avid supporters.

    Its been U.S. manipulation (and manipulation by wealthy Australians no doubt with global interests and interests in a completely deeregulated econony that will give them access to barely breadline wages) of our political system Jeremiah. Sorry, I dont like it.

    Its an attempt to control government by using an avalanche of extremist propaganda.

    Windschuttle may not have time. He is too busy contributing to the avalanche.

    Its of little use now though. The party recognises that it needs to become more moderate -a little overdue – so I suggest these “extreme view groups” are on the way out.

    Windschuttle’s boat is sinking with him still on board.

  98. Alanna
    January 13th, 2009 at 09:16 | #98

    Jeremiah# says

    “Practically none of the connotations of the word genocide, let alone its literal meaning, apply to what the colonial authorities sought to do, though many tough minded, not to say callous, realists clearly anticipated the virtual extinction of some Aboriginal peoples with equanimity and even a grim satisfaction. One comparison with the most obvious idea that “genocide” brings to mind is to point out that the mixture of motives for German anti-Semitism, including not least religion and rancorous envy, had no part in the motivation of white frontier settlers and their supporting police.”

    Jeremiah,

    There is no definition that implies Genocide needs the characteristics of being “advance planned” and may only be ascertained in hindsight so to suggest it needs meticulous planning as in Nazism is incorrect.

    The mental element of the crime is defined as follows;
    “intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such”,

    I draw your attention to the words “in whole or in part”
    There is also a physical element and the crime must contain both parts (under international law)
    (a) Killing members of the group;

    (b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;

    (c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;

    (d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;

    (e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

    I would call what happened to the Tasmanian aboriginies genocide.

  99. Alanna
    January 13th, 2009 at 09:35 | #99

    Melaleuca#94

    Very interesting article by Gerard Henderson on Windschuttle with some reasonable points. Slight allusion to “the enemies within” and less of the sledgehammer approach. Gerard knows how to maintain his career. He has moderated his tone in other areas the past year or so I have noticed.

    I dont mind at all. The debate proceeds in a orderly fashion and is less like a gladiatorial arena for the entertainment of the vulgus.

    ? A return to reason.

  100. Chris Warren
    January 13th, 2009 at 09:44 | #100

    Alanna is right.

    Jeremiah’s point about some abscence of “motives for German anti-Semitism, including not least religion and rancorous envy” is not relevant.

    Britsh colonial genocide in Australia had its own causes, goals and characteristics. If it was similar to any other then this is to toher genocides committed as European powers waged war against indigenous peoples in America and Africa.

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