Home > World Events > Science vs the Right: state of play

Science vs the Right: state of play

January 11th, 2009

I stopped arguing with self-described “skeptics” on the topic of global warming some time ago, and I don’t intend to start again. I am however interested both in trying to promote sensible policy outcomes and in considering the broader political and cultural implications of the debate. For this purpose, there is no need to argue about hockey sticks, global warming on Mars or any of the other talking points that chew up so much time on the Internets (for anyone who is actually in doubt on any of these points, this is a useful resources

I’ll start with some facts that are, if not indisputable, at least sufficiently clear that I don’t intend to engage in dispute about them
(i) All major scientific organisations in the world[1] endorse, in broad terms, the analysis of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change which states that the world is getting warmer and that, with high (> 90 per cent) probability, this warming is predominantly due to human action
(ii) Most prominent politicians[2], thinktanks, activists, commentators and bloggers on the political right in Australia, the US and Canada (along with a large section in the UK) reject, or express doubts about, this analysis. The uniformity of views is particularly notable among conservative thinktanks.

The dispute between mainstream science and the political right has now been going on for at least fifteen years, and has already had some profound impacts. At the beginning of this period, the right could plausibly present itself as the pro-science side of the “Science Wars” in which the enemies were the massed forces of leftwing postmodernism (a powerful force, given their near-total control over departments of English literature), sociologists of science and the wilder fringes of the environmental movement. However, this was always a storm in a teacup, ignored by the vast majority of scientists.

By contrast, the current war is being fought for high stakes, with the end result either a disastrous defeat for the institutions of mainstream science or the intellectual discrediting of the entire political right. There has been no significant convergence between the two sides. On the contrary, even as confidence in the mainstream scientific consensus was solidified be the released of the IPPP Fourth Assessment Report in 2007, the rightwing opponents of science were buoyed by the La Nina event of early 2008, which produced a sharp, but temporary drop in temperatures, particularly in the Pacific. Comparisons with the El Nino peak of 1998 enabled them to announce that global warming had stopped, a point which was amplified in vast numbers of opinion pieces, blog posts and public statements, though not, to my knowledge, defended by any peer-reviewed statistical analysis.

Even such an obvious fact as the melting of Arctic ice, confirmed in the most direct fashion possible by the announcement of regular shipping routes around the Pole, with associated territorial claims, has been the subject of endless quibbles (attempts to restate these quibbles in comments will be deleted).

Furthermore, unlike the endless culture war disputes where the debating tactics of the right have been developed, there is a fact of the matter regarding anthropogenic global warming, which will sooner or latter become undeniable. Either global warming will continue, finally confirming the mainstream scientific viewpoint, or it will not.

Given the accumulation of scientific evidence, the odds are pretty strongly in favour of the first outcome. Scientific conclusions supported by a diverse range of independent theory and evidence sometimes turn out to be wrong, but you wouldn’t want to bet on it. Even more rarely, non-scientists with an axe to grind turn out to be right where scientists are wrong, but you really wouldn’t want to bet on that.

This raises the question of why the right has been so keen to double down on this issue. Of course, there’s no organised process by which an anti-science viewpoint on climate change and other issues is agreed on as a central orthodoxy from which dissent is prohibited, but you only have to look at the output of the political right in the English speaking countries to see that this outcome has been realised.

There are many explanations, perhaps so many that the outcome was overdetermined – powerful economic interests such as ExxonMobil, the hubris associated with victories in economic policy and in the Cold War, tribal dislike of environmentalists which translated easily to scientists as a group, and the immunisation to unwelcome evidence associated with the construction of the rightwing intellectual apparatus of thinktanks, talk-radio, Fox News, blogs and so on.

The issue is not going to go away, regardless of the short-term success or failure of attempts to reach a global agreement to stabilise the climate. The more clearly the political right is identified with the anti-science side of this debate, the harder it will be to salvage any of its existing institutions.

In a two-party system, even total intellectual incoherence will not prevent a political party from winning office when its opponents fail. But I’m surprised at the extent to which supporters of free markets have been willing to tie their case to an obvious imposture.

fn1. The only partial exception of which I am aware is the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, which takes an equivocal position
fn2. For reasons of political necessity, some rightwing politicians occasionally make statements endorsing mainstream science on global warming. But only a handful (John McCain being the most prominent) give more than a half-hearted assent, and many (Brendan Nelson is an archetypal example) give different positions depending on the audience and the way the political wind is blowing on the day.

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  1. jquiggin
    January 18th, 2009 at 06:06 | #1

    I don’t think further debate over particular delusionist talking points will be fruitful. As I mentioned at #4 what matters here is the right-wing mode of thought which Tony has illustrated. He states that “being an individual I rely on my own enquiries to form a view. At this point in time, based on my own enquiries, there seems to be a lot of dissension and conflicting views among the majority of individual scientists, some of whom are members of these “organisations”.” (scare quotes around organisations in original).

    I think it’s fairly clear that (as with most of his co-thinkers), Tony G’s “enquiries” don’t take the form of studying the subject through textbooks or university degrees, reading the scientific literature and then forming his own views. Nor, clearly, do they take the form of reading and digesting lengthy, but accessible, summaries of the main conclusions of the scientific literature, such as that prepared by the IPCC. And, very clearly, they don’t take the form of talking to active researchers in the field.

    Rather, Tony’s “enquiries” consist of picking up debating points from rightwing blogs and media sources. In this he is no different from the majority of politically active rightwingers.

    What’s striking is that he has no qualms at all about dismissing the considered conclusion of mainstream science, as represented by (to give just a short list of examples), every national academy of science in the world, research journals like Science and Nature and thousands of individual researchers on all sorts of topics, in favor of the opinions of rightthinking people whether or not they have any scientific qualifications, let alone any actual research experience.

    On the whole, I think that, of the explanations I’ve offered “hubris” is the best.

  2. Jill Rush
    January 18th, 2009 at 09:24 | #2

    Hubris – a problem for the right which John Howard identified after the 2004 election. Having identified it he then went on to illustrate it (along with his troops) for the next 3 years.

    Nick Minchin, (saying he is writing from the centre) has recently publicly admonished Christopher Pyne for daring to suggest that the Liberal/Nationals should consider their policies about Climate Change and move them more in line with the broader community thinking. Meantime Barnaby Joyce has complained that AGW deniers are treated like Holocaust deniers. The right appears to be a long way from developing credible evidence based policy and still has a lot of hubris.

  3. Chris O’Neill
    January 18th, 2009 at 13:18 | #3

    Tony G:

    This little disclaimer is a glowing endorsment of “those guys” Chris

    You still don’t get it, do you. All I did was point out your baseless assertion:

    “it does seem to have been getting cooler over the last decade”

    Until you come up with some sort of acknowledgement of your mistake it is a waste of time talking about anything else.

  4. Mike
    January 19th, 2009 at 11:28 | #4

    The most important thing politically is to make sure the Right has the denialist/skeptic label pinned to their foreheads for the rest of the century.

    Melting glaciers – it was the Right’s inaction. Rising sea levels – it was Bush and Howard who torpedoed remedial action. Desertification of southeast Australia – blame the Liberals.

  5. jquiggin
    January 19th, 2009 at 12:10 | #5

    That doesn’t seem to be a problem so far, Mike. As Tony G illustrates, the Right are happy to stick the label on their own heads.

    But we need at least two parties, and we need a consistent climate change policies. So, the sooner the existing set of rightwing thinktanks, politicians, commentators and so on is discredited and replaced by thinking conservatives (an oxymoron at present, but not a logical contradiction) the better.

  6. TerjeP (say tay-a)
    January 19th, 2009 at 12:30 | #6

    Mike – in 25 years time most people will only have a vagues idea who John Howard or Kevin Rudd were. Political accountability is amazingly short term. How many punters can tell you what the key political issues of the day were in 1984?

  7. Alanna
    January 19th, 2009 at 12:51 | #7

    Actually JQ I think the right are more than happy to stick the label across both eyes.

  8. Alanna
    January 19th, 2009 at 13:08 | #8

    The far rights who have been dominating the liberal party and the far right thinktank media machine. I call them stink tanks actually, because thats what they are, and I think its fair because they just print propaganda, make patently false claims with no real research of their own, and shoot down in a vicious heckling fashion genuine research and research bodies that most Australian people once had respect (ie RESPECT) for. These mad political ideologues are the obstacles to progress in any economic sense. They are a danger to infrastructure, to economic advancement, to themselves and the poor fools who get drawn in by the rubbish.

    When you think about it – publications by journal (ha) like Quadrant, and media spin by CIS or IPA – many are written by the same few people (the bad Peter Saunders, Windschuttle etc). They constitute a prolifically vocal minority and the only reason they got such airplay in the last decade is because a fool with the same far right views was in power and he would have pushed their barrows of propaganda and spokespeople forward every time he got a chance. It was a mutual massage session and Howard peppered the public service with their appointments.

  9. Ubiquity
    January 19th, 2009 at 15:27 | #9

    The greenhouse effect is an undisputable scientific truth. What is in dispute is its magnitude over the coming century, how it translates into changes in climate around the globe, and the impacts of those climate changes on human welfare and natural environment.

    The correlation between temprature changes and climate effect has a enormous uncertainty factor. Furthermore the whole “global warming” scenario promotes a notion that things simply get hotter….!!! Among some of the great driving forces of weather and climate is the temperature diffrential between equatorial and polar regions. You could go on and on describing how the AGW movement has misrepresented the reality of the uncertainty of the climate change scenarios.

    Being the Misean I am, I get disturbed when the AGW movement screams the sky is falling down, invokes fear in the masses. Isn’t it enough that religions have proposed cataclysmic ends to our world in the name of cleansing the evil within it or dictatorships have promoted ethnic cleansing in the name of good. Then Iraq, post 9/11 when the people wanted blood and the US government gave them Iraq, claiming it had weapons of mass destruction, had most of its constituency convinced, only to find their was none.

    Furthermore, I cannot understand that the left can go after private corporations for their self centered greed and at the same time (with great irony) empower the “altruistic state” with right to violence and the levers of our climate change policies. You can understand my skepticism when anthropogenic global warming is invoked by Al Gore as the major cause of climate change and that the denialist should be “burnt on the stake’ (or asked to step a side in a civilised society”).

    This whole left and right thing only confuses the issue. Frankly, at least the “Four Cultures” proposal provided a tool that was more likely to promote co-operation without the need for melodrama. Despite cooperation providing the final result, the democratic process and the right to dissent are major mechanism before the final cooperative solution.

    Finally, the labour parties conservative position on climate change has been criticised on this blog. Setting aside my views on the state, their position of setting a bottom line on CO2 emissions, and leaving the door open for further cuts based on the response of other coutries is a wise move particularly from the view of “game theory” illustrated by reading “The classical Prisoners dilemma”. This illsutrates that a cooperative response on climate change is not only about the science, but the political views and social consequences whithin a democracy.

  10. Ender
    January 19th, 2009 at 16:16 | #10

    Ubiquity – “The correlation between temprature changes and climate effect has a enormous uncertainty factor.”

    And here you are absolutely correct. What differs is the approach to this uncertainty.

    The ‘Right’ view is to carry on until someone proves conclusively that something will happen.

    The ‘Left’ view is to reduce risk factors until we are sure what we are doing will not make something happen.

    As you started with “The greenhouse effect is an undisputable scientific truth.” then you must agree that greenhouse gases are a risk factor in possible climate change.

    I cannot see what is the problem with mitigating risks at least until we understand the system that we all depend on for life. Uncertainty for me, emphasises the need for caution not sticking your fingers in your ears and claiming that there is no evidence.

  11. Ubiquity
    January 19th, 2009 at 22:12 | #11

    Ender

    First to be clear, uncertainty is a little different to risk. “According to Frank Knight, “risk” refers to situations where the decision-maker can assign mathematical probabilities to the randomness which he is faced with. Conversely, “uncertainty” refers to situations when randomness “cannot” be expressed in terms of specific mathematical probabilities.” Call uncertainty an incalculable risk if you want.

    JQ suggests the probability of AGW is supported by “‘a measure of a state of knowledge’” a Bayesian probability. However I would contend (and others) that a measure of the state of knowledge does not remove much of the uncertainty surrounding humans accellerating climate change.
    That is science not a debating point.

    In regard to the “right” you state we are all waiting for and absolute result, some extreme anti AGW opinion I admit hold this view and I am sure some of the extreme AGW advocates take absolute view in the opposite, which is just as ridiculous.

    I would contend that it is quiet reasonable to hold the view that we need to take responsibility for our environment without having to accept some of the rheotoric and doomsday climate change scenarios proposed. I think many on the right given a sound scientific, economic and social basis would support a greener world.

    The point being the AGW agenda has been sold the wrong way with to much spin and melodrama. The doomsday rheotoric will fail in a democratic society (maybe not in a statist one).

    The greenhouse effect I learnt back in highschool. But its a large leap of faith from that to claim that greehouse gases are risk factor with a certainty. But yes anything is possible. The actual greehouse used for farming have warmer temperatures not so much as result of the greenhouse effect as the lack of air circulation in the greenhouse.

    I think “caution” is the approach needed. Caution should be exercised when mitigating risk, avoid a blank cheque approach, have a social consience for those in the present and future and avoid making the science a metaphysical experiment.

  12. Tony G
    January 20th, 2009 at 00:54 | #12

    JQ@101

    “What’s striking is that he has no qualms at all about dismissing the considered conclusion of mainstream science”

    Forgive me if I question your posse of PHD wielding elitists mates, who embrace temperature readings from the many places like this, interpolating their higher value onto the world through a hubristic enforcement of their so called ‘heatwave science’.

    A cursory look around this site clearly establishes the ‘rising’ global average temperatures referred to by Chris above as pure GIGO fantasy. There is plenty of visual evidence there to suggest a high proportion of the weather stations used in climate monitoring have their data adulterated by local idiosyncrasies (air conditioners, flues exhaust fans, heat exchangers, metal roofing, walls, roads, etc.etc). This adulterated data is then used to interpolate the readings for the other 80% of the planet that is void of inhabitants to sully the data.

    Surfacestaions.org have only surveyed 60% of the sites in North America and even fewer world wide, so we might expect to see further amendments to NCDC’s long-term mean temperatures for the earth on top of its recent update for 2008 which shows the Annual North American temperature since 1998 (11 years of data) is falling over the period at a rate of 0.78(F)/decade or 7.8(F)per century..,,(yes I know its local,but so is the readings projected for the whole planet)

    “[S]tudying the subject through textbooks or university degrees, reading the scientific literature” is fine and well, but to get a true picture of the world you also have to go out into it, actually look at it, feel and expose yourself to it, A book and computer will not experience the world for you.

    Chris O.@ 105
    “Until you come up with some sort of acknowledgement of your mistake ”

    Ok, I will insert the words or hotter after ‘cooler’, considering all the gigo, anything could be happening up or down.

    And thanks for pointing me to your NSIDIC link that outlined how the Antarctic sea ice is increasing and hit record levels in 2008. This corresponds with an increase in the Artic sea ice last year, which (maybe)could bring it above the low ice conditions in the 1930s and 40s.

  13. Tony G
  14. jquiggin
    January 20th, 2009 at 06:22 | #14

    I’m impressed, Tony. Not only do you not need the years of study of science, statistics and other subjects my mates needed to get their PhDs, and the decades of painstaking research they did afterwards, you don’t even need to pay careful attention to Some Site on The Internets where you get your information. No, a “cursory” look will do for you (and for the vast majority of “sceptics”).

    ““[S]tudying the subject through textbooks or university degrees, reading the scientific literature” is fine and well, but to get a true picture of the world you also have to go out into it, actually look at it, feel and expose yourself to it, A book and computer will not experience the world for you.”

    So, Tony, I assume that, like the scientists you find so easy to dismiss, you’ve spent years making field trips to the Arctic and Antarctic, collecting and collating data and generally finding out what all this stuff means. Or maybe Some Guy on the Internet, on whom you’re happy to rely, has done this for you.

    You’re doing a great job of illustrating the points made in the post, and I urge you to keep it up.

  15. Tony G
    January 20th, 2009 at 08:02 | #15

    Professor Quiggin, the major floor in your argument is that in ‘science’ the ‘facts’ speak for themselves and unfortunately you and your hubristically elite grant seeking ‘mates’ do not have a mortgage on them.

  16. jquiggin
    January 20th, 2009 at 08:22 | #16

    “the major floor (sic) in your argument is that in ’science’ the ‘facts’ speak for themselves ”

    A point that can be illustrated by any reader who cares to go outside and verify that the earth is flat and the sun moves around it.

    As you say, cadres imbued with the correct ideology don’t need any elitist education to discern the truth hidden behind the ideological obfuscation of bourgeois “science”.

  17. nanks
    January 20th, 2009 at 08:55 | #17

    Perhaps the funniest response from Tony G – but one I have seen quite a bit from the anti-science bunch – is the use of hubris to describe scientists(as a class). It is quite common to see non-scientists describe scientists as ‘up themselves’ or similar. Yet those same people have no problems in assuming that their own non-science training allows them greater knowledge of science than the scientists. That’s not hubris though – that’s critical individualism. lol.
    I am reminded of a student who I gave an individual consult with about some aspects of visual cognition he had wrong in an assignment. He became angry at not getting the grade he wanted.
    He leaned over the desk with his fists raised up to punch me in the face and shouted out “Who the @@@@ do you think you are – some sort of @@@@ doctor or something?”

    As I am a ‘doctor or something’ it was all I could do to keep a straight face.

  18. nanks
    January 20th, 2009 at 09:06 | #18

    sorry for the last post which I made before reading the updated Comments policy.

  19. John Quiggin
    January 20th, 2009 at 09:34 | #19

    Nanks, I don’t think your post violated the policy, given that I have allowed Tony a fair bit of latitude to express his views of scientists and their fellow-travellers such as myself.

  20. Ender
    January 20th, 2009 at 09:47 | #20

    Ubiquity – “First to be clear, uncertainty is a little different to risk.”

    Again you are correct however uncertainty applies when you are unsure of an outcome of an action. Examples are braking on an icy road or weather conditions in fickle environments.

    When you are unsure of outcomes and the range of possible outcomes involve a risk your life then normal people apply caution. Some people embrace risk and engage in risky behaviours however these are not the people we normally go to for advice.

    “I would contend that it is quiet reasonable to hold the view that we need to take responsibility for our environment without having to accept some of the rheotoric and doomsday climate change scenarios proposed.”

    Again I agree with you and also agree that some sections of the green movement overplay the risks however you have to put this in context. To awake a person that is deeply asleep most of the time it is futile to whisper in their ear. It might work however a loud noise will often work a lot better.

    The problem that the green movement faces is that we are confronted with a world that is deeply asleep and simply stating the true scientific facts may not be enough. Some sections of the Green movement, and I do not necessarily agree with this, have taken the tack of a loud noise to awaken the sleeper and have taken the worst case scenerios from the science and presented these without always making sure that the audience understands that these are worst case and may never happen.

    The green movement is composed of human beings with human problems and some of the rhetoric is regrettable however virtually no-one in the green movement that I have seen has presented ANYTHING other than sound science albeit perhaps sometimes dramatised to ensure that some sort of message gets through. Even Gore’s movie was scientifically accurate even if some of the scenerios presented where stretching the science to the upper end of what is possible.

    On the other hand the anti AGW movement has presented science that is not peer reviewed, science done by people working out of their fields and downright lies that are repeated and repeated in the hope they become the truth. They have slandered scientists and their work and even used the political process of the USA to bring their message by subjecting scientists to unscientific review and criticism.

    I guess no-one is blameless in this however the AGW movement is based on the best science we have available.

  21. Ender
    January 20th, 2009 at 09:56 | #21

    TonyG – ““[S]tudying the subject through textbooks or university degrees, reading the scientific literature” is fine and well, but to get a true picture of the world you also have to go out into it, actually look at it, feel and expose yourself to it, A book and computer will not experience the world for you.”

    What I find funny about this is your previous mentions of quantum theory. Virtually nothing in quantum theory is common sense and looking and feeling will do nothing to advance anybody’s knowledge of this subject.

    Similarly a lot of our present knowledge of the atmosphere is from analysis of the upper atmosphere with sophisticated instruments that are available only to trained people that can interpret the results.

    Simple experiments with CO2 in a jar gave the wrong results as the atmosphere is far more complex than a simple jar of gas. Again looking and feeling at simple scenerios gave completely the wrong answer.

    All of the theoretical predictions of the behavior of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere have been confirmed by observation if you care to read the literature. The facts speak for themselves if you have the dedication and knowledge to search for the answers.

  22. Jill Rush
    January 20th, 2009 at 09:59 | #22

    #113 Uncertainty is a little different to risk because the former is general whereas the latter is particular. The idea of a risk assessment is to identify particular risks to manage them. It hasn’t worked well in the financial sector.

    Spin doctors are a clear development of this approach as the solution to many risks is seen as putting the case often and consistently to the public. It seems that in this particular debate one of the risks is that the denialists persistent and strident protests will skew or delay mitigation efforts. This is the plan which Tony G is following. Their risk is that people will see them as stupid and so their solution is to keep on coming up with new “scientists” who support the ideology. The solution is not working.

  23. Alanna
    January 20th, 2009 at 11:29 | #23

    Nanks#119 – Thats very funny.

  24. Alanna
    January 20th, 2009 at 11:50 | #24

    Tony G#

    Refers to JQs

    “posse of PHD wielding elitists mates” and his “hubristically elite grant seeking ‘mates’

    really its not worth replying to Tony and his flag waving anti global warming wacko website delusionist PHD challenged cadres.

  25. Alanna
    January 20th, 2009 at 12:07 | #25

    I shouldnt have done that but nothing short of an apocalypse would shift some people’s doggedly wrong opinions.

  26. Ubiquity
    January 20th, 2009 at 14:23 | #26

    Ender

    I think we differ on how to respond with caution. Certainly for me it would require a cautious approach not only to the science but economic and social responsibility.

    Secondly the way the climate change discussion is entertained by the the AGW advocates needs to be re thought. You can’t say things like “climate science has been declared to be 1) A Consensus and 2) Settled.” “But settled consensus can’t, by definition, have disagreements and falsified forecasts.”

    I think in regard to the question of the anti-science view of the right you should read an attempt by “Joe Romm” at Climate Skeptic blog, to address the ‘anti-Scientific label”.

    http://www.climate-skeptic.com/2009/01/anti-scientific.html

    Jill

    “The idea of a risk assessment is to identify particular risks to manage them. It hasn’t worked well in the financial sector.”

    Your right about that. It is also applicable to either side of the AGW argument. Their still remains a large uncertainty factor that can’t yet be addressed fully by risk assesment, as I mentioned previous at#113.

    Secondly, your comment that the “denialist delay mitigation efforts”. As far as I can see implementation of climate change policy is happening as we speak, the fact that it may be “watered down” is another issue. Delays are inevitable in a democratic cooperative effort. They shouldn’t be frowned upon so much as seen to be a “check and balance” process.

  27. Chris O’Neill
    January 20th, 2009 at 14:51 | #27

    Tony G:

    Ok, I will insert the words or hotter after ‘cooler’

    i.e.:

    “it does seem to have been getting cooler or hotter over the last decade”

    Thank you for your substance-free contribution.

  28. Chris O’Neill
    January 20th, 2009 at 15:23 | #28

    Ubiquity:

    “The idea of a risk assessment is to identify particular risks to manage them. It hasn’t worked well in the financial sector.”

    Your right about that. It is also applicable to either side of the AGW argument.

    The argument is highly assymetrical as regards risk. Mitigation amounts to spending a knowable cost to reduce a risk with a lot of uncertainty. The laissez-faire approach to carbon emission is the high-risk approach.

  29. Tony G
    January 20th, 2009 at 15:59 | #29

    Alanna@ 126

    “delusionist PHD challenged cadres” with “doggedly wrong opinions”

    There is AGW, I’m right BECAUSE I’m not (a) “PHD challenged”.(sic)

    Alanna, that seems like a pretty intelligent argument. Unfortunately, like the AGW ‘science’ your argument is floored, people with PhDs like this prove it.

    The lefts obsession with driving metaphysical agw arguments as a substitute for physical ones demonstrates the calibre of their ‘science’. Their post script to enforcing this modus operandi is highlighted by the Ad hominem abusive above.

  30. Alanna
    January 20th, 2009 at 16:40 | #30

    Im floored too Tony. Totally floored!

  31. Alanna
    January 20th, 2009 at 16:46 | #31

    Tony G # 131

    Provides us a link at 131. But lets go through her publications and see what else she writes and who she writes for. You guessed it in one – the IPA

    http://jennifermarohasy.com/publications.php

    Here is the list of her publications.

    A List of IPA Publications – 04, December 2008
    The Loss of The Baiji – 01, October 2006
    Save the Whaling – 01, September 2005
    Changing Agriculture’s Approach to the Environment – 01, August 2005
    Australia’s Environment Undergoing Renewal, Not Collapse – 01, July 2005
    Are Koalas in Decline? – 01, June 2005
    Campaigning Against Our Cultural Heritage – 01, March 2005
    Why “Save the Murray”? – 01, December 2004
    Myth & the Murray: Measuring the real state of the river environment – 01, December 2003
    Deceit in the Name of Conservation – 01, March 2003
    WWF Says ‘Jump’ Governments Ask ‘How High?’ – 01, March 2002
    Early Scientific Publications – 01, January 2000

    Good one Tony. You excelled yourself this time. I hope the IPA paid you a bonus.

  32. Alanna
    January 20th, 2009 at 16:49 | #32

    Tony#131, why do I suspect you of being a very energetic little branch stacker amongst your other less obvious intellectual talents?

  33. Alanna
    January 20th, 2009 at 17:27 | #33

    Tony – you dont fool me. The directors of IPA are a disgrace to this country. They hide the fact that their anti science is specifically meant to get them advantages for their business interests. All they mostly are is a lot of representatives of the coal and gas and mining industries and the odd liberal party minister. But having said that I notice most of them have appointments on public boards and they were no doubt put there by Howard.

    Thats why your party got thrown out Tony G. Because there was way too many vested interests rubbing shoulders influencing the Howard Government who returned the favour and it was a disgrace that these people are even sitting on public boards.

    Their mmagazine is a rag of propaganda so they can get away with no regulation and lower taxes no matter what happens to the environment or to infrastructure – thats all. Why should my taxes pay for these environmental vandals to throw their moneyed weight around, distort scientific fact, and put their hand out for public positions?

    They make me totally ill and they symbolise everything that is wrong with our political system. It hasnt been governing for the public but for bullies like that who think they can take the Australian voters for a ride.

  34. January 20th, 2009 at 17:43 | #34

    Tony, a PhD in biology hardly makes her an expert.

    Yes, there are scientists with relevant degrees that deny or minimise AGW, but denialists can’t win the PhD arithmetic game when the overwhelming majority of scientists think the warming trend is real, and think it’s worrying.

  35. Alanna
    January 20th, 2009 at 18:20 | #35

    Whats worse is where does IPA (Idiots read Propaganda Army) get its money from? If last year was any indicator 150,000 came from donations if you check their accounts. Its all their website. Google the directors names and you will see it all. Whats 150,000 to a few mining, oil or ming service companies – damn drop in the bucket of what they have been hauling out in the boom.

    There is the BS Australian anti science anti global warming science industry for you – in one fell swoop in one shabby little building somewhere with a printing outfit with a sprinkling of lackeys getting paid to write the garbage and get it into papers and submissions to government departments.

    They are all going to end up in the same place those people.

  36. Alanna
    January 20th, 2009 at 18:32 | #36

    They IPA boast they got 183 articles into Australian newspapers last year – 183 articles leading people up the garden path. Thankyou Mr Murdoch.

  37. Alanna
    January 20th, 2009 at 18:40 | #37

    I have one further point. The very essence of why they attack established researchers and scientists and attempt to marginalise them as “dangerously left” is because they dont want real science. They dont want the evidence. They want favourable concessions for their business interests to keep their profits high. Its so simple, vested interests attempting to lean on the government and lean on voters with no regard for the longer term consequences of their actions. Greed knows no bounds.

  38. Tony G
    January 20th, 2009 at 21:03 | #38

    Jarrah @ 136

    “Tony, a PhD in biology hardly makes her an expert”

    Exactly the point I was making.

    “denialists can’t win the PhD arithmetic game when the overwhelming majority of scientists THINK the warming trend is real,”

    Why the left assert that parading a posse of PhD wielding proponents of AGW is ‘scientific proof’ of causation in AGW is anybodies guess?………On the other hand, “I think that, of the explanations I’ve offered “hubris” is the best”….

    Alanna @ 134

    “Tony#131, why do I suspect you of being a very energetic little branch stacker amongst your other less obvious intellectual talents?”

    Alanna,you’ve seen my picture before, how else would you know I am just an average Joe from bondi and a bit stiff?

  39. Alanna
    January 21st, 2009 at 05:55 | #39

    Tony G.

    I know who you are and I know what you are and I dont like branch stackers and political activists that distort truth no matter what their colour. But what I like even less is the vested industry interests, the corrupt behaviour, the attempts to pressure governments, and the attacks on real science and real academics in Australia by big oil interests, big coal interests, big gas interests and the two penny paid liars that work for them. Those already wealthy inidividuals seek to line only their own pockets at the expense of Australia going the right way forward. As Obama said in his inauguration speech (not direct quote – I just heard it) “those who corrupted themselves in the hall of congress.. and those who seek to silence dissent are on the wrong side but we will offer you a hand if you will unclench your fists”

    There is no left right culture war. Its all been a complete propaganda fabrication (so much bigger than the Hoax on Windschuttle) and an attack on the institutions of our civilised society in Australia for nothing but greed.

    You have been working the dark side Tony G. The lies and the war is over.

  40. jquiggin
    January 21st, 2009 at 06:45 | #40

    I think we’ll call a halt here. No further comments on this thread please.

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