Home > Oz Politics > Someone should tell this guy about Godwin’s Law

Someone should tell this guy about Godwin’s Law

February 25th, 2009

As if it wasn’t already embarrassing enough to be a rightwinger, here’s Dennis Jensen.

Update Judging by the comments, rightwingers are pretty hard to embarrass (after eight years of Bush, and the complete collapse of their economic ideology, I guess this isn’t so surprising). No-one from the dexter side has showed any inclination to disown Jensen as a crackpot and a goodly number have solemnly refuted the jocular suggestion that a PhD in ceramics might be a little cracked.

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  1. Tony G
  2. jquiggin
    February 25th, 2009 at 15:25 | #2

    When I said the bit about being embarrassed, I didn’t mean you, Tony, and I certainly can’t imagine anything embarrassing our Jen.

  3. TerjeP
    February 25th, 2009 at 15:28 | #3

    Who did you mean John?

  4. Lord Sir Alexander “Dolly” Downer
    February 25th, 2009 at 15:28 | #4

    To paraphrase Sybil Faulty: “he’s from South Africa”.

  5. Tony G
    February 25th, 2009 at 15:31 | #5

    Godwin’s Law was invented because left wingers, social democrats and socialists have a phobia about this name;

    “National SOCIALIST German Workers’ Party,” [Nazi Party]

  6. TerjeP
    February 25th, 2009 at 15:37 | #6

    left wingers, social democrats and socialists

    Is there a distinction?

  7. jquiggin
    February 25th, 2009 at 15:48 | #7

    Even for you, Tony, this is impressive. In a thread about Godwin’s Law, you take an automatic loss at comment #5. Stunning!

    Terje, I had in mind people like Harry Clarke who manages to take a sensible line on climate change despite supporting the political right and Andrew Norton, who tries to hold a pose of ironic detachment while obviously aware of the clown show that his side of politics has become.

  8. Franz
    February 25th, 2009 at 16:07 | #8

    The funny thing about it is, that the Nazis did not have very much to do with it. The book “100 scientist against Einstein” was published in 1931, two years before they gained power. While some who signed the petition were no doubt motivated by Antisemitism, it also had a number of Jewish signers, among them chess champion E. Lasker. The Nazis would never have allowed that.

    If one looks a bit closer to the story the comparisons get quite different. Jensen appears to compare himself to Einstein, which already gives him a decent score on the Crackpot Index (TM).

    The petition against Einstein has a lot in common with the Oregon petition: Like AGW Einstein’s theories had received wide accepance in the relevant community, but was attacked from the fringe by people with questionable credentials.

    Franz

  9. Lord Sir Alexander “Dolly” Downer
    February 25th, 2009 at 16:07 | #9

    This is just like Cambodia under Pol Pot. I’m outta here!

  10. February 25th, 2009 at 16:36 | #10

    jquiggin Says: February 25th, 2009 at 3:48 pm

    Terje, I had in mind people like Harry Clarke who manages to take a sensible line on climate change despite supporting the political right and Andrew Norton, who tries to hold a pose of ironic detachment while obviously aware of the clown show that his side of politics has become.

    SO I suppose the Left-liberal’s “side of politics” enthusiastic (and sometime continued) support of diverse and perverse cultural policies experimented with over the past generation (soft on drugs, open door for illegal immigrants, ethnic lobby rackets, rorts and rotten boroughs, remote indigenous community establishment, open-ended unconditional welfare, revolving door prisons etc ad nauseum) was not a “clown show”.

    I certainly got a lot of cheap and nasty laughs out of it. Although the long-suffering tax-payer and law-abiding citizen eventually had a gut-full.

    [Snorts with scorn and derision]

    And then there is the Left’s notorious hostility to anthopological realism. Almost as bad, in some ways, as the Right’s hostility to ecological realism. No Left Wing War on Science here folks, just keep movin…

  11. February 25th, 2009 at 16:45 | #11

    Speaking of the Crackpot Index, the linked story states:

    “Dr Jensen, who has a PhD in the physics of ceramics”

  12. February 25th, 2009 at 16:59 | #12

    Godwin’s Law, stricly speaking, relates to the probability that in an internet chat/comment threads (eg, this one) as the thread progresses one party will hyperbolically liken another commenter to hitler/nazis.

    The spin-off delusion that any reference to hitler/nazis is an automatic debate “loss” is sometimes incorrectly thought to be “godwin’s law”

    References to Nazis in chat/comment threads are usually VERY hyperbolic.

    Chanting “nazi, nazi” at someone is akin to putting your fingers in your ears and chanting “I can’t hear you!”, or saying “the science is in, no more debate”

    The linked article should focus more on the “100 scientists against Einstein” than on Hitler, without the accompanying photo (undoubtedly there to lure readers) the hitler reference may not be so much the remembered focus of the article.

  13. jquiggin
    February 25th, 2009 at 17:07 | #13

    Steve, you are historically correct, but as Wikipedia notes, the automatic loss tradition is well established, and often referred to as Godwin’s Law.

    In any case, as the discussion above indicates, the “100 scientists” talking point is high-level crackpottery even without the (apparently mistaken) Hitler reference.

    Jack, I’ve responded to your idee fixe on quite a few occasions, but I’m not going to this time, and future repetitions of this point will be deleted with prejudice unless I judge them to be germane to the post in question.

  14. Spiros
    February 25th, 2009 at 17:29 | #14

    “The linked article should focus more on the “100 scientists against Einstein” than on Hitler’

    It was Jensen who brought up Hitler.

  15. mitchell porter
    February 25th, 2009 at 17:31 | #15

    Tony G: “Godwin’s Law was invented because [leftists are afraid to notice that Nazis were National Socialists]”

    Tony, do you recall anything of your thought process when you produced this statement? Did you already know something about the invention and history of Godwin’s Law? Or did you just say the first thing that came to mind and felt right? Please be honest.

  16. chrisl
    February 25th, 2009 at 17:43 | #16

    Tim Lambert asserts that Dr Jensen “only” has a PhD in the Physics of ceramics thereby making him a crackpot.Regardless of the discipline the scientific method still applies.
    Define the question
    Gather information and resources (observe)
    Form hypothesis
    Perform experiment and collect data
    Analyze data
    Interpret data and draw conclusions that serve as a starting point for new hypothesis
    Publish results
    Retest (frequently done by other scientists)
    Several of these steps are missing in climate science.
    By the way Tim, what is your “non-crackpot” science discipline?

  17. Ender
    February 25th, 2009 at 17:51 | #17

    Just one point I think the actual article was entitled: 100 Authors Against Einstein

    http://scienceworld.wolfram.com/biography/Einstein.html
    “Einstein was attacked by some with anti-Jewish leanings. When a pamphlet was published entitled 100 Authors Against Einstein, Einstein retorted “If I were wrong, one would be enough.” Some famous Einstein quotes about God include ”

    and

    “http://www.time.com/time/time100/poc/magazine/a_brief_history_of_rela6d.html”

    “When told of publication of the book One Hundred Authors Against Einstein, he replied, Why 100? If I were wrong, one would have been enough. ”

    You would think that he would at least have checked the title first.

  18. jquiggin
    February 25th, 2009 at 18:00 | #18

    Chrisl, I suggest you think a little bit about the subject matter of ceramics :-)

  19. February 25th, 2009 at 18:20 | #19

    Phd in the physics of ceramics = the person most likely to know how to NOT crack pots.

  20. chrisl
    February 25th, 2009 at 18:22 | #20

    John I don’t think it’s about throwing pots(not that there is anything wrong with that)… From your beloved wiki
    Now a multi-billion dollar a year industry, ceramics engineering and research has established itself as an important field of science. Applications continue to expand as researchers develop new kinds of ceramics to serve different purposes. An incredible number of ceramics engineering products have made their way into modern life.

  21. paul walter
    February 25th, 2009 at 18:38 | #21

    Godwin’s law was obviously formulated as a means to implementation of Political Correctness, the Right’s attempt to stifle debate from back in the eighties.
    Progressives do not “lose” a debate in finally invoking a “nazi” comparison involving a topic. They will belatedly employ a nazi comparison as a last resort, say along the lines of equivalencing the Gaza invasion to the Warsaw Ghetto, only in the face of obfuscation by righties seeking to deny a meaningful understanding of a situation involving application of rightist ideology.
    So whether the debate is “lost”, depends on the accuracy of the analogy.

  22. mitchell porter
    February 25th, 2009 at 18:47 | #22

    paul walter: “Godwin’s law was obviously formulated as a means to implementation of Political Correctness, the Right’s attempt to stifle debate from back in the eighties.”

    Paul, are you serious, or just presenting the opposite contention to Tony G for the sake of doing so? I ask you the same questions I asked him: is this assertion of yours based on actual knowledge of some sort, or does it come from somewhere else, and if so, where?

  23. gianni
    February 25th, 2009 at 18:51 | #23

    paul walter@21

    For those who aren’t old enough to have used usenet. Or perhaps you’re just stirring.

  24. paul walter
    February 25th, 2009 at 19:40 | #24

    Mitchell Porter.
    Am BEYOND baffled at you comment.
    What is the nature and substance of the flickin thread, for gods sake?
    Reread my comment and see if you find an example there.

  25. jquiggin
    February 25th, 2009 at 20:06 | #25

    I think irony alerts are needed here. But nothing will save the Jensens of this world.

  26. February 25th, 2009 at 20:09 | #26

    This has incompletely reminded me of something, which is now gnawing at me. Someone, I think in the Bank of England, had an economic law named after him, to the effect that if you took a sound economic measure and started basing policy on it you would distort the measure and the policy. Can anyone remind me of just what law that was?

  27. Tony G
    February 25th, 2009 at 20:13 | #27

    Tim Lambert @ 11
    Crackpot PhDs… someone should do a thesis on why there is so many of them.

    mitchell porter @ 15

    You should ask yourself this;

    If the left aren’t so embarrassed about their forebears, explain to me why history has been distorted by academics who portray a National Socialist Workers’ Party as right wing extremist, when in fact they were left wing extremists.

  28. Louis Hissink
    February 25th, 2009 at 20:15 | #28

    John,

    bottom of the barrel isn’t it?

  29. Louis Hissink
    February 25th, 2009 at 20:19 | #29

    Tim Lambert:

    “Crackpot PhDs… someone should do a thesis on why there is so many of them.”

    Another crackpot feeling left out.

  30. Lord Sir Alexander “Dolly” Downer
    February 25th, 2009 at 21:00 | #30

    This post has for some reason brought out the inner looney in right-wing blog-commenters. The mere mention of Hitler brings out an internal dividedness.

  31. jquiggin
    February 25th, 2009 at 21:29 | #31

    It’s certainly an impressive clown show. And free!

    PML @ #26 Charles Goodhart

  32. Jill Rush
    February 25th, 2009 at 21:38 | #32

    #11 Tim Lambert
    I thought this was a clever use of an image to create a funny comment. I too was amused by the fellow with a PhD in the physics in Ceramics being a climate change denier. The latter term being one, that Barnaby Joyce explained on Lateline, that he dislikes because he links the Holocaust deniers and climate change deniers. I am not sure if this qualifies for Godwin’s Law as the reference is indirect.

    #27 Tony G you might like to turn the National Socialist around – the National part comes first. Many of our Nationals are in fact socialist as they like to privatise the profits and socialise the losses and are indeed quite right wing.

    Perhaps what is lacking in the Climate change scenario is one scientist who is credited with discovering it in the same way as Einstein or Darwin, Newton etc created their theories and then had to dealt with sceptics. Someone should tell Dennis Jensen that his story about the 100 scientists petitioning against Einstein props up the climate change argument rather than refutes it as Franz point out at #8.

  33. Ikonoclast
    February 25th, 2009 at 21:48 | #33

    What worries me is that we have the right wing climate change deniers and the “left” wing accepting the science but not doing anything substantive about it.

    More concerning, we have the USA, China and India unwilling to do anything about CO2 emissions. They are like 3 mortal enemies with guns in a sinking boat and an unmanned bilge pump that could save them. No-one is willing to man the bilge pump for fear the other two will shoot him in the back.

  34. Smiley
    February 25th, 2009 at 23:12 | #34

    Tony G,

    I’m not sure who taught you history (or if in fact you were even paying attention) but the National Socialist German Workers’ Party persecuted minorities and perpetrated the holocaust. It doesn’t quite equate with Jack Strocchi’s description of liberals at #10.

    As an example: just because the Liberal party are called that, doesn’t mean they are.

    In fact for me it’s a lot easier to equate conservatism with an authoritarian, patriarchial world view.

    Actually the terminology is really difficult to pin down these days with terms like libertarian socialism or anarchist socialism, which almost seem like oxymorons.

  35. February 25th, 2009 at 23:14 | #35

    And thus JQ’s reminder leads to Goodhart’s Law. No wonder Godwin’s Law reminded me of it. These days this part of the wikipedia article is particularly interesting:-

    “It has been asserted that the stability of the economic recovery that took place in the United Kingdom under John Major’s government from late 1992 onwards was a result of Reverse Goodhart’s Law: that, if a government’s economic credibility is sufficiently damaged, then its targets are seen as irrelevant and the economic indicators regain their reliability as a guide to policy.”

  36. paul walter
    February 25th, 2009 at 23:15 | #36

    Quite so, JQ.
    Od’d on irritable pills and not helped by the reappearance of that dreadful woman who announced the sackings at Bonds on Latteline business.
    By way of historical analogy, am thinking of the Scots crofters driven off their homes by absentee landlords requiring their properites for increased pheasant/grouse production for weegend shoots with their mates.
    Definitely a teleological aspect to history…

  37. Smiley
    February 25th, 2009 at 23:33 | #37

    I did say almost, but they do help to explain why this guy seems so popular in this interview. Though I’ll still contend, as others have, he does have “the whiff of crank” about him.

  38. February 26th, 2009 at 00:30 | #38

    Crikey, now the Highland Clearances were to facilitate pheasant/grouse shooting?

  39. February 26th, 2009 at 02:46 | #39

    Was the wonderful Penny Wong suggesting by her comment in the article that the Member for Tangney be made to shut up?

    A comment in my opinion that does not say much for the quality of debate in Federal Parliament.

    I am disappointed that Dr Jensen is not making a more substantial contribution.

  40. jquiggin
    February 26th, 2009 at 05:44 | #40

    #38 Initially, of course, the people were cleared off to make room for sheep, but the sheep in their turn gave way to grouse moors, about the time those who had destroyed the actual clans starting inventing clan tartans and all that stage-Highlander stuff so beloved of the Victorian era, and of Queen Vic herself. But this OT, even for a thread on Godwin’s Law.

  41. TerjeP (say tay-a)
    February 26th, 2009 at 06:35 | #41

    John – I wouldn’t call Andrew Norton right wing. He is a classical liberal. ie Libertarian. Harry is right wing.

  42. Alanna
    February 26th, 2009 at 06:43 | #42

    6# terjeP says
    “left wingers, social democrats and socialists

    Is there a distinction?

    Yes there is distinction TerjeP – social democrats are not left wingers like free marketers are not fascists.

  43. Alanna
    February 26th, 2009 at 06:45 | #43

    The words left wing and right wing should be discarded as an unfortunate hangover from the cold war era. It gives the media an excuse to promote division instead of discussion.

  44. jquiggin
    February 26th, 2009 at 07:12 | #44

    On the contrary, I think the terms Left and Right are clearly relevant today, and that it is impossible to avoid terms of this general kind if you want to discuss political ideas.

    To Terje’s point, while it is possible to imagine a libertarian politics that isn’t allied with the political right, and there are even occasional instances emerging in the US, it really doesn’t exist in Australia. It’s absurd to suggest that the CIS, for which Andrew works, is not part of the organised political right, and even more absurd to suggest this of his previous employer, David Kemp.

    As regards the topic of this thread, the CIS has actively promoted the kind of delusional views on climate science espoused by Dennis Jensen. Such views are an almost infallible marker of rightwing tribal affiliation (to be clear, not all rightwingers are delusionists, but nearly all delusionists are rightwingers).

  45. TerjeP (say tay-a)
    February 26th, 2009 at 07:51 | #45

    To Terje’s point, while it is possible to imagine a libertarian politics that isn’t allied with the political right, and there are even occasional instances emerging in the US, it really doesn’t exist in Australia. It’s absurd to suggest that the CIS, for which Andrew works, is not part of the organised political right, and even more absurd to suggest this of his previous employer, David Kemp.

    Libertarianism exists in Australia even if it’s profile is smaller than in the USA. And I would put Andrew Norton in the Libertarian camp. I think it is a bit absurd to suggest that the CIS is aligned with anybody. What would it do differently if it was left libertarian?

  46. TerjeP (say tay-a)
    February 26th, 2009 at 07:53 | #46

    p.s. Your inclination to divide libertarians into left and right is itself problematic. Libertarians have historically aligned with conservatives but only because historically libertarians wanted to conserve liberty in the face of statism. So yes they are guilty of keeping bad company but not without cause.

  47. Socrates
    February 26th, 2009 at 07:55 | #47

    Quite apart from the bizarre political references, the logic of Jensen’s argument (and most CC denialists) really is staggering weak. Their claim to CC proponents is:

    You believe X
    You can’t absolutely prove X is 100% correct
    Therefore X is false
    Therefore the opposite of X must be true

    Consider what you get if you apply this logic to something else:

    You believe in Gravity
    You can’t absolutely prove Gravity 100% correct (there are other universal forces that change the results slighting; you can’t see a gravity wave)
    Therefore Gravity is false
    Therefore the opposite of Gravity must be true -we are all floating in space

    Its just rubbish. How does a science PhD believe this?

  48. Salient Green
    February 26th, 2009 at 07:58 | #48

    Ike #33 “West “responsible” For Third of China’s CO2 Emissions’
    http://www.treehugger.com/files/2009/02/western-goods-china-emissions-pollution.php

    ‘About 9% of total Chinese emissions are the result of manufacturing goods for the US, it finds, while 6% come from producing goods for Europe’

    The article goes on to describe unintended consequences of China manufacturing goods for the world such as destruction of forests for furniture and unsustainable extracton of raw materials in places like Africa.

  49. Chris Warren
    February 26th, 2009 at 08:18 | #49

    I think that some climate change skepicism might be a good idea, but once hard scientific data is produced – eg exponential increases in CO2 concentrations as measured over decades – then, given then science of the green-house effect, we should proceed on the basis that human induced climate change is an established fact.

    However right-wingers have, for eons, been trained to always complain about: occupational health and safety, minimum wages, taxation, arbitration, licences, human rights, governments, etc etc and always try to exploit society for the benefit of private wealth.

    They must therefore deny climate change but only because public policy addressing climate change will place additional constraints on capitalist business.

    The deniers are now few and constitute little more than wingeing gnats. The big business push is to accept the science but not do anything about it on the basis that this puts Australia on a competitve disadvantage to other producers.

    They accept climate change only to make it worse.

    So my main concern is about those who support climate change but so that nothing is really done about it. Rudd, Wong, Turnbull are in this camp together.

  50. jquiggin
    February 26th, 2009 at 08:35 | #50

    Terje, take a look at the list of speakers who’ve given the CIS Bonython lecture. Just about every one of them is prominently associated with the political right, and a large number are known as neocons, not libertarians (Kagan, Fukuyama and even Rupert Murdoch for example). In twenty-five years, they couldn’t find a single leftish speaker, or even (as far as I can tell) an pro-peace libertarian from somewhere like Cato.

    Then there’s the anti-immigration stuff from Helen Hughes and the social conservatism they were pushing hard a few years back.

  51. Ros
    February 26th, 2009 at 09:09 | #51

    I am very often out of my depth here, and clearly an outsider. To read that Materials Science and Engineering is crackpot stuff really confuses me.

    Dennis Jensen’s doctoral thesis was on high temperature tough zirconia ceramic materials – Monash – Materials Engineering.

    One interesting development in the field of ceramics is the ceramic “battery”, or “energy storage” device. Supposed to be capable of charging in 5 minutes and providing enough energy to drive about 500 miles on about $9 of electricity. EEStor.

    EEstor in 2008 signed an agreement with LockheedMartin for exclusive rights to integrate and market EESU units in military and homeland security applications. 2009 news report on GM communicating with them a good deal.

    What might possibly be a revolutionary breakthrough from “crackpot” science.

    Is Tim Lambert unaware that the UNSW School of Engineering, Materials Science and Engineering lay claim to being the only Australian uni providing a specialist course in ceramics. I wonder how they would feel about being declared as teachers of crackpot science by one of their colleagues.

  52. nanks
    February 26th, 2009 at 09:27 | #52

    @51 – I agree – there seems to have been confusion between ceramics (as a discipline) and pottery. Of course all this is tangential to Jensen’s quality as a commentator on climate science

  53. jquiggin
    February 26th, 2009 at 09:54 | #53

    Umm, you do realise this was a joke, right?

  54. FDB
    February 26th, 2009 at 10:06 | #54

    I believe the only connnection anyone has drawn between Ceramics and crackpots is a pun-based one.

    He’s a crackpot, how funny that his PhD is in Ceramics hahaha…

    Don’t get your knickers in a twist defending the field.

  55. nanks
    February 26th, 2009 at 10:39 | #55

    “I believe the only connnection anyone has drawn between Ceramics and crackpots is a pun-based one.”

    Sure, but then the pun just seemed to go so horribly wrong.

  56. Jim Birch
    February 26th, 2009 at 11:26 | #56

    Ros @51,

    Crackpot is a pretty loose term, I wouldn’t take it too seriously. More generally, expertise in one area of science doesn’t automatically mean you know anything about another area. I’d expect to find that any scientist – even the very bright and highly respected – would have at least a few ideas that are way out of kilter with the established science in areas outside their speciality. The typical circumspect practice is recognise one’s lack of expertise and accede to the actual experts. However, this doesn’t suit all personality types. In such cases the term crackpot may be reasonably applied.

  57. Alanna
    February 26th, 2009 at 11:47 | #57

    Climate change is like a Tsunami. As it arrives you find some people clinging to the last frond on a palm tree saying “wave? what wave?”

    The denialist propaganda publishers (like CIS and Quadrant and IPA) have vested interests in no regulation for their company executive funders. Climate change initiatives threaten their profits. Duh. So Sir Fred Bull donates 300,000 K to a local outfit to publish pictures of so called environmentally friendly academics to speak ill of their science (surrounded by green imagery and tawny frogmouth owls in photoshots) like our Jen.

    Their lackey writers would run out an article for the SMH something along the lines of “Loonie lefties seek to destroy individual freedom to climb palm trees by claiming danger from Tsunamis.” or “No need to spend our taxes on Tsunami victims. Tsunami a left wing plot.”

    Its so ridiculous. Its produced by the greedy amongst us, and only the really dense get taken in by it.

    Alanna

  58. wilful
    February 26th, 2009 at 11:49 | #58

    So what’s the etymology of crackpot anyway?

  59. David Irving (no relation)
    February 26th, 2009 at 12:19 | #59

    Comedy gold, Tim @ 11! (The point of which seems to have been missed by some.)

    BTW, wasn’t Jensen a Rocket Scientist?

  60. 2 tanners
    February 26th, 2009 at 13:07 | #60

    JQ@53

    Gosh, it seems only a couple of days ago an eminent commentator was warning about the dangers of irony on the internets. :)

  61. jmh
    February 26th, 2009 at 13:07 | #61
  62. Bruce Littleboy
    February 26th, 2009 at 13:21 | #62

    Slightly off-topic, but is there a similar instant-lose law for grafting supposedly instant-win arguments onto “family values”?

    I am reminded of the old conservationist exhortation to save water by showering with a friend.

  63. Bruce Littleboy
    February 26th, 2009 at 13:26 | #63

    My 62 did not include what I’d pasted in from a webpage… I’ll try again:

    Slightly off-topic, but is there a similar instant-lose law for grafting supposedly instant-win arguments onto “family values”?

    Divorce adds to climate change: Fielding
    Cathy Alexander
    February 24, 2009
    Divorce adds to the impact of global warming as couples switch to wasteful single lifestyles, Family First senator Steve Fielding says.
    He told a Senate hearing on Tuesday that divorce led to a “resource-inefficient lifestyle” and it would be better for the planet if couples stayed married.
    When couples separate, they need more rooms, more electricity and more water, which increases their carbon footprint.

    Now the punchline (again, what comedy timing):
    I am reminded of the old conservationist exhortation to save water by showering with a friend.

  64. jquiggin
    February 26th, 2009 at 14:28 | #64

    #60 It may seem that way, but it was actually less than 24 hours (see JQ@25).

  65. mitchell porter
    February 26th, 2009 at 14:30 | #65

    paul #24, I take it you were making a joke then. It can be hard to tell, out here…

    Tony #27, just to confuse the matter further, Jonah Goldberg says fascism originally meant *right-wing* socialism.

    But my point was that you were asserting something (Godwin’s Law was invented for a certain reason) as fact, when apparently you had no evidence on the matter. I presume it just sounded plausible to you.

  66. jquiggin
    February 26th, 2009 at 14:44 | #66

    Bruce @ 62/63. Not a law but a standard putdown for this kind of thing is the remark (irony alert on) “Won’t somebody think of the children?” (irony alert off).

  67. chrisl
    February 26th, 2009 at 15:25 | #67

    Ok It is all about irony then… a difficult concept to understand… let’s see if I can put it in a sentence.
    It is ironic that Penny Wong,an arts/law graduate tells Dr Jensen a Phd scientist to shut up about climate change.
    It is ironic that Tim Lambert, a computer programmer calls Dr Jensen a PhD scientist a crackpot.
    It is ironic that economists ,known to have a theory or three only allow one theory in climate science for to have more than one would be delusional

  68. nanks
    February 26th, 2009 at 15:50 | #68

    “Bruce @ 62/63. Not a law but a standard putdown for this kind of thing is the remark (irony alert on) “Won’t somebody think of the children?” (irony alert off).”

    That’d be the Minister for Family Services, I think, John

  69. Ken Miles
    February 26th, 2009 at 16:30 | #69

    Chrisl, you’ve missed the point. I lack a PhD in biology and there are creationists who have a PhD in biology. Just like global warming skeptics, they are crackpots, because of their combination of delusionism, dishonesty and ignorance.

    If global warming skeptics could argue the science in an honest fashion, their contributions would be welcome. Sadly, that is a bar too high.

  70. gerard
    February 26th, 2009 at 16:43 | #70

    why shouldn’t Penny Wong tell him to shut up? having a PhD in ceramics and materials science hardly makes you an authority on climate science, especially when virtually 100% of actual climate scientists disagree with you.

  71. February 26th, 2009 at 16:44 | #71

    The main CIS foreign affairs writer in recent years was Owen Harries — who took an anti-war position.

    The CIS has published plenty of “left” articles and while some people at CIS have a conservative streak, others (including, but not limited to me) would strongly object to being called “right-wing”.

    While that term can apply sometimes depending on how it’s being used, the reality is that it is often used to mean an anti-immigration, anti-trade, pro-christian, pro-war, anti-gay, prohibitionist, nanny-statist wowser populist.

    To use a term interchangably for the above and for libertarianism is to stretch the english language far beyond the scope of reasonable discussion.

    Indeed, there is more similarity between mainstream right and mainstream left than there is between mainstream right and libertarian.

  72. February 26th, 2009 at 16:52 | #72

    For the record, the CIS has not taken a position on the science of climate change.

  73. Mr Denmore
    February 26th, 2009 at 17:10 | #73

    Jensen’s comments betray yet again the capture of the Liberal Party by reactionary nutters. Poor Turnbull, desperately trying to drag a once.respectable political party back to the centre, but stymied by the fruitloops on the looney right.

    Regarding climate change, it’s interesting how it is only the ranting, gobspittled fanatics like Jensen that want to turn this into another left-right skirmish.

    Wong was right. Jensen should just shut up. He is an idiot.

  74. thewetmale
    February 26th, 2009 at 17:23 | #74

    Nanks @ 55

    No need to be a pun Nazi

    (apologies if this is too obvious for anyone)

  75. nanks
    February 26th, 2009 at 18:20 | #75

    I invoke the seinfeld quotation and say “no soup for you” thewetmale

  76. paul walter
    February 26th, 2009 at 18:36 | #76

    Many thanks to PM Lawrence,#35. That was beautiful.

  77. spangled drongo
    February 26th, 2009 at 18:44 | #77

    “Its so ridiculous. Its produced by the greedy amongst us, and only the really dense get taken in by it.”

    Alanna

    Well, they do get taken in.
    But I haven’t really noticed the CC tsunami yet and I’ve got seafrontage.

  78. Louis Hissink
    February 26th, 2009 at 19:15 | #78

    Quite:

    “To Terje’s point, while it is possible to imagine a libertarian politics that isn’t allied with the political right, and there are even occasional instances emerging in the US, it really doesn’t exist in Australia. It’s absurd to suggest that the CIS, for which Andrew works, is not part of the organised political right, and even more absurd to suggest this of his previous employer, David Kemp. ”

    We are fighting the state.

  79. Salient Green
    February 26th, 2009 at 20:02 | #79

    #78, #79 are a couple of Orcs who,out of boredom have escaped Mordor while The Dark Lordess Sauronhasy has been ‘gone fishing’.

    Sauronhasy has just returned so watch out for head Goblin Ian Mott on this page. It will have been sent to support the errant Orcs in a tactical retreat and will use the biggest, meanest BS snow machine ever seen by most of the bloggers here who are more acustomed to clear and decent debate.

  80. spangled drongo
    February 26th, 2009 at 20:41 | #80

    “It will have been sent to support the errant Orcs in a tactical retreat and will use the biggest, meanest BS snow machine ever seen by most of the bloggers here who are more acustomed to clear and decent debate.”

    Salient Green,
    I built a jetty on this waterfront in 1963, 46 years ago and the king tides still come to the same spot they did then.
    Isn’t that a reasonably honest and scientific bit of data?

  81. jquiggin
    February 26th, 2009 at 20:47 | #81

    I didn’t say the CIS had an official position on climate change. I said it had actively promoted delusionist views like this. To my knowledge CIS has never published anything comparably polemical from the pro-science side of the debate.

    In fact, I’ve never seen anything from them that is specifically devoted to presenting the pro-science side, as opposed to pieces like yours on the carbon tax, which accept, for the sake of argument, the scientific consensus, but don’t endorse it. Feel free to set me straight.

    Owen Harries is not anti-war, let alone leftwing in any way. He’s a conservative realist, and critical of the Iraq war as being not in the US (or Australia’s) interest. But he was equally strongly supportive of the Vietnam War.

  82. Tony G
    February 26th, 2009 at 20:57 | #82

    SP@ 80;

    “the king tides still come to the same spot they did then.”

    @ the north end of Bondi in the 60s & 70s, there were occasions when the water use to wash up against the promenade, I haven’t seen the water get up there since then.

    If anybody knows of waterfronts for sale at AGW fire sale prices, please let me know.

  83. jquiggin
    February 26th, 2009 at 21:22 | #83

    “The CIS has published plenty of “left” articles”

    Could you point me to some? That is, articles by people who are recognised as part of the political left, even if not agreeing with the CIS on all points, just as the Bonython lecturers are nearly all associated with the political right.

    I’m only aware of one such piece, many years ago now, and that’s because I wrote it (I was on good terms with the then editor of Policy, and he was, like me, critical of public choice theory.

    And from time to time Labor politicians give talks there, either to build bridges and demonstrate bipartisanship or en route to the other side.

    But there may well be more.

  84. Tony G
    February 26th, 2009 at 21:29 | #84

    JQ @ 81 said;

    “the pro-science side of the debate.”

    Maybe worshipping this guy can be classified as a sort of Scientology, but it is hardly science.

  85. jquiggin
    February 27th, 2009 at 06:00 | #85

    Sorry, Tony, I forgot that you personally had refuted the whole of existing science. So, let’s say that the CIS supports the “Tony G science” side of the debate as against the “establishment science” side. Once you reveal your true identity and genius to the world, you’ll have plenty of backers.

  86. TerjeP (say tay-a)
    February 27th, 2009 at 07:41 | #86

    JohnQ – I’m not able to answer your charges against the CIS. I do note that lots of people refer to the CIS as right wing. Perhaps those that submit articles to the CIS for publication self select on the basis of that perception. Personally I wouldn’t suggest that the CIS open the doors to the left in a general way however I’m surprised that there is such a consistent disconnect between a libertarian think tank and the left. I don’t personally think this makes the CIS right wing, however if the left feel disconnected from something then I suppose I shouldn’t be too shocked if the left call that thing right-wing.

  87. Tony G
    February 27th, 2009 at 09:37 | #87

    JQ said;

    “refuted the whole of existing science.”

    No because;

    The only verifiable ‘science’ the AGW side of the debate has is that atmospheric carbon is increasing.

    Anything else is just conjecture; (do you define conjecture as “the whole of existing science”?)

    *What the small increase in carbon does is unverifiable.
    *Where it comes from and where it goes is guess work.
    *World temperature readings are extrapolated and unreliable.
    *Comparable accurate data for the aeons doesn’t exist.

    Even the end proposal of the AGW proponents doesn’t reduce the scientifically quantifiable carbon increases we are seeing.. If mankind cut carbon emissions by 100%, contemporary ‘science’ would not be able to tell us if it would halt the increasing atmospheric carbon.

    Scientifically knowing what is going on climatically is a long way off, just because you have a PhD doesn’t give you a mortgage on the subject.

    “Once you reveal your true identity and genius to the world, you’ll have plenty of backers.”

    The world couldn’t give a stuff about me, so attacking me is futile, it wont hide the shortcomings of your arguments, nor will it make them make them right.

  88. Chris Warren
    February 27th, 2009 at 11:01 | #88

    Tony G

    Although I am no expert – I thought there was corroboration from:

    coral cores,
    ice cores, and
    dendrochronology.

    Ice sheet measurements, sea water temperatures, and climate anomalies all seem to suggest more than “conjecture”.

    The counter argument is more conjecture.

  89. Bruce Littleboy
    February 27th, 2009 at 11:40 | #89

    And the glaciers are melting.

  90. Tony G
    February 27th, 2009 at 11:48 | #90

    Chris,

    Some glaciers are melting and some are getting bigger.

    It is like the glass that is filled up half way.

    Some people say it is half empty and others half full.

    Similarly, with the *above issues, some think the knowledge is sufficient to draw a scientific conclusion as to what is happening, whilst others do not.

    We will just have to agree to disagree.

  91. Ken Miles
    February 27th, 2009 at 11:54 | #91

    The only verifiable ’science’ the AGW side of the debate has is that atmospheric carbon is increasing.

    You forgot (or perhaps were totally unaware of):

    * Carbon dioxide absorps infrared radiation.
    * As the concentration of carbon dioxide increases, the absorption of infrared radiation also increases.
    * The earth emits infrared radiation.

    All of the above were known in the 19th century by scientists. It is supremely sad that they appear to be unknown to a great deal of 21st century “sceptics”.

  92. Lord Sir Alexander “Dolly” Downer
    February 27th, 2009 at 12:52 | #92

    I agree with Tony G, this place is just like Stalin’s Russia. I’m outa here.

  93. Tony G
    February 27th, 2009 at 12:53 | #93

    “Carbon dioxide absorps infrared radiation”

    Water vapour adsorbs so much infra-red radiation that the amount of infra-red radiation carbon absorbs is insignificant. AGW proponents conveniently ignore water vapour in their theories and calculations.

    Do not mention the additional water vapour in clouds because as far as AGW proponents theories are concerned clouds don’t exist. That’s right, they do not know if their temperature readings are shaded by clouds or in direct sunlight.

  94. Bruce Littleboy
    February 27th, 2009 at 13:32 | #94

    Tony G,
    Have you got a source for “Some glaciers are … getting bigger.”? Or something that would narrow the google search?

  95. Tony G
    February 27th, 2009 at 13:54 | #95
  96. nanks
    February 27th, 2009 at 14:15 | #96

    Tony G – the glacier extent is influenced by both precipitation and temperature. The growth of that glacier after an extended period of drought is not relevant to global warming and CO2 levels.

  97. matt
    February 27th, 2009 at 14:20 | #97

    To the punitentiary with you all!

  98. Tony G
    February 27th, 2009 at 14:29 | #98

    Nanks,

    Explain to Bruce Littleboy and Chris that glaciers are not relevant to global warming and CO2 levels.

    Re; Lord Sir Alexander “Dolly” Downer @ 92;

    As they say in Russia, Mosgow.

  99. jquiggin
    February 27th, 2009 at 14:30 | #99

    Lord ADD #92 Good, but I thought you had a winner at #9.

    Unfortunately, this is now a serious thread in which Tony G is expounding his groundbreaking research, which will doubtless win him the complete set of Nobel prizes shortly and indeed, bring the whole prize thing to an end, so stunningly unrepeatable is his performance. I was going to ask others not to question him, but actually it’s more amusing the way it is. While you’re at it Tony, can you set us straight on general relativity?

  100. nanks
    February 27th, 2009 at 14:34 | #100

    I only answered as I didn’t want a casual observer to think Tony G had a point. Obviously when you actually look at the abstract of the paper you realise he doesn’t.

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