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Crop circles and contrarians

April 26th, 2009

Back in the 1990s, before the Internet created the self-sustaining parallel universe now inhabited by Republicans and their sympathisers, the task of casting doubt on climate science fell to a group of thinktanks and lobby groups. The most active was the Global Climate Coalition, funded by an array of industry groups, notably including motor and oil companies. Since climate delusions never die, a large number of the factoids now circulating among those who absurdly refer to themselves as “skeptics” can be traced back to the GCC and its FUD machine.

As reported by the New York Times, a recent court case allows us a peek behind the curtain at the (now-disbanded GCC). It turns out that even as the Global Climate Coalition was promoting delusional claims, its own scientists were advising that they would not stand up to scrutiny.

You might think that a chapter-and-verse demonstration of how the trick was performed might shock some self-styled “sceptics” into the realisation that they had displayed credulous gullibility. But at this point delusionists are like believers in alien-generated crop circles. It doesn’t matter if the tricksters who made the circles confess, and even show how it was done. As George Bush might have said of these guys “Fool them once, and they stay fooled”.

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  1. Tony G
    April 26th, 2009 at 21:59 | #1

    The New York Times article fits the criteria for this booker prize, but i do not think it will win as there are so many better ones to pick from.

    “climate delusions never die”. If you read the whole document the IPCCs GCM’s look pretty delusional.

  2. Tony G
    April 26th, 2009 at 22:10 | #2

    test

  3. philip travers
    April 27th, 2009 at 00:40 | #3

    I dont know about that John. Some strange deaths and findings in the Crop Circles exist.I wouldn’t give too much strength to the crop circle skeptics,they are just pushing a impossible solution to how it has been done.Although I bet they’re still years behind what can be done now with human technology.Even,if, my understandings remain undecided.I was looking up Coalite, because it was mentioned on KeeleyNet.com, and found a site that was yours re China and Coalite.I also found that some research by the Chinese on alternative use of the Gobi Desert could also include a Coalite industry and convert its Carbon Dioxide footprint directly or indirectly by use of Coalite.So I think, there must be heaps of morons in academia industry who take the costly approach because they like money spent on themselves.Well,it cannot continue and Coalite hardly needs the $100 million in Rudd’s give away to clean coal.Open up again on that and give them a extra blast.And besides,whats wrong with CO2 going along pipes somewhere to be used and stored and converted!? And who knows all the rusty hulk pylons around may be cured of their malady with a little applied carbonisation,in a different manner.Carbon doesn’t create rust,and carbon can have all sorts of chemicals and gas added to it,perhaps you should lecture in re-industrialisation…and bloody soon.

  4. Lord Sir Alexander “Dolly” Downer
    April 27th, 2009 at 10:15 | #4

    The average age of climate change etc deniers is pretty high. Becoming reactionary in old age comes from a chemical change in many males. As medical improvements get us to live longer and longer, and old people retain the vote, this poses a problem for rational responses to these challenges.

  5. francis
    April 27th, 2009 at 10:21 | #5

    Reading Philip’s post, it looks like we have entered the age of Poe’s law in climate change comment threads

  6. Skepticked
    April 27th, 2009 at 16:42 | #6

    So Richard Lindzen is delusional? Pretty arrogant position from someone who probably knows less than one hundredth of one percent as much as Lindzen about the climate.

  7. April 27th, 2009 at 17:03 | #7

    Dont know whats worse, non believers or the true believers, both come across as fundamentalists.

  8. Ikonoclast
    April 27th, 2009 at 17:22 | #8

    My motto is;

    “Physics happens. Magic doesn’t. Get over it.”

    I was dragged to the Eumundi Markets recently by Mrs Ikonoclast. I was struck by the number of shops selling magic potions, magic oils, magic crystals, astrology and card readings, magic back repairs, magic magnetic cures etc. etc. Not even several centuries of science and the effective refutation of all received belief systems seem to be enough to cure many people of the wish to believe in magic.

  9. jquiggin
    April 27th, 2009 at 17:25 | #9

    As indicate by his willingness to dispute the link between smoking and lung cancer, Lindzen is an irresponsible contrarian – willing to argue a position he knows to be dubious at best on the basis that no-one can prove hom wrong to his own satisfaction. He has certainly helped to delude many (notably including nearly all rightwingers).

  10. Ubiquity
    April 27th, 2009 at 18:52 | #10

    I have noticed that those in the natural sciences who once suggested a important role for the human mind in explaining natures order, have been moving furiously toward hard-core materialism that is charecterised by nineteenth century physics. At the same time, physicists, faced with compelling experimental evidence, have been moving away from strictly mechanical models of the universe to a view that sees the mind as playing an integral role in all physical events. “The Observer” plays a central role in the nature of physical reality.

    For example, Einsteins capacity to step outside the mechanical world and into the world of “relativity”. Relativity has yielded many applications including cosmology and nuclear power.

    The second issue that I have noticed is that the debate revolves around egos. The left and the right (apparently) have taken opposing positions on the matter of AGW. Those on the left and the right have egos bigger than King Kong and pejorative refrences are all that could possibly be exchanged because there positions are so entrenched. Any reference to potential qeustionable data (to the current status quo) is often dismissed as propaganda and/or delusional on either side.

    AGW advocates persist with hardline views that try to abolish the role of the mind altogether.
    The persistent dissmissive references to the “delusional right” on the matter of AGW, usually illicit a response from the right of facist rhetoric.

    A third dimension to this issue is the role of the state. We’ll its obvious by now that the state will do whats good for the state first, for the corporates second, and for the people third and the environment is the political football. (note for those who think the people come first just refer back to the bank bailout and who was actually bailed out and whose paying. In the real world when someone is insolvent they are bankrupted and removed from the business, instead the state resorts to chasing little greedy bankers, instead of dismantling the stupid directors and there well connected mates in parlaiment.)

    Based on what I have just mentioned you will have to excuse my skepticism and if I could stand anywhere other than the right or left I would. I would be quiet comfortable with Ian Plimer or Freeman Dyson current skeptical position on AGW. Of course this would not preclude me from wanting to protect our environment. I would even consider a plan to deal with the likelihood of a global warming scenario but it would have to one that was people friendly first.

  11. Skepticked
    April 27th, 2009 at 19:08 | #11

    As indicate by his willingness to dispute the link between smoking and lung cancer

    I love this one. No-one has ever produced more than a second-hand reference by some newsweek reporter to justify this claim. No direct quote. Nothing in print. Talk about clutching at straws.

    If that’s all you got to back up your claim of intellectual superiority over Lindzen in matters of climate science, well I know who I’d believe.

  12. nanks
    April 27th, 2009 at 19:19 | #12

    Skepticked – I’m reading your post as ambiguous – are you claiming that there is no evidence to support the link between smoking and lung cancer?

  13. Skepticked
    April 27th, 2009 at 19:28 | #13

    No – I am claiming there’s almost no evidence to support the claim that Lindzen disputes the link between smoking and lung cancer.

  14. jquiggin
    April 27th, 2009 at 19:36 | #14

    “Nothing in print”

    Newsweek is a print magazine, and published a first-hand report of an interview with Lindzen. But of course, that’s not enough for you, any more than the direct evidence of fraud quoted in the post. It’s crop circles all the way down for you guys.

  15. jquiggin
    April 27th, 2009 at 19:39 | #15

    “Based on what I have just mentioned you will have to excuse my skepticism”

    No, I won’t, nor will I dignify credulous wishful thinking by that name.

    Certainly this thread has demonstrated my point better than the post itself. Every rightwing commenter who has turned up has restated their adherence to delusionism, and the only response to the evidence of fraud is to ignore it, or in Tony G’s case, to suggest that the New York Times is making it up.

  16. Skepticked
    April 27th, 2009 at 19:52 | #16

    The *only* quote I have ever found regarding Lindzen’s view on lung cancer is the following:

    He’ll even expound on how weakly lung cancer is linked to cigarette smoking.

    That is one line in a long article. It is not a direct quote. It is not “in print” in the sense of a claim in writing by Lindzen himself. I have never seen any corroborating quotes or remarks from Lindzen. And even if it were an accurate representation of Lindzen’s views (which I doubt), it doesn’t support the claim that Lindzen disputes the link between smoking and lung cancer.

    Like I said, if that’s all you got, you got nuthin’.

    Every rightwing commenter who has turned up has restated their adherence to delusionism

    Do you really believe your own propaganda? Or is it simply that you define delusionism vacuously to be any view that is opposed to your own?

  17. Louis Hissink
    April 27th, 2009 at 20:39 | #17

    The only reason John Quiggin describes sceptics as delusional is because he has lost the argument and needs to resort to ad hominems to continue it.

    John, you simply are not competent to distinguish science from pseudoscience, or as it is perjoratively described, dialectic science.

    AGW could be best described as delusional science, since its fundamental assumption, has never been empirically verified by experiment.

    Until it has, you and your cohort are simply latter day lysenkoists.

  18. Donald Oats
    April 27th, 2009 at 21:16 | #18

    Lysenko has zero relevance to AGW as a theory. Lysenko is an interesting example of how power may be abused, however.

    BTW, what is the fundamental assumption of AGW? Seriously.

  19. April 27th, 2009 at 21:28 | #19

    what is the fundamental assumption of AGW?

    Something about crop circles heating up the planet.

  20. chrisl
    April 27th, 2009 at 22:11 | #20

    “delusionists are like believers in alien-generated crop circles”
    The logic in this statement jumps out like the Monty Python “She’s a witch” scene
    If she weighs the same as a duck she must be a witch

  21. frankis
    April 27th, 2009 at 23:02 | #21

    Welcome back Proust/Whatever you were called after that I’ve forgotten, pardon me, OK I just checked — Mugwump/Skepticked.

  22. April 27th, 2009 at 23:03 | #22

    Perhaps we can solve global warming by burning our crops.

  23. Alice
    April 28th, 2009 at 00:47 | #23

    Gee its hot in here! It must be the aliens landing in the crop circles that are warming the planet – anything but GW – anything but the obvious byproducts and wastes and residues of our own nasty dirty production methods. Anything but that! (irony alert).

  24. April 28th, 2009 at 04:55 | #24

    “link between smoking and lung cancer, Lindzen is an irresponsible contrarian”

    You see that statement just about sums you up Mr Q.
    And what would you have done to Newton who believed in Alchemy, or einstien with his famous blast at quantum physics “god does not play dice”?

    It might come as a bit of a shock to you mrQ that people who never smoke in their lives die of lung cancer. and yes I do believe that their is a much higher chance of lung cancer caused by smoking.

    I also believe that Lindzen and indeed James Lovelock are superb scientists. We all including scientist have some stupid irrational belief in our closet. some of us know so, some of us dont.

    Here is a tip, try playing the ball and not the man.

  25. jquiggin
    April 28th, 2009 at 07:15 | #25

    #24 As you’ll see, Sean, Lindzen was introduced as an argument from authority. So, evidence that he is willing to say silly things to be contrary is relevant in working out why he differs from the vast majority of climate scientists.

    If you want to “play the ball” in a scientific debate, get a PhD in the field, do some research and publish the results in peer-reviewed journals. Otherwise, accept the results of those who’ve done the work as the only reasonable basis for policy.

  26. jquiggin
    April 28th, 2009 at 07:17 | #26

    Frankis, I had the same thought, but if so, prolonged seclusion in the Republican thought bubble is having its effects. Skepticked appears much less capable of independent of independent thought than was Dogz (first incarnation, I think). A decline was certainly evident with Mugwump, but even so, I’m doubtful this is him.

  27. Skepticked
    April 28th, 2009 at 07:30 | #27

    If you want to “play the ball” in a scientific debate, get a PhD in the field, do some research and publish the results in peer-reviewed journals. Otherwise, accept the results of those who’ve done the work as the only reasonable basis for policy.

    You accept the results of those who support your position, and “play the man” when they don’t. Cute.

  28. Skepticked
    April 28th, 2009 at 07:32 | #28

    Proust/Dogz/Mugwump?

  29. Uncle Milton
    April 28th, 2009 at 07:43 | #29

    The source for Lindzen saying that there is no evidence of I’ll effects from smoking is an interview he gavevto a Newsweek journalist in 2001. Perhaps the journalist misrepresented him but if so Lindzen appears to have made no attempt to correct the record. (Anyone could just email him at MIT and ask him.)

    Interestingly most of Lindzen’s supporters seem to view his apparent opinions on smoking and health as a point in his favour, which reinforces what a sound scientist he is, but this probably says more about them than him.

  30. gerard
    April 28th, 2009 at 08:54 | #30

    Have any of Lindzen’s claims regarding the consensus been published in a peer review journal?

    Does Lindzen have a standing paper in any peer review journal that can provide a mechanism as to why current global warming isn’t something to worry about?

  31. April 28th, 2009 at 09:01 | #31

    Uncle Milton, are you commenting from an iPhone? It always presumes “ill” means “I’ll”.

  32. Ikonoclast
    April 28th, 2009 at 09:20 | #32

    There is unfortunately an anti-intellectual sub-stratum of adults who seem to persist in being irrational and uneducable. “Contrarians” is a fair enough label for them. I have found, by and large, that they are beyond help.

    The only hope is in the education of the next generation. Our education system needs to be reformed to go beyond narrow technical and job-targeted education which these days creates only “cubicle-fodder”.

    Cubicle-fodder is a Dilbert comic reference. By it I mean people who sit in front of a computer in a cubicle or open plan office in a kind of electronic battery-chook fashion. They always do exactly what the corporation tells them to do. They have few independent thoughts or ideas beyond what corporate and advertising propaganda have given them. Their world view is informed by this propaganda alone as they have no other intellectual inputs.

    As I said, the only hope is in the education of the next generation. Our education system needs to include, from high school, a full humanist education with proper attention to history, philosophy (with especial attention to epistemological issues and the difference between knowledge and belief), logic and science (including a proper understanding of the history and methods of scientific inquiry and experiment).

    Only when and if the broader public becomes a little more philosophically and scientifically literate will we see this kind of anti-intellectual and corporate-propagandised contrarianism wither away.

  33. PB
    April 28th, 2009 at 09:45 | #33

    “…you and your cohort are simply latter day lysenkoists…”

    “Lysenko”. He was an agronomist and KGB operative who had some strange ideas about winter wheat. Stalin liked him and his ideas. Consequently Lysenko was able to get his academic opponents banished to Siberia.

    Apparently, in the nether-world that is denialist ‘thought’ this is supposed to tell us something about AGW.

    Denialist group-think is extraordinary. Do you guys get briefing notes or something? This is the third time in the past week I’ve heard Lysenko used as an ‘attack’ on AGW. Plimer, some guy in another blog and now here. I’m betting Miranda Devine or Counterpoint will have a session on him soon.

    I’m reluctant to go too far down this path. Afterall, as Prof Q says, what’s the point? The denialists will believe what they want to. But there’s something bizarre about Lysenko being invoked to attack AGW. Surely the Lysenko affair tells us that mainstream science can’t be ignored. It may be politically convenient to pretend that the mainstream science is faulty but it will eventually come back and bite you on the bum… Oh, I can’t be bothered.

  34. Tony G
    April 28th, 2009 at 09:57 | #34

    Sean said @ 24
    “try playing the ball and not the man.”

    As the evidence for AGW is invented (i.e. using a theory to prove itself, is an invalid circular argument), what other option do they have. AGW proponents live in an illusory world, where unaccountability and derision go hand in hand.

    Their biggist real problem is people are starting to freeze their balls off, so soon they will have to try and install AGC as a revenue raising measure instead of AGW.

  35. Alice
    April 28th, 2009 at 10:13 | #35

    Ikonoclast
    I think the correct term is “neo-contrarians”. Its finely practised theatre art form and can be amusing but its definitely not science.

  36. Alice
    April 28th, 2009 at 10:20 | #36

    Ikonoclast – speaking of the next generation, they are here already. Im hearing first hand how they are not happy with the way things are being managed and dont believe all the free market, self regulation of firms, and AGW nonsense etc. In short Im quite surprised at their insight already. There is an evolution already happening out there. I can see the young broom coming to sweep this nonsense and these silly arguments away. The contrarians are losing their grip and unless they plan to be caste into the wilderness of political eccentricity for a long time they will have to revise their script(s).

  37. Donald Oats
    April 28th, 2009 at 10:34 | #37

    I think Lysenko is intended as a tar-n-feathering job; that is, Lysenko was a product of a Commie system, ergo so are people who think AGW might be real, based on the evidence thus far…

    It is amazing to see how this particular issue cleaves down the line of left/right, in political parlance. Even more amazing is that real sceptics such as myself are portrayed by Plimer et al as baa-lamb believers in AGW. It is possible to have a sceptical frame of mind when analysing something, without necessarily rejecting or accepting it – scientists wouldn’t make much progress if they were sceptical of every prior piece of information and data gathered before them. Then again, scientists generally assume other scientists will play fair – at least until that assumption is challenged by discovery of fraud or data cooking, for example.

    Ian Plimer and co. unfortunately practice a very narrow, indeed reflexive, version of scepticism, committing the cardinal sin of putting the cart before the horse (ie, the “majority” must be wrong, and so the conclusion die is cast before considering the scientific evidence).

    Ian Plimer’s Lateline interview had better not be indicative of the material in his book, or I will have wasted my dough.

  38. Lord Sir Alexander “Dolly” Downer
    April 28th, 2009 at 10:50 | #38

    Has anyone investigated the link between Australians who don’t believe in global warming and those who don’t believe in ‘stolen generations’. Largely the same people, I think.

    Both are symptoms of a defense mechanism about imputations against our history. Western human progress is a perfect thing and can do no wrong.

  39. Tony G
    April 28th, 2009 at 13:05 | #39

    “Dolly” have you ever walked down Eveleigh Street Redfern ?

  40. Ikonoclast
    April 28th, 2009 at 13:11 | #40

    “Dolly” you summed it up well with your irony. “Western human progress is a perfect thing and can do no wrong.”

    In a lot of ways, it comes back to the total worship of naked self-interest by the conservative contrarians coupled with a complete denial that that is the sum total of their moral philosophy.

  41. Ikonoclast
    April 28th, 2009 at 13:13 | #41

    What’s your point about Eveleigh Street Redfern, Tony G? Spell it out plain for all to see.

  42. jquiggin
    April 28th, 2009 at 13:32 | #42

    AFAIK, Lindzen’s most relevant contribution to the peer-reviewed literature was the adaptive iris hypothesis he put forward in 2001 to suggest that feedbacks from water vapor might be negative. This got shot down fairly promptly and, again AFAIK, he hasn’t revisited it. But, it was a serious piece of work that deserves to be (and is) taken into account when assessing the science as a whole.

    His role in public debate has been another matter, and of a piece with his statement about smoking.

  43. Skepticked
    April 28th, 2009 at 13:35 | #43

    test

  44. Smiley
    April 28th, 2009 at 13:39 | #44

    It’s crop circles all the way down for you guys.

    That’s great comedy, much like the rest of the thread. Upon rereading Hawking’s classic book a few years ago, I repeated the introductory story to a couple of colleagues at the pub, after work, and all I got back was blank stares. I guess the comedy is lost on some people.

  45. Skepticked
    April 28th, 2009 at 13:41 | #45

    The water-vapour-feedback question is still alive and kicking. The balance between positive feedback from low-altitude clouds blocking OLR (outgoing longwave radiation), and negative feedback from high-altitude clouds reflecting ISR (Incoming Shortwave Radiation) is still not well understood, and is not modeled well by any climate models.

    On the empirical front, the amount of OLR measured by satellites is not consistent with the high sensitivities of climate models. This is Lindzen’s main point, of which the Iris hypothesis was but one attempt at an explanation. See also Roy Spencer on this.

  46. Skepticked
    April 28th, 2009 at 13:45 | #46

    and of a piece with his statement about smoking.

    What statement? How many times do you need it pointed out: Lindzen has never made such a public statement. He has been reported as having some kind of opinion on the link between smoking and lung cancer, but that is all.

    Never let the truth get in the way of a convenient lie.

  47. Salient Green
    April 28th, 2009 at 13:56 | #47

    If humans can – cause deserts by deforestation and overgrazing
    cause bee hive collapse from insecticides taken up by plant roots
    cause acid rain from suphur emissions
    cause the ozone hole to enlarge from CFC emissions
    cause mercury accumulation in fish from coal burning emissions
    cause asthma in children from motor vehicle emissions
    then an intelligent person without prejudices, would have to conclude that, on the balance of probabilities, humans can also cause the globe to warm from greenhouse gas emissions.

    There being a scientific consensus for all these things, the only explanation by my logic is the existence of prejudice in the minds of deniers and skeptics.

    The definition of prejudice I am using is ‘ any unreasonable attitude that is unusually resistant to rational influence.’

    I recently came across a theory that human caused desertification and deforestation has so inhibited the planet’s ability to sequester CO2 that it can’t now deal with natural emissions let alone the massive amounts we add to the system.

  48. Skepticked
    April 28th, 2009 at 14:26 | #48

    Deforestation actually enhances the earth’s sequestration capacity An old-growth forest is essentially carbon-neutral, so can’t help you remove CO2. Chopping it down, turning the wood into furniture or buildings, and planting a new forest will sequester CO2.

    So what we need is to turn all the old-growth forests into plantation timber farms, and promote massive population growth to soak up the extra supply of timber.

    BTW, reasonable skeptics don’t dispute that the earth is warming. Nor do they dispute that some component is probably human induced. The argument is over how much. I am skeptical about the evidence for alarm (as is Lindzen).

  49. Tony G
    April 28th, 2009 at 14:28 | #49

    Ikonoclast Says:@ 40

    “What’s your point about Eveleigh Street Redfern, Tony G? Spell it out plain for all to see”.

    In the hallucinogenic AGW world view, a place like this is perceived as great for kids to grow up in;

    “It’s a weekday morning but there are plenty of locals hanging around the streets. In the shell of an abandoned house several people are crashed out on a ragged old sofa. Broken glass crunches underfoot as you pass terrace houses in various stages of dilapidation. Some are completely derelict, their windows and doors bricked up to stop them becoming drug dens – the reason most of the houses on Eveleigh have already been bulldozed.”

    You can continue hallucinating and call it a ‘stolen generation’ if you wish, but there is plenty of evidence to suggest that they ‘still’ need saving from themselves.

  50. Salient Green
    April 28th, 2009 at 14:43 | #50

    #48, I hope you were just being flippant with your remark about population growth because it is a stupid thing to say even without knowing that old growth forests continue to accumulate carbon. http://www.i-sis.org.uk/oldgrowthforestcarbonsink.php

    Glad to hear you’re a ‘reasonable’ skeptic, Skepticked.

    Hands up all the unreasonable skeptics.

  51. Skepticked
    April 28th, 2009 at 14:56 | #51

    old growth forests continue to accumulate carbon

    They can’t do it forever. Simple fizziks.

    Why is population growth stupid? The more humans there are, the more smart humans there are. The more smart humans there are the more technological problems get solved, and the closer we get to intergalactic colonization when these trifling concerns over sustainability will no longer be important for the continuation of the human race.

  52. jquiggin
    April 28th, 2009 at 15:16 | #52

    #48 Thanks, Tony G for presenting the anti-science view at its clearest. The fact that indigenous communities have severe social problems is presented as evidence in a discussion of climate science. And of course with a gratuitous overlay of racism. You can get the same from Miranda Devine, Andrew Bolt and the rest, but rarely quite as clear-cut.

    For these guys, there is, quite simply, no truth, only ideology.

  53. Salient Green
    April 28th, 2009 at 15:16 | #53

    #51 ROFLOL! you got me thinking you were reasonable and now my hopes for you are dashed completely. Cruel.

  54. Skepticked
    April 28th, 2009 at 15:19 | #54

    #53 My tongue was in cheek (mostly).

    (there is a case to be made for a big first-world population that can push along technological development. I believe technology is the solution to the rapacious human appetite).

  55. Alice
    April 28th, 2009 at 15:22 | #55

    Skepticked says#51 “Why is population growth stupid? The more humans there are, the more smart humans there are.”

    The more rats you crowd in the one cage, the more they eat themselves too Skepticked, dumb or smart rats.

  56. Tony G
    April 28th, 2009 at 15:23 | #56

    “The fact that indigenous communities have severe social problems is presented as evidence in a discussion of climate science.”

    I didn’t bring the subject up.

    “no truth, only ideology”

    The truth is staring you in the face if you want to go outside and look for it. Everybody is racist including you PQ.

  57. Alice
    April 28th, 2009 at 15:26 | #57

    I believe technology and job replacement is also part of the reason for rapacious unemployed humans. It drives me mad that CCAmatil can make Australia’s entire bottled and canned drink supply and half of some Asian markets from one robot factory in Victoria, get massive economies of scale and shove everything else of the shelves. What do I care about the price if Im an unemployed bottling factory worker. I wouldnt buy them on principle. And of the profits? Which tax haven?

  58. Alice
    April 28th, 2009 at 15:31 | #58

    Ill wait for the next argument. The unemployed bottling factory worker being equiped with perfect labour mobility has magically turned into fleet footed gazelle where he bounds off to a brand new career after twenty years at the bottling factory, some distance far far away where he becomes a famous opera singer.

    Sure. Perfect ability to get a new perfect job in a new perfect market. Shame about the almost grey hair.

  59. Skepticked
    April 28th, 2009 at 15:32 | #59

    The more rats you crowd in the one cage, the more they eat themselves too Skepticked, dumb or smart rats.

    I think we’re ok for a while. I don’t see the Hong Kongians eating one another, and we’re not even close to Hong Kong density globally.

    I believe technology and job replacement is also part of the reason for rapacious unemployed humans.

    In principle yes. But in practice technology has had a surprisingly minor impact on unemployment. A lot of low-paid manufacturing jobs have migrated to the service sector, where they can buy more manufactured stuff on the same wage because their previous job is now performed by an even cheaper robot. Win-win.

    Of course eventually nearly everyone will be redundant, but we’re not close to that state either.

  60. gerard
    April 28th, 2009 at 15:54 | #60

    @53

    #51 ROFLOL! you got me thinking you were reasonable and now my hopes for you are dashed completely.

    Skepticked has already admitted to being a teabagger. Why would you have had any hopes?

  61. Skepticked
    April 28th, 2009 at 16:00 | #61

    It is odd to me that the left have adopted such a sexually graphic denigration for tea parties (definition 2 is the sense in which the left are using the term).

  62. gerard
    April 28th, 2009 at 16:35 | #62

    that’s not a new definition by any means, and the choice of name just goes to show that the teabagging party organizers (i.e. Fox News Channel) aren’t the sharpest tools in the shed. To say nothing of their audience.

  63. Salient Green
    April 28th, 2009 at 16:35 | #63

    Gerard, I didn’t know he was a teabagger and I wish I didn’t read the definitions. I’m going to drink coffee until the image fades or I learn to live with it. Zen and the art of teabagging.

  64. Alice
    April 28th, 2009 at 16:44 | #64

    Cuppa anyone? Ill take mine green. Its full of “ANTI” oxidants!

  65. Alice
    April 28th, 2009 at 16:49 | #65

    Skepticked. You need a filter for your definition of tea. Salient and I are recovering from the bad taste.

  66. Salient Green
    April 28th, 2009 at 18:06 | #66

    Thanks Alice, a nice cup of ‘Green’ tea has done more good than an hour of meditating.

    Now, where were we?

    Skepticked, I think we are quite clever enough already. What we need is to use our cleverness more wisely and go forward with a far better balance of the two than we (and I mean humanity in general and you in particular) have shown thus far.

    Forget space travel. Intergalactic? Won’t happen. The nearest star even is many human lifetimes away. Trashing this planet because we can move to another is not an option. Some of us tend to think we have already trashed it to a degree.

    Stop thinking that the Earth is expendable. Start thinking of it as tiny island in a huge ocean. You depend on the island and its biological and physical resources for your survival and if you treat it wrong you are going to suffer and you can’t go to another until you can live out on the ocean for 50 generations.

  67. TerjeP (say tay-a)
    April 28th, 2009 at 18:18 | #67

    Deforestation actually enhances the earth’s sequestration capacity An old-growth forest is essentially carbon-neutral, so can’t help you remove CO2. Chopping it down, turning the wood into furniture or buildings, and planting a new forest will sequester CO2.

    Cutting down a forest and then allowing a new forest to grow should not be refered to as deforestation. Cutting a forest down and creating a dairy farm is deforestation. Cutting a forest down and building a car park is deforestation. Cutting down a forest and then flooding the land as part of a dam is deforestation. However cutting a forest down and then letting the forest grow back is not deforestation. The correct term for cutting down a forest and then letting it grow back again is forestry. And forestry must be one of the most eco-friendly forms of commercial land use available.

  68. Alice
    April 28th, 2009 at 19:19 | #68

    Terje – a forest of fast growing pine just doesnt have the biodiversity of an old growth forest. its not just the trees. Its the whole balance and interaction of many life forms we are destroying in some places. Its the run off, the fauna, the little and big plants that heave developed Darwinian style. Can we not do better than erasing large scale forests and replanting with rows of pine. Some areas need to be off limits. Its about protection of species too. Its not just about running over stuff because someone can make a buck (usually a large scale buck) and then justify it by saying – well we will replant (and harvest) and replant (and harvest). That means running over the planet in the name of production. Far better we say – packaging? We dont need it. Dont make it. Its only used to advertise anayway in most cases and thats why we are running over forests. We need to seriously kick the packaging habit and that means kicking many manufacturers.

  69. Ikonoclast
    April 28th, 2009 at 19:31 | #69

    TerjeP, the history of forestry world-wide has been one of massive deforestation. Forests are rarely restored or even allowed to “grow back”. By the way, it would take about 500 years for a true forest to grow back to maturity. That is assuming that the character of the land and the local micro-climates and regional climates had not been changed pretty much permanently by mass deforestation.

    No matter how much foresters claim to be felling selectively and sustainably, I see no evidence of it. Clear-felling in broad swathes is the order of the day. Have a look at the clear-felled patches in Imbil State Forest on Google Maps (while bearing in mind that Queensland’s state forests are only remnant patches in themselves).

    http://maps.google.com.au/maps?hl=en&q=imbil&um=1&ie=UTF-8&split=0&gl=au&ei=YMv2ScG0EZiHkQWM7sjSCg&sa=X&oi=geocode_result&ct=image&resnum=1

  70. Ikonoclast
    April 28th, 2009 at 19:36 | #70

    PS. To see the patches I mean you will have to zoom in about 3 to 5 k south of Yabba Creek Road. There are other patches in other locations.

  71. Alice
    April 28th, 2009 at 19:41 | #71

    JQ – isnt it interesting? Exxon Mobil dropped its financial support of this group the Global Climate Coalition (AGW contrarians. Yet they were still busy supporting this group in 1997 and 2002 when one of their Mobil execs ran it. That was ten or 11 years AFTER the Exxon Mobil disaster. Per Wiki – “The Exxon Valdez oil spill occurred in the Prince William Sound, Alaska, on March 24, 1989.”

    It is considered one of the most devastating human-caused environmental disasters ever to occur at sea…. caused by drunk not given enough time off duty before the sail (the ship was on autopilot).

    “Prince William Sound’s remote location (accessible only by helicopter and boat) made government and industry response efforts difficult and severely taxed existing plans for response. The region was a habitat for salmon, sea otters, seals and seabirds. The vessel spilled 10.8 million U.S. gallons (about 40 million litres) of Prudhoe Bay crude oil into the sea, and the oil eventually covered 11,000 square miles (28,000 km2) of ocean.[2]”

    There was Exxon Mobil fighting against climate change and funding an AGW fraud science group 11 years later. Some organisations will always have a filthy reputation because they are filthy.

  72. gerard
    April 28th, 2009 at 22:04 | #72

    caused by drunk not given enough time off duty before the sail (the ship was on autopilot).

    that’s what exxon wants you to believe. actually the reason it crashed was because exxon didn’t want to spend the money to fix the ship’s radar system, which had been busted since its first voyage.

    http://www.gregpalast.com/stick-your-damn-hand-in-it-20th-birthday-of-the-exxon-valdez-lie/

  73. April 29th, 2009 at 00:05 | #73

    “peer-reviewed journals. Otherwise, accept the results of those who’ve done the work as the only reasonable basis for policy.”

    Yet another load of twaddle MrQ, One million peer reviewed papers a year, and they are all correct becasue they “have done the work”?

    Thats not science MrQ its fariy tales. Ill let you get back to your models and bell curves.

  74. Skepticked
    April 29th, 2009 at 06:18 | #74

    #62 – #66: The term “teabagging” was applied as a derogatory term by the left MSM in the US (specifically, not Fox News). The events themselves are always called “tea parties” after the famous Boston Tea Party.

  75. Skepticked
    April 29th, 2009 at 06:29 | #75

    RE #66:

    Skepticked, I think we are quite clever enough already.

    Why thankyou.

    But seriously, why do you think that? Human technology has barely begun. All the best stuff is still to come.

    Forget space travel. Intergalactic? Won’t happen.

    How casually you destroy my younger-self’s dreams… Cruel, so cruel.

    Trashing this planet because we can move to another is not an option. Some of us tend to think we have already trashed it to a degree.

    We’ve completely trashed it already. That’s why I find this whole sustainability gig so implausible. Look around – how much of the earth is not drastically impacted by humans? Roads, buildings, agriculture, mining, etc etc.

    Tinkering around the edges is not going to make a jot of difference. Either the earth has the carrying capacity to cope with humanity’s current behavior, or we’re all doomed anyway. The evidence is very much in favor of the former, not the latter.

  76. Alice
    April 29th, 2009 at 06:46 | #76

    72# Oh thanks for that Gerard

  77. Alice
    April 29th, 2009 at 21:30 | #77

    Sean#73 says
    “Thats not science MrQ its fariy tales. Ill let you get back to your models and bell curves.”

    OK so we should all just take Jen Maro’s word for the state of the environment (which is rosy) with no research at all eh (Jen doesnt do any)? Lets just buy a subscription to the IPA and re-engineer our own minds to receive the “stream of consciousness” style which tells us to believe that all science is wrong, all peers are not experts, all peer reviewed journals are really a left wing conspiracy and all science and all scientific method is bad science.

    What an incredible relief Sean – neither you or I have to think any more. The freedom of it all!!. I can see why it appeals to libertarians. Freedom from thinking! We can just tune out, turn off and drop out of academic debates entirely! Come to think of it – a few lines of dogma from IPA will get you out of a scientific debate as well. We dont need no ejucation!

    (irony all the way).

  78. jquiggin
    April 29th, 2009 at 22:04 | #78

    “all peers are not expert”

    Except of course, their favourite peer, Lord Monckton.

  79. Alice
    April 29th, 2009 at 22:16 | #79

    Oh someone has whipped that link out JQ!

    Oh as for Lavoisier — ewwww, money money money. One of their directors used to be at the golden table at Mayne Nickless. I used to work for them. Shame they ran MN into the ground with pipedream expansions shortly before the 91 recession, or he might still be gainfully employed. The execs at MN did expect silver service and King Island cheeses plus all afternoon in the corporate boardroom in Melbourne – must have got a bit lazy I think. Now he appears be consulting for the Lavoisier group and a bit desperate for his old lifestyle. Why else would he bother ($$ for retirement not necessary).

  80. Alice
    April 30th, 2009 at 10:00 | #80

    Lord Monckton apparently has been nicknamed the “climate clown.”

  81. Red Collie
    May 1st, 2009 at 22:01 | #81

    Concerning your extended analogy to “crop circles”, it is true that two old guys “confessed” to making 1000′s of such pictures all across England, late at night while no one was looking, yet never getting caught.

    But when asked to make a crop circle of their own under media scrutiny, they were completely unable to do so. It looked like a drunk had been wandering around.

    And the very place where most crop circles appear, near Avebury and Silbury Hill, was a location they had never visited.

    “True knowledge is much easier pretended to than acquired” (John Locke, 1690).

  82. May 4th, 2009 at 11:16 | #82

    Wow, a talking dog!

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