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Monday Message Board

September 20th, 2010

It’s time again, once again, for the Monday Message Board. Post comments on any topic. As usual, civilised discussion and no coarse language. Lengthy side discussions to the sandpit, please.

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  1. el gordo
    September 20th, 2010 at 17:55 | #1

    Anthony Watts recently came to Australia on a lecture tour and has become politicized in our backyard.

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/

  2. el gordo
    September 20th, 2010 at 19:18 | #2

    There is always another side to a story and here’s what the locals think of the stink.

    http://narroginlibrary.files.wordpress.com/2009/07/neighbour-presentations.pdf

  3. David Clerke
    September 20th, 2010 at 19:54 | #3

    If you hold Christopher Mongton in such low esteem why did you refuse to debate him and why do you direct issues on DDT to a comment which has been rebuted clearly by those you denigrate? Is it some form of masochism?

  4. Ronald Brak
    September 20th, 2010 at 21:25 | #4

    I’m going to have to put my foot down here and ask you not to call Christopher Monckton a Mong, David. Yes, it is kind of funny, but it shows a lack of respect towards sufferers of trisomy 21.

  5. el gordo
    September 21st, 2010 at 06:08 | #5

    I tried talking Graham Redfern out of debating the Lord, but he wouldn’t listen and look what happened to him.

  6. jquiggin
    September 21st, 2010 at 06:30 | #6

    @David Clerke

    The organizers (Monckton fans) pulled my invitation.

    On your second point, it’s possible that DDT fans have rebuted (sic) the conclusions of mainstream science, but they haven’t refuted them, which is what matters.

  7. Ikonoclast
    September 21st, 2010 at 07:23 | #7

    Science deniers are deniers of empirical evidence and logical reasoning. It is impossible to have a reasoned argument with them.

    After a quick glance at Anthony Watts’ site, I noticed the tenor of his comments to be very smug and sneering. A profile of these deniers would note;

    1. Preconceived belief systems of ideological, religious or magical origin.
    2. Impervious to real world and scientific evidence.
    3. Unshakeable sense of self-superiority.
    4. Resort to rhetorical and emotive arguments.

    These characteristics should convince us of the futility of arguing with science deniers. I’ve stopped being polite to such people. Now I just say, “I don’t debate with cranks.” Then I walk away.

  8. el gordo
    September 21st, 2010 at 07:56 | #8

    The Denialati believe both sides of the debate are guilty of Ikonoclast’s four points.

  9. Chris Warren
    September 21st, 2010 at 10:10 | #9

    So now they declare the crisis is over ….

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-09-19/europe-debt-crisis-abating-as-government-traders-see-yield-spreads-narrow.html

    I wonder how long this euphoria will last. In any case I have been unable to find any source which totals up the amount trillions the globe has used to bailout capitalism.

    Would it be near 100 trillion?

  10. Chris Warren
    September 21st, 2010 at 10:41 | #10

    Here is one way a capitalists intruding into the Third world can win a court cases …

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/09/21/3017401.htm?section=justin

    Pretty cheap too, I’d imagine.

  11. Fran Barlow
    September 21st, 2010 at 15:44 | #11

    @el gordo

    There’s simply no evidence that “the denialati”

    a) enjoy sufficient distinctive cultural or intellectual commonality to be considered a community in their own right
    b) beyong naysaying, put a clear and consistent intellectual position (i.e one without fundamental contradictions) *

    Neither of these considerations intellectually warrants anyone declaring on what “denialiati” believe. They may believe anything and everything, and what they assert from time to time is thus no reliable guide to their view of the world at all.

    While it does seem that may broadly be called “cultural claims” (e.g the authenticity of the local, xenophobia, angst about one’s social status and personal space in relation to ill-defined others) developed in a context of misunderstandings about the social are at the heart of denier speech acts, this is ultimately no more than a hypothesis for which there is persistent anecdotal evidence.

    * El Gordo’s claim above does attest to this, which is pleasing.

  12. placator
    September 21st, 2010 at 15:56 | #12

    for those who believe, no proof is necessary
    for those who do not, no proof is possible
    (some guy called Stuart (Hopes?)
    I think there’s something in that for all of us, don’t you?

  13. Fran Barlow
    September 21st, 2010 at 16:20 | #13

    @placator

    That discusses “faith” (and was a reference, IIRC, to god) rather than reasoned acceptance or assertion. “Belief” is used in English in each of these senses, but in this context, we are discussing reasoning acceptance.

    What those who naysay the conclusions of science on the post-industrial climate anomaly accept or do not accept on the basis of attempts at reason from observed reality remains unclear and is likely heterogenous. At least some (and perhaps most) may be incapable of such cognitive functions. Others plainly are capable of it (Lindzen for example), but let it be supposed that their reasoning acceptance leads them to contrary conclusions, as a result of causes that have nothing to do with an observable reality recognisable to them. One may conclude with some caution that this reflects his personal financial interests and/or a cultural attachment to existing social arrangements.

    Why people utter the AGW naysayer nonsense one reads on the Internet with such vehemence, malice and persistence is surely a great topic for a book.

  14. Sam
    September 21st, 2010 at 16:22 | #14

    Let’s talk more about QLD privatisations! My own view is that selling the bulk coal-carrying parts of QR will create a new, Telstra-like verically integrated monopoly. This is a good thing because it will be inefficient, and slow the expansion of the heavily polluting coal export sector, just like what happened in the telco industry 15 years ago. Think of the CO2 emissions saved!

  15. jakerman
    September 21st, 2010 at 17:42 | #15

    Sam, I was thinking along those lines also. Will any other industry/community suffer other than coal? (Hard to know from down here in Adelaide.)

  16. Sam
    September 21st, 2010 at 18:09 | #16

    Hard to say jakerman. I guess our enlightened state government leaders thought that some small sacrifices were necessary to achieve far-sighted environmental goals. Certainly one of those sacrifices will be the government itself.

  17. Alice
    September 21st, 2010 at 18:17 | #17

    I just love the way things have been twisted such that JQ “refused to debate Monkton”

    What a lot of old crock…but nothwithstanding the Prof was considering not debating him…and the organisers pulled his invitation…and we were all in here saying “there are some things a serious Professor shouldnt sink low enough to do”.

    Quite right – debating charlatans and lunatics is a waste of time.

  18. el gordo
    September 21st, 2010 at 18:38 | #18

    I agree Alice, it was pure theatre and no place for an academic.

    A new paper by Jennifer Marohasy takes a close look at the Murray, with the hope of returning it to pristine beauty. It’s a new perspective, eliminating the barrages which block up to 90 percent of the flows. Don’t be put off by Quadrant.

    http://www.quadrant.org.au/blogs/doomed-planet/2010/09/the-murray-a-fresh-perspective

  19. Alice
    September 21st, 2010 at 18:50 | #19

    @el gordo
    Jennifer is an idiot el gordo – back to the sandpit with you.

  20. Alice
    September 21st, 2010 at 18:53 | #20

    @el gordo
    And el gordo – its perfectly obvious you are in here to post as many climate science delusionist links as you can. You are a one man propaganda machine for there is no one else in here agreeing with you. Now go straight to the sandpit before I lose my equilibrium (and in the sandpit I can). I dont have time for this garbage.

  21. el gordo
    September 21st, 2010 at 20:23 | #21

    I thought it was an open forum?

  22. Alice
    September 21st, 2010 at 20:26 | #22

    @el gordo
    in the sandpit gordy

  23. el gordo
    September 21st, 2010 at 20:27 | #23

    Here is a little of what JM had to say about the early Murray.

    ‘Many academics and bureaucrats deny that the lakes were ever estuarine. But families that have lived in the region for generations explain, for example, that in 1915, before the barrages and during a period of prolonged drought, sea water penetrated beyond Lake Alexandrina up the River Murray as far as Mannum with the sightings of a shark at Tailem Bend and a dolphin at Murray Bridge.’

    Might give you something to talk about at the next party meeting.

  24. September 22nd, 2010 at 00:40 | #24

    Michael Hudson, at Counter Point, asks the question, “Where is the Global Economy Heading?”
    And it seems on the simplest interpretation to be few at the expense of the many, especially the global poor. And while Christopher Monckton right about many things, he is perhaps wrong about prospect anytime soon of communist world governance, or fails to understand that conspiracy would require a revolution. If the good Lord is ignorant, he is not alone.

  25. el gordo
    September 22nd, 2010 at 06:26 | #25

    If America slips into a double-dip recession, which lasts for a couple of years, there is an outside chance US citizens will revolt.

    Apart from that, the Chinese communists appear unwilling to bring about the dictatorship of the proletariat on a universal level.

  26. jakerman
    September 22nd, 2010 at 07:28 | #26

    Contrary to claims that Christopher Monckton right about many things, he is demonstrated to wrong about many things:

    http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2010/09/temperatures_and_projections.php

    http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2010/09/moncktons_testimony_to_congres_1.php

  27. paul walter
    September 22nd, 2010 at 10:09 | #27

    Yes wmmbb, your conspiracy theory example is very like the Proposition 21 variation that has it we are headed for Greens world dictatorship, imposed by the Jews, Communists and Wall st capitalists, with a giant population cull the result
    Personally, I used to prefer the one about the secret Soviet armored divisons hidden in the mountains of Montana or Dakota or wherever, ready to sweep down on unsuspecting, peaceloving christian american folk. So much more amenable to survivalist day dreaming, “after the fall” fantasies.

  28. Alice
    September 22nd, 2010 at 11:17 | #28

    @paul walter
    Paul – personally I prefer your conspiracy theory too…far better than having to face fighting those well attired wall st bankers in mercedes who swoop down on a population of unsuspecting and unemployed god fearing peace loving tea drinkers and remove their life savings silently overnight with a well written legal document.

  29. Donald Oats
    September 22nd, 2010 at 11:36 | #29

    Just learned that there is an Australian group of people mimicking the “Teaparty Party”, including using the word “Teaparty”.

    Now that is taking Americanization too far! [Irony intended in my spelling; iron alert intended for my American readers :-) ]

    Does the Australian mob know the origins of the term “Teaparty”, and why it doesn’t really import well to Australian shores? [I don't know, is their a town called "Boston" somewhere in Oz? They could set up their headquarters there.]

    …and the Australian wipe-paper has headline about someone hating the NBN…except he doesn’t, if you get to the third column of print or thereabouts. Oh boy.

  30. Donald Oats
    September 22nd, 2010 at 11:38 | #30

    PS apologies for mis-spelt words and dropped letters. Accidentally used “their” instead of “there”, “irony” is missing a “y”, headquarters should be “HQ”, etc.

  31. wilful
    September 22nd, 2010 at 12:06 | #31

    Donald Oats, re the OO, plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose.

    As for the “Australian Tea Party”, I’m actually surprised. Most of our common or garden variety right wing lunatics in fact know more about and are more respectful of Australia’s post-colonial history than nearly anybody. They’re very happy to dredge up completely fossilised and irrelevant ideas from the history books to prove their bizarre points (c.f. Gerard Henderson, League of Rights, H R Nicholls Soc.).

  32. Hermit
    September 22nd, 2010 at 14:34 | #32

    @el gordo
    When I lived in Adelaide I canoed and sailed on the Coorong and Lower Lakes. I’d ask a couple of tough questions
    1) are we trying to interfere with geological destiny?
    2) should the last 50km dictate the other 2000km ?
    In my opinion a weir should be built across the river before the lakes, the lower barrages opened and the lakes left to the whims of fate, be it sea water inundation or turning into a foetid marsh.

    My Adelaide relatives tell me the last bits of good arable land near the capital are being subdivided no doubt with new homes getting a generous water allowance. It’s a bit rich for Rann to deny upstream irrigators their livelihood so his property developer mates can cash in.

  33. AndrewD
    September 22nd, 2010 at 14:41 | #33

    Donald,
    I noticed the Former Australian’s headline as well, and no doubt it will serve its purpose- nobody reads down to the third column, but it will be seen by millions of shoppers as they queue up at the checkout, strengthening confirmation biases that the NBN is full of flaws (but what can you expect from an illegitimate government propped up by wacky Greens etc etc). It seems to me that the sole purpose of the FA is to get that daily headline (direct from Planet Rupert) in people’s faces – like a cry in the wilderness “You may think you are OK but the socialists are coming to get you”.
    On another topic, I was listening to an old podcast of The Science Show and heard the Executive Director of FASTS (Federation of Australian Scientists and Technological Societies) relate the Lib/Nat coalition’s giving equal importance to “scientific evidence” and “opinion” when making decisions (downloadable from FASTS website). Is such post-modern relativism yet another reason why Abbot was unfit to govern?

  34. Alan
    September 22nd, 2010 at 15:36 | #34

    the operative quote in el gordo’s article is:

    Today’s debate about global warming is essentially a debate about freedom.

    I would have thought that if the scientific claims of Klaus and his ilk stood up they would not need to resort to ideological arguments to sustain their case.

    The problem with disconnecting yourself from science and fact, as so many Quadrant contributors do, is that everything then gets dictated by the writer’s personal prejudices. They’v obviously decided that barrages = regulations and the river should be restored to its pristine state of nature free market origins. If that involves shutting down a number of cities and towns and farms then that’s just too and. You’d have to ask though, if the author really wants to convert the Lower Murray into a wild river on the Queensland model.

  35. jakerman
    September 22nd, 2010 at 16:17 | #35

    In my opinion a weir should be built across the river before the lakes, the lower barrages opened and the lakes left to the whims of fate, be it sea water inundation or turning into a foetid marsh.

    And thus Hermit tries to give away responsiblity for the loss of one of Austalia’s 15 biodiversity hotspot. Bit by bit the Earth becomes less and less due to people’s carlessnees and greed.

    http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/hotspots/national-hotspots.html#hotspot6

  36. el gordo
    September 22nd, 2010 at 20:19 | #36

    Alan, I would have thought the Greens might be happy with her suggestions?

    The towns and the agricultural land surrounding them must continue to function. There is time for the engineers to come up with a workable solution as widespread floods replace drought.

    ‘Today’s debate about global warming is essentially a debate about freedom.’ Very elegant.

  37. Alice
    September 22nd, 2010 at 21:39 | #37

    @el gordo
    So Jennifer M (M for maid of IPA and various other misleading and deceptive opinion tanks) thinks that the debate on global warming is a debate about freedom?

    I dont think so. Its just a paltry excuse for JM to have the freedom to argue erroneously that nothing should be done… just as irresponsibly as Tony Abbott.

    What happens in freedomsville when people who support her views get outvoted?

  38. Alan
    September 23rd, 2010 at 00:17 | #38

    el gordo

    ‘Today’s debate about global warming is essentially a debate about freedom.’ Very elegant.

    That is vacuous, not elegant. If anthropogenic climate change is happening, then the question of freedom does nto enter into it. Ideology can only be important once the scientific question is answered. Klaus, without intending to, confirms that denialism is about the politics not the science. But, I guess he does make his confession, as you say, elegantly.

  39. Alice
    September 23rd, 2010 at 08:10 | #39

    Yet another State Labor friend of KK and sister in law of Joe Tripodi caught rorting the public pay system. Small article last week or so about how even KKs dear husband gets to profit from an exclusive government tender. Just goes on and on right to the top doesnt it?

    Theyve got 6 months..what a surprise
    Theyve got 6 months…my brain hurts a lot
    Theyve got 6 months…thats all theyve got.

    A huge vote sweep is coming. There really ought to be legislation in place to be able to get rid of rotten, immoral and incompetent governments without having to wait this long.

  40. el gordo
    September 23rd, 2010 at 09:16 | #40

    ‘If anthropogenic climate change is happening’…..

    Which is what the debate is all about. Please sir, do I have the freedom to express an alternative point of view to the widely held consensus?

  41. wilful
    September 23rd, 2010 at 10:43 | #41

    el gordo :
    ‘If anthropogenic climate change is happening’…..
    Which is what the debate is all about. Please sir, do I have the freedom to express an alternative point of view to the widely held consensus?

    That strictly depends on your qualifications. If you have a reasonable publication list in a relevant discipline, please go right ahead. If not (like me) then all you can rationally do is listen to those who are experts.

    Science is motherfucking elitist, it makes no apologies for that. I’m not elite, I expect you’re not elite, your opinion is almost certainly completely worthless. Which may not make you feel special enough, but you’ll just have to deal with that.

  42. Fran Barlow
    September 23rd, 2010 at 10:45 | #42

    @el gordo

    Why ask? You’ve been posting your opinion. It hasn’t been deleted. Others putting the delusionist position (that’s what it’s called here) are also accepted here. There is an impatience here with the persistence of your kind in reduxing stale and long debunked delusionist talking points.

    We’re all familiar with them and their refutation so reposting them adds nothing to insight. You might consider directing your trolling spam to a place with a more sympathetic audience, but that is a matter for you and the patience of PrQ.

  43. Ikonoclast
    September 23rd, 2010 at 11:05 | #43

    @el gordo

    Irony alert!

    I wonder how many science denialists ask themselves if electricity is real, if magnetism is real, if combustion is real etc etc? I mean, why limit the science scepticism to AGW?

  44. jakerman
    September 23rd, 2010 at 11:09 | #44

    Fran did you like the way EG undercut two of his claims in one short sentance?

    Apparenty todays debate is essentially about freedom, however similtaneiously “the debate is all about ‘If anthropogenic climate change is happening’.

    You well identified the other manner in which EG undercut himself.

  45. wilful
    September 23rd, 2010 at 11:22 | #45

    sorry guys I used a mothertrucking rude word in replying to el gordo, so numbers #41 on are going to be muckled up.

  46. Alan
    September 23rd, 2010 at 11:33 | #46

    ‘If anthropogenic climate change is happening’…..
    Which is what the debate is all about. Please sir, do I have the freedom to express an alternative point of view to the widely held consensus?

    You have the freedom to argue that the earth is flat, the moon is made of green cheese or that the international scientific community and the governments of the world have entered into a conspiracy of such fabulous effectiveness that it rivals the Illuminati at their worst. That does not mean you can expect to have such drivel go unquestioned.

  47. Fran Barlow
    September 23rd, 2010 at 11:55 | #47

    @Alan

    Quite right. Too often, the partisans of the right/delusion blur the distinction between the right to speak as one sees fit with the right to do so with cultural impunity. Free speech carries with it such a right no more than the right to flatulence implies a right to let and be respected for one’s want of inhibition.

    @jakerman

    Not real. One expects incoherence from such as EG. One suspects that amongst his aims is to annoy people by insulting their intelligence and to eventually demoralise those favouring mitigation by persuading them that large swathes of the populace are irremediably stupid and annoying and thus unworthy of the effort to secure their interests.

    I’m not sure the plan is feasible, if that’s what it is, but he may well believe it to be so.

  48. wilful
    September 23rd, 2010 at 12:00 | #48

    Fran, el gordo’s plan seems to be working, at least at the local level.

  49. jakerman
    September 23rd, 2010 at 12:10 | #49

    Wiful, short term success for the EG’s of our world is translating into parliamentary change that may have long term effects. The ALP is getting a much needed shakeup and the Green’s swing exceeded the Coalitions. The electorate is Greening and the 2 party duopoly is looking fragile.

  50. wilful
    September 23rd, 2010 at 12:25 | #50

    jakerman, I admire your optimism, I really do.

    Acknowledging that the election result was pretty much the best possible one, as a matter of fact I don’t think I could be happier (as long as it lasts), it was a mere handful of votes in a handful of seats away from being an unmitigated disaster. Tony Abbott was *this close* to being PM, and there would have been absolute inaction for the next three years.

  51. Ron E Joggles
    September 23rd, 2010 at 12:26 | #51

    @wmmbb
    Obviously, the most pressing issue we face today is how to deal with the looming difficulties caused by AGW and the other consequences of overpopulation, but I also believe that we need to start taking a much longer view.

    We don’t often do this – our discussions about history, religion, economics, the evolution of society, rarely go back beyond the advent of agricultural and town-dwelling communities 7 or 8 thousand years ago. The preceding 200 millenia of low-impact hunter/gatherer societies are generally ignored, yet a study of these earliest communities can be very instructive, and may well be useful in developing objectives for the remote future.

    My optimistic hope is that by the end of this century we will have acknowledged the reality of the global plague of humans threatening to irrevocably ruin the planet’s ecology, and will be moving to a mode of government that can achieve an orderly reduction to a sustainable population. (I haven’t tried to do the maths, but a steady rate of decline over a thousand years to a final population of about a tenth of current numbers should be feasible.)

    A question is, what kind of political system do we need, to cope initially with the consequences of warming and overpopulation, and then with overseeing a steady decline?

    My own instinct is individualist and libertarian – the hunter/gatherer mode – but I can’t see that working in a situation where the movement and reproduction rates of people, food production, and resource and waste management, all need to be closely managed.

    The alternative is disasters of disease, drought, flooding, starvation and war.

    While Lord Monkton’s contributions are deeply misguided, just plain wrong, and probably cynical and self-serving, his warnings of an authoritarian socialist world government may have some validity. In fact, it may be our only option.

  52. el gordo
    September 23rd, 2010 at 12:33 | #52

    Fran, sorry if I offend but that’s my lot in life. I like your writing style (with few commas) and I bet you’re a fast talker.

  53. jakerman
    September 23rd, 2010 at 12:46 | #53

    Wilful, yes it was a close run thing. Possibly a function of the course insensitivity of the first past the post voting system.

    Proportional represenation might have shown the trend with more sensitivity. I’d need to do some Maths to confirm that.

  54. wilful
    September 23rd, 2010 at 12:51 | #54

    jakerman :
    Wilful, yes it was a close run thing. Possibly a function of the course insensitivity of the first past the post voting system.

    jakerman, we’ve got preferential voting in the lower house. This is NOT (thank goodness) the same thing as FPP (nor proportional representation).

    We’re not going to change our voting system any time soon, so we need to deal with the facts on the ground, not some personal preference on what we might like.

  55. el gordo
    September 23rd, 2010 at 12:57 | #55

    Mr Joggles, I’m astonished by your viewpoint, who have you been reading? At first I thought it irony, but on closer inspection you sound like a Fabian.

    Monckton’s ‘warnings of an authoritarian socialist world government may have some validity. In fact, it may be our only option.’

  56. jakerman
    September 23rd, 2010 at 12:59 | #56

    Wilful,

    A hearty dose of pragmatism. We have a 2PP first past the post majoritarianism. I.e less senstive to trends until they gain the majority. That is my point. That we can see a larger swing to the greens than to the Coaliton yet nearly get a less Green government.

    While I do prefer a system of proportional representation, my arguemnt doesn’t require waiting for one. My argument simply rather acknowledges the paradox in the swing and the close call result, and prospses the reason is the trend that has been building and just starting to to become evident in the 2PP vote without dominating the result clearly.

  57. wilful
    September 23rd, 2010 at 13:04 | #57

    jakerman, you can’t have a conversation with someone where you make up terms that contradict everyone else’s long-standing definitions. We do NOT have a first-past-the-post system, whether you say so or not.

    The obvious counterfactual, the primary vote of the coalition was substantially higher than Labor’s. Yet how did Labor form government? Preferentially…

    We get our proportional representation from the Senate, where, as you know, the Greens will hold the BoP, and when they support the Coalition, who are far more popular than them, legislation proposed by the executive government will be defeated.

  58. jakerman
    September 23rd, 2010 at 13:13 | #58

    Willful, appologies for using non-standard definition. My point is that Fist past the 50% post is insensitve subtle change and may well account for the paradox on the green swing verus the near Abbot govt.

    Hence my proposal the electorate is greening (largest swing) despite the near Abbot result. I.e FP(50%)P = 2PP election is less sensitive multiple messages than is proportional representation. This is evident comparing the results in the two houses.

  59. Alan
    September 23rd, 2010 at 13:41 | #59

    jakerman

    I have to agree with wilful. The 2PP is merely one number out of the many that a preferential (technically an STV) voting system returns. It is used to measure the relative standings of the 2 leading parties in a multi party preferential election. There is not, but probably needs to be, a similar measure for the relative standing of the 3 leading parties. If we had FPTP the only independent in the House would be Tony Windsor. The others were all elected on preferences.

    Reversed majorities, where the winner in terms of popular votes does not win a majority of seats, are inherent in the mathematics of any system based on single-memebr districts and actually much more common than most people realise. 1998 was the last federal example and 2010 in South Australia was the last sate example. Note that reversed majorities do not require a gerrymander to happen.

    I say extending proportional representation to the House of Representatives is an excellent idea, but inventing a whole new terminology will not help do it.

  60. Ron E Joggles
    September 23rd, 2010 at 14:06 | #60

    @el gordo I don’t think my viewpoint is at all astonishing. I believe it is objective. It is certainly not “received wisdom”, but my own considered view based on decades of informal study of archaeology and hunter/gatherer cultures, and a life spent among indigenous Australians.

    The key realizations (if I try to simplify things like that) are:
    - That our dominant ideas about human civilization and how we ought to live, are based on only those recent millenia during which farming, town-dwelling cultures evolved, while ignoring the 200 millenia preceding, which actually represent the norm for our species;
    - That the dichotomy between collective cultures and individualist/libertarian instints originates in this shift to agrarian societies;
    - That the notion that Western societies value liberty is a conceit, our individuality is an illusion we cling to despite the fundamentally (and necessarily) collective nature of our society;
    - That the idea that hunter/gatherer societies are collectives is also wrong, they are the most individualist and libertarian of societies, this has a lot to do with their difficulties in adapting to our ways;
    - That my own instinct is to live the individualist, libertarian life, but that this is not remotely possible for the vast seething mass of humankind currently wreaking havoc on our only planet;
    - That there is no “Humanity”, there are only humans, and they will all do whatever they need to do to try to survive.

    (I hope all the sensible people who contribute to this blog don’t think they’ve encountered another nutbag – I obviously have too much time on my hands – but if they do think that I’ll go away.)

  61. Fran Barlow
    September 23rd, 2010 at 14:46 | #61

    Wilful said:

    The obvious counterfactual, the primary vote of the coalition was substantially higher than Labor’s. Yet how did Labor form government? Preferentially…

    Your method of counting is flawed. The total primary vote of all ALP-aligned parties and individuals exceeded that of all Liberal-aligned parties and individuals by nearly 500,000 and constituted an overall majority of all 1st preference votes. I know because I did the count personally.

    Nevertheless, it is the case that the number of voters per seats in states where the swing against the ALP and to the coalition was most harsh was greater than in states where there was a swing to the ALP. Putting aside PR, malapportionment favoured the coalition. Had there been as many seats per vote in Tasmania as QLD there would probably not have been a hung parliament at all, or the Greens would have the balance of power. The ALP could probably have had four more seats.

  62. jakerman
    September 23rd, 2010 at 15:06 | #62

    jakerman, I have to agree with wilful…

    My mistake was using an improper definition of FPTP. I conceed to the correct defintion. But this definition is an aside to the point that I was making.

    2PP vote in each electorate decides who wins each seat. The sum of those seats determines government. My point is that this is less sensitive (compared to proportional rep) to trends until the trends become quite large compared to multiple messages being sent.

    In fact you can include both sigle member electorate systems 2PP and FPTP together as suffering this lower sensitivity the difference being scale of sensitivity.

    Compare the two houses. The senate has shown a clear result compared to the house of reps. I.e. I propose the electorate is greening. One voting system shows it clearly, and the other is less sensitvite to incrimental change.

    BTW among your many interesting point, what do you define as a reversed majority.

  63. jakerman
    September 23rd, 2010 at 15:13 | #63

    Fran, Also the ACT is under represented compared to its population, 124,000 per seat compated to the the average 90,000 per seat. If ACT had 3 seats it it would have 83,000 per seat, closer to the average, and by no means the most over represented (60,000 per seat in NT).

    BTW, ACT went 2 nil to ALP (60-70 2PP) with Green vote IIRC in the 20% region.

  64. wilful
    September 23rd, 2010 at 15:19 | #64

    Fran Barlow :
    Your method of counting is flawed. The total primary vote of all ALP-aligned parties and individuals exceeded that of all Liberal-aligned parties and individuals by nearly 500,000 and constituted an overall majority of all 1st preference votes. I know because I did the count personally.

    Call me disbelieving, but I find it difficult to believe that in the past several weeks you have counted approximately 10 million ballots. :)

    (hey, pedants can be pedantically wrong too)

    More seriously, where does the Green party say that it is ALP aligned?

    I’m not quite sure what your argument is here Fran.

    Crikey had interesting results today: http://www.crikey.com.au/2010/09/23/the-final-numbers-roughly-democratic/

    Party % vote Proportional seats Actual seats % seats
    ALP 38.0% 58 72 48.0%
    Liberals 30.5% 46 44 29.3%
    LNP (Qld) 9.1% 14 21 14.0%
    Greens 11.8% 18 1 0.7%
    Nationals 3.7% 6 7 4.7%
    Family First 2.3% 3 0 0.0%
    Christian Democrats 0.7% 1 0 0.0%
    CLP (NT) 0.3% 0 1 0.7%
    Independent 2.5% 4 4 2.7%

    The Coalition total wasn’t too far out?—?48.7% of the seats for 43.6% of the vote?—?and the independents came out about right, but the Greens are hopelessly under-represented, with most of the difference going to the ALP.

  65. jakerman
    September 23rd, 2010 at 15:26 | #65

    The final numbers: roughly democratic And Greens are hopelessly under-represented:

    Between those two points is the point I’ve been emphasising about a greening despite the close call.

  66. jakerman
    September 23rd, 2010 at 15:38 | #66

    And excellent article on carbon pricing:

    http://inside.org.au/the-real-cost-of-carbon-pricing/

  67. Alan
    September 23rd, 2010 at 15:40 | #67

    I think Fran’s point is that if you count together the primary votes of the parties that support the minority government you get a larger number than if you combine the primary votes of the parties that oppose the government.

    @jakerman
    The 2PP vote is calculated (roughly) be excluding candidates for everyone except Labor and the Coalition and counting the non-Labor and non-Coalition votes according to the next available preference. That is not quite the same as what happens in an individual seat.

    When you count a seat the quota to win is more than half of all the votes. If no-one reaches the quota you eliminate the lowest candidate and transfer their votes. You keep on excluding candidates until someone reaches the quota. That is not always the same as the 2PP if the seat goes to someone outside the major parties.

    The classic reversed majority is the US in 2000 where Gore won a majority of the popular vote but not a majority in the electoral college. Because of the elegance of preferential voting we use the 2PP. In 1998 Labor won 50.98% of the 2PP but the Coalition won 80 seats in the house.

    The ACT is under-represented, but more by accident than design.

    Thirteen months after every Federal election the Electoral Commissioner issues a determination on the number of seats each state and territory should have at the next election. At the determination following the 2001 election, the Commissioner reported that even including the external territories, the Northern Territory was 300 residents short of being entitled to a second seat. The Northern Territory was set to revert to a single seat at the 2004 election until both sides of politics decided this was a bad development. In early 2004 legislation was passed altering the test used to determine seat allocations for the Territories. The margin of error in Bureau of Statistics population estimates is now taken into account, an allowance by which the Territory was able to retain two seats for both the 2004 and 2007 elections.

    Population growth has allowed the Territory to retain two seats for the 2010 election without having to rely on statistician’s margin of error. However it remains a quirk of the method for allocating seats to Territories that the Northern Territory retains two divisions when its total enrolment is less than that for either of the two seats in the Australian Capital Territory.

    The solution would be to round up, instead of rounding to the nearest whole number, but that would require fundamental changes to the way the House is structured. Tasmania is somewhat over-represented in the House because the constitution guarantees a minimum of 5 seats to every original state.

  68. jakerman
    September 23rd, 2010 at 15:51 | #68

    Thanks Alan for your explanation of a reversed majority,

    To be clear on definitions, I have been refering to the 2PP voting system (i.e what happens in each seat) not the national 2PP tally.

  69. jakerman
    September 23rd, 2010 at 15:55 | #69

    I will correct my statment to:

    Wilful, yes it was a close run thing. Possibly a function of the course insensitivity of the first past the post [non-proportional 2PP] voting system.

    Proportional represenation might have shown the trend with more sensitivity. I’d need to do some Maths to confirm that.

  70. wilful
    September 23rd, 2010 at 16:05 | #70

    jakerman, if the liberals ever decided to really reflect what I suspect is the mood of most of their voters, they would preference the ALP over the greens.

  71. jakerman
    September 23rd, 2010 at 16:11 | #71

    Not many of the liberals I know who are giving their first preference to the Greens.

    BTW the only would only increase the swing to the Greens, which is the indictor I was describing. The libs will have a hell of time trying to put that genie back in the bottle.

    But what you suggest as a tactic was done in Tasmania this election. This didn’t help the lib vote. It went backward in Tas.

  72. jakerman
    September 23rd, 2010 at 16:19 | #72

    Consider a seat like Mayo, part metro part rural. A safe liberal seat when ALP runs second typically 8% margin). But appers more vulnerable when in 1998 the Democrats (3% margin) then 2008 the Greens (3% margin) ran second.

    Despite the protest vote enabled by a by-election in 2008 it is not clear that a safe liberal seat like Mayo prefers the ALP to the Greens.

  73. Alan
    September 23rd, 2010 at 16:20 | #73

    @jakerman
    The 2PP does not decide each individual seat. The relevant number there is the 2 candidate preferred count which can be different from the 2 party preferred count.

  74. Donald Oats
    September 23rd, 2010 at 16:22 | #74

    @AndrewD
    Just read your comment re the podcast with FASTS, and fell off my chair! Did they – the Liberal/Nat coalition – really state that they would give equal weight to evidence and opinion? If so, I guess that explains a few more things about their propensity to listen to opinion-makers a bit too often for my liking. Still, I suppose that is what makes the modern political party in a media-shaped capitalist-master democratic citizen-slave society.

  75. jakerman
    September 23rd, 2010 at 16:31 | #75

    Alan thanks for clarifying the definition. Thus to align our discussion, where I discuss the insensitive system I am refering to the 2 candidate prefered count, (were the 2 cadididates happen to usually represent the major parties). The system by which seat are won and the house of reps electected.

  76. Alan
    September 23rd, 2010 at 17:08 | #76

    The 2 candidate preferred count is merely another number you can extract from a preferential count. The system is called majority preferential voting. The difficulty with inventing a new name for it is that it can lead to multiple blog comments where the terminology must be established before the substance of the issue can be discussed.

  77. jakerman
    September 23rd, 2010 at 17:28 | #77

    Thanks Alan, no wish to invent new names, I’m talking about the voting system by which house of reps seats are elected. I’m happy to adopt the term “majority preferential voting”.

    I.e. the system that is non-proportional. The system that over time has tended towards 2 party duopolies, and the system that is is less senstivtity to incrimental change compared to proportional representation.

  78. jakerman
    September 23rd, 2010 at 17:42 | #78

    <i2PCP vote in each electorate decides who wins each seat. The sum of those seats determines government. My point is that this is less sensitive (compared to proportional rep) to trends until the trends become quite large compared to multiple messages being sent.
    In fact you can include both sigle member electorate systems 2PPmajority preferential voting and FPTP together as suffering this lower sensitivity the difference being scale of sensitivity.
    Compare the two houses. The senate has shown a clear result compared to the house of reps. I.e. I propose the electorate is greening. One voting system shows it clearly, and the other is less sensitvite to incrimental change.

  79. el gordo
    September 23rd, 2010 at 18:51 | #79

    Ron Joggles

    When the English first came to Port Jackson with their convict cargo they were shocked by the violent behavior of the local males towards their women.

    Harboring a romantic view of primitive hunter gatherers may be misplaced.

  80. Ron E Joggles
    September 23rd, 2010 at 19:21 | #80

    @el gordo I’m quite familiar with the historical, indeed traditional, and continuing, propensity for violence among indigenous men, and abhor it. My view is not romantic.

    I try to consider the entire history of humankind, not just recent millenia. Despite my own instinctive individualism, which I share with my indigenous countrymen, I don’t hold that individualism is preferable to collectivism, or the reverse, just that we need to decide on a mode of government that will see us through the coming crisis.

    On an overcrowded, degraded Earth, short on space, water, food and energy, the choice will be between chaos and disaster, and

  81. Ron E Joggles
    September 23rd, 2010 at 19:26 | #81

    continuing…. the choice will be between chaos and disaster, and a highly organized collective system. The latter doesn’t appeal to me, and I dread the former, but if my understanding of people is right, chaos is more likely.

    (Doesn’t anyone else have a comment? Am I too far out? Alice? Fran? MOSH? Anyone?)

  82. Alice
    September 23rd, 2010 at 20:05 | #82

    @el gordo
    Oh gimme a break el gordo. What was worse was the voilent behaviour of white male convicts towards female convicts. It should be noted here that only the most criminal males got transportation – after a few years the authorities realised there was a desperate shortage of women so women got shipped out for far lesser crimes to balance the genders and calm the settlement down.
    Dont talk to me about how local males treated their women and go look at correct history to learn how the local white scumbags treated women also.

    Im quite sure they taught the local men a thing or two about how not to treat women…
    now lets see – there are documented histories of high defacto rates, of men trawling women around the streets with string around their necks for public auctions, of officers and soldiers and sailors abusing convict women (yes – who suffered transportation for far lesser crimes than these men..in many cases low lifes).

    Yes – women were used and abused to keep the animals quieter in the new colony.

    Dont even start me el Gordo – and Ron e Joggles – dont listen to el Gordos rubbish. He needs a course in ECON special topics A, B and C – economic history.

  83. Alice
    September 23rd, 2010 at 20:14 | #83

    @Ron E Joggles
    Are you too far out? No – not at all. Collectivism is actually what we live now Ron E but not well enough…Collectivism and learning to live within it is the only thing that will help us survive. Individualism and the pursuit of individual freedom at the expense of the group is the greater threat.
    A highly organised collective system doesnt appeal to me either…but sometimes chaos brings order.

  84. jakerman
    September 23rd, 2010 at 21:19 | #84

    Doesn’t anyone else have a comment?

    Ignore el gordo.

  85. Ron E Joggles
    September 23rd, 2010 at 21:32 | #85

    Thanks Alice and Jakerman, I appreciate your input. I’ve twigged to el gordo but I wasn’t actually complaining about his response to my comment, I was just hoping to have a discussion around these issues. And I do get carried away!

  86. Donald Oats
    September 23rd, 2010 at 21:49 | #86

    The tension between the individual with broad freedoms, and the organised society we call civilisation, have existed for more than an age. My current view (ie, leaving me some room to cop out and change my opinion later) is that the push for ever greater levels of competition, throughout all tiers of society, is misplaced. The human animal is a social animal, but one that likes some “space” in which to think. Humans generally crave independence but abhor social isolation; being competitive in every engagement eventually sucks the oxygen out of those relationships so necessary for enjoyable participation in society. Collaborative behaviour, especially within the domain of business, has copped a bad rap I reckon. It has been tarred with the brush of communism or something like it, but I don’t know why this is. Perhaps the collaborative relationships in business are just overshadowed by the ultra-competitive, for want of a better word.

    I’m not a particularly good example of a person who runs with the herd; being an atheist from a very early age probably didn’t help my chances at remaining in Sunday School :-)
    And it turns out that Sunday School leads to church in which organised religion takes place, cementing people’s “worth” and standing in society. But I just couldn’t believe in arbitrary transgressions of the laws of physics…which is probably how I cemented my own place in society :-(

    It is worth remembering that in the land of the confederate libertarian christian, such amalgamation of the individual, democracy, society, and the modern capitalist system takes place, although to what end is a question awaiting an answer.

  87. Ronald Brak
    September 23rd, 2010 at 22:39 | #87

    Ron E Joggles, human population appears set to peak at under 10 billion and then decline some time after 2050. Here’s a link to the wikipedia article on world population:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_population

  88. el gordo
    September 24th, 2010 at 07:14 | #88

    Alice, I wasn’t suggesting the European male was any different to the local, as we are all quite aware men seem to have an insatiable appetite. If I may just quote Anne Summers on the situation in the first couple of decades after the inception of the colony.

    ‘The women’s punishment comprised transportation plus enforced whoredom. For at least the first twenty years they had no means of escaping this fate. The best a woman could do was to form an attachment with one man and live with him as his wife and in this way protect herself from the unwelcome attentions of any other man who fancied her. But whether she was concubine to one man or available to all she was still considered a whore.’

  89. Ron E Joggles
    September 24th, 2010 at 07:42 | #89

    @Donald Oats My Sunday School to Atheism experience was similar. I wonder to what degree the tendency to individualism or collectivism is genetically determined, and to what degree culturally determined?

    It is probably no coincidence that human groups who needed to work collectively, like early farming cultures, were also the first adopters of hierarchical religions, with their supreme deities represented on Earth by human deputies.

    Where the hunter/gatherer economy remained preferable (or the only option), animism persisted, its salient features being the absence of a supreme deity, and the understanding that all creatures are persons and that all persons have agency, and differ in their power and impact on the world according to their individual characters.

    For me, the animist view more closely fits the reality I observe.

    And wasn’t Sunday School horrible? The one day that I had to wear shoes and prickly woolen best pants, and sit in a stifling hall listening to stupid girls go on and on about Jesus, when I wanted to be down the creek catching mud cod and turtles.

  90. Ron E Joggles
    September 24th, 2010 at 07:50 | #90

    @Ronald Brak Thanks, lots of good detail there.

  91. jakerman
    September 24th, 2010 at 08:42 | #91

    wilful :
    jakerman, if the liberals ever decided to really reflect what I suspect is the mood of most of their voters, they would preference the ALP over the greens.

    The type Cory Bernardi is playing to is livered that this tactic has not yet been widely deployed.

    http://www.corybernardi.com/2010/08/greens-global-government-ambitions.html#comment-6a00e5520b72ea883401348674d896970c

    In their demented view, why would you preference a group for whom:

    the environment is just a front for their real agenda which is homosexuality and Marxism, enforced by means of their compulsory religion which is atheism & earth worship.

  92. Fran Barlow
    September 24th, 2010 at 09:21 | #92

    Thanks for quoting Bernardi on The Greens as follows:

    the environment is just a front for their real agenda which is homosexuality and Marxism, enforced by means of their compulsory religion which is atheism & earth worship.

    It is almost a work of art or literature in the precision with which it draws together the majopr strands of conservative cultural angst and utters them with the admirably explicit intellectual incoherence that marks the cohort.

    That the extract is bookended with mutually exclusive claims is especially felicitous.

    Go Cory!

  93. jakerman
    September 24th, 2010 at 10:53 | #93

    Cory is nearly that bad, but that quote is from one of his blog fans, shows the type that Bernardi is pandering to.

    Here is an example of Bernardi’s own words has he gingers up the extremist fringe that were never going to swing anywhere near the centre:

    The nature of the Greens’ totalitarian agenda can be seen through a careful examination of their policies and party platform….

    the Greens oppose every type of conflict except the ‘just wars’ mounted by radical eco-terrorists like the Sea Shepherd organisation…

    United Nations have many other treaties; including one that trumps parental responsibility … The Convention on the Rights of the Child treaty …includes the rights that give ‘the government the ability to override every decision made by every parent if a government worker disagreed with the parent’s decision.’…

    children would be able to seek a ‘governmental review of every parental decision with which the child disagreed.’…

    It’s alarming enough that a party with a Marxist heart covered by an environmental skin can achieve electoral success and balance of power status without effective scrutiny of their policy positions.

  94. Ron E Joggles
    September 24th, 2010 at 11:29 | #94

    @jakerman Me, I’m all for “atheism & earth worship”, just yesterday I enriched the soil and sequestered substantial carbon by ploughing in several Liberal-voting Christians. Today I’m planning to bugger a nice plump capitalist.
    (Sorry if this is a bit too rich, JQ, I just couldn’t resist.)

  95. jakerman
    September 24th, 2010 at 11:33 | #95

    ;)

  96. Alice
    September 24th, 2010 at 12:28 | #96

    @Ron E Joggles
    Did you mean butter a nice plump capitalist for roasting Ron E?
    ROFLOFL…

  97. Alice
    September 24th, 2010 at 12:32 | #97

    @el gordo
    Yes el gordo but Anne Summer should have said ..”But whether she ended up as concubine to one criminal pimp loser derro or available to all such derros she was still considered a whore”

  98. Alan
    September 24th, 2010 at 13:17 | #98

    @Alice

    I think you are being ungrossly unfair to Ron E Joggles of cannibalism, which is I think, the only vice the Bernardista wing of the Coalition does not think the Greens intend. On the other hand I don’t think there is a levitical prohibition on cannibalism so it may actually be less of a concern for them.

  99. Alan
    September 24th, 2010 at 13:17 | #99

    Whoops ‘grossly unfair to accuse’

  100. Ron E Joggles
    September 24th, 2010 at 14:05 | #100

    @Alice No no, I meant “bugger” in the biblical sense – we are supposed to be honouring our reputation for “homosexuality and Marxism”, aren’t we? Though the idea of Clive Palmer on a spit has its attractions… you wouldn’t even need the butter.

    (Just joking Clive, I’m actually straight, I promise, and I try to eat kosher.)

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