Home > Boneheaded stupidity > Wouldn’t even know …

Wouldn’t even know …

January 9th, 2013

… if their a**e was on fire. That’s just about literally true of Australia’s climate delusionists. As the hottest temperatures on record set off the predictable (and predicted) bushfires, they keep on with the same old stuff. This Catallaxy thread has it all, if you can stomach it – bogus statistical claims from fools too ignorant to estimate a trend line and too lazy to learn how, silly IPCC and BOM conspiracy theories, absurd economic alarmism about the allegedly catastrophic effects of the carbon price, CO2 as plant food, and so on. Catallaxy’s main rival in the lunar right stakes, the Oz, chimes in with an editorial snarking about Al Gore. Meanwhile, Christopher Monckton has teamed up with pastor, creationist and bigot Danny Nalliah, who blames the bushfires on God’s wrath, to promote an Australian version of the UK Independence Party.

There is no possible evidence or argument that can shift these guys. The only consolation is that, while ignorance is strength in the short run, a political movement that relies on delusion will fail in the end. The US Republicans, and their supporting apparatus of thinktanks, media outlets and blogs have found that out, having lost both elections and credibility. The same is happening here, particularly with respect to alarmist claims about the devastating effects of pricing carbon.

Meanwhile, back in the real world, I’m starting a long-postponed project on bushfires and climate change with a former postdoc of mine who’s been working in the US for some years and is back for a long visit, having arrived just as the Tasmanian fires started it.

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  1. Will
    January 9th, 2013 at 13:07 | #1

    They continue in denial because the admittance of lack of a free-market solution would destroy their ideology in a single stroke, never to be rebuilt. Thank you for the suggestion to read the comments Professor, but I have more productive things to do with my time, such as nailing my hand to the wall, or drinking a bottle of paint thinner.

  2. Uncle Milton
    January 9th, 2013 at 13:57 | #2

    According to Nalliah’s web site, Monckton is “world reknowned for his stand against climate change”.

    This must be shocking news to Monckton.

    Nalliah, Monckton, the Catallaxy crowd – it truly is a mad, mad world. But they do, in their own unintentional way, make it more amusing. And unlike the US Republicans, they are mostly harmless.

  3. paul walter
    January 9th, 2013 at 14:06 | #3

    Your comment about ignorance being bliss, not so good when we bystanders are swept up by the Gadarene Swine, in their headlong stampede for the precipice.
    Also, a thank you from a wounded sensibility.
    You appear to one of the few commentator left who can identify a bushfire as a bushfire, rather than a “wild” fire, some thing which could be the name of a horse in a romantic pop song, or some thing that (tragically) happens in foreign climes like the USA.

  4. Bring back Birdy at Catallaxy
    January 9th, 2013 at 14:10 | #4

    Credit where it’s due to John Hewson on The Drum last night. He reminded everyone that predictions of more extreme weather events due to climate change had been made as far back as the 1980s, and those predictions were coming true. For his pains he copped the Evil Eye from erstwhile NSW ALP government staffer, Murdoch press columninst, and fellow traveller of Labor’s New Right Fifth Column, Cassandra Wilkinson.

  5. January 9th, 2013 at 14:23 | #5

    I wrote at my place that if you treat people as idiots it is because they are.

    The various threads from Catallaxy on the ABC allowing Robyn Williams to allege climate deniers as pedophiles are even better. Even Pedro gave up in disgust. He said it was merely evidence that they were idiots to other people.

    It is remarkable how some people will argue black is white despite clear evidence to the contrary.

    Still we should feel some sympathy for Davidson. He said the last budget was expansionary when it was contractionary. He claimed stagflation was imminent when we got disinflation. He thought the impact of the ETS on the economy would be greater than the GST. He claimed after the last CPI Treasury had under-estimated the CPI effect of the ETS.
    It had in fact over-estimated the impact.
    He compared rises in current electricity prices with a Treasury forecast based on constant prices.

    Finally when the last national accounts came out he claimed a lot of the increase was due to the public sector. the Public sector detracted 0.5 percentage points.

    and we haven’t even got to Stephen Kates as yet!

    I feel He should be introduced to Richard Alston

  6. rog
    January 9th, 2013 at 14:39 | #6

    I don’t feel any sympathy for Davidson, he has denied his intelligence and education to satisfy other needs. Same goes for Sloan.

  7. January 9th, 2013 at 14:54 | #7

    What does Plimer think of his mate Monkton promoting Pastor Danny Nalliah’s new fundamentalist party?

  8. January 9th, 2013 at 15:02 | #8

    I had a read of the mouth-breathers over at Catallepsy, and I see what you mean, Prof Q – they really are beyond reason, and in a really nasty way. I don’t want to only read things that reinforce my own views, but Jesus! it’s just not worth the effort.

  9. Chris Warren
    January 9th, 2013 at 15:45 | #9

    Catallaxy is not suitable for adults.

  10. rog
    January 9th, 2013 at 15:47 | #10

    It’s possible that “Bruce of Newcastle” is a high profile associate professor of environmental engineering at Newcastle Uni.

  11. Jim Rose
    January 9th, 2013 at 15:56 | #11

    I thought the drawing of inferences about climate trends from small samples was bad statistical practice? the sample needed to be many decades, not just a few or a dozen or so years.

  12. rog
    January 9th, 2013 at 16:07 | #12

    The weather is confirming the trend described in climate models.

  13. iain
    January 9th, 2013 at 16:12 | #13

    @ rog, a related point. Posters, on sites like catallaxy, should be held accountable for aiding and abetting dangerous safety outcomes, that arise from their publication of safety misinformation.

    I think it is only a matter of time before lawsuits are brought, at an individual level, against people who knowingly and deliberately post information that leads to dangerous safety outcomes, particularly in relation to climate change.

  14. rog
    January 9th, 2013 at 16:19 | #14

    Back to the weather, I have been surprised at how the bush has dried up in such a relatively short time and wonder if the increase in heat and wind with subsequent loss of humidity has an effect on plant moisture levels that is exponential. This would also apply to soil moisture. It certainly has got very dry very quick.

  15. tgs
    January 9th, 2013 at 16:34 | #15

    iain :
    I think it is only a matter of time before lawsuits are brought, at an individual level, against people who knowingly and deliberately post information that leads to dangerous safety outcomes, particularly in relation to climate change.

    I think that this would set a dangerous precedent and is extremely unlikely to ever occur.

  16. John Quiggin
    January 9th, 2013 at 16:53 | #16

    @tgs I agree. I think we have to settle for lifetime public shaming. Alan Jones has been a good start, though of course his climate lies are only a small part of his shamefulness.

  17. iain
    January 9th, 2013 at 17:09 | #17

    tgs, on what basis do you make your point? How is it any different to a number of past class actions against deceptive cigarette advertising?

  18. Ken Fabian
    January 9th, 2013 at 18:05 | #18

    Each new record maximum temperature cannot, in an of itself, be evidence of a warming world. But they don’t stand by themselves. Apart from a trend of more than 3 times as many record maximum temperatures being broken as minimum ones, there is the longer term trend of overall temperature rise. And there is the trend of ocean heat content rising, sea level rising, ice-sheets and glaciers shrinking. Mostly these don’t even have the ups and downs over years and decades to allow the kind of willful misinterpretation like this – http://www.skepticalscience.com/graphics/Escalator_2012_500.gif

    And then there is the uncomfortable rise in the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events including heat waves. Yet conservative politicians, including Nationals who’s constituents are most directly impacted, continue to downplay, doubt or outright deny. That gives the doubters and deniers more generally – people who don’t really have a sound basis in science for their opinions – a degree of respectably they don’t deserve.

    We aren’t ever going to get effective emissions reductions policies without acceptance of it’s importance across mainstream politics. Until Liberals and Nationals who know it’s real and serious can muster the courage to act like it’s real and serious we’ll get compromised policies and ineffective policies.

  19. Gus
    January 9th, 2013 at 21:42 | #19

    @Uncle Milton
    “Mostly harmless” – I’d like to think so, but what if Monckton gets his Australian version of Fox News?

  20. Fran Barlow
    January 9th, 2013 at 21:58 | #20

    @John Quiggin

    It’s true. Jones really is a star performer in saying shamefully stupid things in a wide variety of areas for many years. He really ought to get some sort of lifetime achievement or “Hall of Shame” listing.

    It’s hard to find an apt single adjective to describe him and his contribution to ignorance, venality, stupidity and downright gutter level hatred of others individually and in groups. That he has composed each of these things into a pot pourri that reeks especially of him is a singular achievement. One is disgusted, but in its own way, anything this grotesque cannot but inspire a degree of admiration at the design and maintenance involved. That he has developed these behaviours relying on little more than lower brain functions is more remarkable still.

  21. Alex
    January 9th, 2013 at 22:35 | #21

    I think Sinclair Davidson provides all the proof we need in regards to the pervasive and damaging influence of left-wing academics

  22. Urbie
    January 9th, 2013 at 22:49 | #22

    As an alternate to shaming I suggest there be erected a plaque or statue for the likes of Bolt and Monckton – to inform future generations. Some sort of dedication to how they resolutely fought the warmist agenda, as skeptics they were not swayed by the clueless scientists.
    Oh, and make sure the statue is placed at least 10m above sea level.

  23. Fran Barlow
    January 9th, 2013 at 22:58 | #23

    Discard last duplicate in spam bin PrQ.

    @Urbie

    Not a bad idea. Perhaps some slightly amended words from Shelley at the pedestal would be apt:

    I met a traveller from an antique land
    Who said: “Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
    Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
    Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown
    And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
    Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
    Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
    The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.
    And on the pedestal these words appear:
    `My name is Monckton, Lord of Lords:
    Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!’
    Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
    Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
    The lone and level sands stretch far away”.

  24. paul of albury
    January 9th, 2013 at 23:03 | #24

    Urbie, i think it would be far more poignant to put such statues at the current high water mark so people could see them failing to hold back the tide

  25. Ootz
    January 10th, 2013 at 01:35 | #25

    The Destroyers and SAJ social campaigners, who stood up to Jones’ bullying, were extremely successful by shaming the major sponsors, all the while kept their noses clean. In regards to the Moncktons, Joneses, Cattle-taxis et al., these are not the real villains, these are a mere variety show, as the shadow communication minister called his lordships previous appearance. Not sure if I condone the Whitehaven Coal hoax. Social media campaigns are here to stay, they and crowd sourcing/funding are the future. However, first we must as individual activists learn to clear up our own CO2 act, lest we want to appear hypocritical. Is your Super funding coal?

  26. Ootz
    January 10th, 2013 at 01:37 | #26

    ugh, “..kept their own noses clean.”

  27. Katz
    January 10th, 2013 at 05:04 | #27

    The Super fund that does not contain shares of major banks would be exceedingly rare.

    Therefore, virtually all superannuation fund members in Australia are funding exploitation of coal.

  28. Fran Barlow
    January 10th, 2013 at 05:06 | #28

    @Ootz

    What’s your view of the YesMen, Ootz?

  29. Ootz
    January 10th, 2013 at 08:00 | #29

    I believe there are ethical Superfunds available. Personally I’d rather invest in the local community or into personal energy independence as part of my resilience strategy. Remember what happened in the GFC ;) .

    How does it look to you Fran, a MSM variety show or thousands of ordinary decent mums and dads, ethical professionals, concerned grandparents and smart youth, cleaning up their act and being proactive with a keyboard towards a sustainable humanity and planet? Not all of us are actors and all decent/ethical people need to do something. We have to walk the talk and do what has to be done, in order to turn the Titanic around, every one of us. As simple as that, because we can’t just outsource it to some clever act on camera.

  30. Bring back Birdy at Catallaxy
    January 10th, 2013 at 08:04 | #30

    “Posters, on sites like catallaxy, should be held accountable for aiding and abetting dangerous safety outcomes, that arise from their publication of safety misinformation.”

    Regular posting at Catallaxy would constitute strong prima facie evidence of innocence due to diminished responsibility.

  31. Fran Barlow
    January 10th, 2013 at 08:29 | #31

    @Ootz

    We have to walk the talk and do what has to be done, in order to turn the Titanic around, every one of us. As simple as that, because we can’t just outsource it to some clever act on camera.

    Nobody said one should. You offer a false dilemma, Ootz. There is a place for political art and stunts. It’s not all one would want to do, but sometimes, it’s useful.

  32. rog
    January 10th, 2013 at 08:44 | #32

    @Katz And many others eg WES who own Coles and coal.
    Suppliers and builders, it’s a very hard to untangle.

  33. Fran Barlow
    January 10th, 2013 at 08:53 | #33

    @Katz

    Therefore, virtually all superannuation fund members in Australia are funding exploitation of coal.

    I suppose some might have their strategy in the “capital guaranteed” funds — which trade exclusively in debentures and cash securities. This wouldn’t depend at all on share price movements.

  34. Katz
    January 10th, 2013 at 09:02 | #34

    @Fran Barlow

    All major banks also issue debentures, the interest for which is generated by its business activities, including investment in coal.

    Here is the CBA debenture:

    http://www.commbank.com.au/about-us/news/media-releases/2010/181110-commonwealth-bank-announces-details-retail-bond-offering.html

  35. Ootz
    January 10th, 2013 at 09:46 | #35

    Fran I did not say there is no place for political art and stunts. However, that is what they are, a media act, a performance to consume and cheer to. Their effectiveness is questionable and they can backfire spectacularly. In essence these are passive acts not proactive. How effective is that Whitehaven Coal hoax? It may cheer you up and make you feel good, all the while your Super is still funding it!

    Personally, I systematically work on cleaning up my act re my footprint and to continue to enjoy life. As for my arts and stunds, you are welcome to my sessions as volunteer in the Broadband for Seniors program. I believe in proactively empowering people, rather than cheering to some questionable msm comedy act. As I mentioned above, the parol is ‘resilience’ not resistance.

  36. Ootz
    January 10th, 2013 at 09:46 | #36

    Fran I did not say there is no place for political art and stunts. However, that is what they are, a media act, a performance to consume and cheer to. Their effectiveness is questionable and they can backfire spectacularly. In essence these are passive acts not proactive. How effective is that Whitehaven Coal hoax? It may cheer you up and make you feel good, all the while your Super is still funding it!

  37. Ootz
    January 10th, 2013 at 09:56 | #37

    Personally, I systematically work on cleaning up the act re my footprint and prepare for life to be enjoyable into the future. As for my arts and stunds, you are welcome to attend my sessions as volunteer in the Broadband for Seniors program. I now believe in proactively empowering people, rather than continue to cheer to some questionable msm variety show (eg news headlines) or online cattle-taxi comedy acts. As I mentioned above, the new parol is ‘resilience’ not resistance.

  38. Bring back Birdy at Catallaxy
    January 10th, 2013 at 10:14 | #38

    Ootz, I would say that the Whitehaven coal hoax gas resulted in many more people knowing that ANZ is a major financial backer of the coal industry than would otherwise have been the case. This is not a trivial point: as Guy Pearse shows in his new book Greenwash, the big banks here and internationally are spruiking their claims to be reducing and/or offsetting the carbon footprint of their internal operations to divert attention from the fact that they continue to provide billions to fund new fossil fuel developments that will increase carbon emissions by an amount several orders of magnitude greater than the emissions reductions aimed at for their internal greenwashing operations.

  39. Bring back Birdy at Catallaxy
    January 10th, 2013 at 10:16 | #39

    In December 1938, at the height of High Stalinism in the Soviet Union, the Astronomical Journal of the Soviet Union carried the following statements:

    “1 Modern bourgeois cosmogony is in a state of deep ideological confusion resulting from its refusal to accept the only true dialectic-materialistic concept, namely the infinity of the universe with respect to space as well as time.

    “2 The hostile work of the agents of Fascism, who at one time managed to penetrate to leading positions in certain astronomical and other institutions as well as in the press, has led to revolting propaganda of counter-revolutionary bourgeois ideology in the literature….

    “3 The few existing Soviet materialistic works on problems of cosmology have remained in isolation and have been suppressed by the enemies of the people, until recently.

    “4 Wide circles interested in science have been taught, at best, only in the spirit of indifference towards the ideological aspect of the current bourgeois cosmologic theories…

    “5 The exposé of the enemies of the Soviet people makes necessary the development of a new Soviet materialistic cosmology…

    “6 It is deemed necessary that Soviet science should enter the international scientific arena carrying concrete achievements in cosmologic theories on the basis of our philosophic methodology.”

    I have done a quick search and replace and come up with the following:

    “1 Modern left-green climatology is in a state of deep moral confusion resulting from its refusal to accept the only true Australian Christian free enterprise concept, namely the invariability of the climate.

    “2 The hostile work of the agents of Communism, who at one time managed to penetrate to leading positions in certain scientific and other institutions as well as in the media, has led to revolting propaganda of un-Australian left-green ideology in the literature.

    “3 The few existing Australian patriotic works on problems of climatology have remained in isolation and have been suppressed by the enemies of the people, until recently.

    “4 Wide circles interested in science have been taught, at best, only in the spirit of indifference towards the ideological aspect of the current left-green climatological theories…

    “5 The exposé of the enemies of the Australian people makes necessary the development of a new Australian Christian free enterprise climate science…

    “6 It is deemed necessary that Australian science should enter the international scientific arena carrying concrete achievements in climatological theories on the basis of our Christian free enterprise tradition.”

    Reckon Quadrant, Catallaxy or The Australian might print it?

  40. Jim Birch
    January 10th, 2013 at 13:20 | #40

    I hope the bushfires and climate change project gets some results and they get noticed.

    I’ve been worried for some time about the combined effect of climate change and reductions in logging on bushfires here in Tasmania. The weather systems that traditionally keep Tasmania wet in summer now tend to track a little further south resulting in more drier summer periods, more often. The risk of unmanageable fires is high when we have low moisture levels in forests and we get a period of strong hot dry north winds. If this is combined with no-logging policies that allow fuel levels to build up over wide areas, there is potential for a statewide conflagration of the 1967 type when fire control and emergency services were completely overwhelmed.

    One impact of the anti-logging movement might be the rapid bulk elimination of Tasmanian forests. There was a ironic situation a few years ago when legal challenge to logging in an east coast forest ostensibly to prevent the destruction the habitat of what was, as it turned out, a very unfortunate bird species had to be dropped because the forest burned down.

  41. Ootz
    January 10th, 2013 at 13:40 | #41

    So Bring back Birdie, are you telling me, that most people rely on media stunts to realise that their bank with their stash is digging holes the size you could see from the moon, shits all over our natural heritage and most importantly sets the global thermostate to extreme. You may as well rely on Sesame Street for investment advice.

  42. Ootz
    January 10th, 2013 at 13:47 | #42

    Bring back Birdie, are you telling me, that most people rely on media stunts to realise that their bank with their stash is digging holes the size you could see from the moon, leave turds all over our natural heritage and sets the global thermostate to the roast option? Then I guess they still watch and sing along in Sesame Street.

  43. Bring back Birdy at Catallaxy
    January 10th, 2013 at 14:12 | #43

    Jim, why should no-logging policies necessarily lead to a build-up in fuel levels? There is no logging in the forest that surrounds my workplace, yet there is a prescribed burning program in place as part of the management regime which has successfully prevented outbreaks of bushfire for 20 years.

  44. Ootz
    January 10th, 2013 at 15:18 | #44

    Apologies for the double post above, but since this is the sandpit, does anyone else has such a struggle to get through moderation or is it just rude or silly old me? I don’t know how many times I rewrote/chopped and reposted above comment until, assumingly auto-moderation, accepted one, just to let then another one thru. With the unsurprising result that my comments morph into akin of a chinese whisper.

  45. Bring back Birdy at Catallaxy
    January 10th, 2013 at 15:26 | #45

    Ootz, this thread isn’t the sandpit. We’re not reinventing economics on this thread.

  46. paul walter
    January 10th, 2013 at 15:38 | #46

    Personal attack deleted. Please remember that fights in comments threads impose a big burden on me. If you really need to fight, the sandpits are a better place – JQ

  47. paul walter
    January 10th, 2013 at 18:52 | #47

    Duh?
    Who was
    I “attacking”.
    It was important that readers be alerted to the veracity of Bring Back Birdie’s comment, against your denialist friends. Strange that an anti denialist pitches off another anti denialist, in order to cover for contrarians who debunk ecology; the Miranda Devine types.

  48. Fran Barlow
    January 10th, 2013 at 18:55 | #48

    @Ootz

    My post with Shelley’s words (slightly amended) also caught the spam trap. Not sure why.

  49. paul walter
    January 10th, 2013 at 19:18 | #49

    Quote from Bring back Birdie at You Know What (not sure who he/she is paraphrasing): “Posters at sites like Catallaxy should be held to account for aiding and abetting dangerous safety outcomes..”.
    Ive said nothing different to anyone else around here with half as brain, most of all yourself, when it comes to the deplorable reality of the existence of perverse denialists and I will never admit that their nonsenses should get past without at least being remarked upon.

  50. rog
    January 10th, 2013 at 20:16 | #50

    Back to the fires, heat etc – important to note that this isn’t an el niño year yet records are being busted willy nilly.

    Judging by the forecasts next week will be bad.

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