Andrew Bolt picks up the Davidson-Robson piece I mentioned here. I know Bolt mainly from his writing about global warming and (to a lesser extent the Iraq war) where he is about as wrong as it is possible to be, in every possible way. He gets basic facts wrong, recycles long-exploded propaganda exercises like the Oregon Petition and commits just about every kind of logical fallacy known, all in an attempt to push a position that has literally no credible scientific defenders left*. He compounds all this by explaining the virtually unanimous verdict of the scientific community, including such bodies as the US National Academy of Sciences, Royal Society of the UK, Australian Academy of Sciences and so on as the product either of a crude conspiracy to scare up grant money or a quasi-religious cult.

Fortunately, in the case of global warming, anyone with access to the Internet can easily check the facts, so the only people deluded by Bolt on this topic are those complicit in their own delusion, believing an implausible story because it suits their ideological or cultural/tribal prejudices. But Bolt’s opinions on general politics are routinely featured on such programs as the ABCs Insiders. As the name of the show indicates, we are supposed to accept on faith that Bolt has access to facts and insights not available to the rest of us, except through the intermediation of Bolt or his fellow-insiders.

The obvious question is why anyone should pay attention to someone who has shown such a monumental capacity for deluding himself and others. If wishful thinking can lead him to reject science wholesale (global warming is only one example where Bolt’s views on scientific issues are clearly derived from his own prejudices), how likely is it that his treatment of political questions is any better?

I note that Bolt finally seems to be facing some questioning from fellow-insiders on this, but it seems to me to be too little, too late.

The interesting question is whether Bolt, the Oz and others who have got this issue so badly wrong will suffer any long-run penalty for it or whether they will just bounce back and opine, with equal dogmatism, on other topics.

* There are a few credible scientists who dissent from some aspects of the mainstream consensus, but none who back the wholly delusional position espoused by Bolt.

32 thoughts on “Insider

  1. chrisl #23, Hello? Whether an island is inundated or not depends on its height above sea level. Therefore, not all islands disappear at once. My Solomon Island reference was wrong – you are right, the news was about the one that got pushed up by the earthquake – it was in PNG and, as I said in response to Mugwump, there may be a different explanation. That doesn’t mean the phenomenon doesn’t exist.

    Another thing. El Nino causes sea level to be higher in the Western Pacific than in the East. So no, sea level is not the same everywhere and we are getting more, and more prolonged El Ninos.

    Mugwump, erosion is often caused by rising sea level, particularly in the case of deltas – where one would normally see silt deposits building up the land mass, not the other way around. This is Geography 101.

  2. melanie – you should publish your findings.

    jquiggin: “The difference [between sceptics and alarmists] is that there is nothing but rubbish on the anti-AGW side”

    Your “sceptic” is a strawman. To you he is a complete and utter denier of even the possibility of AGW. Maybe such people exist, but I have never met one.

    I am a sceptic. I have no doubt humans can affect climate through CO2. I also know a lot about the science and know that the science and its consequences are an awful lot more uncertain than the Sterns, Gores, Flannerys, etc would have us believe.

    I also know that AGW has become the ideal platform for the envirofascist movement to push their ideology on the rest of us, something every proponent of individual freedom is morally bound to resist.

  3. Your “sceptic� is a strawman. To you he is a complete and utter denier of even the possibility of AGW. Maybe such people exist, but I have never met one.

    Then you must not be paying attention.

    One: Andrew Bolt.

  4. Bruce, can you back up your claim? Bolt’s main contribution to the GW debate is poking holes in alarmist nonsense. I have never seen him claim AGW is impossible.

  5. My claim, reclarified (and I conceed that I should have made this clearer) is that Bolt is not a sceptic, and that he is a denialist.

    He choses his conclusions first, then twists and cherry picks evidence to match. This is not scepticism, this is denialism.

    I do not contend that Andrew claims that AGW is impossible. I can see how it appears that I was making this claim however; I cited your comment without addressing some of it’s vacuous content.

    I have the habbit of ignoring straw man red herrings such as “To you he is a complete and utter denier of even the possibility of AGW.” This was not JQ’s definition of “denier”, but rather your own straw man version of JQ’s argument.

    I should have stated that I was going with JQ’s definition, not your side-tracking fabrication. With the way I wrote my last responce it appears otherwise.

    For that, I apologise.

  6. “Habit” rather. I’ve had the Lord of the Rings (Hobbit) on my mind lately.

  7. Not much has changed has it, always at least one denialist troll on the board.

    Anyways if you missed them there were two intersting Radio National talks on the subject:
    Monday 14 May 2007
    Science and public policy
    How do we approach formulating public policy on such issues as climate change?
    Professor Aynsley Kellow has taken part in the process as a contributor to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and offers his view of the process and how it could work.

    Global Warming debate

    In February this year the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a report with some of their strongest statements to date on global warming. The view of the IPCC was unequivocal – the consensus – that global temperatures are on the rise and being driven overwhelmingly by fossil fuel emissions. But there are some among the scientific community, albeit a relatively small group, who challenge this ‘consensus’ and think that the debate is far from over.

    Professor Bob Carter
    Marine Geophysical Laboratory
    James Cook University
    Dr Stephen Schneider
    Melvin and Joan Lane Professor for Interdisciplinary Environmental Studies
    Department of Biological Sciences
    Stanford University

    As far as Carter it would seem applying scientific knowledge outside your discipline can be a flawed exercise when you aren’t up to date or familiar with the work.

    Why is it that some geologists have a harder time of it with AGW? Since their discipline doesn’t deal with human influences or time frames does this blinker them to think it must be so in other disciplines?

    I’d be interested to hear others take on Professor Aynsley Kellow.

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