The relative rationality of Malcolm Roberts

Among other interesting results, the recent election gave a Senate seat to One Nation member Malcolm Roberts. Roberts is notable for his expressed belief that global warming is a fraud produced by a global conspiracy of bankers seeking to establish a worldwide government through the United Nations.

Unsurprisingly, Roberts has copped a lot of flak for these statements. But his position seems to me to be more credible than that of the average “sceptic”.

I’ll take, Don Aitkin as an example of the kind of sceptic generally seen as more credible than conspiracy theorists like Roberts. Among other indicators of credibility, Aitkin has an AO, he’s a former Vice-Chancellor, and was Chairman of the Australian Research Grants Committee (predecessor of the Australian Research Council) and a member of the Australian Science and Technology Council. His own academic background was in history and political science. As far as I can tell he has no training or research background in either statistics or natural science of any kind.

Given his background, you’d expect Aitkin to be aware of the years of training required to become an academic expert in any field, and the ease with which amateurs can get things badly wrong. But in his writing on climate change he expresses supreme confidence in his own ability to assess the work of thousands of scientists and pronounce it wanting. As he says

here wasn’t much abstruse science in the global warming issue. A bit of radiative physics, a bit of solar physics, a lot of data of various kinds, large GCMs — global circulation models — and a good deal of extrapolation

All in an afternoon’s work for a retired academic administrator, it seems. No wonder VCs are so highly paid!

Unsurprisingly, we discover that what Aitkin actually disliked was

the message: a set of policies about curbing greenhouse gas emissions by reducing the use of fossil fuels.


So, according to Aitkin, the entire discipline of climate science, backed up by every major scientific organization in the world, is engaged in a transparent fraud, has, in the service a political agenda, published false research, easily seen through by a retired political scientist and his circle of emeritus colleagues. They have succeeded in persuading every national government in the world to sign on to agreements based on this fraud misrepresentation of the facts. And to what end? To change the way we generate electricity, or maybe to shift a few research grants from one field to another. The disproportion between effort and goal is akin to using a nuclear-powered piledriver to crack a peanut.

And the same, more or less, is true of most of the relativel respectable “sceptics”. There simply isn’t enough payoff to explain the gigantic effort that’s gone into constructing the global scientific consensus on climate science.

By contrast, once you accept Malcolm Roberts’ premises, the rest makes sense. Suppose there is a gigantic conspiracy to establish a world government. Then suborning a few thousand scientists and dozens of scientific academies, all the weather bureaus in the world and the entire mass media (except for the Murdoch press) would be child’s play. The only question is when the black helicopters will land.

292 thoughts on “The relative rationality of Malcolm Roberts

  1. @BilB
    Yep, from the very first sentence of ”My perspective on ‘climate change’ and global warming” at his web site.

    A good yardstick for the quality of the work.

  2. There are quite a lot of them with a similar name, Nick. Aitkin’s Climate Perspectives #7 is worth a read. In this one he reviews climate models then dismisses them as being of no value. I find it amusing that Aitkin has written articles for Curry’s blog site. The blind leading the blind.Why would Curry allow that? my guess is that she is collecting credentialed names to add substance to her own rantings, and the other possibility is that it is all part of the libertarian climate denial network. Aitkin identifies with Nigel Lawson in one comment.

  3. @Nick
    “SD has asserted that centennial climate variation for the past 80 centuries has been as large as the anthropogenic change.”

    You don’t get much right do you Nick?

    That peer reviewed paper I quoted points out that climate nat var over those 80 centuries is TWICE current warming [the “anthropogenic” part has never been quantified].

    But, OK, if you disagree with Lloyd’s paper, what would you claim is a fair assessment of climate nat var per century over that time?

    Bearing in mind this sort of paeleo evidence:

    And you also fail to answer #64 and if you can’t answer that how can you possibly cope with #53?

  4. @BilB
    It’s disturbing stuff, the Aitkin musings.
    There is an air of considerable self-regard, which jars somewhat with the mediocrity of the analysis.
    #4 ‘Is The Planet Warming’ should have been brevity in itself: its could have been “yes, we know because of changes to the cryosphere. Glacial retreat is seen globally, and has been well quantified against solid benchmarks in a number of continents for over a century. We don’t even need a thermometer record to know the planet has been net warming since the 19th century, photographic comparison is adequate. Glaciers in Europe are at their lowest extent in many thousands of years.”

    Instead, it’s ‘I’m not sure’ accompanied by a use of graphs that shows he has no idea how unsuitable they are for making his case….he seems to think that big changes are important and relatively small ones are not. It’s an argument from ignorance, and an appeal to irrelevant facts.

    There is absolutely no doubt the planet is warming. There are so many measures of it. Why is Aitkin unaware of them?

  5. Disturbing indeed. What is really disturbing is that this man held positions of authority and had responsibility for enabling and directing the efforts of others, or not. And I express that concern based on Aitkin’s own writings, not in any way on the opinions of John Quiggin.

  6. @Ikonoclast
    Some of my replies have been deleted however you said in #43:

    “2. Those natural forcing events in geological history which ARE understood (not all are understood yet) are NOT noise.”

    but you didn’t understand that the noise I spoke of was the tiny 0.4c per century of warming, [half of average Nat var] some even tinier part of which [possibly even negative] was the ACO2 “warming” signal which has never been quantified.

  7. SD, “climate is changing, always has, always will”. Brilliant. Incisive.

    You know, pre-Newton, people knew things fell (always did, always will), but Newton discovered just the laws governing how it worked, and extended our understanding. Now we can send spaceships out of the solar system, and predict the future path of meteors to see if they are a future threat to the Earth.

    I know its hard for you to accept, but that is what climate scientists are doing. They are trying to improve our understanding of how the climate *will* change in response to our activities. Don’t bury your head in the sand and pretend that its not an issue.

  8. @spangled drongo
    ACO2 signal has been quantified.
    We know this because we are ‘talking’ about climate today. If it genuinely had not been quantified we would be nowhere near where we have got to on policy….unless of course you make an appeal to a global conspiracy a la Malcolm:Ieuan Roberts. No ’empirical’ evidence, huh?
    Seriously, contribution to modern warming by ACO2 has been studied closely, lots of papers on it. Attribution of warming is closely studied, in great detail..after all it is the most critical test, everything must be accounted for so as to have confidence in the science and bounds to quantify projections
    But you have your convictions, and reality and your ignorance of the field is apparently irrelevant to their strength.

  9. @spangled drongo #100

    A climate scientist who goes to the dark side can get way more $$$ from a fossil fuel corporation or thick tank than from uni or government.

    The overwhelming financial incentives are pro-denialist, not pro-science.

  10. @BilB
    It may not be an issue. The sad truth is that for most people, their mental capacity declines as they get older. For myself, everything i do in science these days is with younger collaborators as a reality check. There are plenty of examples of Nobel laureates embracing various forms of craziness such as quack medicine. Prof Endersby was a distinguished engineer, but as well as his greenhouse denial, his final book pushed the ideas of a himalyan source for australian artesian water, and, because he didn,t understand subduction, he “explained” the matching shapes of continents in terms of an expanding earth. So maybe Aitken used to be OK.

  11. @Nick
    ACO2 signal has been quantified.

    Do tell, Nick. Last time I looked they couldn’t work out the W/m2 involved.

    I must’ve missed it.

    What was it, BTW?

    Pos or neg?

  12. @spangled drongo

    How silly of ‘them’ to say ‘they’ can’t work something out. You’d think they would just make this up like they make everything else up.

    It is surprising though that you missed this bit of information; perhaps you are not looking in the right place?

    But do tell what you think ‘they’ are doing by failing to make up a good story about the AC02 signal?

  13. @Ian E

    Professor Emeritus Lance Endersbee was a former dean of engineering and pro-vice chancellor at Monash University. It appears, from online news reports last decade, that Prof. Endersbee did not accept climate science and he did not accept the standard explanation for the origins of artesian water.

    Don Aitkin “was educated first in History, receiving a Master of Arts with First Class Honours at the University of New England in 1961 (the first such degree to be awarded at that University), and moved to Political Science for his PhD. The University of Canberra awarded him the degree of Doctor of the University, honoris causa, in 2002 and made him a Professor Emeritus. He served as Vice-Chancellor and President of the University of Canberra from 1991 to 2002.” (Combined excerpts from Wikipedia.)

    Of course, this is only a sample of two but “Professor Emeritus” and “former Vice Chancellor” stick out to me as possible precursor states for general denialism of impact science among educated people. If we go a little further a look at other educated denialists like Ian Plimer (another Emeritus) and Bob Carter we note that climate science denialism in the science fraternity seems to come from geologists and (spreading the net a little wider) it seems to be quite common among engineers. Again, my sample is way too small. I admit this. Amongst economists and the general public, climate science denialism tends to come from the ideological right. This has been found true in studies on the topic.

    I wonder if anyone has done a study of class and professional biases towards climate science denialism? It seems ripe ground for a Michael Pusey style sociological study. What we appear to be dealing with is what one might call the “managerial-economic-industrial production complex”. A self-reinforcing complex of owners, managerialists, market fundamentalist economists and production scientists operates essentially to promote views that variously equate to;

    (a) nothing must stand in the way of economic production;
    (b) the economy is free standing and non-dependent on the biosphere;
    (c) biosphere damage from the economy does not occur or is minor or irrelevant;
    (d) endless physical growth (demographic and/or infrastructural) is possible on (finite) earth.

    In every case, their incomes, wealth and power depend on promoting these views. It is the entire managerial-economic-industrial production complex of this economy that is the problem. It is a problem integral and intrinsic to the current system and, I assert, not correctable by tinkering within the system. The entire system will have to be swept away one way or another. If we don’t act proactively and sweep it away ourselves then natural forces will do the job for us in a much uglier and catastrophic fashion.

  14. Drongo,

    What’s the certainty on data take from just two sites? Someone has already pointed this out to you.

    In the Wikipedia entry on the Medieval Warm Period:

    “…current evidence does not support globally synchronous periods of anomalous cold or warmth over this time frame, and the conventional terms of ‘Little Ice Age’ and ‘Medieval Warm Period’ appear to have limited utility in describing trends in hemispheric or global mean temperature changes in past centuries”.[11] Global temperature records taken from ice cores, tree rings, and lake deposits, have shown that, taken globally, the Earth may have been slightly cooler (by 0.03 degrees Celsius) during the ‘Medieval Warm Period’ than in the early and mid-20th century.

    You are comparing the temperature record form just two site over 80 centuries with the data take from many more sites over the last two centuries with the suggestion that both represent global temperature. So your claim that the variability in each of the previous 80 centuries was the same as the overall increase in the last two centuries is extremely dubious.

    Your MO is typical of the denier:
    1. Make a claim about the temperature record or proxies.
    2. Wait for someone to challenge you on that specific claim.
    3. Reference a new study (as if one paper will overturn hundreds/thousands of other papers), suggesting that you’ve just pwned everyone, despite the fact that you seem to be unaware of how your interpretation of the implications of that study may be flawed.

    Let me guess, you got this from WUWT. Really it’s pathetic.

  15. @David C.
    Read Lloyd’s paper.

    Read all the paeleo data for the period.

    And as I said to Nick earlier, have a look at the end of the YD when temps climbed 10c in a couple of decades.

    And if you can’t see huge fluctuations in nat var temps there’s not much I can do for you.

    But in the meantime do try and stick with discussing the message and go easy on messenger homicide.

  16. Ikonoclast,

    You Geologist observation is on the money. I have observed the same. Another example was Peter Lang and for the Engineers throw in David Evans (along with many more).

    As to causation my theory is that it is to do with cognitions impacted by empathy conditions, with the consequences filtering throughout the political and economic structure.

  17. @Julie Thomas
    You saw it too, hey Jules?

    I must be slipping.

    But c’mon, don’t keep it to yourself.

    Surely you wouldn’t, by any chance, be confused with the results from GCMs?

    Tell me it isn’t so.

  18. Ikonoclast,

    Your Geologist observation is on the money. I have drawn a similar conclusion. Remember Peter Lang, and for the engineers throw in David Evans.

    As to causation my theory is that this is all driven by cognitions impacted by empathy states, and the consequences permeate throughout the political and economic structures.

    Spangled Drongo, which particular Lloyd and Lloyd paper are you building your argument from?

  19. Oops, sorry, duplicate comment. My keyboard did not take kindly to the cup of tea I spilt on it.

  20. @spangled drongo
    Forget the ice age minimum…all it proves is climate sensitivity is high, and small persistent forcings can flip climate dramatically. As if that knowledge is of any support to your contentions! In fact, quite the opposite

  21. And more on Lloyd (thanks J-D for the clarification) here (after getting new keyboard)…

  22. In my opinion, what Don does not always understand is the difference between error and bias. Here is a submission he made to the Garnaut Report in some years ago.

    (1) “Is the earth warming, and has it warmed since the beginning of the 20th century? This question is essentially about measurement, ‘Average global temperature’ is a construct, not a real observation, and there is considerable uncertainty about the reliability and validity of the construct. In any case, the IPCC’s estimate of global warming in the 20th century is 0.60 C ± 0.20 C, which is unlikely to be greater than the error surrounding the measurements. It is not a large increase.”

    Click to access SUBMISSION%20TO%20THE%20GARNAUT%20CLIMA.pdf

    There is no method that I am aware of where an analyst would, after estimating a correlation with confidence interval, then make some further ad hoc adjustment for measurement error. The error term does include ALL sources of random error. But if you do not understand the law of large numbers you can see why he would be a septic.

  23. Spangled Drongo, you’ve answered my question adequately. Any further posts from you should be directed to the sandpits.

  24. @David
    ..and as I’ve said before, we do not have to rely on thermometry to answer the question ….thus Don doesn’t have to know his maths and stats concepts. So Aitkin’s dwelling on his own misunderstanding of thermometery,and the daft idea that ‘average global temperature is not an observation but a construct’, is not even necessary for his own quest.

    Warming is unambiguous is the behavior of the cryosphere. We have thousands of photographs from the last 150 years for comparative use. Sure, glaciers can shrink when their moisture source makes a long term decline, but that does not apply for the vast number of these global-wide observations.
    That’s just a sample from the European Alps, but links within.

    All I can say is that this stuff must be too empirical for Malcolm Roberts and his fellow D-K sufferers

  25. But John, don’t you see? Changing the way we generate electricity is just the beginning.

    After that it will be the things they teach our children!

  26. @Ikonoclast

    Geologists and to a lesser extent engineers tend to be right wing and field scientists. They are practical and like to see the past evidence. Hence they are intuitively suspect of forward looking climate science.

    As people age they lose some of their conceptual and original thinking faculties. However they apparently retain their communication skills for much longer. Leading to well written and apparently credible essays but on shaky foundations.

  27. @BilB
    On tne other hand, some of my former geologist colleagues try to argue that Ian Plimer is (or was) a minerologist and not really a geologist. Not entirely convincing but I can fully sympathize with why they would want to say that.

  28. @spangled drongo
    SD…you have made your usual oblivious play. You’ve cited retired geologist Don Easterbrook’s blunder on the GISP2 ice core data from Greenland. Easterbrook has, in ignorance or deceit, labelled the x-axis of a graph, lifted from Alley [2000], as ‘years before present [2000AD]’…any fool except yourself is aware that the the ‘years before present’ convention for a palaeo data processed before 2000 is the year 1950…thus the last data point on the graph is 95 years before 1950: 1855. Yes, the graph so often waved around as some kind of argument for the insignificance of modern warming actually omits the signal of AGW entirely.

    This idiot claim was dealt with years ago, in person by Dr Richard Alley, and by colleague Dr Jason Box, two genuine palaeoclimate experts with specialty in the cryosphere. Here it is with modern data from the GISP site appended:

    So whatever ‘question’ you ‘asked’ based on that boneheaded Easterbrook gaffe is somewhat moot.
    Here is the sad context:

    So you continue to brazenly promote a well-exposed fake graph…in fact you are just quoting Easterbrook’s rubbish uncritically at #53…and your ‘question’ at #64 similarly fails because your source is simply erroneous.
    SD, your ’embarrassing questions’ have been dealt with.

  29. I’ve got a geologist mate I went to school with, too. But he was sitting on the fence for a while before coming to a sensible conclusion.

  30. Oh my goodness, a hundred comments and so little to show for reading them.

    John, you say this:

    ‘Don Aitkin doesn’t bother to give any explanation of how thousands of scientists can spend their working lives publishing material that any amateur (like SD or Aitkin) can disprove in the space of a blog post’

    Why should I? I’ve never made any such preposterous claim. You have invented it. It is your own construction, and like so much of what you wrote about me, and perhaps others, it doesn’t stand up to scrutiny.

    I have pointed out that much climate science is straightforward stuff, but a lot is based on the supposition that CAGW is inevitable, and then shows what might/will happen if temperatures rise to x — this bird will have to leave its present environment, these butterflies are doomed etc.

    Again, why don’t you spell out why you think that you have to accept the view that CAGW is inevitable — you personally, not the Academy of Science or the IPCC?

    Please come to my website, or at least copy it there. You might find some sensible comments.

  31. @Don Aitkin
    Don, I cannot understand your arrogance, unless it’s to compensate for the woeful incomprehension evident in your musings on climate change and AGW.

    Your essay #4 : Is the Planet Warming? completely avoids answering the titular question in a direct and coherent way. And there is no lack of information to provide such a clear and direct answer.

    ‘Is the planet warming’ in the industrial era? The answer is unambiguously ‘yes’. We have a useful thermometer network. We have evidence from long-term tide gauges. We have evidence from changes to the cryosphere, shrinking glaciers and ice caps. We have evidence from measured changes to the atmospheric temperature profile. We have evidence from the arctic, in widespread changes to permafrost and increase in methane outgassing. We have long term ice-in, ice-out records for lakes and rivers, and long term phenological records for cherry blossoms and grape vines. The planet is warming, and continues to warm.

    Back to your essay#4
    Your graphs sources are unacknowledged, not very good form on your part. The first looks at the past 450,000 years and is irrelevant to your titular question. Why? Because the human species was not numbering in the billions, and had no sophisticated agriculture and infrastructure to plan, build and maintain during the vast bulk of that period. No matter the extremes that the long past show, we don’t live back then…we live here, and now, and in an unprecedented state for our species. A state that is threatened by any enduring climate shift.
    The second graph is a crude picture of the Holocene, apparently derived from an ice core program…extrapolating to a global picture from such data needs to be done with care and explanation. You provide none. You muse that maybe that illustrates we are in a long-term cooling trend, since the Holocene Optimum…indeed that is the view of the experts. Their view is also that the anthropogenic CO2 spike has cancelled that weak cooling trend for many tens of thousands of years, yet you do not discuss that..
    You state:

    But what seems almost indisputable to me is that there hasn’t been some kind of special ‘right’ climate for humans. Our species has had to cope with more and less warmth, as we do at the moment.

    Yet your first graph clearly shows that there were long periods of special ‘wrong’ climates for human beings! The glacial maxima were apparently times of species contraction to refugia, and homo sapiens was one of those species… and the Holocene has been a time when our species could eventually prosper, the stability of the last 10,000 years allowing agriculture and technology to advance. Now we are warming beyond Holocene maxima..we’re in uncharted territory, obviously with some good tools…and good knowledge, if only so much of it was not being rejected by AGW pseudo-skeptics like yourself…but it’s not going to be easy to deal with several metres of committed sea level rise in the next century and a half.

    You may not be aware that the arctic is warming at a faster than global mean rate, despite the insolation level at that latitude being in decline for the last ten thousand years. IOW, the Holocene Optimum was a lagged response to the peaking of high latitude insolation, the increase of which brought the planet out of the last ice age minimum.
    So yes, we should be in a slow cooling trend: the data based on orbital calculations says so.

    But your third graph shows global warming since 1900….and it is quite rapid warming. [Re your ice cores, surface temperatures at the GISP2 ice core site are now higher than they were estimated to be at any time during the Holocene….a fact that is vigorously ignored by climate change rejectionists who love to cite a certain fake graph]

    In your essay #4, it’s evident that you clearly do not know what you’re doing with your material, Don…though you may have attracted an audience to make you feel comfortable about that.

  32. @Ikonoclast
    To dig a hole and sell some coal one would need a geologist and an engineer. Roberts was an engineer who managed a coal mine. Vested interest is probably part of the explanation.

  33. Don Aitkin :
    Oh my goodness, a hundred comments and so little to show for reading them.
    John, you say this:
    ‘Don Aitkin doesn’t bother to give any explanation of how thousands of scientists can spend their working lives publishing material that any amateur (like SD or Aitkin) can disprove in the space of a blog post’
    Why should I? I’ve never made any such preposterous claim. You have invented it. It is your own construction, and like so much of what you wrote about me, and perhaps others, it doesn’t stand up to scrutiny.

    Well you have. In point 3 of your submission to the Garnaut Commission, you state the following

    “…But there is no observational evidence that whatever rise in temperature has occurred is due to the increase in CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere.”

  34. @Don Aitkin

    I have pointed out that much climate science is straightforward stuff..

    You fool yourself. That’s what evident from your essays.

    ..but a lot is based on the supposition that CAGW is inevitable..

    Rubbish. Climate science is ‘based on’ studying the atmosphere and how it interacts with land and ocean, according to the laws of physics and chemistry. The fact that a CO2 spike will cause climate to change is just one insight from the study of climate.

    ..and then shows what might/will happen if temperatures rise to x — this bird will have to leave its present environment, these butterflies are doomed etc.

    If climate changes rapidly there are consequences for living things…well done, Don.

  35. Doing some research here I see that we have Yin and Yang Don Aitkins.

    One Don who distinguishes himself by tilting at windmills

    Our Yin Don says

    “To suggest that Australia could seriously aim for 90 per cent generation of electricity through wind and solar by 2030 is simply ludicrous, and akin to fraud. It’s not possible.”

    And then there is…..

  36. ……their Yang Don, Dr Donald Aitkin who builds windmills.

    “Dr. Aitken’s work has a multiple emphasis on the use of renewable energy in the electric utility sector, on renewable energy marketing frameworks, and in sustainable architecture. He has made major policy contributions that have been adopted both nationally and internationally to promote the accelerated application of sustainable energies in both marketing and governmental policy frameworks.”

    And ironically

    “In 1997 Dr. Aitken was awarded the American Solar Energy Society’s highest honor for lifetime service to solar energy, the Abbot Award”

    What a contrast.

    Whose talk would I pay money to hear? Well the Physicist with a track record of build constructively, of course.

  37. Donald-Alexander: Aitken., the living soul has seen through the malarkey. Drink the Kool Aid people!

  38. Rational Wiki writes;

    “”CAGW”, for “catastrophic anthropogenic global warming”, is a snarl word (or snarl acronym) that global warming denialists use for the established science of climate change. A Google Scholar search indicates that the term is never used in the scientific literature on climate.

    It’s not clear just when or how the denialists adopted CAGW over from the acronym AGW (anthropogenic global warming) used by normal folk. The term was used in blog comments at the New York Times and ScienceBlogs as early as 2008, and is likely to have been used earlier. By around 2011 CAGW had become commonplace in denialist blogs such as those of Anthony Watts or Judith Curry, and over the next year or two essentially replaced AGW in such esteemed venues. Despite the qualifier, denialists apply the term indiscriminately to anything approximating the mainstream scientific view on climate, regardless of whether or not “catastrophic” outcomes are implied.

    As for motivation, it’s an attempt to move the goalposts. Denialists realized they had lost the argument over plain old “anthropogenic global warming” — the basic physics of the problem have been known since the 19th century, so that rejecting AGW outright paints oneself as a loon. Adding “catastrophic” gives plenty of wiggle room for denialism.”

    The fact that Don Aitkin uses terminology popularised by Anthony Watts and other climate science denialist sites says it all really.

  39. Oops, above post should be by “Ikonoclast”. My cold, clumsy fingers missed an “o”.

  40. Joe with his triumphant claim about the awesomeness of the ‘living soul’ who can see thoguht the malarkey, would seem to be confirming this supposition I found in a Nature note about the psychology of climate science deniers;

    “Scepticism about global warming illustrates the right’s difficulty in conceptualizing the group (rather than the individual) as a political actor. Conservatives traditionally believe that the course of history is decided by a few heroic figures — Churchill, Napoleon, and so on. The left tends to sideline such figures in favour of the mass movements they spearheaded. The right’s popular argument that global warming is a hoax neatly demonstrates this. After all, a hoax demands a hoaxer, a ‘heroic villain’ who is faking data and distributing bribes behind the scenes.”

    But who is the ‘living soul’? Does anybody but Joe know?

    And in other interesting information about the psychology of Senator Roberts, he was once involved with Montessori schools and this is a bit ‘different’ for someone with his cognitive style and personality, which just shows that the way to understand what goes on in the minds of the deniers lies in deconstructing their life history and seeing where the speck of irrationality and contrarianism begins and how it developed in the individual life history of the denier.

    Senator Roberts responded that he shared a passion for Montessori’s philosophy of education with Mr Seldin but did not see any contradiction with his party’s climate policies.

    Apparently, there are things that the living souls can see and other things they can’t.

  41. @Ikonoclast

    “The fact that Don Aitkin uses terminology popularised by Anthony Watts and other climate science denialist sites says it all really.”

    C’mon, there is so much more to say. What about the lack of self-esteem he must have experienced having his early degrees from a regional university. I know from my experience, in the 1990’s there was so much snobbery and uninformed criticism of regional universities and the quality of their graduates, it must have been a negative experience for Don back in the day.

    Should this sort of comment go to the Sandpit, JQ?

  42. @Don Aitkin

    1. If somebody writes about what will happen if global temperature rises to X, that is not the same as predicting such a rise, still less a supposition that such a rise is inevitable.

    2. You are challenging John Quiggin to justify a position which is explicltly one which he does not hold. He has never asserted that catastrophic anthropogenic global warming is inevitable; on the contrary, he has written repeatedly about how it may be avoided.

  43. Remind me again…the “drink me” Kool Aid makes you smaller, right? so that those with small minds and little ideas will seem some how Bigger? Is that what Joe is suggesting?

  44. @Ikonclast

    “”CAGW”, for “catastrophic anthropogenic global warming”, is a snarl word (or snarl acronym) that global warming denialists use for the established science of climate change. A Google Scholar search indicates that the term is never used in the scientific literature on climate.

    Yes, it’s a simple identifier, and team colours for the herd of independent thinkers that reject science

  45. Sigh. Let’s go back to the argument. Is the entire world’s scientific establishment?:

    1. in a foul conspiracy (presumably the Jews, or the Intellectuals, or the Jewish Intellectuals, or else the Freemasons, or the Catholics, or, these days, the Islamists??), or else;

    2. the scientists are morons (CO2 is a few ppm, how could that affect climate?!)

    if not, perhaps the globe is warming, after all. Big Tobacco Can Fix It!

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