Tuesday, November 25, 2014


In his latest offering, conservative Australian cartoonist ZEG is amused by the Leftist rage over cutbacks to the ABC

Australian astronomer, Michael Brown,  says science is not about debate, people are too stupid to judge

Michael Brown, recipient of taxpayer funds for astronomy, tells us that science is not about debate because people are not smart enough to judge the winner. He doesn’t list any evidence to support his faith in climate models (he’s just part of the herd following the consensus pack). Nor does he have any serious scientific criticism of the NIPCC climate report. But he uses plenty of names, baseless allusion, and innuendo. In the article ”Adversaries, zombies and NIPCC climate pseudoscience” in The Conversation he resorts to a group smear (with the help of the taxpayer funded site) in the hope that people won’t listen to those who disagree with him. Apparently he can’t win a fair and open debate, so he’s doing what he can to stop one.

If science now has “Gods” who are above question, it’s not science, it’s a religion. A scientist who says “I’m right because I’m a scientist” is neither right nor much of a scientist. Brown is acting like a self-appointed High-Priest of the Climate Doctrine.

The NIPCC report is more balanced, more comprehensive, and more accurate than the politically-guided tome from the IPCC . It contains hundreds of peer reviewed references put together by independent scientists. In his reply to it, Michael Brown tells us all we need to know about the intellectual state of Australian science, and the value of The Conversation.

This is the face of the Church of Global Warming.

How low can Brown go?  How about “zombies”, “aliens”,  and “pseudoscience”? As an unskeptical scientist (and we all know what that means), it appears Brown hopes to win through name-calling and “seeding doubt” about the motivations of people he disagrees with. Skeptical scientists are “skeptics” (always in quotes to imply they’re fakes) who are “bankrolled” (he’s blind to the evidence about the financial truth too).

For evidence Brown cites a consensus study that mixes up 0.3% with 97%. He likes the IPCC political-consensus approach. This is post-modern science (or post-science, science) forget radiosondes, just poll government appointees.

All the other evidence Brown lists is superficial and irrelevant. He claims: “there is remarkably good agreement between models of climate change and the temperature data.” Then offers as evidence the utterly banal and correct predictions of the “last 50 years” while ignoring the devastating failure in the predictions of the last 20 years that matter.

Modern science is broken — Astronomy in Australia is a small community and  illogical, unscientific people have already been promoted to influential positions. I could ask where the decent astronomers are, and why aren’t they protesting, but because Brown’s activism is so strong, so unscientific, and unequivocal, I expect those who disagree with him would choose to stay silent.  They wouldn’t know whether their next grant will be reviewed by him, but they know that if it is, and they are a vocal skeptic, it won’t help them. After a rant like this, why would anyone expect equal treatment?

This Heisenberg-like state of uncertainty (will or will he not be a reviewer for my application/proposal/paper? and will or will he not be biased if he thinks I am a zombie/denier/anti-science?) is enough to bring people in line. Welcome to the stifling blanket of self censorship.

Ode to the stupid: According to Brown, those who question the mantra of the IPCC are not just speaking their mind, they are using a pseudoscience “ploy” to fool the people (who are too dumb to realize).  These evil mercenary skeptics want you to think we need to debate complex, costly plans that are dependent on our knowledge of the weather. (Imagine that!) Luckily for us, Brown is here to correct the dumb engineers, doctors, and lawyers who are unconvinced a solar panel in Melbourne will help stop a flood in Bangladesh.

The call for adversarial debate is a variant of the debate ploy, a common pseudoscience tactic. At first glance having two teams present competing positions seems entirely reasonable, but this approach only works if the intended audience can effectively assess the arguments presented.

Who is the pseudoscientist using a ploy to fool the public? The geologist who tells us that this warming is not unusual, or the man who has no evidence, and a profoundly unscientific and patronizing belief that only the anointed can speak their mind?

How’s this for reasoning: According to Brown, adversarial debate failed once with Einstein’s theory of relativity (the audience were not able to get the right answer in 1920 on one of the most difficult and ground breaking scientific advances in centuries). Cue the High-Priest, therefore and verily says he, adversarial debate is always a waste of time and science can only advance if the populace lets politicians annoint Gods in each subject (and everyone bows to them).

No dissent will be tolerated, or we will call you a “zombie”!

Brown manages a few paragraphs of sciencey looking talk, but the papers he supposedly debunks are irrelevant to all the main NIPCC claims. The papers he cites as supporting him don’t have any evidence that the IPCC assumptions were correct.

Zombie Science: The Zombie in the room here is the dead science being revived endlessly by Brown and the IPCC, despite the evidence that climate models are based on flawed assumptions, which we know from 28 million weather balloons, 3000 ARGO buoys, 800,000 years  of ice cores, and 30 years of satellites.

Unlike Climate Gods, real scientists list real evidence. When theory clashes with data, the real scientists discard the theory.

Unlike government funded propaganda sites, we unfunded bloggers would never publish such a religious rant and call it “science”. We have standards.

We taxpayers want our money back. Let The Conversation compete in the free market.

Monash University may want to teach its scientists what science is and how to reason. Do Monash approve of this anti-science behaviour? Is this what they teach the students? Can someone ask the Dean?

If Monash don’t have good answers, the questions ought go to the Minister for Education. Why are tax dollars supporting university “science” which is so unscientific?

Send your questions to The Dean of Science at Monash, and or to The Minister for Education, The Hon Christopher Pyne MP, which not only funds Monash, but through Monash and other universities, The Conversation.

The ARC needs to start funding real scientists and stop funding religious activists.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Time to Govern Right, Mr Abbott

By James Allan, Garrick Professor of Law at the University of Queensland.

A few suggestions that will better your chance of re-election: Drop that Labor-lite approach to attacking the deficit, stop funding your enemies and, on a related note, strip Malcolm Turnbull of responsibility for the ABC and let Scott Morrison muck out the national broadcaster's billion-dollar stable

abbott w bookAt some point the Coalition needs to realise that Labor will agree to nothing that it doesn't already want to put in place.  "Compromise" for them will amount to allowing through what they would otherwise want, and nothing more.  So, to deal with our ballooning deficit, Labor will always agree to more taxes.  In fact it's a bonus for them, as the Coalition will take the blame.

My take on this is summed up in the old saw:  `When you're helping to dig your own grave, the best thing to do is stop digging.'   That means that no matter what the short-term consequences, Mr. Abbott and the Coalition need to stop with the tax increases.  No matter what.  I'm sick of them, and I'm pretty sure most readers of this site are sick of them.  And those tax hikes won't do anything more than fiddle at the margins of our blowing-out debt and expanding deficit.

The Coalition ought to keep making the case for spending cuts.  Again, and again, and again.  If they can't get those cuts through the Senate, well, the deficit will go up.  And it will keep going up until the next election.  Meantime, you bring all the resources of government to bear on educating the public.

Likewise, while you're doing that you also stop pretending that you're a Labor-lite government finding Mickey Mouse ways to increase taxes.  And you ditch any new massive spending commitments.  That is my very kind and nice way of saying `Get rid of the idiotic and incredibly expensive Paid Parental Leave (PPL) Scheme. For Labor, the PPL is the gift that keeps on giving. Labor has absolutely no ideas on how to cut spending.  So their only halfway-plausible reply is, `We will get rid of the PPL when we win the election.'

And I believe they will.  So does everyone.  This policy is one that will cost huge political capital to get through and then will go as soon as Labor's next win.  Worse, my guess is that most Coalition voters - and all of those worried about our fiscal position as a country - want it ditched.  Now.

The other thing that this Coalition government might usefully do is to start taking on its critics.  By that I mean the groups whom they fund to attack them constantly.  The ABC most obviously springs to mind.   Mr. Turnbull has to go as the minister in charge of this billion-dollar-a-year vessel, a hopelessly port-canted ship whose crew looks uncannily like the Green Party at prayer - if you count Gaia-worshipping, carbon-tax genuflecting, hard-left dissembling as praying.

Here's what I think would gain Mr. Abbott a lot of credit from Coalition voters who are, thus far into his term, somewhat disappointed at the way his right-of-centre instincts have been muted since coming to power: the Prime Minister should transfer the ABC to the ministerial portfolio of Scott Morrison.  Take it away from a favoured Q&A guest and give it to someone who recognises problems and doesn't shy from solving them.

Were he to do that, I am betting ABC Managing Director Mark Scott would find the gumption to hire at least one right-of-centre person (host or producer) for at least one of the broadcaster's big-ticket current affairs shows.

Why?  In my view it's about psychology and in that sense a parallel with stopping the boats.  If you believe someone is committed to stopping you, and will do what it takes to change your behaviour, you submit.  That's why the boats have stopped and why I don't think any future Labor government will be able to mimic that success.

The same goes for the ABC. No one in that organisation has any real belief that Malcolm Turnbull will try to make them live up their statutory obligation to be impartial.  But bring in Mr. Morrison and the perception would change overnight.

On the other hand, Mr. Abbott can continue to travel the same road as Britain's David Cameron, alienating   his core supporters with every latest step in the wrong direction.  It's not working out at all well for Mr. Cameron.  So, Tony, please stop digging.


Australia's 'most corrupt politician' is finally charged

One of the most corrupt politicians in Australian history - former state minister Eddie Obeid, known as "he who must be obeyed" - will finally be prosecuted after an inquiry found he lobbied colleagues over leases for restaurants without revealing that his family owned them.

Mr Obeid and fellow minister Ian Macdonald, who has also been charged, practiced corruption in the state of New South Wales that was "on a scale probably unexceeded since the days of the Rum Corps [a colonial-era corps that had a monopoly on the liquor trade]", a corruption inquiry heard in 2012.

Mr Macdonald, known as "Sir Lunchalot", has been charged over the granting of a lucrative mining licence but may face further charges after receiving the services of a prostitute as apparent payment for assisting a property developer. The prostitute, named Tiffanie, told the inquiry the encounter was so repulsive she wanted to vomit.

Mr Obeid has previously dared prosecutors to charge him and appeared defiant outside his sandstone mansion in Sydney. Branded "The Godfather" by the media, he has insisted he is the victim of a political witch-hunt. "I'm innocent in every instance," he said.

"I have no concern whatsoever that in a court of law we'll be able to fight the evidence, and I'm very confident."

Mr Obeid, 71, a long-serving Labor MP in the New South Wales state government, was born in Lebanon and worked in Sydney as a taxi driver before taking control of a local Arabic newspaper. He served as an MP from 1991 to 2011, while he and his family built up a sizable portfolio of businesses and properties. During his time in parliament, he became a factional kingpin and exercised influence over numerous MPs and ministers, who relied on him for their positions.

"[He] treated the state as his personal fiefdom," historian Ross Fitzgerald wrote in The Sydney Morning Herald in August.

Mr Obeid's influence is said to extend to his small hometown of Matrite in north Lebanon, where he reportedly owns a $US1 million palace.

A corruption inquiry in June found that Mr Obeid "misused his position as an MP" and sought to lobby other MPs and public servants for favourable decisions affecting his family's restaurant leases in Circular Quay, a popular harbour-side tourist district. He could still face charges over other corrupt dealings investigated by the inquiry.

Mr Obeid said the corruption inquiries were "nothing but sham inquiries".



Springborg announces Queensland Health reform that guarantees timely surgery

LAWRENCE Springborg will today unveil an Australia-first reform to Queensland’s health system, guaranteeing every patient receives their surgery within the recommended time.

Patients will be sent to an alternative public hospital or to the private system if their local health service cannot treat them on time, under the Queensland health minister’s new plan.

The Patient Guarantee, which mirrors health systems in Scandinavia, where Mr Springborg recently visited, comes after the number of “long wait” patients – those waiting for surgery beyond recommended times – plummeted in Queensland from 6500 to 533 in the latest official figures.

The opening of new hospitals with greater capacity, an influx of federal funds, and major system redesigns instigated by the Newman Government combined to reduce the long wait list.

Mr Springborg told The Sunday Mail the long wait list was likely to be eliminated by the end of the year, opening the way for patients to be guaranteed their surgery on time.

“By the end of this year, we will have virtually zero, so we will have recalibrated the system,’’ he said. “The obligation then is for [health and hospital boards] to ensure they give every single patient their surgery on time.

“If they don’t, the obligation is for them to arrange that surgery so the patient has it on time at another public or private hospital.”

It will mean category one cases, in which specialists deem a patient’s condition to be at risk of worsening or becoming an emergency, will receive surgery within 30 days.

Category two cases, where the patient experiences pain or disability but it is unlikely to become an emergency, will receive surgery within 90 days, as recommended under nationally recognised treatment times.

Non-urgent category three patients, where the pain is minimal, will be operated on within a year.

Mr Springborg said there would be cases in which patients did not receive surgery within the recommended times, when specialists deemed that there were mitigating medical reasons for an operation not proceeding.

“The only exceptions will be those people who are not ready for care – and there are a small number of those – or you have a specialty where there is not enough capacity in the system to do it on time,’’ he said.

The Patient Guarantee is expected to be “cost neutral”, with the 16 health and hospital service areas to pay for patients sent elsewhere – including to the private sector – from existing budgets.


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