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A journalist who confuses journalism with propaganda

Great news: This commentary appears in The Weekend Australian today (in a slightly different edited version). Below was what I submitted, before the edits, with the links intact. Comments are open at The Australian. I’ll be posting less often over the Southern Summer, possibly quite irregularly, so if you want to get an email from me and find out when the more important posts go up, please add your email to my list (top right, see “register”).

In the print edition the headline is Journalists who think Newspapers should lead the country”*

David McKnight’s criticism of The Australian (Sceptical writers skipped inconvenient truths) makes a good case study of the intellectual collapse of Australian universities.

Here’s a UNSW “Senior Research Fellow” in journalism who contradicts himself, fails by his own reasoning, does little research, breaks at least three laws of logic, and rests his entire argument on an assumption that he provides no evidence for. Most disturbingly — like a crack through the façade of Western intellectual vigour — he actually asserts that the role of a national newspaper is to “give leadership”. Bask for a moment in the inanity of this declaration that newspapers “are our leaders”. Last time I looked at our ballot papers, none of the people running to lead our nation had a name like “Sir Sydney Morning Herald”. Didn’t he notice that we live in a country that chooses its leaders through elections?

The role of a national newspaper is to report all the substantiated arguments and filter out the poorly reasoned ones (like his), so the readers can make up their own minds.

“The swelling ranks of sceptical scientists is now the largest whistle-blowing cohort in science ever seen…”

The point of the “free press” is surely for the press to be free to ask the most searching questions on any topic. Yet here is a supposed authority on journalism attacking The Australian for printing views of scientists? And these scientists that McKnight wants to silence are not just the odd rare heretic. The swelling ranks of sceptical scientists is now the largest whistle-blowing cohort in science ever seen. It includes some of the brightest:  2 with Nobel Prizes in Physics, 4 NASA astronauts, 9000 PhD’s in science, and another 20,000 science graduates to cap it off. A recent Senate Minority Report contained 1000 names of eminent scientists who are skeptical, and the term “professor” pops up over 500 times in that list. These are the people that McKnight, an Arts PhD, calls “deniers”.

Just because thousands of scientists support the skeptical view doesn’t prove they’re right, but it proves it is nothing like the “tobacco” sceptics campaign that McKnight compares them to, in a transparent attempt to smear commentators he disagrees with.

Ponder the irony that McKnight-the-journalism-lecturer is demanding The Australian adopt the policy espoused by the dominant paradigm, the Establishment, and censor the views of the independent whistleblowers?  He thinks repeating government PR is journalism, the rest of us know it as propaganda.

McKnight has so little evidence to base his assumptions on, that he resorts to name-calling —“denier”. He doesn’t name any scientific paper that any skeptic denies, instead it’s just a pre-emptive bully boy technique designed to stop people even discussing the evidence about the climate.

McKnight’s research starts with the assumption that a UN committee, which was funded to find a crisis, has really found one, and that they are above question. He probably has no idea that there are thousands of ivy league physics, geology and engineering specialists who are sceptical. His investigation appears to amount to comparing articles in Fairfax versus Murdoch papers, as if the key to radiative transfer and cumulative atmospheric feedbacks lies in counting op-ed pieces.

If he had made the most basic enquiry, McKnight might also have found out that the entire case for the man-made threat to the climate rests on just the word of 60 scientists who reviewed Chapter Nine of the Fourth Assessment Report. He’d also know that the people he calls deniers, far from being recipients of thousands of regular Exxon cheques, are mostly self-funded, many are retirees, and that Exxon’s paltry $23 million for 1990 – 2007 was outdone by more than 3000 to 1 by the US government alone which paid $79 billion to the Climate Industry during 1989 – 2009.

Just suppose, hypothetically, that the government employed many scientists on one side of a theory, and none of the other. McKnight’s method of “knowing” who is right involves counting up the institutions and authorities who support the grants… I mean, the theory.  If science were exploited this way, McKnight would fall victim every time…

So “sharp” is McKnight’s analysis that he calls the independent unfunded scientists “a global PR campaign originating from coal and oil companies”, all while he is oblivious to the real billion dollar PR campaign that is waged from government departments, a UN agency, financial houses like Deutsche Bank, the renewable energy industry, the nuclear industry, and the multi hundred-million dollar corporations like WWF. Here’s a man who thinks David is Goliath.

The people in power, and many major banks, are telling us to be worried about a particular gas. Isn’t the point of an investigative journalist to err… investigate that? Not so, says McKnight. The job of a newspaper is to decide which scientist is right about atmospheric physics. Is Phil Jones from the East Anglia CRU right, or is Richard Lindzen — prize winning MIT meteorologist right? Add that to the new list of duties for aspiring national editors. Tough job, eh?

McKnight’s main error, “Argument from Authority”, has been known for 2000 years, and his entire synopsis is built around this fallacy.  Just suppose, hypothetically, that the government employed many scientists on one side of a theory, and none of the other. McKnight’s method of “knowing” who is right involves counting up the institutions and authorities who support the grants… I mean, the theory.  If science were exploited this way, McKnight would fall victim every time — blindly supporting the establishment. That doesn’t prove he’s wrong, but it proves he can’t think and that his methodology can be scammed. If he’s right, it could only be by accident. Why is the taxpayer supporting his work, when a random coin toss would do the same job for a fraction of the expense?

His muddy analysis is confused at every level. He claims The Australian has zig zagged from acceptance to denial, but then later, accuses the Australian’s columnists of repeating “the dominant editorial line”. But which editorial line would be dominant … the zig type or the zag? Doesn’t it destroy the whole meaning of “dominant” if something changes regularly?

For someone who claims to be an authority on history, McKnight can’t tell the difference between science and religion. In science, evidence is the only thing that counts, not opinion. McKnight-the-follower-of-funded-opinions has the gall to question The Australian’s standards of evidence, but the only evidence he offers is only a collection of opinions.

Given that McKnight paints himself as an authority on journalism, yet fails to investigate his base assumption, research the targets of his scorn, or understand the role the free press: he is his own best example of why argument from authority is a fallacy.

If our journalism lecturers are feeding students with grandiose ideas of their own “leadership” roles, how decrepit is the institution where students are not even taught that the highest aim of a journalist is to ask the most penetrating questions, and leave no stone unturned, so that the people they serve might have the best information?

Such is the modern delusion of the trumped up activist-journo: McKnight wants to be the “leader” — to dictate what the public can “think” and to direct where public spending goes — but he doesn’t want to bother running for office or to expose his claim to open debate. He’s nothing more than a totalitarian in disguise.

Comments are open here and at The Australian‘s site.

*This is their headline, not mine.

UPDATE: [I'm very much enjoying the comments at Watts Up on this! Anthony has done a good job of summarizing this media war.]

Short URL for Twitters: http://bit.ly/hgQLRh

I wrote previously about the media war going on here where The Australian is feeling the pressure and being attacked by Fairfax and the ABC.

Key Tool for the Scare Campaign: Censorship. How bullying critics keep editors from straying.

Other articles published by Jo Nova in mainstream media.

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A journalist who confuses journalism with propaganda, 10.0 out of 10 based on 11 ratings

Tiny Url for this post: http://tinyurl.com/245hbpv

146 comments to A journalist who confuses journalism with propaganda

  • #
    Jaymez

    Unfortunately there are more and more people like McKnight infecting academia. There seem to be two types of people attracted to academia. There are those who have a passion for learning, for teaching and for research who work at Universities to achieve these goals despite the bureaucracy and campus politics. There are others who couldn’t make it in the real world, enjoy the adulation of immature minds who accept their word as gospel, and who are happy to work the campus politics to please those who can ensure tenure and promotion. Unfortunately the latter appear to be holding more and more sway as they ensure vacancies are taken by like minded people.

    What McKnight advocates is an embarrassment to professional journalists. Here are some extracts from the Australian Journalists Association (AJA) Code of Ethics. It appears that McKnight would like this code suspended when dealing with Climate matters.

    “Respect for truth and the public’s right to information are fundamental principles of journalism. Members engaged in journalism commit themselves to

    * Honesty
    * Fairness
    * Independence
    * Respect for the rights of others

    “Report and interpret honestly, striving for accuracy, fairness and disclosure of all essential facts. Do not suppress relevant available facts, or give distorting emphasis. Do your utmost to give a fair opportunity for reply.”

    “Do not allow personal interest, or any belief, commitment, payment, gift or benefit, to undermine your accuracy, fairness or independence.”

    You can judge McKnight’s grasp of the role of journalists for yourself.


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  • #
    1DandyTroll

    Lets take this is a way cliamtiztic logic. Your cards are

    2 Nobel Prize winners
    4 Astronauts
    9000 Phd’s
    1000 eminent scientists, of which 500 are professors.

    So Team rational equals

    2 Generals
    4 Captains
    500 Heavy cavalry
    500 Light cavalry
    9000 pitchfork carrying denialists

    On the Climatizt side though you got:

    1+1+52 Nobel prize winners
    12 self appointed scientist bloggers
    2000 OR 4000 OR 6000 OR 8000 OR ALL climate scientists

    And thus Team irrational equals

    1 Tzar
    1 Mr Internet
    52 Generals
    1 Ballistic modeler
    1 Hoockeyscthick carrying Tree “ring” lover, err, hugger
    10 Propagandist led by self appointed goebbels’s panzer pantz and 1 anti-psychotic prescription carrying teacher
    2-8000 Bong carrying Hippies
    +1 coward artist carrying a can of blue

    The battle unfolds, but who will win? Do you want to know more? (Only $99.95 US per day) :p

    [I think people are taking this is the wrong spirit - probably not getting past the word "denialist" - Dandy can hardly be a fan of argument from authority when the Pro team contains a Tsar, 8000 bong carrying hippies and 10 goebbels panzer propagandists... I enjoyed this parody of the silly game of counting "experts"--JN]


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  • #
    BobC

    1DandyTroll:
    December 18th, 2010 at 2:17 am

    The battle unfolds, but who will win? Do you want to know more? (Only $99.95 US per day)

    Go ahead: Give us the “elevator speech” as to why your “insights” are worth anything at all. Restated logical fallacies remain logical fallacies. (“Argument from authority”, in case you’re wondering.)

    (The “humor” value is somewhat lame.)


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  • #

    Hi there!! Big news were reported in Japan recently.

    “Breaking!! Tukuba univ discovered “Aurantiochytrium” which can create 10-12 times as much hydrocarbon as usual seaweed”

    Tukuba university discovered a sort of seaweed, “Aurantiochytrium” which can create 10 -12 times as much hydrocarbon (similar to oil) as Botryococcus(usual seaweed). And the seaweed can purify the water!!

    In trial calculation by research team, it seems that if cultivating it in a pool of 1 meter in depth, we can create hydrocarbon 10,000t per 1ha in one year. So it seems that in only 20,000ha seaweed oil plant, it can create as much oil as Japan imports for one year and we will be able to get oil 1 liter for 50 cents!!! 

    So this is also one of the reason why China, Korea and globalist will want to take over Japan, and Western oil major and Al Gore WILL come to foil this SURELY!!

    This news story is in Japanese, sorry!

    生産能力10倍 「石油」つくる藻類、日本で有望株発見


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  • #
    Mark D.

    I don’t know Bob, I thought the “2-8000 Bong carrying Hippies” was pretty funny!

    (I think 1DandyTroll is one of the good girls/guys.)


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  • #

    The two golden rules of journalism used to be :-

    1. Never believe a word a government spokesman says.

    2. When someone gives you a story, ask yourself what’s in it for them.

    By ignoring these fundamental rules, too many journalists are now PR men …

    Pointman


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  • #
    Baa Humbug

    That’s a well thought out, well written piece which hits it’s intended target in the bullseye.

    Congratulations Jo, lets hope you’ve broken a barrier for all of us.

    Comments to the piece in the paper will be very very interesting.


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  • #
    Engchamp

    Well done Joanne!
    You’ve gone straight to my list of heroines!
    Be interesting to see McKnight’s response, if he dares, but he put himself in this position, so if he doesn’t reply then one can only conclude that not only is he a bigoted bully, but a coward to boot.


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  • #
    Rereke Whakaaro

    BobC: # 3

    I am with Mark D, Bob. I think 1DandyTroll forgot the /sarc.

    So, if he/she was trying to carry a subliminal message, it has sadly missed the mark, because at least two other people only saw it as being sarcasm.

    Besides, any army that has fifty two generals is doomed to chaos – you have only to look at North Korea … :-)


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  • #
    Rereke Whakaaro

    Pointman: # 6

    The two golden rules of journalism used to be :-
    1. Never believe a word a government spokesman says.
    2. When someone gives you a story, ask yourself what’s in it for them.

    I agree, and you can add to those :-

    3. Never let the truth interfere with the editorial line.

    4. Never ask a question that will get you barred from the next press briefing.

    It is the last one that is the killer.


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  • #
    Phillip Bratby

    Well done Joanne. As usual, you write very succinctly.


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  • #
    1DandyTroll

    @Bob c

    ‘Go ahead: Give us the “elevator speech” as to why your “insights” are worth anything at all. Restated logical fallacies remain logical fallacies. (“Argument from authority”, in case you’re wondering.)
    (The “humor” value is somewhat lame.)’

    I’ll just give you the free speech, something climate hippies or otherwise intellectual challenged people don’t seem to understand, of my insights, which is firstly “:p” tend to denote something that BS and not an all you can eat buffet that you can actually buy and secondly it is considered rather dumb to use, how ever unaware, a logical fallacy to try and make fun of people who use logical fallacies for fun.

    Humor is always subjective, which most rational people know.


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  • #
    pattoh

    Perhaps Mr McKnight & Mr Readfearn exchange Christmas cards & little gifts ( like healing crystals) while quietly seething over who has the biggest trumpet ( with the strongest grip ) & the highest moral ground from which to blow.


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  • #
    WhoCares?

    Well done/written, Jo


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  • #
    janama

    Jo- there’s another article in the Australian on the same topic.

    Professor McKnight writes that “as the scientific evidence for climate change strengthened, the newspaper’s attitude went in the opposite direction”.

    But in a letter to The Australian in October, Royal Society vice-president John Pethica wrote: “The science remains the same, as do the uncertainties. Indeed, the purpose of the new guide is to help people understand what is well-established and what is still uncertain. There is strong evidence that changes in greenhouse gas concentrations due to human activity are the main cause of the global warming that has taken place over the past half-century. The warming trend is expected to continue, but the sizes of future temperature increases are still subject to uncertainty.”

    While The Australian has given space to a wide range of views on climate change in its opinion sections, its editorials have consistently supported pricing carbon as a part of a global response to evidence that human activity was contributing to climate change. The newspaper gave unqualified support to the market-driven mechanisms to put a price on carbon that were proposed by both the Howard and Rudd governments.

    Professor McKnight is a long-standing critic of News Limited and The Australian, is a former journalist with The Sydney Morning Herald and worked on the now defunct communist weekly newspaper Tribune.

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/nation/flawed-analysis-used-to-attack-the-australian/story-e6frg6nf-1225969206143


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  • #
    MadJak

    The Lamestream “Reporters” in this country remind me of a Character in the film “Mars Attacks” back in ’96:

    General Casey: [talking on phone] Hello? This is General Casey. I get to meet the Martian Ambassador! Ain’t that great? Oh, it’s a hell of an honor. But didn’t I always tell you honey, if I just stayed in place and never spoke up, good things are bound to happen. Yeah… Ok
    [makes kissing noises and ends the phone call]

    This is just before he get’s fried.


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  • #
    Mike Jowsey

    Brilliant Jo. Congratulations. Marvelous. Astute and razor-sharp.


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  • #
    BobC

    1DandyTroll:
    December 18th, 2010 at 5:33 am

    Humor is always subjective, which most rational people know.

    In that case, just consider my post as attempted humor, also :-)


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  • #
    Bulldust

    As posted over there:

    Thanks Jo for maintaining the fight for reason. The sad truth is that the AGW message has been repeated over and over and people blindly accept it. The underpinnings of the message, the science of climate and its associated uncertainties, are never explained to the public, much like the workings of the Rudd ETS were never explained. If the public knew the degree of uncertainty associated with the IPCC projections there is no way they would accept the political message. It really is that simple.


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  • #
    1DandyTroll

    @Bob c

    ‘In that case, just consider my post as attempted humor, also’

    What if everyone could decide after the fact what one would consider one’s previously posting as?

    I guess most people then would consider their post to be humorous, not an attempt at being humorous.

    So, my dear friend and hippies all alike, your crap concludes to double fail.


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  • #
    Richard C (NZ)

    Encouraging to see Joanne Nova’s “A journalist who confuses journalism with propaganda” and Michael Asten’s “Political interference will cripple climate debate” in an Australian newspaper.

    A pity though, that I will have to bypass New Zealand newspapers to read all about it.


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  • #

    “and worked on the now defunct communist weekly newspaper Tribune.”

    All you need to know.


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  • #
    Jim Barker

    Well said. Oddly there doesn’t seem to be any comments on the Australian web-site.?? Put a link up at WUWT.


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  • #
    Louis Hissink

    “Leadership matters” was the cry of the ALP during the Keating-Howard election that Howard one.

    That McIntyre used to work for the Tribune while asserting that a national newspaper ought to show “leadership” is nothing other than an anglosised version of the German “fuehrer prinzip”.

    Among those who follow the fuehrer, or leader, are the useful idiots – one of which has posted some inanities on this thread.


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  • #
    Louis Hissink

    Whoops – “that Howard won”.


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  • #
    Rereke Whakaaro

    BobC; # 3 (again)

    OK, I was wrong. The persona of 1DandyTroll is well named – lets stop feeding him/her.

    _________
    1DandyTroll is not a troll, and posts hilarious comments at other skeptical sites including WUWT, commonly referring to AGW alarmist scientists as “hippies,” which appears in many cases to be correct. — Editor


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  • #
    Rereke Whakaaro

    Mike Borgelt: # 21

    Do you suppose the Tribune is defunct because it was a communist newspaper, or because Professor McKnight worked for it?

    It seems we have a correlation, but cannot determine the causation – hmm, now why does that sound familiar …?


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  • #

    Absolutely priceless, Joanne. The sound of razor sharp logic is like the sweatest music.

    That an Australian newspaper has to have a 2 week long campaign to defend the very concept of journalism versus propaganda should sound a laud alarm bell to every Australian, regardless of their political views.


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  • #
    Rereke Whakaaro

    Louis Hissink: # 24

    As I am sure you are well aware, there is very little philosophical difference between communism and fascism, other than the ownership of property, and the fact that one can be discussed in polite society whereas the other cannot.

    Wouldn’t it be interesting to know whether or not Professor McKnight actually owns a residential property, of has shares in a business?


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    • #
      brc

      This seems to be everywhere at the moment, probably because of the Greek elections.

      Internationalist Socialism (aka Communism) : all private property is confiscated. An international society with one government is the goal.
      National Socialism (aka Fascism, Nazism) : you can keep your private property, but we will tell you what to make and take any excess profits. An expanded strong national state is desired, as is the expunging of other nationalities and races.

      They are just two different branches of the extreme left.

      If I could mangle an analogy : if Australia went communist, then the mines would be nationalised by the government. If Australia went National Socialist, then the mines would still be owned by the miners, but would be told how much to produce, and any excess profits would be confiscated by the government.

      As you say, it’s a mystery while you can still sympathise with communism but not fascism, even though the communist body count is far in excess of the fascist body count.


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  • #
    Lank

    Freeman Dyson must be one of the people that McKnight, an Arts PhD, calls a “denier”….. Many of you will know of Freeman Dyson who is a well known climate ‘sceptic’.
    (http://www.edge.org/3rd_culture/dysonf07/dysonf07_index.html)
    Author Kenneth Brower, himself a noted climate alarmist wrote the following; (in the Atlantic) “In the range of his genius, Freeman Dyson is heir to Einstein – a visionary who has reshaped thinking in fields from math to astrophysics to medicine, and who has conceived nuclear-propelled spaceships designed to transport human colonists to distant planets. And yet on the matter of global warming he is, as an outspoken skeptic……..”

    Freeman Dyson, Scholar, Winchester College (1936-1941), B.A. Mathematics, Cambridge University (1945), Research Fellow, Trinity College, Cambridge University (1946-1947), Commonwealth Fellow, Cornell University, (1947-1948), Commonwealth Fellow, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton University (1948-1949), Research Fellow, University of Birmingham (1949-1951), Professor of Physics, Cornell University (1951-1953), Fellow, Royal Society (1952), Professor of Physics, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton University (1953-1994), Chairman, Federation of American Scientists (1962-1963), Member, National Academy of Sciences (1964), Danny Heineman Prize, American Physical Society (1965), Lorentz Medal, Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (1966), Visiting Professor, Yeshiva University (1967-1968), Hughes Medal, The Royal Society (1968), Max Planck Medal, German Physical Society (1969), J. Robert Oppenheimer Memorial Prize (1970), Visiting Professor, Max Planck Institute for Physics and Astrophysics (1974-1975), Corresponding Member, Bavarian Academy of Sciences (1975), Harvey Prize (1977), Wolf Prize in Physics (1981), Andrew Gemant Award, American Institute of Physics (1988), Enrico Fermi Award, United States Department of Energy (1993), Professor Emeritus of Physics, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton University (1994-Present), Member, London Mathematical Society (2000), Member, NASA Advisory Council (2001-2003), President, Space Studies Institute (2003-Present)


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  • #
    John

    Please find an essay which points out that ALL journalism is propaganda. How could it be other wise? In the world of 2010 this is especially true of Fox “news”, and the Murdoch media altogether.

    http://www.dabase.org/popdisgu.htm

    Plus a unique understanding of the state of the world altogether in 2010, and how we got to here.

    http://www.dabase.org/p2anthro.htm

    http://www.beezone.com/AdiDa/reality-humanity.html


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  • #
    Ben

    Brilliant response. Incredibly powerful. Pity it will be dismissed because it was printed in The Australian.

    I’m scared most by the evidence that if one questions the dogma, one is shouted down and vilified… the movement’s Orwellian characteristics smack of religious fundamentalism… totalitarianism is a perfect description.


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  • #
    pat

    great jo.
    however, getting rid of mantras is not easy.


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  • #
    Tom

    As a journalist, it is embarrassing to me that McKnight appears to describe himself as a journalist while presenting a recital of his political beliefs as scientific facts. In an issue as vexing as climate change, it is essential that journalists live by the impartiality and objectivity that should have been drummed into them as cadets or students. It’s no wonder that people in general hate journalists more now than ever.


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  • #
    John Smith

    Speaking of propaganda that is exactly what we will get if the UN gets its way regarding the internet. If you don’t like the UN controlling your internet, I suggest contacting your MPs ASAP.
    http://www.infowars.com/un-mulls-internet-regulation-options/
    http://sppiblog.org/news/un-global-governance-internet


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  • #
    Louis Hissink

    Rereke @ #28

    Hypocrisy is assumed when one encounters leftists – it saves the time finding out and incidentally causes them consternation to have to prove themselves otherwise. That is if they bother with our opinions in the first place.

    What bothers me is the 6% of scientists who favour conservative policies as opposed to the rest who don’t, or are uncommitted. If the statistics are right then it’s clear CAWG is purely a liberal belief rather than a scientific fact and little wonder so many believe in it. And if it’s 6% versus the rest, I don’t see us making much of an effect either.

    I read a few comments on Tim Lambert’s open thread where one topic was the recent Fox News policy of balanced reporting – one of the Lambert sheep bleated that Fox were telling their journalists to lie – and those sheeple actually believe this CAGW stuff. I wonder what it would take to drop them into physical reality – another global depression?


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  • #
    Richard C (NZ)

    FYI (in case you didn’t already know)

    The EU Connection in Climate Research

    http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/WO1012/S00425/the-eu-connection-in-climate-research.htm

    This is one big mother article


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  • #
    Mark D.

    Dandy and surely a Troll at 20:
    BAD FORM!

    You aren’t funny and I take back my previous thinking expressed at 5.

    You are an ass

    Editor at 26 I hope you don’t support bad form.


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  • #
    Mark D.

    Louis @ 35:

    …I wonder what it would take to drop them into physical reality – another global depression?

    Interesting question. I don’t think most of them would would survive a global depression. That alone might be their primal motivation for reporting as they do. Ironically they are stuck between the push of CAGW warmists (presently appearing to be in power) to “save the world” and the reality that the solution may cause their demise.

    What is the typical human response in such a dilemma?


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  • #
    baike

    @David McKnight

    Owned much, son?!


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  • #
    Louis Hissink

    “He’s nothing more than a totalitarian in disguise.”

    AKA as a Fabian socialist.

    Those who think the Fabians are misguided intellectuals deserve to live in interesting times.


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  • #
    Louis Hissink

    Marl D. @ #39

    “What is the typical human response in such a dilemma?”

    Total denial – much in the way that Velikovsky maintained his professional opinion as a pyscholanalyst that humanity’s denial of past catastrophes, as recounted by our ancestors as myths etc, will lead to the present interesting times – summarised in a number of essays published post-humously as “Mankind in Amnesia”.

    It’s an interesting book and well worth reading if you can get hold of a copy of it. It’s a sort of racial memory phenomenon, the human race having a memory which it seems to have collectively suppressed into its subconsciousness but which resurfaces from time to time as expectations of a looming global catastrophe, the latest being CAGW.


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  • #
    Tim

    “The Australian has zig zagged from acceptance to denial”

    A strange way to describe balanced reporting. But of course in the eyes of a closed-minded tunnel-visioned zealot, it’s an OK description.


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  • #
    davidc

    Tom: “It’s no wonder that people in general hate journalists more now than ever.” And academics. And politicians. When everyone lies all the time they get hated.


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  • #
    Slabadang

    Joanne!

    A Just fantastic article!!.Its far beyond an article its a razor sharp caputation of the corrupted establishment and the marriage between the MSM and politicians.I wonder how many hundreds of million people that support your quest to recapture the core of democracy that has been corupted by the ones selected and elected to protect it.I dont know how we will be organized or when but there are so many signs that we are to many that doesnt accept this corruption any more.Basta!
    When the BBC SVT CNN ABC FN IPCC aso as well as almost all Western gouverments are trying to establish dictatorship in the cower of pseudoscience its time to reallt really react.We are seeing an obvious fascism growing under the GREEN carpet there is absolutely no doubt. And it scres me to see how many who volontarely joind and supported the new fascism.

    JOANNE Drc


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    Baa Humbug

    Here are some select comments to Jos article at WUWT’

    “Joanne Nova, you have hit this nail squarely on the head.”

    “Jo ripped ‘em a third corn chute.”

    “Ouch. That’s going to leave a mark on Mr. McKnight.”

    “An awesome rebuttal.”

    “Well, Jo appeared a bit irked by the good professor’s inane polemic, opened up a can or two of whoopass, and let him have it.”

    “You rock, Jo!”

    “As ever, Jo is superb – thank you for being so succinct, coherent and articulate!”

    “That’s givin’ it to ‘em Jo”

    “Great stuff Jo”

    “Ouch. Jo Nova’s rebuttal is going to leave a mark!”

    “Wow….. remind me to never piss Jo Nova off she just roasted Mcknight”

    “Is she married? Shes just a fantastic completetly bullshit free brave logic intelligent responsable woman. A real for freedom and democracy fighter.
    Just blooody marvelous girl!”

    “Man, that sweet, sweet ownage really hit the spot!

    I’ll have another please, Jo.”

    “Brava!”

    “Well, that was some smack-down. Well done!”

    “Ouch! Jo Nova sure took McKnight behind the woodshed!”

    “As ever, Joanne Nova does a superb job in demolishing tax-payer funded alarmist propagandists, paticularly those in academia.”

    “Jo easily mopped the floor with this egotistical putz and showed him where the door is.”

    We were expecting an intellectual heavyweight bout, instead we got Muhammed ‘Nova’ Ali vs Steve ‘McKnight’ Urkel


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    Mark

    Used car salesmen seem like pillars of society now compared to some climate scientists and journos.


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    cohenite

    Baa; quite a list of endorsements for our hostess and one offer of marriage! I’m sure David is not the jealous type!


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    Gareth Phillips

    As a health professional who is required to review the validity of research on a frequent basis I thought this essay was wonderful and one I will use as an example for students. I just wish we had a similar voice in the UK who was willing to uphold good scientific methodology, and to challenge those who try and shout down open mindedness, and written in such a eloquent fashion. Well done!


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    Rereke Whakaaro

    cohenite: # 46

    We had better be careful here … proposing to a married woman, even via the internet, can be just cause to have her stoned to death – oh sorry, for a moment their I thought we were in Europe Iran … ;-)


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    janama

    Well written Jo – it’s amazing that when you write something sensible as a women all the men appear to want to marry you.


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    Frank Brown

    Ouch! You really laid a beating on McNight. Thanks for that.. Have a great summer and watch out for the ants (lol).


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    Bernd Felsche

    Joanne’s “Theses” should be nailed to the doors of his faculty.

    That’ll be the doors marked:

    lasciate ogni ratione voi que entrate


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    Baa Humbug

    Bernd Felsche:
    December 18th, 2010 at 9:11 pm

    lasciate ogni ratione voi que entrate

    Jeepers Bernd, why do you make me chase latin dictionaries?

    “Abandon all hope, ye who shall enter”


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    @Rereke

    That’s too many golden rules for the poor little darlings …

    Pointman


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    PJB

    Opportunism, when mixed with altruism, can lead in many directions but always in a big way. The conviction of rectitude that is engendered counters all manner of observational reality. When solidified by tangible benefit (grants, accolades, acceptance) and reinforced by a herd mentality, those that partake may not be able to be blamed but they must be corrected.

    The correction cannot be made from without, as this is resisted with a religious zeal because self-worth is at stake. Only the slow dawning of the realization that the inevitable was somehow hidden and its revelation is part of the process will the change be initialized.

    Agendas are adopted and maintained based on how a mindset supports them. Getting the alarmist crowd to come to their mitigation-senses will be a long and arduous task.


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    Ach

    Of course, fellow traveler, non-scientist and lazy IT tutor, Tim Lambert came out swinging for McKnight at his blog. They seem to hire on negative IQ at UNSW.


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    Baa Humbug

    An update to the list of comments in my post at #46

    “Australians have a very unPC phrase ‘shin kickers’. Jo certainly gave them a good shin kicking. I hope it hurt.”

    “Wow! Jo Nova was dead on, as always.”

    “Jo Nova is an awsome logician and scientific thinker”

    “Hopefully McKnight will learn to keep his worthless opinion (you couldn’t call it analysis?) to himself”

    “Jo has the scientific, ethical and epistemological arguments nailed down water-tight”

    “THWACKKK Ouch!”

    “The University of NSW would be better to replace David McKnight with Joanne Nova.”

    “There must a “Term” for what Jo wrote. Could it be that McKnight just got “Hindcasted”

    “Pressure packed prose star
    Explodes brilliantly, you see:
    Super Jo Nova.”

    “Wow!! Joanne’s intellect surpasses David McKnight’s with three digit’s to spare.”

    Dare I say it’s a consensus.


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    BobC

    1DandyTroll:
    December 18th, 2010 at 8:40 am

    @Bob c

    ‘In that case, just consider my post as attempted humor, also’

    What if everyone could decide after the fact what one would consider one’s previously posting as?

    I guess most people then would consider their post to be humorous, not an attempt at being humorous.

    So, my dear friend and hippies all alike, your crap concludes to double fail.

    You seem to be rather “full of it” yourself. Who’s to say what my original post represented, or yours?

    Since you don’t want to take my word (although you insist I take yours), perhaps we should have a poll.


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    Shucks. This is too much fun. I might read them all again…

    Thanks :-)

    (PS: Can we call a truce on the Dandytroll thread – just so everyone knows: He’s made good comments on the site before, and is a skeptic. Parody is the trickiest fine line, and if I may be so bold, the flaw here, Dandy, was that the word “Denier” slipped in before the crowd realized it was parody. The first para set off the troll-red-flashing-alarm, and I think people stopped reading… I gave you a thumbs up. Though I understand why some people didn’t too. Lesson for parody writers: “Denier” is a raging insult – use with care. Lesson for readers: Ah c’mon… what troll would ever call pro-AGW people goebbels panzers, tzars, and bong smoking hippies? No chance ;-)


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    Readers do have “switch off” words.

    “In the year since the Climategate material became public, I’ve read many articles on the effect the publication has had on the AGW debate. When it is referred to as a hack in them, I usually don’t bother reading any further. If the writer of the article is gullible enough to accept the silly proposition that it was a hack, then it won’t contain anything much in the way of insight; just the usual alarmist party line. If the writer does know better, then the article is disingenuous and the writer is being fundamentally dishonest.”

    http://thepointman.wordpress.com/2010/12/17/why-climategate-was-not-a-computer-hack/

    Pointman


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    Mark D.

    Joanne @ 61:
    The comments Baa has excerpted are well deserved accolades. You SHOULD read them again!

    I’ll take your word on Dandy but I don’t have a lot of room in my heart for a “fellow” skeptic that doesn’t see the olive branch handed over. If one professes a sense of humor then I think they should possess one. With a pseudonym containing troll AND using denier, he/she was on a thin line (an observation that is supported by the number of thumbs down @ 2).

    I wouldn’t feel bad if you deleted all the posts RE dandy. They distract from the real subject; your piece in The Weekend Australian!

    Great Job !!


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    Mark D.

    Bernd @ 53

    That was funny!……or serious…..or seriously funny….

    Is there a River Styx near UNSW ?


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    J.Hansford

    I like reading JoNova’s rebuttals…. She adroitly pulls the stuffing out of other Journalist’s tripe and lays bare the guts of their pointless points…..

    She certainly gave David McKnight a flogging. The guy is clueless, and I suspect that JoNova is chillingly correct in her assumption, that If McKnight is the academic standard of modern Journalism. The “activist Journo” as she put it….. Then the free press is dead. It no longer exists as we knew it. But then again…….. Perhaps it’s been dead for a long time now? Perhaps the Internet is showing us it’s rotting corpse, crawling with McKnights and other fetid creatures?…..;-)


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    More on intellectual thug behavior.

    The primary mode of operation of an intellectual thug is never to say what he means nor mean what he says. Then, when he is caught in the act, he claims “I was misunderstood, I didn’t mean that, or I was only joking.” Sorry no. His intent was to be hurtful, to silence his opponent, and to not get caught doing it.

    My position is that when you are dealing with a serious matter of life, quality of life, or death as the AGW argument does, there is no room for claiming other than the clear meaning of your words after the fact. Either make your meaning clear and unambiguous or forget it. Ditto for for jokes, sarcasm, and parody.

    Why not just tell the truth openly and up front? If what you are saying is a joke, sarcasm, or parody, SAY SO! If you don’t and you are “misunderstood” accept responsibility for being incompetent at writing jokes, sarcasm, or parodies.

    Especially don’t use another well worn intellectual thug excuse, “the audience was incapable of appreciating what I said”. BS! You did it and you are responsible for making yourself clear to your intended audience. If you are not understood it is totally and completely YOUR own fault! Offer apology, accept your own deficiency, as YOUR deficiency, and work to do better the next time. Otherwise prepare to be identified as an intellectual thug in one of his many disguises.


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    Bernd Felsche

    Baa Humbug:
    December 18th, 2010 at 9:23 pm

    Jeepers Bernd, why do you make me chase latin dictionaries?

    “Abandon all hope, ye who shall enter”

    It’s close. speranza is Latin for “hope”, ratione is Latin for “reason” or “rationality”.

    I wrote Dante’s words initially; but an Engineer can do better. ;-)


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    Baa Humbug

    Bernd Felsche:
    December 19th, 2010 at 2:20 am

    Thnx for the clarification Bernd. In the end they end up the same, i.e. once one abandons reason, one might as well abandon hope.


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    Baa Humbug

    Lionell Griffith:
    December 19th, 2010 at 1:55 am

    Lionell, as usual you are clear and precise, but I gotto say, in todays world, you’d make a lousy diplomat.

    And that’s meant as a compliment (just to be clear and precise)


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    Baa Humbug

    Those of us who’ve followed Jos writings are used to her opening cans of whoopass on people like McKnight. Jo will be the first to admit the likes of McKnight are lightweights, or foot soldiers if you will. Better minds than McKnight have tasted that whoopass.

    This is why we will probably never see Jo on the ABC, they know of her and they’re cowardly. The likes of Tony Jones (host of a current affairs type show Lateline and the popular QandA) do not have the courage to invite her on to the show, they are afraid their viewers will have their eyes opened, and rightly so.


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    The falling of the Berlin wall didn’t signal the collapse and failure of Communism in Eurasia, it announced the well-under-way relocation of Comminism into all elements of the Western world, including academia, media, environmentalism, etc.

    COP15 & 16 crystallized the issue of global warming. It isn’t about the warming, it’s about wealth redistribution. It isn’t about the science, it’s about the socio-economic mumbo-jumbo of levelling the playing field. It isn’t about historical data, it’s about computer “projections”. It isn’t about finding the causes of climate change, it’s about finding man’s contribution to climate change to the total exclusion of nature’s contribution to climate change. It isn’t about planetary mechanics influencing the climate on the Sun which in turn influences our climate, it’s about faith in a trace gas which increases about 800 years after the temperature increases.


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    Baa Humbug

    This is very much on topic.
    -:Why Prince Charles is too dangerous to be king:-

    “I heard one of the cleverest men in Britain, master of an Oxbridge ­college, quite calmly say the other night: ‘The best hope for the ­monarchy is that Prince Charles dies before the Queen.’
    ‘We spend our lives here educating a new ­generation to understand that rational behaviour requires us to reach conclusions and make ­decisions by examining evidence.

    ‘Yet now we have the heir to the throne demanding — not in a ­throwaway remark, but in an entire book to which he has just put his name — that we should reject science and evidence in favour of following our instincts. This is surely disturbing.’

    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1339707/Prince-Charles-dangerous-king-This-eccentric-royal-imperil-monarchy.html#ixzz18U1cmJv6

    h/t to Steve Goddard


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    “Hell is the impossibility of reason”.

    Pointman


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    Baa Humbug: Lionell, as usual you are clear and precise, but I gotto say, in todays world, you’d make a lousy diplomat.

    Thanks for the compliment. The so called today’s world is a figment of our politician’s imagination. I really don’t want to be part of that world. I live in the real world.

    My goal has always been to make things that work. You can’t shmooze, lie, and flatter things into being what they are not and thereby make them do what they can’t. In the long run, it really doesn’t work with people all that well. Come to think of it, it doesn’t work all that well in the short run either. Especially for our current collection of political leaders.


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    wendy

    COOL DECEMBER temperatures……..

    Temp App
    Temp
    Guyra:-
    18/03:00pm 12.6 5.7

    Glen Innes Airport:-
    19/07:00am 12.2 11.2

    Armidale Airport:-

    19/07:30am 12.3 7.5

    Coffs Harbour:-
    19/07:30am 17.7 17.4

    What happend to Summer???


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    wendy

    “MArk D” (64),
    There is a Styx River in New England National Park near Armidale NSW….


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    Mark

    Baa #71

    Bonny Prince Charley would be an embarrassment to be sure, but that’s all he would be. The monarchy has no power in Blighty these days.

    After all, royal assent is required for all legislation and this is always forthcoming. Not once in recent times has a monarch withheld assent to the most asinine or noxious bills to pass through the parliament.

    Might actually be fun to have another “mad hatter” king in the manner of George III.


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    Rereke Whakaaro

    Bernd Felsche: & Baa Humbug: various references

    Question: Why did the KGB go around in threes?

    Answer: One could read; and one could write; and the other was there, to keep an eye on the intellectuals.

    Being the third man, “Quit with the Latin willya?” :-) Caution: May contain humour.


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    Rereke Whakaaro

    Wendy: # 75

    There is a Styx River in New England National Park near Armidale NSW….

    Does it have a ferry … ?


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    grayman

    JO, As always good writing and reason. I will say this you definitly gave Mcknight both barrels and know is the time to reload for the counter attack that is coming!


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    Mark

    RW #78

    More worryingly, does it have a ferryman?


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    Sean McHugh

    Well done, Jo. I enjoyed your article (several times) and sent it to an active Green friend of mine who wrote and and sent me an article about poor journalism and freedom of speech.

    @grayman #79: If a “counter attack [..] is coming”, it will likely be a good thing – as long as Joanne gets similar voice for reply. McKnight will again be shown to be out of his depth and Joanne will become more familiar to the public.


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    BobC

    Lionell Griffith:
    December 19th, 2010 at 6:34 am

    My goal has always been to make things that work. You can’t shmooze, lie, and flatter things into being what they are not and thereby make them do what they can’t.

    My students got into a discussion of the difference between engineering and science this semester — I gave them my stock definition:

    “To be a successful scientist, you must convince your peers that you are right. To be a successful engineer, you must be right.”

    They (engineering students all) thought it was hilarious.

    BTY Jo: Great article — good job getting it in as an op-ed. If you write some more general one (i.e., not specific to Australia) I’ll try to convince some local papers to carry it. My local paper (in Boulder Colorado, yet!) was actually happy to publish a logical critique of AGW as a letter — the editor said they don’t get many like that.


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    BobC

    1DandyTroll:
    December 18th, 2010 at 5:33 am

    @Bob c

    …secondly it is considered rather dumb to use, how ever unaware, a logical fallacy to try and make fun of people who use logical fallacies for fun.

    Quick to take offense and quick to insult — not good characteristics for someone who aspires to be a satirist.

    Kindly inform me of the logical fallacy I used “unawares”, if you can.


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    David Davidovics

    Quite the stinging article! Loved it.


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    pat

    wonderful jo. however, how come there are still no comments on the australian link?


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    Tel

    From the article in question:

    The editorial’s contribution to this debate was to disparage the latest UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report and proffer the long discarded sceptical claim that there was “a link between cyclical sunspot activity and the climate here on earth”.

    Shortly after its “sunspot” editorial, The Australian published a feature article (“Rebels of the Sun”, March 17, 2007) recycling this discredited theory and lamenting that the debate “has become increasingly stifling and intolerant to dissenting voices”, citing fossil industry-funded sceptics, and attacking Al Gore, whose campaign on climate change was documented in An Inconvenient Truth.

    From the very first result in a google search on “IPCC Sunspot activity” you get http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/ch1s1-4-3.html

    The solar cycle variation in irradiance corresponds to an 11-year cycle in radiative forcing which varies by about 0.2 W m–2. There is increasingly reliable evidence of its influence on atmospheric temperatures and circulations, particularly in the higher atmosphere (Reid, 1991; Brasseur, 1993; Balachandran and Rind, 1995; Haigh, 1996; Labitzke and van Loon, 1997; van Loon and Labitzke, 2000). Calculations with three-dimensional models (Wetherald and Manabe, 1975; Cubasch et al., 1997; Lean and Rind, 1998; Tett et al., 1999; Cubasch and Voss, 2000) suggest that the changes in solar radiation could cause surface temperature changes of the order of a few tenths of a degree celsius.

    So the IPCC do indeed accept that the 11 year sunspot cycle does influence the climate on Earth. Given this extraordinary poor quality of research and complete lack of anything to reference his claims, I think it’s fairly safe to say that David McKnight has no idea of the topic.


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    wendy

    Possibly the NEXT Green COMMUNIST SCAM………..

    Forget global warming now its Desertification!!!!

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/dec/16/desertification-climate-change


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    Sean McHugh

    @Pat #87

    The reason for there being no comments in the Australian, is not because none were submitted. Today I submitted a comment to Jo’s article and to other items in more than one newspaper. I don’t think any comments were posted to any of them. Unfortunately the newspapers have a bad habit of inviting comments and then posting none, even on very current and controversial topics when they would receive heaps. Even when they do post some, they leave the invitation for comments open long after the postings have closed. None of the papers seem to bother with this obvious consideration. Usually, if you see an article where they have posted comments, you have already missed the boat. I have learned to keep my responses down to a line or two, so as to minimize time wastage.


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    cohenite

    McKnight is merely the tip of the ice-berg of the decline in the integrity of the Western msm. Chris Kenny has a revealing article on this decline in the Australian:

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/media/how-the-press-gallery-lost-its-way/story-e6frg996-1225972749982

    The liberal bias of the msm has caused an emergence of a consequence free left side of society where the political, social and media components are no longer seperate; since the msm is an integral part of this liberal mentality no hard questions have been asked of it and unlike the conservative side which has developed a capacity to self-analyse the left responds to any criticism with demands of punishment and censorship.

    Kenny refers to the msm as the “permanent oppositional moral-political community”; they are almost entirely urbanised and estranged from the great majority of average citizens. Their dominant characteristic is cognitive dissonance which is the natural consequence of experiencing no consequence. When was the last time a member of this group experienced any consequence from what Kenny describes as a consistent national narrative over the last decade which has been completely inaccurate? This lack of consequence has seen the emergence of dominant themes and ideologies in the media which if enacted would catastrophically disrupt society; their disruptive capacity is already starting to be apparent in the financial ramifications from the subsidisation of renewable energy in the name of solving AGW.

    Until they are taken to task in meaningful ways their group-think will continue to distort the essential role the msm should play in an open and free society. Jo’s article is a good start and fits in with the overview of Kenny’s, but a lot more is needed.


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    Sean McHugh

    @cohenite #91

    The liberal bias of the msm has caused an emergence of a consequence free left side of society where the political

    Just in case confusion might arise, in Australia and the UK, ‘Liberals’ means the right (Conservatives), whereas in the US it means the left (Democrats). Aside from that anomaly in nomenclature the parallels hold, including the leftist media bias.


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    I can’t argue with McKnight on global warming but I read his book “Beyond Left and Right” and found countless mistakes which I helpfully posted up on a blog and a website. He indicated in an exchange of emails that he did not see any reason to make changes for a second edition, presumably because about 30 of his friends and relations were listed in the Acknowledgemnets and signed off on his errors.

    He lives in the “dead forest” of the left, a forest where all the intellectual roots are dead but the trees don’t fall over because they prop each other up through the press of numbers and inter-twined branches.


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    And in related news, air travellers across Europe are unable to fly. Thanks, global warming!


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    mc

    The Wall Street Pentagon Papers: Biggest Scam In World History Exposed – Are The Federal Reserve’s Crimes Too Big To Comprehend?

    http://ampedstatus.com/the-wall-street-pentagon-papers-biggest-scam-in-world-history-exposed-are-the-federal-reserves-crimes-too-big-to-comprehend


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    Bernd Felsche

    Rereke,

    “Sorry” about the Latin. It was necessary in the context of an Arts Faculty at a University. One observes that it’s a language with no native speakers (no jokes please about Latin America) so their imaginary world doesn’t have to deal with any uncomfortable realities.

    The world is as defined by the professors and operates according to their leadership. They can be absolutely right within those constraints.

    Scientists are allowed to be wrong because the real world isn’t so simple. In fact, scientists should always behave as though they are potentially wrong.

    Engineers have to be at least not so wrong as to cause harm or damage. They have to understand how much the science can be wrong to establish what is reasonably safe and understand the risks and consequences of being wrong.


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    Llew Jones

    wendy @ 89

    One solution is in the use of drought resistant crops. Or by leaving the affected land out of production until it returns, as it will, under natural climate change, to its former usefulness.

    There are regional tracts of marginal land in Australia that have cyclically been lost and restored as arable land. That has occurred since European settlement as a function of natural climate change.

    There are too many wet behind the ears, ignoramuses in UN sponsored activities whom seem to be trying to invent the wheel. The clueless clowns aren’t only in the CAGW scam.


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    Another Ian

    Wendy @ #89

    Sounds like a re-tread. Desertification was the flavour of the year in the 1980′s. One look at that is in

    Thomas, D.S.G. and Middleton, N.J. (1994). “Desertification: Exploding the Myth”. John Wiley and Sons.

    Their “Epilogue” makes it sounds like a trial run by the UN for AGW!


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    Bernd Felsche

    Desertification might be a real concern. If the deserts like the Sahara weren’t actually shrinking.

    I suppose that the alarmists are out of phase with nature’s cycles.


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    John Brookes

    The fact remains that The Australian is a rag. I will admit to buying it, because I’m sadly addicted to the puzzle page. The Weekend Australian health section is also good. I even used to get the odd letter published in The Oz.

    But these days, if I want news I read The West Australian (and if you know The West, you will realise just how far The Australian has fallen). If I want left wing politics, I read The Australian Financial Review.

    But every sensible person should occasionally read The Australian, because you should know your enemy.


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    cohenite

    And who are your friends John; perhaps this person who represents a fair sampling of the “permanent oppositional moral-political community”;

    “Mulga Mumblebrain :
    19 Dec 2010 4:42:41pm
    The ineluctable trajectory of climate disruption caused by human activity has already passed the point of no return. The Cancun tragi-comedy, with its vague promises and programs, all of which are greenwash which will be subverted in the ‘real world’ of market capitalist greed, will be seen, by our highly abbreviated posterity, to be the farce that followed the Copenhagen tragedy. The ascent to power of the Repugnican homunculi in Washington will signal the end of even the tenuous grasp on reality of the US global overlords. That supreme confidence-man, Obama, will come on board with his ideological soul-mates, and, the US being the US, they will lean on other countries to join the denialist camp. Wikileaks has outlined numerous examples of US thuggery and intimidation, even of supposed ‘allies’ (read vassals)and the interests of US fossil fuel businesses will come before those of future generations, as one would expect.
    So rapid is the onset of climate disruption, so terrific the already unfolding consequences, and so tenuous global food supplies and geopolitical stability (such as it is) that it is highly likely that massive, absolutely unprecedented catastrophes are but years away, not the decades that were thought to be the time horizon only recently. And that will mean war, famine, disease and strife, which we must face led by Gillard, Abbott or one of the other pathocrats our political system has thrown up. It will be a bumpy ride, without a happy ending.”

    When you get past the florid, pompous verbiage what are you left with John: condescension and not so much schadenfreude but a self-regard so finely tuned that its fulfillment is more important than other people; I think the mentality here would make sure the prophecies of doom which AGW offers came true just to ensure that personal vindication.

    Your friends John?


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    John Brookes

    Hey Cohenite, I used to like Mulga Mumblebrain’s comments. He/She is obviously of the committed loony left, but good reading none-the-less. No namby pamby qualifications for Mulga – just go in both guns blazing. I don’t know why, but I always thought of Mulga as female.

    It is true that as global warming gets worse, I will smile when I think of you and your fellows still arguing that it is not caused by CO2. Anyway, lets hope that me (and a few million others) are wrong, and AGW is not real.


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    Alexander K

    Dear Jo,
    Your rebuttal of McKnight was excellent and I can’t speak highly enough of your understanding and insights into what motivates Warmist pseudo-journalists .
    Reading McKnight’s background is illuminating; as a retired teacher I am very aware of the malevolent influence Marxaism has had upon universities and education in the Western world in the last few decades. McKnight is not a journalist, he is a would-be master of the proletariat and a thorough drongo. He deserved a good metaphorical hiding and got it!


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    Mark D.

    Wendy, @ 76;

    There is a Styx River in New England National Park near Armidale NSW….

    Thanks, that may explain some things……

    Rereke re 79 re 76:

    Does it have a ferry … ?

    It would be a one-way ticket


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    BobC

    John Brookes:
    December 19th, 2010 at 11:49 pm

    It is true that as global warming gets worse, I will smile when I think of you and your fellows still arguing that it is not caused by CO2. Anyway, lets hope that me (and a few million others) are wrong, and AGW is not real.

    Confused as usual, John. Let me try to list the errors in your short paragraph:

    1) Global warming is getting better, not worse. The world is currently recovering from one of the coldest periods (the Little Ice Age – ‘LIA’) in the last 10,000 years (the Holocene) (link to NOAA Greenland ice core). We have no written records from the Holocene Optimum 7-8000 years ago, but the history of Human civilization certainly shows that we do better when the temperature is a few degrees warmer than today (the Medieval Warm Period, the Roman Warm Period, the farming of Greenland, etc.)

    2) The recovery from the LIA started in ~1820: a few years after the Thames froze over hard enough for the last London Frost Fair (1814). This is also when most of the world’s glaciers began to retreat. In Europe, Medieval townsites have now emerged from the ice, and mountain passes used by the Romans (and prehistoric Europeans) as well. At the time this recovery started, Humans were putting no discernible amount of CO2 into the atmosphere; And indeed, this is admitted by the IPCC’s plots of atmospheric CO2. Nobody knows how far this recovery will go, but if it reversed the overall cooling of the last 3000 years, it would be a good thing. One thing we know for certain: It wasn’t caused by CO2, Human-produced or otherwise.

    3) Nobody argues that Humans have no effect on the climate: However, all the physical evidence is that it is a trivial effect (except in cities, where NASA recently showed it can cause up to 9 deg C warming locally). The only “evidence” that AGW is a serious concern comes from models of the climate which, to date, have shown no predictive skill distinguishable from chance.

    4) We don’t have to hope you’re wrong — it’s a virtual certainty, given that your beliefs are based on emotion and the ignoring of inconvenient facts. What I hope is that people like you will wise up in time to help the world prepare for the inevitable descent into the next 100,000 year ice age, which is several thousand years overdue.


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    @BobC: December 20th, 2010 at 2:59 am

    Hi BobC, you’re dealing with a person who’s trying to cope with the death of their belief system and not doing it too well.

    Pointman


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    Mark D.

    BobC @ 105

    …..What I hope is that people like you will wise up in time to help the world prepare for the inevitable descent into the next 100,000 year ice age, which is several thousand years overdue.

    A moment of outside/inside box thinking: Suppose the Gaia thing is correct; That the planet and her flora-fauna are purposely symbiotic.

    1. Gaia is responsible for the success of her “children” the flora and fauna.

    2. Man is part of that scheme and his evolution is also.

    3. Gaia allowed us to evolve to the point that we are able to develop and use oil and coal.

    Gaia, arguably, purposely wants us to liberate Co2 because warmer temperatures may forestall or maybe prevent the next killer Ice Age, thus Gaia IS protecting her “children”.

    Now there is an AGW theory Brookes can be happy with!

    Hey Brookes, prove my theory wrong.


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    @Sean McHugh #90

    Hi Sean, the Australian comment section has not been manned on the weekends since Nic Hopkins took over a few years ago so it is just a waste of effort to write comments.

    I agree about the left bias of the MSM. Gina’s foray into the media (Ten Network Holdings and Fairfax) is an attempt to add a modicum of balance. Don’t expect a transition overnight though.

    There are another eleven on the board of TNH but a larger shareholding, lobbying for proxies and drawing other board members as a voting bloc will bear fruit, eventually.

    To G, yourself and the other posters here that I’ve mostly enjoyed reading, merry Xmas.


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    [...] Jo Nova wrote a nice piece on the academic pretender David McKnight in the Weekend Australian, mocking his demand that journalists (especially SMH journalists) should lead the way on debates like Global Warming. [...]


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    pat

    most CAGW believers have no more proof of AGW than i do, nor anyone else for that matter, but the believers think they are on the anti-corporate side of the “global warming INDUSTRY” debate, which should be treated separately, with public input.
    however, the MSM is happy to keep framing the debate as left/right, and the believers refuse to look at whose side BP, Shell, Exxon etc have been funding for decades.

    chris horner, who was with enron (btw MSM almost always portrayed ken lay as a rightwing/dubya supporter, yet enron was a huge democrat/clinton/carbon trading supporter):

    13 Jan 2002: WaPo: Dan Morgan: Enron Also Courted Democrats
    Chairman Pushed Firm’s Agenda With Clinton White House
    In a White House meeting in August 1997, for example, Lay urged President Clinton and Vice President Gore to back a “market-based” approach to the problem of global warming — a strategy that a later Enron memo makes clear would be “good for Enron stock.”…
    The corporation contributed $532,000 in unregulated “soft money” to Democratic coffers during the 2000 election, only slightly less than the $623,000 that went to GOP groups, according to PoliticalMoneyLine, a Washington research group. Enron’s political action committee also gave $10,000 to the New Democrat Network, which was co-founded by Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (D-Conn.). Lieberman, the Democratic vice presidential nominee that year, now chairs the Senate Government Affairs Committee, which is leading an inquiry into Enron’s collapse.
    Several senior Enron officials spent election night at Vice President Gore’s headquarters in Nashville…
    In 1996, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, stocked with Clinton appointees, helped Enron with a series of orders that weakened the monopoly of nuclear and coal-burning utilities. In July of that year, Enron gave $100,000 to the Democratic Party.
    The Clinton administration’s interest in an international agreement to combat global warming also dovetailed with Enron’s business plans. Enron officials envisioned the company at the center of a new trading system, in which industries worldwide could buy and sell credits to emit carbon dioxide as part of a strategy to reduce greenhouse gases. Such a system would curtail the use of inefficient coal-fired power plants that emitted large amounts of carbon dioxide, while encouraging new investments in gas-fired plants and pipelines — precisely Enron’s line of business.
    But the effort faced powerful opposition from automakers, oil companies and utilities. In early 1997 the Senate unanimously instructed the administration not to agree to any carbon-reducing strategy that would harm the U.S. economy.
    On Aug. 4, 1997, Lay and seven other energy executives met with Clinton, Gore, Rubin and other top officials at the White House to discuss the U.S. position at the upcoming conference on global warming in Kyoto, Japan. Lay, in a memo to Enron employees, said there was broad consensus in favor of an emissions-trading system…
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn?pagename=article&node=&contentId=A37287-2002Jan12&notFound=true

    17 Dec: Chris Horner: Lessons from the global warming industry
    Enron, joined by BP, invented the global warming industry. I know because I was in the room. This was during my storied three-week or so stint as Director of Federal Government Relations for Enron in the spring of 1997, back when Enron was everyone’s darling in Washington…
    http://dailycaller.com/2010/12/15/lessons-from-the-global-warming-industry/


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    BobC

    Mark D @ 107

    Perhaps what Gaia is nurturing Humans for is to stop the next killer asteroid from nearly sterilizing the planet (again).

    Not as far-fetched as CAGW (once you get by the Gaia hypothesis), and backed up by a lot more paleontological evidence.

    If the CAGW crowd wants to take over the wealth of society using the “Precautionary Principle”, they would do better to use a potential disaster that has actually occurred in the past and is undoubtedly possible again — I recommend the “killer asteroid” threat.

    Lacks the attractive (to the Greenies) “anti-Human” element, though. (Humans become the heros, for Pete’s sake!). I don’t expect GreenPeace to get on board.


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    BobC
    Lacks the attractive (to the Greenies) “anti-Human” element, though
    Which is the hallmark of the environmental movement as a whole. I tried to read Taming the great south land by William Lines when it was released in the early 90s; I couldn’t make it through. Just an endless tirade of humans evil, nature good.
    It was through that book that I learnt about the Earth First! movement. Man is a pestilence upon holy Gaia and one day she will eradicate him.
    It’s been noted many times before, but these human-haters are conspicuously reluctant to eliminate themselves as an example to the rest of us.


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    Bulldust

    Interesting that John Brookes dislikes The Australian so much. It is the one daily that makes a vague attempt to cover stories in some depth and with a semblance of left-right balance (with the exception of one or two writers in other rags). I catch The Australian publishing pro-CAGW stories all the time, and wonder why when it is supposedly a “right-wing rag.” We all know the right-wing hates pro-CAGW stories, right?

    Anyway, a couple stories of interest this morning… Heather Ridout is slamming renewable energy targets as costly (thanks for some pragmatic common sense Heather):

    http://www.theage.com.au/environment/energy-smart/labor-energy-policy-costly-inefficient-ridout-20101219-191xg.html

    and the Queensland Government is giving ZeroGen the flick as well for being uneconomic:

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/zerogen-decision-on-the-money/story-fn59niix-1225973587638

    It is worth highlighting stories such as these when the Greens keep banging on about renewables being competitive. They are not. If they were we would be using them already. Hydro is tapped out, bagasse is a side product from sugar cane production, and the rest is uneconomic, feel-good tokenism.


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    Fred Firth

    WikiLeaks sparks push for tighter controls.
    Having subverted all forms of mainstream media, the Internet represents an embarrassing interference to the long range planning that has brought the UN and their policies to the point we have reached today.
    The Internet is humanities last hope for reason and reason represents the greatest danger to those who rely on engineered and pre-determined consensus to further their control over the world’s population.
    Without the Internet, who would be able to ask the sort of questions that Jo Nova presents to a thinking public.

    I am not a scientist but it does not take a scientist to realise that calculating prehistoric temperatures to a fraction of a degree by measuring fossilised tree rings is no basis for anything except to measure the level of a population’s decent into stupidity.

    Anyway, it seems that the next greatest threat to humanity is the uncensored Internet and in response to this threat, the U.N is “mulling” their response.
    It looks like the U.N already think we are their property.

    The United Nations is considering whether to set up an inter-governmental working group to harmonise global efforts by policy makers to regulate the internet.
    You can read the rest of the sad story here: http://www.itnews.com.au/News/242051,un-mulls-internet-regulation-options.aspx
    Fred Firth


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    John Brookes

    Come on Bulldust, don’t you read The Australian Financial Review? If you want depth and balance, you have to wait until they decide to tackle a topic.

    I hate to say it, but I agree entirely that renewable energy targets are a bad idea. The only thing with half a chance of working is a price on carbon. Everything else is window dressing. Of course ultimately a price on carbon will make renewables cost effective – but it will do it much more cheaply than just insisting on using renewables.

    Thanks for listing my errors BobC@105. Needless to say, I don’t agree with you! BTW, why do you think decent into a 100,000 year ice age is inevitable? That particular cycle has not been going that long….


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    Bulldust

    The problem with pricing carbon is that coal is so darned cheap. Up to the point where the carbon price actually forces a change in energy generation investment patterns, the carbon tax is simply a revenue raising exercise. The government is not brave enough to put a tax on carbon that is high enough to change the supply side of the equation so the only impact will be on the demand side through elevated prices.

    In the meanwhile the Feds will have gathered billions in carbon taxes which will be squandered on pet Labor projects like uneconomic renewables to keep the Greenies happy.

    At the end of the day it is a nation-wide exercise in redistributing resources to inefficient projects, which is why I find it so abhorrent as an economist.


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    Bulldust

    PS> I don’t read the Fin Review because it is behind a paywall. I could pick up the AFR at work I guess… it would be quaint to read a paper newspaper… how retro.


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    cohenite

    The problem with a price on carbon is that the renewables don’t work at any price; therefore if you price fossils out of the picture the result will be no power.


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    John Brookes

    cohenite@117:

    The problem with a price on carbon is that the renewables don’t work at any price; therefore if you price fossils out of the picture the result will be no power.

    Now that is just silly. Of course you can make renewables work. It will just cost more. Hydroelectric is renewable – it works.

    Let’s face it, when the alternative is using human or animal muscle power, anything will be cheaper!


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    cohenite

    God give me strength; yes Hydro does work as long as you have water storage; good luck convincing the nitwit Greens to build more dams; but when I say renewables,I mean wind and solar, plus a few of the newer scams like hot rocks and tidal power; they don’t work, especially wind; space based solar with microwave transmission may but good luck with the maintainence.


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    Sean McHugh

    Hi Scaper,

    Thanks for the info. A Merry Christmas to you and your family and to all the thoughtful contributors here.


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    Baa Humbug

    Are we forgetting the laws of supply and demand here?

    The trouble with taxing coal to a level where so called renewables bacome competitive, means less demand on coal.
    Less demand on coal will lead to a drop in price, making renewables less competitve again, meaning the tax on coal has to be raised higher and ever higher.

    It will get to a stage where many millions of poor people around the world will start burning cheap black market coal for domestic heating and cooking. That would be a disaster.
    The only option then would be to make coal a prohibited substance. Good luck with that.

    Major shifts in energy use don’t happen overnight. Winding down coal use will take decades. In the mean time, as price of coal nudges higher and higher, ever increasing numbers of people will resort to using coal for heating and cooking in places like South America, Asia and Africa.

    By the time authorities are convinced that it’s a problem, the horse would have bolted.

    Think alcohol, think chop chop tobacco.

    You know it makes sense.


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    Baa Humbug

    Typo in my comment at # 121

    “ever increasing numbers of people will resort to using coal for heating and cooking in places like South America, Asia and Africa.”

    Insert black market before the word coal.


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    wendy

    Subject: BYE BYE TO GLOBAL WARMING AS SNOW FALLS IN THE SNOWY MOUNTAINS IN DECEMBER!

    The game is up for the global warming FRAUD!

    Summer snow falls at Perisher:-

    http://www.theherald.com.au/news/national/national/general/summer-snow-falls-at-perisher/2030323.aspx

    Summer snow falls in NSW:-

    http://news.ninemsn.com.au/glanceview/137421/summer-snow-falls-in-nsw.glance


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    wendy

    IT’S ALL ABOUT THE MONEY!!!!!!!!!!

    Africa agrees on secret climate damages demand………..

    http://www.reuters.com/article/homepageCrisis/idUSLH624029._CH_.2400

    Nations to seek billions in ‘climate debt’……….

    http://www.news.com.au/story/0,27574,26380589-23109,00.html


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    Mark

    Wendy #125

    Isn’t that exactly what that Otmar Edenhofer character stated not long back?

    Unfortunately, often the only thing that wakes the peons from their slumber of apathy is a liberal dose of very nasty medicine. Short of a revolt in the Labor ranks, that’s what we’re all going to get.


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    “I am not a scientist but it does not take a scientist to realise that calculating prehistoric temperatures to a fraction of a degree by measuring fossilised tree rings is no basis for anything except to measure the level of a population’s decent into stupidity.” – Fred Firth December 20th, 2010 at 12:31 pm

    It’s for simple brilliant commentary like this I long ago abandoned the MSM in favour of the blogosphere.

    Pointman


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    Sean McHugh

    @John Brookes #114

    Everything else is window dressing. Of course ultimately a price on carbon will make renewables cost effective

    Taxes, photovoltaic cells and wind power will never be money in the pocket, except for the people who already have plenty and want more of ours.


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    Mark

    Sean McHugh #129

    People who believe that small, medium and even some large businesses can just drag extra money out of their posterial orifices to pay for overpriced energy are as dumb as bricks. They really believe that their jobs will miraculously survive the smoking economic ruin that results from a “low carbon” economy.

    There won’t be any money for welfare either. Sure, the government will print the stuff with reckless abandon but it will be cheaper to use it for toilet paper than buy the real item.

    Have these ratbags ever stopped to wonder why communist countries don’t have immigration ministries?


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    BobC

    John Brookes:
    December 20th, 2010 at 2:30 pm

    BTW, why do you think decent into a 100,000 year ice age is inevitable? That particular cycle has not been going that long….

    “Likely” would be a better word than “inevitable”. The current ice age (including periodic interglacials, like today) has been going for ~ 3 million years. A lot of that time, the cycle seems to have been ~40,000 years, not 100,000, like the last 4.

    I don’t think it would make much difference to Humanity if the next cold cycle was 40,000 or 100,000 years, given the current time-horizon of our politics (~2 years) :-)


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    wendy

    POLL….

    Are you prepared to pay more for your electricity to make green energy more viable?

    http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/indepth/power-prices-will-rise-again/story-fn4x9za1-1225974125084


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    BobC

    John Brookes:
    December 20th, 2010 at 3:56 pm

    Of course you can make renewables work. It will just cost more.

    Not too conversant with basic economics, eh John?

    Let’s face it, when the alternative is using human or animal muscle power, anything will be cheaper!

    Or, what is more likely, you’ll just go back to living like they did in the Middle Ages, when human and animal muscle power were the main sources of power. Our current civilization and its amazing living standards (never before equaled in history or prehistory) depends to a large degree on plentiful, cheap power.

    Try an experiment: Quit using “non-renewable” power — go off the grid, quit buying gasoline, batteries, oil, etc. Also, quit using services that depend on these sources of energy, like modern medicine, the internet, public transport. See what happens to your life style.

    Don’t expect me to come along.


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    wendy

    subject: It’s ‘the hottest year on record’, as long as you don’t take its temperature – Telegraph

    Hansen has been caught out boosting temperatures this year by as much as 0.50 degrees

    SOMEONE ARREST HIM !

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/columnists/christopherbooker/8211948/Its-the-hottest-year-on-record-as-long-as-you-dont-take-its-temperature.html


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    Fred Firth

    In the light and shadow of the Wiki Leaks controversy let us see how far we have advanced in 50 years.
    The President and the Press:
    Address before the American Newspaper Publishers Association

    The very word “secrecy” is repugnant in a free and open society; and we are as a people inherently and historically opposed to secret societies, to secret oaths and to secret proceedings.
    We decided long ago that the dangers of excessive and unwarranted concealment of pertinent facts far outweighed the dangers which are cited to justify it.

    Even today, there is little value in opposing the threat of a closed society by imitating its arbitrary restrictions.
    Even today, there is little value in insuring the survival of our nation if our traditions do not survive with it. And there is very grave danger that an announced need for increased security will be seized upon by those anxious to expand its meaning to the very limits of official censorship and concealment.

    That I do not intend to permit to the extent that it is in my control. And no official of my Administration, whether his rank is high or low, civilian or military, should interpret my words here tonight as an excuse to censor the news, to stifle dissent, to cover up our mistakes or to withhold from the press and the public the facts they deserve to know.

    But I do ask every publisher, every editor, and every newsman in the nation to re-examine his own standards.
    (listen to this speech in full here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FnkdfFAqsHA )

    President John F. Kennedy
    Waldorf-Astoria Hotel
    New York City, April 27, 1961

    On June 4, 1963 JFK signed Executive order 11,110 giving America debt free currency to replace the indebted Federal Reserve bank notes. The order was to come into effect on Monday the 25th of November 1963,
    JFK was executed in Dallas on the 22nd of November 1963. LBJ rescinded Executive order 11,110 on Air Force 1 just after taking the oath of office.
    So guard the freedom of the Internet because it is our last hope. Without it, Jo Nova and the rest of us will have no voice and everyone will be living in a world of manipulated isolation.


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    val majkus

    Jo congratulations on your article; tried to get a comment published on the Aust website but I know they don’t publish comments on the weekend but hoped it would appear on Mond but no luck; but note you had a congratulatory letter published in Mond’s letters; congratulations and thanks for all you do


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    Barry

    Most crypto-fascist pap from the corporate feudalist cheer squads.


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    Rereke Whakaaro

    Fred Firth: # 114

    The Internet is humanities last hope for reason and reason represents the greatest danger to those who rely on engineered and pre-determined consensus to further their control over the world’s population.
    Without the Internet, who would be able to ask the sort of questions that Jo Nova presents to a thinking public.

    The Internet has become integral to the very fabric of business in the West.

    Many companies hold their data “in the cloud”, and it is now the backbone for all communication other than dedicated military and governmental networks.

    The world economy would collapse without the internet.

    Sure governments could take down individual sites, but people would just move elsewhere – see the Chinese experience.

    Sure, you could monitor every byte of every package of every message, and delete those that offend, but people would just find ways to talk in code – hell, kids of every generation have always done that to confound their parents – same thing works to confound the authorities who can’t keep up.

    The internet is an organic phenomena – it has a life of its own, and it constantly evolves. Imagine trying to monitor Twitter.

    No, the game plan is to talk about “regulating the internet”, whilst going for the people and organisations who have offended you.

    Is Assange a rapist? I don’t know, but it is convenient that the allegations have surfaced now, and that these allegations are specifically of the type that would alienate a significant portion of the population.

    Would the intelligence services stitch somebody up like that? Bet your life they would. There are innumerable examples from the cold war, and since. It is modus operandi.

    But surely people would see through such a ruse? Perhaps, but they only need to fool most of the people for most of the time for the belief to set in, and as the AGW scam has shown, it is not that hard.


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      Bush bunny

      O/T You note that if you try to defend yourself when you have a reasonable cause, that it is lucky to get to the headlines unless you are thought to be newsworthy. One Swedish politician contacted me about Julian and sent me their sexual harassment laws, they were the same as ours practically. I queried how anyone could remain asleep while being raped unless drugged of course. But as we know with one recent case in Australia that hit the headlines, the plaintiff was accused of lying and making up the case about sexual rape et al and landed with nearly 6 million damages. She’s appealing the judges judgement of her case. If she can get away with this abuse of the law, why can’t those skeptics be heard too but the media has always acted to support what appears to be newsworthy. With a few exceptions, but I think sometimes the papers feel they need to stir up mud to get a reaction be it for or against climate skeptics or alarmists just to sell papers?


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    [...] check out the piece she wrote as a rejoinder to McKnight a couple of years ago. DAVID McKnight’s criticism of The Australian over climate change [...]


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    Bush bunny

    I was refused a supervisor at my uni (still trying) because I was going to present a paper in contrast to an academics. It was about history not climate science. I and others were abused in public lectures, compared to holocaust and climate change deniers because we could prove their so called research was wanting and actually faulty. One on a blog said I was ignorant and illiterate as I wrote letters re climate change denial, but that proved I was a conspiratorialist and not allowed by the university to write a paper on the subject. This was untrue, I am still searching. When I complained to the Uni, they did nothing. Although these two had breached about 8 clauses in the Universities code of conduct. Bit difficult when one is a post grad student still, but they will get their desserts eventually. Check out recent WUWT, seems that Anthony is now calling the UEA liars after he received his FOIA report back. I haven’t got into it yet, but those who are more conversant with climate science might wish to?


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    [...] JoNova has had cause to chide McKnight for his writing on global warming: Here’s a UNSW “Senior Research Fellow” in journalism who contradicts himself, fails by his own reasoning, does little research, breaks at least three laws of logic, and rests his entire argument on an assumption that he provides no evidence for. [...]


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