A science presenter, writer, speaker & former TV host; author of The Skeptic's Handbook (over 200,000 copies distributed & available in 15 languages).



Australian Speakers Agency


The nerds have the numbers on precious metals investments on the ASX

The Skeptics Handbook

Think it has been debunked? See here.

The Skeptics Handbook II

Climate Money Paper



Crikey: Believers waiting for skeptics to die? We aren’t waiting for them to grow up

Believers in man-made-catastrophe can’t win over skeptics with evidence and reason. Instead the peak “believers” intellectual strategy is to hope the oldies might die off in time to save the planet: Death isn’t an option: climate change activists aren’t waiting for deniers to die.

It’s sexist, ageist, intolerant and illogical: just what we’ve come to expect from “progressives”, eh?

Oh the hubris and arrogance of the terminally immature

Take their conclusion that because skeptics are older, they are less educated, more selfish, and more easily fooled. Doesn’t the alternative sound more likely? Could it be that believers are younger and so more naive, less worldly wise, and throughout history, more likely to be the gullible rollovers — the mere tools of the powers at large? It’s not just that it’s happened before, its a standard repeat theme throughout history.

But hey, it’s not their fault they are young and badly taught. When we don’t teach logic and reason at school anymore, we can’t expect them to recognize that con-men and crooks always pretend to be “helpful” at the start of a scam, and that people who attack the messenger are the one who are losing the debate. Besides, everyone knows [...]

The big-freeze: thousands trapped in europe as death toll rises to 600

And who wants Global Warming when you can face avalanches, deep snow, and record cold?

How much fun can you have with 2 meters of snow on your house, and none of that evil coal powered electricity?

What’s happening in Europe and Russia over the last two weeks is not just your average cold-snap. Temperatures reached -28C in Moscow. One point in Russia hit -52.8C (-68F) on Monday.

 MOSCOW — Some 215 Russians have died this year in a prolonged period of abnormally cold winter weather, the health ministry said Monday as the overall death toll for Europe rose to well over 600. [National Post]


NASA Earth Observatory. Dark blue areas are -15C below average. White areas are average. Deep Red are 15C above. (See the NASA link below for the proper scale):.

The Danube has frozen over from Austria to the Black Sea, and 224 ships (some delivering fuel) have been stuck in their ports. Schools in Bosnia have been closed for days. Trains in Montenegroare at a standstill, and one train with 50 passengers was stranded in a tunnel for three days before rescuers began evacuating people yesterday.

In Serbia 11,000 villagers are trapped by huge [...]

Toxoplasmosis: could that latent infection affect people’s behavior?

This is disturbing news. What if eating undercooked meat, gardening, or having a cat could give you an infection which stayed with you for life, nested in cysts in your brain? Worse, those cysts somehow affected your personality, possibly putting you at increased risk of suicide, schizophrenia, or car accident? And here’s the stop-you-in-your-tracks point: up to one third of humanity may harbor this protozoan. That is one very successful parasite.

Infection rates are frighteningly high: as much as 10-20% of the population in the US, 30-40% of Czechs, and 55% in France.

Sounds like a plot for a bad sci-fi but we know that Toxoplasma gondii makes small mammals take life threatening risks – an infected rat finds cat-urine “attractive” and runs about more, being fearless, but getting eaten: good for the parasite, not so good for the rat. Our brains may be  larger but they are made with much the same building blocks and tools.  Rabies is known to stir larger mammals into a rage, and there are “a truckload” of examples from the insect and fish world of parasitic mind control. Hmmm.

Toxoplasmosis is thought to be a nasty parasite that affects pregnant women and immune-compromised people, [...]

Skeptics are winning: “the carbon market is dead”

The collapse of the Man-Made Myth continues apace. You may not read headlines as such (at least not in major dailies) but all the signs are there.

People who we never would have imagined speaking against the Big Scare Campaign are now doing so. Key glaciers are not melting and corals are happy. Governments won’t tell you it’s over, but they are behaving that way (the Australian one excepted, due to an election fluke that gave the Greens the balance of power). The Catholic Herald headlined it:  Is the ‘anthropogenic global warming’ consensus on the point of collapse? 

Source Barchart.

The last year of carbon trading in EUR's continues to fall. (Click to enlarge).

Mini update: The carbon market is being referred to as “dead”. Johannes Teyssen, chief executive of Germany’s EON, urged policymakers to make fixes. “Let’s talk real: the ETS is bust, it’s dead,” Mr Teyssen said in Brussels this week, adding: “I don’t know a single person in the world that would invest a dime based on ETS signals.” [full story: Financial Times]. Point Carbon analysts have downgraded the forecast price of carbon credits for the second time in two months as the carbon market [...]

When your subsidies undermine your subsidies

For forty years, people have tried to get Solar to work.  Now, the worst possible thing for the industry has occurred: The Left are serious about trying to help it.

The Large-Scale Solar Subsidies are bountifully generous on an unprecedented scale that involves taxing everything else that moves, but even that generosity is not enough to compete with…wait for it… the even more insanely lavish Small-Scale Solar Subsidies. Who would have thought? Remember these are the same people who tell us that the “free market solution is best”. They offered three times the going rate for rooftop solar electricity, and through utterly predictable market mechanics, created a glut in rooftop solar panels as every man and his dog rushed in to get free electrons from their roofs, and on good sunny days, even cheques in the mail. Now, the large-scale projects are struggling to get major electricity retailers to sign long-term contracts.


THE federal government has delayed issuing key grants under its $1.5 billion Solar Flagships program after a preferred applicant, the Moree Solar Farm, failed to meet a December 15 deadline to reach financial closure on its project.

Solar projects have struggled to secure contracts with retailers, who [...]

Getup-poplexy! scared of monckton, mannkal, bolt and jonova: fox australia would be a hit

Thank you GetUp! Australians are finally talking about how they can get more media competition and how we can lift media standards. Read on to see Moncktons reply, and the call for interest Spot those afraid of free speech.  

  Gina Rinehart merely buys 13% of  Fairfax, and the GetUp-union-funded-Labor-green fan club rush to start raising funds ($37,000 already), not to compete in the free market for shares, but to run the scariest adverts they can, to whip up fear and interfere with normal corporate board room activity. It’s just the way they do things. What are they so afraid of? They’re afraid the public might hear the other side of news. When you run a propaganda campaign, the worst thing that can happen is a crack in the armour — That people like  Monckton, Bolt, Nova, or the libertarian economists at Mannkal might get a chance to be heard.  Once the truth gets out it can’t be put back in the bag. It spreads.

Wait for it. This is the dark conspiratorial “secret” aim of free market thinkers that they uncovered. Remember some poor hapless soul had to view hours of free market discussion to find [...]

“Cooking the books” Monckton replies to Cook

When Christopher Monckton debated at the National Press Club in Canberra last July, he showed exactly why the fans of a man-made catastrophe are so frightened of free speech and open debates. With no slides or other images, in a single hour, he still changed the opinions of fully 9% of the audience , including influential journalists who had expected nothing of the kind. The Roy Morgan polling organization tracked the moment-by-moment opinions of a representative sample of 350 people throughout the debate, and Gary Morgan, the CEO, announcing the result, said that in his long experience of polling he had never seen a swing like it in opinion on any subject in so short a time.

John Cook of un-SkepticalScience tried to rescue something from the event for the “cause”, but here Monckton shows how the claims that Monckton was “confused”, “lying” and “misrepresenting evidence” all come to naught, and if John Cook only had the manners (or curiosity) to ask Christopher first, he would have found that out before airing his poor research and logical errors in public. Monckton quotes peer reviewed references ad lib, and does calculations off the top of his head. Cook makes out [...]

Jonova a finalist for the 2012 bloggies :-) see thinly disguised plug here!

Cheerio! Thanks to the dedicated souls who nominated it, this blog is a finalist in 2012 Web Bloggies Award. (Ta Pat, Val, Baa). ! That’s a success on its own (it’s already bringing in new readers).  Cheers!

With your help, we can reach a wider crowd. The different traffic, new links and other bloggie-spin-offs can help your favourite sites rank higher in searches and means the messages you want to share travel past new eyes. (Shameless hinting…) And all you need to do is vote and spread the word (so email, facebook, letter boxing, billboards  ). Some excellent blogs have made the finals, it’s smorgasbord of skeptics, and Anthony Watts has helpfully listed my favourites, so below is his detailed guide to making your vote count. My one sentence version is: Click here to vote, put ticks in the grey circles next to your choices (one in each category you care about), do the “catcha” funny word to prove you are human, then wait for the email, AND verify the link to prove you are not a troll. You need to do all those steps to be counted. Thank you to all who take those few minutes.

It’s time to be [...]

8 reasons to dump that cheating doctor (Trenberth et al are wrong in the WSJ)

Hand back your science degrees Trenberth et al.

Thirty eight of the worlds top, most consequential climate scientists sought to slap down the Nobel prize winner, astronaut and glitterati of science, and all they could come up with was a logical fallacy and a single paragraph of incohate, innumerate, and improbable evidence. It’s hand-waving on stilts.

Is that the best they can do?

Trenberth and co try to rebut No Need to Panic About Global Warming, but those 16 eminent scientists quoted evidence and pointed out major flaws in the assumptions of the theory. They described forms of scientific malpractice, and called for open debate. In comparison, the 38 climate “scientists” offered hardly more than argument from authority, “Trust Us: We’re Experts” they said as if the lesser beings, who were mere Professors of Astrophysics, Meteorology, and Physics, were too stupid to know the difference between a doctor and a dentist. I mean, sure the 16 skeptics could be wrong, but if the evidence is so overwhelming, why can’t the 38 experts find it?

Q: What kind of doctor is a scientist who can’t reason?

 A witchdoctor.

First — the Fallacy

1. “Do you consult [...]

The land that rewards failure

Mark Steyn hits the spot:

“America is now the land that rewards failure– at the personal, corporate, and state level. If you reward it, you get more of it. If you reward it as lavishly as the federal government does, you’ll get the Radio City Christmas Spectacular of Failure, on ice and with full supporting orchestra. The problem is in that abolishing failure, you also abolish the possibility of success, and guarantee only a huge statist sucking swamp. From Motown to No Town, from the Golden State to Golden Statists.What happens when the policies that brought ruin to Detroit and decay to California are applied to the nation at large?”


Mark Steyn, After America: Get Ready for Armageddon, p 219.

Steyn delivers the depressing punches with rare wit.

On misanthropology

misanthropology (from Urban Dictionary): the scientific study of the origin, the behavior, and the physical, social, and cultural development of hatred in humans misanthropology-the opposite of optimistology.

Lost word, sighted on the Neologism thread at (Diggingintheclay) that inspired The Doomsians are Panixilated post.

For what it’s worth, I  think misanthropology is often just a veneer, it’s not a real hatred at all, but just the semblance of it. It’s much more small minded. It’s not about “hating humans” so much as it is about impressing the chick (or boy) next door. A kind of competition to get to snob-land first:  ‘I look down on humans more than you do.” (Which translates loosely as: I, the exalted one, speaks from a greater height, fellow misanthropist….)

It’s about status, eh. Like everything.