JoNova

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


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So much for certainty? Just two months later, Australia starts changing the carbon tax.

The Australian Government,via Greg Combet, announced this week that Labor’s version of certainty is the kind that is un-certain. For two years they’ve been emphatically declaring that “Australia needs certainty” or it’s variant, “Business needs certainty” . (Right before that, they were emphatically declaring that “There will be no carbon tax”, so later, when they did exactly what they said they wouldn’t do, we found out what certainty means to the Australian Labor Party. It isn’t the kind of certainty that helps business and voters “establish beyond doubt” what a vote for a Labor Government means.)

While people are saying we have now linked Australia’s carbon “price” (from 2015 onwards) to the EU market. In effect it was linked before, as I mentioned here. Now that link is rearranged. Previously Australian companies could buy ultra cheap EU options but had to top them up to the floor price, but now they won’t have to pay extra to lift it to $15/ton.

Mr Combet said the government was not considering any other changes to the scheme. [Source: The Australian]

Yes, and we believe him don’t we?

Things are slightly more sane than they were last week, but the difference [...]

Lewandowsky – Shows “skeptics” are nutters by asking alarmists to fill out survey

I‘m putting on a conservative, understated hat. This could be the worst paper I have seen — an ad hom argument taken to its absurd extreme, rebadged as “science”.

Professorial fellow Stephan Lewandowsky thinks that skeptics who are “greatly involved” in the climate debate believe any kind of conspiracy theory, including that the moon landings never happened, that AIDS is not due to HIV, and that smoking doesn’t cause cancer. But he didn’t find this out by asking skeptics who are “greatly involved” in the climate debate or by reading their popular sites. He “discovered” this by asking 1,000 visitors to climate blogs. Which blogs? He expertly hunted down skeptics, wait for it… here:

Deltoid, Tamino Scot Mandia, Bickmore, A Few Things Ill Considered, Hot-Topic (NZ) Trunity (unconfirmed?) John Cook (through twitter, h/t Barry Woods at Climate Audit)

This is the point where the question has to be asked: Did Lewandowsky, Oberauer, and Gignac really think they would get away with it? Did none of the reviewers at “Psychological Science“ think to ask if the “sampling” of alarmist blogs would affect the results?

The paper is titled:

“NASA faked the moon landing — Therefore (Climate) Science is [...]

Another pointless poll – 2% of Canadians are “deniers”? Not so. But 32% think natural cycles have stopped!

It’s another useless question written in a another pointless poll.

Define “climate change”: does it mean the climate doesn’t stay the same year after year, or is it code for “man-made global warming”? The term is so overused, so cliched, it is a meaningless part of any survey. Since “partially” means any number greater than zero, technically I’d have to answer that climate change is partly natural and party man-made. So the survey finds that many dedicated skeptics hold the majority opinion, but that’s not the way it’s being reported. With vague questions, this survey is not designed to find out what the population really thinks, it’s there to support media headlines and the propaganda push. A cheap trick to try to convince politicians that “carbon action” is a vote winner, and a ploy to try to demoralize skeptics into thinking they are a small and shrinking part of the community.

It shows, as do many other studies, that only a third of the population believe the IPCC message that all the recent warming is due to man-made emissions. 65% of the population know there is natural component to the way our climate changes, the question that matters is [...]

Peter Doherty responds in The Australian but science is not done by committee

There’s a letter in the paper today in response to my article:

Climate scientists are not failing to convince others

From: The Australian August 27, 2012 12:00AM

Every significant science academy supports the case made by the climate science community. These academies encompass the full spectrum of science and members are elected by merit.

As a researcher in immunobiology, I watch the climate field from the sideline, go to some seminars, talk to scientists, monitor key websites and read leading journals such as Science and Nature.

Climate researchers are rigorous and conservative, and I don’t see anything that gives me unease. The Bureau of Meteorology and the CSIRO, for example, input 50,000 pieces of new data every day. These are the people who dedicate their lives to grappling with the massive experiment we’re doing with our atmosphere. Unlike my field, this is an experiment that can never be repeated.

Peter C. Doherty, Medical School, University of Melbourne, Vic

My point was that argument from authority is not science, and Doherty’s response is to argue from authority.

One of the reasons “Argument from Authority” is a fallacy is because people are human, and associations of humans don’t always neutralize our failings, [...]

Jo Nova in The Australian: Manne is anti-science on climate

I’m published this weekend in The Australian (building on the post I did previously here. Manne himself popped in there to tell us “Deniers Hunt in Packs” — demonstrating his true depth of insight into the libertarian independent psyche — a group defined by it’s non-pack nature.)

—————————————————————– Manne declares that the “Denialists are Victorious” (in The Monthly, August 2012) but his sole reasoning that the victorious are “deniers” is merely that some chosen experts tell us a disaster is coming and he feels they could not possibly be wrong. Argument from authority is a fallacy known for 2,000 years, and it is a key point, it is the disguise of the witchdoctor — “Trust me, I am the chosen one”. The one defining difference between science and religion is that the devout can argue from authority, but the scientific cannot. In science there are no Gods and there is no Bible — what matters is the evidence. The highest experts may declare the world is headed for catastrophe, but if 3,000 thermometers in ocean buoys disagree (and they do: see “Argo”), the scientist questions the opinions and goes with the observations.

Robert Manne thinks internet surveys of [...]

I feel sorry for ABC listeners, they have no idea what’s going on

Australia’s politics is boiling at the moment, but you’d barely know if you got all your news from the Love Media ABC.

Yesterday in a long press conference our Prime Minister was finally forced to address “questions” that have been burning across through the net.

I heard our Perth ABC drive time presenter Geoff Hutchison discussing this at length yesterday, and in that time I heard all the ad hominem answers the Prime Minister gave, and how well she gave them, and how powerful she sounded. I’m now full bottle on all the names she calls the malicious misogynist nut jobs and how they will not accept any answer or any evidence. I heard that The Australian has apologized. Apologized! And then I heard that again. Twice? It must be significant. I also now know that Larry Pickering is bankrupt (though I can’t quite see what that has to do with running our country).

I did not hear what The Australian apologized for, which was strange, because the tone of voice conveyed that it was an important and unusual event. (Apparently, it appears The Australian said it was a “Trust” which is, go figure… defamatory. Accurate reporters should have used [...]