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Under seige: The Conversation pulls the weak “trust your doctor or Climate God” excuse

Posted By Jo Nova On September 19, 2019 @ 6:50 pm In Academia,Big-Government,Free Speech,Global Warming | Comments Disabled

Today, for your amusement, Misha Ketchell, ex-ABC journalist, editor and ED of The Conversation scrambles to justify why banning half the population from speaking is not censorship. It’s almost a form of satire, but it’s not that clever.

He pulls out the old Argument from Authority and Ad Hom fallacies, known since Aristotle. He’s only 2,300 years behind the leading edge of rhetoric. Worse, the journalist doesn’t even understand the basics of journalism — as in, to research, present the best of both sides, and let the readers decide. Instead Ketchell, whose top scientific qualification is watching the ABC for twenty years, has decided that climate sensitivity of CO2 on planet Earth is 3.3C give or take nothing.

The biggest scandal of university research and science is there waiting to be told, but Ketchell-the-journo is 100% obedient to a collection of unaccountable foreign committee members who do unaudited work with unvalidated models.

The Conversation

Here come the excuses:

There’s a good reason we’re moderating climate change deniers: uninformed comments undermine expertise’

Real experts just answer the questions, they aren’t scared of the uninformed. Why is it only climate science where we need to protect the public from know-nothing comments? Either the punters are too stupid to spot the expert, or perhaps the fake experts need to be protected from the punters?

This absolutely is about free speech

Just saying it isn’t won’t make it so:

This is not about a denial of free speech. Media outlets have always curated the ways in which they feature audience feedback. Think about the big bags of letters newspaper editors used to sift to pick a dozen or so to publish every day. The skill was always about giving a debate a chance to be aired, to allow all sides to be heard, and then to move on.

But Ketchell isn’t banning misinformation, he’s banning a whole class of people, even “locking their accounts”. That makes it absolutely about “free speech”. Read his words, “deniers are dangerous”. No matter what they say, how well they say it, or how qualified they are, some citizens are the unmentionables who shall have no voice sayth Cardinal Ketchell. It doesn’t get more unfree than a namecalling pogrom with no right of reply.

The Conversation has become the definition of unfree speech. It’s the case study of 2019. The GoTo classic story of censorship for scholars a hundred years from now. The only uncertainty here is if Ketchell has the faintest idea of what free speech is?

Does he just realize he’s banned half of meteorologists?

Say hello to the false equivalence and strawman meme of your doctor versus your untrained friend:

Imagine you discovered you had a serious illness and went to a doctor who recommended an operation. Then you surveyed 10 of your friends about whether they thought you needed an operation. Then, rather than have the operation, you spend the next 10 years, in deteriorating health, every day hearing from your doctor the operation is needed, while a small subset of your mates comment on how the doctor is a nutjob.

What if your friends were engineers, dentists, doctors, PhD’s and Professors? What if your doctor was caught hiding declines, adjusting figures, manipulating reports, using fake photos, and resorted to bluster and coercion? What if he refused to answer questions, explain his methods, hid his data, his history  and just called his critics petty names? Let’s say your doctor was paid handsomely to do risky operations with wildly exaggerated outcomes that failed every basic cost benefit test?

Let’s say their models didn’t predict who got sick, who got well, how many died, and apart from random luck, not much that happened even 10 days in advance?

Misha Ketchell says “don’t ask” just pay the bill, take the drugs — your doctor is practically a God

When we do this to experts of any sort, these uninformed comments undermine their authority. People are less inclined to believe experts when their views are presented alongside hostile opinions. But the two things are not the same; they are entirely different types of information and they don’t deserve equal weight.

The right approach, if you don’t believe your doctor, is to seek a second opinion from another medical expert. And maybe a third or a fourth. And then you make a decision on how to act, based on the evidence.

What if there are other doctors all performing the exact same unnecessary operation, collecting huge fees, being treated like Planet Saving heroes on the ABC and getting nice two week junkets in Bali as well? They are the leading “experts” eh? Who cares that their expertise, status and income is also totally dependent on that type of operation. Complete patsies will ask them, ignore the conflicts of interest, and sign up to have a lung removed to stop their cough.

Which journalist has not done any, as in five minutes of research Misha Ketchell?

He’s out of his depth, like the journo’s who just repeat the sales catalogue of the local real estate agent — the boom is just around the corner! Reality is going to blindside him. He believes in the “thousands” of unnamed expert modelers who don’t even exist. And he believes there is rigor in anonymous unpaid pal review:

In the case of climate science we don’t just have two or three expert opinions, we have thousands. All rigorous and peer reviewed. We also have a range of vested interests who are attempting to discredit that science, following the playbook of big tobacco to profit from casting doubt and delaying action.

Sure, and thousands of commenters on The Conversation get cheques and instructions in the mail from Phillip Morris. Who knew? Or more to the point, who’s got a huge baseless conspiracy theory?

Instead there are 31,500 independent, unpaid, scientists, PhDs and professors who are signed up skeptics (and the rest) but the core group of IPCC paid experts amounts to “scores” — literally. The number of expert reviewers on Chapter Nine of the 4th IPCC report was just 62. Everyone else was a groupie — a scientist who knew a lot about lemurs, or barley crops, or beach erosion who has never ever gone near any analysis of radiative modeling or verification of feedbacks. They just assumed it’s right, and their paid interest depended on “not looking”.

Ketchell talks about “vested interests” but doesn’t realize there are $1.5 trillion in vested interests 100% depending on him (and other un-journalists) to swallow up their prospectus and sell their schemes. Most so-called Big Oil funding goes to alarmists, not skeptics.  Big Oil uses the carbon-hate against its main competitor Big Coal, and panders to EPA whimseys out of fear of offending the bureaucrat rulers it depends on. Woodside oil and gas not only doesn’t fund skeptics it won’t even let one speak at a tiny niche Christmas event for petrophysicists. So much for the myth of Big Oil being a merchant of doubt.

But Deutsche Bank thanks you Misha Ketchell. Bankers want to save the planet dontchaknow?

Spot the totalitarian

Having announced such a cackhanded crackdown, Ketchall is feeling the heat and complaining that he’s being bullied, but who’s the bully here? The one that uses his power arbitrarily to say shut up to tens of thousands of people who partly fund his own job, or the one earning money from voluntary payments who is working to persuade others to stop funding an incompetent publisher?

A few loud media voices have claimed our approach is totalitarian. In an interview with Senator Eric Abetz on Sky News Chris Kenny did what bullies often do – he tried to intimidate and cause maximum damage by asking the Senator to ensure The Conversation never again receives government funding.

Yes, let’s talk intimidation –  and start with “deniers” and “denialists” and let Ketchall define them in scientific terms. What empirical evidence is being denied?  Or are these just pure insults, declaring that anyone who doesn’t agree has the brain of a lizard and is not worth listening to?

As I’d explain to the children in the room, obviously the only point of these hostile demeaning terms is to stop people questioning the religion.

Ketchell is still in denial that half the population just don’t buy the foreign committee report he considers gospel:

The truth is that how to handle the views of the small group who are hostile to climate science is a complex media ethics question…

Remember the “climate election”? Survey’s, polls and millions of votes show the citizens of Australia are not convinced the world is going to hell — the journalists job is to persuade them, the totalitarians job is to shut them up.

Hypocrisy knows no bounds

Misha Ketchell says:

And this means less emotive argument that distorts the evidence.

Jo Nova says: Sure, and calling critics “predators of our children“, or zombies is all calmness and light yeah? Not to mention “great science”. Go “the Con”.


A climate-change ideologue,
Fearing comments and free dialogue,
From the skeptical few,
Who challenged his view,
Had them shut down and barred from his blog.



The Conversation
PS: Readers, send in your ideas for the logo. The Conversion needs a new byline.

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