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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Censorship is Weapon #1: Trump orders online Tech Giants to stop

Censorship trumps everything else. Without free speech, there are no free elections, and no progress in politicized science. The base temptations of the human condition thrive in the dark.

Ten years too late, the House Judiciary Hearing on antitrust laws is on:

Republicans tear into big tech CEOs

Katelyn Caralle, Nikki Schwabm, The Daily Mail

For more than five hours the world’s richest man, Bezos; fourth-richest, Zuckerberg; CEO of the world’s most valued corporation, Cook; and its key search engine, Pichai; were repeatedly ripped as copycats, liars, bullies, drug dealers and traitors.

…big tech’s out to get conservatives. That’s not a suspicion, that’s not a hunch. That’s a fact,’ Representative Jim Jordan asserted at the top of his opening remarks.

‘We’re 97 days before an election, and the power – as the previous chairman and ranking member have said – the power these companies have to impact what happens during an election, what American citizens get to see before their voting, is pretty darn important,’ he said.

Trump issued an Executive Order to prevent social media giants from altering or editorializing free speech. He declared that if Congress won’t act, [...]

Wikipedia deletes The List of Scientists who are Skeptics of the sacred (fake) “Consensus”

The evidence is overwhelming but the names of 85 unconvinced experts threatens the Earth. Shield your eyes, sinner, lest ye faith be tested!

The Religion of Carbonoid-Weather-Control is so fragile, and Wikipedia so captured by philosophical fruit flies, that 35 editors voted down 19 other editors and now The List does not exist. Thus do 35 editors keep safe the minds of Wikipedia babes who might get confused when they see Richard Lindzen and Roy Spencers names and mistake them for actual climate scientists… oh.

Thanks to Dr Roger Higgs:

Electroverse: Wikipedia deletes scientists who disagree…

Here’s the reasoning for the censorship given by one of the Wiki editors:

“The result was delete. This is because I see a consensus here that there is no value in having a list that combines the qualities of a) being a scientist, in the general sense of that word, and b) disagreeing with the scientific consensus on global warming.”

Wikipedia

I’d like to thank those 35 Wiki editors for telling the world how weak the consensus is and giving skeptics another excuse to highlight this dangerous list. Go Streisand Effect.

Cap Allon at [...]

No laws needed Scott Morrison — tell the coward companies not to give in to namecalling bullies

We need more free speech, not less

Is National Australia Bank scared of this? @ExtinctionR

The witchdoctor activists have been demanding bankers and insurance firms boycott new coal mines. One by one these corporate giants have jumped to obey, like towers of saluting jelly. Australia’s PM, Scott Morrison, has “threatened a radical crackdown” as if there is some way, and some worth, in forcing free people to choose a sensible option. But this is not the way. What the nation needs is not more laws to stifle speech but someone with the balls to speak freely. Persuade the nation instead! Half the country quivers in fear of being called a climate denier by a teenage girl. Tell them to grow up and get over it.

The activists are just namecalling bullies — too chicken to engage in polite conversation because their case falls apart like a crystal mousetrap — looks good, but destroys itself on deployment. If they had overwhelming evidence they just need to explain it — not beat people over the head with it. Australians are good people, right?

They’re only a threat if we take them seriously

Whatever we do, don’t take them seriously. Instead [...]

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

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.

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 [...]

Peter Ridd update: James Cook University wasted $630,000 defending the Bureaucrat Rulers of Science, and plans to appeal

The battle continues for Peter Ridd.

James Cook Uni lost every single point against Peter Ridd. Today at the penalty hearing we find out they plan to appeal.

The fake fish uni has learnt nothing:

Charlie Peel, The Australian

James Cook University risks contempt rap for response to verdict

James Cook University is poised to appeal against the Federal Court finding that its sacking of physics professor Peter Ridd was unlawful.

JCU’s response was so far from the mark, apparently Justice Vasta is considering whether to refer it to the Federal Court Marshall. Vasta said the statement attributed to Chris Cocklin of JCU was “almost contemptuous”.

The IPA, bless them, filed an FOI to find out how much money was burnt in the quest, and says it’s high time JCU stops:

Gideon Rozner: The details of a freedom of information request lodged by the Institute of Public Affairs with James Cook University and released today reveal the University has already spent at least $630,000 on legal fees in the Dr Peter Ridd case.

“The very fact that an Australian university is willing to force the weight of an entire [...]

Facebook finds truth by “Groupthink” — may the deepest pockets win the info war

In a flash of insight, or possibly rank capitulation, Facebook has announced last week that it will “fight misinformation” with censorship. Seems Facebook thinks Facebook-users are too stupid to figure out the misinformation themselves. Besides, fighting misinformation with the truth is especially hard if the misinformation is true:

Facebook crackdown on groups spreading misinformation

Barbara Ortutay and Rachel Lerman, The Australian

Facebook says it is rolling out a wide range of updates aimed at combating the spread of false and harmful information on the social media site – stepping up the company’s fight against misinformation and hate speech as it faces growing outside pressure.

And it’s not even transparent censorship but the the most weaselly hidden kind:

The updates will limit the visibility of links…

How does Facebook define misinformation? Wait til you hear this: Groupthink = truth?

…limit the visibility of links found to be significantly more prominent on Facebook than across the web as a whole, suggesting they may be clickbait or misleading.

So that pretty much rules out Facebook spreading the word of whistleblowers, rebels, new theories, suppressed ideas, oppressed people and anything controversial, interesting or not completely [...]