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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What will the carbon tax cost? Bill Shorten says only a lying charlatan would ask.

How much do Australians have to pay to change the global weather?

….

First, Bill Shorten called those who ask “dumb”. Then when that was described as his Hillary “Deplorables” moment he changed the insult from “dumb” to “liar”.

Here’s Bill Shorten in the third leaders debate:

“I accept the cost question is not a dumb question, …it’s a dishonest question.

The idea that you only look at the investment in new energy without looking at the consequences of not acting on climate change is a charlatans argument, it’s a crooked charlatans argument.”

-Bill Shorten, May 8th: iview, 2 mins 30 sec.,

Do you want to discuss the cost benefit ratio of a $500 billion dollar scheme the Labor Party is proposing to stop droughts and hold back the tide? Shorten doesn’t have an answer, instead he claims you shouldn’t even ask the question. You, sir, are a conniving cheat and a liar.

The definition of Charlatan:

A charlatan (also called a swindler or mountebank) is a person practicing quackery or some similar confidence trick or deception in order to obtain money, fame or other advantages via some [...]

Climate change is real because we are snowflake couch potatoes, addicted to netflix and airconditioners

Welcome to the DroneAge, where people act like robots and share dumb ideas at light speed! Episode #601: Climate change makes you lonely and fat.

Feeling friendless, floppy and like a loser? It’s not your fault. Blame a coal plant. Blame Exxon. Blame anyone but yourself. It’s your bad luck to be born into the most bountiful, benevolent era in human history. Damn!

Lonely, unfit and hooked on air-conditioning – is this the summer of the future?

Nicole Hasham, Sydney Morning Herald, uses new unorthodox indicators of “climate change”. Wait for it… test cricket attendance? It’s a smorgasbord of nonsense:

In Perth, cricket fans avoided an historic Test fixture amid predictions of 38-degree days. Sun melted a coastal highway filled with holidaymakers in northern NSW. Victoria’s coal generators shut down. Tasmania burned. And rotting fish corpses lining the Darling River at Menindee forced anglers to seriously rethink their plans.

Are we kidding? Thirty-eight degrees is just a summer’s day in Perth. It’s something that happens 19 years out of 20. As for coal generators shutting down: we’ve spent 20 years trying to drive them out of business to stop climate change, and now, if they don’t work, that [...]

Paul Krugman sticks pins into the Climate Denier VooDoo Doll

Excuse #101: Denying Climate Change is an Evil Depraved Sin so we don’t need to bother coming up with reasons anymore

Why is Krugman sticking pins into Denier Dolls? It makes him feel better.

He said it himself — if people disagree about climate change in good faith, it means climate believers need to be more persuasive. But if they are just evil, there’s nothing you can do. This is the end-days desperation. And after thirty years of propaganda, there’s nothing left in their communication toolbox. The awful truth is that in the muted, lopsided debate, they had all the money and institutions but they still lost.

When you can’t convince people with polite discussion all that’s left is to agree with your opponents or demonize them. So that’s what Krugman does. Change the goal-posts — he’s saying these evil people are not even worth talking to.

Humans are incredibly good at rationalizing stupid things. Pace Paul Krugman, who wrote this in the NY times last week. This week, the Sydney Morning Herald became the copy-paste late repeater of junk analysis and naked smear by a failed economist. Bravo.

Denying climate change is evil Climate denial is rooted in [...]

Modern Astrology in NY Times: Justin Gillis says Eclipses show all Scientists are always right about everything

Verily. Eclipses do weird things to people.

Justin Gillis, writer for The New York Times used the recent eclipse to sell something I’d call Sciencemagic. Essentially, if some Scientists™ can calculate orbital mechanics to a fine art, it follows, ipso nonfacto, that all people who use the same job title are also always right.

“Should You Trust Climate Science? Maybe the Eclipse Is a Clue”

Thanks to the work of scientists, people will know exactly what time to expect the eclipse. In less entertaining but more important ways, we respond to scientific predictions all the time, even though we have no independent capacity to verify the calculations. We tend to trust scientists.

If Scientists™ say that solar panels will stop malaria, then buy some! Save lives in Ghana. (What are you waiting for?)

The implications stretch far. Clearly, we can chuck out the whole research thing (labs, who needs em?) Why test predictions, if Scientists™ are 100% accurate? We’ve been wasting money. We don’t need more large hadron colliders, we just need to survey more particle physicists.

This idea that job titles have a kind of truth-telling power is not much different to astrology where truth [...]

A Socratic approach on climate change

(Click for the full advert)

The Climate Study Group is trying a new approach with an Advert in The Australian on page 7 today. Or rather, you might say this is a very old approach…:

Socrates Nice to meet you Mr Smith. I hear you are very concerned about dangerous global warming.

Mr Smith Yes, we are facing an alarming prospect of a global warming catastrophe.

Socrates What gives you such concern?

Mr Smith Emissions of CO2 from burning fossil fuels.

Socrates How were these fossil fuels formed?

Mr Smith Various plant forms grew, died and formed fossil fuels before and during the Carboniferous Period.

Socrates Was there dangerous global warming prior to the Carboniferous Period?

Mr Smith No. There’s no evidence of dangerous global warming prior to the Carboniferous period.

Socrates So where did the carbon in fossil fuels originate?

Mr Smith Plants absorbed CO2 from the atmosphere prior to the formation of fossil fuels.

Socrates So the CO2 absorbed by plants is now being released from burning fossil fuels.

Mr Smith It must [...]

The bureaucratic science-machine broke science, and people are starting to ask how to fix it

Science is broken. The genius, the creative art of scientific discovery, has been squeezed into a square box, sieved through grant applications, citation indexes, and journal rankings, then whatever was left gets crushed through the press. We tried to capture the spirit of discovery in a bureaucratic formula, but have strangled it instead.

There are no shortcuts to the truth, or to status, and no easy way to figure out which projects should be funded. Every time a decision is crowd sourced — via committee, panel, or “consensus” — the responsibility for thinking gets divided and avoided.

The modern bureaucratic process of science is now not even trying to search for the truth. It’s hunting instead for an impact factor, for attention, for headlines, and inevitably, for funding.

It is good to see people starting to discuss it — including the Lancet Editor, Richard Horton, who wrote in April that he could not name names, but it needed to be said:

“A lot of what is published is incorrect.” I’m not allowed to say who made this remark because we were asked to observe Chatham House rules. Those who worked for government agencies pleaded that their comments especially [...]