Friday, April 27, 2012

And now for a little nausea overhang on a Friday ...

(Above: remember this? Senator Nick Minchin praises smokers 'dying early')

There's a reason that the pond didn't watch the hoo-hah about climate change drummed up by the ABC in search of faux ratings.

And won't watch it even on catch-up TV. Not when one could catch up on episodes of Get Smart.

And it's summed up in Nick Minchin's subsequent bit of special pleading in the Fairfax press All can agree on green energy, but the rest is alarmist.

Here's the way Minchin presents his case:

I'm sure that I did not change her mind, but I hope she saw that not all sceptics are mad, bad and dangerous; that there remains a lively scientific debate about the drivers of climate change, and that scaremongering about global warming is backfiring on the warmists.

So it's not about science, it's about verbal abuse, scaremongering and warmists. That's about the sophisticated level of debate the pond adopts when delivering a homily about Angry Anglicans on a Sunday.

Okay for juvenilia fon a blog, risible when it comes to adult conversation about a matter of some scientific importance, and typical of a politician who only ever knew how to function as an attack dog.

Along the way you get the usual conflation of bits and pieces which amount to a world view, but do nothing to establish the truth of the matter:

Oddly, what he doesn't argue is exactly the science - and that is because reality has got in the way of the theory. Indeed, the absence of warming since 1998 - despite rising CO2 levels and contrary to Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predictions - shakes the foundations of the alarmists' cause, as the Green icon James Lovelock, father of the Gaia theory, recognised this week.

Uh huh. So you might race off and read the New Scientist. Climate myths: Global warming stopped in 1998:

In fact, the planet as a whole has warmed since 1998, sometimes even in the years when surface temperatures have fallen.

But why bother? Why wonder why 1998 is always trotted out? Why give Minchin, a non-scientist if ever there was one, the time of day?

Why is James Lovelock trotted out these days? Back in his gaia-loving extremist days, sceptics would trot out Lovelock as a classic example of pure fruit and nutty muesli. Now he does a little a recanting, and suddenly everyone in the world of News Limited discovers he's a font of revelation. Does it ever occur to them that if he was a mad as a march hare extremist once upon a time, he might still be one today?

Minchin shows all the signs of having drunk the rhetorical kool-aid:

Despite the hype of the Al Gores and Tim Flannerys, the drought has ended, our cities aren't being submerged, we still have polar bears and neither polar ice cap is disappearing.

And so all's well in the world and no doubt it will get even better when the population hits nine billion. But did anyone who's sensible say that cities would be submerged by end of year, polar bears would be extinct by five o'clock today and the polar ice caps would melt by midnight? At least those outside the world of apocalyptic Hollywood movies and rapture-riddled Christians ...

An extremist functions best by deploring extremes, as a way of disguising their own fundamentalist extremism.

But here's the deepest logical flaw:

If there is to be any common ground between sceptics and warmists, this surely must be it. Let's work to make green energy a realistic, affordable alternative, instead of stupidly trying to make conventional energy so incredibly expensive that we'll stop using it.

Why? If global warming isn't occurring, and if carbon doesn't have an impact on the environment, why search for green energy? What's virtuous about green energy? Why not just keep digging coal out of the ground and shipping it off to China and India, and incidentally making a fucking fortune for a few billionaires who need the extra cash?

What's so virtuous about green energy if it's useless and irrelevant? Oh sure there might be a few smog clouds over Gippsland, but that disperses with a good wind, and then the world goes on, with nothing changing, and everything hunky dory.

And if you believe that chairman Rupert Murdoch has a tale or two about how a few bad apple lawyers ruined everything.

And there's another problem. Minchin presents himself as open-minded and willing to learn, but all you get in the piece is a repetition by rote of a few talking points, a mish-mash of ignorance and misinformation, all designed to reinforce the bee in Minchin's bonnet.

What I have learnt about science recently is that it is dynamic, that there are always unknowns and that there is in particular much that we don't know about the Earth's climate.
May the debate continue.

Uh huh. But isn't the debate over? Hasn't the debate been settled since 2007, by the court of public opinion, always a sure guide to matters of substance in science?

Anna and those of her persuasion need to recognise that public concern about global warming peaked in 2007 and has been in decline ever since, partly because the credibility of alarmists has sunk.

Alarmists! But the public isn't worried. They know the debate is over, settled, thanks to Minchin and his cohort of truth-tellers. Who all seem to dwell, at one time or another, in Fox News and The Australian.

Well in the same spirit, it can safely be said that Minchin isn't a debater or a learner or a considerer, he's a denialist. And a pretty thick one at that. Yeah, there's a knock-down argument, and let's not bother about the minutia of actual science.

Watch Minchin travel around debating climate science with his own preferred brand of loons?

Bah humbug, the pond would rather be watching chairman Rupert explain how it's all the fault of a couple of bad lawyers ...

The reality? Minchin is going through the usual symptoms involving the withdrawal of political relevancy, and somehow thinks this sort of posing is relevant, rather than nausea-inducing. There's nothing more tedious than an ex-politician trying hard not to be an ex.

But it's equally hard to blame him, when the ABC is the real bear with very little programming brain left these days ...

Bring on the block, the voice, the over-weight, the anorexic, the steam-cleaner sales people, the double-bladed saw sellers.

Anyone, anything, provided it doesn't feature the self-satisified, bloated self-regard and complacency of Nick Minchin ...

Why doesn't he just keep writing letters to the editor of The Australian?

(Below: speaking of nausea).


  1. Thanks for this. I choose not to watch this travesty. As always I prefer to read your summary of the loons and again you have exceeded my expectations.Thanks for your daily dose of sanity

  2. Nick Minchin: an ex-pollie (and not a very good one) with an immature need to seek attention at whatever cost.


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