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Oct 28, 2011

Climate scientists slam George Pell's 'utter rubbish' claims

Leading climate change researchers have launched a scathing attack on a speech delivered this week by Cardinal George Pell, describing it as "dreadful", "utter rubbish" and "flawed"., writes Graham Readfearn.

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Leading climate change researchers have launched a scathing attack on a speech delivered this week by Cardinal George Pell, describing it as “dreadful”, “utter rubbish” and “flawed”.

The Archbishop of Sydney Cardinal Pell, Australia’s most senior Catholic, is a long-time denier of the risks posed by human-caused climate change.

But he has taken his climate confusion right to the heart of England’s Catholic church, with a speech (you can read the whole thing here) delivered at Westminster’s Cathedral Hall.

During the speech, Pell claimed that global warming has “stopped”, that CO2 was “not a pollutant, but part of the stuff of life” and that if carbon dioxide in the atmosphere was doubled, then “plants would love it”.

The speech was given at the invitation of the Global Warming Policy Foundation — a think-tank founded in November 2009 by former UK chancellor Lord Nigel Lawson. An edited version of the speech was reproduced in The Australian yesterday.

Crikey asked several climate change researchers, including senior figures at the Bureau of Meteorology, CSIRO and leading research groups, to review the statements in Pell’s speech.

Professor Chris Turney, ARC Laureate Fellow in Climate Change at the University of New South Wales, told Crikey: “It’s all dreadful stuff, cherry picking statements to suit a belief which just doesn’t stack up against the weight of scientific evidence.”

In one section of the speech, Pell cites several climate change sceptics as proof that the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change, which provides guidance on the science to the UN, was “essentially reliant on computer modelling and lack empirical support”.

But Dr Karl Braganza, Manager of Climate Monitoring at the Bureau of Meteorology, said: “The notion that climate science lacks empirical evidence is specious. There is lots of observational evidence for the greenhouse effect, and the enhanced greenhouse effect.

“More generally, the idea that climate models are somehow outside the realms of normal science is flawed.  Complex system modeling using extremely well established physics and chemistry is the basis of modern day science. We use technology on a daily basis that is the result of insights from such modelling.”

Professor Steven Sherwood, of the UNSW Climate Change Research Centre, also said the claim the IPCC lacked empirical support was “false”.

He added: “IPCC estimates of past and future global warming are based mainly on analyses of past climate variations published in the peer-reviewed literature.  Computer models are used mainly to test that we understand what the past data are telling, us, and to predict regional details of future climates.”

Dr James Risbey, a senior climatologist at CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research, said: “Pell’s point that the IPCC’s conclusions are essentially dependent on the models is wrong.  Most of what is known about climate change and summarized in the IPCC is grounded on solid radiative physics and thermodynamic principles, and is well verified in the observational and paleoclimate record.”

Citing University of Adelaide geologist and mining company director Professor Ian Plimer, Pell said in the speech major volcanic eruptions were not being considered by climate models.

But Mike Sandiford, professor of geology at the University of Melbourne, said: “Pell refers to geologist Ian Plimer’s estimate of volcanic contributions to CO2 emissions, but volcanologists have demonstrated that Plimer’s estimate of volcanogenic CO2 emissions is too high by a factor of about 100. Plimer is just plain wrong on the volcanogenic CO2 emissions, and should be ignored.”

Professor Andy Pitman, director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science at the University of News South Wales, described the speech as “a combination of irrelevant statements with statements that are utter rubbish”.

At one point, Pell claims that “since 2001 carbon dioxide has increased by five per cent, but the atmosphere has failed to warm”.

Professor Pitman said: “This is a red-herring. CO2 acts on long time scales and there is literature — peer reviewed literature — that explains this in terms of masking of the warming by aerosols and La Nina.”

On a claim that the world had “cooled slightly” since 1998, Pitman added: “Whether it did or did not warm in a 10-year period is utterly irrelevant to global warming which is a multi-decadal phenomenon described by climatological timescales. Pell has presumably been told this but his statements continue to confuse climate CHANGE with climate VARIABILITY.”

Professor Roger Jones, of Victoria University, was a lead IPCC author for a 2007 report on “New Methods and Characterisations of the Future.”

Jones reviewed a section of the speech where Pell said climate change variants including “water vapour multipliers, sunspot activities and cloud formation, as well as deforestation, soil carbon and aerosols” were not well understood, as were “asteroid and comet impacts, and variations in cosmic rays.”

Jones said: “It’s hard to tell whether this is Gish’s Gallop, Pell’s Polka or Plimer’s Passe Doble. It’s a variant of yeti spotting when you’re completely lost and trying to convince your followers you know what you’re doing.”

He said water vapours were part of climate models, but there was still uncertainty about their distribution in atmosphere.

Jones added: “Clouds are pretty well agreed to be a positive feedback — this is not accepted by the denial industry. The background incidence of asteroids and comets is somewhat infrequent and a red herring. The other stuff is just not evident in past climates. The orbital characteristics are known but not big drivers on current timescales.”

As well as being at odds with the scientific evidence, Pell’s statement is also at odds with the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, which in April said: “We call on all people and nations to recognise the serious and potentially irreversible impacts of global warming caused by the anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases and other pollutants, and by changes in forests, wetlands, grasslands, and other land uses.”

Professor Turney added: “The simple fact is greenhouse gases keep the planet warm. Indeed, if they were to disappear from the atmosphere overnight, the temperature would plummet from a balmy average of around 14C to some -21C.

“If we flood the atmosphere with carbon, putting more greenhouse gases into the air, you would therefore expect the planet to warm further.

“As the famous quote goes, ‘Every scientific truth goes through three states: first, people say it conflicts with the Bible; next, they say it has been discovered before; lastly they say they always believed it.’ Looks like some are still in the first state.”

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190 thoughts on “Climate scientists slam George Pell’s ‘utter rubbish’ claims

  1. Liz A

    There has been a fairly vigorous debate about this on a Pure Poison thread over a couple of day now, and I will cross post my last blog entry from there to here as it is relevant.

    Someone sent me a link to an article on the Independent Catholic News website. Independent Catholic News is based in the UK and “Our aim is to provide speedy and accurate news coverage of all subjects of interest to Catholics and the wider Christian community.”


    The article pwns Pell and his views. It includes such gems as:

    [Members of the Columban Missionary Society and Fr Joe Ryan of Westminster Justice and Peace, challenged the Cardinal for accusing those calling for climate action as being scaremongers. Fr Ryan pointed out that the May 2011 report of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences on ‘Fate of Mountain Glaciers in the Anthropocene’ did not deliberately set out to scaremonger when it listed numerous examples of glacial decline around the world, and the evidence linking that decline to human-caused changes in climate and air pollution…The document is available on the Vatican website.]


    [Tim Aldred of Progressio said: “it is strange that the Cardinal calls for action only on the basis of evidence, whilst apparently dismissing the evidence-based conclusions of (amongst others) the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and NASA”]


    [Columban Father Sean McDonagh, who has written a book about Climate Change, said he feels Cardinal Pell is out of step with Vatican policy. He points out that a joint communiqué issued by the Holy See and the British Government last September, during the papal visit, clearly indicates the Vatican’s position. ]


    [Father McDonagh said he feels it is “very regrettable” that Cardinal Pell is “planting seeds of doubt” about Climate Change just one month before the next round of UN climate negotiations in South Africa. Just last week, in his message for World Food Day, Pope Benedict said that “availability of foods is increasingly conditioned by volatility of prices and sudden climatic changes”.]

    I’ll take my glass of schadenfreude with a wafer, to go thanks Cardinal Pell.

  2. Diogenes

    Just add George Pell to the list of those intelligent educated people – Barry Jones, Phillip Adams, even Gus Nossal come to mind – who say more than they are qualified by expertise or personal research on climate change for non-rational reasons. But now let’s move on to something much more interesting…..

    No it is not the Richard Muller news which, so far as appears from The Age’s secondhand opinion piece this morning, only says that the earth has been warming for about a century which is no news at all (except that it has been going on for at least 250 years).

    It is the absolutely devastating (until rebutted which seems unlikely) book by Donna Laframboise “The Delinquent Teenager Who Was Mistaken for the World’s Top Climate Expert”.

    I haven’t finished reading my $4.99 Kindle edition of it so haven’t done what passes for due diligence these days and seached the WWW for commentary or – as I emphasise most unlikely – effective refutation (though expect plenty of attempts to divert the attention of those who will only read secondhand reports about the book).

    Read it. It reads as a great thriller, beautifully or at least logically, literately and lucidly written.

    It so undermines the credit we tend to give to the IPCC, especially its summaries for policy makers and its supposed expertise and honesty, to the journalists who appear to report on clmate issues (but miss many big stories which don’t fit the preconceived story) and even natonal science bodies that we should probably all start again and ask why we are wasting so much money (a question that applies a fortiori in Australia where nothing we do can affect the outcome except being rich enough to adapt to whatever happens).

  3. Scott

    While I believe that climate change is occuring, I think it is important to listen to people like Pell as he does have something to say. He isn’t an idiot (he has a Phd from Oxford in Church History and a Masters in Education from Monash) and he is an influential man and a extremely good communicator. Don’t be blinded by his position in the catholic church (as most of the atheists do)

    A couple of interesting points he makes.

    1. At the end of the day, there are flaws in the computer models. There are around 20 Global circulation models out there which give you 20 different forecasts for climate in the future. The models are sure to suffer some sort of bias depending on the unique assumptions used and the fact that every determinant of climate has yet to be determined (thus there would be OVB in the models used). Most well funded research uses an average of all 20 computer models when forecasting to get the most accurate prediction, but statistically, you need around 120 models to get an estimate based on a normal distribution (which is the gold standard)

    2. A lot of what he says regarding Lorenz is true; to accurately predict the future climate, you need to know the current state of the climate and the forcing effects at a particular point, which is said to be extremely difficult with non-linear systems like atmosphere and the Ocean. Indeed, some peer reviewed papers seems to think that because of the non-linear nature of these determinants, it is impossible to predict climate with any degree of accuracy beyond a few decades, yet to read some of the papers, that is exactly what some of them do.

    3. The question of prevention vs adaption is an argument that needs to be addressed (I like the ark reference), if only as a fall back plan if we cant reverse the effects of climate change using current methods.

    The way I read the Pell article, he is expressing some doubt over the science (maybe a little too much but there are some issues there), but also asking us to question whether there are some things (like climate) that are outside man’s ability to control (hence the Canute reference). As a church leader, it’s not an unusual question to ask.

  4. Diogenes

    Jolyon Wagg, the is he a knave or a fool question is often a puzzle and it is in your case unless you are just showing what overindulgence in Happy Hour can produce in the way of verbal folly’.

    I did not once mention a novel or novels. It is entirelyof your manufacture and, in fact, I read about one novel a year. Laframboise’s book is deadly serious and deserves the time you might spend on three days of Crikey.

    What you say about the burden of proof sounds sensible – for a nanosecond. The application of the principle you espouse would have halted the use of just about everything needed for the successive technological and economic revolutions, not least the Industrial Revolution, which have given us a life expectancy of 80 instead of 30 and the means to enjoy it all while other non-ruling class people also do. Consider the consequences of taking too seriously the fear voiced by the great Lord Kelvin when President of the Royal Society that coal burning might use up all the oxygen in the atmosphere.
    Not only would it have been possible to raise fears about the dire effect on the environment of most of the great developments of the last 250 years but it would also be true that there was an element of truth, even much truth, in many of the apprehensions as well as totally unforeseen bad consequences. (One might even include the provision of modern medicine to societies still in a Malthusian condition of reproduction).

    The point is that no broad brush rules of thumb suffice. Close attention to detail is essential. And, unfortunately, the detail is being provided mostly, because that is where the big government money is, by a body which, on the evidence in Laframboise’s book, is not run by scientists (though there are some, and Laframboise has described their behavour in ways which suggests they are not behaving as scientists) but by politically appointed bureaucrats with preconceived political or philosophical agenda, sometimes personal such as Pachauri’s.

    As to the “peer reviewed stuff” you might care to do some homework. The subject is dealt with in Laframboise’s book and, more generally, the value of peer review is reflected on by the major work of Ionnadis and his team on the publshed medical research which you might conveniently catch up with if you read David Freedman’s article in a recent Atlantic Monthly, and also in an ABC RN interview. More directly to the point, if you were taking a serious open minded interest in something which our politicians had better get right you would have come across the articles which note at least 5000 peer reviewed articles which cast doubt on the IPCC’s headline oversmplifications. (Despite the corruption of the whole IPCC process as described by Laframboise, the small print usually makes it clear that the IPCC has no firm predictions).

  5. Veronica Guy

    Why does anyone give any airtime anymore to any religite with a title? They are all up to their eyeballs in hogwash.

    Scott says “He isn’t an idiot (he has a Phd from Oxford in Church History and a Masters in Education from Monash) and he is an influential man and a extremely good communicator. Don’t be blinded by his position in the catholic church (as most of the atheists do)”.

    Excuse me, but why does having a degree in Church History(!!!) or a Masters in Education (??) guarantee Pell’s lack of idiocy? I should also add that I am not blinded by his position in the Catholic Church; I see the abuse of power that he wields oh so very clearly!

    He has no understanding of science (obviously) and if he is talking to the Mad Monk then both of them should be locked up in the asylum, not given a dais from which to spruik superstitious and dissembling rubbish.

    Climate Change science is a far more exacting intellectual exercise than either of these two have synapses available to appreciate. And they obviously are not interested in increasing their synaptic capacity by opening their wee brains to further understanding of the real, physical world about them. And some people here, on this forum, are prepared to give both of these twits credence?? Sheesh.

    The big problem is the number of ordinary decent people who happen to have been born into Roman Catholicism who rely on this ridiculous man to speak on their behalf. I have one such friend who thinks Pell knows of what he speaks. It is a worry.

  6. Flower

    Rest assured many of the enlightened Catholic clergy cringe when this dogmatic fool spruiks uneducated nonsense about climate change.

    Pell’s hosts, the GWPF was founded at the same time as the climategate emails were released. At the time of GWPF’s foundation the average age of its trustees was 74. Dads’ Army?

    No doubt Pell would have been briefed by GWPF’s ‘Academic Advisory Council’ – not least by one member, Ian Plimer. Indeed a collusion between Plimer and Pell would certainly make wacko bedfellows since Plimer is an anti-creationist. Plimer published a book titled “Telling lies for God.” Plimer had the pants sued off him by the creationists he teased and tormented so he ended up $400,000 out of pocket. The link to his begging bowl, to recover litigious costs remains on the web where the author pleads: “I would urge you most sincerely to contribute to the Plimer Fighting Fund.”

    In his lecture, the cardinal refers to Thomas Aquinas: “The argument from authority based on human reason” is the weakest form of argument always liable to logical refutation.”

    Really? Recently eminent theologian Bart Ehrman and professor of religious studies at the U of North Carolina released his book: “Forged: Writing in the Name of God — Why the Bible’s Authors Are Not Who We Think They Are.”

    “Thus Christians aiming to authorize views they wanted others to accept wrote in the name of the Apostles, fabricating, falsifying and forging documents,” writes Professor Ehrman.

    Ditto! I would suggest that before Cardinal Pill touts any further for faux sceptics , he has an obligation to provide us with modelling, satellite images and a DNA sample of his supernatural deity which just may afford him a smidgin of credibility.

    Oh ye hypocrite!

  7. Diogenes

    Michael R James

    How pathetic that you and most of the other petty parrots on this blog come across as afflicted as much as George Pell with the need to believe the unprovable (as AGW so far is and a Creator God no doubt always will be). Can’t you tolerate uncertainty and accommodate to the necessity of still making some important decisions after doing one’s best to weigh the probabilities, costs and benefits?

    (BTW I haven’t more than glanced at the article and have no intention of reading Pell’s lecture. I am not interested in his views on climate change though I might have a look if I some day want to compare his rationality on that subject with his rationality in relation to the existence of a Creator God. My sole purpose in blogging was to introduce to people I wrongly presumed would live up to their pretence to be interested in reality a book which I suspect may be a real game changer for the absolutely undeniably shonky crew running the IPCC and those who have relied on them).

    Does your taking note of the French meaning of the Canadian author Donna Framboise’s surname mean you are seriously attentive to words and their meanings? No, I’m afraid not. Your reference to her as a “denialist guru” simply shows that your language is as clichéd as your thinking. If you had read her book you would know that neither part of the description fits at all. Gurus rely on their ipse dixit authority for the simple or lazy minded. By contrast she does not deny scientfically established facts such as the continual warming of the earth over most of the last 250 years but forensically destroys, on the basis of extraordinarily thorough research over about two years (not that I have checked all her footnotes and references) the right of the IPCC to be given credit for truth or good science.

    Why not read the book? It doesn’t cost much and doesn’t take long to read.

  8. Jolyon Wagg

    Apologies Diogenes…from the way you were pitching the book I presumed it was a novel

    [It reads as a great thriller, beautifully or at least logically, literately and lucidly written. ]

    If I was trying to interest people in a non-fiction work I would probably emphasis the qualifications of the writer to contribute to the subject at hand. Unfortunately that wouldn’t have worked too well in this case given that Laframboise’s only qualifications are in women’s studies (a fine discipline, to be sure, but not the ideal background for pontificating about climate change).

    Seeing that you like books that challenge the prevailing wisdom here are a couple that should interest you…

    The Sanctity of Human Blood: Vaccination is Not Immunization by Tim O’Shea (apparently he is a doctor so shoud know his stuff). Very enthusiastically reviewed by most on Amazon (apparently its a rip-snorting bodice ripper). Unfortunately there are a few critics as well, but they are presumably lying their hearts out.

    Inventing the AIDS Virus by Peter Duesberg (apparently he is a member of the United States National Academy of Sciences and a professor of molecular and cell biology at the University of California, Berkeley and a leading figure in AIDS denialism). Again very enthusiastically reviewed by most on Amazon (apparently it is action-packed and beautifuly written). Sadly, there are, again, a few critics who are presumably lying their hearts out.

    Are you the Diogenes from Poll Bludger who is also a medico? If so, I bet you will be itching to read these books and apply the principles in your medical practice. If not…why not?

  9. michael r james

    @DIOGENES Posted Saturday, 29 October 2011 at 12:08 am

    I will wait to see if anyone I might trust will give a review of Laframboise’s book to indicate I would not just be wasting my time. So far every indication is that it is just another amateur denialist writing a load of nonsense. But your endorsement is almost enough (to make me not want to even open the front page).

    And you, my insulting anonymous twit can believe any conspiracy theory you choose but you cannot insist someone has to read a particular book to hold a reasoned point of view. I have worked for 35 years as a PhD research scientist and have published >100 scientific papers in peer-reviewed international science journals, so unlike you, I have an idea of how to judge claims and likelihoods. I am guessing you haven’t read a single primary-source scientific paper on global warming, including any of the 5,000 you/Laframboise claim are by scientists who disagree with the IPCC. Sure, just like Plimer and Monckton make the same claims but none of which stand up; some real scientists have spent lots of time tracking the references down and even contacting those cited scientists, all of whom deny that their work ever supported the statements made by Monckton et al.

    Just because Laframboise (and BTW she might prefer you managed to get her name right) is a sometime journalist does not give her any particular bona fides on this subject. Andrew Bolt is a journalist too–though like Laframboise, also does not have a qualification (she actually holds a degree in women’s studies); then again the same is true for Tony Abbott.

    And here’s the thing. You do not need qualifications if you want to critically read what a large number of bona fide scientists write on a subject. You can come to a decision as to credibility. BUT if you wish to disbelieve what they say, well now you are in completely different territory. To hope to write credibly dismissing what thousands and thousands of scientists say, you would need a whole bunch of skills it takes half a lifetime to acquire. You would have to have some basic understanding of peer-review. And then you would have to be able to write your alternative view of reality and have it published (not anonymously) in a peer-reviewed publication to expect anyone other than the most gullible ignorant twit to even bother reading it. But then I am a scientist (not a climate scientist) so obviously I am just part of this massive world-wide conspiracy that you and Laframboise believe in.

  10. Diogenes

    Jolyon Wagg

    Thank you for your recommendations but assume they were intended to be something that might particularly interest a medical doctor. I am not a doctor, not even one of those medicos who imagine themselves to be scientists but are (usually) not. My life for decades has been much more directed to assessing the logic and evidence of claims to truth of apparently intelligent people.

    You suggest that I ought to emphasise the qualifications of someone whose book I want people to read but then, rather illogically, point to Laframboise’s apparent lack of qualifications. You seem to be ignoring the point that her book is that of an investigative journalist examining with apparently diligent and scrupulous attention to what her extensive and intensive research turned up. She is examining an institution and, apart from points that can be made as a matter of logic (my favourite is the absence of strong empirical evidence that the essential positive feedback exists, but that is my sceptica point rather than hers) she is not making criticisms of the science so as to make her scientific qualificatons or lack of them relevant.

    MY REASON FOR POSTING ABOVE ALL IS TO FLUSH OUT ANY SERIOUS CRITICISM OF HER BOOK BY SOMEONE WHO CARES ENOUGH ABOUT THE CREDIT OF THE IPCC TO READ IT AND ALL ITS FOOTNOTES AND AT LEAST MOST OF ITS REFERENCES. WHY? BECAUSE IF SHE IS RIGHT THE CASE THAT POLITICIANS ARE ACTING ON AND JOURNALISTS FOR THE MOST PART TAKING AS A GIVEN IS BUILT ON SAND. (Which is not to say that all the scientific papers which support elements of the AGW hypothesis including it disaster scenarios are to be disregarded. I’m afraid I have to spell that out for the typical careless readers of Crikey blogs who will not see the logic of the capitlised statement unless forced to attend.)

  11. Diogenes

    Michael R James

    You write more like a believer in authority like all those adherents of religions down the ages who went along with the mob than a scientist who prides himself with justification on his independent judgment and rigorous standards of evidence. For example, how do you justify any superiorty over me in your qualifications to assess the merits of what Laframboise says – even, as it seems, without reading something that I have read? Evidence please? Why do you drag in the word “conspiracy” unless to show that you don’t have much idea what the word means to those for whom it has a precise legal meaning substantially reflecting the ordinary meaning which requires conscious and deliberate co-ordination of efforts to do something wrong. (There is a bit of that in Laframboise but only a bit. Not that you would know.)

    I note your claims to 35 years as a scientist though not with one jot of justification for your claiming to be better at assessiing the state of cliimate science than, say, a barrister with a long history of dealing with expert witnesses. Your PhD and claim of published articles leaves me quite unimpressed – not least as an excuse for your pathetic pretence that you don’t have the time to have a look at the Laframboise book, to which I shall return. I used both Bing and Google to look for evidences of your standing. All I found was a single article written with no lesss than 9 co-authors on a subject of no relevance at all to establishing your credentials to have a worthwhile view on climate science. So why, I found myself asking, was this fellow, after 35 years as a scientist not a full professor? Did you ever apply or was it early made clear that you weren’t marked for any promotion or recognition? I ask as one who has served on many professorial selection committees nearly always as an outsider to the discipline and therefore very attentive to such detail and nuances as the exact words of referees might be intended to convey. I usually found that my reading between the lines was correct when I checked with referees. I wonder if you ever wondered whether referees were really supporting you or were dropping heavy enough hints that you had no people skills, were never going to hack it as an academic leader or serious researcher or whatever – and please check with me if you, the committee member, have the gumption to read between the lines.

    So, though you know very little about me – and all I am asking for is someone to read a book and tell me why it is wrong it it is – but you have disclosed yourself as a second rate (if I don’t flatter you) academic who has so much invested in non-rational belief (just like George) that he has to pretend that his time is too precious to spend a few minutes even on something that might upset his fragile ego and equanimity. Sorry if this gets close to the bone but you asked for it by your choice of words (e.g. twit) and your arrogant baseless claim to superior qualifications to judge the book in question (even unread!!).

    As for lacking the time to check out the book!!! BTW, don’t you feel a responsibility to read it and stop it poisoning the climate debate rather than passively sitting back and waiting for someone you know to tell you it is a book worth reading? You could at least send a few journalists your bullet points made while reading a few chapters. But this laughable time business of yours…..

    We know your time is not taken up with your being a serious scientist doing serious work or you wouldn’t be a Crikey blogger at all and certainly not one who contributes not a word of serious argument on a subject you obviously regard as important. Andrew Glikson at least, with some reluctance, does occasionally give serious replies to queries raised on blogs.

    So, unless you would reject the work of any investigative journalist analysing problems of the Roman Catholic church as an institution because the journalist wasn’t a Catholic or a theologian, I suggest that you dare to upset yourself by reading something which is not to do with science so much as the human, often political, behaviour of a lot of people (bureaucrats rather than scientists acting as scientists) appointed to serve certain politically determined ends under the auspices of the UN. If you find that you cannot answer the book’s charges you might find yourself a job. That job would be to see if you can rescue the real climate science from the mess the IPCC has condemned it to. Or of course you might be able to answer the book’s charges…..

  12. Diogenes

    David Allen?? No the marvellous Irish comedian is dead (he comes to mind when the Pope gets even a walk on part) so you must just be the pathetic hanger on of a second rate largely inactive scientist with no expertise in climate related sciences. I say “pathetic” because you purport to be able to contribute to a discussion where some minimal intellectual quality is required if it is to be worth anything other than as a whinging ground but can’t see that what I have contributed has nothing to do with the denial of “the science” that you raise totally irrelevantly but with the alleged failings of an instituton. Those failings may indeed have importance for people’s structures of belief based on authority (of all those thousands of scientific experts that are supposed to validate the IPCC’s work – but, crucially, of the IPCC itself) .

    That you are close to feeble minded is a necessary suspicion when you raise (albeit irrelevantly) as your criterion for scientific credibility such elementary stuff as

    “Before paying any attention at all to deniers I ask a them a couple of questions.

    1> Do you know the difference between temperature and heat? Demonstrate.

    2> Do you know what latent heat of fusion is? Demonstrate.

    Generally I am met with stony silence.

    So off you go Diogenes et al.””

    I didn’t have to get First Class Honours in Physics, which I did, to know such stuff. I knew it at 12 or at latest 13. I wonder whether you know what the Stefan Boltzmann constant is and why it is important? Perhaps you would, after all, prefer stony silence.

  13. Diogenes

    Jolyon Wagg

    I apologise that I feel compelled to correct an error you have made again. You say

    “The point I was making is that there are many contrarian books on Amazon. I think the only reason that you are so excited about this one is that it confirms your own preconceptions. That seems a bit sad to me.”

    What it says about your style of thought and preconceptions and a somewhat imaginative substitution of fancy for evidence might be thought of no more interest than my illustration (by reference to the positive feedback question) of the limited nature of the science dealt with in Laframboise’s book was to you, or anyone wanting to deal in hard scientific fact but it is worth telling you perhaps that y0u are plain wrong.

    While I was once willing to accept that AGW was an important enough problem to justify a lot of hard thinking and probably action I am now quite agnostic about the science because it is so clear that Australia’s only rational policy is to make ourselves as rich as possible, with much enlarged Future Fund like the Norwegians, so we can cope with whatever changing climate may inflict upon us since we know nothing we do or say can affect the outcome and we shouldn’t waste vast sums of money which could be put to better use looking after the aged, Aborigines, education etc. (I don’t include the Maldive Islanders whose President tells lies about their supposedly being AGW victims and puts his hand out for big money).

    What I

  14. Charles Kerr

    All those having too much fun kicking the Catholic Church can stop reading now. I know it deserves it on many occasions, but …

    What I cannot understand is that no-one in the debate refers to the document published 11 May 2011 commissioned by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences:
    “Fate of the Mountain Glaciers in the Anthropocene”


    Included in this report is the headline: “Individuals and Nations have a Duty to Act Now”

    I don’t claim that this report is the end of the debate. But I after discovered it (early June), I emailed the link to Dr. Pell and over 20 Federal and State politicians. I included all parties, independents and my 2 local (Liberal) members. I recieved one (irrelevent) response.

    I have searched in vain for a reference to it in Dr. Pells address. I would LOVE to read a response to it from him or the Leader of the Opposition.

    Not all christians are anti-science. Some us hold that two different domains can address similar truths.

  15. Diogenes

    David Allen

    I salute your civulity, indeed at the risk of going over the top, your urbanity. That you didn’t rev your brain up earlier I can understand since you were merely blogging in the minimalist sense rather than preaching pretentiously. After all a retired engineer frend, who had recently been a senior executive of a major corporate body, told me earnestly over the dinner table a few years ago of his concern with AGW based on just the undoubted (and it is) rise in global temperatures over the last 50 (or maybe it was 150) years concident with rises in CO2 emissions combined with the equally undeniable fact of CO2 being a greenhouse gas. I don’t remember him saying the standard of proof achieved justified wasting billions that could be better spent on futile carbon tax or emissions trading schemes but my point is that I don’t demand that all adequately intelligent conscientious people turn up the wattage of their cerebration on the subject to burning point – unless it is the Michael R James’s of this world whose pretensions are too provoking.
    We all suffer (and benefit, it is pragmatically unavoidable) from intellectual inertia based on group think, cultural background, half understood memories of early school lessons etc. Mine happens to include a habit of being provoked by bad arguments (part of my aspirations to have clever children perhaps) and my growing ten years or so of interest in the AGW issue has given me plenty of fodder for irritation and sharp response, mostly, but not by any means only, from the alarmist camp. Hence I trust you will accept the withdrawal of any insult.

  16. Diogenes

    Jolyon Wagg

    Your point about punctuation taken. I am a pretty good savage nitpicking editor but too often skip its final application to my own output, which I acknowledge is discourteous to readers (of which I know I have one in this case). (I should have split that last sentence with a full stop after “output” for starters.) BTW what do you think the rule should be for closing brackets before or after a full stop?

    You are right to doubt my “honours thesis”. In fact it was only Matriculation though that didn’t really affect the point I was making. Those were the days when one did six hours of papers in Pure and Applied Maths (which I did take a bit further than Matric) and doing the the equivalent of Vegie Maths was not regarded as acceptable if you could do maths and sciences (as well as Latin, if not Greek, etc)

    Let me note, however, that you could do with a bit of self-editing yourself. What you say is perfectly clear but how could you, after a second thought, say of the carbon tax that, the Australian parliament having enacted it (if and when… I don’t think it is yet law as you imply) it is not worth talking about because the caravan passes on? (Perhaps we should all “move forward” as our top cliché mongers say). Do you really think for a moment that the carbon tax is anything but an enormouslylive political issue and will remain so at least until the next election? No, I credit you with intelligent second thoughts. However…

    Your remark is also inapt because I am not banging on (as in campaigning) but merely explaining the fixed points in my reasoning which should help you to understand that my agnosticism about the science is plausible and indeed genuine because it is a rational consequence of the view that I take of what is in Australia’s and Australians’ interests.

  17. extra

    Interesting that the Diane Framboise book (Shock! horror!! grad students (=underqualified) exploited (again) to prepare first drafts of IPCC report chapters!!!) made an early appearance in this discussion. Attacking the IPCC on credibility grounds seems to be one of the few avenues left to denialists where they feel confident of getting some traction. Problem for them is that the IPCC doesn’t do it’s own research, it synthesises the scientific work of thousands of scientists. Even if the synthesising were biased, it doesn’t alter the correctness of the supporting science. Anyway, the next IPCC report should be out in September 2014, and the Working Group 1 report – covering the science – due before that, in 2013.

    Science-based climate change sceptics are becoming an even lonelier little group of late, as more results come in. The Berkeley (BEST) has confirmed earlier work by researchers who have been vilified by the ‘ClimateGate’ email saga. Very difficult to hint darkly at conspiracy theories, when a couple of poster-person sceptic scientists were involved in BEST, and it was supported in part by $$ from the Koch Brothers.

    Another major scientific peg that denialists were hanging arguments on was claims by Roy Spencer and a few others that the climate system’s sensitivity to CO2 was so low that doubling the CO2 level would only raise temperature by about a degree, well below the IPCC’s best estimate of about 3 degrees. One of the few has recently submitted a paper acknowledging problems in his earlier work, and upping his estimate to about 2 degrees- within the error range of the IPCC estimate.

    Scientists still dispute about a number of issues, but these are disputes of priority and quantities, and regional impacts- they are not disputing about the basics. The denialists twist and turn, but it’s getting harder and harder for them.

    Yes, both David Allen, and Dermot Morgan (Father Ted) are dead. It seems that ‘s what happens when you take the piss out of the Irish Catholic Church.

  18. Diogenes

    Mr/Mrs/Miss/Ms/Lord/Lady EXTRA

    Do you know something which makes it worth asking your assistance or are you just a slightly unscrupulous supporter of the IPCC’s cause with whatever words come readily to hand?

    My understanding is that the supposed road to Damascus conversion of Prof Richard Muller and his team of temperature checkers is, when looked at closely, a bit of a yawn. If one reads his piece in the Wall Street Journal, as I have, it looks as though he was impressed by the indeed impressive evidence collected by Anthony Watts and his team of volunteers about the problems with the temperature records in the US and now has done a much more comprehensive survey which overturns the doubts that Watts’s work understandably aroused. So, what does that bring him to? To believing that records from a large part of the 30 per cent of the global surface which is not ocean show actual temperature increase over 50 plus years. That’s all. But it ain’t really news because not too many sceptics have believed the world hasn’t warmed in the last 50, 100, indeed 150 and more years. And there is more because Muller says, quite explicitly, in the WSJ, that he is not saying anything about the significance of the increase, its causes or its consequences. He doesn’t, for example, deal with the question of whether the Great Pacific Shift, alleged to be shown by the Chow Test, to be a critical occurrence in the late 1970s which explains (or could explain which is sufficient) a large part of the 50 year rise. (That means there was no straight line rise correlated to the rise in atmospheric CO2).

    Am I wrong? Can you enlarge on your point responsively to the points I raise?

    On your defence of the IPCC’s work and implied attack on Donna Laframboise’s book (not “Diane Framboise” I note in case you are tempted to buy and read the book) I find less ground for hope. It seems impossble that you have actually read the book, as I have, right through. I can assure you that it is brilliant investigative journalism with a forensic quality rarely seen in that genre. (My qualifications to my prima facie view of it and of its consequences for belief in “the science” I have already expressed). If the IPCC is shown to be a corrupt, incompetent and secretive organsation with a political agenda (indeed several political agenda) you rightly point out that it doesn’t invalidate whatever good science may demonstrate. As you say it doesn’t do more than select and purport to summarise some of the work of others (of whom a bare majority appear to be scientists or any degree of seniority or authority, however minimal) and it may be that its lies and exaggerations are unnecessary because “the science” is really all there to show the way to decarbonising the world. The trouble is you need to say where people should look to get any reason to believe that if the IPCC is shown to be untrustworthy. And it is important because the IPCC’s executve summaries are all that our politicians are likely to read and, therefore, to base expensive policies on.

  19. Diogenes


    I wondered what you could have found to applaud in Michael R. James’s non-responsive and largely irrelevant rant but now I see you were sympathetic to his saying how much hard work in science is needed to be able to form a view which disagrees with experienced scientists work.

    Up to a point you are obviously right, but you overlook a major exception. That is finding fault with the logic or with the completeness of an argument which does not require that the fault finder understand enough to say what might be done to cure the defect. Maybe you have never had the experience of being presented as an expert witness and shredded by cross-examination by a lawyer, or even MPs in a parliamentary committee, who know enough to test your case in reliance on your own evidence and what they have boned up for the purpose. It happens often however unfair the disgruntled and humiliated expert may find it. For a private example, I note that I have pointed out to a distinguished sceptical physcisist that his case that most of the additional atmospheric CO2 in the last 50 years could have come from the oceans overlooks the likelihood that it has derived from absorbtion in the colder high latitudes, subsequent mixing, and then re-emission from the tropical seas. I was not in his league as a scientific authority or thinker but could validly deny that he had proved his case – even though he had published his conclusions in a peer reviewed journal.

    You say nothing of the issue that provoked Michael R. James and which he sought to evade. That is the case made by the brilliant investigative journalist Donna Laframboise in her dissection of an institution, to wit the IPCC. So you say nothing to the view that might follow from concluding that the IPCC was so corrupt, incompetent and secretive that nothing which depended on its authoriity could be relied on. Or to the point that the basic hypothesis that AGW threatens disaster would need resurrection if one wipes out the alarmist views embodied in IPCC summarising reports. Has anyone but the IPCC even pretended or purported to collate the evidence as the IPCC says it has done? So what are we left with if Laframboise’s work stands as a demolition of the IPCC’s credit? [An article in The Australian today notes that four out of five of hundreds (from memory) of reviewers of the book on Amazon.com have given it five stars. Clearly it threatens to go viral. Time to read it and combat it if you find it unworthy of the worldwide influence it is rapidly acquiring].

  20. Flower

    @ Kevin Herbert: “Will you (anyone) rebutt Pell’s points.”

    Pell’s diatribe is a blurp of stupefying religious swill. Noah’s ark, the tower of Babel, Marduk, Babylon’s chief god and all the other nonsense is entirely irrelevant to climate change. Creationism or Intelligent Design does not have peer-reviewed scientific support. Nor does Pell’s multitudinous hibbity jibbity.

    1) Pell: Steve McIntyre is an academic.

    Pell is being deliberately deceitful. Note: “One who says, “I know him,” and doesn’t keep his commandments, is a liar, and the truth isn’t in him.” (1 John 2.4)

    Rebuttal: McIntyre has been listed as a “semi-retired Toronto minerals consultant” by the Wall Street Journal. McIntyre was exposed for having unreported ties to CGX Energy, Inc., an oil and gas exploration company, which listed McIntyre as a “strategic advisor.” He is the former President of Dumont Nickel Inc., and was President of Northwest Exploration Company Limited, the predecessor company to CGX Energy Inc.

    As of 2003, he was the strategic advisor of CGX Energy Inc. McIntyre has worked in mineral exploration for 30 years, much of that time as an officer or director of several public mineral exploration companies. “I’ve spent most of my life in business, mostly on the stock market side of mining exploration deals,” he said in 2009. In April 2011 Trelawney Mining and Exploration Inc of Toronto, Ontario, announced that McIntyre had been appointed to the company’s board of directors. On June 30, 2011, he was appointed Chairman of the Board of the company.

    2) Pell smears Dr. Greg Ayers, Director of Meteorology whining that 30,000 copies of Plimer’s “The Missing Science”was sold in Australia in a few months, but Ayers denounced it as “simply not scientific.”

    Rebuttal: So the sale of 30,000 copies means the contents of Plimer’s book must be scientific so let’s not pollute the discussion with the opinions of experts eh? Six million copies of “In God’s Name” was sold and not for its scientific content either.

    • ‘The Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church from the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace says: ‘The climate is a good that must be protected and reminds consumers and those engaged in industrial activity to develop a greater sense of responsibility for their behaviour.’

    • ‘One of the stronger local church statements comes from the 2005 position paper of the Australian Catholic Bishops: Climate Change: Our Responsibility to Sustain God’s Earth. The focus is not on the existence of climate change, but what to do about it: ‘Given the gravity of the problem, detailed and resolute responses need to be both swift and radical.’

    That somehow demolishes your argument Kevin Herbert that Pell is “101% right” though you’ve not yet produced an argument to substantiate the claim and appear incapable of saying why he’s right. I daresay though all would agree with your assumption that Pell is a “misogynist dimwit.”

  21. Diogenes


    I can’t find above (on my browser’s version anyway – but I can blame Telstra/Bigpond after recent experiences) your post which included:

    “@DIOGENES – I loved Dave Allen! He was about the only person who could make me laugh about the catholic church! It was impossible not to laugh at him. I don’t know of anyone else who comes close to how he’d tell stories – I just wish I could remember them all and was good at telling jokes – I’m not! I’m hopeless, but he was magic!

    When it comes to climate change, I believe the experts – not the two bit idiots who don’t know s**t from clay! I’ve recently seen the poor people in the Pacific and my heart goes out to them. There’s just too much evidence from the SCIENTISTS to disregard in my view. Anyway, even if we cleaned the planet up with renewables, I think of all those whose medical conditions could be prevented or improved with clean/cleaner air! I had a 2 week old with asthma, and it’s an awful thing to see! Very scary! I’ve had grandkids with asthma too! Awful!”

    You sound just the right person to appeal to on this blog – to exchange time wasted on this highly repetitive blog sniping at the old enemy in Rome (or, in this case, Sydney) from which there appears to be almost no dissent – for a small amount of time, and $4.99, spent with Laframboise’s online book. You might then begin to ask someone to actually identify the supposedly reliable scientists whose consensus one should accept. In doing a job on the IPCC Laframboise casts into doubt all the claims that the consensus of scientific work on climate has ever been honestly and competently studied and written up. But the reason I particularly want your opinion on it is your splendiid capacity for outrage!

    You will be absolutely outraged by either the IPCC, or, if you can find an answer to Laframboise’s charges, to Laframboise. I hope to enjoy the explosion from wherever I am in the world!

  22. Flower

    Laframboise is at the lower end of the unscientific blogging spectrum which attracts dills like Pete50 et al who run away when confronted with the evidence.

    And here we have yet another hack who thinks nothing of making a fast buck out of other people’s misery. Most of Laframboise’s work is poorly sourced and hypocritical and she’s adept at trying her hand at deception by alluding to any scientist (out of 2500 plus IPCC scientists) that can be shown to have a link to say Greenpeace or WWF. The twit of a woman then claims that the connection (no matter how remote) makes them ‘activists’. So how would one describe the sceptics who are IPCC contributors (past and present) who are sabotaging action on climate change and who Laframboise suggests are “IPCC outsiders?:”

    Short list of sceptics ( activists?) – IPCC contributors:

    Tol, Boehmer, Christiansen, Skea, Piellke Jnr, Christy, Morner, McKitrick, Goklany, Storch, Zorita, Labohm, Kininmonth, Kellow, Reiter, Balling, Spencer, Curry, de Freitas, Michaels, Bernstein etc.

    Short list – industrial and commercial IPCC contributors:

    Exxon, World Bank, Petroleum Corp. Jamaica, Chevron, Shell, Boeing etc.

    “IPCC outsiders?” You lie Laframboise. These are IPCC contributors. These are the losers and history will not be kind to them. These are the greed ideologues and religious nuts who want only to kill the IPCC. These are the fronts for the ecocidal corporations who’ve been sued around the planet for wiping out ecosystems on sovereign and foreign soils and committing human rights’ abuses.

    “I think capitalism, globalization, and biotechnology are the best way to cure widespread poverty on this planet,” says ignoramus, Lamframboise. Is she hormonal?

    Irrespective of a/climate change, Lamframboise and the list of cretins above are peddling for fossil fuel chemicals that sicken and kill humans, sickens and/or wipes out terrestrial and marine animals (including food animals), contaminates soils, air, rivers, oceans and inland waterways.

    And no mention in Laframboise’s book alluding to what the George C. Marshall Institute and the Cato Institute have been up to at the IPCC?

    “This book is a stunning compilation of lies, misrepresentations, and falsehoods about the fundamental science of climate change.” (Peter H.Gleick, PhD, President Pacific Institute, MacArthur Fellow, Member U.S. National Academy of Science.)

  23. Diogenes


    Do you live entirely in your head brewing red hot emotions that exclude all consideration of anything that doesn’t support your central existential core of emotion? I ask because you seem totally oblivious to the fact that there are just as many people whose material self-interest is consistent with their support for an ETS and support for uneconomic renewables as there are people with an interest in maintaining the use of coal? (I have a constant reminder that the self-interest point is bipartisan because an intelligent young man I play tennis with is in the business of selling foreign wind power technology in this country. His anguish at having to face the unattractive realities affecting wind power would be amusing if he weren’t a friend).

    Then you totally ignore the fact that, early on, I pointed to Peter Gleick as a particularly dishonest reviewer of Laframboise’s book as indicated by a huge number of other reviewers. Without any acknowledgment you give him unblemished credit. OK, you can ignore, or simply not read, what I wrote, but you could hardly have come across the Gleick emission without also discovering that he hadn’t read the book, any more than you have, and that a hell of a lot of other reviewers had noticed that. So, what does it say about you, that you can ally yourself to angry denialism, which is what denouncing a book without reading it has to be in its most flagrant form?

    Further evidence that your emotion and prejudice and no proper reading of the book comport with your moral standards is, for just another couple of examples, this:

    “And here we have yet another hack who thinks nothing of making a fast buck out of other people’s misery.” and “Most of Laframboise’s work is poorly sourced….”

    If you had read the Kindle (and, presumably, the print) edition from beginning to end you would know that what you say is all complete BS. You can see why it has taken her two years of research and a lot of assistance to put together such a meticulously detailed case just by reading the lot including links and footnotes. Have you even noticed that much of it was derived from what was disclosed in over 600 pages of something referred to (from memory) as the Interacademy Report (commissioned by the IPCC I think) in which insiders are very frank? Have you noticed that her volunteer panel, accepting only the result most favourable to the IPCC, found that, far from its President’s claims to rely only on peer reviewed research, nearly a third of its references were to grey literature, right down to press releases from campaigning organisations associated with the IPCC lead authors, even co-ordinating lead authors? So whose sources are poor?!! Would it not concern you, if you had read the book, that the already known-to-be-tainted by conflict of interest President Pachauri is shown to be an out and out liar – though Laframboise, with intelligent restraint you could learn from, never calls him a liar?

    As to making a “fast buck” you must be joking. Two years of work to produce something which is self-published and sold on Kindle for $4.99! Aren’t you afraid of making yourself appear ridiculous if only because it will deter people from taking seriously what you say with fervour?

    I know, really, you are beyond redemption, but can’t you make a distinction between being passionate about the environment and being passionate about particular purveyors of supposed evidence which supports opinions and preferences you hold? Maybe the IPCC is an honestly run institution which truly summarises the current state of science on AGW. If so, don’t you owe it to yourself and those who care about what you care about, to read the book carefully and use that as a basis for reducing its influence amongst other readers who may be disposed to accept its evidence and conclusions and as a basis for improving the IPCC so its valid work can still carry authority?

  24. Archer

    @ Venise Alstergren

    As I wrote to Alexander Berkman;

    Gerard Henderson beautifully put it, and I’m paraphrasing;

    “What you are expressing is a form of sneering secularism, and if you are to pose such a hypothesis you may as well confront Barak Obama or Cherie Blair, both contemporary Christians, and call them flaming idiots.
    You don’t have to be a practicing Christian, Jew or Muslim to understand that these three religious traditions have a great intellectual power, a great historical antecedence and are therefore deserving of respect. And it’s very easy to to tell everyone they’re a blooming fools but I don’t think it is very clever and I certainly don’t think it has any depth.”

    Now, I’m an agnostic. My mum tried to raise me Catholic but I didn’t like Sunday school.

    So, you’re prepared to dismiss all the positive work done by the Catholic church because of the unspeakable crimes committed by certain laypeople and priests. This is known as throwing the baby out with the bath water. Whether you believe in miracles or beatifications is not a matter for your concern. If a person, through their faith, is comforted by their belief in God, saints and miracles, more strength to them.

    “It happens that I dislike all religion. It allows uncertain little men into positions of trust and gives deliberate misinformation to gazump the brain-dead.”

    Again, I trust you looked at the link I provided. Much of the fundamentals of modern science can be attributed to deeply religious people.


    I take it you’ve heard of Johannes Keppler, you know, the three rules of planetary motion. You may also know that Kepler was a very religious man, who found a way to credit God for each and every discovery he would make, not to mention his own life and career paths. Kepler had originally planned on becoming a priest, but was drawn into the world of science.

    So, you may say to me, try to take an even handed view and study Australian political history-and the Catholic influence thereon, and I will say to you, look into history and see how much we know today we owe to scientists who were driven by their religious convictions.

  25. Diogenes

    I would be interested to know what you mean when you say that I appear to be less than scientific in some sense which is relevant here.

    I was about to content myself with adding that I wasn’t trying to be scientific but then it occurred to me that no one else, without exception, has given the appearance on this blog of trying to be scientific. N’est-ce pas? Can you point to anyone on this blog “being scientific”?

    I think your rather confused, or at least confusing, assertions have to do with your perception (the Two Cultures perhaps?) that barristers and scientists think and present in completely separate intellectual environments. If so, I suggest that you should consider that it is not to the advantage of scientists when considering the range of issues covered on this blog. Barristers, after all, if they are good at anything, are good at putting logical arguments – that is valid ones which stand scrutiny – and of taking bad arguments to pieces. That is not an observable strength of most scientists, at least outside narrow specialties.

    Of course, it goes without saying, that barristers, and MPs on parliamentary committees who want to make a mark, do much of the “boning up” to which I referred informally by consulting experts and often making the experts much clearer in mind about what they are truly willing to affirm with confidence. Unfortunately many barristers and MPs are not very numerate and miss large areas which should be considered doubtful. An outstanding example is the case of the female lawyer who was gaoled for murdering her babies who died of SIDS because the great expert witness (and medical *scientist*) Sir Roy Meadows gave evidence with confidence that the odds of two or three (whichever) infants in one family dying of SIDS were 80 million to one! I was shocked to think that a scientist could support such a fallacious conclusion and that barristers (and at least one judge, as well as a whole jury) could fail to see what was wrong. I trust it stares you in the face that the obvious inquiry to make is whether there might be some inherited weakness that all her children, or at least those with the same father, were at risk of manifesting. Yet it didn’t occur to Meadows, the scientist.

    Let it be quite clear. A moderately numerate, or just logical, barrister should have been entirely qualified to disbelieve what Meadows the experienced scientist and knighted expert witness asserted. So, I’m sorry, I’m not going to give much credit to the views of people with a long scientific career, if not of direct relevance to the scientific question, just because they are scientists. If they can’t distinguish between good and bad arguments they aren’t much use to a cause,

    Also, if they can’t deal with the complex but not scientific issue of how much the main source of authority’s discrediting matters, with proper nuance and subtlety, their views can’t carry much weight.

  26. Boo


    From a small number of experiences in my past, I have come to the view that science and law are somewhat removed intellectually. I have little doubt about this having been exposed to the legal side of the equation. I would no more go ‘toe to toe’ with a barrister than fly. However, legal professionals are quite comfortable confronting scientists. In court. Their contributions to science, especially by way of research and peer reviewed publication concerning science, are scant to say the least.

    I found your reference to the female lawyer and Roy Meadows interesting. The failure to notice some obvious compelling flaw in an argument leads me to question her competence as a lawyer. If I can imply that from what you write. However, not all flaws and limitations are obvious. In such a case you would be relying on an expert, or experts, to provide you with sufficient information and the relevant limitations and qualifications. Otherwise you are assuming the expertise as your own, surely?

    From time to time I have been asked for my opinion on global warming, with there being an expectation as a scientist I must surely have some technical understanding of the subject. Which I do not, and as such offer no qualified opinion. The common reaction to this is mild shock. Given the proliferation of ‘experts’ (or others with some gifted insight) with no grounding in climate science this reaction comes as no surprise. While science can benefit from greater public discourse, I do not see this as being the case here. In Australia, I do not see the public level of scientific literacy increasing, the funding of sciences as flourishing. What I do see the proliferation of lobby groups and misinformation. And as a matter of principal I do not wish to add to this as I believe that, amongst other things, this is harmful to the future of scientific endeavor in this country.

    Much the same as I prefer the opinion of a distinguished legal professional on a question of law than some shock jock playing on public emotion for their own person gain. Or my own, even more fallible, opinion for that matter.

    And, FWIW you have an apparent disdain for *scientists*. One not applied to *lawyers* I note.

  27. Archer

    @ By The Sea

    If all you can do is create a comical summary of the bible well then you fall in to that category of not very clever, without much depth.

    Monsignor Georges Henri Joseph Édouard Lemaître (17 July 1894 – 20 June 1966) was a Belgian priest, astronomer and professor of physics at the Catholic University of Louvain. He sometimes used the title Abbé or Monseigneur.

    Lemaître proposed what became known as the Big Bang theory of the origin of the Universe, which he called his ‘hypothesis of the primeval atom’


    It’s rather sad really. There is so much irrational hatred for all things religious on this thread, posters can’t acknowledge the importance of the contributions made by their scientists or by scientists with deep religious convictions. I think it’s called being myopic. Would atheistic or agnostic scientists make you more comfortable. I wonder if any of the climate scientists are deeply religious?

    “Subtle is the Lord, but malicious He is not. ” or ” God does not play dice”

    Again, I put in the disclaimer. I’m agnostic, I’m defending the religions because some of the arguments here consider the sciences and religion to be completely incompatible and it is not so. Far from it.

    @ Alexander Berkman

    “feel and breathe in it’s beauty and find that place within your heart, not mind, that understands the need for us to protect and defend her..”

    Oh, can I feel the mythological “G” word coming on……

    “Devotion to reason”

    Alexander Berkman was was an assassin and believed in revolution through violent action to promote his cause. That’s reasonable? Nice role model.

  28. Jolyon Wagg


    [BTW what do you think the rule should be for closing brackets before or after a full stop?]

    As I recall the rule is that if the brackets contain a complete sentence the full stop should be inside the brackets, otherwise outside. Apologies if I broke this rule in one of my earlier posts.

    [You are right to doubt my “honours thesis”. In fact it was only Matriculation]

    Well done on your high school science results! Have you racked up any science qualifications since?

    [.. my agnosticism about the science is plausible and indeed genuine because it is a rational consequence of the view that I take of what is in Australia’s and Australians’ interests]

    I think you could rationally claim that you argue for an agnostic view of the science because of your view about what is in Australia’s interest.

    I don’t think you can rationally argue that you hold an agnostic view of the science because of your view about what is in Australia’s interest. What is in Australia’s interest is completely irrelevant to any rational assessment of the science.


    [Scientists. Barristers. One is inquisitorial, the other adversarial. Diogenes, you are not a scientist and while you may hold sway in your profession, to a humble scientist you do appear to be less than scientific. Law and its practice is no substitute for an accomplished career as a scientist. Then again, maybe you are such a talented fellow you do not require briefings from experts before you interrogate an expert?]

    If Diogenes were a Barrister he would express himself more clearly and make more logical arguments.

  29. Diogenes


    I am sorry if you thought I expressed disdain for scientists , especially disdain that wasn’t matched by disdain for lawyers. I claim not to have suffered from negative emotions for years (though one can find so many candidates with the aid of Google that I haven’t checked them all out) but contempt – of which I suppose disdain is the little sibling – is one that I sometimes fear is laying a hand on me. Usually the possbibility is provoked by those close to me who especially annoy me when they do or say something that I regard as unworthy of them, intellectually or as a matter of character.

    So, scientists and lawyers are equally likely to provoke my disdain through their deficiencies precisely because I respect very high professional standards for both and, perhaps illogically, am disappointed not only when theyprove less than competent or diligent or honest as scientists or lawyers but when they propound bad arguments not apparently realising that they are out of their depth.

    I can see why you thought it fair to accuse me of lack of parity of esteem between the scientific professions. So let me go further in explaining my views. Both occupations are full of energetic, conscientious, highly intelligent people (maybe even 70 per cent deserving that accolade in Australia, to give an estimate which is entirely off the cuff right now) but they make a huge number of mistakes, including many from defective technique and skill or knowledge, or at least produce sub-optimal performances. (To help understand my laid back attitude to the imperfections of the world and its inhabitants I note that I have recently had an operation done which was definitely supposed to be bilateral but which one of Australia’s leading surgeons in the area only did on one side,) And now let me come to my justification for suggesting that the balance might fall in favour of lawyerss. It was in relation to this blog, at least so far as what I had started led to response. I think that lawyers and philosophers would both be in better training than scientists usually are to characterise the nature of the argument correctly and therefore produce arguments which were a propos.

    I agree with both parts of your comment on the unfortunate case in which Sir Roy Meadows disgraced hnmself. Yes, the female solicitor/defendant, as well as the lawyers defending her (and the judge) ought to have seen the obvious fallacy. However, also, as you say, they probably depended on their own defence “experts”. Their experts may not have been up to scratch, or maybe they weren’t asked to consider the right questions or, possibly, wires were crossed and somehow the lawyers supposed that their experts had read all of Meadows evidence (supposing there was a tiimely transcript) but their supposition was wrong. To me, as no doubt to you, the point is so obvious that failure of intelligent people to see it is as incomprehensible as religious belief by intelligent people if one doesn’t happen to share it.

    I could have replied to Jolyon Wagg’s jibe about my not writing clearly with the suggestion that the problem is with those who won’t give the mental energy and attention to understanding. But I confess that he is not the first to find my sometimes confusing, sometimes by accusing me of making thngs too complex. The problem is that, to avoid simplicities which are oversimplified and at best boring I do like to take a comprehensiive look at issues and arguments and not let what may seem peripheral but may be important slip out of view too quickly. If I don”t somehow make the tiime to edit myself before emitting it is always likely that long sentences will remain, the odd typo or literal, and occasional ambiguity or even (apparent because the gaps are no filled in) non-sequiturs. For all of which I apologise without promising never to offend again. I acknowledge that Lady Mary Wortley Montagu was right when she said that easy writing makes for damned hard reading.

  30. Flower

    @ Diogenes: “…..but you could hardly have come across the Gleick emission without also discovering that he hadn’t read the book, any more than you have,….. So, what does it say about you.”

    More to the point Diogenes, what it says about you is that a verbose faker has taken the bait. Your allegation that reviewer, Gleick has not read Laframboise’s book is a total fabrication exposing you as member of the faux skeptics who scurry from forum to forum to perpetuate the latest outright lie to subvert institutions of science and credentialled authors.

    Further the IPCC was formed in 1988 and fossil fuel corporations formed a body the year after to sabotage the IPCC. This is clear evidence that the fossil fuel industry set out to destroy an international institute in its infancy – an institute that threatened the profits of greed merchants on rampage, trashing the environment and continuing to do so free of charge.

    Laframboise’s book is the latest garbage for fossil fuel lackeys to gloat over and peddle around the web. Laframboise sneers at the concerns over rapidly rising A/CO2 emissions. The woman is far too ignorant to know that most if not all of the five global mass extinctions in Earth’s history carry the fingerprints of the main symptoms of global carbon perturbations – global warming, ocean acidification and anoxia (lack of oxygen.)

    Not content she gives distinguished Hoegh-Guldberg and Richard Moss a serve over an association with “activists” Greenpeace and WWF. “Shock horror, let’s run some more disinformation” say Laframboise, you and the polluters who’ve been caught out chewing the **se out of Momma Nature for decades by these two groups. Indeed, Greenpeace’s research laboratories (est.1986) at the University of Exeter have provided an invaluable source of rigorous, independent scientific analysis and research, in a landscape otherwise dominated by corporate sponsorship and corruption.

    Some of the ‘heroes’ (let’s call them activists shall we?) that Laframboise alludes to are no less than the debunked Lomborg, William Gray, Paul Reiter, Axel Morner, Matt Ridley et al. And that’s some rogues’ gallery. Parasite and former chairman of Northern Rock Bank, Matt Ridley was responsible, according to the UK parliament’s Treasury select committee, for a “high-risk, reckless business strategy”. Ridley’s wonderful outcome of the Northern Rock Bank experiment was the first run on a British bank since 1878, and a £27 billion taxpayer bail-out.

    Laframboise laments that her heroes/activists are “IPCC outsiders” which is a load of crock since many of these “heroes” boast of being “IPCC contributors.”

    Gleik was far too generous in giving Laframboise’s book a 1/5 mark and commenters here are far too generous in permitting you to peddle crap and disinformation with impunity.

  31. Archer


    Albert Einstein:

    “In view of such harmony in the cosmos which I, with my limited human mind, am able to recognize, there are yet people who say there is no God. But what really makes me angry is that they quote me for the support of such views.”

    “I’m not an atheist and I don’t think I can call myself a pantheist. We are in the position of a little child entering a huge library filled with books in many languages. The child knows someone must have written those books. It does not know how. It does not understand the languages in which they are written. The child dimly suspects a mysterious order in the arrangements of the books, but doesn’t know what it is. That, it seems to me, is the attitude of even the most intelligent human being toward God.”

    Charles Darwin was Agnostic:

    “Man “can be an ardent Theist and an evolutionist”, “In my most extreme fluctuations I have never been an atheist in the sense of denying the existence of a God.— I think that generally (& more and more so as I grow older) but not always, that an agnostic would be the most correct description of my state of mind.”

    I’m not here to convert anyone. I began this discourse because of attacks on religion, and rightly so with respect to child abuse, without consideration given to their contribution to science or medicine. I have provided evidence citing the influence Christian scientists have had over the centuries and I receive this in return.

    “If I were you I’d be careful about throwing around names of scientists and thinkers who were motivated by religion. Old records, diaries, letters, etc are constantly turning up and revealing that scientist xyz lived at a time when it was dangerous to reveal a lack of belief in God.”

    So I take it you’re not familiar with Keppler?

    Did you visit the website? Have you read Carl Sagan’s Cosmos? I recommend it.

    These are the people who discovered the fundamentals of the science which are now used to prove or disprove Climate Change, something people here feel strongly about. Ironic really, bagging religious institutions, assuming all practitioners as being “dim wits”. Cardinal Pell may well be a criminal dim wit, but to tar the whole institution and it’s history or all religions for that matter with the same brush……again, myopic.

    I go to baptisms, weddings and funerals. My religious indoctrination ended at my communion which is sad really because Italians give brilliant gifts for religious events. Should have stuck it out for the goodies. That’s the extent of my dealings with the church.

    @JWagg Don’t make assumptions.

  32. Diogenes


    I am beginning to believe that you are a mad right winger who wants to discredit both Crikey and the cause of AGW believers by posing as a mad fanatic on environmental matters.

    That you haven’t apologised for the absurdities that I called you on, notably the idea that Laframboise was making a fast buck is consistent with that hypothesis. Nor, even now, have you claimed to have read the book or even skimmed it. But the positive evidence is much stronger.

    Consider your repeated adoption of the egregious Peter Gleick’s dishonest (because not based on actual reading at best, and downright misrepresentation quite probably) denunciation of the book. This time you say

    “”Your allegation that reviewer, Gleick has not read Laframboise’s book is a total fabrication exposing you as member of the faux skeptics who scurry from forum to forum to perpetuate the latest outright lie to subvert institutions of science and credentialled authors. ”

    I emphasise that saying he hasn’t read the book is the most favourable explanation for his review. I don’t know how you can possibly say he had read the book by 16 October when he posted his purported “review”. What is there in his review which shows he actually read it?

    Here is his review

    “By Peter Gleick “PGleick”
    This review is from: The Delinquent Teenager Who Was Mistaken for the World’s Top Climate Expert (Kindle Edition)
    This book is a stunning compilation of lies, misrepresentations, and falsehoods about the fundamental science of climate change. It compiles the old arguments, long refuted, about the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which summarizes the state of science on climate change. The IPCC reports — the most comprehensive summary of climate science in the world — are so influential and important, that they must be challenged by climate change deniers, who have no other science to stand on. LaFramboise recycles these critiques in a form bound to find favor with those who hate science, fear science, or are afraid that if climate change is real and caused by humans then governments will have to act (and they hate government).

    Are you already convinced that climate change is false? Then you don’t need this book, since there is nothing new in it for you.
    If you respect science, then you ALSO don’t need this book, since there’s no science in it, and lots of pseudo-science and misrepresentations of science. See, especially, the section trying to discredit the “hockey stick” — long a bugaboo of the anti-climate change crowd. Seven independent scientific commissions and studies have separately verified it, but you won’t find out about that in this book.”

    I have read the book so I know that his review is a “compilation of lies, misrepresentations and falsehoods”. Don’t take my word for it. If you are unwilling to pay $4.99 and read the book, just go to the fifty plus lucid detailed comments on his purported review which you will find at

    Look at his one identifiable claim to be refuting something in the book, namely what he says about the “Hockey Stick” and then compare it with what one reviewer says (and I leave in the rest of his comments because they are also a devastating blow to Gleick’s credibility WHICH NO ONE, INCLUDING GLEICK, HAS ATTEMPTED TO REPLY TO:

    Last edited by the author on Oct 17, 2011 2:09:00 AM PDT
    Roger Knights says:
    P Gleick writes: “See, especially, the section trying to discredit the “hockey stick” — long a bugaboo of the anti-climate change crowd. Seven independent scientific commissions and studies have separately verified it, but you won’t find out about that in this book.”

    Oh yes you WILL find out about it in the book, at Kindle location 2099 in Ch. 32. Here’s what it says:

    “Depending on whether you’re talking to a climate skeptic or a climate activist (people in the second camp control the Wikipedia page on this and many other topics related to global warming), the hockey stick graph has either been totally discredited or remains a sound piece of science whose findings have been confirmed by several independent studies. (footnote 32-2). As Montford’s book explains, such claims of independent corroboration are suspect, since these studies were conducted by many of the same small clique of researchers, use similarly flawed statistical techniques, and/or rely on the same dubious sources of data.”

    PGleick: “This book is a stunning compilation of lies, misrepresentations, and falsehoods about the fundamental science of climate change.”

    I notice that PG isn’t listed as having purchased the book. This gives him an “out” for his misleading statement above. The book isn’t primarily about “the science.” It’s about the IPCC’s claim, trumpeted by its Chairman, to be an impartial collection of the best experts on the topic, to rely on peer-reviewed science only, to have rules in place to ensure that proper procedures are followed, to intensively peer-review its draft documents, to be above the fray as far as policy prescriptions are concerned, etc., etc. This focus on the misbehavior of the IPCC (not its scientific claims) is apparent in the next paragraph from the book (after the one just quoted above):

    “For the purposes of this discussion THE IMPORTANT POINT IS THAT THE IPCC PERFORMED NO DUE DILIGENCE before according the hockey stick graph such prominence.
    ……………… [27 paragraphs on the topic follow, and then this summing-up:]

    “The essential point here is that the IPCC aggressively promoted a graph that had been produced by a young scientist who’d just been awarded his PhD. Even though the graph overturned decades of scholarship, even though it negated a widespread consensus about what the temperature record of the past 1000 years looked like, the IPCC didn’t bother to verify its [statistical] accuracy. What has been described as ‘one of the most rigorous scientific review bodies in existence’ felt no need to ensure that its case wasn’t being built on quicksand.”

    PGleick writes: “It compiles the old arguments, long refuted, about the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, ….”
    “Are you already convinced that climate change is false? Then you don’t need this book, since there is nothing new in it for you.”

    Wrong again. The book stresses (in Chs. 33 & 34, primarily) the report of the InterAcademy Council (IAC), presented in August 2010, which is recent (and unrefuted). And this book contains important NEW material from its inquiry into the IPCC. Here, starting at Location 2557 in the Acknowledgments, are the relevant passages:

    “Hilary [Ostrov] single-handedly shook loose 678 pages [footnote link] of material on which this book relies. During its 2010 investigation of the IPCC, the IAC committee posted an online questionnaire. We were told the responses would be made public, but months after the report was released that still hadn’t occurred. Hilary tirelessly pursued the matter until some (but not all) of these responses were divulged.

    “From a journalist’s perspective, they are solid gold–being the equivalent of interviews with dozens of people about their IPCC experience. Until I read that material the IPCC was still a remote and confusing organization.”


    Take a holiday Flower. It isn’t worth having a breakdown about the likely destruction of a dodgy institution’s reputation, and “the science” may still be validated without reliance on people having to believe the IPCC is worthy of credit.

  33. Graeme Harrison

    What Pell has said is the regurgitation of rubbish put forward by others who have been discredited.

    Church leaders should limit their public utterances to issues of faith and (arguably) ethics. They only make fools of themselves when they come out on science, industrial relations, etc.

    However, the issue of increased volcanic activity changing the longer-term forecast of a warming world into a forecast of a much cooler one IS valid. See:

    which shows how expansion of tectonic plates, as the heat is transmitted into the solid parts of the surface (ie higher surface temperatures) will lead to changes in the ‘dynamic equilibrium’ of tectonic joints, causing additional volcanic activity, earthquakes (and tsunamis). The increased volcanic activity if rapid will cause large amounts of ash to be ejected into the upper atmosphere, which is known to cause significant cooling. This is the feedback loop that keeps earth’s climate within known bounds, rather than having ‘runaway heating’… though a prolonged ice-age will be a worse outcome that a hotter climate. Mt Pinitubo caused 0.5 degrees cooling for some years… so a swathe of re-energised volcanoes around the ring of fire could trigger a nuclear winter.
    Graeme Harrison
    prof at-symbol post.harvard.edu
    Sydney, Australia

  34. Venise Alstergren

    ARCHER: I said I wasn’t prepared to take you on. The more you protect the Church the more you reveal yourself as being religious. The very fact you state your agnosticism the sorrier I feel for you. An agnostic is that lame little creature who wants to put his money on both sides-copper your bets- in vulgar parlance. “Ooo er, in case I offend Himself I’m going to say that God exists but I’m just not sure what form He takes”. Guaranteed to find favour with the religionists and their God in the unlikely event that should you run across Him.

    As a special treat for you I will add the following quote by Bernard Russell. “”The immense majority of intellectually eminent men disbelieve in Christian religion, but they conceal the fact in public, because they are afraid of losing their incomes.””

    You accuse Charles Darwin of being an agnostic. Why don’t you put yourself in his position? He was living in an age of hypocrisy in a country which could have invented the word. Worse, he was married to a devout woman whom he did not wish to offend. Initially he had wanted to become a clergyman and in his early work he felt comfortable that is sat well with his beliefs. One line he wrote was cringe worthy indeed.. He’s talking about creationism “”should exalt our notion of the power of the omniscient Creator.”” Oops! His ‘Origin of the Species’ didn’t betray his changing mind. In fact it wasn’t until he wrote his autobiography, which he didn’t write with a view to publication, he wrote as he did in letters to close friends, that he no longer had any remaining faith/belief, whatever.

    Now I am bored, of course I could quote more Albert Einstein to you, proving he was not a believer. But tiny religious minds think that the quote is enough. If you had known about Darwin’s later confessions you may not have jumped in to make a clown of yourself.

    Good bye; you will find I am quite able to walk out of a conversation.

  35. Archer

    @Alexander Berkman

    My point here was the disconnection with nature that purveys throughout the ‘western’ world and is exemplified by religious doctrine… That somehow we glorified monkeys are above nature, above animals and have a birthright to dominate and exploit.

    “The abrahamic religions esp christianity are particularly offensive to me as an australian, Why? Well, for at least 40,000+ years there were complex belief systems of the indigenous inhabitants here, beliefs connected directly to country, dare we say a virtual phd in ‘religious studies’ given it’s length of existence yet along comes a religious doctrine barely out of ‘kindergarten’ that claims to have the one and only ‘truth’? A ‘truth’ that has a history of cultural genocide, inquisitions and misogyny to name but a few of it’s crimes.”

    The glorified monkeys have provided you with a comfortable lifestyle, a computer to blog with, transport, a legal system, have put man on the moon and voyager is now out of the solar system. We are above the animals, our obligations are to ensure cruelty is kept in check, the species are maintained to the best of our abilities and the planet is kept healthy and clean for the next generations needs. In that respect it is a resource. Is your daughter above your pet dog?

    You seem to be an intelligent person so you must know that for all it’s faults, religion in Europe has been a major influence on art, architecture, culture, philosophy and law throughout the civilized world. Again, baby out with bath water.

    With all respect to the indigenous Australians, 40,000 years of complex belief systems has produced what? The Mayans, Egyptians and Incas built pyramids, library’s and palaces. They had written text, mathematics and astronomy all in a few thousand years. It’s all good and well to say you have a connection to the earth but eventually a people has to evolve and progress for the good of their own.

    “btw Einstein was a vegetarian , do you hold that as one of his virtues?”

    I never classed being religious as a virtue. You completely misunderstood my point. I said religious people contribute to science. Einstein didn’t believe in a “personal” God.

    Hitler was a strict vegetarian but it didn’t help his psychotic issues. I don’t class vegetarianism as a virtue, I class it as abstinence without logic.

  36. Archer


    “religion in Europe has been a major “influence” on art, architecture, culture, philosophy and law throughout the civilized world.”

    the capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behavior of someone or something.

    • being the primary cause of something and so able to be blamed or credited for it.

    Which one did I write?

    Da Vinci could have painted trees for all I care but he chose not to. He and others like him were influenced by religion, you can’t wish away history. Sure if there were no religion who knows where his art would have taken him but the fact remains many of the great artists were commissioned by the church. Architects were commissioned to design basilicas and cathedrals and then you had the renaissance which was centralized in Florence. Artists were totally dependent on very wealthy patrons who sustained their wealth through treasures brought in from the east. Usually via the crusades, but then we have to get stuck into the Muslims, and we don’t want to do that.

    You’re insulting the intelligence of the masters by saying they were duped.

    And Hitler wasn’t an atheist, he hated atheism because to him they signified the religious control of Marxism / Communism. A doctrine which he abhorred.

    @LIZ45: Perhaps I was a bit strong. I find vegetarians who don’t eat meat because “we’re not meant to eat meat” annoying”. Vegans even worse. One of my most hated bill boards is “Stop global warming, become a Vegan”. Could someone explain that to me.

  37. Liz45

    @ARCHER – Perhaps you were a bit strong? Are you kidding me? Is this your attempt at an apology or what? Pathetic!

    One of my most hated bill boards is “Stop global warming, become a Vegan”. Could someone explain that to me.

    What? Are you serious? I don’t believe it? Heard about the Co2 emissions via cows farting and belching? Heard about fertilizers and such like? How much land is taken up via sheep, cows etc?

    There are health warnings about not eating too much red meat. I think the recommendation is no more than twice a week? Farming, slaughtering etc is a very inefficient and expensive way to put a steak on the barbie? Not a very efficient or cheap way of getting protein in the diet – legumes probably provide more, with less risk?

    The Japanese have a much lower rate of bowel and colon cancer than we do, or should I say the West – but, when they come here, those rates increase and become as high as ours? In Japan there’s more emphasis placed on eating fish, poultry, rice and veg – China and other Asian countries are probably in the same category! Says something doesn’t it?

    I’ve forgotten the rate of these cancers in Australia, but I think they’re pretty high? Perhaps higher than prostate or breast cancer? That’s for men and women! Perhaps only lung cancer is higher for both sexes. The tragedy is, that it can be avoided, and also, can be detected very early, with positive outcomes – if Govt tests all over 50?

    Re HITLER – There’s quite a few quotes of Hitlers pertaining to religious belief. I think he was a catholic!
    Here’s one – “If we pursue this way, if we are decent, industrious, and honest, if we so loyally and truly fulfill our duty, then it is my conviction that in the future as in the past the Lord God will always help us”: Adolf Hitler, at the Harvest Thanksgiving Festival on the Buckeburg held on 3 Oct. 1937

    Sickening isn’t it?

  38. Liz45

    @VENISE- Indeed! I can still recall the ranting sermons on Sundays, (and other times – like school retreats etc?) when you were left with the absolute feeling, that anything or anyone not like them/us were evil and to be fought against – always? Terrible indoctrination of young minds. I’m not surprised that not everyone ‘moves away’? It’s like a drug that is ‘put in your veins’ from a very early age?

    Reading the book written by the mother of those two young women who were abused by that revolting priest made me aware of the awfulness of realising that this thing, the cc, had removed her gut instinct to protect, or worse still, to even see the signs of what was happening to them – and there must’ve been signs? But such is the blinding faith, that you turn the ‘alarm system’ off? Or perhaps the ‘trust’ is so strong that you don’t even turn it on. Her guilt was almost something you could touch, only outdone by her blinding anger at the cc – of which I share! I’m just so glad that I worked it out before my boys were old enough for school? They too could’ve been abused!

    I’ve just finished watching the full hour long interview with Stephen Fry? It was simply amazing! He has more insight, compassion and intellect than any so-called religious person I’ve ever met. I wouldn’t even say his name in the same sentence as Pell!

    It’s a constant learning experience isn’t it? This thing called life!

    Not much work done on the spare room. It’s important to watch the face of someone like him – just listening doesn’t have the same impact! Oh well! back to work? I’m listening to my local ABC now!

    Cheers! Are you OK now?

  39. Archer


    Agnostic: a stance about the difference between belief and knowledge, rather than about any specific claim or belief. In the popular sense, an agnostic is someone who neither believes nor disbelieves there is a God. In fact I ‘m not presumptuous enough to impose my views on others or denigrate their belief system. To each his own, Catholics, Presbyterians, Lutherans, Hindus and Atheists. But you do realise there is “implicit atheist” and “explicit atheist”.

    I have been labeled for recognizing the hard work of people who contributed to significant moments in history and, happened to be deeply religious. Facts which were put down to extortion, threat of torture or “religion having a stranglehold on the poor, the lost, and the foolish”. I have a compendium of Da Vinci’s work at home, a beautifully illustrated book. This man was neither poor, nor lost nor foolish.

    A family friend is a recently outed gay man, his father is RC and has disowned him, my mum is RC and is infuriated at the treatment by a father to his son and has him over to eat, chat and unwind. I can only imagine, who’da thunk it?

    I’m not a RC, Venise and yourself are hell bent on tagging me. Why you are so adamant to make it personal has me stumped.
    I don’t think being a RC did Hitler any good at the time of him blowing his brains out. But he did despise Atheists.

    @VENISE – True. Can you imagine any other group or organisation getting away with what the CC has – for centuries?

    Yes, the Muslim faith. The age of the bride of the prophet Aisha bint Abu Bakr (612 – 678) was 9 years old


    Wayne Roberts

    We share commitment to the environment, and to food choices supporting nature. So our discussion will be fruitful – a lovely word, reminding us of rightful relations between nature and human diet.

    Eating modest amounts of animal products from livestock raised in humane and non-industrial ways is essential to a low-energy and low-pollution strategy balancing needs of all species – from bugs to birds. Animals eat low on the food chain. Most fish and land animals thrive on grasses that humans can’t digest, and which grow in soils and climates that are not fertile for crops humans need – grains, legumes, vegetables and fruit. Their ‘waste’ products (ie manure and bones that are only considered waste because of human narcissism) enrich both soils and ecosystems. By contrast, agricultural crops require prime land, require that water be brought to the plants – usually in wasteful and damaging ways – and rely on significant energy expenditures to eliminate natural predators and competitors because plants can’t fend for themselves. Animals and plants meet each other’s needs in ‘raw nature’. That same mutual exchange is basic to harmony in agriculture.

    Sound food policy requires that we get over the search for silver bullet cures. No pot can call any kettle black. All solutions are partial and none solve all problems. As much as bacon and eggs, corn and rice can be grown with dirty chemicals, heavy machinery, huge methane emissions, perverse adulterations and wasteful packaging. We need many-pronged strategies, including diets light on – but not necessarily eliminating – animal products. Fusion cooking, linking cultures of many peoples, together with fusion diets, connecting needs of diverse species, are our future.

    I don’t think we need worry about to many cow farts.

  40. Venise Alstergren

    ARCHER: In the last two/three posts where we’ve crossed swords-to use a cliché- you have consistently ignored the fact I’m against ALL religion. LIZ: Will back me up.

    Having travelled a bit throughout Muslim countries I’m very aware of Islam and its dangers. But in Oz itself and thus far, they’ve spared us some of the pottier aspects of that faith. Although I can’t help but notice the madder parts of that religion whereby one finds more women per capita in Oz wearing the burqa than the women in Egypt, Oman, Iran, Syria and Jordan. I DID SAY PER CAPITA. And far more male Australians wear the full facial beard, proclaiming their devoutness, than all the above countries-not necessarily per capita.

    Now, I’ve had a gut full of your tedious and gratuitous remarks and your refusal to read my posts correctly.

    HOWEVER, as I said to some other optically challenged gentleman…I apologise-I do have a secret confession to make.

    I do, In fact spend my days burning bits of the ‘true cross’; I love lobbing Molotov cocktails into churches; leaping over convent walls and ripping up the nuns’ underwear, hanging on their Hills rotary hoists; I spend hours attempting to upset the members of the neighbourhood’s synagogue. My speciality is to lurk in the undergrowth with a large pair of shears cutting off those offensive dreadlocks. I’ve been thrown out of the nearest mosque for writing anti- Muslim graffiti on the walls. However, the greatest hostility I’ve encountered was when I was caught writing ‘Religion Sucks’ on the pavement in front of the local town hall. I forgot that I’ve a fetish for leaping out of my car in order to insult the Anglican vicar-he lives around the corner from me. But my worst proclivity is mailing letter-bombs to Cardinal Pell.


  41. Venise Alstergren

    ever encountered was when I was caught writing ‘Religion Sucks’ on the pavement in ARCHER: I don’t give a flying eff what you do. All I’m going to do is reprint a previous comment I’d written on this post to another religious nut case.

    “”HOWEVER, as I said to some other optically challenged gentleman…(you ARCHER) I apologise-And I do have a secret confession to make.

    Yes, I do; In fact I spend my days burning bits of the ‘true cross’; I love lobbing Molotov cocktails into churches; leaping over convent walls before rushing over to
    ARCHER: I don’t give a flying eff what you do. All I’m going to do is reprint a previous comment I’d written on another post to another religious nut case.

    “”However, as I said to some other optically challenged gentleman…(you Archer) I apologise for the secret confession I’m about to make public.

    Yes, I do; in fact I spend my days burning bits of the ‘true cross’; I love lobbing Molotov cocktails into churches; leaping over convent walls before rushing over to the nuns’ Hills Rotary hoists, where I whip out my Stanley knife and cut them to shreds. Hours are spent attempting to upset the members of the neighbourhood’s synagogue. My speciality is to lurk in the undergrowth with a pair of shears waiting to cut off those offensive dreadlocks. I’ve been thrown out of the nearest mosque for writing anti- Muslim graffiti on the walls. However, the greatest hostility I’ve ever encountered was when I was apprehended writing ‘Religion Sucks’ on the pavement in front of the local town hall-I was forced to spend hours on my knees cleaning up my artwork. Oh, I forgot about my secret a fetish for leaping out of my car in order to insult the Anglican vicar-he lives around the corner from me. He’s a nice old party but his driving is awful But my worst proclivity, and my secret obsession is mailing letter-bombs to Cardinal Pell.””


  42. Liz45

    @ARCHER – Take another look at this topic? It’s about Pell and his lack of knowledge on this issue, but putting himself forward as having heaps. I have no respect for Pell, and more broadly the cc – full stop! I was raised a catholic, bashed by a nun and probably would’ve died in childbirth if I ‘obeyed’ the man made rulers of the cc. Over time, (via reading and public records)with the horrific abuse/r**e of kids and the part played by Pell and others re cover ups, I believe I have every right to condemn him/them, as you have the right to disagree!

    There’s nothing remotely related to the bs dogma of the cc and Art, Sculpture or anything else in that field. This is not about that! I haven’t mentioned one word about it. I also haven’t picked flaws in other religions as this topic doesn’t even mention them. For the record, I think most are obscene, particularly when they exhibit extreme views/practices etc – and for the record, you can include Jews, Scientology and all cults! I speak out against all of them, particularly when there’s abuse of children and when they display misogynist attitudes! I made no apology for doing so!

    I include most of god botherers in my criticism of the cc – as they choose to glibly slide over these horrific, unpardonable extremes of brutality saying, ‘they’re not all like that’? Well, as far as I’m concerned, if you make excuses for brutal criminals, or fail to meet that challenge with horror and the Law, then you’re just as bad as those who should be put away for the protection of others!

    May I suggest you do some more reading, perhaps, ‘The case of the Pope’ by Geoffrey Robinson, and ‘Hell on the way to Heaven’ by Chrissie Foster, the mother of just two young women brutally ra**d by a catholic priest (at the ages of 5 and 6?) – who had a record of over 50 yrs before he was finally stopped – only by a very brave young man who he also r***d!

    There’s a good book called, ‘Mama Tina’ an Irish women treated brutally by the nuns in Ireland as a girl; then there’s the movie ‘Sister Magdalen’ which is on the same theme! Both beyond imagination. There’s lots more, in fact, Geoffrey Robinson believes, that Australia probably has more victims over the last couple of centuries due to our isolation. He also lays out an almost faultless history of the denials, the cover ups and the total lack of credibility re abuse of kids. For instance the, ‘we didn’t realise the impact or the Laws etc’? This is total bs! The Laws re these crimes have been well known for centuries – even in this country! No excuses wash with me – NONE!

    A brother and a sister of mine were both sexually abused by priests/brothers! I didn’t know this until a couple of decades ago – long after my own experiences!

    Oh yes, I can certainly state that VENISE is also totally against all religions – she is more conversant with their history than I am – going back centuries I mean!

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