Nov 3, 2017

Dear Malcolm Roberts, this is how science works

Like democracy, science, and the scientific process, are flawed, but they are still preferable to the crackpottery of Malcolm Roberts, write Tom Osegowitsch and Angela McCabe.

"Malcolm, you are hearing the interpretation of a highly qualified scientist and you're saying, 'I don't believe that' -- is that right?" an incredulous Tony Jones asked of former One Nation Senator Malcolm Roberts during a recent Q&A episode. The then-senator had demanded incontrovertible proof of anthropogenic climate change from fellow panellist Professor Brian Cox, and made wild allegations about evidence having been manipulated by NASA, the Australian Bureau of Meteorology and others.

The former senator has made a name for himself challenging scientists and scientific institutions. Ostensibly he was holding them to a higher standard of evidence, although the same rigour clearly did not apply to his own, personal situation.

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24 thoughts on “Dear Malcolm Roberts, this is how science works

  1. Itsarort

    If only Stephen Jay Gould and Carl Sagan were alive today…

  2. Andrew

    He is not only challenging climate scientists and climate science, but the basic laws of physics, which include black body radiation laws of Planck, Stefan Bolzmann, https://www.britannica.com/topic/blackbody-radiation, Krischoff and other. For the role of greenhouse gases in absorbing and radiating infrared radiation see “The Carbon dioxide greenhouse effect https://history.aip.org/climate/co2.htm

  3. mike westerman

    The hypocrisy of this fellow is plain to see: he is an engineer, and hence professionally bound to provide the community with fair advice, based on scientific evidence. Instead he makes baseless and inane propositions. He takes advantage of the world that science through engineering has provided, but refuses to accept his responsibility to it, and this makes him a coward as well as a fool.

    1. leon knight

      Maybe, or just severe mental health issues could be at work….I was impressed by his ability to bamboozle his barrister so profoundly that the barrister made a clown of himself in the high court…whatever mental illness Roberts has, it seems to be catching.
      Hanson was stupid before, but since knocking around with him, she seems to have deteriorated..!!

      1. zut alors

        Perhaps it was a case of ‘the client is always right’.

        1. Charlie Chaplin

          Or simple political plagiarism. He’s imported this crap from the USA.

  4. Wayne Cusick

    I had never thought about the origins of climate change science until I saw the series Cosmos with Neil deGrasse Tyson.

    In one episode he mentions that the first paper on the subject was published in 1896. It was calculated that halving the atmospheric CO2 would lead to an ice age, and that doubling would lead to a temperature rise of 5-6°C.

  5. John Hall

    I won’t miss Mr 3% and his profound and wilful ignorance. Another nail in One Nations disability to nominate effective representatives. Pauline’s track record as a ‘leader’ is woeful albeit somewhat of a relief – providing some light comedy to Parliament.

    1. AR

      I’d prefer that the “nails” were in PHONies’ ability coffin rather than the disability one.
      However, divine providence has interceded with Nemesis, chaffing at the gate of Hubris.

  6. zut alors

    ‘ “The UN, on behalf of international bankers, wants to end national sovereignty and individual freedom”. As a result, “People in developed nations are being enslaved to international banks”.’

    Malcolm Roberts seems not to have noticed that ship sailed quite a while back.

    1. AR

      Perhaps it was the one of which he arrived from post Raj India?

  7. Awkward

    Roberts has the slightly unfocussed stare of a zealot and like all conservatives, he projects his own psychology onto the rest of us. He is the actual ‘believer’, not the people he accuses. The rest of us try as best we can to ‘know ‘ stuff. Most of all he lacks the capacity to stand behind and observe his own thoughts, a capacity the rest of us equate with maturity. For him, everything he thinks, is real, despite what for most of us are obvious contradictions. He is more than a little mad.

    1. Rais

      Basically agree except that Roberts, or Robertson as his leader affectionately called him in an interview, is no conservative. He and the rest of the One Notion “leadership” are about overturning good decent values and replacing them with divisiveness and scapegoating. True conservatives seek to conserve traditional decency and respect. A genuine conservative may harbour racist views, for example, but would not scapegoat people of other colours and languages.

      1. Awkward

        We need another word for conservative. Basically they are solipsist, but the word lacks punch. The government have crossed over to a mild fascism, with their spivenomics. But the Press? What a heartbreak they are!

  8. old greybearded one

    The point of Science is that it tries to self correct. If you are not a sceptic you are not a scientists arse. Mr Roberts and his ilk do not self correct, they tell bigger lies. I got my first taste of earth’s climatic fragility from a Gaia book written by Lovelock. It was given to me by my uncle, a Nobel laureate in chemistry who worked with him in their early careers. He said this bloke is a bit eccentric but he is no fool, you should read it. My uncle thought the world’s environment (and if ever someone new about organic chemical pollution he did) way more important than any other field including CERN.

  9. Whodathunkit

    He needs a sign. See Bill Engvall on Stupid People.

  10. John Newton

    In other words (forgetting the idiot Roberts) science is subject to error, but science is aware and, like the self correctino navigation aid on a yacht, is working on correction.

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