The Australian has been conducting an uncompromising and unrelenting war on science, scientists and the scientific method, but if anyone criticises them for it, they react like scalded cats. So you could predict that they would whine when John Quiggin, in his column in the Australian Financial Review, wrote:

The Australian newspaper has campaigned against science and scientists so consistently that picking a single example would be misleading. Blogger Tim Lambert, who maintains a running series on The Australian’s War on Science is now up to installment 46.

And sure enough their editorial responds by calling Quiggin a “green activist” with a “totalitarian mindset”. But this post is about their war on science, not their name-calling, and it’s clear that the writer of this editorial did as much research into the science as Calvin did on his school report on bats. Look:


Climate change is a new, inexact and contestable science, and the computer modelling on which all of the more alarming claims depend are only ever as good as the data fed in. As well as greenhouse emissions, that data should take account of other determinants of temperature, primarily the sun and the heat of the earth’s core.

Models do take the sun into account and they don’t take the heat from the core into account because it is negligible: just 0.075 Watts per square metre, while incoming solar radiation is 342 Watts per square metre, about 5000 times as much.

Current predictions for sea-level rises range from a few centimetres to catastrophic levels of several metres that would swamp coastal areas. Faced with such variations, it would be negligent not to examine first-hand observations, even when they contradict the results churned out by laboratory computers.

Oh yes, let’s examine the observations from tide gauges and satellites:

i-b61ba55f77ccc7130aa283bc404d9f77-alt_gmsl_seas_rem.png

But apparently because a computer was used to analyse the data, this doesn’t count as far as The Australian is concerned. No, by “first hand observations”, The Australian means:

For centuries, vital scientific discoveries began with observation. So we make no apologies for reporting that the Great Barrier Reef is defying predictions and showing minimal signs of bleaching or that surfers who have frequented the same beaches for 50 years have found no increases in sea levels, apart from temporary erosion.

As far as I can tell, the author of this editorial hasn’t even studied science at the high school level. By “observations”, scientists refer to systematic recording of objective measurements, for example, sea level observations from a tide gauge. They do not mean vague memories of what a beach was like decades ago.

And The Australian‘s story on the Great Barrier Reef misrepresented the facts.

Comments

  1. #1 Fran Barlow
    March 18, 2010

    No way are you a left-liberal El Gordo. You ticvk none of the boxes, including some that are key — a basic respect for the institutions of liberal secular society, for knowledge and scientific inquiry.

  2. #2 John
    March 18, 2010

    Gordo is lying. Otherwise, why would he think he has to “admit” to having left wing views like it’s some kind of dirty secret?

  3. #3 Lotharsson
    March 18, 2010

    In the US, a “liberal” is a mildly left of centre social democrat.

    Even mildly right-of-centre in rest-of-world terms counts as “liberal” in the US.

  4. #4 el gordo
    March 18, 2010

    The warmists have promulgated ideology in the name of science, this was a mistake.

  5. #5 jakerman
    March 18, 2010

    el gordo you are bazzar, confessing your claimed ideology then projecting what ever it was you felt.

    The deniers have turned this into an ideological battle. In doing so they handed the high ground and the science into the hands of who ever their ideological opponents are.

    Rather than adjust their ideology to fit reality, the deniers are picking up ideological momentum and weaving it into scientific conspiracy theories and an all out misinformation and propaganda blitz. If they aren’t stopped the risk is they’ll take us all over the cliff with them.

  6. #6 The other Mike
    March 18, 2010

    Damned greenhouse gases. Spreading their “I’m not gonna let this longwave radiation escape” ideology all over the planet. Who are they to dictate terms to us?

  7. #7 David Marjanović
    March 18, 2010

    given that he’s a Palaeontologist I’m pretty sure he relies on others for the detailed weather analysis and forecasting…possibly even relies on others for climate data too?

    Have you ever heard of the science of palaeoclimatology?

    No?

    Didn’t think so.

    Even mildly right-of-centre in rest-of-world terms counts as “liberal” in the US.

    Even mainstream conservative in rest-of-world terms counts as “liberal” in the US. That includes Kerry, both Clintons, and Obama.

    bazzar

    Bizarre.

    The warmists have promulgated ideology in the name of science, this was a mistake.

    1. Promulgate ideology in the name of science.
    2. ???
    3. PROFIT!

    Please explain step 2.

  8. #8 Christophe Thill
    March 18, 2010

    Surfers are scientific instruments now ??? OK, I know it’s Australia, but still. What are they going to do next ? Use kangaroos as eyewitnesses ?

  9. #9 Lars Karlsson
    March 18, 2010

    106 Damned greenhouse gases. Spreading their “I’m not gonna let this longwave radiation escape” ideology all over the planet. Who are they to dictate terms to us?

    Yes, just look at the pictures of CO2 molecules on Wikipedia. Red and black – proves they are part of a commu-fascist scheme!

  10. #10 el gordo
    March 18, 2010

    Please explain step 2.

    Green pills.

  11. #11 truth machine
    March 18, 2010

    What better way to impose the World Communist Government than to make people think the planet is warming?

    Stage an attack from Mars.

  12. #12 Ezzthetic
    March 19, 2010

    Stage an attack from Mars.

    Silly, we already tried that.

  13. #13 Fran Barlow
    March 19, 2010

    Christopher Thill@ 107 said

    OK, I know it’s Australia, but still. What are they going to do next ? Use kangaroos as eyewitnesses ?

    Only if you could decipher those chewing noises they make by converting them from binary.

    Personally, I’d say the kangaroos are already loose in their top paddocks.

  14. #14 Steve C
    March 20, 2010

    Christophe (108): on reliable sources of data baseline climate data, if it comes to a choice between roos and right-wing Boltard clones from the Oz, I know who I’ll be listening to.

    What’s that Skip? You reckon you’ve never seen the top paddock this dry for this long? Geeze… 8^)

  15. #15 Ezzthetic
    March 20, 2010

    OK, I know it’s Australia, but still. What are they going to do next ? Use kangaroos as eyewitnesses?

    Only if you could decipher those chewing noises they make by converting them from binary.

    I tried that, but all I ever found out was that the helicopter had crashed.

  16. #16 Daniel J. Andrews
    March 20, 2010

    @Lotharsson 41: lol! Good one.

  17. #17 Fran Barlow
    March 21, 2010

    Ezzthetic said:

    I tried that, but all I ever found out was that the helicopter had crashed.

    Odd … when Hubby parsed his he got is that a joey in your pocket or are you just pleased to see me …

    And that was after 32-bit CRC

    I’ll be glad when they can do hexadecimal.

  18. #18 James Haughton
    March 31, 2010

    good analysis piece on The Australian’s coverage of glaciers and general groupthink [here](http://inside.org.au/group-thoughts/)

  19. #19 watchingthedeniers
    April 7, 2010

    Going to tag-team you Deltoid, another Murdoch publication waging “war on science”… Melbourne’s own Herald Sun (HUN): http://watchingthedeniers.wordpress.com/herald-sun-war-on-science/

    Big hat tip for inspiration. I think we can see a real pattern here, with a stable of editors and journalists actively promoting an anti-science agenda.

  20. #20 AmandaS
    April 8, 2010

    And The Australian makes me beat my head against the desk again. The final item in Cut & Paste today (8/4) is just egregiously stupid.

    “Actually, it’s called global warming. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration National Climatic Data Centre shows temperatures haven’t risen since 2005:

    GLOBAL top warmest years: 2005, 1998, 2003, 2002, 2009.”

    I can’t even begin to imagine how they managed that interpretation of that data sequence…

    Then again, for three days in a row they have talked about “analysing” figures relating to spending on health, higher education and the BER (I think was today’s) in Labor electorates. There was no analysis present in what they did. Some limited maths but nothing involving analysing what the figures told you or putting them in any context or showing any understanding of how statistics works. Or what the word analysis means.

    Oh, they make my brain hurt sometimes.

    Probably the beating the head on the desk thing, that…

    A