Warmists and the decline in trust of science:  The flat earth movement

The one thing that is clear about Warmism is that it is heavily politicized.  Most Leftists accept the theory as fact and most conservatives doubt it. Certainly, most GOP Congressmen are firmly against doing anything about it.  And almost all the scientific voices we hear in the media are Warmist.

So roughly half the population think the scientists are fooling us, which they demonstrably are.  So Warmism has clearly disrupted people's trust in science.

But Warmism is not the only disrupter of trust in science.  The way official food and diet recommendations periodically go into reverse must also incite cynicism about scientific wisdom. Many conservatives say that the government has no business trying to dictate what people should put in their mouths and, if that dictum had been followed, medical science might have been spared the ignominy it has suffered.

So what happens when large numbers of people mistrust science?  It throws everything into doubt.  People tend to look for what makes sense to them personally and go by that alone.

And there are two well established scientific facts that were once virtually unquestioned but which have recently gained many doubters:  The benefits of vaccinations and the shape of the earth.  The antivaxxers risk the lives of their children by refusing all vaccinations and there are now once again people who believe the earth is flat.

Of these, the anti-vaxxers are the big problem.  If there are enough of them they destroy herd immunity and thus take away the only protections newborns have from various serious and life threatening illnesses.  Anti-vaxxers kill not only their own children but also other babies too young to be vaccinated.

Leftists, of course, don't worry about killing.  They cry compassion but are happy to kill millions with "incorrect" beliefs and allow killing of unborn  babies with no compunction at all. Conservatives, however, tend to value life greatly -- so from a conservative viewpoint very stern measures against anti-vaxxers could be justified.

But how can we justify such measures when their only clear justification is a scientific one and people have good reasons to distrust science?  How can we ask people to trust science when science is so obviously flawed?  So distrust of science is in fact killing babies.

But the distrust of science becomes really stark when we find that there really is now a flat earth movement.  There are now an evidently considerable number of people who do believe the earth is flat. They are in no way as dangerous as the anti-vaxers but just by their existence they show how seriously the reputation of science has been damaged.

The flat earthers are sometimes called an Alt-Right movement but I can't see that they have much in common with mainstream conservatives.  They seem mainly to be believers in spirituality and the occult -- and such beliefs tend to be strongest among Leftist voters.  I reproduce below an excerpt from one of the more prominent flat-earthers, Makia Freeman.:

Socrates, the father of philosophy, showed that questions are more powerful than answers; indeed, his questions were so powerful that the leaders of Athens put him to death for them. So, let us never be afraid to ask questions – it is the only way we can learn and be truly sure of things.

Whatever the answer turns out to be, the idea that the Earth on which we all live could indeed be flat has ignited intense curiosity and healthy debate – and has already shaken people out of their apathy and generated some genuine critical thinking. This in itself is a victory for freedom, because once enough people start to question their reality in every way, the global conspiracy being only held up by deception and subterfuge will collapse.

It Sounds Crazy, But Open Your Mind …

Virtually everyone who first comes to the subject of flat earth (myself included) is thinking: “Flat earth? Are you serious? You must be kidding. That’s crazy! Don’t waste my time. That Makia Freeman guy has really gone off the deep end this time …” I know, I know. That’s how I first reacted to this topic. Let’s face it: we’re all conditioned to believe the world is arranged in a certain way. Right from the moment we go to school around age 5, we are shown miniature globes of the world and told the Earth is a ball. Our society makes fun of people we perceive to be crazy or behind the times by deriding them as “people who still think the world is flat.”

But how do you know the Earth is a globe? Only because you were told so by your teacher, who was told by someone else, who was told by someone else, who was told by someone else, who was told by some “authority” or “expert”. We already know the tendency humanity has for worshipping those outside of itself, for unquestioning obedience to authority, especially other people in uniform, white coats or black robes. Somewhere along the way as a child, you were probably shown some books with photographs, but as has been well exposed, space photos and videos are easily faked, as NASA knows very well. Those at the very top of the pyramid, who control the media, publishing houses and the education curriculum, do have the means to pull of such a grand deception.

Is the Flat Earth the Mother of All Conspiracies?

The question of whether we live on a flat earth or globe-shaped earth is not some passing fad of little importance. If we have been deceived into thinking the earth is a globe when it is really flat, it conclusively proves just how easily we can be hoodwinked into believing lies and absurdities on a colossal scale. If we have been massively fooled about the very planet on which we live, we could have been fooled on any other topic in existence.

Is the debate over the flat earth the “Mother of all Conspiracies”? Not quite, in my opinion. If it’s true, it’s huge: I’d call it the second biggest conspiracy. The biggest conspiracy, though, is forgetting Who We Are – infinitely creative, spiritual beings having a brief human journey – and allowing other entities to siphon off our life energy. This includes the issue of what happens when we die (ie. whether we are forcibly recycled at the point of death through a soul net?)

In my opinion, flat earth is a close second, but ultimately, the two issues are connected; authors such as James of the Wing Makers have joined the two in their work — by describing our world as the Hologram of Deception and describing the phenomenon of forced reincarnation. The notion that we are entrapped in some kind of holographic quarantine is highly disturbing, yet deserves our full attention.



John Cook, the crook Cook

Shearer's cooks tend to be a rough lot and an old shearer once told me that there are three types of shearer's cook:  Cooks, crook cooks and wilful murderers. John Cook is not a wilful murderer.

He has written a number of articles (e.g. here) in which he explores the apparent mystery that a lot of people don't believe that dangerous global warming is going on.

He thinks the science is settled (even though his own research shows two thirds of climate scientists taking no position on global warming) so everybody should believe it.  He therefore puts forward various explanations for why some people do not believe it.  In effect he treats climate skepticism as a form of mental illness that needs to be diagnosed and cured.  Leftists have of course been calling conservatives maladjusted at least as far back as 1950 so Cook is offensive but hardly novel in his approach.

I can find nothing in Cook's writings that gives a reason why one should believe that catastrophic warming is imminent.  The known temperature facts are not at issue.  There was an overall warming during the 20th century of about two thirds of one degree Celsius and no statistically significant warming in the 21st century. That's what the Warmist data shows and I agree with it. So the warming we did have was trivial and even that has now stopped.  I would like Mr Cook to tell me what there is to worry about in that situation.

I live only about 15 minutes from where Mr Cook works so he could even come and tell me in person.  I in fact challenge him to do that.  What scientific fact have I overlooked?  I have not found such a fact so far yet but I am always open to new information. He wants to persuade people of the truth of his beliefs so let him start with me. My email address is jonjayray@hotmail.com

He will probably find out, however, that I taught research methods and statistics at a major Australian university for a number of years, so will run like a scalded cat from any contact with me.


We just had the hottest year on record – where does that leave climate denial?

Asks dodgy psychologist Stephan Lewandowsky.  I think I have addressed all his points before but a new lucubration from him is too much fun to ignore.  Lewandowski is the very strange social scientist who thinks you can make valid generalizations about a population without at first obtaining a representative sample of that population.  So his venture into climate science was bound to be amusing.

It is difficult to know  where to start but I was amused by this: "satellites don’t actually measure temperature. Instead, they measure the microwave emissions of oxygen molecules in very broad bands of the atmosphere"

One might as well say that thermometers don't measure temperatures either.  All they measure is the volume in a thin column of mercury or alcohol.

And even his most basic point -- embodied in his heading, which I reproduce above -- is amusing:  He condemns cherrypicking, as well he might, but does exactly that himself.  He takes the fact that the keepers of the terrestrial temperature record show a slight warming in 2015.  But he ignores the fact that any 2015 rise is best accounted for as an El Nino effect.  Even Warmist scientists concede a strong El Nino effect in 2015.

And if you adjusted for the El Nino effect, there may well be no warming from other causes at all. Such an adjustment could rather simply be done by using the atypical warming during the 1998 El Nino as a proxy for 2015.  Is Lewandowsky not curious about why no such adjustment has been done by the adjustment kings at NOAA, NASA and elsewhere? Why is that the one adjustment they have not made?  To ask the question is to answer it, I think.

And, in fact Warmist guru Kevin Trenberth does admit the unrepresentativeness of 2015: “My guess is that 2016 may not be warmer than 2015."  Trenberth, a climate change and El Niño expert at the National Center for Atmospheric Research thinks the current El Niño may already have begun to peak (or have peaked) and thus that the second half of 2016 may cool down again somewhat.

So Lewandowsky's whole argument is a straw house built on sand.  To answer the question in his article title:  "Alive, well and thriving". Lewandowsky is quite simply an ignoramus.

And his boring and quite silly old claim, that a consensus must  be right, is wrong in two ways.  1). The century-long consensus about the causes of peptic ulcers now stands demolished after the discovery of helicobacter pylori. Why is a consensus about warming more robust than that?  2). There is no consensus.  Even "Mr 97%" John Cook showed that only a minority of climate scientists take any position on anthropogenic global warming.  See here.  Once again, an apparent inability to read in Lewandowsky.

And he really gets hilarious when he compares climate scientist predictions  to stockmaket investor decisions.  Is he unaware of how badly unstuck stockmarket investors came in 2008?  By his own analogy, Warmists are in for big predictive failure too.  Lewandowsky must also be the man without a memory.

I think I will leave it at that. I may already have been too unkind to an obviously very limited man.  And I have twice before (here and here) shown that Warmist aspersions on the satellite data don't hold up

At a news conference announcing that 2015 broke all previous heat records by a wide margin, one journalist started a question with “If this trend continues…” The response by the Director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, Gavin Schmidt, summed up the physics of climate change succinctly: “It’s not a question of if…”

Even if global emissions begin to decline, as now appears possible after the agreement signed in Paris last December, there is no reasonable scientific doubt that the upward trends in global temperature, sea levels, and extreme weather events will continue for quite some time.

Politically and ideologically motivated denial will nonetheless continue for a little while longer, until it ceases to be politically opportune.

So how does one deny that climate change is upon us and that 2015 was by far the hottest year on record? What misinformation will be disseminated to confuse the public?

Research has identified several telltale signs that differentiate denial from scepticism, whether it is denial of the link between smoking and lung cancer or between CO2 emissions and climate change.

One technique of denial involves “cherry-picking”, best described as wilfully ignoring a mountain of inconvenient evidence in favour of a small molehill that serves a desired purpose. Cherry-picking is already in full swing in response to the record-breaking temperatures of 2015.

Political operatives such as James Taylor of the Heartland Institute – which once compared acceptance of the science of climate change to the Unabomber in an ill-fated billboard campaign – have already denied 2015 set a record by pointing to satellite data, which ostensibly shows no warming for the last umpteen years and which purportedly relegates 2015 to third place.

So what about the satellite data?

If you cannot remember when you last checked the satellites to decide whether to go for a picnic, that’s probably because the satellites don’t actually measure temperature. Instead, they measure the microwave emissions of oxygen molecules in very broad bands of the atmosphere, for example ranging from the surface to about 18km above the earth. Those microwave soundings are converted into estimates of temperature using highly-complex models. Different teams of researchers use different models and they come up with fairly different answers, although they all agree that there has been ongoing warming since records began in 1979.

There is nothing wrong with using models, such as those required to interpret satellite data, for their intended purpose – namely to detect a trend in temperatures at high altitudes, far away from the surface where we grow our crops and make decisions about picnics.

But to use high-altitude data with its large uncertainties to determine whether 2015 is the hottest year on record is like trying to determine whether it’s safe to cross the road by firmly shutting your eyes and ears and then standing on your head to detect passing vehicles from their seismic vibrations. Yes, a big truck might be detectable that way, but most of us would rather just have a look and see whether it’s safe to cross the road.

And if you just look at the surface-based climate data with your own eyes, then you will see that NASA, the US NOAA, the UK Met Office, the Berkeley Earth group, the Japan Meteorological Agency, and many other researchers around the world, all independently arrived at one consistent and certain end result – namely that 2015 was by far the hottest year globally since records began more than a century ago.

Enter denial strategy two: that if every scientific agency around the world agrees on global warming, they must be engaging in a conspiracy! Far from being an incidental ornament, conspiratorial thinking is central to denial. When a scientific fact has been as thoroughly examined as global warming being caused by greenhouse gases or the link between HIV and AIDS, then no contrary position can claim much intellectual or scholarly respectability because it is so overwhelmingly at odds with the evidence.

That’s why politicians such as Republican Congressman Lamar Smith need to accuse the NOAA of having “altered the [climate] data to get the results they needed to advance this administration’s extreme climate change agenda”. If the evidence is against you, then it has to be manipulated by mysterious forces in pursuit of a nefarious agenda.

This is like saying that you shouldn’t cross the road by just looking because the several dozen optometrists who have independently attested to your 20/20 vision have manipulated the results because … World Government! Taxation! … and therefore you’d better stand on your head blindfolded with tinfoil.

So do the people who disseminate misinformation about climate actually believe what they are saying?

The question can be answered by considering the stock market. Investors decide on which stock to buy based on their best estimates of a company’s future potential. In other words, investors place an educated bet on a company’s future based on their constant reading of odds that are determined by myriad factors.

Investors put their money where their beliefs are.

Likewise, climate scientists put their money where their knowledge is: physicist Mark Boslough recently offered a $25,000 bet on future temperature increases. It has not been taken up. Nobel laureate Brian Schmidt similarly offered a bet to an Australian “skeptic” on climate change. It was not taken up.

People who deny climate science do not put their money where their mouth is. And when they very occasionally do, they lose.

This is not altogether surprising: in a recent peer-reviewed paper, with James Risbey as first author, we showed that wagering on global surface warming would have won a bet every year since 1970. We therefore suggested that denial may be “… largely posturing on the part of the contrarians. Bets against greenhouse warming are largely hopeless now and that is widely understood.”

So the cherry-picking and conspiracy-theorising will continue while it is politically opportune, but the people behind it won’t put their money where their mouth is. They probably know better.



Hate speech and intolerance deserve regulation by colleges (?)

I have reproduced below a student editorial from Penn State.  I have given it in full because it does have a superficial reasonableness about it and in some circumstances I might even agree with it.  As the saying goes, however, the Devil is in the detail and what college speech codes end up doing is banning criticism.  Not all criticism is banned.  You can criticize Christians and conservatives all you like.  But that is about it.  Criticize anybody or anything else and you are guilty of "hate speech".

So college speech codes are fundamentally anti-intellectual. Criticism should be the lifeblood of higher education.  All orthodoxies should come under fierce scrutiny there.  And if not there, where? Disrespect of everybody and everything should be permissible there.  As it is, speech in many colleges is as restricted as it was in Stalin's Russia:  Not exactly an inspiring model, is it?  Has the land of the free become a land of stifling orthodoxy?  In America's seats of higher learning it has

The pretext of speech codes is that they aim to protect the feelings of minorities.  But that is creating a fool's paradise.  People tend to like others who are like themselves so minorities will always be discriminated against in one way or another -- mostly covertly these days.  So minorities need to learn to deal with that, not break down in a crying heap every time someone criticizes them.

And, as it happens, some minorities are in any case not at all inclined to break down in a crying heap every time someone criticizes them.  As all the research shows, blacks tend to have very high self-confidence and self-esteem.  Their feelings are not easily dented.  And Muslims of course think they have the right religion and feel quite superior about it.  So they too are not easily ground down.  Most minorities could actually do with more humility in my observation.  It would get them further in life

UPDATE:  As a good academic, I avoid empty assertions and would not like to be accused of them.  So below are some thoughts from Chapter 4 of Mao's Little Red Book that do, I think, remind us of college speech codes:

(1) Words and actions should help to unite, and not divide, the people of our various nationalities.

(2) They should be beneficial, and not harmful, to socialist transformation and socialist construction.

(3) They should help to consolidate, and not undermine or weaken, the people's democratic dictatorship.

(4) They should help to consolidate, and not undermine or weaken, democratic centralism.

(5) They should help to strengthen, and not discard or weaken, the leadership of the Communist Party.

(6) They should be beneficial, and not harmful, to international socialist unity and the unity of the peace-loving people of the world.

At a medium sized college in the southwest of Minnesota, freedom of speech has come under fire on a national scale.

Southwest Minnesota State University recently garnered national attention for a provision, and then revision, within their student code of conduct. Previously, the university specifically prohibited any jokes, comments, or public talks that exhibited what they deemed “cultural intolerance.”

Any insults, slurs, or phrases that discriminated against or belittled a larger group of people could be punishable by the school. The university faced harsh criticism from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, which monitors schools levels of freedom of speech on campus. Before the revision, SMSU received a “red light” rating.

While this may have been done in the name of free speech, such a revision essentially allows and facilitates hate speech on campus. Universities and academic places should be inherently inclusive of all cultures, and the rule in its original form had intentions in the proper place.

Punishing students who outwardly slander races, religions, or other cultural groups should be within the rights of a university.

A college’s main priority ought to be the support and facilitation of a civil, respectful education for all its students. and students who create hostile environments for others at the university do nothing to benefit the academic culture.

Harassment is just that; it has no place in a scholastic setting. Providing a safe, conducive learning environment for all students is the duty of universities, and that should not be sacrificed in the name of respecting intolerance.



 Petition to put Communist on five dollar note backed by high-profile Australians

Fred Hollows was a member of the Communist party for many years and seems to have retained such beliefs even after his membership lapsed.  And we all know where Communism leads  -- to mass murder.  And Fred must have known that too.  It is true that Fred was one of the very few far-Leftists to put his money where his mouth was, but  giving any encouragement to beliefs such as his would be most unwise

I have put a fair bit of my personal history online and I have  known Leftists to delve into that so I wonder if someone might accuse me of hypocrisy for mentioning Fred's Communist loyalties.  I was myself a member of two Communist-front organizations in my well-spent youth:  The Australia/Soviet Friendship Society and the Realist Writers' Group:  The latter was headed by a man of genuine literary distinction, John Manifold.

For perspective, however, I should perhaps mention that in the same era I was an anarcho-caitalist, a member of the British Conservative party, a member of the Queensland Liberal party, had a lot to do with DLP types and would occasionally look in on Nazi meetups and meetups of a student anti-Vietnam (pacifist) group.

All of which mainly goes to show, I think, that I had a good sense of humour. I still do.

  A petition has been launched today aimed at continuing the legacy of ground-breaking eye surgeon Fred Hollows, with a push to have his face featured on the $5 note.Dr Hollows helped treat eye diseases in Indigenous communities in Australia as well as poor countries around the world.

Despite his death 23 years ago, the Fred Hollows Foundation has helped restore eyesight to more than 2 million people.

  The petition, called Put Fred on a Fiver, is being backed by high-profile Australians including former prime minister Bob Hawke and Olympic gold medallist Cathy Freeman and former chairman of the foundation, Ray Martin, who were at the launch in Sydney this morning.

Brian Doolan, the chief executive of the Fred Hollows Foundation, said it was about paying respect to one of the greatest Australians who ever lived.  "The images on notes at the moment are all of great Australians most of whom did wonderful things in Australia, some of whom had an international career," Mr Doolan said. "But Fred Hollows has actually touched the lives of millions of people around the world."

"We'd be suggesting that we put Fred on the side that currently has a picture of the Old Parliament House and the new Parliament House," Mr Doolan said."We think it's an entirely appropriate time to take the one banknote on which there is not the image of a prominent Australian and to put Fred's image on the $5 note."

He also said it would be a fitting tribute for one of Dr Hollows' most successful fundraising campaigns.  "Years ago they used to run a campaign 'give Fred a fiver' so that he could do the wonderful work he did both here and overseas, well this year instead of 'give Fred a fiver' we're saying 'put Fred on the fiver'," he said.

Journalist Ray Martin said putting Dr Hollows on the $5 note was a "no-brainer"."I was with Fred, about this time of the year, going to a radio station in a cab," Martin said."A Greek-Australian cab driver alongside reached out and said 'are you that Hollows fellow?'"I won't give you Fred's language, but Fred said: 'So bloody what?' and he said: 'Oh nothing, I just want to give you a fiver!' and Fred said: 'thanks mate' and he took the fiver and away the two cabs went - that's how much he was associated with a fiver.

"If you look today, the legacy of the power of one, there are 5 million people plus in the world who can see, who were cataract blind, as a result of this inspirational idea that he had



Sex as a motivator and its role in Islam

Sigmund Freud's speculations and formulations are not widely accepted by psychologists today but any reader of his "Psychopathology of everyday life" will surely conclude that he was a keen observer.  I think everybody should read that book.  The things he reported there were real even if his theories about them are disputable.  When I was doing my Master's degree in psychology at the University of Sydney, one of my tutors was the highly regarded John Maze, who was as much a philosopher as a psychologist, and it was his view that Freud alone was actually doing real psychology.  The rest of us were behaviourists or what not.  So that may be another reason why I have more time for old Sigmund than most contemporary psychologists do.

And one thing that stands out in Freud's thinking is the overwhelming importance of the sex drive.  Freud called it "libido" and put it behind almost all human behaviour.  And I think there is no doubt that he gained that impression from the counselling sessions he did with troubled people in his clinical practice.  So I take it as one of Freud's acute observations that the sex-drive is a pervasive and super powerful influence on human behaviour.

And the history of Islam bears that out.  Polygamous societies generally, including traditional Mormons, are known for the difficulties they create in young men.  If rich older guys have all the women locked up, what are the young men supposed to do?   Mormons mostly just kick the young men out into the secular world but Islam provides no alternative like that.  But it DOES provide a choice:  Die fighting the infidel and you will get your women in heaven.  The birthrate in heaven is apparently much more skewed than it is on earth.

And that is exactly what enabled Islam to be militarily successful for many centuries.  When non-Muslim armies faced Muslim armies comprised of unmarried young men, they were up against something quite alien to their own thinking:  Men who WANTED to die, fearless warriors.  That was very hard to combat for normal people with a fear of mortality.

Now, however, that does not work as well.  Western armies have advanced military equipment that makes a great rushing charges by fanatics simply obsolete.  The machine gun alone does that.  But young Muslim males still have the same sexual frustrations as ever.  So some do set out to be killed productively -- in killing unbelievers.  That is why many flock to ISIS.  ISIS enables them to become once more the men of old, who sacrifice their life for the promise of a heavenly future.

But it is still only a tiny minority who go that far for their faith.  I think it is clear that only a small minority of Muslims are certain of their heavenly future. So what do the doubters  do?

They molest non-Muslim women.  The vast scandals in Britain about mainly Pakistani men who made sex slaves of dumb young white British girls were perhaps the best known examples of that until the recent events in Cologne became known.

Speaking of the young men who make up most of the recent "Syrians" who have entered Europe as refugees, Geert Wilders describes them as "testosterone bombs" and that is a good and well founded application of libido theory.  Freud was right.  Libido is such a powerful motivator that it goes close to being unrepressible.  The young Muslims of Cologne essentially could not help themselves.  They MUST get some contact with females, even if they do it in a totally wrong way.

And it is not in fact in the West alone that they behave that way.  Young men are very predatory towards women even in Muslim countries.  That is one reason why men and women are kept drastically separate in such countries.  So young Muslim males are a very unsatisfactory immigrant group for any Western country.  They should all be sent home to the hellholes their foolish religion has created.

There is some further useful background on Muslim sexual hangups and the events in Cologne  by French female journalist Laurence D'Hondt here.  I translate her article roughly below.  She obviously knows the Arab world well:

Huge sexual frustration is at the root of the violence in Cologne

Events in Cologne recall the violence in Tahrir Square in Cairo. Both events reflect a sexual frustration that haunts the Arab world. With the rise of Saudi Wahhabism and the lack of economic prospects, young people no longer have access to the women of their own country.

We may recall the story of the French journalists who covered  the events of Tahrir Square in Cairo.  They were pushed,  touched and  in some cases, raped. Despite their knowledge of these countries, these experienced women journalists were shocked by the sudden violence expressed from these men who were there for  other purposes.

The events that occurred during the night of New Year in Cologne resemble the violence experienced in Egypt: men surrounded a  number of young women on which they literally melt with the aim of touching, pushing their hands where they can, because female  company is so difficult to access. Rape in this case is rare and usually the result of an isolated man with a deliberate intention to take action.

It is a unique form of violence that is basically unknown in European countries, but is, in contrast, common in Arab countries where the local police, knowing this, immediately intervene with  batons or other weapons. The lack of immediate reaction from the German police is probably partly linked to the incomprehension of what was going on in Cologne overnight on New Year's Eve.

Most young men -and women- young people growing up today in the Arab-Muslim societies have a totally restrained sexuality. Their literature and film are full of stories of their small and big frustrations. Whether taking the Egyptian film, "Women bus" whose story revolves around young men that rub against the body 'too' closely' to young women on transport in Cairo. Whether we read author Khaled El Khamissi which in "Noah's Ark", tells how a youth is deadlocked when he finds the lack of access to the labor market and a fortiori to sexuality, because he lacks the means to marry a woman.

According to a UN report conducted in April, 99.3% of Egyptian women and young girls were victims of sexual harassment, a phenomenon described as endemic. A similar situation in Yemen.  And that becomes commonplace in Iraq or Syria where the collapse of state structures gives free rein to violence against women. Even in the very liberated Lebanon, the author Rachid El Daif, tells in "Show me your legs Leila", how sexuality is disconnected from reality and how men and women are found only in fiction where the woman should aspire to virginity and the man to the omnipotence. The first victims of this frustration are Arab and non-Western.

In the Arab world today, sex is more than ever padlocked.
There are several reasons for this. They are economic firstly. Indeed,  in most rural and even urban areas of the Arab-Muslim world, marriage, which gives access to sexuality, is possible only by having the means to offer women the amount required by her family as a bride price. With no means due to the lack of economic opportunity, men are forced to remain living with their families and have only one outlet for their sexuality to try their luck with prostitutes or foreigners.

In recent decades, these economic blocks have been reinforced by restrictive religious considerations modeled on the Saudi Wahhabism: men and women are forced to live in separate worlds where diversity is seen as an invitation to debauchery and where any offender behavior or attitude is considered un-Islamic.

Thus it is not rare in Arab countries to meet men of 30 or 35 years who have never had the opportunity to touch a woman. This sexual frustration, told by literature and cinema is one of the engines of the violence today in the Arab world.

It was 20 years ago, that a Syrian lady offered ​​this reflection to me: "But I do not understand how men and women in Europe may lie next to each other on the beaches without pouncing on each other".  Yet she was 60, was Christian and Syrian by origin, living in Cairo ...


A Leftist view of the Cologne attacks

Australia has a far-Leftist webzine called "New Matilda" that I often read to get near to where the Leftist beating heart lies. It is not in mainstream politics so its writers can let it all hang out.  And they are of course enthusiastic defenders of Islam. Leftist haters and Muslim haters understand one another.  So I was interested to read their take on the mass sex attacks by young Muslim males on German women in Cologne on New Year's eve.

A recent article in "New Matilda" by one Randa Abdel-Fattah (I dare not guess his/her religion) gives a take on it.  Like most "New Matilda" articles it is long and rambling so I am not going to reproduce any of it but it can be summed up quite simply.  It is of course yet another exercise in moral equivalence and its central contention is that condemnation of the Cologne events is "racist".

Why is it racist?  Because Westerners too have done bad things in the past and we do not condemn such attacks when they are committed by white men.  That's the argument.

It is difficult to know where to start in refuting such a feeble argument but let's start with its central pillar: that the Syrians and others in Cologne were "brown".  I quote "Is the concern about sexual assault against women, or sexual assault against women when the perpetrators are brown men?"

As far as I know, Syrians would normally be classed as white.  They are not as fair as Northern Europeans but are pretty similar to Italians, who are undoubtedly white.  Let that slide however.  Maybe we are racist about off-white people.

That's not very plausible, however.  Not very long ago Australia's most populous State, New South Wales, was almost entirely run by people of Italian and Greek ancestry -- the Iemma administration.  And they were voted into power by the people of NSW.

So the question is whether we are equally scandalized by the same class of offence when it is committed by white and off-white people.  Abdel-Fattah obviously thinks we are not.  But he has a problem:  Where has there been anything remotely equivalent to the Cologne events that was committed by white people?  There has not been, of course.

So fat Abdul trawls through history back to the '50s to find some bad deeds committed by white men.  And he finds a few.  Even if we allow such things as comparable, however, he would have to show that they were not condemned by other whites.  He does not even attempt to do that.  His article is an outpouring of hate.  It is nothing logical

I think he should be called Abdul Fathead.


The New England Journal of Medicine promotes research secrecy

Charles Murray comments: "NEJM editors: Bullshit. If your data can't be shared, along with coding documentation, you've got something to hide"

Another Facebook commenter: "My favorite line: "other researches might "even use the data to try to disprove what the original investigators had posited." This is so stunning I have no words to express it.

NEJM and JAMA are the two most prestigious American medical journals so what they do and say is widely noted.  But both journals still publish a lot of rubbish.  See e.g. here, here, here, and here.

So I was not totally surprised at the latest NEJM article excerpted below. They advocate abandoning one of the basic  safeguards of science:  data transparency.  Science exists on  trust.  If a scientist reports a set of findings, other scientists will always believe what he says.  But, with various levels of self-awareness, scientists will sometimes misrepresent their findings. And that is no mean problem.  Around two thirds of research findings reported in leading journals have been found to be "unreplicable".  In other words, other researchers doing  the same thing fail to confirm the original finding. So two thirds of what is reported is apparently wrong.

Not all the erroneous findings are conscious and deliberate fraud.  Most commonly, the problem is that the author takes a rosy view of what is in his data.  There is something in his data that suits his preconceptions so he reports that and ignores other information in his data that is contrary to his expectations.

So to be sure that his data has been fully and dispassionately analysed, a scientist has long been held responsible for making his data available to other analysts.  It's a basic safeguard.  And if a scientist refuses to make his raw data available that basically tells you all you need to know: His work is faulty and he knows it is faulty.

So, now that we know how serious the unreplicability problem is, some journals are taking steps to circumvent it -- such as asking authors to pre-register their hypotheses to defeat data dredging.  But NEJM is doing the opposite.  They want to make it harder to check on the soundness of a research report!  That is so amazing that I am inclined to apply the usual suspicion:  I am inclined to suspect that the authors of the article (Dan L. Longo  and Jeffrey M. Drazen) have things in their own research past that they don't want to see the light of day.

And the reasons they give for what they advocate are so specious as to border on the hilarious.  They fear, for instance, that other scientists might "use the data to try to disprove what the original investigators had posited".  But why fear that?  That possibility is what data openness is all about. 

And there is no doubt that closer scrutiny of many findings WILL "disprove what the original investigators had posited".  I have only once requested raw data from another researcher  -- a request that was refused -- but that was mainly because there was very often enough information in the statistics provided to show that the conclusions did not follow from the data.  I did and reported that often in my 20 years as an active social science researcher  and I still do it often on my blogs. I pointed to an example of it just yesterday.

So NEJM is in the position of defending crap science.

But why?  Are there any non-personal motives involved?  I suspect that it might have something to do with the battering Warmists have taken over their refusal to release their data.  And the reason for Warmist secrecy is plain.  The classic case was Michael Mann's "hockeystick" picture of climate history.  When he did inadvertently let  details of his data and methods leak out, skeptics showed that his procedures were so faulty that just putting random numbers through Mann's computer program would produce a "hockeystick".  Since we in fact live in a era of exceptional temperature stability (with year to year temperature averages differing by only hundredths of one degree), the Warmist claim that we live in an era of dangerous warming was always going to need heroic lies to support it.

And academics do generally support Warmism (It gives them a golden shower of research grants) so I think our medical authors may be wading in to give some skin of defensibility for the chronic Warmist secrecy.

The aerial view of the concept of data sharing is beautiful. What could be better than having high-quality information carefully reexamined for the possibility that new nuggets of useful data are lying there, previously unseen? The potential for leveraging existing results for even more benefit pays appropriate increased tribute to the patients who put themselves at risk to generate the data. The moral imperative to honor their collective sacrifice is the trump card that takes this trick.
However, many of us who have actually conducted clinical research, managed clinical studies and data collection and analysis, and curated data sets have concerns about the details.

The first concern is that someone not involved in the generation and collection of the data may not understand the choices made in defining the parameters. Special problems arise if data are to be combined from independent studies and considered comparable. How heterogeneous were the study populations? Were the eligibility criteria the same? Can it be assumed that the differences in study populations, data collection and analysis, and treatments, both protocol-specified and unspecified, can be ignored?

A second concern held by some is that a new class of research person will emerge — people who had nothing to do with the design and execution of the study but use another group’s data for their own ends, possibly stealing from the research productivity planned by the data gatherers, or even use the data to try to disprove what the original investigators had posited. There is concern among some front-line researchers that the system will be taken over by what some researchers have characterized as “research parasites.”



New Warmist claim hot off the press

Mann, Rahmstorf & Co. had a new article published on 25th and the Daily Mail had their take on it on 26th.  So I am a slow-poke in getting to it on 27th.  It's basically another "Warmest year" claim that ignores statistical significance and fails to note that their temperature changes go both down and up relative to the average.  In other words the changes indicate a temperature plateau rather than systematic warming.  Anyway, I reproduce below both the DM article and the academic journal abstract.  You will see that the whole thing is just another modelling exercise -- and you can get whatever answer you want out of models.  You can get everything but an accurate prediction of  actual temperatures

Since the start of the new millennium, the world has experienced a succession of the warmest years on record.

Now scientists say it is extremely likely these unprecedented high global temperatures have been caused by human emissions from the burning of fossil fuels such as coal and oil.

It comes just days after Nasa confirmed 2015 was the hottest year on record, with temperatures rising 1.8°F (1°C) above those seen before industrialisation.

The latest study claims it is 'extremely unlikely' that 13 of the 15 hottest years to have occurred since records began 150 years ago would happen since 2000 due to natural variability.

This, they said, suggests it is 600 to 130,000 times more likely than not that human activities and their influence on the climate have caused this record breaking run of hot weather.

The dataset produced by the Met Office Hadley Centre and the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia found global mean temperatures reached 1°C above pre-industrial levels for the first time.

It said the year's average global temperature was the highest ever recorded.

Professor Stefam Rahmstorf, a physicist at the Postdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, in Germany, said: 'Natural climate variations just can't explain the observed recent global heat records, but man-made global warming can.

'It has led to unprecedented local heat waves across the world - sadly resulting in loss of life and aggravating droughts and wildfires.

'The risk of heat extremes has been multiplied due to our interference with the Earth system, as our data analysis shows.'

The researchers, whose work is published in the journal Scienific reports, analysed real world measurements and combined them with computer simulations of the global climate.

This, they continued, allowed them to work out how the climate may have behaved if there had not been any human greenhouse gas emissions.

The results show the odds of human activity being behind the recent spate of record breaking annual global temperatures are far higher than previously believed.


The Likelihood of Recent Record Warmth

Michael E. Mann, Stefan Rahmstorf, Byron A. Steinman, Martin Tingley & Sonya K. Miller


2014 was nominally the warmest year on record for both the globe and northern hemisphere based on historical records spanning the past one and a half centuries1,2. It was the latest in a recent run of record temperatures spanning the past decade and a half. Press accounts reported odds as low as one-in-650 million that the observed run of global temperature records would be expected to occur in the absence of human-caused global warming. Press reports notwithstanding, the question of how likely observed temperature records may have have been both with and without human influence is interesting in its own right. Here we attempt to address that question using a semi-empirical approach that combines the latest (CMIP53) climate model simulations with observations of global and hemispheric mean temperature. We find that individual record years and the observed runs of record-setting temperatures were extremely unlikely to have occurred in the absence of human-caused climate change, though not nearly as unlikely as press reports have suggested. These same record temperatures were, by contrast, quite likely to have occurred in the presence of anthropogenic climate forcing.

Scientific Reports 6, Article number: 19831 (2016) doi:10.1038/srep19831


An extraordinary outpouring of hate for Australia day

On 26th January, Australians  celebrate the arrival of the first British settlers in Australia.  We celebrate it as the founding of our nation, which it is.  As the Left try their best to rip away all of our traditions, it has become an increasingly popular day.  People like their connections to their past so those connections we still have become better appreciated.  The supermarkets  sell all sorts of patriotic merchandise and you will see lots of cars driving around with Australian flags fluttering from them -- a flag in which the Union Flag of the U.K. is quartered.  No ambiguity about our British origins there!

The far-Left do however condemn the day.  Just as they condemn Columbus day in America, they call Australia day, invasion day.   They regard the prior Aboriginal population as dispossessed. The fact that the Aborigines dispossessed the prior Negrito or "pygmy" race they cover up.  But I come from a part of Australia that was the last redoubt of the pygmies so I know the facts of the matter.  I have actually seen some of their descendants.

So it was fairly predictable that the far-Leftist Australian webzine "New Matilda" would publish a prolonged howl of rage in the lead up to this year's celebration.  I am rather amazed by how prolix it is.  It is a very long screed that finds many ways to repeat its condemnations. It must be driven by a white-hot   furnace of hate.  I give just a few excerpts from it below.  I am not going to attempt rejoinders to any of the hate-speech.  It is just a re-run of all the old Leftist themes so one would have to rehash most of politics if one wished to refute its assertions.  Suffice it to say that it is just about as unbalanced a critique as you could get, unbalanced almost to the point of mental illness.

My family do celebrate the day in the traditional way, with a get together over a  BBQ at my brother's place.  I think we upset the Leftist stereotype a bit however, as our family includes some people of both Aboriginal and Han Chinese ancestry.  All are native-born Australians, however and we do take a considerable interest in our ancestry  -- with which we are well-pleased.

Some excerpts from "New Matilda":


We can all agree that Australia Day is a sickening celebration of jingoism and toxic masculinity that buries beneath its own excretion the invasion, dispossession and genocide on which this nation was built. The argument that Australia Day is just like 1988 satirical science fiction action horror film They Live is more contentious, though no less true.

There's the dominant ideological view of Australia Day which is a god awful hotpot of clich‚s, BBQs, boats and militant racism. Then there's the critique which contains some hard truths about the Indigenous population, asylum seekers, environmental destruction, poverty, homelessness, alcoholism, mental illness and domestic abuse.

This reality is painful for many and leads to aggressive opposition. It explains a lot about the public discourse of our national day, mainstream responses to daily examples of sexism by public figures, and probably the comment section at the end of this article.

Aussies love their garbage ideology.

The two-minute music video is an ultra-conservative fantasy draft of every boring clich‚ you've ever heard about Australia. Set to the tune of Outcast's party anthem `Hey Ya!', it flashes through images of flag umbrellas, the harbour bridge, koalas and kangaroos, BBQs, the baggy green, fireworks, novelty size things, beaches, Uluru, white people, mullets, singlets, cork hats, sports, vegemite, boomerangs, lamingtons, VB and Midnight Oil.

Worse than this inventory of the who's who of the 1970s are the capitalist, gendered and racist messages the song reproduces. We're supposed to `Thank God for our resources coz they are the sources for our wealthy land' as we see footage of mining and the smiling faces of Gina Rinehart, Rupert Murdoch and Kerry Packer. Thanks be to our capitalist overlords for destroying the environment and feeding us hatred of women and minorities.

We're told `mateship is forever', oh except if you made it to the continent first, you don't eat pork, or you arrived here by boat recently. In fairness, in between all the white people drinking and eating baby sheep, Indigenous folks do get a run. Though only really for their paintings which white people like to hang on the wall, for their athletic ability which white people are obsessed with, and for their dancing which white people like as entertainment.

We also learn that it's cool to binge drink and it makes us really happy. Let's not forget the suffocating masculinity which drowns most of the song. Australia at its core is all about mining, cooking BBQs, being mates, having a beer with the fellas, big things, watching cricket, mullets, singlets and go karting.

It also goes to Zizek's point that ideology is not something imposed on us but instead a spontaneous and natural expression of how we see the world.

As you bowl a few bouncers this Oz Day, recognise that we've never really owned our bloody history of invasion, dispossession, and genocide. Violence and disease decimated the estimated 750,000 Indigenous people living here across 400 nations in 1788. By 1920 there remained 60,000 and they were labelled a `dying race'.

While Paul Keating once gave a nice speech in Redfern and Kevin Rudd said sorry to the Stolen Generations, mainstream Australia has never properly come to terms with our violent past and our discriminatory present. Howard derided an honest reckoning as a `black armband view of history', while in contemporary politics, Abbott said there was `nothing but bush' before white settlement and Bill Shorten can't even bring himself to say the word invasion, opting for the more anodyne `settlement'.

Our failure to fully recognise past atrocities bleeds into our continued execution of them. A long line of white governments have denied Aboriginal people the right to self-determination and as a result these communities suffer the grossest social, economic, legal and political inequality.

Life expectancy is about fifteen years lower, infant mortality three times higher and youth incarceration 24 times higher compared to these rates for non-Indigenous Australians. Meanwhile the Recognise campaign stumbles on interminably to distract us all from the slashing of Indigenous services, the closure of Indigenous communities and the urgent need for a Treaty.

As you drive your Ute to Bondi next Tuesday, see that for a society founded by boat people, we have very little empathy for them. Australia runs remote pacific prison camps with endemic physical and sexual abuse, described by Australian of the Year Patrick McGorry as `factories for producing mental illness'.

Our detention regime has killed Reza Barati, Hamid Kehazaei, Fazel Chegeni and over 30 other innocent people since 2000, and deported many others to their deaths in their home countries. 159 children currently languish behind barbed wire offshore and on the mainland, while in Nauru, children are forced into schools where they are abused and sexually harassed.

Over 100 nations lined up late last year to spotlight our crimes against humanity. In 2013, the United Nations Human Rights Committee found Australia had committed 143 violations of international law. We've breached not only the Refugee Convention, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, but also the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Convention Against Torture.

Take a moment during `Fitzy and Wippa's Blokey Bonanza' to think about how Australia not only systematically abuses the rights of Indigenous peoples and asylum seekers, but also ruthlessly despoils the environment. Since coming to power in 2013 the Coalition government has really stepped up the assault on the natural world. They've tried to delist 74,000 hectares of Tasmania's World Heritage listed forests and weaken the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Act, hoping to hand over environmental powers to the states. They've reviewed marine reserves and defunded environmental defender's offices and the CSIRO.

They've dismantled our climate policy, attacked the renewable energy industry and approved mega-mines in Queensland which alone will be the world's seventh largest polluter. They've approved dredging and an immense coal port expansion on the doorstep of the Great Barrier Reef. They've retained $10 billion a year in fossil fuel subsidies. Meanwhile, 2015 was in the top 5 hottest years ever for Australia, climate change is intensifying floods and bushfires across the country, and Peter Dutton thinks it's a good time to have a laugh about entire Pacific Islands going under water. Lol Peter, Lol.

As you re-watch `The Best of The Footy Show 1994-2002' for the 10th time, spare a thought for Muslims who experience racism at three times the national average as Bolt, Jones, Morrison, Abbott and the like stoke Islamophobia, riots and Reclaim Australia.

As you rub sun cream on your pet Koala's back, cast your mind to a decade of war in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria and the over 1 million civilians Australia and our allies have killed in the process. See Australia's shared responsibility in the destabilisation of the Middle East, the rise of ISIS and the global refugee crisis.

As you tuck into a vegemite coated novelty sized lamington, try not to throw up as you read that Australia's wealthiest 1 per cent have more money than 60 per cent of the population, and the nine richest people have more than the bottom 20 per cent. Know that the gap between rich and poor has grown by 13 per cent over the past decade and will jump another 10 per cent over the next 10 years. While the Australian media cares a great deal about which mansion our $200 million Prime Minister might grace with his presence, it seems to give less than two shits that there are 105,237 people without a bed to sleep in. Perhaps you could have a couple over at your spare mansion tonight Mr Turnbull?



Poverty and IQ again

Charles Murray showed a couple of decades ago that the poor tend to have lower IQs.  And it was hardly a surprise that being dumb might keep you poor.  But the Left purport to love the poor so Murray was furiously attacked over his findings -- though he had not in fact said most of the things he was alleged to have said.  It was a very cautious and  scholarly book rather than any kind of polemic. The Leftist rage at Murray finally exhausted itself but Murray still has his marbles and is an active Facebooker so I imagine that he could give you more details of the "controversy".

Murray seems to have won the war, however. Leftists do now  occasionally mention the inverse correlation between lower social class and IQ.  Rather than say that low IQ causes poverty, however, they try to prove that poverty causes low IQ.  I dealt  with the latest such attempt a couple of weeks ago.

There was another attempt in that direction back in 2013 that I commented on at the time.  It claimed that poverty was very stressful and that the stress prevented your brain from working properly. I would have thought that middle-class careerists were under the greatest stress but let's leave that for the moment.  The title of the article was "Poverty Impedes Cognitive Function".  There is a journalistic rendering of the claim here.

I put the findings in context at the time, showing that the conclusions did not follow from the reported evidence.  I was not aware, however, that Jelte Wicherts also looked at the study around the same time.  Now that J.P. Rushton is deceased, Wicherts is probably the man who knows the research on IQ better than anyone else.  And he is fair.  If someone puts up a celebratory claim about IQ, Wicherts will look at that critically, and if someone puts up claims that disrespect IQ Wicherts will look at that critically too.  So I have a very favourable impression of Dr. Wicherts.

I have now come across his criticism of the 2013 study and it does not disappoint.  I reproduce the abstract below:

"Mani et al. (Research Articles, 30 August, p. 976) presented laboratory experiments that aimed to show that poverty-related worries impede cognitive functioning. A reanalysis without dichotomization of income fails to corroborate their findings and highlights spurious interactions between income and experimental manipulation due to ceiling effects caused by short and easy tests. This suggests that effects of financial worries are not limited to the poor"



The evils of land clearing

Humanity has been clearing native vegetation for thousands of years to make way for crops and grazing animals.  But that is now all WRONG, apparently.  There is a great shriek about it below.  It's "environmental destruction" apparently.

Human modification of the landscape has been pervasive in Europe and yet Europe has a lot of very nice places to be.  Try Austria's
Salzkammergut, for instance, centered around an old salt mine (as the name implies).  I can hear the shrieks now:  A MINE?  Mines can never be good to a Greenie.  Yet people take vacations in the Salzkammergut to enjoy the beautiful environment.   People have been modifying the environment there since ancient times in fact. Hallstatt is in the Salzkammergut, if you know your archaeology.

Hallstatt -- a site of ecocide?

And what about Italy? People have been marching to and fro and modifying the environment there for around 3,000 years. Yet many places in Italy -- such as Umbria -- are regarded as places of great beauty. Tourists flock to Italy in large numbers to see its beautiful landscapes and its modified environments. But they are just cattle to Greenie elitists, of course. Greenie elitists have THE TRUTH -- or they think they do.

Umbria -- Some of that awful farmland, no less

Why should Australia be different?  Why can we not modify our environment into something we like better?  Let us CHOOSE our environment rather than stay stuck with the native environment.

Why should we not?  They offer two arguments below:  The first is that land clearing will increase global warming -- but if that were a serious argument they would have offered some figure for the climate sensitivity to CO2.  They do not.  And they would find themselves in a morass if they did.

The second argument is that clearing reduces biodiversity.  But it may or may not, depending on how the clearing is managed. And the reduced biodiversity in Europe seems to have done nobody any harm.

But even if we accept that all biodiversity is good and needed, it can be managed without blanket bans on all change.  Farmers often leave a bit of the native vegetation alone for various reasons.  The big disincentive to doing so is the fear of future Greenie blanket bans.  Farmers clear everything while they can.  So a program to reward farmers for setting aside pockets of native vegetation would do a whole lot more good than trying to stop clearing altogether.

NSW is set to join Queensland in tearing up key environmental legislation. The likely result will be widespread land-clearing and a greater contribution to climate change, writes Dr Mehreen Faruqi.

Imagine you were the NSW Premier in possession of a crystal ball, gazing into which you could see the consequences of your own policies. Suppose what you saw was what you were warned of all along: widespread land clearing and environmental destruction. Well, for Premier Mike Baird, a glimpse of the future is just north of the border, in Queensland.

Two years ago, the Queensland Newman government severely undermined native vegetation rules, resulting in the doubling of land clearing, the removal of almost 300,000 hectares of bushland (20 times the size of the Royal National Park in Sydney) and the release of 35 million tonnes of carbon dioxide, further exacerbating climate change.

Despite this damning evidence, the Baird Government is green lighting land clearing by pushing ahead with abolishing native vegetation protection laws in New South Wales. This is nothing less than attempting ecocide.

The NSW Native Vegetation Act 2003 has generally been credited with ending broad-scale land clearing in a state where 61 per cent of the original native vegetation has been cleared, thinned or significantly disturbed since European colonisation, most of it in the last 50 years.

According to a WWF report, the introduction of this Act saw an 88-fold decrease of felling, as well as preventing the deaths of thousands of native animals.

Not only is native vegetation crucial for biodiversity protection, it also improves farm land value and increases production outcomes. However, native vegetation management on private land has long been perceived as a battleground between landholders and conservationists, stirring up controversy between private property rights and the public interest.

Politically, the National Party has been a key opponent of biodiversity laws that require some form of permission and oversight before landholders can clear native vegetation. Not surprisingly, the unravelling of the Native Vegetation Act commenced in the first term of the Liberal National Government taking power in NSW.

In 2013, the then-Deputy Premier and Nationals leader Andrew Stoner foreshadowed the comprehensive overhaul of all biodiversity protection legislation. A range of new regulations soon followed, which allowed the removal of paddock trees and thinning of native vegetation to go ahead without the need for vegetation management plans.

Since these changes, more than 6,000 trees have been chopped. Even the Shooters & Fishers – key Upper House votes – have waded into this conflict, with a bill that, if enacted, would have done irreparable damage to biodiversity and native vegetation in NSW.

The next and perhaps most disastrous move is the report of the so-called ‘Independent Biodiversity Legislation Review’.

Even though more than 80 per cent of the submissions to the review called for retaining or strengthening protections, the recommendations call for the wholesale repeal of the Native Vegetation Act. It will also repeal the Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995 and parts of the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974 Act, and include only parts of them in a mooted new Act.

This will be coupled with an expansion of the flawed biodiversity offsets policy. Once biodiversity is lost, it is often permanent.

The Review recommended that the Native Vegetation Act should be repealed because it had not stopped biodiversity loss. This unsophisticated approach completely ignores the huge reduction of broad-scale clearing as a result of strong laws (despite inadequate resourcing for their enforcement). Moreover, it has turned a blind eye to the multitude of government policies that result in major biodiversity losses, for example, mining approvals that clear swathes of forest and habitat.

The new regime proposed by the Biodiversity Legislation Review is set up to fail. Clearing will be allowed even if it does not improve or maintain environmental outcomes. Under the brave new world of environmental (mis)management, already under-resourced local councils will be lumped with an unprecedented workload to deal with land clearing on a case-by-case basis, with no overarching state-wide environmental oversight.

While the anti-environment Nationals and the Shooters and Fishers are looking forward to ripping up the Native Vegetation Act this year, environment groups, conservationists and the Greens are gearing up for a vigorous fight to stop this destruction of native vegetation and wildlife.

It doesn’t need to be this way. There is enough evidence to prove that weakening biodiversity protections will lead to an increase in land clearing leading to further fragmentation of precious ecosystems. At a time when climate change is taking bite we need more, not less preservation.



A man of faith clings to his faith in his final days

Warmism has such slight claims to be science that belief in it it is clearly a religion, a faith.  So when Piers Sellers, deputy director of Sciences and Exploration at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, was told that cancer would soon kill him he used that to evangelize for his faith.  He managed to get a sob story into the NYT reporting his diagnosis and adding that he was sticking to his global warming work to the end.

The piece had not even a pretence at scientific reporting.  All it did was to regurgitate the usual Warmist assertions.  So I initially disregarded it.  Some of my fellow skeptics, however, were apparently irritated by the article.  They felt that its emotional appeal might have some effect.  And I can see that they may be right.

So what could it be that kept this dying man going into his office to work on his climate-related projects?  The conclusion you are supposed to draw is that the matter is so urgent that he felt he had to carry on. But he is in a position to know that global warming in fact stopped over 18 years ago -- so it's hard to see any urgency in that.

Much more likely is Green/Left motivation.  He wants to get people under better control by the elite -- among whom he no doubt thinks he belongs.  His motivation is an authoritarian one.  He sees his work as helping to bring about a "new world order" in which people like him will rule the roost. He is indeed evangelical -- in a way that Hitler, Stalin and Mao would understand


Understanding 'nativism' will help us end it (?)

The writer below, lawyer Michael Bradley, makes the procrustean  Leftist assumption that all men are equal. Procrustes was a landlord  in Greek mythology who had only one size bed in his hostelry.  So if someone was too tall to fit into the available beds, Procrustes would cut off enough of the visitor's legs to fit the visitor to the bed.  He was the ultimate "one size fits all" man -- but not in a good way. So Bradley makes the assumption that all immigrants are equal and that they will all fit in well to the existing society eventually.

But what if he is wrong about that?  Most of the previous waves of immigrants that have ended up as more or less undifferentiated members of the Australian melting pot have, for instance, all claimed a loyalty to the risen LORD.  Might not an allegiance to Allah produce a very different result?  Might not Muslims be an exception to the rule?  Or do all groups whatever have to fit into a single procrustean bed?

Some major groups such as Hindus and Han Chinese fit in perfectly well without any Christian background but that is surely a contingent matter.  Most importantly, their religions don't preach hostility to other faiths.  Additionally, both groups are very business-oriented and studious and consequently tend to do well economically.  So they have a strong positive connection to Australia and no negative push.

But Muslims are not like that.  Any reading of the Koran will tell you that Muslims are commanded to be hostile to non-Muslims.  And, additionally, Muslims tend to be economically unsuccessful and welfare dependent.  So they lack the positive attributes that have caused other immigrants to adapt peacefully and successfully  to Australian life.

So could we possibly entertain the thought that opposition to Muslims in our society is perfectly rational?  When many Muslims make clear their hatred for us and some of them physically attack us, might we not reasonably be dissatisfied with that?  Might we not reasonably think that Australia would be better off without adherents of that religion?

So lawyer Bradley relies on a questionable proposition. But if the equality of all migrants is questionable, Bradley makes another large assumption below that is demonstrably wrong. He asserts that attitudes to the ingroup and the outgroup march in tandem. You are only hostile to the outgroup because you have an exaggerated veneration for your own group.

That's also a popular theory among Leftist psychologists.  They even embody it in a word: "ethnocentrism".  It is however a testable theory and in my 20 years as an academic psychologist and survey researcher I tested it repeatedly.  I included in my questionnaires groups of questions ("scales") designed to measure both attitude to the ingroup and attitude to the outgroup.  I had the results of such studies published in the academic journals.  See e.g. here and here. And there is an independent finding that mirrors mine here.

On all occasions I found no trace of the expected relationship.  In statistician-speak I found that attitude to the ingroup and attitude towards the outgroup were "orthogonal".  And orthogonality precludes causation. So despite his attempt at moderation, Bradley is simply wrong.

And, equally interesting, I found that there was often little relationship between  attitudes to different outgroups.  A person (say) who disliked blacks would often (say) have nothing against Jews.  More specficially a man who disliked groups on the basis  of their perceived poor hygeine would be unbothered by other groups who had no reputation for deficient hygeine. Different people are bothered by different things and if something that bothers them is prominent in a particular group, they will dislike that group.

So attitude to outgroups is not some monolithic kneejerk response to "otherness" but rather something with a rational basis. And it seems to me that dislike of Muslims falls into that category.  I know of no proof to the contrary.  Nobody attempts to prove it, in fact.  "Islamophobia" is an article of faith.  A phobia is an irrational fear but fear of Muslims has clear rational grounds.  There are daily reports of them blowing up and otherwise killing people. Is there any reason why that does not matter?

The clue is in the name: Reclaim Australia. It's poignant, emotive, speaking of something lost. We're in one of those moments now, when the fear of loss underpinning all anti-immigration movements comes to the surface.

I'm going to avoid the usual loaded terminology: racism, xenophobia, Islamophobia. Instead, I'll use a neutral term to describe popular national movements against outsiders: nativism.

I'm not so interested in name-calling as I am in exploring what causes these perennial outbursts against demographic minorities - noting that the divisions are not always racial or ethnic.

This point in a sense supports one of the nativists' standard defences - that their opposition to the targeted minority is not racist. That is, they do not object to the outsiders because of their race (or religion). The concern is not their defining label, but the behaviours which that label predetermines.

The list of excluded minorities is endless: Romany, Baha'i, Asians, Africans; in every country on Earth, at various points of history those already there have objected to the arrival of others. If you listen carefully today, you can hear in Australia complaints being raised about the incompatible cultural behaviours of recent immigrants from mainland China.

As always, this is self-described not as racism, but as self-defence. The one feature that every successive group of immigrants has shared, from the first Chinese arrivals in the gold rush, through the Italians, Greeks, Lebanese, Vietnamese, Muslims and Africans, to the latest Chinese from China, is the accusation that they threaten our national values. Not because they're inherently bad people, but because there's something inherent in their background, whether ethnic, national or religious, which just doesn't fit.

Pauline Hanson's seemingly permanent exasperation is worthy of deeper analysis than it tends to receive. She says "I'm not racist" often, with conviction. She explained her position with clarity in 2010, when she was selling her home in Queensland and told the media that she would refuse to sell it to a Muslim buyer. Her reason:

"Because I don't believe that they are compatible with our way of life, our culture. And I think we are going to have problems with them in this country further down the track"

Nativists would call Hanson prescient. The current rumblings from Reclaim Australia, the more radical United Patriots Front and nascent political parties such as the Australian Liberty Alliance, echo (in their view) exactly what she warned. Their expressed concern is to protect Australia; their method is to exclude those who don't fit in.

Nativism is a deceptively simple ideology.

It starts with the very human desire to belong. Nobody likes to be on the outer. In the quest for a sense of belonging, we easily attach ourselves to group identifiers - a football team, the cool kids at school, religion, race, nationality - and equally easily ignore that they are artificial constructs. It makes no more sense to seek to define a group of people as "Australian" than it does to distinguish Queenslanders from Victorians, or Jordanians from Iraqis. They're all accidents of history, geography and demography.

Nativist movements have always ultimately collapsed under the weight of their own contradictions.

Reclaim Australia has, to some extent, claimed legitimacy by co-opting Indigenous Australians under its banner, along with some Asian Australians. It doesn't take a lot of thought to see the difficulty of claiming a prior entitlement to Australian soil when, one way or another, your own presence here displaced a culture with tens of thousands of years of incumbency. Whatever the quintessential "Australian" values and way of life the nativists believe they are protecting might be, they sure wouldn't have been recognisable to the Indigenous population of 1788.

Since nativism is really at its core about belonging (it just defines itself by the exclusion of others), it's no surprise that it tends to attract those whose personal sense of belonging is most fragile: the poor, less educated, unemployed, socially isolated, the alienated and disenfranchised. People who feel most keenly that they are on the outer in society are the most vulnerable to the simplistic pull of nativism - the idea that they are among the true chosen keepers of the faith, called upon to protect what we have created from those who would tear it down.

Today's victims of nativism in Australia are Muslims. There may be some violence, perhaps quite bad, before this current surge inevitably subsides. It, like all its forebears, is the final howl of impotent rage from a subset of society whose inchoate fear of change is only a reflection of how unattached to society it really feels.

These people's anger, irrational and misdirected as it is, is real. We can understand it, reject it and try to cure it, without the name-calling.



Is The American Medical Association  in the tank for global warming?

Below is a current article from JAMA.  It's not an official pronouncement of the AMA but they published it. Most of the second paragraph is simply incorrect.  The author, Dr. Koh, allegedly a Master of Public Health, appears to get his science out of New York Times editorials rather than checking the figures for himself. Is that how low American medical science has sunk?  It seems so. And I am not surprised.  The leading British medical journals are similarly Leftist.  Lancet even attacked George Bush II during his Presidency.

And the scholarly standard of ALL medical journals is low.  Do you think that's a sweeping statement?  If so look at my health and medicine blog.  For many years I put up there daily critiques of the brainless rubbish that infests medical journals.  It was such a dismal task that I eventually gave it up.  I now no longer update the blog.  Its archives are still there to browse through, however, so the evidence is there for all to see

And the big surprise [NOT] in the article below is that it lists only harms from warming.  It lists no benefits.  And that is despite the fact -- known to just about everyone in the medical profession -- that winter, cold weather, is the season of dying.  Warmth is clearly a lot more supportive of health than is cold. Dr Koh is is ignoring the nose on his face.  A Master of Public Health indeed!  He is a totally irresponsible global warming apparatchik.  He has no personal integrity at all. He would have done well in Mao's China.

I reproduce the whole article so readers can see how little substance there is to it

As 2015 draws to a close, on track to be the hottest year ever recorded, global attention to climate change soared. (http://nyti.ms/1NUuRsV). The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), composed of more than 2000 of the world’s leading climate change scientists, has stated with confidence that the major driver of rising temperatures is human-generated greenhouse gas emissions (carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide) largely related to the burning of fossil fuels (http://1.usa.gov/1Nc8BI0).

These heat-trapping emissions have resulted in more frequent and prolonged heat waves, poorer air quality, rising seas, and severe storms, floods, and wildfires. Some extreme weather events, previously expected once in decades, are now being witnessed several times in one decade. These consequences fundamentally affect the air we breathe, the food we eat, the water we drink, and the environments in which we live, as a number of sources have pointed out (such as publications in The Lancet (http://bit.ly/1OTQzem) and JAMA (http://bit.ly/Zd7NyD), and Climate Change and Public Health (a collection articles on the subject) (http://bit.ly/1jOBYFG), and a report from the US National Climate Assessment (NCA) (http://1.usa.gov/1NMPYYn).

The IPCC’s most recent report, (http://1.usa.gov/1Nc8BI0), as well as the third US NCA (http://1.usa.gov/1NMPYYn ) (both from 2014), detail how global warming threatens human health by amplifying existing health threats and creating new ones. Everyone is vulnerable. Some experts contend that these profound harms rival the fundamental public health challenges posed by the lack of sanitation and clean water in the early 20th century (http://bit.ly/1vqjPyH).

The many adverse health outcomes include heat- and extreme weather–related conditions, infections, respiratory conditions and allergies, and mental health conditions. Heat waves promote dehydration, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke while exacerbating heart, lung, and kidney disease. Patients using widely prescribed classes of medications that impair thermoregulation (such as stimulants, antihistamines, and antipsychotic agents) may be particularly at risk. Heavy rains heighten the risk of waterborne infections.

Warming can also potentially affect the number, geographic distribution, and seasonality of vector populations, with the subsequent spread of diseases such as Lyme disease and dengue. Temperature-associated pollutants—ground-level ozone (smog) and fine particulate matter—can compromise outdoor air quality, and heavy downpours can dampen indoor environments thereby triggering growth of allergenic molds.

Trauma associated with extreme weather conditions can precipitate mental health conditions, such as stress, depression, and anxiety. Of note, vulnerable populations can suffer from multiple, synergistic threats such as extreme heat, air pollution, and stress.

Despite these risks, most people in the United States still do not recognize climate change, or the way it damages human health, as a serious threat. A 2015 Gallup Poll of 1025 US adults found that while a majority of adults (66%) acknowledge that global warming is happening (or will happen) during their lifetime, only a minority (37%) believe it will pose a serious threat to their way of life (http://bit.ly/1FWb8mM). A 2014 national survey of 1275 US adults (by the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication and the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication) found that most adults (61%) have given little or no thought to the health consequences of global warming. Indeed, the image of climate change may be more likely one of stranded polar bears rather than asthmatic children struggling to breathe (http://bit.ly/1jOCpA7).

Clinicians have a powerful and unique opportunity to engage the nation by framing the crisis as a health imperative (such as articles in Family Medicine (http://bit.ly/1M3Fin9), BMC Public Health (http://bit.ly/1M3FqmG), Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change, (http://bit.ly/1U4Qk1O), and American Family Physician, (http://bit.ly/1SOQNEr), and a report from George Mason University) (http://bit.ly/1W5Eypw). Doing so can educate and empower patients, policy makers, and the public. The above-mentioned Yale and George Mason University poll noted that when asked to rank various potential sources of information about health consequences of global warming, people in the United States were most likely to trust their primary care doctor, followed by family and friends and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Clinicians can fulfill that trust in a number of ways. Through their collective voice, they can broadly support a range of actions urged by policy makers to promote mitigation and adaptation.

Strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (mitigation) include measures to reduce energy consumption at work and home, decrease reliance on carbon-intensive fuels, and improve fuel economy. Strategies to enhance resilience (adaptation) include identifying vulnerabilities by geography and population, improving early warning systems for weather hazards, targeting preparedness and response activities, and creating climate-resistant physical infrastructures (including hospitals) and prepared workforces. By supporting the growing numbers of medical and public health organizations promoting such strategies, health professionals can build and shape community resilience.

The health community can also promote individual actions that address global warming and benefit health (http://bit.ly/Zd7NyD) and (http://bit.ly/1jOBYFG). Suggesting that patients substitute walking or biking for car transport, for example, not only has the potential to reduce carbon and other air pollutant emissions but also encourages exercise.

Clinicians can also direct messages at specific groups, making issues concrete and personal that might otherwise seem abstract and remote. Such messages can convey that climate change threatens health now, not just in the future; that children, the elderly, the poor, and those with medical conditions and some communities of color may be especially vulnerable; and that individuals can promote preparedness as a way to shape societal action. A number of resources are readily available on the web to guide communication (http://bit.ly/1M3GQgV).

Clinicians can also offer specific medical guidance about adverse health outcomes to help individuals assess their vulnerabilities and take action. For example, guiding the elderly, parents and children, outdoor workers, and socially isolated individuals to track heat and weather trends can help them connect to early warning programs, such as those that offer people the services of air-conditioned community centers during heat waves. They can communicate risks of waterborne disease outbreaks after heavy rains and advise those in high-risk areas how to take precautions to prevent bites from insects and ticks.

Educating patients with conditions such as asthma can encourage added vigilance during heat waves and periods of poor air quality, such as monitoring of air quality indices and pollen forecasts, and maximizing adherence to appropriate medications. Clinicians can offer coping strategies for those facing stress and trauma related to extreme weather events. All these messages, and more, can help people link the often distant and unfamiliar theme of global warming to immediate and familiar medical concerns.

In the face of one of the major global threats of our time, health professionals can make a difference. Engaging people in a health frame of reference for climate change represents a potential life-saving measure that promises profound benefits for both current and future generations.



Feminist, Em Rusciano, wants to censor Mark Latham

There is a major hue and cry about domestic violence going on in Australia at the moment, with some extravagant pseudo-statistics being quoted. Miranda Devine  pointed to the actual statistics some time ago. And, as she pointed out, those statistics do tend to expose the current mania as a lot of feminist nonsense. She has taken a lot of flak over her comments but nobody has shown any fault with her statistics

And the  Left are up in arms at the moment over some comments by Mark Latham about it. He offered  a perfectly ordinary account of the psychology behind wife-bashing -- and one which largely reflects what Miranda Devine showed -- but was apparently not apologetic or condemnatory enough about it.  Below is an emotional and unreasoned rant from feminist Rusciano in response to Latham.  She is, by her example, doing her bit to portray women as overly emotional and irrational.  One wonders what the "sisterhood" will think of that.

One also wonders if she actually read what Latham said.  Latham is certainly aggressive and outspoken but he is the former leader of the federal ALP so is no fool and no blind traditionalist. He has in fact exceptionally good Leftist credentials.  Compare what he actually said below with her account of what he said.  She is not answering what he said at all.  She is just answering a fantasy in her own mind of what she thinks he meant

There is a very wide range of explanations for domestic violence and I take no position on any of them -- including Latham's. I think many such incidents are "sui generis". But Latham's is a "displacement" explanation -- a type of explanation most associated with Sigmund Freud that has long been familiar in psychology for a number of phenomena.  In popular parlance, it is sometimes called a "kick the cat" syndrome. So it is very dogmatic and bigoted by Rusciano to dismiss it without argument

She seems to think that something psychologists have discussed and argued about for generations can just be dismissed by her  with a wave of her hand.  I am glad that I don't have that sort of self-confidence.  But feminism generally is very dogmatic and unreasoned so I suppose that Ms Rusciano's hubris was to be expected.

And who can dispute Latham's comment that feminists demonize men?  Some even call men "the enemy".  More details of what Latham said here

ACCORDING to Mark Latham, domestic violence is a coping mechanism for men who have had their masculinity taken away by women.

WTF. No.

For some unexplainable reason, radio station Triple M have given him a platform for his podcast called “Lathamland”, and in the first episode this is what he says about why some men hit their intimate partners:

“I don’t think it’s about how men look at women, it’s about how men look at themselves. They’ve lost their self-esteem, they’ve lost their job, they’re welfare dependant, they’ve got other troubles, drugs, alcohol in their life. It’s that loss of self esteem where I think they use domestic violence as a coping mechanism to get over all the crap in their lives.”

Lathamland: A place where women are the reason men are hitting them.

I wonder how Triple M’s sponsors and advertisers (who currently include Dell computers — advertising back to school specials, and Fiji airways) feel about that.

You’ll never guess who the evil queen is driving the demonisation of men agenda. Yep, former Australian Of The Year and domestic violence survivor Rosie Batty.

“I’m worried that the domestic violence debate is being used as a Trojan horse to push the left wing feminist position, saying that we’re a patriarchy, there’s a demonisation of men here, if you listen to Rosie Batty. Every man is a potential wife basher. Every woman is potentially at risk.”

Yes Mark, Rosie Batty is using the horrific, violent and tragic death of her beloved son at the hands of a man who systematically abused her over many years, to push the left wing feminist man-hating agenda. I mean, that makes total sense, and by total sense I mean none at all.

His obsession with attacking Batty every time someone gives him an opening needs to stop. His use of mainstream media to publicly bully her needs to end, yesterday.

On the most basic level it appears that Latham has completely broken away from his humanity.

Even if there was an infinitesimal amount of truth to what he was saying, a shred of credibility to it (which there categorically is not) he is forgetting that this woman watched her child die at the hands of her former partner.

Do you not feel she is the last person who should be attacked in this way? Instead of locking herself away to try and reconcile her grief and loss she has tirelessly campaigned against domestic violence. She has unselfishly told her story time and time again, so that no other family need go through what hers did. Has Latham put himself in Rosie’s shoes once? He has children, how can he continue to tear her down time and time again?

Rosie Batty is not a man hater, she is not on an unspoken campaign to emasculate all men and she is not unfairly targeting them either. The statistics speak for themselves. One in six Australian women has experienced violence from a current or former partner. One in six.

Triple M needs to take Mark Latham off the air immediately. He is a dangerous person targeting a vulnerable section of the community. Domestic violence is at epidemic proportions in our country and we all need to come together to end it; men and women. What he is doing is counter productive and it almost feel as though he is trying to whip up a war between us. This situation isn’t men vs. women, it’s much bigger than that.

Yes, for those of you keeping score this will be the third time I have responded to his statements. Why do I keep returning serve? Because I’ll be f***ed if I am going to allow his words to float around in the ether like a corrosive, poisonous acid cloud, unchallenged. I also wanted to put up a protective shield for Rosie, who through all his tirades and attacks has stayed silent. She clearly has more class than Latham or I