tip off

Andrew Bolt, Knowledge Weight and Flagship Media

Our good mate Andrew Bolt – that paranoid bloke that reckons you lot might try and stick calculators up his bum – has been a very naughty boy lately. And yes, it involves his special charts :-D

The problem, unfortunately, isn’t a particularly unique one – a lot of this pseudo-statistical arsehattery that gets passed off as evidence in any climate change debate (or any debate that contains numbers and lots of politics, sadly) tends to come from the loudest voices involved in that debate…. which also generally happen to be the most ignorant.

Not that they’ll ever admit that of course – on the contrary, as Andrew Bolt said to Annabel Crabb on Insiders (University of East Bumcrack Edition) about climate change:

At least I study, I study it, you don’t – so perhaps you’ll let me finish my point until you know something about it

He “studies” it! Hallelujah!

The only thing that could have made that little episode funnier is if Annabel pre-empted Kanye and gave Bolt a “Yo, Andrew, I’m really happy for you and I’mma let you finish, but ….” moment.

Yet there’s a serious point to all this. Andrew Bolt doesn’t have any professional training or qualification in the science or the maths – he’s not a statistician, he’s not an econometrician, he’s not a climate scientist – but he reckons he ‘studies’ it none the less and that’s apparently enough to make him some self-appointed public expert in the Australian media space – in the same sort of way I suppose that watching Grey’s Anatomy makes you a surgeon.

But when people try to punch above their knowledge weight like Bolt does, they often end up getting it wrong in some way – be it from some large, generic error based on a misunderstanding of the data, through to much smaller errors involving the actual context of any data itself, like its certainty, for example.

The other problem is that they are easily fooled by others – lacking any professional capacity to critically analyse info they are fed or have “studied”, they become effective victims to any old horseshit that might be floating around. The errors or questionable work of others becomes too easily and too often integrated into their own output.

A good example of this is something I found Andrew Bolt using the other day – in fact, it’s one of his favourite, most regularly reproduced graphics.

This is the chart as he posted it from last month (click to expand):

bolt3

It shows satellite based global temperate data, but in a format where each month’s actual global average temperature measurement is converted into the difference between that global average temperature observation and the long run average between the years 1979 and 1998. The full data set can be found here:

Bolt uses this chart as evidence for his claim:

Did they suddenly think to check the satellite data – and discover (Good God!) that the planet hasn’t warmed since at least 2001:

Try and overlook the obvious fact that this particular chart doesn’t actually, statistically support Bolt’s claim at all – we’ll write that off as just another example of the more obvious pitfalls involved when someone attempts to punch above their actual skill level.

The reason he’s claiming what he is, comes from the behaviour of that 13 month moving average – the red trend line – where it was showing a recent decline, at least relative to where it was over the last few years or so.

The problem though with that 13 month running average, at least as far as Bolt’s argument is concerned, is that it’s starting to head sharply up – to the point where even Bolt’s blatant misinterpretation of the meaning of that red trend line is not going to support his “no warming” argument for much longer, let alone the “global cooling” argument he often substitutes in its place.

Skip forward a month, to last Saturday, where he reproduced the graphic again to support his argument “the planet has kept cooling since at least 2001” – but this time there’s been some hokey pokey going on of the type where, were something similar done by a professional in any comparable commercial analysis capacity, the analyst would be in danger of being sacked for engaging in misconduct.

bolt2

The 13 month moving average in the previous chart – the one showing a steep incline over recent months – has been conveniently replaced by a much more ideologically friendly 25 month moving average. An average that, because of the longer period of time used to calculate it, still covers all of the 2007/08 decline, artificially lowering the most recent values of the trend line.

Rather than deal with the reality of the data in a consistent fashion, the methodology used to calculate the trend was altered in such a way that it conveniently lowered the most recent values of the trend line – also conveniently allowing Bolt to continue to use this chart as so called ‘evidence’.

This is worse than curve fitting, it’s worse then cherry picking – it’s an exercise in misrepresenting manipulated data to fit an argument, knowingly or not.

If we focus on the period at the end of those two charts – this is what the difference between the old 13 month and the new 25 month average looks like (EDIT: Just to avoid any confusion – this chart below is mine, designed specifically so that the size of the difference between the two running averages can be clearly seen)

dodgymaths1

Quite a difference – a very convenient difference as it turns out.

It needs to be emphasised that Andrew Bolt didn’t create these charts – he merely lifted them from this dude.

So he isn’t to blame for the shenanigans going on with the actual charts themselves – if he really was skilled in this area, he’d crunch his own numbers. But it’s a really good example of the sort of mistakes that are made when someone pretending to be an expert attempts to punch above their actual knowledge weight – they are often taken along for a ride, because they don’t have the skills to know any better.

The irony here is that Bolt has been banging on about the “tricks” used by the (insert ominous music) “CLIMATE GATE” scientists as being damning evidence of their complicity in some global warming conspiracy – yet here we have Bolt falling victim to a far more outrageous manipulation of the data than any statistical operation used by the East Anglia folks when they joined disparate datasets together.

Which begs the question – if Bolt is so easily fooled, why does the ABC or any media outfit attempting to be informative use him? Tabloids I can understand – they’re rubbish from arsehole to breakfast time in the serious debate stakes, it’s entertainment not serious news and analysis. But the ABC?

It’s not only a sad indictment on what passes for quality debate on public affairs in the MSM in Australia, but it’s also a massive slap in the face to the intelligent conservatives and those from the intellectual right who end up having their political views represented in the public sphere by what amounts to a form of mediocrity. A result, mind you, that was always going to be inevitable when the pursuit of “political balance” on these programs transformed into a lazy affirmative action program for pundits with conservative leanings.

Conservatives and those on the right deserve better from our flagship current affairs programs – it’s not like we have a shortage of professionally skilled, media friendly folks from the right. A quick look through the halls of the IPA and CIS demonstrates that pretty clearly.

UPDATE:

These charts just get worse – thanks to a heads up from thomasbarret in comments, this isnt the first time the smoothing methodology of these charts have mysteriously and conveniently changed to result in an artificially lowered end point for the trend lines. Back in March 2009, rather than using a moving 13 or 25 point average, it had a completely and utterly ridiculous 4th degree polynomial curve fitted to it (click to expand):

4thdegreepiffle

Polynomial curve fitting is pretty much the first econometrics 101 sin you get beaten into your brain to avoid. Some curves like quadratics (various parabola shaped curves) or cubics (a sideways flattened “s” shaped curve) have their uses – things like quadratic production functions or statistical analysis where there are non-constant marginal changes involved in the relationship between one variable and another in some area of analysis are frequent, For instance, we’ve used such quadratic functions here before to analyse the size of the informal vote as a function of ballot length. Similarly, cubic functions have their regular uses as well, particularly in areas exhibiting non-linear behaviour such as technology diffusion rates, or even here where we used such 3rd degree polynomials as a means to project election results from exit polls.

But anything above a cubic function starts becoming meaningless as it doesn’t represent any real world underlying data generation process – it becomes simply an exercise curve fitting. In fact, I’ve never seen a 4th degree polynomial explain anything – it’s really dodgy statistics.

Of course, our good mate Andrew reproduced it with gusto :-D

So here we have 3 charts reproduced by Andrew showing the same data set, but with three different trend line methodologies used in three separate time periods – all of which have conveniently mislead readers into believing that there is a downward trend happening. There’s a methodology for all occasions!

UPDATE 2:

If you want to see what that silly 4th degree polynomial trend looks like now with updated data, Tim Lambert over at Deltoid has the goods. It’s pretty funny.

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  • 1
    blue_green
    Posted January 13, 2010 at 11:56 am | Permalink

    Well done.

    Possum do you want to do a similar demolition on Tom Switzers bizzare claims of a Tony Abbot lead recovery for the libs on todays Wall Street Journal.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703652104574651610217495546.html?mod=WSJ_latestheadlines#articleTabs_comments%26articleTabs%3Darticle

  • 2
    Posted January 13, 2010 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

    Wow, that’s a terribly misleading graph at first glance! I mean, it’s obvious enough if you actually read what it says on the Y-axis but …

    Good grief. Oddly enough, it would seem to imply (with a tiny little bit of extra thought) that in fact the rate of warming particularly over the past decade may have accelerated slightly? I’m sure that wasn’t quite the point Bolt was going for.

  • 3
    Will
    Posted January 13, 2010 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

    Poss,

    A great article again. Even with the fudge of the y-axis and the different moving averages, there are things I can see straight away:

    1) The pre-99 has almost cyclical variation (and I guess the average), post 99 something changed and he hasn’t explained why
    2) Post 94 none of the moving averages have been below the y-axis
    3) From about 01 through to 07 there was little to no variation, no cooling, nothing.
    4) The recent trough was still above the y-axis
    5) As you pointed out, the average is going up sharply.

  • 4
    LacqueredStudio
    Posted January 13, 2010 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

    “If Bolt is so easily fooled, why does the ABC … use him?”

    Two words: Albrechtsen and Windschuttle. BTW, you should expect all hell to break loose on this thread from the usual climate trolls (and their antagonists) any minute now. I’m off to lunch.

  • 5
    Posted January 13, 2010 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

    Bolt is a radical anti-intellectual populist. It seems that in conservative circles, anti-intellectual=popular=votes. Whatever powerful drugs Tom Switzers is taking (they must be good if he’s equating scientific consensus as anti-intellectual), half the Liberal party must be on them also. Economics! If it costs too much, it must be made of wood and therefore a witch!

  • 6
    Posted January 13, 2010 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

    Just to avoid any confusion – that final chart is mine. I ran the data myself to make the actual magnitude of the difference between the two averages visible and to make it easier to see the future likely path of those averages.

  • 7
    Posted January 13, 2010 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

    Sounds like he was trying to hide the incline… :-)

  • 8
    Julian Watson
    Posted January 13, 2010 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

    How embarrassment!

  • 9
    LacqueredStudio
    Posted January 13, 2010 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

    Disclosure: I have – at times, here and elsewhere – been an antagonist to climate trolls.

  • 10
    Posted January 13, 2010 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

    Who, you Lacquered? Noooo! :-P

  • 11
    Dewgong
    Posted January 13, 2010 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

    The more dramatic effect is the lowering of the moving average line in the 1998 El Niño year, so all in all I think it is probably counterproductive to Bolt’s argument, although I expect the good doctor Roy Spencer would change back to the 13 month moving average the next time it suited him.

  • 12
    PeeBee
    Posted January 13, 2010 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

    This is the real climate gate fraud and you didn’t have to steal emails to find it, it is published in a daily newspaper.

    Andrew has studied it alright, but only so he can find ways to hide the incline by using various tricks.

    The Bolt Effect will be evident shortly and he will have to use a 36 month trend line, because this deception cannot be maintained while the TREND continues to go up.

    I would like to see interviewers ask him about this and get him to explain….. should be good for a laugh.

  • 13
    Posted January 13, 2010 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

    I know it’s good for us to see how climate change deniers like Bolt et al manipulate and are manipulated, but doesn’t airing stuff like this just give them more ammunition for their “vast left-wing conspiracy” crazy-talk?

  • 14
    David Richards
    Posted January 13, 2010 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

    The graph is dodgy also because of the scale being a circular reference (at least as far as 79- 98 goes), but therein lies the problem for the prof’s and Bolt’s argument – post 98 – the trend is higher (particulary 01-07).

    Would they be so brave as to try the graph over a longer period, and with an absolute scale rather than a relativistic average scale? Using terrestrial data for pre satellite measurements, covering from industrial revolution to today?

  • 15
    Captain Col
    Posted January 13, 2010 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

    Yes and statisticians can prove just about anything. Depends who pays em. Let’s see the statistician prove that the world has never been warmer than now (hide that decline from the warm periods) and that CO2 is causing an unprecedented rise in temperature. Let’s see the graphs extended for a thousand years back and explain why CO2 lagged warming, not led it.

    Also I don’t see why Andrew Bolt is so unusual in commenting on climate change or statistics. You don’t have to be a mathematician to add up. You don’t have to be a climate scientist to study the information readily available and make your own conclusions. That’s ultimately what will happen when ordinary voters change their minds and decide it’s all a bit pie in the sky and demand their government does something more important and urgent.

    Perhaps, Possum, you could do some extensive analysis on the famous versions of the hockey stick graphs to satisfy your lust for statistical controversy. Oh..sorry… they’ve already been consigned to the bin by others. You could do a Jesus style ressurection. That would be a miracle.

  • 16
    Posted January 13, 2010 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    Captain Col, actually statisticians *can’t* prove just about anything – that’s a myth peddled by people that don’t have any real experience with numbers, usually people that found themselves on the wrong end of empirical reality.

    You don’t have to be a mathematician to add up, but you have to have professional skills to do what he’s attempting to do – pass himself off as some public expert – and not fuck it up.

  • 17
    Captain Col
    Posted January 13, 2010 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

    I agree about the prove thing. Sorry. I meant convince or persuade which are more emotive and less empirical terms.

  • 18
    CHRISTOPHER DUNNE
    Posted January 13, 2010 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

    Here come the trolls.

    This one can “add up” too! What an achievement, but knowing the limits of adding up don’t seem to be included with it.

    The simple minded always think everything should be simple. Pity it isn’t.

    But they provide a ready made audience for the likes of Bolt.

  • 19
    RICK68
    Posted January 13, 2010 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

    Andrew Bolt! A media blogger motor mouth, who now has now second thoughts about his boss Rupert Murdoch, but is piss weak to comment on his blog–ha-ha Murdoch who renounced his Aussie citizenship—for his media interests in the USA, and for the American peso.

  • 20
    Cat
    Posted January 13, 2010 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

    I vote that we replace our calculators with abacuses (sp of plural?) because clearly there is enough room up there. I of course do not wish any misunderstanding to evolve from that comment ( and hence cause Poss more problems) so I must say I am referring to his nostril as a route to his gigantic brain.

  • 21
    David Richards
    Posted January 13, 2010 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

    abaci

  • 22
    RICK68
    Posted January 13, 2010 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

    Bolt is been used by the ABC—they are having a lend of him, so is Cn.9. They have him there as a warning to others—-all his fellow bloggers are ‘sexed up’ when he appears on the screen—oh Andrew! you were so good—I love you Andrew—etc.etc. What a sick lot of imbiciles.

  • 23
    Posted January 13, 2010 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

    rick

    Dont you know all the bolt-ons dont worry about Climate Change.

    They know that they will be bathed in eternal sunshine.

    As long as they are behind Bolta that is.

    After all they think the Sun shines out his arse

  • 24
    Barking
    Posted January 13, 2010 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

    Some of the people leading the actual ‘denial’ circus are worse than just sharlatans, they are like the shonky ‘spiritual’ healer who exploits the frailty of those with terminal illnesses. ‘Oh, what that nasty Dr with the Cat Scan says you have brain Cancer, Come over here, don’t listen to him, What would he know. He just wants your money, No No , Look for a modest donation to our institution, you know we don’t get any funding from the government. We have these new breakthrough techniques. etc etc etc. It is scandalous. shameless horrendous dangerous nonsense.
    I think someone should challenge Bolt to a $100,000 bet that the next ten years will on average be hotter than the average temperature during the 20th century. Put up or shut up you so called expert. Ha, as for the ABC, I am sick to death with balance, as a Green it shits me when the National Party get a share in 50% of the coverage because they are part of the COALition (What they get 4%) whislt the Greens get didly squat whilst sitting on 10-12% of the vote. Get out.

  • 25
    Barking
    Posted January 13, 2010 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

    Well done Poss, where are the media. It seem to me one of the great shames that there is this unwritten law that they don’t do each other. Bloody shame, its one of the reasons why anyone with half an interest turns to this type of news source.

  • 26
    cud chewer
    Posted January 13, 2010 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

    Also I don’t see why Andrew Bolt is so unusual in commenting on climate change or statistics.

    Andrew Bolt is yet another example of the vacuous self promoter that seems to be an all too common phenomenon in this culture. But, he doesn’t actually do any real work. He merely trawls the dens of climate denialists for something cute to rant about.

  • 27
    RICK68
    Posted January 13, 2010 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

    WHO does Andrew represent in this climate change saga, this climate change denier really gets worked up with anybody who does not agree with his weather mantra. I would say the hip pocket is maybe feeling the effects—-or better still, his Telstra shares. He in real life would not give two stuffs about the weather, unless it effected his wallet.

  • 28
    Posted January 13, 2010 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

    For the sake of legal issues – let’s try to keep away from any personal aspersions about Andrew folks.

  • 29
    cud chewer
    Posted January 13, 2010 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

    The other thing that puzzles me is this. The lay reader seeing that graph surely must be processing (even if subliminally) the entirety of the data, not just the presented trend line.

    And I would have thought that most sensible people that took a look at the graph would see a noisy but consistent upward trend. Even if you just took out the data and presented the 25 month trend line, I think most people if asked if the trend were up or down would answer that it’s upward.

    Besides, I think a lot of lay readers are going to look at his graph and go “but why does the red line stop there? Indeed, some will probably suspect being deliberately mislead.

    So, this is the bit that intrigues me. Given the above, what does Bolt think he’s actually proving/achieving? You’d have to be pretty willfull not to see the trend, even if you do play silly buggers with the averaging. Does Bolt consciously stop to think “hey, am I succeeding in being deliberately misleading?” or is his thinking really more that he just can’t see the trend, even in his own graph, out of ideological blindness? Makes you wonder.

  • 30
    cud chewer
    Posted January 13, 2010 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    I’m interested in the mechanics of self delusion.. if its too hot a topic, just say so Poss.

  • 31
    Posted January 13, 2010 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

    It’s alright Cud.

    Some of Foxnews stuff seems to run along a pretty similar mechanism – not only in terms of preaching to the converted (where anything really could be used as evidence, the evidence probably doesnt matter so long as the editorial slant was what the viewers wanted to see), but cashing in on anyone else that simply watches it for the conflict involved.

    I often wonder how some of the media people involved in that commercial exploitation of a particularly ignorant and angry demographic can justify it to themselves – particularly if, as I suspect, they know full well what they are doing..

    Everyone has a slant in the eyes of everyone else – but there’s certainly degrees of that.

  • 32
    Captain Col
    Posted January 13, 2010 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

    And Possum, your slant on the topic of Andrew Bolt and climate change is, shall I say, a little obvious. Bad luck about the actual statistics. He does great on the hits on his site. Even gets you to visit. And the most important statistic of all, public opinion on what our politicians should do about climate change is turning, slowly at first admittedly, but especially in the US. The public will prevent politicians throwing their economic futures down the drain of some dream of dialling in the Goldilocks-just-right temperature for the globe by using the the CO2 knob.

  • 33
    Posted January 13, 2010 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

    I’ve been upfront about my slant on Andrew Bolt and others like him in the media for years – I treat them with the same contempt that they treat others…… others often weaker than themselves.

    Except I do so from a position of actually being qualified to handle such data.

    It’s what separates professionals from blowhards.

  • 34
    JamesH
    Posted January 13, 2010 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

    “And the most important statistic of all, public opinion”
    A perfect demonstration of the gulf between wingnuttery and “the reality-based community”.

  • 35
    Captain Col
    Posted January 13, 2010 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

    Unfortunately for JamesH it is public opinion that elects and influences politicians. I know the great unwashed lower classes should never have been given the vote, they being the wingnuts, but that’s how it is.

  • 36
    oldskool
    Posted January 13, 2010 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

    So essentially what Col is saying, is that he is quite happy with deniers fudging figures so he can continue to behave as a petulant child

  • 37
    Captain Col
    Posted January 13, 2010 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

    OK Possum, I wouldn’t dare to question your ‘professionalism’ but I do dare to go back to my original point, that you don’t have to be qualified to have an opinion and even blowhards can say what they like. Your chorus of supporters probably don’t have any qualifications either, but you bask in their (blowhard) adulation.

  • 38
    Ian Bryant
    Posted January 13, 2010 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

    “This dude” is Dr Roy Spencer, Ph. D. I love his website. Note how “these dudes” always include their titles and qualifications with their names. A good way to convince the great unwashed that they know what they’re talking about.

  • 39
    Ian Bryant
    Posted January 13, 2010 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

    And Col, surely it’s up to politicians to lead, and educate the great unwashed, instead of responding to their hysteria?

  • 40
    Captain Col
    Posted January 13, 2010 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

    Concur Ian Bryant. Yes they should lead, but that actually means they have to change people’s (the great unwashed) minds before they vote. They can’t just lead hwen nobody’s following.

  • 41
    Posted January 13, 2010 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

    Sure Col – yet it also needs to be kept in ones thought orbit that all opinions aren’t equal, simply because some opinions are just that, opinions. Opinions based not on evidence, but on politics or ideology or sometimes complete and utter bullshit.

    It all comes back to what role you expect of our media. Do you expect media folks to pander to people’s pre-existing views, to tickle their pre-existing prejudices, to commercially exploit that ignorance by herding their eyeballs into advertising by tickling their bigotry?

    Or do you expect our media to be informative, investigative, enlightening? To follow evidence and report it honestly wherever that may lead?

    If you want the latter – then generally, the media folks doing that work need to be qualified in the field they are dealing with, they need to have the training, the skills, the scholarship and the intellectual discipline that such training provides, simply to allow them to do it competently and really give them a grip on what they’re saying and doing. If they don’t – we see the consequences, the content of this article being but one example.

    A large part of the general public will believe, often, whatever they want to believe regardless of any amount of evidence supporting them or to the contrary – their views derive from places other than informed contemplation. A good example of this is the fact that NSW Labor still has 30% of the primary vote! :-D

    Yet, if you are of the view that a well functioning society and nation needs to be built not on tickling the prejudices of a population, but searching out what is or is not true, what the evidence does or does not support and all of the important grey in between (the grey that should actually be where our national debate occurs!) – where knowledge is more important than its politics, then the likes of Andrew Bolt, or Tim Blair, or Planet Janet, or Phillip Adams or Clive Hamilton etc etc etc are yanking your chain.

  • 42
    CHRISTOPHER DUNNE
    Posted January 13, 2010 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

    The right to remain ignorant is in the constitution? Or should be, huh, Col? It’s a peculiar argument, because it almost assumes that anyone is qualified to do anything, like brain surgery or nuclear physics, because everything is somehow just a matter of opinion, and hey, everyone has a few of those.

    So many of the ‘denialists’ huddle together in this netherworld of anti-intellectual self-delusion and then get led along by the Dolts and Monkeytons who are their natural leaders ie just as incapable of handling the complexity, but egotistical enough to get the others to let them form their ‘opinions’ for them. Ironically the Dolts and Monkeytons ape the science, but it’s only a disguise, which the dull seem perfectly accepting of, because it fits their preconceived tribal notions ie it’s all a conspiracy of blood-sucking scientists and politicians who want one world government. It’s so hysterically inane that no evidence exists to convert them from this utter nonsense; any attempt to disprove the arrant idiocy is only likely to drive them further into this twilight zone.

    Facts aren’t opinions, and the ‘opinions’ of Dolt aren’t facts.

  • 43
    Captain Col
    Posted January 13, 2010 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

    Well said Possum. I almost agree. But we have to understand that the media have to sell something, otherwise no money. So they sell disaster, shark attacks, political fights (not agreements), and in this case disastrous climate change because they keep the circus aspect of their profession going. People want the bread too and so they pay attention when their hip pockets are affected. But I have to agree that it is difficult to sustain media interest in the ‘informative, investigative, enlightening’ genre when it is the circus that sells. And no matter how many informative and accurate graphs you produce, they prefer photos of Paris Hilton’s latest indiscretion or the latest diet.

    I despair that the public don’t change their minds when the facts change. But that’s life. And once more we get down to the fact that these idiots vote. So the politicians hve two choices. Pander, which is easy but may result in bad policy, or change their minds, which is next to impossible.

    I don’t despair of the media producing intelligent, balanced reporting and opinon. Some are doing it. I read all sides as I have the time, but I have to admit I tend to agree with Andrew, Tim and Janet rather than Phillip (but love his style) or Clive. I have changed my mind on global warming because I researched, not because I believe any particular pundit.

  • 44
    Astrobleme
    Posted January 13, 2010 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

    Cap’n Col

    I have changed my mind on global warming because I researched, not because I believe any particular pundit.

    that’s some might fine research you been reading Col… Yeah must have been pretty convincing. What were the papers again?
    Curious here, as people who research this topic tend to come to the opposite opinion.

    Also some one who had researched wouldn’t make simplistic statements like this:

    Let’s see the statistician prove that the world has never been warmer than now (hide that decline from the warm periods) and that CO2 is causing an unprecedented rise in temperature.

    See peole who had researched climate change should know that this period (the Holocene) is actually one of the coldest in the Earth’s history

    Let’s see the graphs extended for a thousand years back and explain why CO2 lagged warming, not led it.

    yes and this is all well explained in the literature, it’s no mystery. Remember it is solar insolation changes that initiated the move out of an ice age, but it is CO2 that then drives that on to warmer climes.

    The public will prevent politicians throwing their economic futures down the drain of some dream of dialling in the Goldilocks-just-right temperature for the globe by using the the CO2 knob.

    Science of climate change has nothing to do with the economics.

    All I see in your posts is someone who HASN’T done any research but has been reading blogs. Blogs are no substitute.

    I despair that the public don’t change their minds when the facts change.

    Yes, Col, so what facts changed for you?

    Also:

    I despair that the public don’t change their minds when the facts change.] vs [I don’t despair of the media producing intelligent, balanced reporting and opinon.

    I don’t understand how you can’t see that there are ‘facts’ and that there should be ‘balanced reporting’. If there are facts, surely they should be reported, and bollocks to the balance.

  • 45
    Posted January 13, 2010 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

    Astrobleme went:

    Bollocks to the balance

    Now *there’s* a bumper sticker! :-D

  • 46
    Astrobleme
    Posted January 13, 2010 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

    I like this example of ‘fair and balanced’ reporting from Fox news

    http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2010/01/07/cataclysm-killed-dinos-taking-lives-today/

    It’s good geology humour, so much is wrong with the article! Dino’s didn’t exist 250 million years ago. Coal isn’t formed by volcanoes… Dumb dumb dumb.

  • 47
    NickD
    Posted January 13, 2010 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

    I imagine that the ABC uses Bolt primarily as a sop to neutralise the other tabloid neo-cons. On the other hand, things like Tony Abbot leading the Liberal Party are what happens when people like Bolt become the most prominent conservative commentators, so the more sophisticated and sensible conservatives might want to lift their profile.

  • 48
    Captain Col
    Posted January 13, 2010 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

    Ah, Astrobleme, have I hit a nerve? The only part of your comment I agree with is,

    Science of climate change has nothing to do with the economics.

    Well said, but that doesn’t mean we have to do economically stupid things just because the climate scientists say we should. They’re not the ones who will pay. Why can’t we spend money saving people’s lives today, and adapt to climate change as it happens (and as we have been doing for thousands of years).

    I’m prepared to bet that you spend more money on adapting to your surroundings than you do trying to change the climate so that your surroundings adapt to your Goldilocks-just-right ideal. That’s economics. The climate warmists want us all to live in a cave and apologise for our existence.

    As for the ‘bollocks to the balance’, I guess you would say Andrew, Tim and Janet are therefore entitled to their views. But I thought that was the whole point of Possum’s article attacking AB for being unbalanced.

    Can’t have it both ways.

  • 49
    Astrobleme
    Posted January 13, 2010 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

    Cap’n Col

    No, you haven’t hit a nerve.

    I have read similar garbage to what you posted many times before, and was interested in what you had actually read. Seems you haven’t really done any research at all. You don’t seem to be able to tell me what you read. You don’t seem to be able to communicate the science at all. Why did you make the ill-informed comments you did? Why don’t you address my crticisms of what you wrote?

    What research did you do Cap’n Col?

    The rest of your post is about economics, which has nothing to do with Climate Change. The economics of an issue don’t decide if it is scientifically accurate or not.

    The point of Possum’s post is not that it is unblanaced, but that it is wrong.

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