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Open Thread 10-13 April 2012

A short work week in which to celebrate the ABC’s final answering of the question of religion on TV last night. (The surprise answer: the Hindus were right!)

Here’s a thread for other media jolliness in the meantime.

UPDATE: How news.com.au “reports” a low Labor primary vote:

“Do you hate Labor” was not one of the Newspoll questions. But, you know, why stop making up stuff now?

  • 1
    Posted April 10, 2012 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

    Funny, I wonder how much of that is due to the fact that, wherever you go in Oz, there is no ALP-supportive mainstream media outlet.

  • 2
    The Pav
    Posted April 10, 2012 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

    I was flicking thru’ the channels last night and stumbled on Q & A on the digital ABC before it was scheduled on the ABC 1.

    I have never really had the opportunity to listen to Cardinal Pell for an extended period. I have treated what I have heard from him as being distorted by the bugle of the media hence I assumed him to be pretty reasonable.

    Last night after 10 or so minutes I had to turn away. I have never heard a senior christian leader to be so hate filled. All he had to peddle was fear and loathing. Perhaps his message changed later in the program but I was gone. It seemed so inappropriate given the season.

    I have met many senior churchmen over the years, I have found them to be strong minded, highly educated and very human. I did not always agree with tem but I found it easy to respect them.

    Based on the time I spent watching Cardinal Pell I could not say the same.

    It then got me to thinking. Perhaps this is why the Leader of the Opposition identifies so strongly with the Cardinal.

    The next thought I had was with the lack of numbers coming into the church the talent pool is getting smaller and this allows persons such as Pell to rise for lack of alternative.

    Anyway, as I said I found the Cardinal very disappointing and I was left with a sense of disquiet and disappointment

  • 3
    Posted April 10, 2012 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    Why do the media endlessly continue to whine about people coming here on boats?

    Almost 14,000 vessels carrying over 800,000 people come here every year and we spend money begging for more.

    10 Chinese refugees arrive and they go into hyperdrive and then the headlines of 1500 already this year.

    Which is 15 fucking people a day.

    Out of the 12,400 people who arrive here every day.

  • 4
    Posted April 10, 2012 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

    Anyone thinking the Murdoch media is not responsible for the fall of Julia Gillard and the government has all the political nous of a garden worm. They are not going to be satisfied until they have driven the best thing to happen to Australia from office. Now being questioned of her every utterance and action, an outsider would believe she is about as popular and more dangerous than a Robert Mugabe.

    Rudd is no doubt pissing himself with glee, I am now convinced more than ever he will be the second coming of the Messiah to save the Labor party from total ruin.

    Juliar will be gone before Xmas, bets can be made through Crikey.

  • 5
    Posted April 10, 2012 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

    It’s last flush over at Lavatory Pronto, apparently. Best get in quick should you wish to void one last time into the overflowing bowl of excretions that was LP.

  • 6
    Posted April 10, 2012 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

    So, what price the ACCC?

  • 7
    Posted April 10, 2012 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

    Timmy Blair appears to think that Flannery’s assertion that the Coalition would’ve fared poorly had KRudd pressed the big red button, gone nuclear and called a double dissolution is indicative of something, given the Coalition’s performance last election.

    I’d have to agree with the bearded panic-merchant on this one. It was Rudd’s failure to go all the way on an issue he once declared “the greatest moral challenge” of our time that saw the electorate lose faith in him; not because they necessarily believed in the statement itself, but because it appeared Rudd didn’t really believe his own rhetoric.

    A popular ALP had a mandate after 2007 to legislate a CPRS and an unpopular Coalition was opposing that mandate. Had Rudd had the stones to call the Coalition’s bluff, I daresay it would have gone poorly for Tones and Co.

  • 8
    Posted April 10, 2012 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

    Bolta’s drawing some tenuous analogy between asylum seekers willingly sailing to New Zealand and asylum seekers being towed against their will to Indonesia. Whilst I tend to hew to the right on this issue in general, this is a highly facile piece of reasoning.

  • 9
    Posted April 10, 2012 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

    “It’s last flush over at Lavatory Pronto, apparently. Best get in quick should you wish to void one last time into the overflowing bowl of excretions that was LP.”

    You should have posted there your good self Howard,B It would then need a whole gang of plumbers to unblock the S bend. Only could your turgid rants block a communal dunny so bad.

  • 10
    Matthew of Canberra
    Posted April 10, 2012 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

    “I have never heard a senior christian leader to be so hate filled.”

    Judging by a quick look at the pull factor, he debated dicky dawkins, too. And for the second time, andrew bolt makes a bozo of himself by attempting to measure up to a guy who sneezes things more intelligent than the stuff andy writes. Apparently dawkins got things “wrong”. Yeah, right, I’m sure as heck taking andrew bolt’s word for that. First I want to see proof that he even understood what was being said (not a good track record on that), then tonight I’ll be watching the footage for myself. I’m not expecting to find that bolta can correctly pick up errors by dawkins. It’s like some precocious kid walking up to a rocket scientist and declaring “I think you’re STUPID”.

    I’m not much of a fan of pell either.

  • 11
    Matthew of Canberra
    Posted April 10, 2012 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

    Oh, goodness. We’re into proof-texting now. Thank goodness for google. Pell says darwin was a theist, dawkins says that’s not true, bolt says it was true because he can quote this:

    Another source of conviction in the existence of God, connected with the reason and not with the feelings, impresses me as having much more weight. This follows from the extreme difficulty or rather impossibility of conceiving this immense and wonderful universe, including man with his capacity of looking far backwards and far into futurity, as the result of blind chance or necessity. When thus reflecting I feel compelled to look to a First Cause having an intelligent mind in some degree analogous to that of man; and I deserve to be called a Theist.

    Somehow failing, it seems, to continue the quote to its conclusion:

    This conclusion was strong in my mind about the time, as far as I can remember, when I wrote the Origin of Species; and it is since that time that it has very gradually with many fluctuations become weaker. But then arises the doubt—can the mind of man, which has, as I fully believe, been developed from a mind as low as that possessed by the lowest animal, be trusted when it draws such grand conclusions? May not these be the result of the connection between cause and effect which strikes us as a necessary one, but probably depends merely on inherited experience? Nor must we overlook the probability of the constant inculcation in a belief in God on the minds of children producing so strong and perhaps an inherited effect on their brains not yet fully developed, that it would be as difficult for them to throw off their belief in God, as for a monkey to throw off its instinctive fear and hatred of a snake.

    I cannot pretend to throw the least light on such abstruse problems. The mystery of the beginning of all things is insoluble by us; and I for one must be content to remain an Agnostic.

    The fact is that darwin’s views changed over time. It’s possible that, at some time in his live, he possibly was a christian – most people were. But he clearly lost his faith. I think we probably ought to take the man’s own words at face-value, though.

    Meanwhile, of course, andy’s proof-texting hitler’s flamin’ beliefs as well. I’m sorry, but the guy was a liar and probably nuts. He attacked just about everyone and everything at some point in time – up to and including his own people (when they let him down by losing the war). He attacked atheists, he attacked christians, he wooed christians, he attacked the church, he tried to woo the church. I think it’s probably impossible to categorically pin down what hitler thought about anything, let alone something as big as religion. The guy made it up as he went along. Anyone can proof-text just about any religious position they want to project onto the maniac (apart from one, obviously).

    I think dawkins might be wrong about the neanderthals, though. That’s a relatively new theory.

    Not done yet, one more …

  • 12
    Matthew of Canberra
    Posted April 10, 2012 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

    Bolta also claims “one for pell” by trying to back up a statement that pell made about why dawkins might want to call himself an atheist:

    But could I make one little suggestion as to why Richard calls himself an atheist? Because in one of his blogs in 2002, he was discussing whether he’s an agnostic or a non-theist. He said he prefers to use the term atheist because it is more explosive. It’s more dynamic. You can shake people up, whereas if you’re just going around saying you’re an agnostic or a non theist, it’s – these are his own words.

    Which dawkins doesn’t deny – he just doesn’t remember saying that, but it sounds possible. Andy supplies a link supposedly handing that point to pell, except … it’s actually dawkins explaining the DIFFICULTIES with the word ‘atheist’:

    Nonetheless, if we want to attract deep-down atheists to come out, publicly, we’re going to have to find something better to stick on our banner than “tooth fairy” or “teapot agnostic.” So how about humanist? …

    …. I think the best of the available alternatives for “atheist” is simply “non-theist.” It lacks the strong connotation that there’s definitely no god, and it could therefore easily be embraced by “teapot” or “tooth fairy agnostics.” It’s completely compatible with the God of the physicists, the- when people like- when atheists like Stephen Hawking and Albert Einstein use the word “god” they use it of course as a metaphorical shorthand for that deep mysterious part of physics which we don’t yet understand. Non-theist will do for all that, yet unlike “atheist” it doesn’t have the same phobic, hysterical responses.

    But I think actually the alternative is to grasp the nettle, of the word “atheism” itself, precisely because it is a taboo word, carrying frissons of hysterical phobia. Critical mass may be harder to achieve with the word “atheist” than with the word “non-theist,” or some other non-confrontational word, but if we did achieve it, with that dread word “atheist” itself, the political impact would be even greater.

    I’ve highlighted the bit that bolta left out. Man, he IS good at this, isn’t he? Meanwhile, dawkins has been explaining why he uses the word agnostic for a very long time. It shouldn’t be surprising anyone. But yes, the word “atheist” is still a political term. It is still a word that needs to be used in certain contexts, particularly where politics is concerned. It means people who don’t ascribe to religious faith. And it’s a convenient shorthhand for including agnostics, non-theists and so on. Like “christian” includes a bunch of different demoninations and convictions.

    Meanwhile, pell leaps on a comment from 2002 to explain what richard dawkins calls himself. A stretch.

  • 13
    Aliar Jones
    Posted April 10, 2012 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

    Whilst I tend to hew to the right on this issue

    hahahaha, hahahaha ohhhhhhhh hahahahahaha


  • 14
    Posted April 10, 2012 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

    MoC @ 10 – what was that about? I got the impression Bolta is descended from his cousin or something. He’s turning into Furbish Lousewart (from Schroedinger’s cat Trilogy by RAWilson,) and its becoming easier to see him penning an anti science tome called Unsafe Whatever you Blog…

    Q & A was disappointing tho. Pell is far better at working a crowd and political debating (not left right aust politics political, but rising to the pinnacles of power political) and left Dawkins for dead while playing to a highly biased crowd. Dawkins on the other hand – well he should just stick to writing about science (I haven’t read the God Delusion, and probably won’t but have read some of his earlier work – I think it is awesome.) He comes across as a petulant whiner who is convinced of his genius and confused because everyone else isn’t. He’s not at his best in a public debate, and imo has his own fundy tendencies. I suspect there is a conspiracy by religious types to promote Dawkins as the spokesperson for atheism, simply cos he’s so bad at the speaking part. I feel equal parts of irritation at and pity for him when he does his schtick.

    Don’t get me started on Pell.

  • 15
    Posted April 10, 2012 at 8:34 pm | Permalink

    MoC – you are on fire today.

    “a guy who sneezes things more intelligent than the stuff andy writes”

    And on another thread –

    “complaining about the ABC moving on from that point (about climate change) is a bit like complaining about its persistent heliocentric bias ”

    And –

    “I’m not sure there’s anyone in the opinonsphere who disagrees that climate change is real.”

    I first read this as “the onionsphere” – which is perhaps more appopriate.

    Well done that man!

  • 16
    Posted April 10, 2012 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

    Why does AB have such a giant ego, and such an inflated sense of self-importance that he is always right no matter what the Courts may say, all his critics are evil leftists or greenies, there is a giant conspiracy to take away “freedom of speech”?

    It really is childish ranting. “Me, Me, Me; I want, I want, I want! You’re all against me!”

    “The author (Heiss) has already helped to ensure that I can’t legally answer, either, and so the question she puts is incapable of being answered here in the negative, or not unless you are prepared to risk being taken to court. ”

    But you’ve had your say many, many times by innuendo, links to fellow-travellers and snide comments! I’d say you were liable for a charge of contempt of court.

    AB – you are an embarassment to the Australian media. Even your own colleagues are getting pissed off by your self-centered egotism.

  • 17
    Posted April 11, 2012 at 2:21 am | Permalink

    Pell shot himself in the foot last night when he declared that the Adam and Eve story was a myth. Dawkins immediately picked up on this, noting that Pell had just dispensed with the theological basis for original sin, which is the very foundation of Catholic faith! Pell’s great gaffe was headlined on Yahoo7 this morning. Too bad Yahoo7 has turned off their comments section, because I would have been more than happy to pile on top of Pell.

    Re Larvatus closing – Ironically I am still unable to post there because I am in “permanent moderation.” You’d think that even though they’re going down the toilet, as HB lovingly describes it, they’d have the decency to restore full freedom of speech. LP was supposed to be a left-wing site, but it’s two main owners were fond of bashing Dicky Dawkins, and they hated me for defending him.

  • 18
    Posted April 11, 2012 at 6:46 am | Permalink

    Andrew Bolt sure does try hard to defend the existence of a deity, while simultaneously declaring that he doesn’t believe.

    It’s like he’s trying to defend people who say the sky is red, that having faith that the sky is red is the most important thing … so long as you just don’t look up.

    “No, keep your eyes on the ground! It’s really red. The astronomers are lying to you. In fact they really do know it’s red too, so don’t bother looking up. Neil deGrasse Tyson? Yep, he believes in a red sky, despite what he says and what he’s written. This country was founded on the belief the sky was red, so it must be. Oh, and Hitler and Stalin believed the sky was blue, not red. Blue-sky belief is evil. Me? Oh the sky is clearly blue, just look at it. The important thing is that, despite the evidence (DON’T LOOK UP!), you believe it’s red. Oh, and I get to act superior, as usual.”

  • 19
    Posted April 11, 2012 at 9:25 am | Permalink

    I wonder when Pell will be receiving a “Please Explain” from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (aka Inquisition, last CEO Joe Ratzinger)?
    Apart from scrapping Adam & Eve, the sole justification for the odious Original Sin doctrine, he also said that the Ten Commandments weren’t dictated to Moses from on high. So that’s two legs of a three legged (money) milking stool gone…
    The Neanderthal nonsense & other blathering was a perfect example of what happens when briefing notes are memorised by someone too dumb to understand their background.
    Thank the gods I’m an anti-theist.

  • 20
    Aliar Jones
    Posted April 11, 2012 at 10:06 am | Permalink

    QnA was probably the most damning evidence yet that our country is awash in idiots.

    We will get the government and results we deserve from the dumbing down and popularization of anti-science.

    Dawkins was not petulant, he was shocked at the level of gibbering stupidity in the in giggling religious dimwits who made the bulk of the audience.

    If this is even a small sample, then no wonder we have an abject fool and self confessed liar such as Tony Abbott as our alternate PM.

  • 21
    Posted April 11, 2012 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    I’ve always been fascinated by AB’s knee-jerk defense of the Christian faith and its proponents. It’s so obvious that his motivation for doing so is purely political. Conservative politics and Christianity pretty much go hand-in-hand. On the flip side, atheism and secularism are more associated with left-wing ideology and politics. It is for these reasons that AB leaps to the defense of conservative religious figures while sneering at their detractors. It’s naked tribalism in action.

    His commentary on the Dawkins v Pell cage match is perfect example of this. He currently has Pell on a score of four and a half without granting Dawkins a single point. This, despite the fact that many Christians have bemoaned Pell’s waffling, incoherent performance while Dawkins made several telling blows and asked several poignant questions of Pell which drew responses of nothing more than mushy rhetoric about the evidence being ‘beyond reason’ etc.

    AB simply must paint the encounter as a victory for Pell, because the opposite would mean the loss if a small battle in the larger war of left versus right.

  • 22
    Post hoc
    Posted April 11, 2012 at 11:42 am | Permalink

    Fairfax this time on the Carbon Price

    Carbon tax costs likely to exceed rate increase

    Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/carbon-tax-costs-likely-to-exceed-rate-increase-20120409-1wkwe.html#ixzz1rgwPQIvT

    In particular this Gem “Randwick Council will be hit with a $1.5 million carbon tax bill” No they won’t, unless Randwick Council has direct emissions of more then 25,000 tonnes then they won’t be hit with it. Yes they will pay as a result of pass throughs but not directly. At least the modelled price for the Carbon price from Randwick is close to the mark, Warringah is just a joke, it is not going to be $35 a tonne, the worse type of waste ie Household Garbage is expected to be around $24 a tonne (source Waste Contractors and Recyclers Association) this $24 a tonne really doesn’t compare to the $85 a tonne the State Government extracts out of the Landfills as part of the Landfill Levy.

    Don’t get me started on the crap that is in News Ltd papers today about the Charity Costs from expected increase in illegal dumping blamed on the Carbon Tax.

  • 23
    Jacques de Molay
    Posted April 11, 2012 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

    silkworm @ 17,

    Unfortunately Larvatus Prodeo did suffer from some pretty heavy modding from the moderators over the past year or two. I remember a post of mine going into moderation for daring to refer to blue aussie yobbo singlets by their widely known nickname as ‘wifebeaters’. I tried to explain to this moderator that they should know of that nickname as it’s been common slang for a good 30-40 years but as they found the term offensive wouldn’t post the post.

    I was gobsmacked real alternative reality stuff.

  • 24
    Posted April 11, 2012 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

    FirstDog today on Bolt.


  • 25
    Posted April 11, 2012 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    I saved myself the trouble and didn’t watch the dead-horse flogging of the Pell vs. Dawkins QandA. That there is or isn’t a single creative supernatural power behind the wonders of the universe appears to be one of those questions that cannot be answered by humans and, thus trying to ‘debate’ the issue is pointless.
    Agnosticism appears the only logical position. And it’s easier on one’s blood pressure, as well.

  • 26
    Matthew of Canberra
    Posted April 11, 2012 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

    “I’ve always been fascinated by AB’s knee-jerk defense of the Christian faith and its proponents. It’s so obvious that his motivation for doing so is purely political.”

    Or at least ideological. It reminds me of an exchange from “yes minister”. They were talking about something or other that needed to be funded that nobody actually ever uses (the national theatre, I think) and they linked it to the anglican church or the countryside – people don’t actually have any use for them, but they just like to know that THEY’RE THERE.

    Same with christianity (et al). Dan dennett talks about this in “breaking the spell”. We have two issues with fait – one is that people actually believe in it, which is one thing. The more baffling angle is that people who DON’T believe in it still believe in belief. They see belief itself as somehow sacred, for cultural and historic reasons. The moment that religious convictions can be dragged into the same arena as political opinions of which-team-is-best sport fandom, we can have a rational discussion about religion.

    Well, I think AB really does believe in belief. I think he sees it as A Good Thing, even if he personally doesn’t buy it (judging by his writings). He’s apparently taken a recent interest in the contents of christianity, judging by recent threads. I suspect visiting israel did that – I expect it’s a common response. Heck, visiting jerusalem has been known to send people mad. I remember his excitement at learning that “meggido” was an actual place. I also got a buzz from learning that. I think he’s quite duchessed by christianity (although those other faiths, well …).

    I don’t know why he particularly has a man-crush on catholicism. Maybe it’s just because it’s so old and he associates it with his rightful european heritage. Also, it’s unrelentingly conservative. I honestly think he sees that as a positive. As much as the TV-evangelist trope drives me bonkers, I think I throw own my lot in with the modern american evangelical movement. They’re NOT conservative, at least theologically. Maybe in a decade or so, after he’s read some books, I might be interested to hear where andy sits.

    “His commentary on the Dawkins v Pell cage match is perfect example of this. He currently has Pell on a score of four and a half without granting Dawkins a single point.”

    Those points are pretty darn shaky, too. I’ve discussed three of them, above. Two of them, andrew’s flat-out wrong. And on the hitler point, I’m sorry but the kid really was raised catholic. His later life, though, I really don’t think we can ascribe any rational religious tendencies to. He was also an habitual liar, so I don’t think we can even usefully consider his own words. So I don’t think it’s possible to really award that one for or against dawkins – it’s just a matter of opinion.

    “AB simply must paint the encounter as a victory for Pell, because the opposite would mean the loss if a small battle in the larger war of left versus right.”

    AB has a bit of a history of supporting people who’ve mad right bozos of themselves. His desperate clapping for austen tayshus after his embarrassing performance on QandA is probably the low point. Andrew saw a brave hero standing up to the amassed evils of … one greens senator. I saw a guy I would have kicked off the show for disruptive, pointless and empty showboating.

  • 27
    Matthew of Canberra
    Posted April 11, 2012 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

    AB’s approvingly linking to this:


    … with the usual “I’m very sad” disclaimers. And I’m sure the luvvies will just lap it up. But I read that article, and I just see a shining monument to what a complete bozo andrew bolt has been. Caroline overington has just published the proof that andrew’s whining about free speech is a load of bunk. He’s got the droogs posting ignorant little comments all over the stratosphere about how it’s now illegal to discuss an issue in australia, and caroline overington just went and discussed it. In print. And he’s pointing it out to them. How STUPID ARE THESE PEOPLE?!?!

    Overington has just written exactly what bolt claims is now illegal (or “possibly” illegal, depending on the the day). It’s right there, in black and white. Every single point that he later tried to claim that he was making. It’s even managing to be personally offensive to the subject – with just enough snide “wink wink” judgements about little personal observations to leave nobody in any doubt about what overginton really thinks.

    So … had bolt taken that approach, not only would he have successfully made the points that he later tried to claim that he intended to, he’d have also managed to offend the subject AND stay out of court.

    Ok, it might not have been quite so hateful. But you can’t have everything. Maybe he could just take up voodoo?

    Just exactly what IS this “loss of free speech” that I keep hearing about? Because the australian has just demonstrated that nobody’s free speech has been infringed one bit. Oh, ok, apart from the guy who wasn’t quite sued for defamation.

    Oh, and caroline – when you say “… the issue isn’t, and never was, whether somebody is “black enough”, in Heiss’s words, to be considered Aboriginal”, I wish that you’d have pointed that out to your colleague earlier. Because, reading his articles, it seems to me that he didn’t quite get that message.

  • 28
    Posted April 11, 2012 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

    Bolt is simply using the free speech issue to paint himself as a martyr,as he is long past able to bring any new insight to the subject itself. It’s tiresome,but that’s Andy. How many more times do we need to hear the same opinion expressed? Apparently as many as Andy needs to conceal the fact that he is short of material.Let’s wheel out Tim Flannery again,shall we? Or link Terry McCrann or Sinkers Davidson. Bolt has long ago moved from commentary to stalking.

  • 29
    Posted April 11, 2012 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

    I don’t like agreeing with smartarses, but I have to agree that the Q&A “debate” was an exercise in futility. As is so often the case with this program, the participants were chosen noy for their ability to shed light on any of the issues, but for their perceived “entertainment” value, their potential for generating controversy. Pell is a waste of space, a product of the deadening influence of a lifetime of Catholic indoctrination, devoid of imagination and quite incapable of thinking for himself. Dawkins is a 19th century materialist who understands the literalist mentality of the fundamentalist Christian bedside it so closely resembles his own. Neither man has the least understanding of spirituality, which is the only interesting thing they could have discussed. The framing of the debate as faith vs reason is an old and dead idea that was already old-hat a century ago. Message to ABC: get more interesting people on. Old-timers will remember a program called Monday Conference. They could do a lot worse than reduce that concept.

  • 30
    Posted April 11, 2012 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

    A couple of corrections: “bedside” should be “because”; “reduce” should be “revive”. Stupid predictive text.

  • 31
    Posted April 11, 2012 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

    Well fuck me dead and knock me down with a feather. There is something Howie and I probably agree on – agnosticism.

    Dawkins has always been a petulant character. Pell is a Catholic, not a fundy and as such he has a bit more freedom in his interpretation of the bible. Evolution is accepted by the catholic Church so why would they take the Adam and Eve story seriously. I’m sure if you wanted to debate metaphysics with him he’d come up with something along the lines of the process being metaphorical – that everyone is available to satan to be tempted and the overcoming of original sin is the process of resisting satans temptations or something along those lines.

    Pell made some serious intellectual errors and Dawkins wasn’t up to the task of making him look foolish for them in the eyes of his (Pells) supporters. Its not enough for those errors to seem foolish to people who are sympathetic to dawkins since he is, in that case, preaching to the converted. he has to point out the errors in logic in what pell says in a way that Pells fans couldn’t ignore and he didn’t.

    Here’s what Pell said about the 10 Commandments:

    “I’m not sure that the Old Testament says that God inscribed the Ten Commandments but leaving that aside it’s difficult to know how exactly that worked but Moses was a great man. There was a great encounter with the divine.”

    So he is simply saying the Hollywood version of the 10 commandments might not be what happened. What a surprise.

    Lets face it if Dawkins was up to it he would have dragged Pell across the coals for the Catholic Church refusing to recommend condoms for Safe Sex for most of the last 25 years. Pell was boasting about how many people with HIV the cattholics care for … all it needed was one write off comment about them being responsible for a fair chunk of those HIV sufferers in the first place and he would have done humanity a service. But Dawkins wasn’t even up to that.

    I honestly think he’s bored with this religion bashing and would rather talk about the wonders of evolution and fair enough too.

  • 32
    Posted April 11, 2012 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

    Re Dawkins vs Pell: can anyone here think of a significant difference between religion and politics?

  • 33
    Posted April 11, 2012 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

    MoC – Dennett is in Melbourne currently and will be giving some public lectures this weekend.


  • 34
    Posted April 11, 2012 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

    FirstDog today on Bolt. Brilliant!

    + 1

    not that comments are allowed… ;-)

  • 35
    Matthew of Canberra
    Posted April 11, 2012 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

    Now it’s just plain turned weird.


    George Zimmerman (of Trayvon Martin, er, fame) has done a bunk and ditched his lawers (or they ditched him after they were unable to speak to him for a couple of days). Zimmerman has started a web site and called up Fox to talk to Hannity.

    Who knows.

    Will there be a musical?

  • 36
    Posted April 11, 2012 at 8:17 pm | Permalink

    The Bolt Effect in action.

    “We can’t send them back, but can wave them on…Greg Sheridan could have added “hypocrisy” to his damnation:”

    But the latest news is –

    “Ten Chinese asylum seekers have been detained by Australian authorities after abandoning plans to attempt a perilous boat journey to New Zealand.

    …The group decided to ditch the plan and instead seek asylum in Australia after marathon talks with immigration officials on Wednesday.”

  • 37
    Posted April 11, 2012 at 11:10 pm | Permalink

    Bilious Jones @ 20

    …our country is awash in idiots…the level of gibbering stupidity…an abject fool…

    There once was a poster named Jonesy,
    known for rantings most bolshie.
    “Others are stupid!”,
    is how he refuted,
    any and all that was contrary.

  • 38
    Posted April 12, 2012 at 6:51 am | Permalink

    RHW can anyone here think of a significant difference between religion and politics?

    If Gillard was archbish she could wear a dress like Pell does and the papers wouldn’t be full of “Does her @rse look big in that or what?” drivel?

    Also: why does the church get to do its business in some of the most amazing bits of architecture ever, while politicians get (new) Parliament House?

  • 39
    Posted April 12, 2012 at 6:59 am | Permalink

    AB this morning –

    “Point Missed”

    Well exactly. There is no story, no link, no details, just a vague reference to “A journalist sensationally mischaracterises the overall tenor of a debate, presents no evidence for a damning assertion, and plays down the true issue…even to rebut this article now carries an unacceptable legal risk.”

    (no comment)

    Thats it.

    Is this an experiment to demonstrate the ESP power of readers? Or is he trying to emulate Magritte by a clever bit of self-reference?

  • 40
    Posted April 12, 2012 at 7:04 am | Permalink

    Sorry – the Dennett lecture at Melbourne Uni is tonight at 6:30.

    Title – Free Will as Moral Competence


  • 41
    Posted April 12, 2012 at 7:08 am | Permalink


    And one couches its writings and utterances in some of the most arcane, obtuse and obfuscatory language ever devised, while the other mentions g0d a lot.

    As DNA wrote: “Who is this g0d person anyway?”. (Some speculated DNA wrote that skit based on Richard Dawkins which, while not true, is more or less where we came in…)

  • 42
    Posted April 12, 2012 at 7:08 am | Permalink

    ” Happy talk, keep talking happy talk, talk about things you like toooo dooooo…”

  • 43
    Fran Barlow
    Posted April 12, 2012 at 7:56 am | Permalink

    As Bromberg made perfectly plain, the defamation provision under which the plaintiffs took action didn’t go to his right to offensive speech. He simply wasn’t entitled to rely on bogus claims made in bad faith to make them.

    He could still have claimed that Heiss was making use of her status as an indigenous person to claim benefits to which others, including those he regarded as “more” indigenous or more disadvantaged than her ought to have received, or that all the sums involved were wasted and ought to have been given to John Singleton or Gina Rinehart for their “contributions” to culture. He had a good faith defence. He lost it when he began relying on things that were plainly incorrect.

    As the saying goes, you are entitled to your own opinions — just not your own facts. And even here, he has suffered no serious sanction anyway. He is simply having a public tantrum.

  • 44
    Matthew of Canberra
    Posted April 12, 2012 at 8:29 am | Permalink

    I’m quite pleased with that little amazon caper. I think somebody made a tactical error. After two rounds of flash-hating, people saw it coming, and a few turned up to put the other side. The discussion moved to a venue that the haters couldn’t control. And they got an argument.

    Here’s the thing – that discussion is now up there for eternity. Andrew bolt and professor bunyip can’t just take it down. All of the misinformed bile from the right is there to see, complete with references to dear leader and admissions about flash-mobbing other sites, and it’s alongside a bunch of measured responses that lay out the facts of the case. And caroline overington coming along and writing that article about anita heiss couldn’t have been better timed – every single claim about “illegal” speech went up in smoke right at that moment.

    And everyone in the world can read it. Forever. Including the good folks at amazon who just got used. And there’s nothing that bolta or the hun can do about it … without making a massive reversal on that whole “america’s still got free speech” thing (and I’ll be watching). I like to think that if somebody with a bit of authority gets a take-down request and looks through that material, they won’t look fondly upon that request. Particularly not if they follow some of those links.

    Andrew, if you’re reading this (and I’m sure you will – *wave*), do let us know where the next argument will take place. I found that deeply satisfying. Thanks! :-)

    Yes, free debate IS a good thing.

  • 45
    Matthew of Canberra
    Posted April 12, 2012 at 9:15 am | Permalink

    Professor bunyip is demanding examples of “racist” reviews from that amazon cluster-hate.


    Let’s help out. I’ll start with one straight off the very first review:

    “In Australia aboriginal people believe that “white” Australians owe them a living from birth to grave. There are quite a few others that make a good living riding on that gravy train of thought as well.” – Race Baiting, April 8, 2012

    And another:

    “Some people who claim to be blacks
    Gorge on the teat of our tax.
    Though lacking in melanin,
    Don’t ever try tellin’ ’em:
    You’ll be sued for stating the facts.”
    – Some people who claim to be blacks, April 10, 2012

    And another

    “This book is written by a protected species in Australia”
    – A Protected Species, April 9, 2012

    “Aboriginal tokenism by a token aboriginal living off the public teat …”
    – Tokenism, April 6, 2012

  • 46
    Posted April 12, 2012 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    The Bolt effect part 2

    “The despicable framing of George Zimmerman…The media lynching of Zimmerman has been astonishingly brazen, astonishingly reckless, astonishingly wicked. ”

    The latest news –

    “George Zimmerman, the neighbourhood watch leader who shot dead the unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin, sparking six weeks of mass protests and racial strife, is to face a charge of second-degree murder…He is being held in custody in Florida, said prosecutor Angela Cory”

  • 47
    Posted April 12, 2012 at 10:30 am | Permalink

    The Bolt effect part 3?

  • 48
    Aliar Jones
    Posted April 12, 2012 at 10:31 am | Permalink

    MORE Bolt effect…


    oh yes, those business people SURE do know how to RUN THINGS

  • 49
    Posted April 12, 2012 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    Bolt Effect Sends Channel Ten Down the Gurgler.

  • 50
    Posted April 12, 2012 at 11:23 am | Permalink


    The posts you highlighted do not appear to constitute racism, that being the belief that people are inferior or superior according to their race and therfore should be treated differently.

    To the contrary, the posts appear to be taking issue with, rightly or wrongly, the perception that people are being treated differently according to race.

    Whilst the posters may indeed harbour racist opinions, nothing in these posts meets the technical definition of racism, unless of course the word has been so misused over the years by people like yourself that it is now essentially meaningless.

    …and I’ll be watching.

    What are you, Batman? Perhaps, Mattman? I guess that makes Bolta the Joker. Dibs on the Mattmobile.