Andrew Bolt

Oct 11, 2009

A question of etiquette

I've just read that Andrew Bolt (and many of his commenters, by th

I've just read that Andrew Bolt (and many of his commenters, by the looks of it) are unhappy with how David Marr treated him on Insiders this morning (if you didn't see the show, you need to watch this segment to see what he's unhappy about). Now I need to ask a question about etiquette. Let's say that you're stuck in a discussion with a person thinks uttering the same ridiculous statements over and over again - say, "the world hasn't warmed since 2001" - is the way to convince people he's right. Let's say that this same person believes this graph doesn't show an upward-sloping linear trend: UAH_LT_1979_thru_Sept_09 Let's say that this person tends to mutter about how everyone else is part of some "couch collective" and that his extremist and evidence-deprived views aren't given the respect they deserve - despite the fact that he is constantly being invited to talk to all sorts of audiences about those views. And let's say that this person's conduct demonstrates a modus operandi that undermines informed and reasoned debate and tends to promote both uninformed condemnation and personal attacks on opponents. My question is this - in that situation, what is the appropriate way to prevent that person from talking about the same nonsense until blood starts pouring out of your own ears? (PS: I already mentioned it in the weekend thread, but Guy Rundle's commentary on Andrew's return to the armchair is over at Crikey's new political blog, The Stump.)

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42 thoughts on “A question of etiquette

  1. Trends in temperature – Pure Poison

    […] the last thread, Bulldust commented: And look at that… wait a while and someone else […]

  2. Bulldust

    And look at that… wait a while and someone else delivers:

    I draw your attention to the following conclusion:

    “Analysis of the satellite data shows a statistically significant cooling trend for the past 12 to 13 years, with it not being possible to reject a flat trend (0 slope) for between 16 and 23 years.”

    I would not be in clined to attribute much at this stage to the cooling comment (because 12-13 years is not a long enough period IMO to attribute much significance), but more so the non-rejection of the flat trend for the majority of the data. This is exactly what I suspected from eye-balling the graph, and stated above.

    The H0 hypothesis would have been that there is no significant slope, either positive or negative (probably a two-tailed test). For the majority of this period this cannot be rejected with any reasonable degree of confidence… in other words any perceived trend is not worthy of note.

    Or stated yet another way… you can draw any line you like through the temperature data… all such lines are equally meaningless.

  3. Bulldust

    OK seeing as you are not interested in reading the link I provided, I quote directly from it instead:

    “From Nov. 16, 1978, through June 30, 2007, the global lower troposphere has warmed about 0.4 Celsius (about 0.72° Fahrenheit), or global warming at the rate of approximately 1.4 C (about 2.52° Fahrenheit) per century.”

    Now as you can clearly see on the graph the entire range of measured temperatures over the period is over 1 degree Celsius (comparing highest and lowest measures). We see as much variation as 0.4C between consecutive months. No one in their right mind would extrapolate one or two months and say that is the prevailing trend. Neither should one think there is much significance to the slight trend of “rising” temperatures through that noisy data since 1979.

    As I said before, had you been here two months ago I could have said the temperature today is exactly the same as the average for 1979-1998… it woud have been an equally meaningless statement.

    Bear in mind also that the 1940s to 1970s had a cooling trend (based on thermometer readings), so to use a 30-year satellite record of temperatures since 1979 and say this should represent the future because it is representative of historic changes is fanciful at best.

    But if you are swayed by science I would be happy to fetch the original data (assuming they are available for download) and calculate the regression of temperature anomaly over time and see if the slope (trend) is statistically significant with any degree of confidence. I think you will find the t-statistic is quite low (hence the trend not particularly significant). But somehow I don’t think the facts are what you are interested in, or else you would be using them.

    To be honest the real “deniers” here are the AGW mob who seem to think the natural laws of physics should not have to apply to their ludicrous assertions. But please continue to label me… it says more about yourself and your thinking than it does me.

  4. surlysimon

    Nice to see one of the deniers who believe in Statistics, makes a change, or is it just statistics which suport your narrow veiw?

    And as for moving the goal posts, they haven’t moved an inch, go back and have a look at the way scientist have been framing this from the begining as “Climate Change” Global warming is an invention of the media and latched onto by those whose heads are still firmly in the sand

  5. Bulldust

    PS> I love the way you are preparing to shift the goal posts already … gives me much mirth.

  6. Bulldust

    SurleySimon: Try and pose a question… not just random grabs and innuendo. Your comments are very erratic.

    BTW this “finely balanced system” of yours has been both many degrees warmer and colder in the past, but somehow now a degree or two is going to destroy everything? I think a better description would be finely buffered system.

    With respect to the graph, your lack of scientific perspective is obvious… how can you deny that the fluctuations are far greater than the trend? The significance of the trend is therefore minimal. Do you need me to explain this in statistical terms? I am well versed I statistics.

  7. surlysimon

    Now I don’t want to burst your bubble but what this graph shows is that the temprature is actualy rising, and therefor the only debate is surely how much effect this amount of warming will have? If we can see this amount of warming (and lets remember we are dealing with a finely balanced system, which we don’t know how to control) over a mere 30 years we would be foolish to ignore it. Andrew keeps rolling out these graphs to suggest that the warming has reversed, which as you can see isn’t the case.
    Now the other problem here is we are dealing with one peice of research, and I don’t doubt it but I don’t feel it is enough yet to shoot down all the other papers and projects. The other problem for me is that this plays to the simplistic veiw of Global warming which ignores the fact that the rise in temprature is only one measure of the change in our enviroment.

  8. Bulldust

    Seeing as you like this graph so much, how come you don’t link the assessment of the scientists who created it? Prefer your own expert analysis?

    For anyone with an open mind, here’s the link again:

    oh wait… this doesn’t gel to well with your position does it?

    Even a casual perusal of the graph makes it obvious that the noise is far greater than the signal (trend), which is relatively small and upwards over the 30 year period. Looking at the end point 3 months ago would have led to the conclusion that we are back to where we started… anomaly of zero.

    Despite the satellite data being the best measure of the global temperature we have, if you read Christy and Spencer (the scientists behind this rigorous climate logging exercise) they state the numerous measurement issues they have to deal with – they frequently have to adjust the data sets for bias caused by satellite issues. Despite these technical hitches, the satellites are far less biased than earth-based thermometer readings.

    So in a nutshell, we don’t even know the earth’s temperature without some degree of uncertainty, let alone what it was before 1979. Before 1979 we have approximations, often filled with a lot of measurement bias. The virtual absence of thermometers in the southern hemisphere (with the exception of Australia) makes this statement self-evident.

    But this blog is more about ad homiems… forgive me for bringing in the science. No doubt I am now in line for some Crikey venom.

  9. Sisyphis

    Pedro, a person of astute and canny observations.

    Yer gotta love bolta’s love kinder.

    ” … the faithful needed a general, no-intelligence-required post where everyone can just chime … “

    Irony reigns supreme.


  10. surlysimon

    What are you really going to try and defend Andrew and these antics? Oh I forgot you probably will, my mind must be fuddled by that drink.

  11. confessions

    [how many self proclaimed right-wing defenders of freedom and free speech such as Bolt and his ilk will moderate just about anything away that criticises them.]

    In my observation those who cry the loudest about having their opinions stifled are the first to try to silence their own critics, often resorting to whatever actions are available to do so – including legal action. “Thin skinned” has come up in this thread, but spineless is another description that springs to mind.

    I don’t bother commenting on news ltd blogs because their moderation ‘principles’ are all the same. And when genuine substantive criticism is filtered out at the expense of some of the most racist, bigotted remarks you have to question the base intent of the comment pages.

  12. Josh

    Oh and I forgot Pedro just commented so Drink.

  13. Josh

    Surlysimon @ 28.
    Yes he is pretty pathetic. I mentioned in a post on the demotivational poster thread that responding to Marr in this way seemed to indicate he had very thin skin and surprise, surprise it was moderated away.

    On any blog site I regularly visit I always send in a comment early on criticising the author of the blog for something they’ve written to see what happens to the comment. It’s funny how generally it’s blogs like this one that let those comments through moderation but how many self proclaimed right-wing defenders of freedom and free speech such as Bolt and his ilk will moderate just about anything away that criticises them. They are funny though because they’ll let through the occasional one that has anything like:
    “I know you won’t publish this but … ” to show to all their true believers that they are in fact not stifling dissent.

    Most of their regular readers are basically morons (you only have to look at the general level of grammar and spelling in the comment threads) who don’t realise how easily they are being manipulated.

  14. Pedro

    Well done, Toby!

    Finally – after such a long break – someone realised the faithful needed a general, no-intelligence-required post where everyone can just chime “yeah, Bolt sucks, eh” and feel all better.

    Welcome back! I’ve misssed these threads!

  15. surlysimon

    Don’t you love the Way Andrew weighed in to say he doesn’t censor, not my experience and I am sure plenty here could offer similar stories. And of course no matter how many times we offer to debate Andrew or his moderates here we are greeted with silence.
    It was fun watching Andrew have to admit that the Liberals were in self destruct mode, you could see him wanting to call for Howard to come back and save us all from Rudd and Obama.

  16. bitpattern

    I love the way the deniers are trying to co-opt the denial tag! Wha, are we living in topsy turvy world now?

  17. Sisyphis

    Josh, be generous and tolerant of those young upstarts on the cusp of turning 50.

    I cusped over a decayed ago.

    Once bolta, like moi, gets a Droit de Senior’s card he’ll be a new man.

    People will give up their seats on the tram and on Insiders for him.

    (Mind you I have to arm wrestle Gerry for the right to the old fart’s special seat on the tram. As ole Kermit said, “It aint easy being green or gerryatric.”)

  18. confessions

    [Is this sudden demonstration (on his own blog for god’s sake), of being completely thin skinned something to do with him turning 50?]

    It isn’t a recent phenomenon: last year Annabel Crabb totally paid him out over his ‘graphs’ in a humiliating smack down for andy. The first chance he got he declared on his blog that he’d been set upon. It was a totally childish response to someone who rightly objected to his constant misrepresenting climate data. It also showed that bolt isn’t capable or arguing his case unless he can shout over the top of them.

  19. Josh

    God I hope Marr prints that poster out and takes it with him next time he’s on Insiders with Bolt. He should put it on the cover of a folder and leave it on the desk in front of them all for the duration of the show.

    Is this sudden demonstration (on his own blog for god’s sake), of being completely thin skinned something to do with him turning 50? It really is quite sad. For the life of me I could never have imagined that Bolt would publicly demonstrate that those vile lefties had got under his skin.

  20. Sisyphis

    The comments elicited by the demotivational poster post I’d have to conclude that sycophancy has reached stratospheric heights. (Can be seen by mere mortals courtesy of the Hubble telescope.)

    After having read some of the comments, and have a really pretty graph of the Andrew warming phenomenon for the bolta sceptics (“Andrew, it would look good in your Herald Sun article for all to see.” “Andrew Bolt is a gentleman; David Marr is not.”) I now want to have bolta’s babies.

  21. markporter34

    Marr was a crack up. He would rather read the Sunday Telegraph than listen to Bolts rantings.

  22. Sisyphis

    Demotivational poster?

    Obsessional poster more like.

  23. Sisyphis

    bolta is one of those sad people who hates not getting the last word in.

    Hence if he can’t do it on ‘Insiders’ he goes off and plays offended or outraged on his own blog where he has the whip hand which he uses it to flog his herd of dead horses.

    He’s done that so often. He doesn’t get it that “what happens on the Insiders stays on the Insiders”.

    Guess he reckons every one is hanging on his every word.

    Name another guest on Insiders who bags his host and his fellow guests.

    Don’t think even the execrable Piers does that.

    bolta certainly wouldn’t be in the first XI on the dance card for my next sherry party.

  24. Tobias Ziegler

    Aww… one of Bolt’s followers even did a demotivational poster to commemorate the moment. How sweet.

  25. Bloods05

    Magnificent, Mr Marr.

  26. dam buster of Preston

    Just watched the podcast and found the Marr approach quite amusing. Another thing I caught through the program was Bolt correcting himself from saying “surely” to “likely” and taking the softer line so no one could spot him on making a definite position on any argument.

    Bolt even got a jibe about the people of Higgins being corrupted by the warming faith and that it was an issue that would lose the seat.

  27. Ben Callinan

    Good on you David Marr — Bolt is quick to make allegations of bad manners of others but quicker to play the victim card when he is not given a chance to shoehorn his talking points into his media spots.

    The right to etiquette only comes when there is a commitment to good faith on both sides. Why should Bolt be afforded a courtesy he is not willing to return?

  28. confessions

    frank @ 14: exactly right. I have no prob with him getting air time on those puff breakfast shows and ACA. Leave the purported serious shows for serious contributors.

    Insiders has obviously taken to balancing out the sensible, thoughtful people with vaudeville acts.

  29. frank

    Andrew should refuse to go on any show that treats his ramblings as they deserve, with disdain. Oops, sorry, that would just leave him with Current Affair and This Day Tonight.

  30. surlysimon

    Interesting to that Andrew has posted complaining about David’s rudness, I am betting David will not go say anything about Andrew either in print or online.

  31. Grog

    Real Climate has nicely addressed this “warming pause” that Bolt referred to:

  32. Tobias Ziegler

    I think Annabel could have done more to help with that, Dog. As Sisyphis said, she played it pretty straight – I hope she can bring the funny from the printed pages across to her job with Aunty.

  33. Ravenred

    Oh and I should add that I was actually mildly impressed with Janet Albrechtsen on Q and A. One wouldn’t have thought it, really. But she’s somewhat disqualified from a permanent position due to her board membership.

  34. Sisyphis

    Yet again the very precious Andy Pandy takes umbrage when he’s brought to book – and whilst it might have been a very pointed slapdown, it showed manners and civility sadly lacking on bolta’s own blog.

    He was lucky Annabel couldn’t be tossed giving him other than yet another raised eyebrow. An exercise in understatement bolta obviously hates.

    If he can’t stand the heat he should get out of the Insiders kitchen and over egg his cake on *Celebrity* Masterchef.

  35. Ravenred

    It’s really sad that the best advocates of the conservative viewpoint are either semi-hysterical demagogues like Bolt or Akerman or peevish Howardites like Gerard. At least Blair and Milne actually have reasonably interesting things to say on occasion. The sad thing is that Bolta shows flashes of having a good intelligence and a ready wit, if he could only shake his persecution complex. To be fair, Marr suffers from exercising his flair rather than his intelligence, but as his reaction to Bolt showed, he at least has a reasonable sense of proportion (humour)!

  36. Firstdog

    It was very disappointing. I was expecting it to be a lot funnier.

  37. monkeywrench

    Srely it must strike even the dullest intellect that Bolt’s favourite graph ( above) shoots his own argument down in flames. The red average line hasn’t dipped below zero ( except for a tiny visit in late 1996) since midway through 1994. Prior to this it was below the line for a greater amount of time than above ( visual guesswork here folks, no math involved). Doesn’t this say a little about temperature trends….?

  38. monkeywrench

    [email protected] Where are all the sensible and insightful rightwingers?
    errrm…say again…you’re breaking up….can’t make any sense of your post….Hello? Hello? : )

  39. confessions

    It beats me why they even have him on these shows. Not does he behave in a rude and immature fashion, but he has absolutely nothing of worth to contribute! Where are all the sensible and insightful rightwingers?

  40. Idlaviv

    Cringeful effort from the Bolta. He looked like a naughty schoolboy when busted for his lack of preparation.

  41. surlysimon

    I am sorry but why should David Marr have been anything but dissmisive, as for Andrew claiming he wanted a “reasoned debate”, what nonsense, he wanted to air his views and brow beat anyone who disagrees. I think Marr was on the money in dealing with Andrew (and his ilk) ignore and treat them with some degree of contempt. And lets remember the times when Andrew has used his blog to be rude to others in a way that leaves them no right of reply, at least he could reply to David’s percieved rudness.

  42. Bron

    Poor Andy. So oppressed from being able to air his bullshit.

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