Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: A voice of reason and authority

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  • Graeme Edgeler,

    This video, from Bronowski's The Ascent of Man (episode "Knowledge or Certainty") seems apposite:

    I commend the series to everyone.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3207 posts Report Reply

  • Newsprint,

    Thank you Graeme - that's very powerful

    Wellington • Since Mar 2008 • 42 posts Report Reply

  • James Green,

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 703 posts Report Reply

  • Carol Stewart,

    That is indeed a good overview of climate change. I particularly like the measured tone and the point made about the costs of denialism:

    But there are some genuine uncertainties in the details of global warming, just as there are in any other science. Such sceptical views are important, as they force the scientific community to seek carefully for flaws in the analysis. A similar debate occurred about AIDS, where a minority of scientists maintained for a long time that the disease was not caused by a virus. This view was manifestly wrong in the eyes of most scientists, but nevertheless some distinguished scientists, albeit usually not experts in virology, took different views until the science became irrefutable. The political consequences of this denialism had tragic results in some African countries.

    Calling it 'denialism' is fighting talk. I wonder if Wishart will sue?

    Wellington • Since Jul 2008 • 828 posts Report Reply

  • simon g,

    If Gluckman doesn't now get interviewed on Close-Up, and generally feature in lead stories for several days, in news bulletins across all media, then we will have a definitive answer to those who ask why campaigners have to use actors and celebs to get the message across.

    You want serious? You can't handle the serious.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1330 posts Report Reply

  • Zippy Gonzales,

    It's worth noting that former Business Roundtable speaker at the Sir Ron Trotter Lecture in 2002 has this week changed his stance on climate change. Take that, Muriel Newman!

    Thanks for that taster on The Ascent of Man, Graeme. Will look it up. You can't find a decent documentary anywhere on telly these days.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 186 posts Report Reply

  • Zippy Gonzales,

    Bjorn Lomborg. His name is Bjorn Lomborg.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 186 posts Report Reply

  • Robert Urquhart,

    I must admit, I'm almost having gleegasms whenever I see Gluckman quoted. The media don't seem to be able to make out-of-context soundbites from his stuff. (Maybe he's so novel that they're not trying yet.)

    For Science!

    Christchurch • Since Mar 2009 • 163 posts Report Reply

  • Glenn Pearce,

    Graeme - I think you arguably Godwin'd with that video post.... ;-)

    Auckland • Since Feb 2007 • 504 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    It's worth noting that former Business Roundtable speaker at the Sir Ron Trotter Lecture in 2002 has this week changed his stance on climate change. Take that, Muriel Newman!

    And Gareth Morgan of Infometrics fame, initially something of a denialist, has come to similar conclusions to Prof Gluckman following the publication of Poles Apart.

    In any case, the denialist holdouts are looking increasingly like the technological/industrial equivalent of creationists. And how would they deal with a worst-case scenario of the American Clean Energy & Security Act - throw eggs at the US Embassy?

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5433 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    You can't find a decent documentary anywhere on telly these days.

    Documentary Channel. Lots. Seen quite a bit of stuff this weekend, from music,one 'bout time now, great one on the brain yesterday, Architects, many scientific subjects. It really is a liquorice allsorts.Worthy of sky investment alone.

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Hosking,

    Just a point about Lomborg: he was never a climate change opponent.

    I think this is another case of people choosing to demonise someone without bothering to go to the trouble of looking at what they're saying.

    He queried whether the methods of dealing with climate change were best suited to dealing with the issue, and also whether a whole lot of things which are automatically attributed to climate change really should be.

    But he's accepted it as a reality. He did in his book 'Sceptical Environmentalist' and he certainly did when he spoke at the Trotter dinner back in '02.

    In fact it was one of the first things he said.

    South Roseneath • Since Nov 2006 • 830 posts Report Reply

  • 81stcolumn,

    That I should be able to communiacte my science with such clarity of purpose. But what will JK do with a spokesman that allows such little wriggle room.

    After considering carefullt the advice....

    As pointed out earlier the devil may yet rest with the detail. The question of what to do is far less clear, take for example the debate over clean energy generation vs. reduction in energy use.

    Nawthshaw • Since Nov 2006 • 790 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Just a point about Lomborg: he was never a climate change opponent.

    I think this is another case of people choosing to demonise someone without bothering to go to the trouble of looking at what they're saying.

    It's true that he didn't deny there was a problem, and that it was of our making. But he did consistently advance the view that it wasn't important enough to be prioritised over various other goals.

    The big change lately is that he has decided we do need to do something, as a matter of dispatch. I don't mind that he favours technological solutions over emission-reduction, but I do think he has only been paid as much attention as he has because he has provided cover for the denialist lobby. It is useful to bear in mind that not only is Lomborg not a climate scientist, he does no original research.

    He is, however, a part of my favourite illustration of the fundamentally bizarre world of Leighton Smith. When he came here, he was lined up for Smith's Newstalk ZB show, and beforehand Smith pumped up his listeners:

    "You know how I've always told you global warming is a hoax? Well, listened to this guy."

    So Lomborg comes on, and says yes, global warming is real, and yes, it's our fault. But, etc, etc ...

    After the break, Leighton comes back and declares:

    "See!? I told you global warming is a hoax!"

    Such are the limits of knowledge.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22839 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Oh, and the post I made at Wishart's blog noting the ironic clash between his bleating about his speech being chilled every time someone calls him an idiot, and his nasty habit of making legal threats against people who think he's an idiot ... seems to have been moderated out.

    Ironic, that.

    In my humble opinion, he really is a vile little man, and a bully to boot.

    [Nah, it wasn't deleted; I just missed the way the comments had been paginated. RB]

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22839 posts Report Reply

  • Carol Stewart,

    Oh, and the post I made at Wishart's blog

    The saying about wrestling with pigs comes to mind here.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2008 • 828 posts Report Reply

  • ScottY,

    Russell, do you mean:

    Ah, Ian ...

    I'm sure the irony is lost on you, but it is grimly amusing that your bleating about the chilling of free speech is so often accompanied by bellicose and poorly-founded legal threats against others.

    Still there!

    I look forward to watching Wishart being laughed out of court, if he ever gets that far.

    West • Since Feb 2009 • 794 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    Any time I find myself overly irritated by Ian Wishart, I just lie back and spend a moment picturing two volvos crashing together. It's quite soothing, and the least of the damage Haywood has done to my psyche.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4651 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Quite. Truth is still a defence for defamation, right? And someone has to actually have a reputation to damage?

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19728 posts Report Reply

  • conseismal,

    well golly, who'd a thunk it. territory is so fertill for plucking here that a poor lonesome troll he hardly know which key to hit first. Methinkums must first have some sort of comment though from RB on the queerest disjunction between his mocking tone towards pope's call for a 'reasoned authority' and, in the next breath, a call for the very same to quell quarrel on ye olde 'climate change' front!

    But a *scientific solution* to social problems? HELLO?

    as for the AIDS thing.. deferral to a perceived authority has been with us since U-Know-When!

    and THAT is an overview??? Saying that "it's irrefutable" because "most scientists" believe it? We swore to pursue truth wherever we found it for that??? it seems much, much more important for you folks to identify the enemy than to take time out to re-evaluate the whole historical construction of your opinion over time..

    specifically christian heresy is one of the great driving engines of our culture.. you must consider your 'denialism' in the wider context of this

    Since Jul 2009 • 54 posts Report Reply

  • ScottY,

    Speaking of Reason and Authority, when did Trevor Mallard lose his?

    How else to explain this?

    West • Since Feb 2009 • 794 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    o dear, lil p the lowgrade asparagus is back-

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    Weeeiiirrrd-

    may I emphasise that the convicted (wo)manslaughterers were NOT engaging in any traditional rite?

    The kind of crap they *were* engaged in is an amalgam of fundamentalist christianity & 'anti-satanism'- it has NO legitimacy within Maori cosmology or former religious practise.

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • conseismal,

    and what reasoned seat of authority now speaks, pray tell, for this particular legitimacy?

    Since Jul 2009 • 54 posts Report Reply

  • conseismal,

    i mean come ON (reversing your NO)
    your cosmicall- intact Maori would have simply offed the perp and been DONE with it - right? or wrong?

    Since Jul 2009 • 54 posts Report Reply

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