Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Dean, King, Krauss and Bernardi on Q and A

Last night's Q and A was one of the better ones. That was partly because it had a higher proportion of conservatives than usual -- though it must be said that Lucy Turnbull did let the side down a bit (not unlike her husband). There was some unbecoming snark, but mostly just spirited jousting which was fun to watch.

The dominant figure was Rowan Dean, who put his arguments succinctly and forcefully. He also came out with the zinger of the night:

ROWAN DEAN: Well, I think it's fascinating and I think - well, I'm sure we will hear a little bit about Malcolm in a moment. But from my point of view, Malcolm Turnbull is a very charismatic, very intelligent, very smart, very talented, a great mind at business. He should be the leader of the party, the Labor Party.


At one point he also firmly admonished Labor's Catherine King, who interrupted the conservative panellists repeatedly and babbled away incessantly in agreement when her fellow travellers were speaking. She was kinda like a bolshie version of Magda Szubanski's character Pixie-Anne Wheatley. She was really getting on my nerves after a while so I can only imagine what it must have been like to be sitting near her.

King is another vivid illustration of the dire situation Labor finds itself in. The culture is clearly toxic and only the most sanctimonious, unprincipled and shameless progress in it. Nowhere near a meritocracy any more ...

Not surprisingly King clung to that line about Labor guiding us through the GFC. She also shamelessly touted her party as great economic managers, which was just hilarious. And when Cory Bernardi made a perfectly reasonable point about her inhabiting a virtual world she responded with the accusation that he was attacking her personally.

Just plain daft. But even if true, wouldn't it have been acceptable? She's a leftie feminist, after all, and aren't they always saying the personal is political?

But of course what that really means is we can get personal, you can't. So typical of Labor, leftie feminists in particular. They are always trying to falsely portray their opponents as bullies, misogynists, racists and generally mean types who don't fight fair, etc. At the same time they're making the most viciously personal attacks on them in other ways. Witness the scurrilous sliming of Abbott, his wife and daughters that's been going on lately.

There was an interesting dynamic going on between the religious Cory Bernardi and boffin Lawrence Krauss. While disagreeing strongly I think they quite liked each other. Late in the show, in the corner of the screen, you'll catch an intriguing moment where they share a quiet joke together. Good to see.

The way each conducted himself was interesting given their respective backgrounds. Allegedly Bible thumping Bernardi was probably the calmest presence of the night. He even patiently gave the audience and some in the discussion a mini-tutorial in the Westminster system, explaining that he, as a backbencher, was technically not part of the Government. Revealingly, this detail seemed to be news to Catherine King. (But hey, she's in Labor. You don't have to know anything to rise in that joint. You just have to strike the pose, and regurgitate the spin doctors' talking points, right?)

Just as Catholics are supposed to be all fire n' brimstoney, scientists are supposed to be cool, rational, and detached right? Lawrence Krauss certainly wasn't any of those things. Actually he was the most emotional panellist of the whole night. He was het up from the start and highly critical of anything religious, such as the Government's policy on school chaplains:

LAWRENCE KRAUSS: But aren’t they told - I was reading about this and it seemed that they're not supposed to - they’re not supposed to proselytise. So as someone was saying, it’s like paying a quarter of a billion dollars to invite clowns into the schools and tell them not to be funny.

Well, if clowns are expected to be funny, then surely scientists should not be partisan, right? As well as being emotional he was also highly political, proselytising like crazy about the threat of human-caused climate change. (Also, I think the clown analogy was unfortunate, since he appeared to be dressed as one.)

But just on his obsession with climate change: In a revealing series of statements he showed just how arse-about the "scientific" community is on this subject:

CORY BERNARDI: Well, I do think, in the end, the debate was entirely hijacked by those who were seeking to foster rent seeking, that were seeking to centralise decision-making in unelected bodies.

LAWRENCE KRAUSS: I mean this is - look, these people who work and spend their whole lives trying to figure out how the climate works and do models, they're just trying to figure out how things work and to say that the scientific community has somehow hijacked or somehow hiding things is this misunderstanding. Because, in fact, if they're wrong, the way you become famous, as a scientist, is to prove your colleagues wrong. That’s what you want to do. And if this data, if the models don't work, then other people become more famous by showing that. These people spend their entire life and, literally, thousands of hours and the people who - and you're one of them - who have these deniers, I would like to ask what do your models predict?

Gawd. What incoherent, irrational and mean-spirited nonsense.

Because of the poisonously censorious atmosphere created by highly politicized warmists such as Krauss himself the skeptical scientists who continue to question and disprove the AGW "consensus" don't become famous at all. If anything they become infamous, often lose their gigs and suffer derision and ridicule on a grand scale. One of the labels they are tarred with is "denier", which Krauss subsequently went on to use (on Dean, by the way, not Bernardi).

He should also know that to debunk a theory you don't have to offer your own prediction. You just have to show the theory's predictions are wrong. And any rational person can see that the so-called deniers have done that time and time again over the last several years.

Lawrence Krauss. What a clown.


  1. What a great summary Matt, you make me almost sad that i missed it. As a conservative Christian; I appreciate you fair observations as a conservative atheist. Will have to read a little more of Rowan Dean's stuff. Great blog, mate, enjoy reading when you post.

    1. Thanks very much for this ... Yes, Rowan Dean is good value. He's getting a better media profile, which is good to know. Has appeared several times on The Bolt Report, too.