Thursday, December 03, 2009

Copernicus lives?

Well, no... but we may be hearing more from him at any rate.

Asked yesterday whether he ‘believes’ in the science behind anthropogenic climate change, Senator Barnaby Joyce replied:

I never believed the science is settled. If the science was settled, Copernicus would be dead. [...thinks for a second...] Sorry, he is dead — he would have been killed!

It’s fairly certain Barnaby never really thought Copernicus was still alive.

But historians of science will await with keen anticipation Barnaby’s revelations concerning the hitherto unknown contribution of Copernicus to climate science.

And how that great scholar would have been killed for it, presumably by rogue bands of climate scientists who felt threatened by the new Copernican climatology.

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Wednesday, December 02, 2009

No Stalinists here

“We don’t have the same kind of Stalinist enforcement that the Labor Party has.”

Thus spoke Tony Abbott, the newly anointed non-Stalinist leader of the Liberal party, promising his broad-church brethren an open vote on the Emissions Trading Scheme.

Certainly a fine sentiment, echoed by renowned independent thinker Christopher Pyne:

“We’re not a Stalinist organisation where everyone has to be the same kind of person.”

No doubt the following incident was a hangover from the Turnbull Interregnum, an aberration which will not be repeated under Tony Abbott’s “healing” leadership.

[Liberal Senator Judith Troeth] was pursued around the chamber last night by the party’s whips and left the Senate visibly upset.

Yep, not quite “the same kind of Stalinist enforcement that the Labor Party has...”

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Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Minchin’s healthy scepticism

Following his defeat in this morning’s Liberal leadership spill, Joe Hockey has said:

“I am not a climate change sceptic. I am someone who believes the Earth deserves the benefit of the doubt.”

Meanwhile, Hockey’s party colleague in the Senate, Nick Minchin, has made no bones about his climate change scepticism.

Senator Minchin apparently has a proven track record in healthy (cough, cough) scepticism; notably, in 1995 he dissented from the majority report of a Senate committee investigating the cost of tobacco related illnesses.

“Senator Minchin wishes to record his dissent from the committee’s statements that it believes cigarettes are addictive and that passive smoking causes a number of adverse health effects for non-smokers,” the committee’s minority report says. “Senator Minchin believes these claims (the harmful effects of passive smoking) are not yet conclusively proved ... there is insufficient evidence to link passive smoking with a range of adverse health effects.”

To support his claims, Senator Minchin drew on a study commissioned by the Tobacco Institute of Australia that “concluded the data did not support a causal relationship between exposure to environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) and lung cancer or heart disease in adults”.

Senator Minchin’s stance flew in the face of voluminous reports by the US Surgeon-General, the US Environmental Protection Agency and the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council, documenting nicotine’s addictive hook and the serious health risks for people exposed to secondary cigarette smoke...

I won’t hold my breath waiting for some enterprising journo to ask Sen Minchin whether he now still believes smoking is not addictive.

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