Saturday, May 26, 2012

Scepticism and denialism

Further on the ANU climate-death-threats controversy, The Australian’s legal affairs editor Chris Merritt has today fired off another desperate salvo at the ABC and Media Watch.

He gives voice inter alia to the concerns of a handful of committed campaigning climate sceptics who seem unhappy with the ABC’s continued refusal to demur to the proposition that there were no death threats to any Australian climate scientists ever, period.

I have nothing to add to what I’ve already noted about all this, except to note that the “threatening incidents” towards ANU staff, established as occurring in late-2009 and early-2010, took place in the context of the Copenhagen climate summit of December 2009, culminating in relocation of the ANU staff in February 2010.

Keen observers will recall that time was characterised by somewhat overblown assertions in the populist media regarding the Copenhagen ‘agenda’.  For instance, consider the following from an associate editor of a major Australian metropolitan daily:

To say that Leftist groups are using the global warming scare to further their dreams of world government is not a conspiracy theory but the literal truth...

Note that what was being considered there were draft treaty arrangements for mitigation of what the Australian Government then recognised (and presumably still does) as the most pressing moral challenge of our time.  The world is planted thick with sundry treaty arrangements, from NATO to the European Union to the WTO.

The most-read columnist proceeded to conflate those draft treaty arrangements with conspiracist notions of world government; then served up the reeking confection to a readership primed with his daily rants against Teh Left Who Want to Oppress You; and, moreover, a readership sometimes inhabited by a minority but vocal lunar fringe.

Fast forward to today and one finds that one of most strident and venomous critics of the ANU death threats “smear” is that very same most-read columnist.

Well, who could blame someone for being in denial about having unwittingly helped feed something so ugly?

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