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« The sci-journalist as naif | Main | Climate tragedy »
Friday
May012015

Academic demands totalitarian response to AGW

Tony Thomas points me to this remarkable video of University of Melbourne professor Peter Christoff talking at a conference on "Law and Desire". Professor Christoff is

...a member of the Victorian Ministerial Reference Council on Climate Change Adaptation, and member of the Board of the Australian Conservation Foundation. He was formerly a member of the (Victoria) Premier's Climate Change Reference Group, the Vice President of the Australian Conservation Foundation, and the Assistant Commissioner for the Environment (Victoria).  

From about 20 mins, Prof Christoff makes a remarkable call for "climate denial legislation" to criminalise dissent on the issue.

The [fifth] objection [to my proposal] is that this is simply unworkable, inquisitorial, having the perverse effect of increased attraction to banned ideas and their martyrs. It will depend on the application of such law. If it is selective and well focused, with substantial fines and perhaps bans on certain broadcasters and individuals whom I will not name, who stray from the dominant science without any defensible cause, it would have a disciplinary effect on public debate. There still would be plenty of room for peer reviewed  scientific revisionism and public debate around it, but  the trivial confusion  that is being deliberately  generated, would be done away with, and that is a very important thing at the moment.”

"OK, so there's another (another!) fruitcake in a university somewhere. What's the big deal?" I hear you say. To tell the truth, "government adviser is completely bonkers" is hardly the stuff of headlines either. The thought that this video prompted in me was the question of the extent to which climatologists' widely acknowledged "overselling" of their computer models to the policy community has acted as an enabler of (sometimes violent) political extremism. Would we be hearing this kind of message from the academic community if climatologists were saying "Our models are very primitive and have very limited predictive abilities"?

I'm guessing not.

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Reader Comments (60)

There's now a complete transcript of Professor Peter Christoff's speech, here:
https://sites.google.com/site/mytranscriptbox/2012/20120624_um

May 2, 2015 at 10:40 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlex Cull

Marianne Constable's contribution in the video - from 34:00 - is excellent.

May 2, 2015 at 12:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterPeter S

Environmentalism and fascism have (sadly) been inextricably intertwined from the very birth of the former movement in Germany. So nothing new. As the years roll on and every alarmist scare and doom laden prediction totally fail to materialise the situation for the eco-fascist establishment becomes more desperate by the hour. Hence the imperative to silence all dissent and ramp up the hysteria to new heights lest any of the hoodwinked public perceive even for an instant that the emperor has no clothes. Never had any in the first place in fact. It seems to be a given nowadays that the ivory towers should be a hotbed of the AGW cult and left fascism which the man in the street must forever be forced to fund generously. In spite of possessing brains the size of a small planet their denizens are apparently unaware of their own extremist disposition. Odd.

May 2, 2015 at 12:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterMartin Reed

Geoff and Aynsley:
You are both correct. Indeed Offe is pointing to a fundamental paradox whenever one discusses social welfare issues. This fundamental issue was formally stated by Kenneth Arrow in his Impossibility Theorem, namely, there is no logical way to arrive at a solution short of an imposed or undemocratic one. It is also termed the Voter's Paradox and is widely recognized.
Indeed the entire video discussion of desires and law could be framed in terms of resolving multiple social welfare functions.
That said, Peter Christof does cites Offe in support of his viewpoint. Offe is also referred to as a Marxist scholar. I might have been too quick to join the dots, but the dots are there to be joined..

May 2, 2015 at 12:48 PM | Unregistered Commenterbernie1815

What an unbelievable attack on academic freedom and freedom of speech.
Professor's ain't what they used to be. Seekers after the truth.

This one would look good hanging off a lamppost.

May 2, 2015 at 7:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterBitter&Twisted

The problem is these sort of wimmin, at taxpayers expense well paid for an entire lifetime no stress pension, are allowed to toss over such "opinions" and NEVER ever get accountable for them.

She is a professor she should be made to defend it in a few long arguments, every time she tries to speak again.

So she advocates top down muzzling of people? Why not in about a 1000 other instances where deluded lefties were carrying a failed narrative? Would she muzzle people then as well.

The kowtowing to wimmin because they could not get education 300y ago is OVER. They get more education than men. They carry off all the easy go jobs 3miles from home. They get 80% of health expenditure 80% of health jobs 80% of education jobs. Time to change all that, implement EQUAL standards and access and harmonize working conditions and entitlements ACROSS THE BOARD.
May 2, 2015 at 10:34 AM | Unregistered CommenterVenusNotWarmerDueToCO2
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Phew, some rant from a person who obviously didn't watch the video before launching this diatribe.

Hint - Peter Christoff is male. The person in the picture at the start of the video is not.

May 2, 2015 at 8:01 PM | Registered Commenterjohanna

Christoff's dehumanizing is inhumane and his craven surrender to fear is subhuman, er, make that unworthy of humanity.
======================

May 2, 2015 at 8:10 PM | Unregistered Commenterkim

It's SPRING CLEANING TIME - I mean cleaning 'mimefields', as proposed at http://tinyurl.com/n63jwwr

May 2, 2015 at 11:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterL Michael Hohmann

Tony Thomas was difficult to read. And these people call themselves intellectuals? There are a lot of academics on the public teat that do not have the intellectual fire power to inflate a balloon, although they do a pretty good job with propaganda.

May 3, 2015 at 12:13 AM | Unregistered CommenterRobert of Ottawa

Robert, I hope that you don't mean that Tony Thomas' writing style is difficult to read. On the contrary, I should have thought.

Compare and contrast Tony's writing with the oleaginous, mixed with charcoal, sludge on display at the Bish's recent post about "science communication."

May 3, 2015 at 12:30 AM | Registered Commenterjohanna

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