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The coming endarkenment

I have just watched the latest episode of Q & A. It’s about the fires, very confronting stuff, I found it hard to sit through but worth it. Mostly it is about the tragedy and personal stories, accounts of people rising to the occasion and questions about how to deal with the problem in future.

Inevitably the relationship between the disaster and climate change came up. Climatologist Michael Mann gave a very direct reply that the extreme conditions were related to climate change and that humanity was responsible and needs to deal with it.

Senator Jim Molan said he respected Mann’s opinion and that he accepted that scientists held that opinion but that he saw many other opinions coming across his desk.

Senator Molan said: "I accept the climate is changing. It has changed and it will change. What it’s producing is hotter and drier weather and a hotter and drier country.

“As to whether it is human-induced climate change, my mind is open.”

Asked once again to answer the question and “what is the evidence you are relying on?” he said

“I’m not relying on evidence, Hamish,” Senator Molan said, prompting heckles from the crowd, as well as parliamentary peers and commentators on social media.

During the 18th century a movement began that understood that humanity had methods to gain understanding of the natural world and that this could be the basis of a change to our society. This was largely fuelled by the understanding of the scientific method and that science provides real answers to questions about how the universe works. It was supported by a change in attitude that it was evidence not authority that provided useful information about concrete questions. This was called The Enlightenment.

Now we see an increasing viewpoint that all opinions matter equally. This attitude supports; anti-vaccers, selling Goop and 100 other crackpot panaceas, fake news, fantasy of all kinds and climate change denial. Senator Molan was satisfied that since there were other opinions he was on safe ground, that the evidence was irrelevant.

This belief system comes down to saying that the nature of the real world is not determined by what we observe but what we believe. We are at risk of going back to before the enlightenment - we are heading towards The Endarkenment.

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I wonder how he managed to be promoted within the military if he did not rely on evidence? Surely the basis for all modern military planning, strategy, and tactics is evidence based? He would have been trained in this for many years.

I can only conclude therefore that this ignoring the evidence is deliberate to suit his dogma.

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There is plenty of evidence from military history that demonstrates command selection based on an individuals ability to following strict military doctrines. A degree of networking, family history and political awareness may have helped with promotion. There are a few notable exceptions, Australian General Monash being one. There is plenty of good reading for those who would like to test this point, online and in military history books.

Conformance and a desire to fit in or play for the team is as much a tradition in the military as a key attribute in some political organisations. No surprise.

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He must have used ‘The Force’. His and much of the government’s ideology (not just regarding climate) are clearly based on fiction and fantasy!

It is quite odd how some people are willing to accept the science regarding how TVs, cars, phones and any number of other modern pieces of equipment operate, yet strangely they are in denial of climatology.
I wonder if they believe in the related science of meteorology, or as one local loony tried to convince me a few years ago, think the weather is controlled by peoples’ thoughts.
I know who Smoko thinks controls the climate, which does not bode well for any real action.

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I agree with your sentiments @mark_m & @gordon.

All we are getting from this Government in relation to climate change are marketing slogans and platitudes.

While those in charge of the country believe that ‘the chosen’ were presented the Earth to use as they wish for their benefit with no consequences, they will not have any care or concern for the damage being done.

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Were you thinking of this quote?

“There are none so blind as those who will not see.”

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I prefer:

“It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.” - Upton Sinclair

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I question the word ‘coming’ in the topic. It seems to be upon us today, fanned and fostered globally by the same ideologically bent groups.

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True it is here already but it is not yet the dominant mode of thought. I am concerned about the role of interactive media in the spread. I think there are broadly two kinds of people involved.

Firstly, the relatively innocent who believe rubbish without evidence because it suits their desire. They have an agenda in that they want the world to be nearer their heart’s desire (don’t we all) but they are followers who pile on when claims are made that resonate. They are not misrepresenting anything as they truly believe, or at least enough to push down their doubts. This group accept the fallacious arguments and do not see the lack of genuine evidence. We have some here who cannot hear anything said against their belief.

Secondly the not so innocent who set out to manipulate for power, fun or profit. They will do whatever it takes to further their position. They carefully construct the arguments full of fallacies, such as cherry picking, and write the nauseous codswallop we see in advertisements pushing products with no value.

There are probably some who are little of each, those who innocently believe in the good of the position they are boosting but who accept the end justifies the means so they go too far and use methods that they know are really not acceptable.

Interactive media greases the wheels of this process by granting an instantaneous microphone and superficial legitimacy to all. There are many examples of powerful and concerted efforts to manipulate public opinion on such media by forces generally considered outside the scope of normal democratic cut and thrust. I don’t know how to deal with that but education is definitely part of the solution.

At the lighter end of the spectrum there have always been mischief makers who poked at people and their institutions to see the result. Nowadays they are called trolls. Sadly this can get very damaging when the ‘fun’ is directed at individuals.

There have always been salesmen who wrote extraordinary copy to sell their product.


This is from “The Post Office Sydney Directory” 1857. This was the yellow pages of its day. So puffery is nothing new. Goop eat your heart out.

A darker trend is not just ignoring evidence but controlling and manufacturing evidence. This is one step further where one controls the rules for presenting evidence. Look at the many articles on the way favourable studies are released by pharma and unfavourable studies are not. Or the State of NSW that created independent panels to determine development consent for mines on the grounds that this was fair and at arms length from government. Then they found that mines they wanted approved were being refused. So now they want to change the criteria to prevent evidence of climate change consequences from being considered. Or look at the recent frolic in the USA where a party not only used their numbers to determine the outcome but to determine what evidence would be heard in the Senate.

The problem is deeper than social media ratbags.

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It already seems like the totally redundant, unnecessary, and probably very expensive Bushfire Royal Commission’s Terms of Reference are being framed (and limited) to give the answers the LNP want.

The money would be better spent implementing all the other Commissions’ findings.

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Yes but that wouldn’t carefully curate the material and limit the scope to something acceptable while appearing to take “decisive action”.

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The prevalence among Conservatives is increasing:

If this video is to be believed, then the next Royal Commission will be the 41st inquiry into the issue since 1944.


The only rationale for another inquiry is to further delay action and give politicians an excuse to avoid discussion because its the subject of an inquiry.

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Good point I had neglected to mention that.

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Some try to dress up this nonsense with cool sophisticated labels like “postmodernism”. To me this is very like dressing up the winner takes all view of economics as “neoliberalism”. What they are doing is not motivated by, nor related to, any philosophy or system of thought more sophisticated that do anything you can get away with while you grab for money and power. The two labels can apply to the same actions by the same practitioners.

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I don’t know. I’ve spoken with some who seem genuinely puzzled that I think there’s any such thing as objective reality. Sadly, we’ve elected some of them and they have worrying influence in government.

It looks like I miscounted; the next Royal Commission will be the 51st inquiry on the issue since 1944, not the 41st. What will this one find that the others missed? Maybe that the climatic trend is hotter and dryer, so the fires are worse and harder to put out? We’ve only known for three decades that that would happen.

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You are right, while the motivation is greed not ideology there may be a relationship in that neoliberalism is presented as a theory to make it a figleaf for that greed. I can’t think of a case where postmodernism is used for that purpose but I wouldn’t rule it out.

The point was he did not rely on the evidence as he is not a climate scientist. He relies on what he is advised by trusted and truthful scientists. The issue is that much of the so called climate science is not appropriately debated and thus cannot really be trusted. Whenever there is a debate, anyone disagreeing with the man made climate change philosophy is shot down in flames.

We have a lot of climate change enthusiasts who come out with so called proven science but in reality it is NOT proven as it has not been through the usual science debate processes.

If you believe that creating a climate fund and countries like Australia paying into this fund will somehow change the climate, well I simply cant believe it. The point is that even if Australia closed all its CO2 generation, everyone walked instead of using cars, we cut out all computers, air conditioning and went back to basics power subsistence living, IT WOULD MAKE NO DIFFERENCE TO THE EARTHS CLIMATE. Australia’s coal which is exported to 3rd world countries and to china is the cleanest and lest co2 producing available in the world. Lets stop selling it and allow china, who is building many many new coal power stations, India and other countries to get their coal elsewhere but in turn releasing more CO2 then from australian coal.

There has never been any debate over SOLAR, WIND or Battery storage.

  1. Solar panels are very hungry in mined resources and then when end of life there are significant polutive products which as yet must be simply buried.
  2. Wind Turbines are also very highly polutive in production, even the cooling oil used is extremely polutive and caslegenic. The end of life there is also hugh issues with disposal of the materials. Wind Turbines are known to kill migrating birds as the huge wind farms are often located in migration paths of birds. Many endangered birds are being killed daily.
  3. Lithium batteries used in all these industries and for electric vehicles requires Lithium to be minded which is all located in Asia/Russia. The research shows that the effort in mining lithium, co2 released and other pollution, is more then what would by the same vehicles running on petrol using current air pollution technology.

The only real solution, if the climate science being promoted is Nuclear power. Ironically some countries like Germany are closing nuclear stations due to climate change enthusiasts concerns. Nuclear under the right conditions is perfectly safe. Current technology is much more advanced making it even more safer. If effort was made towards developing and proving fusion technology all our power worries would be over.

Rather then listing protestores, do you your own research and learn the truth. Yes there is a change in the earths climate. This is caused by solar activity in the sun, volcanic activity on earth, and minor effects by Man since the time of the industrial revolution.

We need to encourage true debate on this subject. People like Senator Molan has stated he believes in Climate Change, but that is not good enough. He is rediculed by others, on stage shows like Q&A, when he states he sees information from learned scientists come across his desk all the time who disagrees with the CO2 threat but are unable to get their views out. Senator Molan is not a scientist, as are you and I, and we cannot understand the science but must rely on scientists.

Why would you make such comments about the Senator and his past military history. He is a decorated soldier and is still fighting for australia. He needs our respect, not the disgraceful disrespect like you have given.

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Politely, the research has already been done.

Australia as a nation has repeatedly agreed with the science and committed to carbon reduction. At Kyoto and in a Paris and …

The disagreement we see daily is mostly between the elected government and the greater than two thirds majority of Australians who think our government is not doing enough.

Look no further than -

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Yes it has, daily for decades. There are literally thousands of scientific papers on all aspects of the subject. there have been hundreds of scholarly conferences and articles explaining the matter to the layperson that have come to the same conclusion, There is enormous consensus on this. The reason why dissent is shot down is because it is political not scientific, it is based on belief and vested interest not evidence.

The whole world needs to work on this and Australia should be part of that effort, so should China and the Vatican City and all sizes of emitters in between,

Once again there has been huge attention given to the consequences of such technology. New methods are always scrutinised more than old which are assumed to be OK. All human artifacts and construction has some kind of environmental consequences, we have been changing the world for many thousands of years. The key question when it comes to energy supply systems (that we cannot do without) is which ones have the lowest impact per unit of power produced. Fossil fuels have the greatest.

These are both deniers’ talking points that have been debunked many, many times. They fall into the distraction category, or as that Big Tobacco executive famously put it “doubt is our product”, a game the fossil fuel industries have been playing rather well.

No if you listen to the interview he says he accepts climate is changing but not the reason for it.

Speak for yourself. I am not a climatologist but I do understand what they are saying. More to the point I do understand their methodology and why it is robust and will come to the best conclusion available on the evidence.

I do not disrespect his military career but having risen so high it seems he was not in the habit of disregarding evidence or having none behind his decisions in that role. The question is why does he do those things in his current role?. His reputation as a soldier is not at issue here, his position as one of the country’s leaders is. We need to separate the two and not fall into the trap of accepting because he was an expert in one field he knows anything about a quite different field.

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Agreed. I immediately thought of Monash. Looks like Molen missed that lecture.

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