Tag Archives: humour

When science deniers turn to science

Cartoon by Joe Heller, www.hellertoon.com

Readers no doubt recognise this situation. It’s a pretty blatant form of science denial. Division of science and into pro and anti forms –  such as pro-fluoridation and anti-fluoridation science –  is just another form of science denial – but it does seem to fool some people. “There are no sides! just facts!”

Mind you, most deniers will look to science when their lives are in danger. This satirical article from The Borowitz Report at newyorker.com makes this point.

Some Fear Ebola Outbreak Could Make Nation Turn to Science

NEW YORK The Borowitz Report—There is a deep-seated fear among some Americans that an Ebola outbreak could make the country turn to science. In interviews conducted across the nation, leading anti-science activists expressed their concern that the American people, wracked with anxiety over the possible spread of the virus, might desperately look to science to save the day.“It’s a very human reaction,” said Harland Dorrinson, a prominent anti-science activist from Springfield, Missouri. “If you put them under enough stress, perfectly rational people will panic and start believing in science.”Additionally, he worries about a “slippery slope” situation, “in which a belief in science leads to a belief in math, which in turn fosters a dangerous dependence on facts.”At the end of the day, though, Dorrinson hopes that such a doomsday scenario will not come to pass. “Time and time again through history, Americans have been exposed to science and refused to accept it,” he said. “I pray that this time will be no different.”

A healthy attitude towards quantum mechanics

Credit: xkcd.

Apparently the above quote “You can safely ignore any sentence that includes the phrase’ according to quantum mechanics” is used by Robert P. Crease and Alfred Scharf  in their upcoming book The Quantum Moment: How Planck, Bohr, Einstein, and Heisenberg Taught Us to Love Uncertainty.

Good advice.

It’s all the fashion in Ukraine


Here is one for dog lovers – especially those who like dressing their dogs.

A bright spark on Twitter (@Kiwisan) commented:

“no matter how hard this dog tries to hide his identity, he’s always spotted.”

And years ago I met a guy who told me the name of his dalmatian dog was “Stripe!”

What is it with balaclava’s anyway?


Terry Pratchett making sense

photo TP

Truth about those science fairs

I guess a few parents will relate to this science project.

science fair

Credit: Susan Messina.

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Word of wisdom, and otherwise

Dara O’Briain and Frankie Boyle on religion and creationism

The comedian Dara O’Briain is a real gem. I was pleased to see him mentioned in this weeks NZ Listener – with some of his great sayings. How is this for words of wisdom about science:

Dara Ó Briain

“Science knows it doesn’t know everything; otherwise it’d stop. But just because science doesn’t know everything doesn’t mean you can fill in the gaps with whatever fairy tale most appeals to you.” NZ Listener issue 3835

Now just for contrast – here is something from a local leader of an anti-fluoridation group:

Mary Byrne

“Why would you rely on the so-called experts when they have already been proved to be wrong? and if you rely on the experts then what are you promoting? just someone else’s views, what is the point in that. Plus that sounds like religion to me.” Facebook comment.

Funny thing about these people who dislike science so much – they are always cherry picking a little bit of science, removing the context and qualifications and then presenting it as their alternative. As Dara would say – their “fairy tale.”

Sin is relative

Love this photo I saw on Facebook – actually says a lot about the nature of morality as it is often practiced.

Credit: Atheist Foundation of Australia Inc.

Jon Stewart interviews Richard Dawkins

I always enjoy the Daily show and this is another classic. Jon Stewart interviews Richard Dawkins (who is on a tour for his latest book An Appetite for Wonder: The Making of a Scientist).

Can’t embed the daily Show videos, but go to September 24, 2013 – Richard Dawkins | The Daily Show With Jon Stewart – Full Episode Video | Comedy Central.

The whole show is 36 min long – but if you just want to the interview it starts at 13.33 and goes to the end.

Stewart is an amazing interviewer.

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Friday follies – what happened to the “official AGW hypothesis?”

Now that the potty Peer, Christopher Monckton, is packing his bag to depart our shores, the band of climate change deniers/contrarians/pseudosceptics who micro-managed his “Freedom Tour” might be looking around for a new project.


Richard Treadgold

Richard Treadgold, whose blog Climate Conversation Group is one of the echo chamber nodes local climate change deniers/contrarians/pseudosceptics gather at, may have let slip details of a possible project. In a blog comment today he revealed:

“I referred earlier to the “AGW hypothesis” and its falsification. Astute readers will note there is officially no such hypothesis. No paper has been located (to my knowledge) which proposes one and sets it out in scientific terms. So, of course, no falsification has been possible. The entire AGW “debate” is built on shifting sand, as protagonists on all sides are at liberty to describe the theory as they please. No falsification is possible.”

Notice the word “officially” – that reminds me of the argument these character used in their attempt to get NIWA to give up their findings on the temperature record in New Zealand. They based this on a claim that NIWA did not use the “official” methodology in correcting temperatures for site changes at the weather stations.

Can’t you see it – a new case to the high court (or perhaps the International Court of Justice) demanding that climate scientists around the world stop advising their governments about climate issues because there is “no official AGW hypothesis.”

Mind you, Richard is not the only one entertaining the little group there. One of his other commenters claimed recently:

“It was in ca 1980 that James Hansen gave his famous talk to Congressmen on global warming. He picked the day of the year with the warmest average temperature and snuck into the building the night before to disable the air conditioning.”

Without these honourable gentleman to keep scientists in check just imagine what we would get up to. Sneaking into the US House of Representatives, disabling air conditionaing and gerrymandering their meeting days would be the least of it. Crikey, we might even start considering unofficial hypotheses! Ones that Richard knows nothing about!

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I was wrong about Lord Monckton

I must admit I was wrong about Lord Monckton. I thought his speaking tour of New Zealand, which started on April Fools day, would be a huge yawn. Local climate scientists have learned that debating the man may be a huge plus for Monckton’s CV, but it was a negative for their own. So what interest could there be in a speaking tour where the audiences were basically fellow climate change deniers, conspiracy theorists and extreme political libertarians – all singing from the same hymn sheet.

After all, even his own publicity makes clear that his message is political, not scientific. That he is here to tell us all about the international conspiracy of greenies, fascists, communists, capitalists, imperialists and the United Nations to impose a single world government, put us in concentration camps, etc. Those horrible climate scientists are only a small part of Monckton’s international conspiracy.


But I should have learned from Monckton’s Australian tour. His antics there managed to keep his name in the public eye – and give Australians something to laugh at. He threatened climate scientists with court action and called prominent Australians Nazis!

Well, he seems set to do the same for us. He’s only been here a few days and he is threatening (“in the first instance”) a complaint to the New Zealand Press Council (yes he is not happy with the way his beliefs are reported). He expects the press Council to investigate not only a recent Herald article about his tour but also “whether the Herald has given balanced coverage to both sides of the debate on the climate, having regard not only to the present article but to its previous record of publication on the climate “science” issue.” He expects (or demands) a lot, doesn’t he?

Monckton  also promises to invite “authorities in the United Kingdom to remove the name of one of [our] universities . . .from the list of academic institutions whose degrees are recognized in Britain.” No, he is not happy with what our climate scientists tell us about their findings (or indeed the findings themselves), or what they think of his scientific credibility. So we are all going to be punished.

It’s enough to make us shiver in our boots – he must be such a powerful man. Our scientist’s degrees won’t be recognised in the UK in future.

I think we are shivering – but out of laughter, not fear.

The man is certainly good for a laugh. I look forward to more of this humour as his speaking tour, and threats against our media, scientists and educational institutes, progresses over the next few weeks.

If you want to read his letters and threats they are recorded at VISCOUNT MONCKTON’S RESPONSE TO DENIGRATORY ARTICLE IN NZ HERALD). Looks like they will also be faithfully repeated at the Climate Conversation Group’s blog (see, for example  Herald, APNZ find Monckton no easy target).

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