Under seige: The Conversation pulls the weak “trust your doctor or Climate God” excuse

Under seige: The Conversation pulls the weak “trust your doctor or Climate God” excuse, by Joanne Nova.

Today, for your amusement, Misha Ketchell, ex-ABC journalist, editor and ED of The Conversation scrambles to justify why banning half the population from speaking is not censorship. It’s almost a form of satire, but it’s not that clever.

He pulls out the old Argument from Authority and Ad Hom fallacies, known since Aristotle. He’s only 2,300 years behind the leading edge of rhetoric. Worse, the journalist doesn’t even understand the basics of journalism — as in, to research, present the best of both sides, and let the readers decide. Instead Ketchell, whose top scientific qualification is watching the ABC for twenty years, has decided that climate sensitivity of CO2 on planet Earth is 3.3C give or take nothing.

The biggest scandal of university research and science is there waiting to be told, but Ketchell-the-journo is 100% obedient to a collection of unaccountable foreign committee members who do unaudited work with unvalidated models.

Here come the excuses:

There’s a good reason we’re moderating climate change deniers: uninformed comments undermine expertise’

Real experts just answer the questions, they aren’t scared of the uninformed. Why is it only climate science where we need to protect the public from know-nothing comments? Either the punters are too stupid to spot the expert, or perhaps the fake experts need to be protected from the punters?

Just saying it isn’t won’t make it so:

This is not about a denial of free speech. Media outlets have always curated the ways in which they feature audience feedback. Think about the big bags of letters newspaper editors used to sift to pick a dozen or so to publish every day. The skill was always about giving a debate a chance to be aired, to allow all sides to be heard, and then to move on.

But Ketchell isn’t banning misinformation, he’s banning a whole class of people, even “locking their accounts”. That makes it absolutely about “free speech”. Read his words, “deniers are dangerous”. No matter what they say, how well they say it, or how qualified they are, some citizens are the unmentionables who shall have no voice sayth Cardinal Ketchell. It doesn’t get more unfree than a namecalling pogrom with no right of reply.

Say hello to the false equivalence and strawman meme of your doctor versus your untrained friend:

Imagine you discovered you had a serious illness and went to a doctor who recommended an operation. Then you surveyed 10 of your friends about whether they thought you needed an operation. Then, rather than have the operation, you spend the next 10 years, in deteriorating health, every day hearing from your doctor the operation is needed, while a small subset of your mates comment on how the doctor is a nutjob.

What if your friends were engineers, dentists, doctors, PhD’s and Professors? What if your doctor was caught hiding declines, adjusting figures, manipulating reports, using fake photos, and resorted to bluster and coercion? What if he refused to answer questions, explain his methods, hid his data, his history and just called his critics petty names? Let’s say your doctor was paid handsomely to do risky operations with wildly exaggerated outcomes that failed every basic cost benefit test? Let’s say their models didn’t predict who got sick, who got well, how many died, and apart from random luck, not much that happened even 10 days in advance? …

He’s out of his depth, like the journos who just repeat the sales catalogue of the local real estate agent — the boom is just around the corner! Reality is going to blindside him. He believes in the “thousands” of unnamed expert modelers who don’t even exist. And he believes there is rigor in anonymous unpaid pal review:

In the case of climate science we don’t just have two or three expert opinions, we have thousands. All rigorous and peer reviewed. We also have a range of vested interests who are attempting to discredit that science, following the playbook of big tobacco to profit from casting doubt and delaying action.

Sure, and thousands of commenters on The Conversation get cheques and instructions in the mail from Phillip Morris. Who knew? Or more to the point, who’s got a huge baseless conspiracy theory?

Misha Ketchell says:

And this means less emotive argument that distorts the evidence.

Jo Nova says: Sure, and calling critics “predators of our children“, or zombies is all calmness and light yeah? Not to mention “great science”. Go “the Con”.