Saturday, July 14, 2007

More Discredited Documentary Links than You Can Possibly Stomach

Via the Oz Politics Blog Feed, and other sources, here's a quick round up of the responses from bloggers who're having a bit of trouble with getting their heads around the idea that Martin Durkin's mockumentary The Great Global Warming Swindle was just that - a swindle:

At The Daily Telegraph, Tim Blair reminds us that it's not just cold today in Wagga-Wagga, it's been a cold month across the whole of Australia:
Not that June should be presented as evidence that global warming isn't happening, or that we're causing it. Relying on such a tiny sample would be unscientific and wrong, even if it involves an entire freakin' continent's weather patterns throughout the course of a whole month, for Christ's sake.

No such foolishness will be indulged in here.

Sadly, those who believe in global warming - and who would compel us also to believe - aren't similarly constrained...
The rest of the column, predictably, is exactly the sort of foolishness Tim says he'll avoid.

Pommygranate is incensed that the ABC put so much effort into subverting Durkin's documentary and goes the out-of-context quote to suggest that his displeasure is shared by Carl Wunsch, the scientist who accused Durkin of misrepresenting his opinion:
He was furious with the ABC's decision to run the program, saying

"Anybody who tells you they know what is going to happen 20 years from now, 100 years from now, is not a good scientist. The science can only say, at this stage, that there are certain possibilities that we are aware of."

Well, err, quite, Carl. But isn't this the precise point the program was making?
Here's what Wunsch actually said, according to the ABC:
"Anybody who tells you they know what is going to happen 20 years from now, 100 years from now, is not a good scientist," he said.

"The science can only say, at this stage, that there are certain possibilities that we are aware of."

"They are possibilities that we think society should take very seriously and try and decide how it is going to deal with them if they come out."

Mr Wunsch has also criticised media organisations including the ABC for broadcasting the documentary.

"TV companies around the world are treating it as though it were a science documentary. It's not," he said.

"It's a contentious political propaganda piece, it's not a science film at all, it's a political statement."
(emphasis added)
Finally, Steven Lloyd is angry that Tony Jones dared to challenge Durkin's claim that it's the sun stupid:
Tony Jones spent a lot of time hammering the filmmaker over leaving out the last 20 years on what was otherwise a compelling graph correlating global temperatures with solar activity. The 20 years left off of the graph, diverged completely, making it look bad for the filmmaker that he left it off.

The thing is, even with the last 20 years added in, the graph was still compelling. You don’t disregard the first 80% of a graph which correlates to a high percentage, just because the last 20% didn’t. Tony Jones would have us think exactly that.
No, Kevin - in science, when you find new data that doesn't fit your theory (or in this case Dorkin's belief) you don't ignore the new data - you look for a better theory. At least that's the kind of science they were teaching when I went through secondary school and university - if there's another kind of science where you throw away awkward data, I haven't heard of it. Unless it's economics, maybe.

The solar activity theory doesn't fit the new data - it's a dead theory. It is no more. It has ceased to be.

Well, that's enough of that - I've wasted enough time on irrelevancies for today. And in the long run, the opinions of Tim Blair, PommyGranate and Steven Lloyd aren't going to have any influence. The way things are looking they'll all be voting "1 - Loser" at the coming election.

It's about time John Howard read the writing on the wall and made that visit to the Governor-General, don't you think? Sure, he'd go down in history as the Prime Minister who led the Liberal Party into oblivion but, as a Burkean Conservative, you'd expect him to look to the interests of the nation and exercise his sovereign conscience accordingly.

Update: in the most ineffectual response to date, Diogenes Lamp fisks today's Age Letters and reminds us that global warming is also currently occuring on Mars and other planets. This also gives him the opportunity for a completely gratuitous demonstration that he's not afraid to be politically incorrect.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

The Picture from Newspoll

There's a lot of controversy in the blogosphere this morning over the latest Newspoll results, and what they mean and alleged attempts by The National Rupert to monster one or two bloggers.

We can expect that part of the debate to get rather heated over the rest of the day, and well into the weekend and this will inevitably distract a lot of people from the poll results themselves and what they actually mean. Still it's possible that there are a few readers out there who are level-headed enough to be interested in taking a look at the actual poll results and the data analysis, before they weigh into the debate.

Figure 1: Newspoll data as presented to Newspoll's haruspicers (source: six-month old goat).

Figure 2: Data analysis. Key:

  1. Kevin Rudd's approval rating. Consistent with past Newspoll findings - and the findings of other polling organisations - this appears to be above that of John Howard.

  2. John Howard's approval rating. Note that a large portion of John Howard's approval rating is in fact obscured by Kevin Rudd's approval rating.

  3. Bob Brown's approval rating. This is clearly much smaller than either John Howard's or Kevin Rudd's.

  4. The ALP's current primary vote.

  5. The coalition's primary vote. Once again, the ALP's primary vote appears to be above the coalition's primary vote, obscuring the actual size of the latter.

  6. Stuff that will have to be dissected away when the next Newspoll is conducted to get a clearer picture of the real situation.

I don't think there's really any more that needs to be said on the subject - now that you've seen the pictures for yourself, the situation ought to be very clear to everyone.