Government Funding Corrupts

“There’s an assumption that private funding must always be acknowledged because it’s dirty, while public funding never needs to be acknowledged, because it’s pure.”

Michael Duffy from ABC Radio National Counterpoint made that comment yesterday when he interviewed me about the Murray Mouth barrages.[1]

Biologist Walter Starck [2] replied today with the following comment:

“A telling point to consider in relation to government sponsored research is that when generous funding is made available to study a purported problem, one outcome is certain. It will never be discovered that there really isn’t one.

“The implicit assumption that government funded research is unbiased is nonsense.

“On the contrary, it virtually guarantees the manufacture of problems to be studied in that researchers have learned that suggesting a link to a possible problem greatly improves the probability of funding approval. This has become so dominant in the environmental sciences that basic research has almost ceased to exist and nearly all effort is now directed at investigating purported problems. Worse yet, the dominance of problem-oriented research has created an environment wherein the normal scientific process of rigorous critical examination of claims has been suppressed in environmental matters. Now even the most poorly founded, and often even absurd claims, regularly pass peer review and are published in leading journal. Then, if challenged by anyone, the critic is denigrated while the substance of the criticism is ignored.

“Hand in hand with the abandonment of critical examination has been a parallel rise in appeal to proclaimed authority. The less we really know about things the more experts they seem to generate.

“Marine ecosystems and climate are two prime examples. Both are massively complex interactive systems about which both our empirical data and theoretical understanding is very sketchy and uncertain. Nevertheless, and despite the lack of both evidence and understanding, there is no shortage of ‘experts’. Although few of them have ever contributed anything of significance to basic new understanding in their field, they often occupy important sounding positions and can point to numerous peer reviewed publications, however trivial, dubious and unchallenged the claims may be.

“If all this were just a pissing contest between self-important academics it would only be amusing; but, unfortunately it is much more serious. With a majority of the electorate now comprised of urban non-producers, misguided misanthropic environmentalism is having a major impact on the production of food, energy and raw materials which are the very foundation of our entire society.

“This is manifesting as increasing debt, unemployment and inflation right across Western societies. The ability of the productive sector to continue to feed, clothe, house, power and otherwise sustain an ever growing majority of non-producers while being increasingly taxed and restricted themselves is nearing a tipping point.”

*******
1. Listen to the ABC Radio National interview with Michael Duffy here
http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/counterpoint/murray-mouth/3908760

2. More about Walter Starck
http://www.goldendolphin.com/wstarck.htm

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74 Responses to Government Funding Corrupts

  1. Robert March 27, 2012 at 8:51 pm #

    That Walter…he rather says it all, doesn’t he?

  2. John Sayers March 27, 2012 at 9:00 pm #

    surely funding in general corrupts.

  3. Robert March 28, 2012 at 7:07 am #

    On the subject of funding, I may have to find a maroon jersey and wear it:

    ” Mr Newman announced the closure of the $430m Queensland Climate Change Fund, which provides $30m a year for climate change initiatives, and the $50m Renewable Energy Fund, which supports the Geothermal Centre of Excellence.

    The $50m Smart Energy Savings Program, which helps businesses improve energy efficiency, will be axed, along with the Waste Avoidance and Resource Efficiency Fund, the Local Government Sustainable Future Fund and Solar Initiatives Package. ”

    Today, ich bin ein Queenslander!

  4. Neville March 28, 2012 at 7:11 am #

    Newman is cutting back on green funding idiocy in Qld already. That a new govt can start to address this fraud so quickly is a wonderful bonus for all Aussies and strengthens Ted’s arm here in Vic.

    http://blogs.news.com.au/heraldsun/andrewbolt/index.php/heraldsun/comments/newman_orders_blighs_husband_to_slash_his_green_waste/#commentsmore

    Abbott will have plenty of room to slash spending on this fraudulent nonsense and help poorer Aussies cope with heating and cooling their homes at least.

    Problem is we need an early election to start to properly wind back this idiocy, but Juliar will try her best to delay it as long as possible.
    Likewise all independents except Katter are frightened witless by the prospect of facing the people and with good reason.

  5. debbie March 28, 2012 at 7:13 am #

    An excellent interview Jen and extremely well said Walter!
    Funding corrupts when it has strings and expected outcomes attached to it John.
    That is unfortunately very evident in much of the recent Govt funding.
    It is not just Govt that is guilty of this behaviour.
    Thank goodness that we have scientists like Jen who would prefer to only access funding that allows them to speak their mind and not be unnecessarily ‘hamstrung’ by any ‘ulterior motives’.

  6. Magwitch March 28, 2012 at 7:29 am #

    “The ability of the productive sector to continue to feed, clothe, house, power and otherwise sustain an ever growing majority of non-producers while being increasingly taxed and restricted themselves is nearing a tipping point.”

    Quoted from Walter Starcks excellent writing above.

    That is the most important “tipping point” that we should be worrying about.

    ….not the trumped up NGO driven lefty nonsense in cahoots with their academic brothers.

  7. Johnathan Wilkes March 28, 2012 at 8:58 am #

    Well said that man I wish I were half as erudite and eloquent.

    >“A telling point to consider in relation to government sponsored research is that when generous funding is made available to study a purported problem, one outcome is certain. It will never be discovered that there really isn’t one.

    “The implicit assumption that government funded research is unbiased is nonsense.

    I wish only Luke would acknowledge this truth his rants would be more tolerable by refraining the constant referral to Peer review or lack of.

    With a majority of the electorate now comprised of urban non-producers, misguided misanthropic environmentalism is having a major impact on the production of food, energy and raw materials which are the very foundation of our entire society.

    How easy it is for city people to forget, “No farms, no farmers, = NO food, no wool, no raw materials”
    The “we will get it from the supermarket” mentality is so ingrained, only a major disaster will shake it out of people, by then it may be a bit late.

  8. marc March 28, 2012 at 9:36 am #

    Jennifer – this sounds a lot like ‘sour grapes’ to me.

    In the interview you said you applied for government funding but got knocked back. But then later said you wouldn’t work for government – go figure!

    I wonder if your point of view would be different if you did get funded!?

    I really don’t think you can claim a non-biased (scientific) position. You clearly support the up-stream irrigation industry.

  9. Luke March 28, 2012 at 9:44 am #

    Really what an outrageous unsubstantiated rant by Starck.

    What published research has he done lately to even class himself as knowledgeable about this vast field of corruption.

    No papers cited. No evidence. No on ground analysis. Simply a politically based rant and an insult to contemporary researchers.

    And hilarious as more and more sceptic nonsense is skewered.

    Johnathon – so in terms of Starck’s beloved reef agenda – most of the improvements in “reef sensitive farming: are also improvements in productivity – so we we want expensive inputs like nitrogen and herbicides washing off-site. Do you want to add the right amounts of these inputs or squirt them round on a wash day schedule. Do we want unsustainable top soil loss? Grade A practice producers already have moved – Starck’s rant is simply outdated eco-war rot from a bygone era.

    Inland – concerns on pesticides have led to the development of GM cotton. And I think communities that used to be continually sniffing wafts of insecticides are now most grateful. Cotton farm tailwater is recycled and doesn’t go off site.

    And oh diddums much of the improvement has come from government research in partnership with industry but considering all stakeholders.

    The Starck manifesto – is simply an excuse to get away with murder. Out of sight out of mind – do whatever you like. Don’t monitor. Don’t improve.

    The approach is nihilistic and antediluvian – substantial improvements in farming practices can create better outcomes for producers and the “environment”.

    It’s 2012 not 1950. He’s out of date and simply having big sook.

  10. jennifer March 28, 2012 at 9:56 am #

    Marc and Luke

    We’ve only really got started on this topic. But what about some more general assessment of the issue rather than your knee-jerk defence of the corrupt status quo.

    What about first considering the evidence presented here: http://members.iinet.net.au/~glrmc/IPA-RMC-03Reviewr.pdf

    And as John Sayers suggests… perhaps all funding corrupts… at least those susceptible…

  11. Luke March 28, 2012 at 10:12 am #

    If you use the word “corrupt” in a wide sense – you guys need to put up !

    An unsubstantiated rant by Starck is not an argument – I have cited positive win-win details in my rebuttal – unlike the knee-jerk response of the cheer squad here.

    It’s also 2012 not 2003 – Bob is out of date.

  12. Luke March 28, 2012 at 10:21 am #

    Specifically there is a massive amount of basic and applied research of reef issues, off-shore, catchment water quality, farm practices in the last few years. If you not up with all this you need to be be. Duke – diuron stuff is pre-history.

    To suggest that the people working their butts off on these issues from many agencies over wide areas are “on the take” is a dreadful insult. Substantiated by what?

  13. Robert March 28, 2012 at 10:23 am #

    “For the past six years he has devoted full time effort in trying to inject a rational perspective on human ecology into the eco-mania that has become epidemic in our declining Western economies. His criticisms of the poor science and blatantly false claims widely used to support various environmental agendas has resulted in numerous personal attacks by opponents who have no answer to the evidence he presents. Commonly these attacks are not exaggerations, but are utter fabrications…”

    Not gunna get much done swimming around reefs all day. He can’t cite a single gang-reviewed imposture. Only way this guy will get published now is if they waterboard him into uttering the sacred mantra:

    WE’VE LOOKED AT THE MODELS, WE’VE RUN THE SIMULATIONS THROUGH TEN THOUSAND COMPUTERS AND…

    IT’S WORSE THAN WE THOUGHT!

  14. Johnathan Wilkes March 28, 2012 at 10:27 am #

    Here you go again Luke,
    You simply refuse to acknowledge that there might be value without having one of your mates approving a piece of writing and your other mates publishing it.

    The other point I was trying to make which you sidestepped is that somehow you believe that all your approved “scientists” are pure as a driven snow, without the common failings of normal humans, like greed, jealousy, pride etc. and all the rest of the scientists/researchers are stupid, corrupt, in the pocket of big something or other or “out of date” too old.

    You are constantly putting down Debbie for instance in a deplorable manner may I say , for her not having a PHD in some nebulous field of science.

    Luke there is great wisdom out there outside academia, formal learning does not impart wisdom.

    Many actual observation have been made over the years by practical people whose very livelihood depends on it, and it is mostly ignored by you and your ilk, because it’s not “peer reviewed” as being peer reviewed would turn crap into gold.

  15. marc March 28, 2012 at 10:34 am #

    Certainly agree with Luke’s comments. “defence of the corrupt status quo” is a big call Jennifer and I know a number of scientists that would be deeply insulted and offended by your assertion.

    As a scientist, collaboration on research agendas is an important and highly valued aspect of research. I think you are doing yourself a great disservice, puting possible future partnerships on research at risk. Or is it your intent to always go it alone.

    Don’t create enemies wantently!

  16. toby March 28, 2012 at 10:37 am #

    Luke says “To suggest that the people working their butts off on these issues from many agencies over wide areas are “on the take” is a dreadful insult. Substantiated by what?”
    In A NUTSHELL…… By all of the crap science being sprouted as gospel that undermines the good science that does get done. Having spent so many years on this blog you really shouldnt need to have that spelt out for you.
    Are you just dogmatic for the sake of it?…it sure seems so.

  17. Luke March 28, 2012 at 10:45 am #

    Toby – pretty well all sceptic science is crap. See demolition of Scaftta on Watts. See McLean et al. You seldom get a science argument here. Only rhetoric.

    “You simply refuse to acknowledge that there might be value without having one of your mates approving a piece of writing and your other mates publishing it.”

    Well Johnathon – hope you like your brain surgery done by witch doctors. If you want to through out a century of peer review in science based on “any old codger can have a go” well you trundle off to the witchdoctors and we’ll see how you go. Mate what you are saying is simply mindless.

    In fact sceptics should publish the reviewers comments as to why they were knocked back. Sound of crickets…..

    Debs makes sweeping statements and doesn’t back them up. All you get is “as you all know …” She never follows up except with about 500 words of more rhetoric. But we still love each other I’m sure.

  18. Robert March 28, 2012 at 10:46 am #

    Uh,oh. Looks like there’s a place at Central Re-education Camp for Jen.

    “I think you are doing yourself a great disservice, puting possible future partnerships on research at risk. Or is it your intent to always go it alone.

    Don’t create enemies wantently!”

    Sounds like a wantent threat.

  19. Robert March 28, 2012 at 10:52 am #

    If I want brain surgery, I’ll go to a highly experienced brain surgeon who’s had his head in the books and his fingers in the slime.

    If I want to know about reefs, I’ll go to Walter Starck.

  20. jennifer March 28, 2012 at 10:54 am #

    Lets approach the issue a little bit systematically:

    1. Which are the big issues with significant government funding?
    2. What is the status quo?
    3. Does there appear to have been a significant amount of corruption of the scientific process?

    I’m familiar with research culture and output in three areas… relating to the Great Barrier Reef, Murray Darling and climate science.

    My considered assessment of mainstream research in these areas is that it has been significantly corrupted by government funding and is a disgrace and will in time be shown to be so.

    But I’m sure there are some areas where government funded research is making a positive contribution and that same research has not been corrupted.

    I’m sure there are also areas within Great Barrier Reef, Murray Darling and climate science research where good work is being done… but in my opinion the passing of time will show that for the best of two decades most of the associated research could perhaps be best described as ‘junk science’.

  21. Luke March 28, 2012 at 11:20 am #

    Corruption is code for “I don’t agree”. And corrupt is a serious charge – you do need to back it up. So which contemporary reef related research from the last 3-5 years is corrupt then?

    Surely there will be a huge list of papers….

    So one the major research initiatives in eastern Australia is the SEACI initiative – which of the long list of SEACI publications is corrupt then?

  22. jennifer March 28, 2012 at 11:22 am #

    PS And I acknowledge, as Luke has suggested earlier in this thread, that some/many of these researchers may be working very hard. But just because they are working hard, does not mean that what they are contributing to will not be shown to have been misguided and at its core corrupt.

  23. jennifer March 28, 2012 at 11:26 am #

    Luke,

    Find me a Great Barrier Reef paper, typical of the government funded stuff, and let us consider whether the basic assumptions underpinning it have any basis in reality.

    Last time I looked the basic assumption that there was an impact from land based pollution remained unproven, but the research program had nevertheless moved on to modelling this impact.

    And I’ve just been going through most of the federal government funding of climate research at CSIRO and BOM for the 2010-2011 financial years. Many of the proposed projects, developed up during 2009-2010 were designed around general circulation modelling and measuring the magnitude of rainfall decline. Ha.

  24. Johnathan Wilkes March 28, 2012 at 11:27 am #

    Your problem is Luke, as I said before you only see everything in black and white.
    No I do not go to any witch doctor, as a matter of fact I don’t go to just any doctor either.

    On the other hand I have been helped by a layman I was talking to by chance in a matter, the doctors were unable to help, at least not quickly enough or without long tests I did not want to do because the problem was merely annoying.

    It was a simple matter of him experiencing the same problem, and it turned out to be an item in my diet disagreeing with me.

    marc,

    Unless you hide your head in the sand, I cannot see how you can say with a straight face that there is no corruption in government funded research, those people are like everyone else, they have the same characters as anyone else.

    Yes they sometimes do lie or at least twist the data to suit the preconceived idea, they do protect their turf, they do like to shut their critics up.

  25. Peter Lang March 28, 2012 at 11:41 am #

    THIS O/T COMMENT HAS BEEN MOVED TO BEGIN A NEW THREAD.

  26. marc March 28, 2012 at 11:50 am #

    Jennifer – I think you are digging a deeper and deeper hole for yourself.

    I think I understand your need to be considered as untarnished and free from ‘mainstream’ thinking, which is indeed an admirable quality. Being in a position to freely express opinion is important – such as yours on the misguided and corrupt nature of certain research agendas.

    However, I need to stress the word ‘opinion’ and opinion to me implies a theory, and as a scientist your role should be to disprove your theory with research and evidence. Your theory, and your credibility, becomes stronger as your attempts to disprove it prove unsuccessful.

    So the question for you I think becomes one of how to design an experiment to test your theory and then publish your findings for genuine scrutiny.

  27. Luke March 28, 2012 at 11:59 am #

    Come on Jen – that’s weak as. You’re not up to date. Don’t do a Debs on me.

  28. Jon at WA March 28, 2012 at 12:01 pm #

    If a government uses the public purse to provide research – research may favour the current agenda.

    If a government uses the public purse to pay politicians – Parliament will act to fund research to pursue an agenda beneficial to those in government.

    If we stop the remuneration of politicians and replace this with adequate compensation ( remember representation was never a profession), we may occasionally have Parliament with some sense of the agenda a majority of the people of this country would like pursued.

    You can’t buy honesty and integrity, but clearly as has been demonstrated by Jennifer the concept can and does exist.

  29. Denis Webb March 28, 2012 at 12:14 pm #

    Luke

    You suggested Jen didn’t know what she was talking about. She gave you the opportunity to show us some of the good government funded research work being done on the Great Barrier Reef.

    Now you have changed the subject.

    Luke explain what great government funded science is being done on the Great Barrier Reef. We know Jon Brodie has millions of dollars to tell us there is a big problem that Jen says does not exist. All imaginary she says.

    But where is the good research, funded by government?

  30. Luke March 28, 2012 at 12:21 pm #

    Jen – golly gee – isn’t ABSOLUTELY extraordinary and just soooooo corrupt that after Figure 4 here http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/current/statements/scs16.pdf that they might been investigating such a thing.

    Tarnation Jen – and call the police – that is SOOOOOOOOO corrupt. How dare they investigate …. they should be looking at the auroa australis instead !

    And think of the extent of corruption from science panels, external review audits – by golly EVERYONE is on the take. All the numbers being fiddled. Not best practice. Wow it’s a plague.

    And then there are renegades who publish that they can’t find an explanation beyond natural variability for the Millennium drought in SEQ – wow that must be corrupt too.

    http://www.csiro.au/Portals/Media/SEQ-Drought.aspx

    and how dare Power and Smith suggest decadal influence in tropical cyclones making landfall – and current decline must also be corrupt too. http://www.springerlink.com/content/b073428q37741816/

    Mainstream climate scientists – golly gee – all on the take.

  31. Robert March 28, 2012 at 12:58 pm #

    “…they can’t find an explanation beyond natural variability for the Millennium drought in SEQ…”

    Hey, neither can I! Whatever they’re paying these guys…

  32. Debbie March 28, 2012 at 2:02 pm #

    Marc,
    ‘you clearly support the upstream irrigation industry’
    That means nothing at all.
    Jen has RESEARCHED the claims in current water politics and found them seriously lacking in substantial evidence. Especially the claims re the LRM the Lower Lakes, the Coorong and the Murray Mouth.
    If she had found otherwise she would have said so!
    Her conclusions are that taking water from designated upstream irrigation networks will NOT do much to solve the issues at the bottom of the system. She has also researched other more practical, alternative solutions.
    Luke, as I have often pointed out, I am commenting on the politics and the political agenda that has attached itself to a particular branch of science. Your consistent ranting about supplying scientific links that you can then scoff at does nothing to deal with the issues I am highlighting.
    As far as accessing govt grants go, I have been there and done that on numerous occaisions. They are NOT INTERESTED unless we run courses and produce reports about adjusting and transition re climate change and a future with less water.
    Any PRACTICAL and SENSIBLE programs that don’t include just giving in to the current political agenda are simply not contemplated.
    Plenty of organisations have gone down that road and Walter Starck’s comments are right on the money when he descibes what ultimately happens to them.
    Jen has also highlighted that particular problem on several occaisions. Her recent article on those ‘turkeys’ being a case in point.
    And Luke, trying to goad me by making snide comments about my personal qualifications is not working and is just making me laugh at your rather poor attempt to ‘shoot the messenger’.
    For all you know I could have more academic qualifications than you.
    It doesn’t mean anything.
    As Walter Starck points out, this should not be about an academic pissing contest.
    He also points out that the current agenda has to keep stating there is a problem, even if it isn’t really an unsolvable problem.
    Are you claiming that is incorrect?

  33. spangled drongo March 28, 2012 at 3:17 pm #

    And of course the more money we spend on dumb govt research the more we realise how stupid we are to spend money on dumb govt research:

    http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/anzac-centenary-could-be-divisive/story-e6frea6u-1226309726240

  34. Bronson March 28, 2012 at 3:23 pm #

    ‘Find me a Great Barrier Reef paper, typical of the government funded stuff, and let us consider whether the basic assumptions underpinning it have any basis in reality. ‘
    Lukes response 3 BoM papers on climate and weather – where’s the papers on the Reef Luke?

  35. Debbie March 28, 2012 at 4:49 pm #

    I was rather shocked when I opened the links too.
    Jen clearly asked for a paper on the reef.
    Did you misunderstand the question Luke?

  36. Luke March 28, 2012 at 5:03 pm #

    Debs and Bronson riding shotgun. Don’t play silly persons Debbie – Jen listed 3 areas MDB, climate and reef as being “corrupt”. Corrupt is a very serious charge. Wasn’t “silly, lamentable or ill-considered” either – the word was “corrupt”

    I have engaged her on climate. She has not responded as yet. We can get to reef later on. There’s plenty of material – 100s of recent papers. So don’t get all flustered now.

    So we had a rainfall deficiency problem of note in SEA – researchers investigated the problem. And now that considerable body of resulting work is …. “corrupt” !

  37. bazza March 28, 2012 at 5:15 pm #

    I followed Jens advice of 9:56 am this day to check the evidence to the link she provided and lo and behold it was a Carter essay “Science is not consensus” in would you believe the IPA Journal 2003. Really! The evidence is that science is mostly consensus. It gets worse. One quote will do. “Though claiming to base their concerns on scientific evidence, and intending thereby to occupy the moral high ground, many environmental organizations are in fact abusers of scientific process. For instance, their crusading attitude to the irrational Kyoto Protocol prompted the comment from a former President of the Mineralogical Society of America that ‘the idea that humans have significantly enhanced global warming is by far the most massive abuse of science that I have ever seen’.”

  38. Jennifer Marohasy March 28, 2012 at 7:05 pm #

    Bazza, The key relevant messages in that 2003 article by Prof Bob Carter for me relate to:
    1. how science funding has changed since the 1980s
    2. how science funding is now dependent on the identification of a problem.
    But I’m not sure he identified a solution.

    Luke,
    Can we agree that most government funding in the three areas I identified is based on the following assumptions:
    1. climate change funding is overwhelming based on the assumption that carbon dioxide is a key driver of climate change and there has been declining rainfall?
    2. GBR funding is targeted at reducing or quantifying human impacts on the reef?
    3. MDB funding is based on the assumption that there is overallocation of the water resource?

  39. Luke March 28, 2012 at 8:31 pm #

    Jen
    Only partially can I agree.

    In order:

    (1) Climate change – well climate change funding would obviously be climate change funding or would require another definition.

    However on recent major initiatives like SEACI (SE Aust Climate initiative), IOCI (Indian Ocean Climate Initiative) and the SEQ investigations they were set up to investigate “an issue” – and that issue was declining rainfall which had gone on since the mid 1990s in the lower MDB, for decades in SW WA, and a worst on record drought in Brisbane’s Wivenhoe dam catchment. So there was considerable concern from industrial, domestic and rural users as to what was happening.

    In an example like SEACI science painstakingly investigated the statistical nature of the decline, the climate drivers of SE Australia, changes in drivers, and what GCM modelling might infer from all available information. So a persistent autumn decline over decades with the driver being the intensity of the sub-tropical ridge (STRi). GCM modelling then gave some credence that greenhouse forcing would produce that outcome.

    IOCI was examining long term rainfall decline in SW WA and found a combination of natural variability, Antarctic circulation changes which end up being a complex mixture of stratospheric ozone depletion and greenhouse forcing if one believes the modelling investigation. Although other work has produced different anthropogenic mechanisms in the Indian Ocean such as the southwest Australian circulation (SWAC) which may be related to the STRi.

    The SEQ drought investigation by CSIRO did not attribute the drought to AGW but to decadal variability.

    So the climate science funding for these significant investigations were issue based on events of major public concern. The difficulties are expressed explicitly and results nuanced. How you find that this science is fundamentally “corrupt” is beyond me.

    And the now landmark work on tropical cyclones making landfall in Queensland puts decadal variability as the major issue. The IPO so beloved by sceptics in fact has had fundamental work by Scott Power one of the cyclone investigation authors.

    Farquhar and Roderick have made major publications on the phenomenon of decreased pan evaporation – hardly what you’d want for a climate change horror story – and this is also corrupt is it?
    So above was not to give you a climate lecture – simply to show that the results of these investigations varied, some climate change possibilities were uncovered – sometimes not. A corrupt science would surely have pinned the lot on climate change.

    (2) The reef – well issues are many and varied

    Fabricius KE, Okaji K, De’ath G (2010) Three lines of evidence to link outbreaks of the crown-of thorns seastar Acanthaster planci to the release of larval food limitation. Coral Reefs 29: 593-605

    Fabricius KE and De’ath G (2008) Photosynthetic symbionts and energy supply determine octocoral biodiversity in coral reefs. Ecology 89: 3163-3173

    Fabricius KE, De’ath G, Poutinen ML, Done T, Cooper TF, Burgess SC (2008) Disturbance gradients on inshore and offshore coral reefs caused by a severe tropical cyclone. Limnol Oceanogr 53: 690-704

    would seem to be about natural events.

    Research on sea birds, turtles and dugongs starts out with basic biology, population status, and necropsies attribute cause of death as best they can and number lay as they are. Loss of sea grass beds from the big wets seems to be attributed at the size of the events themselves. I assume you would approve of the dugong research – and of course these special researchers would be among the few non corrupt ones would they?

    So there is a vast amount of basic GBR research that is simply basic research. Not seeking specifically to attribute anthropogenic impacts.

    There is good evidence of water quality affecting reefs around the world and is it not reasonable that water quality might be of some interest. Papers you ask for – here’s a recent handful from 100s.

    Fabricius KE and 9 co-authors (2011) Losers and winners in coral reefs acclimatized to elevated carbon dioxide concentrations. Nature Climate Change 1: 165-169

    De’ath G, Fabricius KE (2010) Water quality as regional driver of coral biodiversity and macroalgal cover on the Great Barrier Reef. Ecol Applications 20: 840-850

    Fabricius KE, De’ath G, Poutinen ML, Done T, Cooper TF, Burgess SC (2008) Disturbance gradients on inshore and offshore coral reefs caused by a severe tropical cyclone. Limnol Oceanogr 53: 690-704

    Fabricius KE (2005) Effects of terrestrial runoff on the ecology of corals and coral reefs: review and synthesis. Mar Poll Bull 50: 125-146

    Lewis S.E., et al., Herbicides: A new threat to the Great Barrier Reef, Environ. Pollut. (2009), doi:10.1016/j.envpol.2009.03.006

    Fabricius, K.E., De’ath, G., Humphrey, C., Zagorskis, I., Schaffelke, B., Intraannual
    variation in turbidity in response to terrestrial runoff on near-shore coral reefs of the Great Barrier Reef, Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science (2012), doi: 10.1016/j.ecss.2012.03.010

    Bartley, R., et al. A review of sediment and nutrient concentration data from Australia for use in catchment water quality models. Mar. Pollut. Bull. (2011), doi:10.1016/j.marpolbul.2011.08.009

    Bainbridge, Z.T., Brodie, J.E., Faithful, J.W., Sydes, D.A., Lewis, S.E., 2009b. Identifying
    the land-based sources of suspended sediments, nutrients and pesticides
    discharged to the Great Barrier Reef from the Tully-Murray Basin, Queensland,
    Australia. Marine and Freshwater Research 60(11), 1081–1090. doi:10.1071/MF08333.

    Bartley, R., Corfield, J.P., Abbott, B.N., Hawdon, A.A., Wilkinson, S.N., Nelson, B.,
    2010a. Impacts of improved grazing land management on sediment yields. Part I: Hillslope processes. Journal of Hydrology 389 (3–4), 237–248.

    Recommendations for improved farming practices make good economic sense. Are you suggesting we forget Ag Science 101 and put on stupid amounts of expensive fertiliser. Do we want fertiliser nitrogen and phosphorus in the cane fields or drifting down the reef rivers?
    Do we think massive losses of soil from grazing lands in the Burdekin (perhaps 10x pre-European) is a good idea. Soil = grass – so shouldn’t we be keeping it on the paddocks not the creeks.

    So we’re suggesting somehow that all these people involved and their detailed science is somehow corrupt? And that their science panels and external auditors are also corrupt?

    (3) MDB – my early exposure to water allocation issues was about farmers arguing farmers. Not about green groups and environmental flows. The Gwydir was been over allocated historically and irrigators could not get the volumes they wanted. So is it surprising that there is a need to fairly apportion water between all users, upstream, downstream, and between states. And all this is before we get to the consideration of an environmental flow. So I think the MDB authorities might have a wider mandate than just corruptly knicking water for nefarious purposes. Someone need to apportion what is in many years a finite resource.

    So in the end I don’t totally agree with your a priori assumptions. It seems if you don’t like the policy outcome that the standard ruse to imply the fundamental science is somehow corrupt. It’s an insult to the authors whose references I’ve tabled above.

  40. jennifer March 28, 2012 at 9:15 pm #

    Luke, A quick scan of what you’ve just posted on GBR research confirms my point. In a few years time the research will be considered about as useful as research to confirm the earth is flat.

  41. Robert March 28, 2012 at 9:22 pm #

    “1. climate change funding is overwhelming based on the assumption that carbon dioxide is a key driver of climate change and there has been declining rainfall?
    2. GBR funding is targeted at reducing or quantifying human impacts on the reef?
    3. MDB funding is based on the assumption that there is overallocation of the water resource?”

    So it’s yes to all three, Jen.

    By the way, I’m too am in favour of better farming practices, caring for wildlife and conservation. I’m also in favour of motherhood, tidy sock drawers and good things in general.

  42. Luke March 28, 2012 at 10:56 pm #

    Disappointing Jen. As I said you are way out of date. Things have moved on. The link between agricultural runoff and reef health is no longer contested. And the old eco-wars are over. Better farming is simply good economic sense.

    I notice you have no climate comments.

    Now where’s that alleged corruption.

    You’re simply doing a beatup supporting the shrill extremism of Starck.

    What annoys me about this sort of spray is its pandering generalist red-neck appeal which is not backed up by any detailed analysis. And not even supported by industry.

  43. Robert March 28, 2012 at 11:59 pm #

    Let’s examine the modern young spinner at his craft:

    Jen says:

    “1. climate change funding is overwhelming based on the assumption that carbon dioxide is a key driver of climate change”

    Luke’s response:

    “(1) Climate change – well climate change funding would obviously be climate change funding or would require another definition.”

    No connection between proposition and response, is there?

    And you think that somewhat like that is going to like a ridgy-didge soaking-wet marine scientist like Walter Starck?

  44. Debbie March 29, 2012 at 6:27 am #

    Luke,
    No one, including Jen said that ‘science is fundamentally corrupt’.
    The point was GOVERNMENT FUNDING corrupts, and the extension of that is it has corrupted the type of research that is being conducted and also the purpose of the research.
    People who are employed to do the research are mostly simply doing their job and most of them do the best job they can.
    Are you able to appreciate the difference?
    I agree the world moves on and I agree that better farming methods just make good sense.
    Science does play a role in that but what Jen is highlighting is that the role of science has got ‘out of whack’ mostly due to the way it has been funded.
    Walter Starck points out that has turned into a type of academic pissing contest and far too often the ‘purpose’ of the research is lost and it therefore achieves nothing worthwhile and loudly claims it is still solving a problem that a) no longer is a problem because the original hypothesis was incorrect or b) the problem is already solved in another manner.
    Unfortunately, mostly because of the legislative arm that has attached itself to certain branches of science, the science is used in an inappropriate manner

  45. ian George March 29, 2012 at 6:30 am #

    “A telling point to consider in relation to government sponsored research is that when generous funding is made available to study a purported problem, one outcome is certain. It will never be discovered that there really isn’t one.

    The implicit assumption that government funded research is unbiased is nonsense.’

    Ask oceanographer Dr. Trevor McDougall, one of Australia’s most-awarded climate researchers, what happens when you ‘buck the system’ – let go from the CSIRO because his research did not follow the meme.
    http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/scientists-services-no-longer-required-20111223-1uvnq.html

    AND ALSO
    Coastal engineer Doug Lord, former coast manager of the NSW environment department, sacked because he actually checked sea-level changes in NSW and got the sack for his troubles.

    http://www.godlikeproductions.com/forum1/message1720799/pg1

  46. Louis Hissink March 29, 2012 at 7:29 am #

    Private money is fundamentally savings while government money is either from theft, or counterfeiting.

  47. Luke March 29, 2012 at 8:19 am #

    Debbie – Pollies aren’t smart enough to orchestrate the detail in the research some of which I have tabled above. It’s boffin stuff in the details.

    “Out of whack” on the way it’s funded. What nonsense – you either fund it or you don’t.

    the purpose of the research is not lost at all. It’s VERY clear.

    Starck is simply trying make an elite political agenda about what science he doesn’t agree with. Nobody serious takes him seriously. You’d have to create a grand interlinked conspiracy to sell that one.

    And its out of date. People have moved on. Industry accepts it needs to do better. The atmosphere is forward thinking not backwards. In a decade you will see improved farming practices, better farm returns as a result, and improved water quality entering the reef. What’s wrong with that?

    Right at the time you’ll have more reef ports and more shipping traversing the zone than ever.

  48. jennifer March 29, 2012 at 8:50 am #

    Luke,

    You write:
    “The link between agricultural runoff and reef health is no longer contested.”

    Exactly. Correct. But this claim that agricultural runoff impacts the Great Barrier Reef remains but a political statement with no basis in science.

    The claim is as nebulous now as it was back in 2003 when the then Chief Scientist was intent on proving it without any evidence. As an example see of this, and how corrupt government GBR science is read ‘Deceit in the Name of Conservation’
    http://jennifermarohasy.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/Review55-1DeceitinNameConservation.pdf

    The claim is not contested. There is little evidence in support of it. Yet now millions are being wasted modelling it.

    Its just like government funded climate research where the claim that carbon dioxide is a key driver of climate change is no longer contested.

    You provide evidence in support of my position. Thanks.

  49. Robert March 29, 2012 at 8:55 am #

    Everyone needs to do better, move on, talk like Julia, improve stuff, be better mothers, tidy their sock drawers…What’s wrong with that? Are people here such red-necks that they won’t tidy their sock drawers?

    Back on your point, Jen. The stupendously low quality of thought in what gets called “climate science” has clearly infected surrounding areas of research, and it is due to the fact that funding, just as you said, is dependent on those now familiar assumptions you listed.

    We listen to real scientists like Starck now, or globally the word “scientist” will become like the word “architect” in Belgium: a term of abuse.

  50. jennifer March 29, 2012 at 10:08 am #

    Robert,

    You are wrong on one point of fact: the corruption of climate science did not necessarily come first. The first area of research to be impacted was probably conservation biology. According to Ansley Kellow the rot spread from here…

    see http://www.amazon.com/Science-Public-Policy-Corruption-Environmental/dp/1847204708/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1202297920&sr=1-2

    And indeed my first introduction to the corruption of science by government was not w.r.t. climate science but Great Barrier Reef campaigning including by government scientists in search of money.

  51. Robert March 29, 2012 at 10:51 am #

    Jen, I remember doing a refresher course in French conversation at the Alliance Francaise in 1972. There was a guy in that class doing his PhD in French. He could not speak ANY French. Not one sentence. (I’m sure this reference to the past will enrage our Kool Kidz, but I think it has relevance.)

    I wonder if the sixties weren’t the period when the “hard” was being taken out of many academic pursuits. There were a lot of none-too-bright people becoming scientists by getting into biology (and “linguistics”). This breed seems in love with complication and mystification, as if to conceal a lack of ability to think sequentially and write clearly.

    I certainly don’t have that problem reading you or Starck. Which is why, I suppose, I read you.

  52. Luke March 29, 2012 at 11:10 am #

    Jen – as I said you’re way out of date. The references you cite show that in spades. You’re fighting a battle that’s long over. Recycling 2003 stuff is just tedious. It’s far from “all about modelling”. The biological impacts over a wide range of work demonstrate that. You have attempted no discussion or analysis of that body of work since 2003. Duke, Baker and all that stuff is gone.

    And talk about historical revisionism – government is somewhat late in the show to appear in the reef scene. Universities have called it earlier. Northern hotbeds of discontent like JCU.

    I can only conclude that you think overfertilising of sugar cane is best practice – and massive leaching of fertiliser nitrogen in a world heritage area and unsustainable 5-10x soil loss from the Burdekin is cool.

    You seem to have no comment on the latest Australian climate science except a general slur.

  53. bazza March 29, 2012 at 11:31 am #

    Hard to prove there is no corruption/bias whatever, but there is no evidence I could find or am aware of. Research funding is a tough competitive market, some would say to a fault, but not much market failure in research funding to address market failure resulting from production decisions of farmers, irrigators , energy users etc. One criticism is the funders do not fund enough speculative risky research but researchers have creative ways around that. They do a bit on the side so they can put up a less risky project next time. The following by Stone suggested no bias re AGW. He had a suggestion of an age factor along the lines that sceptical old researchers were less successful/more disgruntled. (They were probably even pre FORTRAN). Interesting most of the climate sceptics that get all the space in The Australian are fogies. I can understand why flogging this corruption angle is so important to climate sceptics – last card in the deck and you cant prove there is none. Read on:
    Daniel F Stone (2008) Abstract: “Numerous scientists and public policy analysts have speculated that U.S. research funding agencies favored grant applicants who promoted, or at least were not publicly skeptical of, the threat posed by anthropogenic climate change. I use the Oregon Petition, a publicly observable measure of climate change skepticism, to investigate this theory empirically. I find that the evidence in support of the theory overall is weak.”

  54. Robert March 29, 2012 at 11:46 am #

    “I can only conclude that you think overfertilising of sugar cane is best practice ”

    He’s right, Jen. It’s so obvious, this cane-overfertilising thing you’re doing.

  55. Robert March 29, 2012 at 12:04 pm #

    I don’t mind that Daniel Stone lectures in Fairy Floss (“information, uncertainty and individual decision-making, with applications to media and politics”). We’ve all had to bluff for our living at some point. Nor do I mind him having a bias as pronounced as my own. I do object to him dressing up his biased speculations on bias as precise calculation. It’s called Junk Science, and it chews up resources needed for, well, science.

  56. Debbie March 29, 2012 at 1:36 pm #

    Luke,

    ‘the purpose of the research is not lost at all. It’s VERY clear. ‘
    In light of the actual point of Jen’s comments and this rebuttal to my comment:
    I’m wondering what you think the VERY clear purpose is?
    I’m also wondering how you judge the success or failure of this VERY clear purpose?
    I can only comment strongly in the area where I have expertise so the GBR is NOT it. I can however read the work and the research on the GBR (and follow the money trail) and I can see the similar developing pattern.
    Your comment here:
    (3) MDB – my early exposure to water allocation issues was about farmers arguing farmers. Not about green groups and environmental flows. The Gwydir was been over allocated historically and irrigators could not get the volumes they wanted. So is it surprising that there is a need to fairly apportion water between all users, upstream, downstream, and between states. And all this is before we get to the consideration of an environmental flow. So I think the MDB authorities might have a wider mandate than just corruptly knicking water for nefarious purposes. Someone need to apportion what is in many years a finite resource.

    If it was truly about the need to fairly apportion water no one would be arguing.
    It is actually the ASSUMPTIONS about our water resources that are incorrect and the majority of the current research is designed to justify the incorrect ASSUMPTIONS.
    Jen often clearly explains what is wrong with the assumptions about the LRM, the Coorong, the Lower Lakes and the Murray Mouth. Yet those assumptions are still the ones embedded through the funded research and being restated and restated and restated. In this process, incorrect assumptions get accepted as ‘peer reviewed’ fact. Unravelling those and finding out where they originally came from is time consuming but very enlightening.
    Even to state ‘environmental flows’ as something that can be achieved by jamming up storage dams and re priotising water that was designated to purpose built irrigation areas is an incorrect assumption.
    The dams were not designed to do that and they are physically incapable of doing it. If we want to store water for ‘the environment’ (which is a pretty silly concept if you actually consider that the natural MDB ephemeral environment….like Lake Eyre….has just proved in a most spectacular manner that it doesn’t need that sort of help)…then we need to access more storage. If we want to assist flooding (which I think from personal experience is highly irresponsible), then we need to build the works to do that. The same applies to mitigating flooding (which would be a much more sensible project IMHO)
    I note you have said ‘which is finite in some years’ …while an improvement on previous statements by you, that is still an incorrect assumption. Water resources are highly variable, not only from year to year but from valley to valley and week to week and there is no way to come up with a magic ‘number’ or a magic set of rules that will apply every year (from July 1st to June 30th) and to try and do that and use science and modelling on the ASSUMPTION you can to ‘manage’ the environment is complete nonsense.
    That’s one of the main reasons we saw SHL dumping water into an already flooded system.
    They were following the rules that said the water had to be ‘paid back’ even though there was no good reason to do it, environmental or otherwise.
    There is a modicum of rationale behind that ‘over allocation’ argument but it was not ‘over allocation’ of storage water, yet that is the water that is being targetted. The unregulated river flow was over allocated and even that was based on a false assumption (ie that there is a magic median amount), it also came about because water was seperated from the land and all water bodies, STATE AND FEDERAL did not deal with the fact that there were many GLs of ‘sleeper licences’ that were theoretically ‘woken up’.
    Wasting $billions of taxpayer money buying up entitlements in a willy nilly manner is not solving this problem either. The ‘over entitlement’ still exists. All that’s happening is perfectly sustainable irigation businesses are being left stranded and unviable.
    There are of course many other variables at play here and many other embedded false assumptions.
    Interestingly, the ‘genuine’ back room scientists and economic modellers are quite candid about this information. They know they are being directed to solve a ‘non problem’ and they are very good at their job. The problem with our water resources is not genuinely an environmental problem Luke. Yes, there have been some mistakes and some have been fixed (with the help of science) and the genuine custodians of this country would like to work towards fixing the rest….unfortunately we are at loggerheads with the science this time because they are pretending to fix the wrong problem…and rather a lot of them know it.
    But of course, they have to do their job. I don’t blame them specifically, they have to do their job or they don’t get paid.
    I do soundly blame the political process that Jen has highlighted.
    I agree the politicians aren’t bright enough to do this work….that’s why they’re directing the funding to the people who can.
    I know it’s a harsh judgement but we don’t solve anything if we’re not prepared to recognise what the real problem is and spend countless millions on solving a problem that either doesn’t exist or has already been solved or which doesn’t need science to solve it.
    Walter Starck is actually correct in his assessment in that regard.

  57. toby March 29, 2012 at 2:27 pm #

    Here here Robert

  58. Luke March 29, 2012 at 7:04 pm #

    Debbie – as usual hardly a thoughtful perspective – so the environment doesn’t need a hand eh and that every dam actually does every river good. (a) the the international literature might disagree (b) and if you have ever seen the carnage that dams can do to native central Queensland turtle fauna you would be sickened the spectacle of smashed shells (as a single example). http://www.australianfreshwaterturtles.com.au/forum/showthread.php?6056-Exhausting-Turtle-Rescue-at-Lake-Manchester/page2

    Now I never said that I was inherently anti-dam but to think there are no environmental issues is blindness. It may stun you to know that environmental flows based on serious ecological investigations are now considered passe in designing Queensland Water Management Plans. Only luddites would think otherwise. http://www.derm.qld.gov.au/water/monitoring/pdf/efap-0910-summary-report-final.pdf

    As for all this business about there’s no problem to solve. I think billions exiting Treasury since the 1990s for Exceptional Circumstances just may (and call me intuitive) been perceived as a problem.

  59. Debbie March 29, 2012 at 10:19 pm #

    That was just as sensible as:
    “I can only conclude that you think overfertilising of sugar cane is best practice ”
    I find your tendency to draw outrageous conclusions highly amusing.
    I don’t believe Jen thinks overfertilising of sugar cane is best practice and I certainly didn’t say there was NO problem to solve or that dams don’t have environmental impacts.
    No one said that scientists (as a total demographic) are corrupt either.
    I was commenting on the point of this post and also your comments on the MDB.
    Trying to extrapolate something else from that is rather unproductive.
    If you don’t want to discuss the issue that’s just fine and dandy.
    I thought you may have been interested to know that many of the assumptions made about our water resources are fundamentally incorrect and that some of yours were also.
    Jen’s work on the LRM and the Murray Mouth clearly reveals one of those.
    BTW….I’m curious about your international literature…..there is actually rather a lot of dam building and water conservation works going on internationally. Must be happening despite that literature or maybe there is other literature and other methods that you are not aware of?
    There has also been some long overdue dismantling of old and useless water infrastructure.
    We need to do both here too. 🙂

  60. Robert March 29, 2012 at 10:46 pm #

    Indeed, Deb, why launch diatribes against propositions that are never made? I can’t find where you and Jen say the things that he pretends to rebut. Why do it continually, with extensive references and linking? Is it a strategy of winning by fatigue, by sheer noise?

    It’s all so GetUp. I haven’t mentioned GetUp for a while, have I? I need to mention GetUp more often. They’ve got a sock drawer full of stunts like that.

  61. Luke March 29, 2012 at 10:47 pm #

    Sigh – “and spend countless millions on solving a problem that either doesn’t exist or has already been solved or which doesn’t need science to solve it.”

  62. Robert March 29, 2012 at 11:24 pm #

    “and spend countless millions on solving a problem that either doesn’t exist or has already been solved or which doesn’t need science to solve it.”

    Yep, she said that. She thinks, like I do, you should spend on problems that DO exist.

    How you arrive at “so the environment doesn’t need a hand eh and that every dam actually does every river good” and “to think there are no environmental issues is blindness” – that must remain as mysterious as Jen’s alleged willingness to trash a world heritage site. Nobody said it. Nobody implied it. Nobody. And did I mention nobody?

    If people don’t say things, why rebut them? It’s not enough to find a few phrases containing the words “spending” and “problems” and then to launch into your pet topics of drought packages and agrarian socialism.

    Stop flashing ideas for effect, and start connecting ideas. You’re not a stupid person, Luke. I’d be willing to bet you’re a lot brighter than me. You can do this.

    Oh, and lose the Sigh.

  63. Luke March 30, 2012 at 5:10 am #

    Robert – I think you might be having a bit of trouble with da Anglais. You may have noticed that Debbie says things – and then says she didn’t say things. You may notice these inconsistencies arise every couple of posts.

    “Flashing ideas for effect” is your reaction to cited evidence and making a logical argument – this is different to randomly hand waving about Getup. Who?

    I think you’re suffering difficulty prosecuting your argument. Perhaps I should chuck a sock puppet and try to help you but that would be unethical.

  64. Debbie March 30, 2012 at 7:11 am #

    No Luke,
    You, just like much of the current political agenda, make assumptions based on drawing outrageous conclusions from comments of others.
    It is just another poor political tactic.
    It doesn’t bother me much. It just proves that you’re way more interested in sticking to the assumptions and the political process rather than looking at achievable results or even analysing the results as they stand.
    Instead you ruffle up your feathers and go straight into defense mode and shoot the messenger mode.
    Like I said, if you don’t want to engage and just want to attack, that’s fine and dandy.
    It actually helps me to deal with the less intelligent individuals I’m dealing with at the moment.
    Thanks for that.

  65. Robert March 30, 2012 at 8:12 am #

    “this is different to randomly hand waving about Getup.”

    Luke, GetUp are all about pushing an ASSUMED line like it was a considered response: argument based on assumption and advanced by spin. That’s what you’ve been doing with your she-wants-to-shoot-Bambi approach. We can see what Jen and Deb have said, and it’s not what you’re talking about. If you have no connection with GetUp, that’s a huge relief, because they are a nasty, underhand bunch of teenie-bopper authoritarians. Now you just need to develop independence of mind. Start by re-reading those ASSUMPTIONS you’ve just been pushing about Jen’s work. You really think the Bambi-Killer stuff is going to wash?

    A comment can consist of anything at all. Sometimes, when a “serious” paper or study talks about “records” “trends” and “extremes” without a stern effort to define and qualify these terms, all it deserves is a sarcastic slapdown. (Claims to “model” climate are beyond ludicrous.) Most warmist literature, tragically, is in this category. It is blatant foolery in scientific drag.

    So, not every comment needs to be analytical or to present a logical argument – but the comments which pretend to do so, ought to do so. What is the use of citing and linking once you’ve killed your own cred?

  66. Debbie March 30, 2012 at 9:02 am #

    I hope Jen doesn’t mind me posting this, but I can’t resist.
    It’s a very humourous example of what we’re trying to discuss at this post.
    Notice there is nothing wrong with the maths or the source of the figures.
    Both completely ‘robust’ and could be easily ‘peer reviewed’ as correct sourcing of data.
    The US dept of Health and Services would have reliable data.
    So would the FBI.
    I’m sure, because we have much stricter gun laws in Australia that we could be even more alarmed at these findings.
    Chuckle 🙂 🙂
    It is probably worse than we thought Robert?
    So Luke, Marc and Bazza….it is completely outrageous….yet there is nothing at all wrong with the data or the use of the information to create a basic statistical result and prove a point.
    So what’s gone wrong here do you think?
    Do you need my help to point it out for you or can you figure it out for yourself?
    Would you like me to link literally thousands of similar findings about numerous other government sponsored reports?
    Don’t forget….there’s nothing wrong with the figures

    Doctors

    (A) The number of physicians in the U.S. is

    700,000.

    (B) Accidental deaths caused by Physicians

    per year are

    120,000.

    (C) Accidental deaths per physician

    0.171

    Statistics courtesy of U.S. Dept of
    Health and Human Services.

    Now think about this:

    Guns

    (A) The number of gun owners in the U.S.

    is

    80,000,000.

    (Yes, that’s 80 million)

    (B) The number of accidental gun deaths

    per year, all age groups,

    1,500.

    (C) The number of accidental deaths

    per gun owner

    is

    .0000188

    Statistics courtesy of FBI

    So, statistically, doctors are approximately

    9,000 times more dangerous than gun owners.

    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    Remember, ‘Guns don’t kill people, doctors do.’

    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    FACT: NOT EVERYONE HAS A GUN,

    BUT

    Almost everyone has at least one doctor.
    This means you are over 9,000 times more likely to be killed by a doctor as by a gun owner!!!

    Please alert your friends

    to this

    alarming threat.

    We must ban doctors

    before this gets completely out of hand!!!!!

  67. Robert March 30, 2012 at 10:01 am #

    Something that causes distortions, and of which I’ve been guilty, is conditioned indignation. The only marine biologist I know personally is the son of a neighbour. The neighbour was a very typical ABC/Fairfax devotee. When I congratulated him on his gifted son’s progress, his response was not about his son getting to know the ropes of what is a strenuous and complex profession (see Walter Starck). It was all about “saving the reef”. For years I thought in this way about “the reef”, though I was never sucked in by other early eco causes, such as the urban elite’s “saving” of the Franklin/Gordon.

    The radicalism of the past has become a dreary orthodoxy which must be challenged. We need to start questioning as soon as the familiar verbal buttons are pushed “eco” “bio” “natural” “system” “sustainable” “organic” etc. Until we accept that human activity involves a measure of entropy, everything is cant. I mean, if you want to see some entropy, check out Earth Hour!

    Environmentalism thrives on easy assumption and the funding that follows it. But environmentalism, as a body of dogma, will do for the environment what communism did for the rights of workers (and the environment). It is no longer a new and challenging philosophy, but a stiff, Byzantine orthodoxy, feebly questioned by the populace but entrenched in all the pivot points of our society.

    I’m not looking to agree with Jennifer Marohasy or with Walter Starck. I want to hear them, and I want them to have sufficient funds so their voices are audible.

  68. bazza March 30, 2012 at 11:08 am #

    Poor Debbie, she has been captured by another loose shot from the US gun lobby infected by a 10 year old urban myth that has gone more feral and eventually hit the bush.you gotte laugh – or cry.

  69. Debbie March 30, 2012 at 11:39 am #

    Poor Bazza,
    he is devoid of a sense of humour and therefore thinks no one else could have one.
    Gun lobby? Urban myth? 10 years to hit the bush?
    Is that you’re considered answer to my question?
    Seriously? ?
    ROFL 🙂 🙂
    You have seriously made my day! Thankyou so very much for that.
    I have 2 things to say to you:
    I rest my case &
    Come in spinner!
    ROFL 🙂 🙂 🙂
    That is SOOOOO funny.

  70. Luke March 30, 2012 at 3:23 pm #

    Debbie – yes and not how good science is done. I think you’ll find they learn about cause, effect and correlation in year one. Devastating rebuttal Debs.

  71. Debbie March 30, 2012 at 4:04 pm #

    Well at least you made an attempt to answer the question.
    ROFL 🙂 🙂
    What did you honestly think of Bazza’s comment?
    I wasn’t intending to lay a trap but I must have laid one inadvertently and he came back with a sneering assumption and a shot at the messenger.
    It was amusing considering this particular discussion.
    The bit you missed was the obvious PURPOSE of the statistical analysis. There was a predetermined hypothesis or assumption behind that analysis. Stupid and simplistic of course, but that was because it was using humour to make a point.
    With the MDBP statistical analysis there is very similar behaviour, however they’re deadly serious and are extremely defensive when people like Jen point that out.
    Then they do what Bazza just did 🙂
    You did it too Luke but admittedly with a little more class. 🙂

  72. Luke March 30, 2012 at 6:14 pm #

    Somehow I think Bazza probably knows a few things about stats. You’ll learn to appreciate his humour too if your read with an open mind.

    I think you’re probably unhappy how policy has chosen to use science. However that does not mean there are not questions of pith and moment to answer, nor are scientists inherently corrupt.

    Many of us are actually trying to improve both economic and environmental outcomes. And we are not indifferent to the way the world works or the way our current society is structured.

  73. bazza March 31, 2012 at 9:47 am #

    Debbie , sorry but your docs and guns example is a trivial and tired old one been flogged for years by the legless without a proper argument to stand on but with a vested interest, in desperate attempts to denigrate evidence-based analysis. The flaws in the example have been well documented if you care to research same. Now I bet when you were a kid you announced you were going to be a comedian when you grew up. They laughed then, but they are not laughing now.

  74. Debbie March 31, 2012 at 12:52 pm #

    Of course they have Bazza!
    ROFL 🙂 🙂 🙂
    Love the added sneering unsubstantiated assumption and the added shot.
    ROFL 🙂 🙂

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