When The Facts Change: Mark Latham and Robert Manne are Stuck
FORMER Labor leader, Mark Latham, is clearly not an empiricist, though he claims to be and he claims that another leading Australian advocate for anthropogenic global warming, Robert Manne, is also an empiricist and always quick to change his mind should the facts change.
Indeed the opening comments in his long opinion piece, published in today’s Financial Review, suggests that it’s all about evidence and that the evidence is on their side. But as the piece progresses Mr Latham shows that he has no concept of evidence, but that the average Australian just might. The piece is essentially an appeal by Mr Latham to a belief in experts while lamenting that ordinary Australians no longer seem to believe in global warming. Mr Latham writes:
“At face value, society’s small-talk about the weather is frivolous. But in the debate about global warming, it is a highly significant habit. Everyone is an expert on the weather, so why shouldn’t they have a strong opinion on climate, regardless of what the professional researchers say? This is a recurring problem for climate-change believers and lobbyists: how to separate, in the public’s mind, short-term events from long-term trends. Most people are inherently empirical, relying on the things they see around them was a way of gauging the future; the practicality of Aspirational Australia.
“Weather events are commonly extrapolated into discussions about climate change, even though this is akin to using daily sharemarket bulletins as a way of comprehending Kondratiev economics (50-year patterns in the business cycle). Five years ago, at the beginning of the debate, Australia’s drought conditions were seen as synonymous with global warming. It was a simple equation: dryness equals heat. Now, with record rainfall and flooding along the east coast, this notion has lost credibility. Wetness equals coolness.”
Yep. We have climate cycles in Australia and when it’s wetter, it’s cooler.
Conditions have changed, many so-called experts proven wrong, but many of the arrogant and ignorant appear incapable of an honest reassessment of the evidence.