Posturing and Piffle at the Academy of Science

It’s a mystery how and why the Australian Academy of Science made its plea to the media tech giants to silence its critics. The Academy wants them to cancel Twitter and Facebook accounts or add “Disinformation” and “Code Violation” labels to those objecting to the Academy’s fatwa against fossil fuels.

Did nobody at the Academy expect a backlash against this assault, which one of its Fellows condemned for using “pure political brute force to prevent one side of the argument from putting its case”? It’s a debate, moreover, that affects the well-being of every Australian. I’d guess two reasons for the Academy’s own-goal: group-think of the super-glue variety and the Academy’s having gone woke, as I’ll document below. Despite the Academy’s manifest pieties, my opinion is that it seeks through its climate agenda to

♦ Lower our living standards through more expensive energy. European households’ bills, for example, are forecast to rise by $A3 trillion at their peak early next year

♦ Destabilise our electricity grid with forced introduction of unreliable, intermittent solar and wind-power

♦ Destroy half a century’s progress in fuel, mineral and farm exports through net-zero goals for which no practical technology exists – only fantasies of green hydrogen, mega-batteries, carbon capture and storage, and plucking CO2 from the atmosphere.[1]

As Academy President Chennupati Jagadish admitted last July, “There is also no realistic path to decarbonisation for Australia and the world without advances in research and mechanisms to stimulate technology development at scale.” The Academy justifies its mooted national disruption and impoverishment (along current British and German lines) on forecasts of disastrous warming by 2100. That warming, in turn, is premised on climate models. The Academy’s position is that “Projections of human-induced climate change over decades to centuries are possible because human activities have predictable effects on the future atmospheric composition, and in turn a predictable effect on climate.” However, the Academy has never explained how its confidence squares with the IPCC’s Third Report, (my emphasis):

The climate system is a coupled non-linear chaotic system, and therefore the long-term prediction of future climate states is not possible. Rather the focus must be upon the prediction of the probability distribution of the system’s future possible states by the generation of ensembles of model solutions.

In plainer words, all the IPCC forecasts of climate horrors in 2050 and 2100 – recycled uncritically by the Academy — are nothing more than averages derived from scores of models’ wildly varying outputs.The latest CMIP6 suite of models has over-done the past 40 years warming by around half a degree centigrade. Former chief scientist Alan Finkel agreed in 2018 that nothing Australia does on emissions will make any perceptible difference to global temperatures.[2] Meanwhile our 2050 “net zero” implementation will jeopardise up to 650,000 jobs, according to an IPA study last year.

It’s all the more extraordinary that the Academy has ordered staff and Fellows on key committees to take courses against group-think and unconscious bias. Like other green/Left bullies, the Academy is fearful of being cancelled by fanatics who are even further left on the climate axis. This was illustrated in a bizarre episode last year when the Academy capitulated to a Twitter mob, begging forgiveness for its transgression. The details were exposed, surprisingly, in a Guardian piece. Congrats, Guardianistas! Here’s how this evolved:

The Academy’s Strategic Plan 2018-22 sets out that the Academy wants to be a “deeply influential” voice and “trusted, independent advisor on scientific matters”. It is to achieve this by, among other things, “actively engaging with key government stakeholders on science and policy matters.” Traditionally, the Academy has given a polite welcome to incoming ministers of whichever persuasion. Academy President Andrew Holmes’ 2015 welcome to incoming conservative ministers Ian Macfarlane and Karen Andrews provides the template:

The Academy welcomes changes to the Australian Government’s Ministry in December that saw the portfolio of the [Liberals’] Minister for Industry, the Hon Ian Macfarlane MP, extended to include science, and the appointment of a Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Industry and Science, the [Liberal-Nationals’] Hon Karen Andrews MP… The Academy looks forward to maintaining a productive relationship with both Minister Macfarlane and Parliamentary Secretary Andrews.

The Academy also went out of its way to praise Ms Andrews as a qualified engineer and exemplar of women in the STEM disciplines (science, technology, engineering and maths).

Fast forward to March 2021 and the Academy tweets out a polite welcome to the Liberals’ Christian Porter upon his move into the role of science minister. The wording includes thanking outgoing Ms Andrews “for her leadership and long-term commitment to science and technology over the past two years” and reads, “We look forward to working with incoming minister for industry, science and technology, Christian Porter.”

You might be wondering how any of this could be remotely controversial. But check out the Guardian’s screamer, Academy apologises for welcoming Christian Porter to science portfolio after social media backlash. The article reads,

On Tuesday, the academy apologised for a “poorly worded tweet about working with the incoming minister [Christian Porter]”, apparently in reaction to a social media backlash for the original tweet. “We are deeply aware of the challenging circumstances created by the reshuffle. We will always work to advance science in Australia for all.”

The apology made no sense and even implied that Porter was against scientific advancement. The Guardian professed to unravel the apology’s veiled agenda, which I paraphrase:

♦ In 2021, Porter, 50, was accused as a 17-year-old schoolboy of having raped a fellow student Ms X, 16, in 1988. Ms X suicided in 2020 after leaving a rambling accusatory note. Her own parents warned that her mental health was such that the note was unreliable. The ABC witch-hunted Porter over Ms X’s accusation. Porter was never charged let alone convicted but PM Morrison reshuffled him from Attorney-General to Science because of the political complexities.[3]

♦ The reshuffle also involved the promotion of Liberal-National Amanda Stoker to assistant minister for industrial relations and women. The Guardian cited her anti-woke sentiments against abortion, the transgender agenda, female victimhood and excessive labour regulations.

To sum up, the Academy capitulated to a pile-on by Twitter fanatics and joined the green/Left mob in disparaging, because of an uncorroborated accusation, a duly-installed conservative science minister. The Academy – which received $3.3 million from the federal government in that year,[4] agreed with the mob that it was “poor wording” to suggest the Academy would work cooperatively with the minister in the interests of Australian science.

The Academy’s kid sister is Future Earth Australia, co-located in the Academy’s Dome (pictured atop this page) and described as the Academy’s “program”. Future Earth peddles loopier green/Leftism than the Academy itself. Just last September 6, Future Earth ran a conference about its 76-page pamphlet drafted with help from two-score of authors. They included the Teal candidates’ financial backer Simon Holmes a Court, pink-cheeked fauxboriginal huckster Bruce Pascoe[5], Victoria’s “Climate Action” Minister Lily d’Ambrosio, the BoM’s Blair Trewin,  Tuvalu’s weepy former  spokesman Ian Fry, and a plethora of green/Left climate bed-wetters.

The pamphlet was called “A National Strategy for Just [Climate] Adaptation” and in clouds of academicspeak went cataloguing every conceivable (potential) Australian victim of (potential) global warming, both human and ‘more-than-human’.[6] One full-page photo shows Black Lives Matter marchers in Sydney (thankfully not torching the CBD). Another pic is an inspirational full-pager of high-school dropout Greta Thunberg.

The document gets downright sinister with its advocacy for “de-growth”, a concept harking back to the parent Science Academy’s Fenner Conference in 2014 for a no-growth economy.[7] Future Earth (p45) damns “neoliberal ideologies” that have “undermined democracy and fuelled environmental and social injustice”. It says these economic and financial systems “must change [which] requires courageous leadership…It will mean shifting from growth thinking to degrowth models.” Well, Britain and Germany, which both disavowed fossil fuels, will discover this winter the fatal result of “de-growth” for many vulnerable and soon-to-be shivering citizens.

Another manifestation of Academy woke-ness is genuflecting to Aboriginality. Welcomes and Acknowledgements are now mandatory in Academy-land.[8] The Academy naively imagines these ceremonies are “thousands of years” old, when any non-Academician googling for two minutes can discover the welcomes were invented in Perth by Ernie Dingo and Dr Richard Whalley in 1976 to imitate Pacific-islander practices. (“Acknowledgements” are even more recent, possibly in the wake of the Mabo land decision of 1992).

I’ve also discovered the first “Acknowledgement” in reverse, with Aboriginal scholar Bradley Moggridge saying in response to the Academy’s Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) of 2019: “We had infiltrated the system (The Dome). I wish to Acknowledge the RAP Committee current and past as well as the Executive/Council/Fellow Sponsors.” Moggridge overlooked those emerging Academy staffers and councillors.

The Academy has also recorded proudly a “smoking ceremony” at its Acton Dome address, these ceremonies purporting to “cleanse the energy” of participants, which is an Academy euphemism for chasing away evil spirits. Even were this rite authentic,[9] which I greatly doubt,[10] it has no more business at an Academy of Science these days than the Lord’s Prayer or telling fortunes with crystal balls. The Academy here is following the pagan policy of the CSIRO from 2010 of running “smoking ceremonies” on occasions like conferences and laboratory openings.

A normal brain reels upon considering the Academy’s Aboriginality schtick. For example, in a video posted on the Academy site and branded with the Academy logo, (plus the slogan, “Always was, always will be”), NTIS compere Rae Johnston, identifying as a Wiradjuri woman, agrees with two Aboriginal PhD candidates that Western science should be subordinated to alleged Aboriginal science (at 20mins). Hunter-gatherer groups, like all foraging communities, were necessarily expert at reading the landscape. But as a veteran linguist of the Pilbara region, Dr Carl Georg von Brandenstein, told me in the 1960s, they didn’t count beyond about seven because any more was just “a big mob”.[11] All tribes were myth, magic and sorcery-oriented and opposed to innovations scientific or otherwise, which is how Aborigines maintained a “continuous culture” for 60,000 years. A ‘scientific’ culture? No way.

The Academy video goes on to record the Aboriginal-identifying trio disparaging white ‘colonialists’. One scholar says,

Just because we didn’t invent the wheel doesn’t mean it [Aboriginal science] doesn’t have the same sort of standing and equal importance as Western science does and modern science.

She complains of whites expecting Aborigines to thank them for housing and iPhones:

You don’t realise that we traded things in culture, we would have gotten to that stage anyway without colonialism.

The last remark comes at the at 22-minute mark. Now that’s food for thought.

As things stand, even some of the Academy’s most lauded Fellows can get things arse-about. Case in point, the Academy’s acclaimed Barrier Reef expert, Distinguished Professor Terry Hughes.

Since Adam was a boy, Hughes has been warning that global warming is dooming the Reef, meaning we’ve got to ban fossil fuels.[12] Sadly for this these, coral extent is currently at record levels, so maybe global warming is actually good for the Reef. Certainly the Reef has shrugged off those five (or is it six?) supposedly deadly bleaching events that have been giving Hughes palpitations., e.g.

These [timing] gaps [between bleaches] are way too short for a half decent recovery to take place… These gaps are really important because they are a window of opportunity for the corals to recover. So the so-called disturbances regime of the Reef has shifted hugely due to anthropogenic heating and the reef as a consequence is declining … So there is no time to lose. If we want to save the Reef as a functional coral reef, the world has to sharply reduce greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible.

The Academy starts that Hughes video with a pic and quote of Tinseltown hypocrite Leonardo di Caprio. This climate pretender preaches belt-tightening to the common folk while blackening skies with his private jets’ exhaust and swanning the seas in billionaires’ giant yachts. The Academy doesn’t do irony.

To so say that Reef alarmist Terry Hughes trails clouds of scientific glory is an understatement. His awards include the Centenary Medal of Australia, the international Darwin Medal, and “an Einstein Professorship from the Chinese Academy of Sciences.” In 2018, Hughes was awarded the Sir John Maddox Prize “for standing up for science” and the Climate Change Award from the Prince Albert II Foundation in Monaco. In 2020, he got a Frontiers award from the Spanish BBVA Foundation for ecology and conservation biology. The BBVA prize pays the tidy sum of 400,000 euros ($A590,000), which Hughes shared with two others(133,000 euros each). I was curious how much cash Prince Albert of Monaco showers on his awardees and emailed his foundation with a polite query. No response.

The Academy’s other bestie, Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, subsequent to his senior roles with Greenpeace International and WWF, has run the same story for many a year of the Reef’s climate doom. He also scored a windfall from the Monaco prince, in 2014 in the “Climate Change” bracket.

I’m curious at the Academy’s lack of interest, let alone support, concerning James Cook University’s ex-Professor Peter Ridd. His university fired him for, among other things, correctly calling b/s on reef-doom studies. Ridd incurred million-dollar costs suing the university for wrongful dismissal, without much luck. For Ridd, no Maddox Prize “for standing up for science” and no accolades from the Academy yet. But I’m sure the Academy is busy revising all its Reef-doom material to reflect the Reef’s record-breaking health, especially as much of that Academy material is for classroom use.

The Academy is going all-out to promote “diversity” in its operations, which in practice means positive discrimination for women[13], other non-heterosexual “genders”, Aborigines, ethnic minorities, age groups, geographical distributions and disciplines. The Academy has now turned its attention to “intersectionality — which looks at how a person’s social and political identities may combine to create unique situations of privilege or discrimination”. That’s quite a catch-all, and Academy members are expected to shake their tambourines and literally “Sign the Pledge” along the lines of temperance warriors and Alcoholics Anonymous:

♦ I believe in gender equity and diversity as an ethical principle…

♦ I pledge to ensure that all forums in which I have operational input, take gender diversity into account and strive towards equity of voice.

♦ I pledge that when invited to speak at an event, I will inquire about the composition of the panelists/speakers, and how the organisers are working towards achieving gender diversity…

♦ I will state my commitment to this pledge at forums at which I speak

♦ I will reserve the right to withdraw should gender diversity not be appropriately considered.

As proof of their pledge-taking, the ex-president John Shine and chief executive Anna-Maria Arabia (above) and the 20-odd Academy Council members have each posted their pic holding up his/her/their sign (with Academy logo), “I’ve signed the panel pledge.” The Academy doesn’t specify how many genders are involved, nor whether any LGBTQIA+ scientists count as separate genders.

Like Ambulance Victoria – which spent $760,000 for diversity officials while 33 clients died from slow 000-call responses[14] – the Academy is spending big on diversity. The Academy has hired a diversity director (going rate about $170,000) and is also advertising for a “Diversity and Inclusion Program Officer”($96,000, with 17% super and other perks). The ad refers to “a small team” so there might be more.

I did check on Academy staff “genders” via the latest four annual reports, with the following curious result:

2018: No breakdown by sex.

2019: 53 male, 25 female. No employees were gender-ambivalent.

2020: 11 male, 51 female. Three ambivalent (“chose not to specify a gender”).

2021: 9 male, 41 female, 12 ambivalent.

Clearly, since 2019 the Academy has become a matriarchy after the massacre or other disposal of male staff in 2020. A strong cohort of gender-shy types (20% of staff last year) has either been hired or “come out” from the original male and female ranks. My modelling of their fast growth suggests that within a few years no-one at the Academy will be either male or female. Going Woke has consequences.

Tony Thomas’ essay collection “Foot Soldier in the Culture Wars” ($29.95) is available from publisher ConnorCourtA new book, Anthem of the Unwoke —Yep! the other lot’s gone bonkers, is in production

[1] The Academy“To achieve net zero, the [2021 Academy] report says Australia will need to rapidly remove greenhouse gas emissions from a range of sectors including electricity generation and distribution; electrify the transport sector, industry and buildings; increase energy efficiency across the board; and reduce non-energy related GHG emissions from all sectors including industrial processes and agriculture.”

[2] Finkel then expostulated that Australia should none-the-less join the global crusade against emissions.

[3] The ABC’s vendetta had similarities to the 2018 Democrat “rape” witch-hunt against Justice Brett Kavanaugh during his Supreme Court confirmation hearings

[4] The Academy got $1.9m in grants and $1.4m for Jobkeeper in 2020-21, amounting to 20% of its revenue.

[5] Pascoe, wrongly described by Future Earth as “a Yuin, Bunurong and Tasmanian man”, opened Future Earth’s preliminary conference last year with his Keynote speech. Academy Fellow Professor Jennie Brand-Miller, whose expertise is in the diabetes-linked glycemic index, has recommended Pascoe’s nonsensical Dark Emu as a book that “will change forever how you think about Australia and its traditional owners. Pascoe argues forcefully that Indigenous Australians were thriving in an environment … with villages of thousands of people and huts up to 15 meters in diameter. The description of a ‘fairy-like’ burying-ground by the explorer Thomas Mitchell brought me to tears.”

[6] “Often “othered” by prevailing colonial and normative lenses, these groups include, but are not limited to, people of colour, distinct cultural or linguistic groups, newly arrived migrants and refugees, low-income citizens, rural and remote communities, people experiencing homelessness, children and elderly Peoples, people with a pre- existing health condition or a disability, and gendered roles and experiences among them…. Some systems of oppression and marginalisation include neoliberal capitalism, ongoing colonialism, and patriarchy.”

[7] ‘Addicted to Growth?: How to move to a Steady State Economy in Australia.

[8] The Academy: “By actively giving an acknowledgment you are acknowledging that the land always will be that of the Traditional Custodians.”

[9] The Academy’s version reads, “Crossing into another group’s Country required a request for permission to enter. When permission was granted the hosting group would welcome the visitors, offering them safe passage and protection of their spiritual being during the journey. While visitors were provided with a safe passage, they also had to respect the protocols and rules of the land owner group while on their Country.” This is ridiculous sanitation, taken from Reconciliation Australia, of the anthropological evidence. The realities included exchanging women for sex, exchange of armpit sweat, ritual spearing of any visitor suspected of sorcery, penis-holding ceremonies and from time to time, wholesale black-on-black massacres of the neighbouring group.

[10] A decade ago I noticed in Washington DC’s National Museum of the American Indian, a display of a “smoking ceremony” which our local Aboriginal industry might have borrowed.

[11] Carl and I collaborated on his book, Taruru – Aboriginal Songs of the Pilbara. Rigby, Perth 1974.

[12] Hoegh-Guldberg chaired the writers of the Academy’s report last year, “The risks to Australia of a 3degC warmer world.” The report begged the question of whether 3degC warming is actually our fate circa 2100. The satellites run by NASA and with their data processed by the University of Huntsville, Alabama, currently show no warming of Australia for the past ten years and no global warming for 7 years and 10 months. The Academy did not even acknowledge receipt of scientists’ critiques of this report, such as Geoff Sherrington’s analysis here.

[13] Its case for affirmative action for women in STEM is persuasive

[14] The Australian, 12/9/22, paywalled.

via Climate Scepticism

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September 14, 2022 at 04:01PM

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