Category Archives: politics

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The Lesson Our Leaders Never Learn


REVOLUTION AGAIN

Empirical Discussion of Malcolm Roberts


Some of us have heard Senator-Elect Malcolm Roberts using the word ‘Empirical’ on numerous occasions.

Last night a whole lot more got to hear him use the word many times during the ABC show, Q&A.

Just what does the word mean and why is it at odds with much of what most scientists say and believe?

The Oxford Online Dictionary has the following definition.

Impirical

So what Roberts is saying is that you cannot predict anything. If you see something happen and cause an outcome then you can explain it but you cannot use that event to conclude that should the same thing happen again that the outcome will be the same.

So scientists should never predict what MAY happen as a result of certain current conditions.

In Malcolm Roberts’ world anything to do with climate change is unprovable and so should be ignored because it relies on another long word.

extrapolation

In the Malcolm Roberts Universe it seems that any extrapolation is badly unscientific. I won’t insult my readers by quoting examples where we extrapolate outcomes from current data every day. In life or death situations which we simply take for granted.  Tried crossing a busy street between traffic lately?

Malcolm, your repetitive use of the word ‘Empirical’ does not show you to be a knowledgeable scientist.

I note that your degree is in Engineering.  Applied Science. The lesser brother of Theoretical Science.  Yes, you can build stuff, you can play with Meccano with impeccable skill. Yet you have not learnt the skills that are Science. You have not developed a theory from repeated and repeatable experiments. You seem to show little understanding of that essential scientific method.

Every scientific theory relies on extrapolation.

A scientific theory is not something dreamed up at 2am by a group of bored people. It is an explanation garnered from empirical evidence discovered through experimentation, extrapolated within the theory to a predictable outcome then discussed, torn to pieces and accepted or rejected on the evidence and on the logic by others who also know the subject. That is what peer review is all about. Yes, theories do change around the edges but once accepted they are surprisingly robust. Even Newton’s three Laws of Thermodynamics still hold despite the tinkering Einstein provided with his theory of relativity.

I’m sorry, Malcolm, you do not convince anyone with any knowledge of science.

You are just a passing thorn in the side of progress.

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A Tale of Two Malcolms


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The New Senator From Queensland


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Poll Sum; 27th July 2016


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As the name of this series indicates it is a summary of published polls within Australia.

Since the Double Dissolution Election of July 2nd there has been a dearth of polls. Even the final official numbers from the Electoral Commission have not been released. Not that this is a problem or anything new. The official end of the count is always five weeks after the election. The difference this time is that it is a very close result and in a time of instant gratification, there is an impatience. The main new effect of this apparent slowness is a sudden push by some background groups to change to an electronic system. This idea has been taken up by a vocal group of cyber-savvy supporters. This is despite the fear of hacking in almost every other area of cyber-space. The question should be; ‘Who creates the software and who would benefit from being able to play with the electrons and the consequent organised election result?’

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The only company continuing to poll is Essential Vision. Since the election they have released four polls.  Just giving the 2pp numbers is sufficient until a true Poll Sum can be resumed.

5th July –   L-NP 50% ALP 50%

12th July – L-NP 49% ALP 51%

19th July – L-NP 49% ALP 51%

26th July – L-NP 48% ALP 52%

The ‘Mediscare’ is finally sinking in as being based in horrible, grotesque fact and the general public has realised that $50Billion being given to overseas multinationals will not create one job in Australia and will do nothing to promote growth in Australia.

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Interestingly, the National Vote according to the AEC has swung Left again. It was out to around 50.37 to the LINO’s (Liberals In Name Only) when there were 80% of electors counted. It is now almost back where Poll Sum had the numbers three days before the election. That is on 84.19% of electors counted – it will rise to around 90%

Liberal/National Coalition 6,252,988 50.11 -3.38
Australian Labor Party 6,225,927 49.89 +3.38

pollsumgraphic

 

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Malcolm Turnbull was able to fluke an election win on the day yet appears to have continued to lose popularity. How long will he last as leader?

How long will this dysfunctional Government last in a fractured Parliament?

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Spock and the Republicans


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Democracy and the Zamia Palm


(I wrote this in November of 2006.)
(A decade on, with events in Turkey, Thailand, Burma, on the) (African Continent and elsewhere it still seems relevant.)

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Macrozamia riedlei, the Zamia Palm is a pretty, palm-like plant of South Western Australia. It is also quite poisonous and has lead to the death of many imported herd animals. Yet the original inhabitants of the area, both human and animal, all lived comfortably with this plant and were even able to add it to their diet.

Macrozamia riedlei (Zamia Palm)

I am led to wonder about other transplants and importations. Democracy is a wonderful political invention. There is no doubt of this fact. It is also a recent evolution in history. It may even be a short-lived failure. Yet if it were so, it will be remembered as a beautiful failure.

Perhaps we should look as closely at Democracy as we do at our plants. Should it be grown in all soils? Does it need a special fertiliser? Could it be poisonous in some climates?

A quick overview of the origins of Democracy would note that an aborted form occurred in Ancient Greece. That Democracy, in part, grew out of the very bloody French Revolution and was immediately transplanted to North America. That it also grew out of the 13th century Magna Carta in England. This was a slow gestation and it was not until the early years of the 20th century that it finally bore the fruit of electoral equality in Britain and its Empire. Europe also saw a successful flowering of Democracy.

There have been many attempts to transplant and impose Democracy into other parts of the world. Most have failed and the transplant has turned poisonous. Much of Africa is ruled by poisonous mutations of democracy. Other variations can be seen in much of Asia and Arabia. Democracy seems to work for a while, then it degenerates into a dictatorship of the small majority. Genocide and electoral manipulation leads to that small majority entrenching itself. Without the correct soil and nutrients, Democracy rapidly mutates into a poisonous caricature.

My American friends often tell me that they do not live in a democracy. That the USA is a Republic. Looking at the political garden in North America, I tend to agree. Democracy has failed that particular transplant. It now exudes a noxious patronage which is afflicting the whole system.

Our headlines at the moment, without mentioning the word, are about America’s urge to transplant democracy yet again. This time into Iraq and Afghanistan, Iran and North Korea. As political horticulturist I fear for the twisted forms these experiments will take.

Like the Zamia Palm, Democracy can be fatal to those who have not been acclimatised to it from birth.