On ‘expertise’, ‘experts’ and ‘science’

By June 3, 2020Other

This essay hovers around the notions of ‘expertise’ and ‘experts’, concepts used in ‘science’ that have been much to the fore in the last thirty years or so, and especially in the last few months, when competing cries of expertness and science have been uttered about COVID-19 and what to do about it. The words have Latin origins and come to us through Old French. But the core of ‘expertise is the notion of something having been tested by experience, an ‘expert’ likewise being someone who has had experience, and is skilful. In the 19thcentury an intensified sense of skilful came into the legal system, where an expert was defined as someone who had special acquired knowledge on a subject, and whose opinion on that subject was therefore to be taken seriously. The rest of us would have to stick to facts. That legal sense has broadened into common usage, so we would now call someone an expert who really knows what they are talking about, because of their training, experience and standing in the area of the subject in question. ‘Science’ comes from Latin too, and its core is ‘knowledge’, from the verb ‘scire‘, to know.

I jump back about thirty years to a week I spent at the intellectual headquarters of the accounting firm Arthur Andersen, then in existence and with a workforce of some 85,000 in 84 countries, in St Charles (‘Saint Chuck’) not far out of Chicago. There we were subjected to all sorts of tests to show us just what sort of people we were. If memory serves, I was reasonably well rounded. The goal was to be ‘a tall broad’, someone who was across a number of fields, and expert in them as well. The general problem, according to AA, was that the higher education system was turning out more and more very tall but very flat graduates, who really only knew their own molecule. I had encountered such people before in academia, those who were still extracting the last drop of nutrient, so to speak, from their PhD thesis all those years ago.

As the years have passed I have become even more wedded to the notion that the best graduate is an excellent generalist, yet able to do his or her own experimental work (or its equivalent in non-laboratory-based disciplines). Such people do not generally win Nobel Prizes, but then only a tiny handful of scientists even get close to that gong, whereas excellent generalists can aid many other people to improve their own work because of their wide reading, their capacity to think critically and their interest in what other people are doing. One or two such people were most valuable to me in my productive research years, and I tried to do the same thing for some of my juniors. You never know how successful you have been.

But what is real expertise in an area like COVID-19? We know little about the virus; there is no vaccine; there has been and may still be another gigantic public health catastrophe; governments are faced with a great rock and an extremely tough hard place. As time has gone on, the critics of government action, both here and overseas, are becoming more numerous and vociferous. But what standing do the critics have? Some are statisticians, epidemiologists, even public policy wonks. What would they know, a virologist might well ask. A hospital administrator would have other concerns altogether.  At such times the role of government is to get its priorities sorted out quickly, and stick to its strategy. As far as I can see, our Government has done that well, though we have been aided, as I wrote a little time ago, by Australia’s being an island and a long way from anywhere.

Everyone claims to be guided by experts, and by ‘the science’. I now take you to Brazil, and a passionate ‘Open Letter’ written by an expert, Marcos Eberlin (a leading guy in the mass spectrometry field, with a reaction named after him) and signed by thirty or so other scientists. Eberlin’s beef is the denunciation of hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) by some scientists, in the name of science. I’ve posted one comment on HCQ, and I don’t know who is right. But Eberlin makes some more general points with which I am in hearty agreement. What follows is a cut-and-paste of that part of the letter. Perhaps there is a Brazilian style in such matters. I found it refreshing to read, and pass these extracts on.

During this pandemic, the term “science” has been used “ad nauseam”, that is, has been repeated to exhaustion: “Science, science, science”, “I’m pro-science”, “For from the science, through the science and to the science I guide my decisions and acts” and “I am, therefore, fully right to do so”. It is clear that the intention here is to lead all of us to the idea of ??decisions based on something unquestionable and infallible, as scientific as law, as the law of gravity

But what kind of “science” is that to which they are appealing? And who, in the name of this “science”, would be allowed to speak? Science (I know that there are controversies, as scientists even debate on its meaning) is “the dispassionate search for the truth about the Universe and life”. But ironically, we seek truths that we don’t even know what those truths would be like, or where they would be found. For this reason, sometimes, ironically, even when scientists find a truth that is indeed true, yet they doubt that they have found it. We literally zigzag in the dark, searching for solutions to our problems. Therefore, we sometimes say that: “eating eggs is bad, it increases cholesterol”; and sometimes: “eggs are good, eat at ease”…

Nobody, absolutely nobody is allowed to speak for science or declare that he is “been guided” by science! In times of pandemic, this impossibility is even greater, as we face an unknown enemy. Data is still being collected and researches are being performed and published by scientists divided by their worldviews, and by their political and party preferences…

Whoever said he acted in the name of science, dishonestly usurped science prestige. For what type of “science” is this, unanimous and consensual, that no one has ever heard of? Could someone give me its address so I can confirm its consent? Its phone, email and WhatsApp?…

As for hydroxychloroquine (HCQ), the inevitable scientific clash between these is clear when renowned scientists from around the world and in Brazil – such as virologist Paolo Zanotto (with 7,400 scientific citations) and doctors Didier Raoult (with 148,000 citations), Philip M. Carlucci and Vladimir Zelenko – defend its use based on studies and articles, whereas other scientists, also renowned and based on the same or other studies and articles, condemn it. Numerous countries such as the USA, Spain, France, Italy, India, Israel, Russia, Costa Rica and Senegal use the drug (HCQ) to fight covid-19, whereas other countries refrain from using HCQ as one of the strategies to contain the pandemic, betting on other controversial tactics. 

Who then speaks here in the name of “science”? Which group has a monopoly on reason and its exclusive authorization to be the spokesperson of “science”? Where is such authorization found?…

Outraged, every day I hear mayors and governors saying at the top of their lungs that they “have followed science”. Presidents of councils and some of their advisers, and of academies and deans in their offices write letters on behalf of their entire community, as if they reflect everyone’s consensual position. Nothing could be more false. 

Have they followed science? Not at all! They have followed the science wing which they like, and the scientists who they chose to place around them. They ignore the other wing of science, since there are also hundreds of scientists and articles that oppose their positions and measures.

Eberlin has published a thousand scientific papers, and is no mug. I wanted to avoid saying, until the end, that what he says here applies no less to the climate change issue than to COVID-19, but indeed Eberlin says so himself:

Some defend with data and papers the central role of men in global warming, others defend, with the same data and [other? DA] papers, that human activity is irrelevant. 

I don’t usually come across anything much in the science and research field from Brazil, so for those as under-informed as me, Brazil is defined by some as an ‘emerging power’ or a ‘potential super-power’, and has a population exceeding two hundred million. Its record in science is impressive, and it has a $2 billion ‘science without borders’ program that has been sending bright Brazilian students to Australian universities, and elsewhere, of course.

Join the discussion 54 Comments

  • Karabar says:

    Time an time again politicians, journalists, and activists refer to “the science” as though it were a deity, or some sacrosanct entity.
    These people generally have no idea, no concept, of what science is.
    Richard Feynman defined it quite precisely when he said “Science is the belief in the ignorance of the ‘experts’.”

    • spangled drongo says:

      Another true statement about scientists:

      Experts usually don’t know nearly as much as they think they do. They often get it wrong thanks to their inherently irrational brains that – through overconfidence, bubbles of like-minded thinkers, or just wanting to believe their vision of the world can be true – mislead us and misinterpret information.

  • Bryan Roberts says:

    Or, to quote the definition I first heard maybe fifty years ago: an x is an unknown quantity, and a spurt is a drip under pressure.

    • John McDougall says:

      I love that definition. I first came upon it in the Courier Mail while I was in primary school (in the early 50s). I am sure it was not new then, but it has stuck in my memory as a succinct definition: and I have been an “expert” in the mining industry.

  • spangled drongo says:

    Good stuff Don.

    Yes, science first requires an open mind to solve any difficult problem and when the answer is not forthcoming it’s not very scientific to go around shooting the messengers of what you consider to be bad science.

    Even if these messengers are telling us we may possibly never get an answer or a solution.

  • I’m always a little suspicious of purportedly serious papers that overuse capital letters and exclamation marks (such as Dr. Eberlin’s “Open Letter”). As you’ve generously said, Don, his is a “passionate” letter. In it, he writes:

    “Groups of “science experts” or famous YouTube scientists, many of them still “beginners” in science, some of them with a minimal or no experience in fighting pandemics, are selected by the establishment and the media to give “scientific aura” for the lockdown and the condemnation of hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) as an ineffective drug; worse, as a deadly poison.”

    That’s an inaccurate statement. Whatever science wannabes may or may not have said about HCQ on self-promotional venues is irrelevant. Such views have certainly not made any news I’ve read or heard. Nor have I heard anyone give this medication a blanket condemnation or describe it as “ineffective” or as a “deadly poison.” With respect, Dr. Eberlin’s comment is absurd.

    What I’ve consistently heard and read is that HCQ has had a long history as an anti-malarial drug, and is a successful treatment for lupus. An early, statistically insignificant trial of HCQ’s use as a treatment for COVID-19 showed mixed results. Other studies have shown no benefit and have also shown an increased problem with arrhythmia in patients who already have heart disease. One agency moved beyond this trial to continue studying HCQ, but with results so unpromising and the necessity to find an effective COVID-19 medication so pressing that the agency turned its resources to potentially more auspicious compounds.

    Given the pressures to produce a vaccine within a desperately short timeline, the search for a more efficacious medication makes sense. Time’s a-wastin’: A longitudinal, double-blind study of HCQ may have to wait another day.

    As for Donald Trump’s use of the drug … It seems his story may not have been … um … accurate. Pressed to confirm Trump was taking the drug, his personal physician wrote a letter stating everything but that – as well as stating that taking such a drug without cause would not be a very smart thing to do. If indeed he ever took HCQ, Trump now says he’s stopped.

    As for the President of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, his reputation appears to be somewhat to the right of Genghis Khan. The last I heard, he said he was taking it HCQ. Is he? No idea. As astonishing as it may be, politicians sometimes lie.

  • Stu says:

    A key part of the quote is “ Have they followed science? Not at all! They have followed the science wing which they like, and the scientists who they chose to place around them. They ignore the other wing of science, since there are also hundreds of scientists and articles that oppose their positions and measures.”

    Therefore all the climate sceptics here, if they accept this premise, must admit that the alternate view might be equally valid and (current) climate change is human caused and real, but I see no sign of that. But rather the same addiction to their facts as the global warming army do. At least the latter have facts on their side (LOL).

    So we come back to judgements about the quality of the science and the scientists.

    I am not a scientist and particularly have no expertise in climate related science which I suspect (from the posts) is true of most if not all the participants here. Don is included also, depending how literally you interpret the science part of pol sci. But I concede he does have experience evaluating science proposals. On the other hand many (all perhaps) here have sufficient intelligence and experience to comprehend what is going on and make reasonable judgements about the arguments and if honest will admit to the biases influencing their position. I do.

    Therefore we will have to disagree and wait for more conclusive evidence or even actual climate to see who wins because we cannot settle the question here. In the meantime I rely on the body of work presented by and accepted by a very large segment of the science establishment. That work consists of many small pieces and also very significant aggregation of that data and hypotheses. And consensus being valid or not, there is a very large body of work supporting the AGW position.

    What I see on the other side is a collection of “research” on individual components but no well articulated summation of the negative case. It is more random, “CO2 follows temperature”, “it was warmer in the LIA”, “sea levels are not rising”, “coral adapts”. And surely you guys can at least admit that there is much less support for your chosen conclusion. I choose to ignore flim flam stuff like the IPA “Climate change: the facts”, written in part by the “literary GIANT Clive James”. I also reject the “not the IPCC” report as mainly rubbish.

    Perhaps you can point me to a more reputable complete tome which counters the IPCC more effectively. I have looked and not found it. I really am open to changing my mind if presented with quality material, can you say the same?

    • Boambee John says:


      “Therefore all the climate sceptics here, if they accept this premise, must admit that the alternate view might be equally valid and (current) climate change is human caused and real, but I see no sign of that.”

      Your memory is either selective or faulty. I have stated clearly on several occasions that I accept that the world has warmed since the Little Ice Age. I have also stated that I accept that there has been some anthropogenic contribution (the UHI effect is a simple example), but I have yet to see evidence that it is significant.

      “and if honest will admit to the biases influencing their position. I do.”

      Perhaps you could point us to where you did this?

      “And surely you guys can at least admit that there is much less support for your chosen conclusion.”

      You have been given examples previously of minority conclusions beating the consensus. That you refuse to even acknowledge that possibility suggests that your mind is not as open as you claim.

    • spangled drongo says:

      “That work consists of many small pieces and also very significant aggregation of that data and hypotheses. And consensus being valid or not, there is a very large body of work supporting the AGW position.”

      When that “aggregation of that data” mostly comes from assumption-based models as the basis for their “hypotheses” you need to invoke that much-respected scientific activity called scepticism, stu.

      And you are forgetting that it is the predictions of CAGW, not AGW that is the “consensus of crisis” of cli-sci.

      Although your scientists cannot disprove that ACO2 could actually be causing cooling as we are still in the bottom quarter of Holocene temperatures in spite of a 1c warming following the coldest extended period of civilisation.

      And it is within the bounds of nat var for the world to be even warmer.

      • Stu says:

        Yeah yeah we have heard all that rubbish before, cheers.

        • Boambee John says:


          Always good to debate with you.

        • spangled drongo says:

          As usual, stu supplies no evidence and calls any evidence to the contrary “rubbish”.

          Still waiting for any measureable evidence from all that “science” of yours.

          That is, if you really want a debate on climate science.

  • Aynsley Kellow says:

    Don, I have an essay on this theme in the issue of Quadrant published last Monday. It is not yet available online, but I emphasise that science is best seen as a process, and that good ‘science for policy’ should meet some standards – at least similar to the Daubert rules established by the US Supreme Court.

    Unfortunately, governments (including our own) have been spooked by some highly alarmist modelling by Professor Ferguson and his Imperial College team that does not meet those standards. Neither it, nor the work by the Doherty Institute, was subjected to peer review, for example.

    There was, of course, urgency, but policymakers relied on modelling epidemiologists to the exclusion of the clinical epidemiologists like John Ioannidis at Stanford who are part of the Evidence Based Medicine movement. He calculated what proved to be a more accurate Infection Rate and Infection Fatality Rate using the best available data from a population that was tested in its totality (The passengers and crew on the Diamond Princess). More than 50 studies using tested populations have verified these initial results that, while infectious, COVID-19 is not very lethal, and its lethality is mostly confined to the elderly who have comorbidities.

    Governments have panicked. Now that the minutes of SAGE have been released in the UK, we find that it at no time recommended Lockdown. That was a political decision made in response to Ferguson’s scary modelling. In terms of expertise, Ferguson’s qualifications are as a theoretical physicist. (Our own Dr Murphy is a urologist).

    Why were modelled results from Ferguson preferred to the actual data manned analyses of Ioannidis and others? Ferguson had been wrong on Foot and Mouth. BSE, Bird Flu and Swine Flu – and badly so. Why was so much faith placed in him this time?

    I think our government has over-reacted – in a needlessly costly manner, and is now trying to save as much of the economy as it can. They have done better than most, but much the same results could have been achieved by controlling the borders and sensible hygiene and social distancing. There was no evidence to support lockdowns – indeed, the WHO last October recommended against such measures.

    The unnecessary costs have been enormous – and these are not just economic. They include lives lost in suicides and medical resources diverted from tests and procedures into the extra 5,000 ventilators that have never been needed.

    As I point out in my essay, Bastiat’s point about the seen and the unseen has been ignored.

    We need to consider competing scientific perspectives and different disciplinary perspectives. Dr Murphy sought input from a range of scholars from G-8 universities, but the perspectives of social scientists and humanities scholars were largely ignored.

  • Doug Hurst says:

    For Stu – the best book I know of is Howard Brady’s Mirrors and Mazes. Howard is a geologist with extensive experience in the Antarctic, a Phd and a thoroughly scientific approach.

    He can be contacted by email on: howrdbrady@ymail.com

    If for some reason that don’t work, get back to me on dhurst5@bigpond.com

    For Don – thanks. The terms science and expert have both taken a battering of late, but to me most criticism of governments (apart from the last week or so with borders) boils down to them not being able to predict the unpredictable and having sensibly erred on the side of caution.

  • Taieri says:

    …his reputation appears to be somewhat to the right of Genghis Khan

    By the standards of his time Genghis Khan was actually quite liberal, vide his religious tolerance and adoption of merit rather than ethnicity as the main criterion for promotion within Mongol Empire’s administrative structure. Add to this equality provisions in the Civil Code and very pragmatic approach to ruling and the picture is far from “…to the right…”

  • Neville says:

    Stu you’ve been shown the data and evidence for years, so please don’t blame us if you can’t understand.
    Just look up Matt Ridley’s blog about the last ten years, or 50 years or 100 or 200+ years and the increase in global health, wealth, life expectancy etc that I’ve linked to for ages.
    And then we have the recent Dr John Christy study testing their claims about so called negative impacts of so called CAGW to check out AGAIN.
    Also the recent CSIRO study + satellite data that found that the greening of the earth is much more extensive than previously imagined.
    You don’t require a science degree ( like biologist Matt Ridley ) or an Atmospheric Physicist background like Dr Christy or Dr Spencer or Dr Lindzen etc to understand the data/evidence about the real world that they provide for free.

  • Neville says:

    Willis Eschenbach looks at deaths in the USA and finds that as usual we’ve been fed a load of BS about the data over the years.
    He doesn’t refer to his own personal opinion and just goes with the facts from the best govt + FBI sources etc.
    Andrew Bolt also covered these facts during the Rodney King death and riots as well.
    It certainly is a very risky business if you are white and arrested in the US and black on white deaths are many times higher as well. Just check the data.


    • Stu says:

      Nev, Funny how these threads diverge isn’t it? But you do finally appear to have revealed yourself as holding a racist viewpoint, not to mention a very right wing opinion regarding events in USA. Go back and look at all the numbers in those references and adjust them by population ratios. Of course those articles do not do that, you need to look elsewhere. You really should look beyond Sky for information and opinion.

      Here is a piece regarding one simple example in New York. “ At the heart of the Floyd case are statistics showing that the city conducted an astounding 4.4 million stops between January 2004 and June 2012. Of these, only 6 percent resulted in arrests and 6 percent resulted in summonses. In other words, 88 percent of the 4.4 million stops resulted in no further action — meaning a vast majority of those stopped were doing nothing wrong. More than half of all people stopped were frisked, yet only 1.5 percent of frisks found weapons. In about 83 percent of cases, the person stopped was black or Hispanic, even though the two groups accounted for just over half the population.” —- https://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/13/opinion/racial-discrimination-in-stop-and-frisk.html. The same is true elsewhere, why else do you think they are so enraged. Sadly the position here in Australia is not much better, maybe worse.

      This story is repeated right across the US particularly in the south where the civil war never ended, in terms of black inclusion. Having often travelled in those parts I have observed racist attitude and behaviour many times and it is sickening. The current unrest has its roots in that ongoing story. And it is a major story on its own to follow the return to discriminatory practises with the watering down of legislation like the Voting rights act by a stacked Supreme Court in recent years designed to preserve the Republican gerrymander.

      The US may be teetering on the brink of fascism/dictatorship and the coming six months are going to be very interesting to watch. You will of course disagree. Meantime look out for developments regarding the units in Washington that wear ill matched “uniforms”, no insignia or name badges etc. There are claims that they are mercenaries employed by a known right wing player with close links to the White House. This may of course be very false conjecture. But, if true, would be very alarming.

      One explanation is that these “soldiers” are from the Federal Prisons and from the Border Force. Even that is a strange proposition in the current situation, giving rise to derision regarding Trump being guarded by Federal prison guards ahead of time. And deploying combat troops (101st Airborne) equipped with bayonets is a very bad threat in the circumstances.

      It promises to be very interesting watching events unfold in the USA over the remainder of the year. Fingers crossed that the POTUS does not resort to a new war somewhere to bolster his position which is currently very fragile. We have enough problems already.

      • Boambee John says:


        I was going to respond in detail to your comment, but then read this.

        “Meantime look out for developments regarding the units in Washington that wear ill matched “uniforms”, no insignia or name badges etc. There are claims that they are mercenaries employed by a known right wing player with close links to the White House. This may of course be very false conjecture. But, if true, would be very alarming.”

        You have previously, without any evidence, accused others here of drawing on a right wing conspiracy site called Qanon. From the quoted sentences, it would appear that you draw on its extreme left wing equivalent. You have now thrown away any (non-scientific) credibility you might ever have had. (You never had any scientific credibility to lose.)

        Though you seem to have an extreme left wing opinion regarding events in US, you seem unaware that New York, which you used as an example, has both a Democratic Party governor and mayor. Why have they not acted on the issues you raise? Or do you regard them as right wingers?

  • Boambee John says:


    Here’s a project for you. It doesn’t require you to be a scientist, just the ability to read and think.

    Look back through the history of major scientific advances, and see how often they were the result of a scientist challenging the orthodox “scientific consensus”.

    Then ask yourself whether you should open your mind up to wider options than you currently accept.

  • spangled drongo says:

    As I posted above:

    “Experts usually don’t know nearly as much as they think they do. They often get it wrong thanks to their inherently irrational brains that – through overconfidence, bubbles of like-minded thinkers, or just wanting to believe their vision of the world can be true – mislead us and misinterpret information.”

    Here is some amazing supporting evidence of exactly that:

    NASA scientist Dr. Kate Marvel links ‘climate change’ to ‘white supremacy’ – ‘We’ll never head off climate catastrophe without dismantling white supremacy’ – Calls for climate & racial ‘justice’


  • spangled drongo says:

    The fake science of Green energy delusions.

    True cost; 9 times the price of gas:

    “With global warming the alleged science is so complicated that nobody, including the global warming scientists, can really understand what is going on. Green electricity, mostly solar and wind, is different. It’s relatively clear cut. No supercomputers spewing out terabytes of confusing data are needed.

    Green electricity is quite useless. The latest trend in green electricity is wind or solar with battery backup. This green electricity costs about nine times more than the fossil fuel electricity it displaces. The true cost is hidden from the public by hidden subsidies and fake accounting.”


    • Stu says:

      SD wrote “The fake science of Green energy delusions.
      True cost; 9 times the price of gas:”

      Sorry, but that is an outrageous claim, even for you. Please back it up with a decent article and/or figures to prove your claim. You will no doubt claim hurt feelings, but such a claim if true should be easy for you to back up, so don’t duck the opportunity.

      • spangled drongo says:

        How about you show us your detailed [as this is] evidence to the contrary.

        This bloke wrote a book “Dumb Energy”. Maybe you should read it.

        There have been many studies that try to get to the basis of this and it’s very hard to quantify the true cost of renewables but it must dawn on even the very stupid that when you need 100% back-up of reliable power to support our renewables that adds a huge increase for a start. But there are a multitude of hidden costs that someone has to pay for, borne out by the fact that so much of the western world manufacturing has packed its bags and followed F/Fs to Asia.

        Now, over to you, stueyluv.

  • spangled drongo says:

    Scientific methods often have their problems but then compare them with Climate Science methods and….:


  • spangled drongo says:

    And where would we be without “expert” advice on 28c “heatwaves” in UK:


  • spangled drongo says:

    The very basics of science:

    “To be truly curious we must confess our ignorance. The person who knows everything would have no reason to question, no need to experiment.”


  • Bryan Roberts says:

    All this is just fluffery. The real issue is that two policemen, of different races, but from the same Department, killed a defenceless person of a different race, one a woman, and one a man. In each case, the judicial response was similar, but the public outcome was vastly different. The hypocrisy is simply astounding. Can anyone seriously pretend that anti-white racism does not exist in the US?

  • Aert Driessen says:

    An ‘interesting piece’ piece Don on a subject close to my heart. That said, if I commit myself to a response, that would chew up too much time, which I don’t have a lot of at the moment. So, my easy and quick way out is to say that I agree wholeheartedly with what Aynsley Kellow said here, and add that I look forward to reading his article in Quadrant. I could not help but notice that in your piece on ‘Science’ the word ‘evidence’ was not mentioned, not even once. When I left Sydney Uni in 1960, having spent most of my time in the Edgeworth David Building, evidence was paramount. It reigned supreme, it trumped everything else. But all that was basically pre-computer age, apart from Harry Messel’s mainframe that occupied the ground level of the Physics Dept (it had a name which I cannot recall) and lit up the whole place with all its valves. Models and their projections seem to have taken over and the two costliest mistakes they have made are the virus and climate change predictions. Keep writing. “Siliac”, I just thought of it.

  • Neville says:

    Dr Roy Spencer checks out the latest co2 emissions versus the latest co2 levels for May 2020.
    We know that the silly climate know nothings will happily ignore the latest data, but one day they’ll have to wake up and follow the science.
    As Dr Hansen warned us in 2015, Paris COP 21 “was just BS and fraud”.


  • Don Aitkin says:

    A commenter ran into a #403 veto (I get these occasionally myself) and I have tried to posted that comment myself — and got a #403! I’ll see what I can do.

  • Don Aitkin says:

    Another attempt, after some cutting and pasting, didn’t work either. Hmm.

  • Boambee John says:

    Have any of the multitudinous “experts” who have been telling us for months that we must “socially distance”, and not gather together in groups yet condemned the demonstrations yesterday for putting thousands at risk of contracting COVID 19? Or does their “expertise” allow them to distinguish between the risk caused by 20 people spread out in a coffee shop and 20 thousand packed together in the street? No singing in church allowed, but chanting slogans seems to be acceptable.

    • spangled drongo says:

      Yes BJ, it all depends wot’s coming out yer mouth.

      Like that poor bloke that was attacked because he had the temerity to hold up a sign which said; “all lives matter”

  • Chris Warren says:

    So we are going to deny science now? Marcos Eberlin’s piece was more rhetoric than providing a substantial case.

    Why cross-fertilise this into climate science?

    Where ever Eberlin says “science” think “evidence, analysis and brain-power”.

    Naturally denialists need to attempt excluding science and proxy arguments, in the case of climate science, such as the above are perhaps a “last gasp”.

    The science is strong and clear we are only working on the details now.


    • spangled drongo says:

      That’s the way, blith.

      With enough consensual assumptions, your “science” is only a formality, hey?

    • Boambee John says:


      “The science is strong and clear we are only working on the details now.”

      Great. No need for more grants for basic “climate” research?

      “Why cross-fertilise this into climate science?”

      Because climate “science” also relies on the opinions of so-called “experts” backed up by unreliable computer models?

    • Boambee John says:


      “So we are going to deny science now?”

      From karabar above

      “Time an time again politicians, journalists, and activists refer to “the science” as though it were a deity, or some sacrosanct entity.
      These people generally have no idea, no concept, of what science is.
      Richard Feynman defined it quite precisely when he said “Science is the belief in the ignorance of the ‘experts’.”

      Perhaps, Chris, you should look at the multitude of climate “scientists” before whom you bow, and ask how many of them have the intellect of Feynman. And then take a critical look at their output. In their own hearts, they are “experts”. How ignorant are they (and those who trust them unreservedly)?

  • spangled drongo says:

    The “experts'” climate models finally fall off a cliff:


  • spangled drongo says:

    This can’t be Nat Var. It MUST be due to the Wuflu shutdown:


  • Neville says:

    It looks like the UK is heading for a total disaster if they try and change to EVs by 2050. What a fraud from the clueless fools and con merchants, who don’t understand very simple maths and science.

    “Country’s battery electric car strategy is ‘doomed to failure”


    Electric Vehicles
    Andrew Forster
    01 June 2020

    The Government’s push to electrify road transport is based on naivety, the undue influence of the Committee on Climate Change, and a lack of engineering expertise within Government, an academic has said.

    Professor Michael Kelly, the former chief scientific adviser to the Department for Communities and Local Government, issues the warning in a paper published by the Global Warming Policy Foundation.

    He warns the Government’s ambitions for EVs and electric heating in buildings will end in damaging failure.

    “When the penny drops and the progress towards all-electric UK is halted, we will be reminded of Ozymandias [two poems that describe how even the greatest men and the empires they forge are impermanent, their legacies fated to decay into oblivion – Ed].

    “The rest of the world can look at Britain and choose whether to laugh or weep.”

    On battery electric vehicles, he says: “Consider Dinorwig power station, the biggest hydropower energy storage plant in the UK. If all UK cars were battery powered, the nine gigawatts of energy stored behind the dam would be capable of recharging about 60,000 of them, or about 0.25 per cent of the UK fleet.”

    If all vehicles have to be electric, “something of the order of 70 per cent of Britain’s entire existing electricity supply capacity will be needed”.

    “When we get coded messages from the Climate Change Committee, implying that we will have to rethink the extent to which we are going to be able to travel in future, it is the implausibility of meeting that vast gulf in energy sources that is motivating them to question our lifestyles.”

    Kelly points out that the Government’s net zero greenhouse gas target will also require the heating of buildings to be electrified using heat pumps. This will place huge additional demands on electricity supply, particularly in the winter.

    Charging battery cars at night, when electricity demand from other sources is low, is only a “partial solution” to the problems, he says. “The current day-night variation in electricity demand is of itself too small to handle the extra load.

    “Another suggestion is that we can charge cars during the day, when solar power is high. But in the absence of storage, this would mean charging them from mid-morning to mid-afternoon on sunny days. This is implausible too, and would be unreliable [even] if we could make it happen.”

    Turning to local electricity supply issues, he says “we will be adding electric vehicle chargers and heat pumps to almost every home”.

    “A fast EV charger for a car draws 7kW, perhaps for six hours, and a heat pump needs 3kW, potentially for much of the day. But the cabling and substations in most suburbs were sized and installed before these technologies were even thought of. So while there is sufficient headroom for electrification of a few households, the whole distribution system will need to be up- graded if demand grows.

    “This work will be extraordinarily expensive, but without it there will either be regular ‘brownouts’, or drivers will have to be told where and when they can charge their batteries.”

    Kelly dismisses battery storage as a major part of the solution. “The £45m battery installed by Elon Musk outside Adelaide, South Australia, can power that city for 30 minutes. If you wanted to be able to cover a week’s power outage after a major storm, it would cost around 1,300 times as much using batteries as it would with diesel generators. The idea is ludicrous.”

    Turning to the raw materials needed to produce batteries, Kelly claims: “If we replace all of the UK vehicle fleet with EVs, and assuming they use the most resource-frugal next-generation batteries, we would need the following materials:

    207,900 tonnes of cobalt – just under twice the annual global production;
    264,600 tonnes of lithium carbonate – three-quarters of the world’s production;
    at least 7,200 tonnes of neodymium and dysprosium – nearly the entire world production of neodymium; and
    2,362,500 tonnes of copper – more than half the world’s production in 2018.

    “Put simply, we lack the ability to provide the infrastructure required to deliver electric cars and electric heating on the scale required by 2050.”

    Kelly asks why we are trying to do so anyway and pins the blame on the Committee on Climate Change.

    “An unelected body, the Committee displays many of the worst features of the administrative state. It has been grossly negligent in turning a blind eye to the complexity of electric vehicles and the related issue of the enforced switch to electricity for domestic heating.

    “Committee members don’t have to face the consequences of their policies from voters; politicians, who do have to face the voters, hide behind the Committee in order to duck accountability.

    “It is this failure of the UK’s political machinery that I believe is to blame for the situation in which we find ourselves.

    “We have set out to decarbonise the economy without anyone having thought through all the engineering issues, let alone put a cost on the exercise.”

    Kelly says that, with Covid-19, “it is clear that we will not be able to afford the costs of the net zero transition for decades, if ever”.

    “To attempt to plough on would be madness; indeed, it would directly sabotage the UK economy, and without any measurable effect in terms of actually averting any climate change.”

    “Surely now is the time for a root and branch cost-benefit review by independent engineers who have no skin in the game of electrifying the UK economy?”

  • spangled drongo says:

    If only the Fossil Fuel Industry would take the climate alarmist authorities to court and make a proper scientific case of it, prosecuted with vigour:


  • spangled drongo says:

    The question of expertise, experts and science spreads ever further:

    “For people to genuinely believe that America is a dangerous place for blacks, or that Australia is a dangerous place for Aborigines, shows how far the termites have spread and how well they have dined.”


  • Stu says:

    In case you are wondering, which I doubt, the reason I have ceased commenting is based on two things.

    Firstly the ability of people here to overlook the massive complexity of life on earth, particularly in the oceans, and how little we understand the Interrelationships between all life forms, and their denial of our likely effect on climate through our actions, is just astounding. We actually know so little, but that is a warning, not a get out of jail card.

    Secondly the more recent appearance of outright racist opinions here leaves me disgusted. I confess to having a bias, as I have non anglo family and grand children. No point in arguing against such narrow arrogance, it is impenetrable.

    So fare well, no doubt I will follow the posts and mutter my tut-tuts to myself, but I realise there is no point in further discourse in this narrow right wing echo chamber.

    But I remain confident some of you (some will never see the light) will eventually come to the sad conclusion that humans have totally stuffed the environment.

    I also believe it is not too late for us to improve the outcome.

    • Boambee John says:


      “Firstly the ability of people here to overlook the massive complexity of life on earth, particularly in the oceans, and how little we understand the Interrelationships between all life forms, and their denial of our likely effect on climate through our actions, is just astounding.”

      Those words could well be applied to the climate “scientists” and their alarmist hangers on. Reflect on that.

      I doubt (indeed I know personally) that you are not the only commenter here with a mixed race family. To which comments do you refer?

    • spangled drongo says:

      “the massive complexity of life on earth, particularly in the oceans, and how little we understand the Interrelationships between all life forms”

      You mean you haven’t noticed how we have been telling you that for ever?

      And how your favourite “science” simply does not understand it?

      And can only deal with it by constructing assumption-based models?

      But you think you know the way while armed with this foolish ignorance.

      And like all the current lefty logic specialists, stu, you now resort to racism as the supreme answer.

      Desperate stuff!

      Be rational!

      But do give living in the real world [which you obviously are yet to do] a chance to improve your education.

  • spangled drongo says:

    Here is a view of the magnificent real world to challenge the “experts”:

    “In his 2006 book, An Inconvenient Truth, Al Gore asserted there would be no more snows on Mt. Kilimanjaro by the year 2016. To the contrary, Mt. Kilimanjaro, located just 205 miles from the equator in Tanzania, continues to host huge, year-round glaciers and snowfall on a regular basis. In fact, today’s eight-day weather forecast for Mt. Kilimanjaro, provided by weather.com via Google, shows a forecast of snow every day for the foreseeable future.

    “On page 45 of his 2006 book, Gore writes, “Another friend, Dr. Lonnie Thompson of Ohio State University, is the world’s leading expert on mountain glaciers. Here he is at the top of Kilimanjaro in 2000 with the pitiful last remnants of one of its great glaciers. He predicts that within 10 years there will be no more ‘Snows of Kilimanjaro.’”


Leave a Reply