Friday, 2 September 2011

Media, democracy and government funding.

Michael Ashley
Researcher or Fool?
Michael Ashley is a Professor of Astrophysics at University of New South Wales. Michael Ashley receives funding from the Australian Research Council and other Australian government bodies for his research in astrophysics.

It is a pity that Michael didn't use some of his research funding to research some of the claims that he makes in a blog post called  Event horizon: the black hole in The Australian’s climate change coverage.

“Read the full article at The Conversation

Early in his piece on the editorial policy of the Australian, he writes:
Other editorials (he links one) have made it clear that The Australian believes it is treating its readers as mature adults who should be able to make up their own minds based on arguments from “both sides” of the debate.
The problem is that on one side of the debate you have 97% of the world’s published climate scientists and the world’s major scientific organisations, and on the other side you have fools.
First Ashley quotes Skeptical Science which quotes the 97% figure from the flawed study -Doran, P. T., and M. Kendall Zimmerman (2009), Examining the Scientific Consensus on Climate Change, Eos Trans. AGU, 90(3). Skeptical Science is hardly a reliable site. See eg HERE and HERE. For Skeptical Science's funding see

John Cook will receive lots of money for climate propaganda

As for the "Scientific Consensus paper, see Climate Quotes -
In this post at The Hockey Schtick, it is pointed out that the 97% statistic is based on only 79 climatologists, and that those participating were self-selected. There are two concerns here. The first is sample size. While climate science isn't a massive field, 79 participants is fairly small. To claim definitely that 97% believe this or that you would need to poll significantly more people. The second concern is the fact that the scientists were self-selected by an online survey. This may not have led to a representative sample.
Hardly an accurate source, was it Michael?  The second link to "the world's major scientific organisations" also links to the Skeptical Science site. Skeptical Science is maintained by John Cook who writes:
Michael Ashley ...... (he's the guy who suggested to me that Skeptical Science should do multiple levels of rebuttals, fundamentally and irrevocably changing the website).
 The link to the "97%" at Skeptical Science includes:

 A survey of all peer-reviewed abstracts on the subject 'global climate change' published between 1993 and 2003 shows that not a single paper rejected the consensus position that global warming is man caused. 75% of the papers agreed with the consensus position while 25% made no comment either way, focusing on methods of paleoclimate analysis (Oreskes 2004).

This is a false claim. One only has to google "Peer reviewed papers supporting skepticism of AGW" to get many references including the Global Warming Policy Foundation's 900+. 900+, Michael.

The last piece of Michael's diatribe says: "...on the other side you have fools." This  link for fools goes  to, wait for it, Skeptical Science. Michael, you get paid for research and you use only one source. Is that how a researcher researches a subject? To use only one source, and a source suggested by yourself to do rebuttals? Is that the action of a diligent researcher? Or is that perhaps that action of a fool?

As stated, the link for "...on the other side you have fools," goes to a page at Skeptical Science titled "Skeptics." The page includes many scientists, some ex NASA etc. Nowhere is there any evidence that they are fools. The foolish statement that these people are fools is unsubstantiated.


  1. Yes I remember being directed to that piece of intellectual grafitti by some warmistt Troll.

    When I read .. From UNSW. I had to read no further.
    The home of such enlightened scientific thinking as comes from Deltoid, & Pittdown Man.

    Most notable for distortion of Science in support of funding for their Common Purpose agenda ( whether they realise it or not).

  2. I sometimes wonder if emanations such as this referred to , from the UNSW, aren't evidence of Australia's very own event horizon, between rational science & what lies beyond...


All serious comments published after moderation.
Comments should be polite, and respect all views.
No bad language. Spam never makes it!