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The Great and the Good

Darwin was a geologist. Does this mean his opinions on biology should be ignored?

NEWSPAPERS should refrain from publishing the opinions of average Australians, academic Robert Manne has said.

Professor Manne says they should report only the views of a "core" of experts in key debates.

At a book-signing in Sydney last night, he also urged the media to embrace greater contributions from controversial left-wing commentators such as US linguistics professor Noam Chomsky and Beirut-based commentator Robert Fisk.

Professor Manne is facing fierce criticism over his recently published Quarterly Essay, Bad News, in which he alleges that The Australian plays an "overbearing" and "unhealthy" role in national debates by publishing fringe views on controversial topics.

Professor Manne, who described climate change as the most serious threat facing the planet, has said only experts within the "core" of the scientific consensus should be heard.

"I do not believe it makes sense for non-scientists to have views on scientific issues," he told the gathering at Gleebooks, in inner Sydney.

"They should get scientists in the consensual core to debate it, but that would be so boring."

13 Comments

  1. Lynne says:

    Well I’m no climate scientist but since climate has directly impacted upon my past studies as an archaeologist – in this instance post Devensian glaciation (Boreal and Atlantic periods) human diaspora of NW Europe, especially the British Isles, I’d be hard pressed not to have an opinion on climate change. In fact it is the root of my AGW scepticism.

    Manne may well assume that, because I am not a scientist, I am not educated sufficiently to understand that the retreat of the last glaciation at the end of the Pleistocene, and the subsequent northerly advancement of early Holocene grasslands and forests due to global warming, was the trigger for animals and mesolithic people to cross the landbridge linking Britain with the continent. I do, however, consider myself educated sufficiently to understand that Manne is talking out of his vacuole.

  2. Angry Exile says:

    /Hoots with laughter

    Robert Fisk? Is he fucking serious? A man so fiskable he unwittingly gave his name to it?

  3. RAB says:

    Prof Manne is a Political Scientist, surely a contradiction in terms? and an expert in his imagination and self esteem only. He has apparently (I googled the twat) gone from left to right and back again (thank god he’s not a driving instructor!). I do like a man who knows his own mind dont you?

    He is also much excised by the plight of the Abbo’s.

    But if he applied his own criteria of “Only experts” being allowed to comment on matters of general public concern, then he has disqualified 99% of all politicians in the last century or so, who tend to learn on the job, not get a degree in Politics first before they are allowed to express their opinions and beliefs in public.

    “I do not believe it makes sense for non-scientists to have views on scientific issues,” he told the gathering at Gleebooks, in inner Sydney.

    “They should get scientists in the consensual core to debate it, but that would be so boring.”

    It sure fuckin would cobber! And also completely dishonest.

    The man is just another left wing Fascist, but there’s a lot of it about just now.

  4. David Gillies says:

    “Left wing Fascist” is a pleonasm.

  5. RAB says:

    No it isn’t.

    No person I know who considers themselves to be left Wing, would ever consider that they were also fascists. The mere thought would horrify them. Left wing authoritarianism is for the “Good” of the Collective, right wing Authoritarianism is just plain evil. Case closed.

    The fact that the further left or Right you go, just like a Mobius Strip, it joins up at the back and becomes the same thing, never occurs to them.

  6. Sam Duncan says:

    “National debates” without the nation? Interesting concept.

  7. GW says:

    On the flipside, taxpayer money should stop going to subsidize the salaries and grants to arrogant academics.

  8. Bod says:

    Waaait a minuute! Noooow wait a minuute!

    I read it twice, and he’d forgotten to suggest that there should be some kind of accreditation procedure or licensing body to identify the RightThinkers.

  9. Stonyground says:

    Wasn’t Einstein just a guy who worked in a patent office? Anyway the whole point about science, and the scientific method is that it doesn’t matter who you are, if your work stands up to critcal analysis and can’t be disproven by others, then it stands. Manne can’t be much of a scientist if he doesn’t know that. Not being much of a scientist, by his own admission means that he is not qualified to comment.

  10. RickC says:

    Doesn’t the phrase, “get scientists in the consensual core to debate it” give his game away or am I being obtuse? Let’s see, get together the group of scientists who already accept AGW as fact and have them debate what exactly? The speed at which armageddon will happen?

    “G-damn you Mr. Mann, the end arrives next year I tell you!” said Paul Ehrlich, adding, “After all, I’ve been predicting the end times for one reason or another for 40+ years now. The odds have got to be swinging my way soon.”

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  12. Kristpher says:

    I’m wondering if Manne is going to be promoting Anthropogenic Plate Tectonics as well?

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