Ignore sceptical thought at your peril

Associate Professor Janet Stephenson says a few thoughtful things on Newsroom. Here’s one.

When it comes to re-starting New Zealand’s economy, we can’t afford to have a mind-set of ‘we’ll do whatever it takes’. That would just lock us back into those train tracks that head to a future in which everyone loses.

A bit wishy-washy, I thought, when it ought to speak plainly. With a few minor tweaks it could bring out some common sense, something like:

When it comes to understanding the problems we face, especially the really expensive problems, we can’t afford to have a mind-set of ‘he said it so it must be true.’ That would just lock us into a superstitious, error-ridden train of thought heading to a future in which everyone loses.

Instead, let’s each of us follow up, research, ask questions, reflect on whatever we don’t understand.

Let’s follow only after careful thought.

Basic stuff, really.

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8 Thoughts on “Ignore sceptical thought at your peril

  1. Nick on 28/04/2020 at 12:45 pm said:

    Well, the existential threat facing human civilisation as we know it remains manmade climate change.

    You can refuse to believe that, but only on the basis you refuse to accept the science.

    Or try to understand what you are told, over and over again.

    • Andy on 28/04/2020 at 1:21 pm said:

      Nick, we don’t listen to people that tell us to “f*** off”

      So please go away and die, there’s a good chap. No one cares about you, your sad pathetic life or your opinions.

    • Richard Treadgold on 28/04/2020 at 1:53 pm said:

      I was about to be polite, but seeing Andy’s reply I have to agree with him. Not only are you profanely abusive, you refuse to answer my scientific questions and then have the gall to accuse me of ignoring the science.

      If you’ve ever looked at the AR5, you’ll know that thermal expansion provides the largest contribution to sea level rise. Then you’ll know, I’m sure, that the amount of rise given is due solely to the sun, because there’s no way a few parts per million of CO2 (the human fraction) could be responsible for that much. But to read their description you’d never realise the sun had anything to do with it.

      You may agree with them. Explain how we’re responsible for endangering the earth through sea level rise. Naturally, we’re not, which means there’s no climate emergency. Then you can go.

    • Simon on 29/04/2020 at 8:01 am said:

      Heat is the cause of thermal expansion. Heat is a function of energy in less energy out.

    • Richard Treadgold on 29/04/2020 at 9:40 am said:


      So ponderously pedantic of you. If you agree the sun has nothing to do with it, then say so. but If you think we have everything to do with it, explain, please, explain.

    • Mack on 29/04/2020 at 7:21 pm said:

      “Heat is a function of energy in, less energy out”

      I presume what you mean by “in”.. as “into” an ocean or atmospheric system ? … and “out” as out “into” (don’t get confused) space.?
      So, wrt the oceans ? or the global earth system ? …. please quantify what these energy values are…. or are you just (like Nick) blabbing through a hole in your head.
      PS if you can’t provide any numbers at least try and explain to me exactly what you’re talking about.

    • Rick on 01/05/2020 at 10:34 am said:

      “Heat is a function of energy in less energy out.”

      Not exactly, Simon. The heat content of a body is:

      Total energy In minus Total energy Out over a specified period of time plus its heat content at the start.

      So it’s actually a function of four variables in fact, not just the two which you mentioned.

  2. Rickoshay on 29/04/2020 at 12:27 am said:

    There is negligible global warming, but there is an alarming increase in propaganda of all descriptions, a marked increase of total bullshit spouted by complete toss pots. If they could be convinced that all the co2 they are releasing though verbal discourse is endangering the environment then they might save us all by shutting down their emissions, just a thought.

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