Tim Blair


New Criterion



Saturday, January 11, 2003
THAT'S ENOUGH! Now fifty percent of your votes give the thumbs down to our two naughty scholars, Reynolds and Ryan.

The poll is being archived before ABCwatch readers disgrace themselves further. Next time I'll employ an expert in deliberative polling.

Here is a better idea. It's from Denmark.

The Danes last made an impact on the world when they hopped into their rowing boats to rape and disembowel, not necessarily in that order, any civilised European living within 50 kilometres of a waterway with access to the sea.

They're at it again.

A few words have already been written about the amazing shonks of the Danish Committee on Scientific Dishonesty (UVVU to their friends).

People have been criticising their attack on Bjorn Lomborg, the statistician whose book The Sceptical Environmentalist tested many of the items of the green faith against the facts, most of the from official sources, and left the faith rather threadbare. And Lomborg with heaps of enemies.

The critics of UVVu miss the point. This Danish Committee on Scientific Dishonesty exists to create scientific dishonesty, and they have succeeded tremendously. If you can interpret their argument any other way, please drop Uncle a line.

The situation is this. Various people disagree with Lomborg and want to discredit him. They are also heavying his publisher, Cambridge University Press (just like Lyndall Ryan leaned on the publisher of a researcher who didn't follow her line).

So what does UVVU do? They treat several of Lomborg's critics as the case for the prosecution. They ignore Lomborg's detailed replies.

Then they do a double back-flip with twist, pretending that the Lomborg analysis is the kind of natural-science, laboratory research to which the idea of scientific fraud can be applied.

Their Working Party couldn't agree on that point. "Some members do not regard the book as science, but rather as a debate-generating book". Sounds almost as bad as economics.

This is a problem. If your work is a work of natural science, you mustn't ignore crap results and you don't go public before peer review, for example.

On the other hand, if it's a work of social science, for want of a better term, you do something like the opposite.

Never mind! Row on, Vikings!

Let's pretend it's some kind of natural science, and invent a kind of dishonesty to fit. Unintentional dishonesty, would you believe?

Don't take Uncle's word; here are UVVU's own words.

"Objectively speaking, the publication of the work... is deemed to fall within the concept of scientific dishonesty. In view of the subjective requirements made in terms of intent or gross negligence, however, Bjorn Lomborg's publication cannot fall within the bounds of this characterization. Conversely, the publication is deemed clearly contrary to the standards of good scientific practice."

I bet it doesn't make any better sense in Danish. I've got blood coming out of my ears.

With minds like that, pulling finger-nails out must be a breeze.

Now, it's taken a while to arrive, but here's the point.

Let's get the boys and girls of UVVU (their Working Party on Lomborg comprised a lawyer, a literary type, a doctor, a political "scientist" and an agronomist) to work on the problems of Reynolds and Ryan.

They will no doubt decide that our two historians were'nt doing research at all. Just controversy-provocation.

Their Working Party won't all agree, but they'll still decide that, in the circumstances:

the monstrous myths of Reynolds and Ryan should not be subject to peer revew, belatedly, and the idea of sources of evidence is just irrelevant.

The Danish solution. Dispute resolution by crucifixion of logic.

Wednesday, January 08, 2003
HISTORIANS CAN BITE, but digest very slowly.

Writing in a forum whose space is reserved for "professional" historians (that is, that bastard Windschuttle would never get a gig) Cathie Clement is posting furiously and informatively on the Windschuttle expose of some of our naughtier historians.

It seems that professionalism in history means, firstly, your critics are a conspiracy and their views not a legitimate part of public debate:

It appears that Quadrant, which is said to be one of Prime Minister John Howard's favourite magazines, is being used to lay the groundwork for a purge of "leftist" and/or "orthodox" influences on historical writing and interpretation in Australia

A "purge"? If only!

The sins of illegitimate historian Windschuttle include the following, according to Cathie: He

magnified errors of "fact" Note the ironic rustication of "fact". The maths is shaky too. "Magnified" should be "multiplied", and Windschuttle could only do that because the errors were there.

used journals, newspapers and complaints to government boards and ministers to attack museum professionals who dare to present information about massacres in their displays

And so he should, if the "massacre" was demonstrably not a "fact" and the "information" was in fact misinformation.

pretended that written records can prove what happened in now controversial historical events

I guess historians don't need evidence if they're professional, especially when the events are controversial. Most of us think that's just the time we do need evidence.

dismissed massacre stories as 'bush gossip' and 'tales my granny told me'

as indeed many are. Mostly invented by whites, it seems, like the Bell's Falls Gorge fantasy that's been misinforming visitors to out national Museum for a couple of years.

made unfounded allegations against indigenous storytellers to diminish their credibility

I guess if you're a "victim" your hearsay just has to be history.

Any wonder our young people are staying away from history in droves?

Since this particular thread started last December, no professional historian has written of her dismay that a professional colleague used footnoting deceptively to disguise her fabrication of "facts" in favour of an extreme interpretation of our past.

It's all just history!

THIS TIME, it really is all about oil.

YOU ONLY NEED DETENTION in places people actually want to go.

HERE'S ONE for Auntie's listen-list.

There are now some 43 million women in America over 50. With the help of goddess archetypes that every woman can cultivate within herself - older women can revolutionize the way they live and the way they are seen by society. Bolen suggests specific goddess archetypes that embody compassion, fierceness, humour and wisdom in older women.

Perhaps she's already heard it.

Tuesday, January 07, 2003

The most valuable part of Auntie's television news service is the weather forecast. When the 7.30 report touches on climatic matters it seems the demons of a more primitive universe come rushing out to plague us.

According to the 7.30 Report's presenter's script, the little matter of Sheik al Hilaly's traffic ticket is being blown out of all proportion by the climate of anti-Muslim feeling post September 11th.

How does an alleged traffic violation become headline news around the country? When it involves the arrest of a leading Muslim cleric in a volatile climate of anti-Muslim sentiment.

The evidence for this trend assessment? A couple of ranters on talk-back radio.

It's like going back to the days of weather fore-casting by looking out the window - in the wrong direction.

The view from Unlce's window seems reasonably clear. The Sheik allowed some object to project from his left hand window, in a way that properly attracted police attention. On enquiry, the police found that the Sheik's car was unregistered and uninsured.

At some point during the roadside interview some of the Sheik's supporters arrived, and, in the words of an independent eye-witness, began to "bash" the police.

RANESH RAMTOHUL, EYEWITNESS: A young guy just pushed two police to the ground.

He tried to bash the two of them but two more police came to the rescue.

The police did a good job - it was cool.

They tried to explain to those people calmly.

Back-up arrived, arrests were made, and the rest is politics or performance. One of the police officers was a Muslim of Arabic background, by the way.

So, what is Auntie saying? That groups, and their leaders, to whom it accords "victim" status should be above the law? That it has other evidence of improper behaviour on the part of the police, and is not going to tell us about it?

God knows, the NSW police force has plenty of charges to answer.

But it is unthinkable that we should allow the principle to apply that Muslim leaders in areas populated by their followers are above the law.

That is to turn multi-cultural tolerance into communalism. As in the suburb of Paris where the local Islamist enforcers advised a female cabinet Minister that she should not enter.

Your call, Auntie. Do let us know.

In the meantime, here is Uncle's substitute script for a balanced ABC news report:

How does an alleged traffic violation become headline news around the country? When it involves the arrest of a leading Muslim cleric in a volatile climate created by a sentiment among some Muslims that their leadership is untouchable, leading to attacks on police.

Update: I am obliged to reader Harry for the address of this background on the strange processes by which Hilaly got to stay in this country.

Update: Former ALP Immigration Minister, Chris Hurford, has written in the Adelaide Review, as reported in the Australian (don't click unless you want to pay) that it wasn't him what did it. That leaves the lovely Gerry Hand of the Socialist Left, supported by Paul Keating, right at the centre of it all.

Sunday, January 05, 2003

Here's an item left over from Henny Herald's 2002 in-tray.

The role of Saudi money in fostering Islamic fundamentalism in Australia. You may recall Henny drew attention to the funding of mosques, but ignored schools.

Saudi-funded schools have a long track-record in liberal countries. They have a simple agenda.

Here's the US experience (via MCJ)

The Islamic Saudi Academy (ISA) in Northern Virginia forthrightly states that even though it exists on U.S. soil, it is "subject to the government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia."

Students at ISA are not required to study U.S. history or government. They do, however, receive instruction in Wahhabism

Outsiders are not permitted to observe Wahhabism lessons or any other classes at ISA. But early this year, students at the academy told two Washington Post reporters some of the things they learn at school. Among other things, students discover the intricacies of Judgment Day.

One event on that formidable day will be that Muslims will fight and kill Jews. The cowardly Jews will seek refuge behind trees. Much like the trees in the forest scene from the Wizard of Oz, these trees will become animated and aggressive. They will call out to the righteous: "Oh Muslim, Oh servant of God, here is a Jew hiding behind me. Come here and kill him."

Students also said they are taught "it is better to shun and even to dislike Christians, Jews and Shiite Muslims." Furthermore, students learn, it is okay to hurt or steal from a non-Muslim

The Saudi-supplied textbooks at this and other Wahhabi schools state that Muslims are obliged to consider all infidels the enemy. Certain enemies are not even acknowledged in geography class. Wahhabi schools in America are notorious for doctoring maps of the Middle East, and hanging them in classrooms - with Israel blotted out.


For gawd's sake don't tell her, but I've just found Auntie's new year resolutions.

They were written on sections of toilet paper and hidden under her pillow.

Don't laugh! Uncle used to use the same economical writing surface until I discovered Blogger, which is free and you don't have to walk the streets at night putting your work into other people's letter-boxes.

Here's a selection. I may give you the rest later on. When I've stopped laughing.

1. I must cut down on advertising. Even the Friends are starting to notice. I must say I find this constant self-promotion vulgar, but the dears just love pretending they're smarter than John Singleton. Can't understand most of it.

2. Why does any doco worth watching end up on SBS? The wogs are getting too much credit. Fact is they just can't afford the popular stuff.

3. Must find out what a presenter really is.

4. Perhaps we could save a few salaries if Phil had to prepare his own programmes. But he did say I'm looking more beautiful than ever!

5. Too much TV sport is never enough! That Thorpe is such a spunk. I mean "gentleman".

6. Find out why that little shit Howard is managing to look good even on the 7.30 report.

7. Tell government they must give us more money.

8. Tell John Anderson to tell government they must give us more money.

9. Make a take-over bid for Telstra. Offer 8 cents a day.

Uncle looked in vain for signs of tear-stains on the absorbent paper. Then put it to its intended use.


I admit it, the chaps (I use the term in its unisex sense) at Biased BBC have a harder job than Uncle. They appear to have no targets as soft and squishy as the ABC commentariat. Instead they have to deal with the harder questions of balance and bias in the treatment of news and current affairs.

Where could Uncle go for a laugh without the Gastropod, Pastor Lane and Max-weird McCutcheon? The pickings at news and current affairs are much leaner.

The down-side is the realization that our compulsory contributions are going to a crowd of such debased professional standards that they are comfortable in their corruption.

To attack the Beeb you have to be on horseback. To mix it with Auntie's low-life requires the perspective of the street-sweeper's broom.

Slatts has found another site of BBC watchers, BBCbias. Their focus is systematic promotion of pro-European policies by BBC senior management, for which former-Director Birt is proud to accept responsibility.

And cop this! The BBC had a commentator critical of Blair Labor, and not from the left. Frederick Forsyth.

Can you imagine Auntie making such a concession to balance?

Forsyth supports the monarchy, opposes the political integration of the UK into Europe and understands what George Bush is on about.

And he had to actually argue his case, in a weekly "essay". No interviewees to manipulate, no stroke sessions with your preselected gang of ideological clones, no minders to feed you the lines. And he only had about 3 minutes.

Anyway, they sacked him, claiming the audience was cooling. Then Radio 4 Today producer Rod Liddle dropped them in it:

'Above me in the BBC, where there is this plethora of besuited people wandering around making decisions and going to meetings, they hated him. He was reprieved at one point because a Daily Telegraph article made it clear the Queen Mother had written to the BBC saying how much she loved him.'When she died, Liddle added, 'that was the end of Freddie'

I presume Forsyth's left-wing counterpoint, Will Self (the one who writes about genitals for a living) will now get the sack too.

Those force-fed the BBC have another aggravation we Antipodeans are spared; the licence fee, a hypothecated tax that makes it hard for even governments to exercise some fiscal restraint on the broadcaster. It also reminds you every year that you're paying for it.

And it's not 8 cents a day!

So what do you do if you're a refugee from the Soviet "psychiatric" prisons for dissenters, like Vladimir Bukovsky? You refuse to pay, of course.

State-sponsored opinion-forming is always worth fighting.