Equal time for halfwits

By August 6, 2019Australian Politics, Science

Yet another Queensland Liberal National Party halfwit, Terry Young, elected to parliament by the Longman electorate in the most recent election, has clearly demonstrated he believes his ignorance is equivalent to others’ knowledge. This he did in his maiden speech in the House of Representatives, part of which is reproduced here:

“As an everyday Australian myself, I can say: we want our children to go to school and be able to hear all points of view presented to them and make up their own minds. The greatest gift human beings have is the gift of free choice. Indoctrination of any type robs our children of this gift. That also has to change. We want our children and grandchildren to hear the theories of evolution and creation, different religions, climate change advocates and climate change sceptics. I can say: what we don’t want for us and our kids is to be brainwashed with extreme left or right ideologies.

When I hear a school principal stand up at school assembly and say: ‘If this government doesn’t do anything about climate change, the world will end in 2030,’ I get angry, because we should not indoctrinate our kids with fearmongering. They need to be taught personal responsibility and what their part is in looking after our planet.”

As an aside, Young of course neglects to name the school principal he supposedly heard stating that the world would end in 2030 if the government did not do anything about climate change. One suspects that it is, like much of what comes out of the mouths of conservatives, equine ordure.

Young is stupid enough to believe that the thousands of climate research scientists and their many thousands of peer-reviewed research papers and the compilation of the results of that research into the several reports by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) are simply an opinion and that someone as ignorant as him can decide not to believe it. This is staggering in its ignorance and for him to conflate this with free choice, is simply mind bogglingly ridiculous.

His call to teach evolution and creationism is a common refrain which comes from the United States, and has largely missed Australia except in mind-numbingly religious schools where children are indoctrinated into a belief system at odds with reality. In all cases in the US, with which I am familiar, the attempt to teach creationism and its watered-down version, intelligent design, has been struck down because evolution has been shown to be based on science, whereas creationism and intelligent design have been shown to be religious beliefs, and teaching that goes against the establishment clause in the US Constitution2.

If science was simply a matter of opinion, then does he think in geography, children should be taught that the earth is flat or spheroidal? Does he think that in science classes children should be taught that the sun revolves around the earth or vice versa? Does he think that in history classes children should be taught that Apollo 11 landed on the moon or that it didn’t? Does he think that in geology classes, children should be taught that the Earth is 4.54 billion years old or 6,000 years old? In economics, should we teach economic reality or that the Coalition are good economic managers and the economy is in good shape.

Free choice is about whether you want white wine or red with dinner, not about what science you like. You do not get to choose which science you believe just because you do not like some of it. I find the quantum theory of matter particularly unsatisfying. Its uncertainty principle which limits the precision with which quantities can be measured, and its wave-particle duality3  simply do not make sense to me (my Ph.D. is in geology). However, that does not mean I would prevent it being taught in schools. The reason I wouldn’t do that, is because I am not an idiot. Neither am I a particle physicist so I am inexpert in such an abstruse field and do not pretend I understand it. I leave that to the professional scientists who do understand it. Like me with quantum theory, Young clearly has no understanding of climate science, but unlike me he has hubris enough to think his opinion matters. If we let ignorant buffoons like Young dictate what is taught in schools, rather than those who actually understand the relevant topics, Australia as a modern nation state is doomed. The planet will not be doomed; it will certainly go on for another several billion years, it’s just that large swathes of the life occupying it may not.


  1. https://australianpolitics.com/2019/07/31/terry-young-lib-longman-maiden-speech.html
  2. https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/establishment_clause
  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_mechanics


  • Mark Dougall says:

    Greg Jericho wrote a good piece in the Guardian this week. Part of what he said was that it would be good to hear both sides of the discussion. That is to give equal, and substantial, prominence to those that feel we are tracking for a rise of 1.5 to 4.5 degrees by 2100 and those who, as the data seems to be confirming, think that it is more like 2.8-5.8 degrees. Both upper limits are catastrophic but even the lower limit of the second, and increasingly likely, scenario, is as well. And yet the Bolt idiot thinks that people who are worried about this, particularly young people, are mentally disturbed. As Greta observed it is fairly obvious where the mental problems lie. And as Greg Jericho beautifully expressed it he has had tinea that has contributed more to intelligent conversations than Andrew Bolt.

    • admin says:

      Yeah, I read the Jericho piece. There is also a piece put out by Spratt and Dunlop which will make you realise how much ordure we are in. It works on a possible scenario, and it is frightening. It is at: https://docs.wixstatic.com/ugd/148cb0_90dc2a2637f348edae45943a88da04d4.pdf
      I have been involved in a couple of compilations of the work of many researchers in geology and such compilations always err on the side of conservatism. Given some recent papers indicating that the feedbacks are starting, the time for conservatism is over.

  • Mark Dougall says:

    Yes thank you for that. Very frightening. And yet today when the Extinction Rebellion protest happened in Brisbane as usual the idiotic media fools concentrated on the fact that a few people couldn’t get to work on time. It seems more and more likely that by the time most of the dolts wake up to what is happening they’ll be drowning and burning. Tragically and hideously most of the innocent and wonderful life on this humanity blighted planet will be gone by then.

  • Russell says:

    Sane views on this thread, from among the nation’s real, concerned thinkers, who are likely wondering why the latest climate predictions. there for anyone to read, haven’t launched us all into the streets. I mean, a mass of like-minded who are justifiedly furious that Australia is idiotically slow to react. Tens of thousands at sites of Parliaments everywhere; and getting into all media, vociferous that these smug laggards of the right wing governing parties WAKE UP, SEE PLAIN FACTS, ENACT LAWS ON THEIR ABSOLUTE PRIORITY MATTER. If a very irate public re climate, isn’t felt hard by the (adj) bone-headed +adjective+nounplural. the atmosphere will go on frying the planet. I’m cowardly – no expletives in those gaps, so fill in as you “like”. Thanks. The example of “Terence the menace” (to intelligent policy) shows that out in the Hardly Normal dendrite-deficient void of voterland exists a different mass – folk (to my horror) oblivious of the freight train – at least 4 degrees and 600ppm – rocketing towards where they are glued to Lie channel on Pox. SO many are just damned lazy: unwilling to search for the evidence. Sorry folks, mental effort and a little doggedness required to realise climate change research offers serious warnings. Too hard for the “Nashnel Pardy” and following. Do I hear “crackpot doomsayer!”. Unless our Terry-er types revise their thinking, they could be gone thru climate disaster relatively…well…young. (Applause here).

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