the daily conference with the wee folk down bottom of the garden

That line is a comment on the thread following Nicholas Gruen’s post on Club Troppo today. The post is a poker-faced transcript of Alan Jones combining the time warp with climate know-nothingism – his usual position. That position was exposed with total accuracy on Media Watch recently. You will find the video has gone global. I have it embedded in the comments on We’ve just had a cool May. See also John Quiggin  in The innumeracy of the right on a parallel phenomenon.

Today I find myself cheering on Cane toads of the air thrive on stupidity by Elizabeth Farrelly.

… They are the cane toads of contemporary culture: ugly, ubiquitous, toxic to most other life forms and adept at using their peculiar behaviour to force change in ours.

It’s not so much that they’re rude, lowbrow or just plain wrong, although these, too, are often the case. The most destructive effect of the shock-jockariat is the poisoning of the logic-well itself; followed by the incremental death of the argument tree that is root and branch of intelligent civilisation.

Take Alan Jones. Though it pains me to say it, he is forcing me to change my mind. Not on climate change, or cycling, or the right to public protest, all of which he opposes, but on censorship.

Foucault argued that unreason died with the enlightenment. But the shock-jock phenomenon proves repeatedly that if you make an argument sufficiently idiotic, the sheer scale of stupidity makes it hard to defeat. It was highlighted for me this week by a letter that argued, as Jones does, that anything so small as 0.04 per cent – the proportion of CO2 in the atmosphere – couldn’t possibly matter. "Please let me know," concluded my correspondent, "how anyone could believe that CO2 is responsible for climate change?"

It’s like arguing that a virus is too small to give you AIDS. Or that a lethal dose of heroin, at about 0.0007 per cent of your body weight, couldn’t possibly kill…

Not to mention, as Media Watch showed, that Alan was crapping on in a most mathematically challenged manner.

…Professor Karoly’s estimate – almost half a percent – is twenty-five thousand times bigger than the figure with all those zeroes that Alan kept repeating.

But according to 2GB, it doesn’t matter. Last time we visited this issue, I pointed out that Alan had made a similar mistake with his maths…

Alan Jones: Nature produces nearly all of the carbon dioxide in the air. Human beings produce point 001 percent of the carbon dioxide in the air…

ABC, Media Watch, 21st March, 2011

That figure was nonsense too.,,,

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