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ethics

University of Queensland uses legal threat to stop expose of bad research

The University of Queensland has sent an extraordinary letter to a researcher who wrote a paper exposing the bad research in the Cook et al "97% consensus" nonsense paper about climate change.

The researcher is Brandon Shollenberger, whose website is at http://hiizuru.wordpress.com. In their letter UQ not only threaten legal action if Shollenberger publishes research based on the data, they also threaten legal action if he reveals the content of the letter itself to anyone! This is beyond disgraceful. It would be bad enough from a commercial enterprise, but coming from a publicly funded institution whose every output is paid for by the taxpayer, it beggars belief.

UQ, you have received my last ever alumni donation! You have become trash, beneath contempt. I am ashamed to hold degrees awarded by you.

Here is a portion of Brandon's blog post about the UQ intimidation letter:

Noble Cause Corruption; Fakegate and All

When ethics is kicked out of public life, it returns in the wrong place - denying the ethical wrongness of criminality, denying that there can be expected standards of behaviour, even towards one's opponents, indeed, denying the rights of complete innocents, such as their right to privacy or protection from violence.

Fakegate

Fakegate is the name that has adhered to the latest debacle in the global warming hoax. For the brief background: In 2009 and again in 2011, two series of emails were released from the email archives of the University of East Anglia. It has never been discovered how these were obtained, but they bear all the hallmarks of a whistleblower, since they revealed a long and astonishing history of deceit, possible criminality, and dirty tricks by central figures in the "climate change" aka "global warming" movement. Hence the moniker, "Climategate".

Then, in mid-February, it suddenly appeared as if the tables were turned: an astonishing memo and other documents appearing to come from the Heartland Institute revealed that they were planning a campaign to dissuade teachers "from teaching science" and "keep opposing voices out"! At last, the warmists were vindicated: all the opprobrium they had endured in the wake of Climategates 1 and 2 was about to be repaid upon the skeptics, now exposed as anti-science and anti-free speech, amongst other things.

The only problem: it soon emerged that the memo containing the devastating statements (widely republished by the world's media, whose staff hold journalism degrees and would have been taught to check their sources) turned out to be a fake. The other genuine documents released alongside it were fraudulently obtained from Heartland by the President and co-founder of the Pacific Institute for Studies in Development, Environment, and Security, Dr Peter Gleick. Numerous commentators have indicated that they believe he is the most likely, or perhaps only, candidate for concocter of the fake document as well. Donna Laframboise writes:

Why we need the Principle of Goodness

They Burned a Child for Global Warming

This is one of the most disgraceful doings I could ever hope not to have needed to write about. A violent attack by troops evicted villagers from their homes and burned them to the ground, without even taking the elementary precaution to see if the homes were empty, let alone allow the villagers to remove their property before the attack. As it happened, a sick child in one home was burned to death. But don't worry, as the New York Times put it:

But in this case, the government and the company said the settlers were illegal and evicted for a good cause: to protect the environment and help fight global warming.

Oh so that's all right then: it was for a "good cause". Others have written about this terrible tragedy, and I can't better their efforts, so let me try to widen the discussion to get at the root cause of why it was possible for this to happen at all.

Reflective Thinking

[This article is by guest author Karen Hannay. Karen is an artist and art teacher who is deeply committed to helping her students and others to explore their hidden capacities for creativity and imagination. - RH]

Never before has the world so desperately needed creative, critical thinking to solve the problems we face today and in the future. At first glance it may seem that of course people know how to think. After all, we live in an advanced society where we reap a multitude of benefits of human thinking. The problem is that the results of thinking do not always have ethical outcomes. Some or many may benefit at the expense of others.

The problem is that generally humans do not think about things in a reflective manner. Problems are often given cursory attention and solutions are arrived at without deep analysis. Humans are often swayed by one side or other of an argument and accept what they are told without critically examining the situation. Decisions are often made on emotional grounds. Creative and less obvious solutions that may have far superior outcomes are often not given consideration. If we are to aim to improve the outcomes of decisions for everyone it requires a new level of thinking, one that moves away from the obvious polarities of thought that humans fall victim to. We need to become reflective thinkers.

The Principle of Goodness, justice, and social planning

I am convinced that peace needs more than a political solution - more than ideology, more than changed laws, better social security, and so on. The disgraceful behaviour of the Australian Prime Minister towards a hunger-striking farmer gives us an opportune example. Is the problem the lack of ethics - or the wrong ethics?

I am sure Mr Rudd doesn't think he did anything wrong by allowing someone to almost starve to death (it was good fortune that he didn't) just for want of a meeting with Mr Rudd to discuss his grievances. The 'big picture' undoubtedly demanded the death of one insignificant victim of government policies. Rudd is a utilitarian (or at least he acts and quacks like one). Utilitarianism, the near-universal ethic of our age, is particularly bad at the job most of us trust it for. Peter Spencer went on a hunger strike over de facto confiscation of his land without compensation. Justin Jefferson, writing in Quadrant had this to say about it:

The problem facing the Commonwealth government in Peter Spencer’s case is that on the one hand it’s embarrassing to have him dying of starvation up a pole because they denied him justice after forcibly taking billions of dollars worth of property in violation of the Constitution; and embarrassing to be caught out ignoring him, and lying to the population that it was all the States’ fault. But on the other hand, the Commonwealth has stolen too much property to be able to pay for it; and is too greedy to give it back.

It is no defence of this injustice to say that other environmental and planning laws also restrict people’s private property use-rights. That only begs the question whether they also represent unjust acquisitions.

It does not answer to assert that government acts in the national interest. That is precisely what is in issue. If it’s in the national interest for the government to take people’s property without their consent in breach of the law by threatening them with force, then presumably armed robbery and extortion might be in the national interest too.

Jefferson goes on to list various arguments that don't work: the laws are to protect native vegetation; native vegetation acts were done to protect biodiversity; ecological sustainability; and so on. But read between the text: a common feature in all the arguments that Jefferson demolishes is that they are based on bottom-line, "this is better than that, so do this" thinking. Indeed, we all imbibe this thought pattern from the moment we are born; many will ask: "But what else can there possibly be?"

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