I went to university
with Eric Abetz and upon the mention of his name, most people at the University
of Tasmania would simply roll their eyes. Everyone knew he was a religious
nutter. Time has not moderated that opinion of him, nor Abetz’s extreme
religiosity. The latter has been demonstrated subsequently and constantly with
his idiotic comments on same-sex marriage, homosexuality, transsexuals, the rainbow
flag and sundry other people or events he believes are beneath his rabidly
religious contempt. Given his religious ultraconservative outlook, Abetz is, of
course, also a climate change denier. Denialism is a strange phenomenon and
says much about a person’s inability to deal with reality. It is one of the
ways humans have to deceive others and themselves, and to hide from the truth. Denialism
these days has attached itself to the holocaust, vaccines, evolution, the age
of the earth, the sphericity of the earth, AIDS, the moon landings and numerous
other facts of history and science3.
Nobody in their right
mind could accuse Abetz of being knowledgeable about climate science, yet he
believes he knows enough about it to deny that climate change is even happening.
Anyone who believes this is a rational assessment of the evidence is deluding themselves.
Like other buffoons such as Alan Jones4, Abetz’s knowledge of
science and how it works is so profoundly limited, that he probably believes
that science is just a matter of opinion; that his ignorance is just as valid
as someone else’s deep knowledge. This attitude to climate science is simply another
manifestation of the Dawkins ‘argument from incredulity’, which, in Abetz’s
case is probably ‘I cannot believe my god would do this, therefore it cannot be
The Conversation, a
non-profit media outlet that obtains its content from academics and other
researchers, has at last woken up to itself and has stated “We’ve recently
vowed to improve our climate change coverage, and part of that means moderating
comments with a similar degree of rigour. Once upon a time, we might have
viewed climate sceptics as merely frustrating. We relied on other commenters
and authors to rebut sceptics and deniers, which often lead [sic] to endless
back and forth. But it’s 2019, and now we know better. Climate change deniers,
and those shamelessly peddling pseudoscience and misinformation, are
perpetuating ideas that will ultimately destroy the planet. As a publisher, giving
them a voice on our site contributes to a stalled public discourse.” Now The
Conversation is implementing a zero-tolerance approach to moderating climate
Of course, Abetz spat
the dummy, and naturally made a complete fool of himself. He stated in the
Senate that “Adolf Hitler, Josef Stalin and Mao Zedong couldn’t have put it
better themselves. They’d be so proud.” Abetz described himself as a “climate
change agnostic”, but in the same statement said that ‘the environmental prophets
of doom have been getting it wrong for half a century’6. That, from
Abetz, is not agnosticism; it is denialism, and it is also a lie. Scientists, via
the reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, have been getting
it right for the last 30 years or more7. It is deniers like Abetz who
have stood in the way of any action to mitigate the effects of climate change.
They should pay for this crime against humanity8.
To cap this Abetz idiocy off, he stated “this ugly, unscientific, totalitarian, arrogant approach taken by The Conversation is the exact opposite to the principles of scientific endeavour.” The gall of this malevolent little man attempting to pontificate about the principles of scientific endeavour, when he is one of those who denies science at every opportunity if it goes against what he wishes, or what his church tells him, is truly staggering. He also said that the lesson of history was that truth would ultimately prevail; and so it will, but that truth will not be kind to climate change deniers like Abetz. He really is a very stupid little man.