The recent lecture by Sir Geoffrey Palmer on climate change held at
some ra Otago
University ther interesting issues. It
also appears that scorn and derision inevitably follow a question from any
intrepid soul brave enough challenge the
latest circulating theory on climate
The venerable Sir Geoffrey is something of an authority on NZ constitutional law and related legal matters. It is a ra
ther heroic assumption however that his status
within the legal profession
qualifies him to deliver an address at the
University as any sort of authority on the
environmental science of climate change.
He is of course entitled to address this subject but just why he was invited to speak at
University on an area well outside his field of expertise is something of a
mystery. Perhaps speaking at a church hall does not hold the
same status as speaking at a university.
That will not be lost on the
It is also not unreasonable to expect an address at a University to uphold
highest standard of scholarship in lectures and subsequent debate on any given
There appears now to be world wide propensity to engage in celebrity or political contribution ra
ther than scholarship to controversial subjects to
somehow justify the convention
wisdom of the day. Are we soon to
expect celebrity chefs to be invited to the
University to deliver lectures on the
alleged “evils” of genetic modification in agriculture - by way of an example?
Perhaps a “star” from a NZ TV show could soon be invited to
deliver a dissertation on water quality and Otago
wider environment as they tell us all
(wait for it) “I just love the
environment”. Leonardo de Caprio, well known for his unswerving devotion to
climate variation, could be free for a day or two as well so as to add international
‘intellectual rigor’ to the event?
It is however
intolerance and the boorish pride of
pseudo intellectuals throughout the
world who pontificate on an issue they
have limited knowledge on, that is very troubling. They hold onto a belief that
there is a solution to every problem
but pay no price for being wrong. It is the
public who pay that price. The poorer you are, the
higher the price.
They are inclined to serve up a double helping to all those eager to hear
own view complemented. Why do we as a society tolerate those who engage in
personal abuse to intimidate all those who dare to question? That should really concern us all.
To have such behaviour occur at any University should be a source of huge disquiet to all who value freedom of speech and
the right of those to
hold a different opinion. Our society appears to have adopted and accepted a process
of ruthless challenge to all those who dare to not agree. One can only but
wonder how Galilee Galileo, Charles Darwin and Christopher Columbus managed to
survive long enough to prove the
conventional wisdom - wrong.
It was reported that Otago University Vice chancellor Ms Harlene Hayes intervened (to her eternal credit) during question time after Sir Geoffrey Palmers presentation, to point out that while
the assembled might not agree with the expressed views of the
preceding gentleman, it was in this forum that he should be able to be heard. Questions
which challenge any existing theory should
be encouraged. Derision from some
attendees smacks of facism. The question
however arises that if the Vice
Chancellor was not there -how would the lecture and question session have ended?
As to whe
climate change is mostly anthropogenic or not and its impact on our world is a
legitimate question. Ano ther legitimate question is - why is the same amount of energy not put into the
provision of fresh clean water where sickness and death are the only constants for so many of the worlds population. What does that tell us of the environmental lobbyists who favour resources
being put into climate change over the
provision of safe water to those who will undoubtedly die from water borne disease?
Where does their value system sit?
The determination by tens of thousands of those interested in climate change and who tell us all that
the science behind climate change is settled - is a curious one. History has shown that it takes only one
person to prove the masses wrong
which includes those who occupy the
hallowed halls of our institutes of learning.
Personally I have always somewhat valued
the idea behind what is known as “Pascal’s Wager”.
Blaise Pascal was a 17th century ma
thematician who stated that it is
better to believe in God – just in case he does exist - than not to believe in
God. If God really does exist and you are a nonbeliever ….. well, one day, you will be in a deal of trouble.
not unreasonable to express the view
that society should move towards systems that will replace fossil fuels but always
mindful that such a system will also deplete the
worlds stock of rare minerals and o ther
The debate over global warming, climate change or climate variation as it now known, should continue without abuse, without rancour but especially with
help of Universities such as Otago where one can enter into reasoned public discussion
on any subject - in safety.
That is simply not
case any where in the world. Not
just at and not just at one of Sir
Geoffreys lectures where he would have been thrilled to see at least some of Otago University the audience were still awake.
My after thought. Human beings rarely engage in deceit and half truths as much as
they do when
rehearsing the science behind their personal environmental concerns.