The internet is a parallel dimension inhabited by deranged monsters and marvellous heroes, all scattered like stars across cyberspace with immense stretches of banal nothingness, dull worthiness and LOL cats in between.

One of the cuter creatures from the deep. Pic: Supplied

Like in a bad horror film, sometimes the crazies – or their ideas - creep over into real life.

At The Punch, we often witness a fascinating phenomenon.

Someone on one of these subterranean blogs will write a post. For the sake of the story, let’s say this pernicious gossipmongerer claims that prominent frontbencher Ralph Dawg has a vestigial tail – an extended coccyx, an evolutionary leftover.

Said blogger might even have a blurry video they say is of the wagging tail, and refer to the existence of documented evidence.

There’ll be just enough detail to give this rumour the semblance of reality.

And of course, like any great conspiracy theory, there’ll be hints of a cover up, of a compliant media not brave enough to out the story.

In no time at all, the cyber rumour mill goes into overdrive and wags flock to The Punch wanting to talk about the incredible vestigial tail and why it renders Mr Dawg unfit for public service.

There’s a sort of critical mass when enough people have heard enough other people talk about the tail, as though it starts to create its own truth. The tale dogs the wag.

Of course, we can’t talk about the actual gossip here. They’re untrue tails, and defamatory (or, in the parlance of the internet crazies, a coverup by the mainstream media, take your pick).

We can, however, talk about the disproportionate attention being given to ‘AWU-gate’. Questions To Answer-gate. Smear-gate.

There is an actual story here, in the twists and turns of the union slush fund, in who knew what when. It’s historical, but if it turns out that the Prime Minister did something wrong, it could shed a certain light on her character of 20 years ago.

The whole thing has been inflated by the whispers emanating from the dark, from the recesses of the blogosphere, and pumped up by the opposition’s quest for political mileage. The bullshit is accreting.

A similar process happens with the anti-vaxxers. The moonbats who believe immunising harms more than it helps. Who would have thought that, as we saw yesterday, a group of eminent scientists have to spend their time writing a book to debunk the mischievous lies they spread online?

It happens with the gun lobby, with climate change deniers, with people spreading fear to sell their own products. Just make it up, publish, and watch the hits roll in and the uninformed roll out - more stupid but more confident.

Only they’re not just online, now; they cross over into the real world, and people start to believe that something they read by a blogger with no credentials has just as much credence as something written by an expert. The medium makes all messages equally ‘true’. 

This virtual truthiness happens with all manner of scurrilous and sketchy claims. Truth and evidence and the scientific process are under attack as never before. As the mainstream media becomes more enmeshed with the internet underworld, it engages more with the creatures that emerge from that murky swamp. Or they believe the stench associated with the creatures is impossible to ignore.

The internet gives everyone a voice, and that includes people who don’t care to distinguish between real and fake, people whose minds are so open their brains have fallen out, and people who are vindictive and wilful liars.

Everyone has a right to their own opinion, but the internet has fooled people into thinking they have a right to their own facts.

We – the media, society, our politicians, and those of us standing around the metaphorical watercooler – need to stay vigilant, put the creatures back where they belong, in the underworld, and do a better job of keeping commentary in the real world safe from their stench.

I think we’re gonna need a bigger fence.

Twitter: @ToryShepherd

Comments on this post will close at 8pm AEDST.

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88 comments

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    • Don says:

      06:01am | 27/11/12

      Us climate change deniers are still waiting for the actual world temperature to follow at least one of those expense models that were being rammed down our throat as “proof” not 2 years ago. Gone awfully quiet lately I have noticed. I am surprised that you didn’t mention flat earthers here as well, must have gone out of fashion, shame.

    • Dibbler says:

      06:58am | 27/11/12

      Agreed. There is absolutely no evidence of a changing climate or of the possible link CO2 ( a invisible gas best known for being plant food).

      A complete fraud and scam that has forever discredit science as somehow above us. It is the lunatic rantings of men who use white coats and letters after there names to make them look superior to us.

    • iansand says:

      07:33am | 27/11/12

      A classic demonstration of the point being made.  Anyone who can claim that there is no link between CO2 and the Earth’s temperature has demonstrated that they have absolutely no idea.  It is a simple scientific principle that has been understood for 150 years.  Anyone who denies it musst think that science stopped with alchemy.

      How about you toddle off, do some research and let us all know what the temperature would be without CO2 in the atmosphere?  You will find that it will be something like -15 to -25 (yes, they are minus signs).  Or have a look at the temperature on Venus and why is it hot enough to eat space probes for breakfast.

    • Dibbler says:

      08:58am | 27/11/12

      Ok Mr Sand : according to your scientists CO2 has gone up by over 30% so if CO2 is what causes warming why have temperatures not gone up by 30%?

      Kind if disprove’s your theory doesn’t it? Intact since 1997 we have had global cooling. Not to mention proven fraud and data tampering by those who have been discredited by there own numbers.

    • rod says:

      09:12am | 27/11/12

      dear ian,

      or it could be venus is a third as close again to the sun as earth. you know, like there is more than 1explanation for temperature variation which is the point the zealots miss all the time.

      it does not have to be a conspiracy theory just oversold fear and modelling that does conform to reality. there is not 1true skeptic that does not believe co2does not effect climate. it is the scale of effect, the doomsday prediction and the cost of pointless re tification that is debatable.

      venus is hot relative to earth primarly due to its proximity to the sun

    • Tim the Toolman says:

      09:17am | 27/11/12

      ” It is the lunatic rantings of men who use white coats and letters after there names to make them look superior to us.”

      Don’t worry, they could turn up stark naked and ranting about pygmy gnomes dancing on their heads, and they’d still be doing better than you.

    • fml says:

      10:02am | 27/11/12

      dibbler,

      “according to your scientists CO2 has gone up by over 30% so if CO2 is what causes warming why have temperatures not gone up by 30%? “

      Because the correlation is not linear.

    • Dibbler says:

      10:03am | 27/11/12

      Thats right Rod. Mr Sand probably blames CO2 for the sun being hotter then earth.

    • Dibbler says:

      10:31am | 27/11/12

      @fml “because the correlation is not linear “

      In other words, “the facts don’t suit my agenda so ill use science speak to confuse and control ”

    • jarrod says:

      10:56am | 27/11/12

      Dibbler, that argument is like saying that water doesn’t contract as it cools because your ice cubes always end up poking over the top of the tray.  Scientifically proven relations don’t mean 1 to 1 correlations. It also doesn’t mean that a proven scientific principle is the only thing going on.

    • Caz says:

      11:07am | 27/11/12

      Wow. Just… wow.

      It is like watching an animal attack itself in a mirror because it cannot understand how the mirror works - instead it is easier to recognise the image as another creature and attack it. The animal has no idea how stupid it is being and we can laugh openly at it’s ignorance…

      Dibbler and co - you are that ignorant and pitiful animal and reading your comments is exactly like watching that animal bang its own head in the mirror dazed and not understanding.

      Similarly you keep typing ignorance over and over, ever more confident that THIS time you will win the argument. Keep banging your ignorant and uneducated heads against the wall. Shake off that dizzy spell when you read other conflicting arguments and just go at it another time. Go on. Do it.

    • Black Dynamite says:

      11:23am | 27/11/12

      @fml “because the correlation is not linear “

      In other words, “the facts don’t suit my agenda so ill use science speak to confuse and control ”

      If you find the idea of a non-linear relationship complicated and confusing you probably shouldn’t be commenting on climate change nor operating electrical equipment.

      Black Dynamite.

    • Benzo says:

      11:47am | 27/11/12

      hey Don why don’t you educate your self and read all the articale on this site:
      http://climate.nasa.gov/

      Or do you think NASA has a conspiracy and faked this like the moon landing?? 

      Dibbler, utter rubbish, I think you need to read on NASA findings as well,  they and the US government obviously believe in the science as NASA spends more on climate monitoring and science then they do space these days.

    • PsychoHyena says:

      11:54am | 27/11/12

      @Dibbler, you do realise that comparatively there is very little which has a linear correlation right? Take half-life for an example, based on your theory of 30% increase in CO2 levels = 30% increase in temperature then it would take double the half-life for radiation to dissipate, however that is not the case.

    • SAm says:

      12:22pm | 27/11/12

      Dibbler are you having us on mate? I dont even think Professor Alan Jones is that dumb

    • Dibbler says:

      12:51pm | 27/11/12

      NASA will say what its paymasters wont it to say. NASA the CSIRO etc are going to say whatever keeps the funding going.

      Caz : resorting to name calling I see because you and your friends have been caught out changing your story’s half way through.

      CO2 causes warming. But not really because we don’t have 30% warming.  If I take 100% carbon away will we freeze like Mr Sand says or will cooling also be non linear?  Answer that one.

    • fml says:

      01:32pm | 27/11/12

      I knew the conspiracy theories would come out eventually.

      NASA and CSIRO are elementary aspects of an International Cabal of conspirators colluding with the Illuminati and the New World order to implement their fiendish plan to eliminate the meal of dinner!

      The head of the cabal is one Dr Tim Flannery, but the real brains behind it is a 7ft tall walking, talking sweet potato which shape shifts in to a cauliflower.

      Oh yeh, climate change ain’t real! Boom!

    • Meph says:

      02:32pm | 27/11/12

      You know, I was just about to post something aimed at Tory, about agreeing in principle, but believing very firmly that anyone who calls for the other side to be silenced as being suspect. Then I read what Dibbler posted, and not only does it back up Tory 100%, but I also feel dumber for the experience.

    • Modern Primitive says:

      02:53pm | 27/11/12

      Wow, does it not occur to any of you that scientists will in fact say anything as long as they get funded for it? Especially government agencies? Hell, monash university has been churning out favourable studies for the RTA in NSW for years cause they know the funding will go elsewhere if they don’t.

      The level of trust you people place in government funded entities is astonishing.

      Me and dibbler will put our tin foil hats on now, got yours?

    • Meph says:

      03:28pm | 27/11/12

      @Modern Primitive:

      Dude, if you can’t spot the difference between real science and astroturfing, I really do feel sorry for you. Having said that, you can question the science without dismissing it completely. What you are doing is the scientific equivalent of putting your fingers in your ears, and shouting till they stop saying things that you don’t like.

    • iansand says:

      03:38pm | 27/11/12

      Modern Primitive - I can think of a couple of scientists who were on a monthly retainer to support their lobbying work in relation to climate.  Both Ian Plimer and Roy Spenser received a monthly stipend from the Heartland Institute.  That Watts guy was in on the scam as well.

      Can you name any on the other side of the debate, or are you just guessing?

    • Don says:

      06:01am | 27/11/12

      Us climate change deniers are still waiting for the actual world temperature to follow at least one of those expense models that were being rammed down our throat as “proof” not 2 years ago. Gone awfully quiet lately I have noticed. I am surprised that you didn’t mention flat earthers here as well, must have gone out of fashion, shame.

    • fml says:

      10:03am | 27/11/12

      Us climate change supporters are still waiting for the deniers to provide one piece of solitary proof, an experiment, some facts, figures a graph will do.

    • Modern Primitive says:

      11:22am | 27/11/12

      Fml, this debate is like the debate about god. you guys are claiming its real, the onus of proof (not inaccurate computer modeling or fear mongering, proof) is on you guys. The skeptics don’t have to prove a thing.

    • fml says:

      12:57pm | 27/11/12

      Modern primitive,

      The proof is out there. The link from Benzo is more than enough proof. Science is finding evidence resulting from experiments.

      “the onus of proof (not inaccurate computer modeling or fear mongering, proof)” It is actually alot more similar than you think. Except the anti-global warming crowd is the god squad.

      Science has put out evidence. The way it is supposed to work is that the counter argument is supposed to be more science. My point is the the anti-global warming crowd think that saying “Your science is baseless” With out providing any backing evidence is somehow akin to scientific method.

      Let me reiterate.

      Pro-AGW: Here are graphs and science and such.
      ANti-AGW: Your science is baseless and I have absolutely no evidence to back up my claim.

      You ask for the scientific process, but counter argue science with no science. The skeptics do have to prove something. They have to prove that the science provided by the pro-AGW is false. Otherwise their scientific assertions stand. The onus of proof on the pro-AGW? Yes I agree and they have provided evidence, what have the skeptics provided? And no, merely doubting the evidence is not science, you need to back it up with facts and figures not hearsay and conjecture. That is the way it works.

    • Modern Primitive says:

      01:21pm | 27/11/12

      It is not proof when there is debate within the scientific community about global warming fml. There’s just as much evidence that it isn’t happening as there is evidence that there is. Both sides are funded by vested interests. I would think it fair to say that the science is far from settled on either side.

      You lecturing on scientific method is priceless btw.

    • fml says:

      01:37pm | 27/11/12

      Mp,

      primitivae in frontum, primitivae in animo…

      I actually am a scientist and have had a number of published articles, in plos one no less.. I am not in the field of climate change but I know about scientific method.

      “You lecturing on scientific method is priceless btw.”

      Yes, god forbid scientific evidence be counteract with other scientific evidence as opposed to “You are full of crap”.

      I guess you suppose that scientists have to prove that they are right, then disprove themselves to be wrong when you make an unverified assertion.

      Good luck to ya mate!

    • Modern Primitive says:

      02:21pm | 27/11/12

      Im noticing a trend between scientists and leftism on this board, first from acotroll and now from fml. Coincidence?

      What is your opinion on the less publicized data showing that the globe has cooled, that ice is forming faster than it is melting in a few regions, and that the models that predict global warming still aren’t factoring sea and atmosphere currents? Rubbish in, rubbish out, fml.

    • fml says:

      02:32pm | 27/11/12

      Mp,

      Show me, don’t tell me. I’d be happy to look at it if one of you lot would be bothered to put it up? Or are you so self assured of your stance that it should be obvious to anyone with half a brain that you do not need to present empirical evidence when making an assertion?

      I am assuming you just expect people to take your word for it?

    • fml says:

      02:33pm | 27/11/12

      One more thing.

      Two people do not make a trend. I believe the scientific term is a “coincidence”.

    • Dibbler says:

      02:46pm | 27/11/12

      The ideologies of leftism and science go hand in hand.

      From Darwinism to warmism the left uses science to push there radical agenda. Science is the new religion of the left. It is used to ridicuol others with different opinion and silence dissent.

      Dawkins, Gore, Flannery are the high priests of this cult. There worshippers lap up whatever nonsense dished up because it comforms to there leftist ideology.

    • Modern Primitive says:

      03:08pm | 27/11/12

      I kinda like dawkins, mainly for his book The God Delusion, but some of his evolutionary biology stuff is good as well.

      Fml, we could poke holes in each others data sets until the cows come home, neither of us is going to budge.

    • andye says:

      03:53pm | 27/11/12

      @modern Primitive - “Im noticing a trend between scientists and leftism on this board”

      Im noticing a trend between deniers and rightism pretty much everywhere.

      “What is your opinion on the less publicized data showing that the globe has cooled”

      What is your source? I am really hoping it is David Rose, because that would be delicious. I also bet that the start year for your data is 1997. It is always 1997.

    • Dibbler says:

      04:18pm | 27/11/12

      @andye - that’s because the world has been cooling since 1997. If global warming was true all those billions of tons of CO2 would have caused warming not cooling.

      Why can you not explain why the world has cooled?

    • Bob Real says:

      06:13am | 27/11/12

      We should all listen to the experts and shut up. No talking back and definitely no thinking. Got it.

    • HC says:

      07:32am | 27/11/12

      No only the people without brains should be banned from thinking.  In other words the 100% of humanity that is stupid in some form or another should be self-aware enough to keep their mouths shut on matters they know nothing about.

      I don’t tell a neurosurgeon how to perform brain surgery so tell me why you need to have an opinion on something you’re incapable of understanding?

    • Al says:

      07:38am | 27/11/12

      Bob Real - No, we should all listen to the experts and take the opinion of experts as holding a higher degree of validity than the non-experts. This however does not mean we shouldn’t question the experts and listen to their actual responses to the questions and/or seek out actual evidence that there are different and more likely to be true explanations.
      After all, the vast majority, if they want a place wired for electricity get an expert (i.e. an Electrician) to do the work. Reading up on the theory is quite easy, but that doesn’t necasarily give you the skills to do the work safely or accurately. If I have a medical question, I speek to medical professionals, if I have a chemistry question I speak to a qualified chemist, if I have a question regarding geology I seek the information put out by geoligists, if I am questioning whether something is true in the scientific arena I look for published and reviewed papers that actualy put out an alternative view that is supported by observation and testing. Those who make claims without the supporting evidence or simply because they heard it or read it on the net can be considered, but only if their is supporting evidence will I take the opinion seriously (the same as for scientists).
      Get that?
      Question all you want, but please back up your views with evidence that has not already been disproved, been made up or has not actualy been tested.

    • Tubesteak says:

      10:38am | 27/11/12

      Yeah much better to go with the gut feel of truthiness

    • Economist says:

      06:56am | 27/11/12

      Remaining vigilant means nothing. It’s quite simply that the internet has provided a voice and a critical mass to these undesirable elements. In the past a letters editor provided the filter, but what you fail to mention is that the most well paid voices in the media propagate this undesirable element.

      Last week you were mentioned in a well known media personalities blog for daring to ask can you be racist to white people? This personality is one of the most active voices against the science and maths of climate change and one of the driving forces behind somethingtohidegate. These media type also carry on about the economy being destroyed and that the only solution is ironically the following. To increase our income we plebs must take a pay cut, to increase our quality of life we must abandon public healthcare and to remain a thinking being we must abandon public education. Simpy ignore any evidence to the contrary these ‘pundits’ have the answers. 

      By all means a diversity of views should be encouraged as should be investigative journalism, But when an organisation is tasked with providing a filter, for getting to the bottom of an issue and is in the business of quality information, it’s ironic that your most well paid only occasionally pop their heads up in the space, preferring to delve in the murk internet rumour mills.

    • wakeuppls says:

      06:56am | 27/11/12

      “It happens with the gun lobby…”

      Oh the hypocrisy. I’m not going into details about fact denial but suffice it to say as soon as the left encounters the harsh reality of fact, they resort to all manner of PC labelling. Be it racist, homophobe, misogynist, and Tory’s favourite, the “nutter”, they all reflect the total inability for hipsters to accept what is simply anathema to their ideology.

    • fml says:

      12:59pm | 27/11/12

      Uhhh. How is what you propose the left are, any different to what you just did in your post?

      Also, if science, rationalism and logic are the domain of the non-conservative. Then I am proud that I might be considered a “lefty”.

    • egg says:

      01:29pm | 27/11/12

      Oh, the hypocrisy… using terms like “the left” and “hipsters” to describe people who resort to labeling others. You’re right, you are clearly the morally superior here.

    • wakeuppls says:

      02:09pm | 27/11/12

      You got me. I label the left “hipsters” because of their fact denial and the retorts always use PC buzzwords to trigger a social response. “Hipster” isn’t used often so it isn’t a buzzword.

    • SAm says:

      07:03am | 27/11/12

      the age of enlightenment was supposed to on our doorstep.
      I think your right Tory, we seem to be going backwards.
      Distopian future (without flying cars) here we come…

    • ramases says:

      07:11am | 27/11/12

      I’m sorry but this whole rant seems to me to be a prelude to censorship by those who believe that they are right or have the right to tell people what to think and write. Its abundantly clear that some people with fixed ideas and ideologies believe they have the right to censor what people with opposing views think or believe but in a free society this should not be an option.         
        Science as you say is being questioned as never before as there are so many grey areas that need questioning especially with Climate Change and the extravagant claims made that have not come to fruition. Politicians are also being put under the microscope by all and sundry as people have a right to the real truth, not the manufactured truth that we are constantly fed.
        Those mentioned, the media, the politicians and others have no right to censor what people think or say unless its illegal or defamatory and the fact that some people might have differing views on a subject should not allow those who have the power of veto to expunge those people from expressing their views as happens all to often on some web sites. People should be allowed to express their on a subject without the cloud of being punished by having their posts, thoughts or thinking censored by self serving others hanging over their heads.
        Debate is good for all but a one sided debate due to censorship is a waste of peoples time and energy and not in the public interest.

    • marley says:

      07:40am | 27/11/12

      I didn’t read this as a plea for censorship.  I read it as a plea for rationality.  With so much information, misinformation and outright lies floating around on the web, it behoves us all to start to apply our capacity for critical reasoning to everything we see and read. 

      Just because we read it somewhere, doesn’t make it so.  Who said it?  What evidence did they provide? Is that evidence credible?  Is there a contrary view?  What evidence does that view provide?  Is there a scientific principle, a historic fact, that gives greater support to one side of an argument than the other?  What makes one version or the other more believable, more reasonable, more likely to be the truth?

      You only have to read the anti-vax stuff to know that the anti-vaxers have made up their minds and rely on anti-vax blogs for confirmation of their opinions.  They haven’t bothered to understand the science of vaccination, and they haven’t checked out the claims of the blogsites to see whether they’re factually correct.  How many blame mercury in vaccines for childhood autism, ignoring the fact that there is no mercury in childhood vaccines any more? 

      By all means, leave the internet untrammelled - but that means we each have to take greater responsibility for finding the truth.

    • Thomas says:

      07:51am | 27/11/12

      Free speech is legal. Defamation isn’t. You can go and start your own blog and write whatever you like, but you still won’t be above the law.

    • David C says:

      07:55am | 27/11/12

      I agree critical thinking is key. so to ask perfectly legitimate questions should be encouraged not howled down

      But accroding to this author you are a climate change denie if you ask questions, or to Robyn Williams from the ABC you are up there with pedos and legitmate arguments are tarred as drivel
      There needs to be a bit more practising of what people preach I think
      The future is uncertain, those that claim certainty are playing politics through science

    • Achmed says:

      07:57am | 27/11/12

      @marley.  I agree.  It is a plea for rationality, truth and honesty.

      We see it in all too many blogs, actual lies written by people .  Having a difference of opinion is good, debate is good. Lies are bad and even worse is sticking dogmatically to that lie when confronted with the truth

    • acotrel says:

      08:17am | 27/11/12

      I don’t have a problem with anyone pulling apart a scientific theory, except when the conclusion they reach is coloured by their politics, and they try to use it to influence others. Truth is valuable.  My truth is based on scientific discipline not my political preference. I suggest that exposure of global problems to discussion on the internet is a healthy part of democracy, however in the end somebody must make a decision.  If that person is an uneducated luddite or an organisation made up of those, we have a real problem.

    • rameses says:

      10:27am | 27/11/12

      Thomas, I did say that nothing defammatory should be published but maybe like so many you only read what you wanted to read.
        marley, I do read it as a plea for censorship as the wording specifically says that “We – the media, society, our politicians, and those of us standing around the metaphorical watercooler – need to stay vigilant, put the creatures back where they belong, in the underworld, and do a better job of keeping commentary in the real world safe from their stench.”  It says in essence that you can say what you like as long as we those with the power can delete it because it doesnt comply with their thoughts and allegencies.
      Achmed, who’s truth? There are truths and truths and it all depends on what side of the fence you are sitting at the time as to which truth you accept.
        Debate shouldnt be stifled because one person disagrees with another and that one person has the power to hold sway by deletion or worse of anothers thoughts. As long as things are kept reasonable and bullying is not a issue then both sides have a right to be heard. Facts are variable and discussion brings more and more people into it and the facts soon become self evident whereas some would have it that the facts are set in concrete and any display of dissent is not warranted or allowed.

    • marley says:

      12:12pm | 27/11/12

      @rameses - I read that line as meaning that the media should be providing the same critical analysis that I was describing, rather than simply printing rumours they picked up from a blogsite.  To me, the point was that the media is getting too enmeshed with the blogosphere, and giving a lot of what’s out there a credibiity it doesn’t deserve.  That doesn’t mean the blogsites should be censored;  it means that media have to start assessing and weighing the value of the information out there on the blogs rather than just adopting it uncritically.

    • Jones says:

      07:38am | 27/11/12

      Thanks. Tory. There was a perfect example of this just yesterday. After repeatedly asking a commenter to say what their allegation was, if they had one, their reply was “I don’t need to make an allegation. It’s in the media.”  and a couple of links to some nutjob blogs.

      In other words, they had nothing but weren’t honest enough to admit it.

    • Smells fishy says:

      07:46am | 27/11/12

      Gillard may be innocent in this whole affair, but she is still a terrible Prime Minister. This whole thing stinks to me.

    • acotrel says:

      08:20am | 27/11/12

      ’ she is still a terrible Prime Minister’

      NBN, NDIS, Great economy ! !

    • wakeuppls says:

      08:57am | 27/11/12

      acotrel

      How about we see the result of these policies in the coming budgets before you claim the economy is so great. They are 4billion or so in the red already from June so it isn’t looking good for your team, cheerleader.

    • Scott Cole says:

      11:07am | 27/11/12

      Alcotrel replies to smells fishy - “’ she is still a terrible Prime Minister’

      NBN, NDIS, Great economy ! !” . Great economy? Last year’s deficit, Minus $43Billion, this years massaged surplus, plus $1Billion, two year average minus $21 Billion. Smells Fishy is dead right, a terrible Prime Minister, even worse treasurer.

    • Gregg says:

      07:53am | 27/11/12

      So Tory,
      Is it that depending on a view held and expressed, one is now considered to be a creature from the deep?
      You know one thing darl, down deep the pressure is Oh so strong and it is only the fittest that survive!
      And you know about Tsunamis!, not too many fences being so effective.

    • Dibbler says:

      09:08am | 27/11/12

      Yep. Science elevates itself above all other opinions and shouts down all who question it’s claims.

    • Gordon says:

      10:55am | 27/11/12

      Actually Dibbler, science (spare the bloody capital letter please!) is a humble process of observe, theorise,  experiment (where you can), observe, retheorise, etc. It is used (correctly) to slowly build an understanding of the world around us for our benefit. It is powerful, and so like fear, greed or the religous impulse is used (incorrectly) by some to promote a political agenda.  Blaming science for self-promoters you don’t like is like blaming music when your girlfriend runs off with a drummer.

    • Ohcomeon says:

      11:22am | 27/11/12

      Dibbler,

      science is not opinion. It’s the very antithesis of opinion.

      Get an education for God’s sake.

    • Dibbler says:

      03:55pm | 27/11/12

      And Ohcomeon proves my point.

      Don’t question science. Don’t disagree. What we say is the only truth.

      The language of a cult.

    • George says:

      07:58am | 27/11/12

      Its not helped by sections of the media, Bolt Jones and others

    • Arnold Layne says:

      08:11am | 27/11/12

      Rush summed it up perfectly 20 years ago, and not a lot has changed since.

      How many times do you hear it?
      It goes on all day long
      Everyone knows everything
      And no one’s ever wrong
      Until later…
      Who can you believe?
      It’s hard to play it safe
      But apart from a few good friends
      We don’t take anything on faith
      Until later…
      Show…don’t tell…
      (Show me, don’t tell me)
      You’ve figured out the score
      (Show me, don’t tell me)
      I’ve heard it all before
      (Show me, don’t tell me)
      I don’t care what you say
      (Show me, don’t tell me)
      You can twist perceptions
      Reality won’t budge
      You can raise objections
      I will be the judge
      And the jury
      I’ll give it due reflection
      Watching from the fence
      Give the jury direction
      Based on the evidence
      I, the jury
      (Show me, don’t tell me)
      Hey, order in the court
      (Show me, don’t tell me)
      Let’s try to keep it short
      (Show me, don’t tell me)
      Enough of your demands
      (Show me, don’t tell me)
      Witness take the stand
      (Show me, don’t tell me)
      (Show me, don’t tell me)
      Hey, order in the court
      (Show me, don’t tell me)
      Let’s try to keep it short
      (Show me, don’t tell me)
      I don’t care what you say
      (Show me, don’t tell me)
      Let’s see exhibit A

    • TRBNGR says:

      10:53am | 27/11/12

      I love Rush.

      Show Don’t Tell is a cracker and Alex Fifeson is a guitar GOD, man, when he showed up in Trailer Park Boys I nearly fell off the couch.

      More Rush discussion please.

    • John says:

      08:16am | 27/11/12

      We live in society, a cooperate culture, political culture, media culture and financial culture which all follow some fine line of so called bullshit reality in other maintain control overs cooperation, money, a people and power.

      The reality all these institutions are all being help up by bullshit, society is facade, a giant lie, these is no democracy, there is no al-qaeda, there is no retirement funds, there is no further economy, your all slaves to disease of society, it’s called the lie which cause’s misery with everything it touches. The day of judgement shall bring reality, the truth for all to bear.

    • Achmed says:

      08:23am | 27/11/12

      I for one am over the climate change debate.  Will reducing the amount of carbon in the atmosphere be a good thing? - yes.  But then so would doing a lot of other things to reduce other types of pollution.
      Will hammering away about whether or not climate is real or not change anything?  No.
      The debate should be about which Carbon Reduction Plan is going to take the least amount of money out of the pockets of taxpayers while achieving results.  Which Carbon Reduction Plan is going to see the polluters change?  the choices are - the polluters pay a price (the Carbon “tax”) or the plan to give the polluters taxpayer money from the budget. In other words the taxpayer pays the polluter to change what they are doing.  Trust the polluters (big business) to spend taxpayer money properly.
      Because unless you can get all political parties to change their policy there is always going to be a carbon Reduction Plan no matter which party is elected.

    • Siarl says:

      08:58am | 27/11/12

      Tory, from reading your articles I had formulated the opinion that you fit nicely into the internet crazies category, either that or you’re a particularly lazy journalist.

    • Jaqui says:

      09:15am | 27/11/12

      So instead we should listen to sub-par “journalists” with their own little crusade and agenda?
      Or could it be that all this kicking, screaming and slandering of anyone who doesn’t have the same opinion as you dictating leftists should be defamed and silenced?
      Considering the vile content of the joke that is our Prime Minister and her leftist agenda, we can easily conclude where this comes from.

    • fml says:

      10:06am | 27/11/12

      People who counter act science with hearsay and conjecture as opposed to science kind of bring it upon themselves. It’s not that they should be defamed and silenced, that is a bit harsh they are allowed to voice their opinion. And we have just as much right not to listen to them.

    • Paul says:

      09:51am | 27/11/12

      What I’m reading here is your justification for silencing opinions you don’t agree with. It’s the equivalent of cutting off a caller that’s getting the better of you.

      So Christian Real’s constant allegations about Tony Abbott aren’t defamatory but that current Victorian police investigation is? I call bullshit (provided that’s not defamatory).

      What makes you the authority on truth?

    • Modern Primitive says:

      10:12am | 27/11/12

      So we can have an opinion, as long as it agrees with your leftism?


      Makes perfect sense.

    • Its science says:

      10:17am | 27/11/12

      Tory Shepherd good write-up but no sure how you justify taring the gun lobby with the same brush.  It is the anti-gunners that ignore peer-reviewed research (2008 study on the effects of the firearm buybacks by Wang-Sheng Lee and Sandy Suardi of Melbourne University’s Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research) and informed observers such as Don Wetherburn from the New South Wales Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research.  The anti-gunners instead rely on bias, poor methodology and cherry picking facts - just like the loony anti-vaxxers or anti-climate change mob.

    • Modern Primitive says:

      10:59am | 27/11/12

      Googling luck pushing that barrow here. Fml will be at the head of a charge of indignation and frothing at the mouth screaming “semi automatics, port Arthur, ban guns zomg.”

    • Chris L says:

      11:44am | 27/11/12

      The theory (and hopefully the reality… eventually) is that those with the verifiable facts will end up on top of the debate.

      It’s like waiting for the prohibition on cannibis to end. You have to wait for the emotional reflex noise to die down enough for research and results to be heard.

    • PsychoHyena says:

      12:50pm | 27/11/12

      @Its science, the issue with guns is that while there are restrictions regarding the ownership and usage there are people who flaunt those laws, therefore reducing the number of guns within the community reduces the ability for crime to be committed with the use of guns.

      Based on the argument that is usually used by gun lobbyists is ‘Oh noes, I should be freely allowed to use a gun because I like shooting things’ I am very hesitant about the thought of allowing gun lobbyists to have guns.

    • fml says:

      01:05pm | 27/11/12

      MP.

      I am of the opinion that guns kill and are unecessary in a suburban environment. Out on the farm, go nuts. shoot roos to your hearts desire. I also think your characterisation of me is typical of your conservative leanings. It is typically mis-characterised and is skewed towards your obvious bias. But fair play, you righties are not known for your rationalism.

      I ask you. What possible reason do you need to have a gun in the suburb? Oh, invasion? How many times have you or someone you known been saved by a gun? Oh thats right, the vain irrational attempts of the conservative gun nutters to justify guns in suburban areas, the illogical hyperbolic extrapolation of a miniscule probability of a home invasion justifies the inherent associated risks.

      Who am I to argue with your pitchforked mob attitude? Obviously you have plenty of valid reasons to shoot someone. it is your GOD DAMN CONSTITUTIONAL ROOTIN TOOTIN SHOOT FIRST ASK LATER RIGHT after all..

      You gun nutters are crazy. zomg.

    • Modern Primitive says:

      01:32pm | 27/11/12

      Thankfully fml, Target shooting remains a valid reason for owning a firearm.

    • fml says:

      02:35pm | 27/11/12

      Mp,

      Depends what you use as a target…

    • LC says:

      10:37am | 27/11/12

      The internet, despite all that it brings us as a people, has one major flaw: It allows people to post pretty much anything they like. Doesn’t sound too harmful when I put it like that, no, but you just need to take one look at the vaccine hysteria and my point is proven.

      If these people had to go to a library to do this research through books that have been fact-checked over and over again, and publishers who know damn well that their reputation will be trashed if they publish something as fact which later turns out to be false then the anti-vaccination movement would not be causing the widespread damage they are; they’d be merely political fringe dwellers ignored by most of society.

    • LC says:

      12:23pm | 27/11/12

      Of course, the media can always do their bit and stop giving them so much airtime…

    • LC says:

      12:23pm | 27/11/12

      Of course, the media can always do their bit and stop giving them so much airtime…

    • Stuss says:

      01:03pm | 27/11/12

      This was certainly evident on yesterday’s vaccination thread. many of the anti-vax commenters were claiming to have done large amounts of research, but when asked to cite said research, or god forgive provide a link, simply resorted to name calling, avoidance and conspiracy theories.

      Meanwhile those of us on the other side of the debate were providing references, many peer-reviewed, that were either simply ignored, or howled down as “big pharma propaganda”. I ended up giving up, because it was clear the debate was going no where fast. Sadly, nobody was surprised by this.

    • TheRealDave says:

      01:26pm | 27/11/12

      This article by Tori has absolutly nothing to do with the AWU bollocks, nor anything to do with Climate Change/Sceptisicm or any other ‘issue’ or ‘Cause Celebre’ mentioned in the article. Not a jot. If you took it that way then I can only point you in the direction of some remedial English Comprehension classes at your local TAFE - but get in quick before the LNP in your state culls the classes!

      No, this article is a shrill warning for all of you to only get your news or information from a ‘trusted’ and ‘professional’ source with the credibility that ONLY a ‘Journalist’ with credentials and on the payroll of a corporation can give you. Thats what this article is all about. You can taste the disdain for ‘bloggers’. Its literally dripping off each and every line. ‘Don’t believe them!’ and ‘Don’t trust them!’, ‘They’ve got ulterior motives!’ and at the same time demanding we give ‘journalists’ our complete and utter trust that everything they write is the ‘correct’ version.

      Sorry Tory - I don’t trust you, or any other mainstream media journalist. I don’t trust bloggers either but they are far more transparent as individuals than a Journalsit is hiding behind Corporate PR and Legal Departments. We NEED a media enquiry in this country. We need the ‘Meeja’ to be held accountable to an extremly high standard given the overwhelming control it has on large segments of the population on a daily basis. They control the information that is presented to the public. This is how we make ‘informed’ decisions not only over our own lives but in society in general. We DESERVE to get out information freely and unfettered.

      We NEED to know what is actually news and what is paid for advertorials for corporate advertisers masquerading as ‘news’. We demand truth and accountability. If you get soemthign wrong I want to see it up front and in bold - and not hidden away under an ad for Mobile Dog Washing on page 37.

      There is a reason why media organisation - led very vocally by News Limited does NOT want an open Media Enquiry in this country. And that in itself is reason enough for ‘We the People’ to DEMAND one!

    • James1 says:

      02:25pm | 27/11/12

      I see the reptilians have gotten to Tory.

    • steve says:

      04:14pm | 27/11/12

      So what you’re saying is we shouldn’t trust anything on this site that’s written by it’s regular contributors as they aren’t experts?

      But you’re a regular contributor so we can’t trust you when you say that.  We’re in a bit of a pickle here.

    • Achmed says:

      06:35pm | 27/11/12

      The only smoking gun is the one Abbott and his supporters have used to shoot themselves in the foot

    • Richard says:

      06:48pm | 27/11/12

      It’s cruel to tease the mouth-breathers like this, Tory. Play nice smile
      And for Dibbler and pals (unless that’s you just being wicked, Tory), here’s a primer http://www.skepticalscience.com/ You might particularly enjoy the escalator graph and the discussions on “most used climate myths and what the science really says”. Bon appetit!
      Science works. “I don’t understand, therefore you’re wrong” and “I don’t like it, therefore you’re wrong” are not useful arguments.

 

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