- JoNova - https://www.joannenova.com.au -

Thank you UWA — The spectacular collapse of the Lomborg centre was good for skeptics

UWA logo, passionis non causa - Latin for: Passion. Not Reason.

The new UWA logo?

The UWA debacle has been the best thing to happen to skeptics for years. People who have never mentioned the climate debate to me are now approaching me to talk about it — aghast that something so tame was treated like an outbreak of Ebola. The over-reaction to Lomborg’s Consensus Centre is priceless — it has exposed just how much the pro-climate-crisis team are scared of even the tiniest deviation from their religious doctrine. They depend so entirely on their unchallenged “university” authority that the threat of any official dissent could cause the collapse of the whole facade. (What a disaster.)

Figure just how innocuous and banal their target was: The Consensus Centre at UWA  wasn’t even going to discuss the climate. Lomborg wasn’t going to work there, he wasn’t going to be paid a salary, and he completely accepts the IPCC scientific position, wild exaggerations and all. He’s not a climate scientist and doesn’t pretend to be one. He is a political scientist who discusses economics. On other campuses and in other contexts, Lomborg tries to find ways to help the environment with smarter spending. Oh the crime, twice removed, to seed an errant thought that doubts the power of windmills and solar panels to stop floods and storms?!

UWA is sending a message to skeptical scientists everywhere that they dare not speak their mind. But this message is too clumsy and public, the world can read between the lines, and the message they see is that this is not a science debate. They might have thought a 97% consensus mattered, now they know that the skeptics at universities can’t speak up.

UWA — reap what ye sow

Years of propaganda have gone into creating the idea that academic pronouncements are the Word of God, that climate change is “settled”, and that people who question it are sub-human leeches paid by big-oil. All that poison just came back to sting the Big-Scare-Campaign. UWA had not trained its own staff or students in the scientific method, or free speech, or to be skeptical — and they paid for it. The intellectual vacuum at UWA was put on show for all to see (and how it sucks). The students and staff did exactly what their UWA training had taught them: protest with passion, but without rational reason. There was no argument given, other than the emotional reaction. Hence the new logo ;- ). Passionis non causa — everything the post-modern uni aims to be.

Global Worriers have overplayed their hand again, and it’s woken up a new layer of people. If the Centre had gone ahead, it would have been crippled in the climate debate anyhow (they weren’t planning to discuss the topic anyhow), yet it would have been cited as proof “deniers” got millions in funding. The illusion that our universities were esteemed places of reason, could have been maintained.

On the night the banishment was announced, the ABC News told Australia that Lomborg was a “controversial academic” (which is code for not respected, not popular, and not eminent). Most curiously he was also described incorrectly as a “scientist” and “dubbed a climate contrarian”. Getting his career wrong is embarrassing for national prime time news. Was it sloppy research, blinded by their devotion to the faith, or was the intention to hide that even climate economics is a sacred taboo? Was the ABC trying to cloak the fact that even climate believers get evicted if they don’t believe enough?

Bjorn Lomborg needs to stay out of the science debate

Meanwhile, Lomborg himself has reminded us how little he knows about science (which makes him qualified for UWA 🙂 ).  “We should listen to scientists” Lomborg says in the National Post, not meaning “scientists” as people who follow the scientific method, but “scientists” who are government-approved and hold mainstream views on any complex, unproven topic that happens to be politically correct. Bizarrely, his life’s work is to point out that economists and policy-makers ought be questioned, but here he is saying that consensus-scientists are gods who are always right. Are scientists not human too?

It’s hard to say if he is just saying this to appease the global-bullies, or if this is his genuine belief. So much of what the rational economist says is rational, so it makes no sense that he holds such a simplistic and contradictory notion that most professions need auditing but one profession is “perfect”.

Since he knows so little about science, and the attack dogs hate him no matter what he says, he would be wise to say nothing on the science debate. It’s a realistic thing for him to say he believes the IPCC, he’s not a scientist — and leave it at that.

Skeptical scientists have been his strongest supporters, so his pandering and illogical argument for authority achieves nothing but to burn off the people who are listening to him. As I said, the Consensus Centre was already crippled — it wasn’t going to publish on climate-economics anyway. Instead, it’s gone down in a flaming heap, leaving a blazing message across the sky.  We need to be relentless in keeping this case study of the fall of academia in the public conversation. Shame about the reputation of my old alma mater, but then Lewandowsky had already trashed it and the Lomborg assault-team could hardly outdo that.

h/t to an emailer — thank you — that I can’t find. I wish I could…


What next?

Having said it was a brilliant PR coup that it was axed, it would be another brilliant PR coup if it could be reinstated or set up somewhere else. To that end, a lot of good people are working to fix this ridiculous situation.

Nick Cater wrote  a column in The Australian last week: ” It must have been something of a shock for Johnson to discover that despite what it says on his business card, he doesn’t actually run the university.”

The Menzies Research Centre is planning to host a symposium on academic freedom on the UWA campus in August. They’re seeking funds to fly in national and international speakers for this important event. Find out how to make a tax deductible donation  to the Menzies Research Centre’s Public Fund by clicking here.

From the Australian Taxpayers Alliance wants to run full page adverts supporting academic freedom:

Is this what we want our education system to be?  Run not by evidence or ideas, but by what the mob wants? How can we really have a free and fair future when all dissent is censored? I think we are better than this. I believe in our future. I want our universities to be world-class and not run at the first sign of trouble. But that means we need to take a stand now.

This is why I desperately need you to join our campaign for academic freedom:  We need to send a loud message that can not be ignored- ideological Censorship will NOT be tolerated!

And without you – this just won’t work.

The Australian Taxpayers’ Alliance is running an open letter in full-page newspaper advertisements proudly supporting academic freedom. But we can’t do this without your help.

By joining our campaign, you will be publicly stating your opposition to this disgraceful attempt at academic censorship, and putting your commitment to intellectual freedom on the record.

If you believe in sound policy and academic freedom, click here to join our campaign!


Two of my friends — both lawyers — have never raised the topic of climate at social events. But in the last week both mentioned it, and it was the Lomborg event they said they were astonished at. This is the first time they’ve showed an interest and even said to us “gosh you are both unemployable”. They finally understand the “danger” of being a skeptical scientist. Thanks to UWA.



UPDATE: Thanks to Doc Robbo for improving my dog-latin to “passiones” the plural form. Technically, if UWA is thinking of picking this new logo up, the more accurate phrasing is “commotio non ratio” or (plural) “commotiones non ratio” or Passion, without reason. “Passiones non causa” is more accurately translated as “Suffering without cause”. I’ve stuck with that because there is a still a truth there (plenty of pointless suffering, like the angst and insult at having a heretic in their midst), and it works better in satirical dog-latin.

9 out of 10 based on 113 ratings