Category Archives: Uncategorized

Why is Australia in drought again?

Australia’s weather is highly variable year to year, because we are a very large island surrounded by very large oceans. Droughts are quite common. But they aren’t increasing, Bureau of Meteorology data shows that over the past one hundred years … Continue reading

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Why I changed my mind about… global warming.

Most, if not all, people would consider themselves to be open-minded.  Yet, if you ask someone to name an important belief that they have changed their mind about, in response to evidence and/or logic, most struggle to give even one … Continue reading

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Actually, “the rich” already pay most of the tax

I was recently told by someone that they thought Australia needed to tax the rich more.  I asked how much of the government’s tax take they felt should be paid by the top 10% of income earners.  They didn’t give … Continue reading

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Everything is subjective, but don’t worry about it

Outside of mathematics, geometry, and logic everything is subjective.  That is, anything about the empirical world is subjective, because we experience the real world through our (fallible, subjective) senses.  But, and it is a very big but, this isn’t the … Continue reading

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Why people (on the left and right) love conspiracies

“It was because he wanted there to be conspirators. It was much better to imagine men in some smoky room somewhere, made mad and cynical by privilege and power, plotting over the brandy. You had to cling to this sort … Continue reading

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Zealotry, closed-mindedness

An extreme case is when someone says “no fact, no information could make me change my mind”. A less extreme, and vastly more common, position is along the lines of “I would rather not listen to information that might lead … Continue reading

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Does alcohol cause cancer ?

by Professor Byron Sharp short answer: The scientific evidence is that alcohol helps cause (only) two cancers: aerodigestive and liver.  These are rare causes of death, so the increased chance that drinkers will die from these cancers is tiny.  A … Continue reading

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Misleading alcohol cancer statistics

UK Cancer Research’s blog published a post saying that the public didn’t know much about the cancer risks of drinking alcohol.  They reached this conclusion by surveying people on the risks of individual cancers, for example, 80% of people said … Continue reading

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The Enlightenment can’t be stopped

Once upon a time the people who opposed freedom of speech, votes/rights for women, and the enlightenment in general were the rich and powerful. Particularly church leaders. In spite of their immense power and resources it was an argument that … Continue reading

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Ideology does make people do bad things

The Secular Party of Australia have called this week’s Martin Place hostage taking an act of Islamic terrorism. A number of their followers on Facebook, who presumably are normally happy for the Secular Party to point out the problems caused … Continue reading

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