Australian Lefty on Politics, Governance, Science and Info Management

Did Senator Fielding pass calculus?

Posted by Dave Bath on 2009-06-14

Senator Fielding, on ABC’s "The Insiders" (2009-06-14) displayed his selective requirements for evidence, and flawed logic today that makes me wonder how he passed calculus 101 on his way to he engineering degree, a qualification he prates about when saying he wants evidence about anthrogenicity of climate change.

Let’s imagine the following scenario, using basic physics and Fielding’s logic:

Imagine you are in a car, and see it heading for a cliff.  You apply the brakes, and Fielding, in the passenger seat, says "We are still moving closer to the cliff even though you are applying the brakes.  Therefore applying the brakes is pointless.  Why not try the accelerator?"

He states he is worried about the economic impact of climate change action, so let’s do an equivalent bit of Fielding logic in basic finance:

"I’ve paid $10 on my mortgage this month, and the amount owed went up!"

This is his similar to logic transposed from global temperature and carbon emissions: where his line broadcast by "The Insiders" is "I was presented some information that showed that over the last decade or so carbon emissions have been going up, but global temperature hasn’t".

And this is without dealing with complex systems, or influences locked in even without changing anything else.

Fielding also said:

What I do Barrie is look at actually information and facts and figures and being an engineer, that’s what I’m trained to do is look at facts and figures.

Steve: No, you are supposed to think about them, and then understand safety factors, spending more money that your calculations suggest you need to, erring on the side of safety.

Fielding (and Rudd) are committed Xtians, a religion that says "Refusing to look for evidence is a virtue".

Take a jump out of a plane (I’ll allow you a parachute), see how you feel after falling 500m, and if you are still fine, take the parachute off, because all it is doing is putting creases in your clothes and ruining your aerodynamics.

Do it sooner rather than later.  Pray to your imaginary friend after jumping out of the plane if you like.  Maybe we’ll get another senator to fill your vacant seat that understands basic physics, basic maths, and has a hope of grasping the issues of complex systems – biological, sociological, geological, and economic, rather than an MBA who has worked in advertising (Yellow Pages) and for Big Carbon (United Energy).

From your "About Page" at

After finishing high school, Steve did a Bachelor of Engineering degree at RMIT University which he completed in 1983. He then started work at Hewlett Packard where he met Susan, who also worked there.

Steve later moved into management and executive roles with NEC and Siemens, and completed a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) at Monash University in 1992.

Later that year Steve and his family moved to Wellington in New Zealand where he took up an executive role with Telecom NZ. They returned to Australia in 1995. Steve worked with United Energy and then Yellow Pages. For the last five years, he has been with one of Victoria’s largest superannuation funds, Vision Super (formerly Local Authority Super).

A passion for local issues saw Steve elected as a councillor to Knox City Council in 2003 and 2004. Steve stood as a Victorian Senate candidate for the FAMILY FIRST Party in the 2004 election and took up his position in the Senate on July 1, 2005. Steve thinks not enough time is spent discussing how economic pressures are affecting families.

For the last "five years, he has been with one of Victoria’s largest superannuation funds"?  I thought you were supposed to be a Senator?  I guess your understanding of semantics demonstrated on a page you obviously care a lot about is no better than your maths and science.  But then, internal consistency has never been your strong suit.

…And MBA’s like you have done a bang-up job understanding how to run an economy without crashing – haven’t they?


5 Responses to “Did Senator Fielding pass calculus?”

  1. Grendel said

    Senator Fielding’s has now seen one tiny tiny part of a complex problem and seeks to make a decision on the basis of the numbers he looked at? What about the rest of the data – particularly that considered and supported by such a large number of scientists. Ohhhh those scientist are mostly athiests you say? No wonder they’re wrong!

    Fielding is a national disaster.

  2. baraholka1 said


    Please provide one scripture from the Bible which says “Refusing to look for evidence is a virtue”

  3. [Mentioning John 20:29 (Doubting Thomas given a kick up the bum for wanting evidence) for those who those too slack to follow the link]

  4. baraholka1 said


    Thomas was not given a kick in the behind and nor does the John 20:29 say that
    “Refusing to look for evidence is a virtue”.

    In fact, the story of Thomas teaches teh exact opposite of what you assert.

    Thomas was informed by the other disciples that Jesus had risen, to which Thomas replied, unless I see this bloke and feel the nail marks for myself I will not believe, whereupon Jesus appeared to Thomas physically and gave him the evidence he required.

    24Now Thomas (called Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. 25So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!”
    But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it.”
    26A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 27Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”

    28Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”

    29Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

    John 20:29 does not say “Refusal to look for evidence is a virtue”
    It says “Blessed are those who have not [witnessed my physical resurrection] and yet habve believed”

    Bal, your powers of logic and comprehension desert you when it comes to the scripture.

    – Barra

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