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Look out for dinosaurs

By 2353NM

Creationists will tell you that life on earth began around 6000 years ago when the good (Christian) lord decided to make a world over 6 days – because on the 7th, he rested. Other faiths and cultures also have mythical stories of how the earth was created, which probably suits the fundamentalists in most religious or cultural groupings. Evolution is a far more common belief. There are museums full of evidence of the process of evolution – how small simple structures became large complex structures, demonstrating the ebb and flow of different life forms at different periods of the earth’s history. Creationists have a leg each side of an interesting barbed-wire fence – having a literal belief in a religious text because they can’t cope with the uncertainty of the alternative but sufficient trust that they will be able to pay off their house from future earnings.

Those who have rationalised that evolution is far more probable that creationism would be aware that around 65 million years ago a large meteor (Chicxulub) landed off the coast of current day Mexico and changed the world’s plant and animal life forever. The meteor is believed to have made a hole in the ground 180 km wide and 900 metres deep. Scientists attribute it to be the cause of the mass extinction of life on earth that, to a large extent, eliminated the dinosaurs. According to National Geographic

Exactly how the Chicxulub impact caused Earth’s mass extinctions is not known. Scientists imagine three possible scenarios: Some think the impact threw massive quantities of dust into the atmosphere which blocked the sun and arrested plant growth. Others believe sulphur released by the impact lead to global sulfuric acid clouds that blocked the sun and also fell as acid rain. Another possibility is that red-hot debris from the falling asteroid or comet triggered global wildfires.

It is unfortunate in some ways that a dinosaur or other animal didn’t pick up a pen and paper to record the event to the extent required by those looking for ‘first person’ narratives. It may have made those who believe in creationism somewhat less sceptical of the existence of the world prior to the time of their cultural or religious belief. If nothing else, a narrative would have made it easier to rationalise the science surrounding evolution for those who need documentation and certainty.

Really it doesn’t matter for the sake of this conversation which theory is correct (or if there is an alternative), the upshot was that a lot of dinosaurs and other animals woke up that morning ready for another day of doing whatever they did – and the world changed completely by the time they died (or retired for the evening – depending what theory you believe).

There are a lot of similarities between the dinosaurs who never saw it coming and some notable personalities today when you think about it.

In recent weeks, former PM Tony Abbott has made speeches to well-known conservative ‘think tanks’, the IPA and Centre for Independent Studies, giving his recipe for the return of ‘genuine conservative values’ to the LNP Government. As Peter Harcher observes

Unpopular Abbott doesn’t expect that he’d win the widespread acclaim of the people with backbench speech-making or political snarkery.

No, he’s targeting the Liberal Party’s conservative base as a way of building an internal campaigning energy.

He has proposed a lengthening list of policies. All stand in conflict with those of the government. Most stand in conflict with his own policies when he was prime minister.

But, as the old adage goes, never let the facts get in the way of a good story, and Abbott certainly seems untroubled by the jarring fact that his ideas today clash with the actual policies of his government yesterday.

Abbott in power pursued the national immigration intake around the standard annual equivalent of around 1 per cent of the population. This slows the ageing of the population, contains the blowout in federal health and aged care costs that come with ageing, and continues the historical trajectory of nation-building.

Abbott in pursuit of power now proposes cutting the immigration intake, perhaps by as much as half, to ease pressure on house prices and job seekers.

Abbott in power was unable to stop the relentless blowouts in government spending and debt. Today he demands there be zero new government spending, outside defence.

Abbott as prime minister wanted the next generation of submarines to run on diesel and to be built in Japan. Abbott as aspirant wants Australia to consider nuclear-powered subs, bought from the US, Britain or France.

In another Fairfax Media report, Abbott canvasses

three energy policy measures to put downward pressure on power prices: freezing the renewable energy target at 15 per cent, a moratorium on new wind farms, and for the federal government to potentially go it alone and build a new coal-fired power station.

Mr Abbott also called for immigration to be slashed temporarily to put downward pressure on house prices and upward pressure on wages, and advocated banning all new spending except on defence and infrastructure.

And he had a blunt message for people hoping he may quit politics: “I’m in no hurry to leave public life because we need strong Liberal conservative voices now, more than ever.”

His comments at an Institute of Public Affairs event in Brisbane this morning are the clearest statement yet of an alternative policy program.

Those who can remember Abbott as Opposition Leader would be familiar with the pattern. Abbott was the one who promised to pay back the ‘government debt’, the ALP NBN was ’unaffordable’ (the LNP process was promised to be significantly cheaper), that Labor’s Emissions Trading Scheme would result in $100 lamb roasts and his immediate removal of same once in power would strip $500 per annum from domestic power bills. Of course, none of the promises were fulfilled.

It doesn’t stop there. Abbott has a philosophical objection to what are increasingly mainstream values such as same sex marriage, ‘foreigners’ taking over Australia and assistance for those that need a ‘leg-up’ in society.

Abbott is aided and abetted by conservative commentators such as Andrew Bolt – who went to town over the recent comments by ‘senior Cabinet member’ Christopher Pyne claiming that same sex marriage legislation was coming sooner rather than later because the ‘progressive’ side of the Liberal Party was in ascendance. We can only assume there was an interesting discussion between Pyne and Turnbull over how the comments would be seen just as there seemed to be some positive news coming from Canberra.

It’s almost as if winning the ideological divide in the Liberal Party is more important than government. Abbott is younger that Turnbull, so there is a reasonable assumption that, should he and the electors in his area choose, Abbott could be around far longer than Turnbull. He seems to be making a push for a return of the leadership to his ‘safe hands’ post Turnbull. In some ways, the games playing out at the moment are similar to the Rudd/Gillard/Rudd years of the ALP, and we all know how that ended. Peace was declared only after the removal of both protagonists.

Perhaps surprisingly, the LNP is not the only political party that is facing internal warfare over policy and practice. The NSW Greens are a separate entity to the Australian Greens and NSW Senator Lee Rhiannon was recently excluded from federal party room discussions on contentious issues as she ‘authorised’ a publicity leaflet circulating in NSW critical of the Gonski 2.0 education funding package at the same time as she was participating in the party room discussion determining if the Greens should support the legislation.

With news reports discussing why the Greens across the rest of Australia call the NSW party ‘watermelons’ – green outside and red (communist) inside – and the NSW party calling the rest of Australia ‘tree tories’ as they will negotiate for an ideologically better but not necessarily ideologically pure outcome, you could probably put money on this really not ending well.

Both Abbott and Rhiannon would probably argue that they are the holders of the ideological hearts of their respective parties. They are entitled to their opinions. It does beg the question however why there is a line in the sand on ideological purity? Society changes opinion over time as circumstances change. Abbott will tell you that same sex marriage is against the doctrines of his particular Christian religion and he’s right – it is. However, the same Christian religion occasionally goes through a process of review and amending the doctrines, the most recent example being Vatican Council 2 in the 1960s. Who knows, the next review may change the Catholic Church doctrine on a number of contentious issues.

Rhiannon’s particular version of the Greens has roots in socialism rather than environmental activism so you could argue they are there for the battle rather than obtaining a compromise result.

Reality would suggest that there are few absolutes that will never change, based on new information or circumstances. Abbott may believe that his version of ‘conservative values’ is the ideal way to run a country and Rhiannon may believe that ideological purity on policy such as school funding is more important than incremental improvement. The concept is similar to deciding 20 years ago that you will only spend $300,000 on a house in one of the east coast capital cities once you have saved the cash to do so. Conceptually you now have your $300,000 burning a hole in your pocket and are ready to go. Practically, the cash you have saved will give you very little (if any) choice if you are not prepared to change your ideological purity to meet the current reality when you consider Brisbane, the east coast capital with the cheapest house prices, has a median price of $635,000.

Are people like Abbott (and his fellow travellers) and Rhiannon the dinosaurs of the current age? The dinosaurs had a small window to change when the meteor hit and those that could adapt; survived. While ideology is important, reality will suggest that your ideology does not necessarily equate with mine, or anyone else’s, or even be relevant when community attitudes change. Compromise is the essence of living in a society. To require absolute ideological purity according to your particular world view can only lead to one outcome – all the Liberal Party and Greens have to do is cast their minds back to the ALP of 2010 to 2013 to see their probable future.

This article was originally published on The Political Sword

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  1. Michael Faulkner

    Abbott’s enormously destructive influence on Australia politics and life in this country extends to 8 years now, despite the less than 2 years of his being Prime Ministership.
    The best summation I have seen recently comes from ‘ The Saturday Paper ‘ this weekend.

  2. diannaart

    Abbott and Rhiannon in the same sentence?

    Just because they disagreed with their leader?

    In the words of someone whose name should be in the same sentence as Abbott, “Please explain?”

  3. Freethinker

    How the hell you can compare Lee Rhiannon with Abbott?
    For start, Lee Rhiannon as a true representative is following the wished of her electorate but the most important is that she and the NSW branch are keeping the promise of the Australian Greens to keep only a FULL Gonski.
    If it is acceptable for the rest of the Greens to not keep promised policies, then they do not grounds to attack the Coalition for doing the same.
    The same applies to those that not support the NSW Greens and Lee. You cannot have it both ways.
    On Friday, January 15, 2016, Senator Nick McKim said, quote:
    “The Gonski package is based on the fairest way to distribute resources on the basis of need, so that Australian children can have the best possible education, regardless of their background,”
    “Walking away from Gonski is not just a broken election promise, it is a slap in the face to thousands of students, parents and teachers.
    end of quote.

    Not walking away from the full Gonski is exactly what Lee is doing. If that is be a watermelon or lefty so be it and proud of it.

  4. economicreform

    If the Chicxulub asteroid had hit the earth within the past 100,000 years (as claimed in this article) then there would certainly be no human life on earth today. The scientific consensus is that this event, which wiped out all large animal life (including the dinosaurs), occurred around 65 million years ago.

  5. Graeme Henchel

    The consensus among the comentariot seems to be that Abbott’s deluded behaviour is having a negative effect upon Malcolm Turnbull and his government. This is true to a point, but Abbott has become the scapegoat for the first two years of the Coalition government. Those who supported Abbott as PM including most of those still enjoying the spoils of office have been absolved of responsibility for the mess that they collectively caused.

    Tony Abbott’s desperate and deluded attempts to protect his “legacy” as PM allows Malcom Turnbull and his colleagues to distance themselves from the fact that they were all players in the disastrous Abbott government. “Fixer” Pyne achieved exactly zero in two years as Education minister, Dutton was awarded the worst Health minister ever, Hunt oversaw the destruction of an effective carbon tax and the decimation of the renewable energy sector, Brandis gave us the right to be bigots, Corman along with Joe Hockey blew up the 2014 budget in a cloud of cigar smoke and Turnbull is responsible for his, late, slow, unreliable, costly and obsolete copper wire NBN mess. Since Turnbull took over not much has actually changed in terms of policy and the economic record remains abysmal. Peversley Tony Abbott’s constant, sniping and undermining reminds of his own incompetence and lets those who aided him off the hook. This is having the effect of making Turnbull’s position stronger within the party room even as it is weakening his public standing.
    Strangely this gives a scenario in which Turnbull can retain ascendency. It involves Turnbull calling Abbott’s bluff, winning a showdown convincingly and showing some leadership. Pigs may fly.

  6. helvityni

    Spot on as always, Graeme, be it in form of poetry or prose.

  7. guest


    please read the second paragraph of the article again.

    Otherwise, your statement about there being no human life on Earth if the asteroid had hit within the last 100,000 years would be correct.

    In fact, I see where human skeletal remains have been found dating back 300,000 years in Morocco.

    Makes the idea of the world being created 6,000 years ago seem a little inaccurate.

    And a creationist is looking at the Grand Canyon in the USA to see if he can prove that the Flood described in the Bible covered the World. I cannot imagine how there would be enough water to do that. Or how Noah got a pair of polar bears into the ark along with lions, tigers and elephants.

  8. Matters Not

    Re the guts of the article:

    Compromise is the essence of living in a society.

    Indeed it is. The problem becomes – as every Gambler knows:

    You’ve got to know when to hold ’em
    Know when to fold ’em
    Know when to walk away
    And know when to run

    That the secret to survivin’
    Is knowin’ what to throw away
    And knowin’ what to keep
    ‘Cause every hand’s a winner
    And every hand’s a loser

    Here, both Lee Rhiannon with Tony Abbott are the Gamblers mentioned above. That’s what they have in common. Both want to hold ’em and not fold ’em . Etc.

    Re the ‘full Gonski’. Even a cursory reading will reveal an admission (and recommendation ) that further work was essential. The Gonski Report was to be the beginning of a process – which in itself would always be a work in progress.

    Sure it was about the distribution of monies on a needs basis but the detail of that concept remains a minefield. Hence the need for a new body to do much more work.

  9. Freethinker

    Matters Not here I quote an interview to Lee Rhiannon.
    I do not agree with your views about her.
    Could you clarify the mechanisms by which the NSW Greens keep MPs accountable at both the state and federal level, particularly the way the parliamentary liaison committees operate.
    Lee Rhiannon
    Elected Greens in NSW are bound by policy, so we don’t have a conscience vote and that is set out very clearly in the NSW constitution. MPs in other states do have a conscience vote but not in NSW. That comes from our history of committed collective struggle. People have a right to have an input but getting people elected to do their own thing was not what we were founded on.

    We have many different bodies within the Greens including working groups on specific issues. We have a parliamentary liaison committee for state and federal MPs and its purpose is to be the bridge between our parliamentary work and our membership. That’s really all it is. It talks through tactics on a range of issues, which I find very useful.
    End of quote
    Regarding the Gonski I think that McKim was clear and what the Greens try to negotiate was not in line with the promised policy.
    I hope that will clear the issue for you.

  10. Matters Not

    Freethinker re:

    I do not agree with your views about her.

    Actually I am somewhat ambivalent about Lee Rhiannon. Indeed I think her stance re Gonski was perfectly legitimate because what the government proposes is a nonsense. Nevertheless, she is a ‘Gambler’ – not there’s anything wrong with that.

    The full Gonski was always problematic. Just like the good life. Much to be defined. Labor acted in contrary to one of the fundamental (and crucial) recommendations, which created a completely new agenda.

  11. Percy

    guest you may want google noahs ark as this story existed some 20,000 years before the bible as it was a childs bedtiime fable long before the invention of christ

  12. corvus boreus

    I am curious as to your source regarding the claim that folkloric tales of cataclysmic flooding in the middle-east and people taking refuge in boats predate the bible by 20,000 years.
    To my knowledge, the earliest known/confirmed reference to a great flood story/myth comes from ancient Mesopotamian texts that have been dated to around 2000 BCE.
    These may, of course, be re-tellings of much earlier tales, but the 18,000 year gap requires either a substantial evidential bridge or a huge leap of faith.

  13. Kronomex

    Oxymoron in action – Centre for Independent Studies.

    I say let the Mad Monk stay where he is as a open sore that just won’t heal for Turnbull.

    The reason there is no written records of the meteor strike is because the T-Rex, with its stumpy little arms, couldn’t reach for the pen and paper to make any notes.

  14. guest

    Thank you, Percy, for your comment. If you read my comment again, you will see that I do not believe the story is true, whatever year it was invented.

    But in my imagination, I am wondering if Noah was the first Biblical character to visit Australia when he collected pairs of kangaroos, crocodiles, etc.

  15. will

    I don’t think Noah collected them. They must have swam. Along with the rest of Australia’s fauna. How big would the ark have to be. Great bed time story!

  16. jimhaz

    It seems unlike the not-so-omnipotent God, Abbott does not need rest.

  17. diannaart

    Comparing apples and oranges.

    You and I, Freethinker, are using different lenses to perceive Abbott and Rhiannon.

    Original Gonksi was neutered by Labor when in power, dumped completely by Abbott and, partially, resurrected by Turnbull.

    Gonski 2 is a shadow of its former self and tacking it onto the existing educational structure is dumb. Lee had every right to vote against it.

    Gonski was a great start, now it is another dumb beast like NBN.

    As far as I know Lee Rhiannon does not eat onions, leer or wink at women (or men) and generally behaves like a mature adult. The same cannot be said for Tony Abbott.

    I rest my case – Well I could continue but that would involve talking about Tony Abbott’s abundant character flaws.

    Not enough time left.

  18. Freethinker

    diannaart, your views are in agreement with my post on the July 9, 2017 at 7:56 pm

  19. economicreform

    Guest, Thanks for your insightful comments. It’s good to see that the author of this article recognized the original error within the text, and took the trouble to revise the time of impact from “somewhere within the last hundred thousand years” to “65 million years”. I feel that I was justified in pointing to an error which amounts to three orders of magnitude.

  20. economicreform

    Incidentally, the Chicxulub impactor is estimated to have been at least 15 kilometers in diameter, so it was either an asteroid or a large comet, not a meteor. The term “meteor” refers to much smaller fragments, sometimes created when two asteroids smash into each other.

  21. Roswell

    Whether it was a meteor, asteroid, comet or a bus is irrelevant to the guts of the article.

  22. paulwalter

    Ok, so it was a bus that wiped out the dinosaurs.

    If it wasn’t a comet or a meteorite, then the bible bashers were right.

    And don’t give me any nonsenses, Buses existed 6000 years ago, saw them on the Flintstones.

  23. Roswell

    Wrong bus, Paul. It was the 4:15 express from Mars to Venus.

  24. Freethinker

    This have becomes a typical happy hour ( at the end of it ) exchange of opinions

  25. Roswell

    It collided with our planet after veering off course to avoid an asteroid Or was it a comet?

    Irrelevant, I guess.

  26. economicreform

    If this is happy hour, I would like to know what these guys have been drinking.

  27. Matters Not

    Drinking? Why not smoking? Snorting? Injecting? Or perhaps …

    Not that I want to give anyone any ideas.

  28. paulwalter

    Perhaps it was a micro bus.

    In “Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy”, it was suggested the Earth was going to be wiped for a Cosmic Freeway. Given that space-time operates differently to Earth time, probably the Meteorite that did for the dinosaur was just the first blow from the jackhammer with the next still due.

    Brollies, anyone?

    Roswell is at fault. It was the 6.45 to Mitcham.

  29. Zathras

    There are many who insist that dinosaurs co-existed with man, that some were even on Noah’s ark and that gladiators fought with them in the arenas of ancient Rome. Taxpayers funds have even been used to build an “educational” theme park in Kentucky to reinforce those beliefs.

    Some of these people even wield political power, especially in the United States and want to teach these myths in schools as facts.

    When such people see The Flintstones as a documentary rather than a cartoon fantasy that is indeed something to worry about.

  30. Matters Not

    gladiators fought with them in the arenas of ancient Rome

    The Romans fought with all types of exotic beasts in their arenas. There’s evidence that such contests contributed to the demise of the European Lion – a smaller version of the African Lion. Yes African lions were used in later times – and at considerable expense

    And here’s an other bit of trivia re animals. When Hannibal set out to cross the Alps, he began the journey with (approximately) 37 elephants. We know that when he engaged the Roman army(s) he only had 2 surviving elephants under his command. We also know that the African elephants of today are almost impossible to train – unlike their Asian cousins. It’s possible than Hannibal took with him a species of elephant from North Africa that does not exist today.

    Further info would be welcomed.

  31. corvus boreus

    Matters Not,
    There are two surviving species of African elephants (genus Loxodonta), the larger and more common bush elephant (L africana), and the smaller and rarer forest elephant (L cyclotis). Neither are noted for their obedience to training.
    There is historical theory/postulation of a smaller and more tractable sub-species of africanus (‘pharaoensis’) having previously existed, but being driven to extinction during classical times, but this has not been officially confirmed by zoo-taxonomists.

  32. Michael Taylor

    And there were also the dwarf elephants from that island/s in/near modern day Indonesia.

  33. corvus boreus

    Michael Taylor,
    The handful of species of elephant that exist today is but a shadow of the numerous types of elephants that lived even a few thousand years ago, let alone the variety of mammoths and other similar beasts that existed tens of thousands of years back, all across Africa, Europe, Middle-East, Asia and North America.
    The Proboscidae (trunked mammal) remains found on the Indonesian islands have been officially classified as belonging to the now extinct ‘stegodon’ family, rather than being ‘true’ elephants.
    However, some of the skeletons that have been found on Mediterranean islands are now classified as belonging to the same genus as the Indian elephant (Elephas).

    Regarding the query by Matters Not concerning the identity of Hannibals’ elephants, I gather that, in lieu of finding and identifying any elephant remains in the region verified as dating from that period, the main reason that the predominant consensus sees Hannibals elephants as more likely being a now extinct type of African rather than Indian elephant is that regional, contemporary (or near) depictions of the elephants used in wars, circuses and such (as shown on coins, murals etc) display more anatomical resemblance (biggish ears, concave back) to Loxodonta than Elephus.

  34. Michael Taylor

    Thanks, cb. I didn’t know any of that stuff.

    Btw, I think the island might have been Flores.

  35. corvus boreus

    Flores, Sulawesi and Java have all yielded stegadon (elephant-cousin) remains.
    Flores was also once home to Homo floresiensis, the ‘hobbit-people’ found in 2003.

  36. Michael Taylor

    I wasn’t going to mention that, cb. Purely because I hate that they gave them the name of ‘hobbit’. It demeans them, in my opinion. It’s just me.

    After the discovery of the hobbit (yuk, I hate that word) was announced, an Aboriginal elder said to me; “See, I told you they exist”. For years he’d been telling me of not only the dooligah (yowie) but also of the little people. He maintained that not only do they both exist in Aboriginal ‘legend’, but in Australia today.

  37. Matters Not

    Thanks very much CB for your response. Very, very informative.

    While I have ‘interest’ I readily admit I lack ‘expertise’ or even rudimentary ‘knowledge’.

    Re Hannibal’s crossing of the Alps, one can imagine that most of the ‘elephants’ he was ‘driving’ were lost in deep ravines and the like due to avalanches or equivalents. Hence no ‘skeletons’ to date.

    It must have been an ‘impossible’ feat. Amazing that two actually arrived to cause subsequent ‘terror’.

    Thanks again!

  38. corvus boreus

    Matters Not,
    Given the arduousness of the journey, and the effects of climate and altitude shock, it is probable that many of the beasts simply lay down and gave up, dying of cold and exhaustion on the wayside, with their carcasses butchered for meat by passing troops.
    Bear in mind also that Europe at the time was much more abundant with means of carrion-disposal (wild wolf-packs were still fairly common), and that the exact route of Hannibals Alpine crossing remains somewhat controversial.
    36 needles, broken into pieces, then scattered witrhin a very big haystack. No skeletons = no surprise.

    MT, I prefer to call our small cousins ‘flories’.

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