During my essential journey to the supermarket to buy chocolate, I couldn’t help noticing the front-page headline on “The Australian” which blared:
TEACHERS DEFYING VIRUS SCIENCE
Quite a neat trick really, I thought. How does one “defy” science? Is it like defying gravity? Or is it like defying your boss and announcing that there’s no way you’re going to perform that task without the correct safety equipment?
Defying science… It reminded me of that quote from Einstein: “God does not play dice with the universe.” Without starting a religious debate here, I’ve always suspected that the reason for that is that the universe worked out who was likely to win, so it was the universe’s decision as much as God’s. But religion aside, I take it that Einstein was trying to argue that there are certain laws of physics set up and there wasn’t some supreme being likely to change them after each roll of the dice.
Whatever, I thought the headline such an interesting take that – for a moment – I was tempted to actually buy the paper to read the article. Mainly because I suspect that were I to ask the Prime Minister’s Office to send me a pirated copy, they’d be a little reluctant to do so. Sanity, of course, prevailed and I merely picked it up and read it as though I was considering the purchase of Rupert’s Rag.
Anyway, I could point out the various logical flaws in the article itself but I’ve done that enough recently. You know the sort of thing: the laws of infection change when a child is not at school so they can hang out with thirty kids in a class but four of their friends in a shopping centre presents an unacceptable risk because God will roll the dice and only those in school will be protected. Or the argument that only a small percentage of kids are likely to be infected so it’s not a worry. Less than three percent and this isn’t worth thinking about even after someone points out that originally there was only one person with the virus and that one person is responsible for every other case. Even without doing the maths, I’m prepared to say that this one person was less than three percent of the world’s population.
What intrigued me…
No, “intrigued” is the wrong word here. “Intrigued” is what I was when I read that Peta Credlin said that she wasn’t “going to climb into the gutter with Turnbull” because the word climb suggests an upward movement and after her shows on Sky, I was intrigued as to whether she considered the gutter a step up from the sewer she frequents.
“Intrigued” is my reaction to Angus Taylor’s announcement that we’re going to increase our emergency reserves of oil… but keep them in the USA. This is like someone announcing a concern that the banks may shut and converting a large portion of their money to gold then putting in a safety deposit box AT THE BANK!
I was “intrigued” as to how the Liberals were going to justify not having a surplus in the May Budget. Of course, I know the answer to that one now… We just won’t have a May Budget.
No, not intrigued. More incredulous. Gobsmacked.
This paper and its various sisters and brothers have consistently told us that – when it comes to climate change – there is no consensus. The science isn’t settled yet. Experts? Who’s an expert? Look, this person doesn’t have any credentials in this area because their PhD isn’t in climate science; far better to listen to university dropout Andrew Bolt or your neighbour or the Uber driver because they think that it’s all a big beat-up because it was cold yesterday morning.
No, when it comes to climate science, there’s no such thing as a consensus view. It’s still open for debate, but teachers, well, they’re all defying the absolutely settled science that it’s completely safe to be in a school because the best medical advice says so. Ok, nearly every other country in the world shut their schools but they didn’t have the best medical advice. We have it and, as Scottie said, teachers are at more risk in the staffroom than the classroom… Not sure how this sits with schools being completely safe, but anyway.
Now I’m not trying to convince you of the rights or wrongs of schools being open here. You can make up your own mind about that and I suspect that if you’ve been stuck at home with some children then you’re more than happy to send them off to school whatever the risks, just as I’m sure that some people think it’s about time their aged parents went on that cruise so that they can enjoy their last few weeks…
No, what I find amazing is the sheer hypocrisy of a newspaper that can switch from an “everyone has a right to an opinion and scientists have been wrong in the past” position to a “you don’t have the right to question because you’ve been told by the PM so shut up and do what you’re told” stance.
And, of course, this completely overlooks the fact that teachers are doing what they’re told. In some states, teacher unions are pushing to ensure safety, but to the best of my knowledge, none have suggested teachers refusing to attend school. Except for private schools, it’s state governments who’ve made the decisions about schools, not the teachers themselves.
Still, Rupert’s editors have never let the truth get in the way of the story.
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