Robyn Williams denying his slur

Recall Robyn Williams:

NOW what if I told you pedophilia is good for children or that asbestos is an excellent inhalant for those with asthma? Or that smoking crack is a normal part, and a healthy one, of teenage life and to be encouraged? You’d rightly find it outrageous. But there have been similar statements coming out of inexpert mouths again and again in recent times, distorting the science (of climate change).

Well it seems Williams would have us believe he really meant something different. Here is a letter he wrote to Quadrant.

Sir: For the record: I did not compare climate change deniers to paedophiles in my Science Show broadcast (Chronicle, March 2013). What I did do was make up several outrageous scenarios to illustrate how a (wilful) misunderstanding of science for political purposes can be harmful—even fatal. Saying asbestos is safe is dangerous; saying HIV infection does not lead to AIDS is irresponsible; claiming paedophilia is good for kids as some do, is absurd.

The program began by quoting the New Scientist magazine’s lament about lies related to science in the American election and I gave the example of one Republican candidate’s bizarre claim that a rape victim’s body can “naturally” reject fertilisation.

In this context it was obvious that I was linking the distortion of climate science by mischievous political elements to similar (if hypothetical) distortions of other science-based issues.

There are plenty of people who do not hesitate to distort the science of climate change for ideological reasons. Their doing so is likely to delay or cancel any sensible efforts to reduce risk. This, like the examples above, is irresponsible.

Robyn Williams
ABC Science
Sydney, NSW

Keith Windschuttle calls him out on that.

Robyn Williams’ claim that his broadcast did not compare climate change deniers to paedophiles is disingenuous. By “linking” (his term) an aspect of the behaviour of one group to that of another and finding similarities between them, he was surely making a comparison, as any good dictionary would confirm.

Moreover, since when did paedophilia join the ranks of “other science-based issues”? What is scientific about it? There is no gene for paedophilia. It is a sexual preference, not a biological attribute. By introducing this topic into the debate over climate science, Williams’ broadcast was as wildly irrelevant as it was conceptually odious. He chose moral stratagem over fair comment.

In his forty years as an ABC broadcaster, Williams has built himself a reputation as Australia’s pre-eminent science journalist. It is a pity to see him ruining his once good name by using such desperate tactics in support of a scientific hypothesis which today, when the temperatures and oceans are failing to rise in the way global warming advocates predicted, has so patently lost credibility.

I think he is being far, far too nice.

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74 Responses to Robyn Williams denying his slur

  1. Rabz

    Robyn “100 metres” Williams also denied that he stated sea levels would rise by the aforementioned amount.

    And yet, he is indeed on the record as having stated exactly that.

    When you’re a loathsome leftist imbecile and you get caught out, just lie.

    There’ll always be someone out there stupid and/or gullible enough to swallow it.

  2. stackja

    Australia’s pre-eminent science journalist.

    Always seemed a snob to me. Now wants to change his history on climate.

  3. Pedro

    I’m with Williams on this. Everyone is getting just a bit too precious. He clearly didn’t say that AGW deniers are as bad or wicked as pedophiles or morally comparable. He just said that their “lies” are as big as the lies of those spruiking pedophillia for child rearing, asbestos for asthma or crack for general health and well being.

  4. Rabz

    Now wants to change his history on climate.

    Good luck with that, given his new extended moniker noted above.

  5. Sleetmute

    I actually don’t think Williams was likening pedophiles to climate change ‘deniers’. But he was being OTT for rhetorical effect. And I think he did himself the most harm, because there is no way anyone but a zealot believes that climate change science is anywhere near as certain as the observation that pedophilia is bad for children or that asbestos is bad for lungs, etc.

  6. JC

    I actually think that in his own disturbed mind Williams obviously believes what he said in the Quadrant letter. That’s what a ridiculous clown he’s become.

    The left are always trying to outdo each other in these sorts of moralist degenerate similes. Now that he’s embarrassed himself he’s trying to weasel out. What a primo dickhead.

  7. Token

    When you’re a loathsome leftist imbecile and you get caught out, just lie.

    Knowing how gutless the Coalition is, the ABC system that created and nurture him will still be in place when people like 100 Meters Williams and the other tools at the ABC have hounded them out of office.

  8. Alfonso

    “Williams has built himself a reputation as Australia’s pre-eminent science journalist.” The Shuttle shouldn’t drink and post…no good will come of it.

  9. Sinclair Davidson

    Pedro you’re being too kind. People just don’t spruik “pedophillia for child rearing, asbestos for asthma or crack for general health and well being”. He is trying for plausible deniability – fine – but I’m calling bullshit.

  10. hammy

    Pedro is the only sensible commenter so far in this thread. Nobody who’s so hysterically criticised Robin Williams appears to have read his actual comments. They’re just far too intent on desperately trying to defend their indefensible denial of AGW.

  11. John A

    Pedro and Sleetmute, read what Keith Windshuttle wrote and be embarrassed at your own ignorance of ethical categories.

  12. JC

    He just said that their “lies” are as big as the lies of those spruiking pedophillia for child rearing, asbestos for asthma or crack for general health and well being.

    He just said? Just?

    Pedro, you don’t think the comparison was off the planet?

    The fucking arsehole obviously wasn’t suggesting that climate realists are “just” like pedos. He was attempting to create the image they are “just” as evil and deformed creatures in the minds of his listeners. What a complete and utter tosser this taxeating grub is.

  13. candy

    I think he was just exceedingly dumb to bring paedophilia comparison into it and now he realises that he did a dumb thing.

  14. Gab

    True, Candy. It begs the question what kind of mind would jump to paed0philia as a comparison to people who do not agree with Williams’ view on global warming.

  15. JC

    Pedro is the only sensible commenter so far in this thread.

    Pedro, the person who said the above recently publicly stated that he had thoughts of committing suicide because of social injustices to our aboriginal population. Have a think about that before you feel good about support coming your way.

    Nobody who’s so hysterically criticised Robin Williams appears to have read his actual comments.

    Oh yea, Keroboy. Unlike you of course who flipped out on a thread because I mocked you. Hysterical much, you two bit grub? 🙂

    They’re just far too intent on desperately trying to defend their indefensible denial of AGW.

    LOl

  16. James of the Glens

    Keith Windschuttle has called Williams’ slur with pin-point accuracy.

    His reference to paedophilia not being a science-based issue yet used by Williams as a comparison describes the prat’s disgraceful tactics and poor form very well.

    Williams seems to be worried by the enormous loss of credibility he has inflicted on himself.
    The stupidity of his paedophilia comment coupled with a biased, non-scientific and barking mad set of predictions (as if he’d know!) all wrapped in smug self-importance makes for a highly unattractive package.

  17. JC

    True, Candy. It begs the question what kind of mind would jump to paed0philia as a comparison to people who do not agree with Williams’ view on global warming.

    His parents were communists, as he’s admitted. So I’m guessing, just guessing mind you, that the apple hasn’t fallen too far from the tree in terms of tolerating differing opinion.

    I wonder if Williams would have been so forthcoming if his parents were NAZIS despite the fact that for most reasonable people the two ideologies are basically indistinguishable save for the fact that the communists murdered more people.

  18. Gab

    Nobody who’s so hysterically criticised Robin Williams appears to have read his actual comments.

    (The grammar ^ is killing me).

    Williams thought ‘what is the vilest thing I can say about people who don’t agree with me? I know, I’ll compare them to paed0philes’. And now he’s trying to backpedal.

  19. JC

    Williams thought ‘what is the vilest thing I can say about people who don’t agree with me? I know, I’ll compare them to paed0philes’.

    I wonder if that was learned/taught at the dinner table.

  20. Pedro

    Sure the comparison is off the planet. But no amount of hyper-bowl is that same as saying someone is as morally equivalent to a pedophile, which seems to be the offence that Windshuttle is desperately seeking. Mind you, I’m not surprised he is sensitive given the rubbish that’s come his way over the years.

    We’ve all criticised the lefties and general idiots for the ridiculous taking of offence, so like your mum no doubt said, don’t stoop to their level.

    Hammy, thanks for making me look bad. Your endorsement is like, oh, claiming that pedophillia is good for kids.

  21. C.L.

    I think he is being far, far too nice.

    Indeed.

    In any case, we now own the word ‘denialists.’

    Williams and his ilk deny the science of warming stoppage.

    They are cranks.

  22. JC

    Hammy, thanks for making me look bad. Your endorsement is like, oh, claiming that pedophillia is good for kids.

    Lol… Kero, it seems your stamp of approval is like a lice epidemic, you twat. Everyone scatters for an opening out.

  23. C.L.

    … what if I told you pedophilia is good for children …

    Um, we’d elect you leader of the Queensland or Northern Territory Labor Party?

  24. steve from brisbane

    So if it’s OK for you lot to take great offense at Williams, can someone explain why I shouldn’t be offended by Delingpole (who I understand has been in Australia as a guest of the IPA) finishing his column today in the Australian with:

    The climate alarmist industry has some very tough questions to answer: preferably in the defendant’s dock in a court of law, before a judge wearing a black cap.

    Judge wearing black cap = judge giving death sentence.

    I’m not sure that Tim Blair is aware of that…

  25. Sinclair Davidson

    JC / Pedro – Hammy is hamming it up. You both know he is a highly intelligent troll who states outrageous positions to wind us up. So rather than argue with him just enjoy his genius.

  26. C.L.

    And how many ‘industries’ were hanged in the old black cap days, Steve?

  27. Sinclair Davidson

    Steve – you’re suggesting these people shouldn’t be executed?

  28. C.L.

    Leave Hammy alone.

    I love the old Hamster.

  29. Gab

    Hammy is Sinclair’s sock puppet.

  30. JC

    Okay I will. No more mentions of the kero boy.

  31. blogstrop

    I wish Hammy a very merry unbirthday, here as well just in case he doesn’t see it elsewhere.

  32. big dumb fu

    The damage wrought by the climate alarmists thus far has been quite devastating and will continue to be for quite some time. I have no problem with Delingpole’s analysis ShitFer. He didn’t loosely call anyone a ped0. He just implied that the fraudster, shills, and misery feeders eventually face justice.

  33. Gab

    Here ya go, Mr Wrongologist SFB:

    The death penalty has now been abolished in England and Wales, but the black cap is still part of a judge’s official regalia, and as such it is still carried into the High Court by each sitting judge when full ceremonial dress is called for.[1]

  34. johanna

    Actually, I think that everyone is letting Williams off too lightly. His other two comparisons were pretty much equivalent to accusing those who disagree with him of being psychopathic murderers.

    Charming fellow. And if he was ever Australia’s premier science broadcaster, that ship sailed a long time ago.

  35. hammy

    Judge wearing black cap = judge giving death sentence

    Yes Steve, but it’s great to have a person like Delingpole demonstrating so clearly just what a reprehensible mob climate change deniers really are. And they have the cheek to call Moslems terrorists!

  36. James of the Glens

    Oh dear, Steve from Brisbane has worked out what a black cap signifies. How about that.
    There’s no hiding something as keenly subtle and yet filled with serious dread as this from our man Steve.

    And..and.. it gets worse, he was a guest of the IPA!

    Life will be an anti-climax for Steve after tonight.

  37. blogstrop

    That ship sailed in about 1979. But I saw him being given an honorary degree/doctorate at UNSW back about five years ago.

  38. tbh

    This is to me a case of living and also dying by the sword. If you are going to make outrageous comments in a public forum, you have to expect that you will get it back with both barrels in return. And that’s as it should be. Nearly all of us believe in unfettered free speech here, so it is only right that not only do we support Williams’ right to say these moronic things, but we also give it back good and hard.

  39. Tom

    As if we didn’t already realise, AGW is a political doctrine, not a scientific hypothesis, and Williams is, first and foremost, an activist barracking for a new political system to replace the one we have.

  40. James of the Glens

    Oh dear, the Hamster has had a cheap whisky and is unleashing his keen wit upon us.
    Isn’t he just a naughty little stirrer!

  41. Gab

    Robyn Williams:

    He has an honours degree in biology. He does not have qualifications in physics, climatology or earth-sciences

    He has some honorary PhDs, but he does not have an actual PhD

    He is was a visiting professor at UNSW, but is not actually on staff

    He is was an adjunct professor at UQ, but is not actually on staff

    He has in the past, and perhaps to the present, been a supporter of communist politics.

    From 2008 article.

  42. Pedro

    Sure tbh, but the proper response to Williams is that the AGW crew have plenty of their own liars and frauds. Both barrels for sure, but don’t be a pissant pussy squealing are every imagined slight.

    Sinclair, I can never decide whether he’s a wind up merchant or a dill.

  43. Sinclair Davidson

    Wind up merchant, and good at it too.

  44. John Mc

    Please James, Hammy wouldn’t have the personal qualities or experience to enjoy whiskey as an adult would, be it cheap or otherwise.

    He’s a Ribena after work, Horlicks before bed kinda guy. At special occasions he may enjoy a white wine spritzer, but that is all.

  45. Pedro

    So what Gab, that’s the argument from no-authority. He’s either right or wrong. Plenty of non-physicist skeptics comment and I think it’s wrong when they get bagged for not being expert, so we can’t be hypocrites.

  46. Pedro

    I’ll take your word for it. He’s certainly an expert mimic of the dense!

  47. Gab

    Not an argument, Pedro just background. Calm down.

  48. cohenite

    Williams statement is actionable; it is a defamatory imputation; its generality and non-specificity does not change that.

    Any prominent sceptic would have grounds to sue.

  49. Chris M

    Well done Keith.

    There is no gene for paedophilia. It is a sexual preference, not a biological attribute.

    Agreed, however some would argue they were born that way (as many in the homosexual camp now claim). Anyway you can sense Williams loathing of the people who are calling his dodgy claims.

  50. Arnost

    I support what Chris said above… Williams’ statement is just an example of the hate and loathing evident in so much of what the left uses for argument.

    Whilst I would normally support Pedro’s stance – and let things slide – there comes a time when the leftards hyper-bowel excretions and faeces needs to be firmly rubbed back into their faces.

    This is a very good time to do just that.

  51. Cato the Elder

    I think Williams was just trying for the most ludicrous comparisons he could think of; and shot himself in the foot by going OTT. No one thinks the comparison with encouraging asbestos for asthmatics was real, so why get worked up about the pade0 slur?

    OTOH, he’s also used to being able to smear his opponents and not get called on it. So take a leaf from the radicals handbook and make them play by their own rules.

  52. Grant B

    Gab@10:12 – Williams tells us he has an honours degree in biology. He doesn’t bother to tell us what class it was. Some points –

    Those with a higher class honours generally put it on their CV. Mr William’s doesn’t. Delingpole tells us he has an upper second.

    Mr Williams has no masters or doctoral qualifications. You usually don’t get a start with those if you don’t have a decent honours.

    He could of course just wanted to get out in the workforce even though he had a first or good second and modestly left it off his CV. And he is a modest man, you can tell by all the honorary doctorates and adjunct professorships he lists after his name.

    But I do wonder what class of honours he received.

  53. Seems like he was drawing an analogy… which means he is *not* saying the things he mentions are the same, but that they share a characteristic. In this instance, the characteristic he was getting at what was what he saw as “absurd commentary”.

    He could equally have said “some people might say clowns are dinosaurs, or that teeth are given to you by magical pixies, or that christmas trees are actually security guards sent by a sky duck to protect you from invading midgets”.

    If he had said that… he wouldn’t be literally saying that climate deniers believe the tree-security-duck-midget story. He would be saying that he believes the stories are equally absurd.

  54. NoFixedAddress

    hammy 3 Apr 13 at 10:01 pm

    Yes Steve, but it’s great to have a person like Delingpole demonstrating so clearly just what a reprehensible mob climate change deniers really are. And they have the cheek to call Moslems terrorists!

    In amongst your cleverness hammy, what do you think about Williams’ comment?

  55. Jarrah

    “No one thinks the comparison with encouraging asbestos for asthmatics was real, so why get worked up about the pade0 slur?”

    Good question. But you’re making the same mistake Windschuttle does – confusing a claim about behaviour with a group who exhibits that behaviour. Humphreys, no doubt procrastinating from doing his thesis, gets it exactly right.

    Sinclair, Williams isn’t denying his slur, he’s repeating it. His actual slur, that is, not the made-up one in your head.

  56. C.L.

    Seems like he was drawing an analogy… which means he is *not* saying the things he mentions are the same, but that they share a characteristic. In this instance, the characteristic he was getting at what was what he saw as “absurd commentary”.

    He could equally have said “some people might say clowns are dinosaurs, or that teeth are given to you by magical pixies, or that christmas trees are actually security guards sent by a sky duck to protect you from invading midgets”.

    If he had said that… he wouldn’t be literally saying that climate deniers believe the tree-security-duck-midget story. He would be saying that he believes the stories are equally absurd.

    OK.

    But his first polemical tack was referencing the molestation and rape of children.

    Make of that what you will.

    I make of it that a vicious left-wing troglodyte is comparing the zero-danger of Doing Nothing about (a now halted) “global warming” with the danger to children of trivialising child abuse. These are, he affirms, exactly equal.

    Let’s ask witnesses at the Royal Commission if they feel as endangered by Lord Monckton’s speeches as they were by the men who raped them.

  57. Dalex

    Gab:Robyn Williams:
    “He has an honours degree in biology. He does not have qualifications in physics, climatology or earth-sciences”

    Therefore, not qualified to speak authoritatively on climate change, but
    Windschuttle:
    “Moreover, since when did paedophilia join the ranks of “other science-based issues”? What is scientific about it? There is no gene for paedophilia. It is a sexual preference, not a biological attribute”.

    Apparently Sinclair, and Gab, think that BA (History) and MA (Politics) are acceptable qualifications for Windschuttle to pronounce on genetics and sexual psychology.

    Williams is not the only one not thinking clearly.

  58. Paul

    ABC and SBS giving a big leg-up to the Climate Commission in their fight to retain their privileges and funding.

  59. Keith

    Maybe instead of casting aspersions and employing stupid similes, Williams could set about proving AGW, rather than denigrate people who have simply started out asking for proof. They’re still asking, despite FOUR IPCC reports, and counting (and the mountains of crap ‘science’ behind them). Would seem a better use of his time, rather than having to defend his own stupidity.
    On a brighter note, I see James Hansen (the guy whose predictions are failing so miserably) has announced his retirement from NASA. May this be the start of a new trend of resignations from our compromised institutions, particularly in the meathead divisions of ANU, UNSW, and UWA. Oh, and not forgetting CSIRO, DCCC, etc, etc, etc.

  60. Paul

    “Seems like he was drawing an analogy”

    Not long ago they were comparing climate change “denial” (their word) with holocaust denial. Just an analogy?

  61. Driftforge

    If he had said that… he wouldn’t be literally saying that climate deniers believe the tree-security-duck-midget story.

    If he had said that, he wouldn’t be in the trouble he is in now. The difference is is believability; no one thinks he believes in the tree security duck midget.

    Quite a proportion believe he thinks of climate realists as paedophiles.

  62. cohenite

    Williams said people who are sceptical about AGW are the same as advocates of paedophilia and crack smoking; that’s not as bad as saying sceptics are paedophiles but it is still a gross imputation which is actionable.

    Apart from that we have a public employee making outrageous insults against genuine sceptics of a failed theory; it is just another example of the ABC not being held to account for its manifest bias.

    If litigation was begun against Williams the abc should be joined; but again, who is going to put their hand up.

  63. manalive

    Interesting thread.
    Compare and contrast the following statements:
    A) NOW what if I told you that asbestos is an excellent inhalant for those with asthma? Or that smoking crack is a normal part, and a healthy one, of teenage life and to be encouraged? You’d rightly find it outrageous. But there have been similar statements coming out of inexpert mouths again and again in recent times, distorting the science (of climate change).
    B) NOW what if I told you pedophilia is good for children You’d rightly find it outrageous. But there have been similar statements coming out of inexpert mouths again and again in recent times, distorting the science (of climate change).
    Referring back to Sinclair Davidson (9.27 pm) A) is totally implausible, ridiculous — I have never read anyone suggest anything remotely similar to the examples cited.
    However B), an abhorrent idea to most people, has been suggested from time to time, usually by pedophiles themselves.
    It’s clear to me that Williams was attempting to smear so called climate sceptics by comparing them to pedophiles but tried to camouflage it in a cowardly fashion.

  64. cohenite

    Exactly manalive, which is why Williams’ statement is, IMO, actionable, in relation to all 3 slurs: the crack smoking, the asbestos and the pedophilia.

    As I argue in the comment in moderation for some reason, Williams has not said sceptics are pedophiles or crack smokers or dealers or sellers of asbestos, but he has said that what sceptics say about AGW is the equivalent of people who support pedophilia, crack smoking and asbestos say about pedophilia, crack smoking and asbestos.

    William’s comment is meant to impugn sceptics and tar them with the same brush as those groups who the community regard as being amongst the most abhorrent.

    Arguably the distinction between being and advocating was deliberately used to provide a defence to litigation; we don’t know but it seems a considered comment by Williams done in an environment where no consequences accrue to those who make such vile comments.

  65. dover_beach

    If he had said that… he wouldn’t be literally saying that climate deniers believe the tree-security-duck-midget story. He would be saying that he believes the stories are equally absurd.

    Yes, but he didn’t compare two equally absurd but morally neutral stories, he compared climate change ‘denial’ to what we would all regard as not only absurd but morally culpable disinformation. In other words, Williams is saying: I don’t just disagree with you or think that what you have argued is absurd; I more importantly think that what you have argued is morally evil.

  66. Tapdog

    Don’t think this point has yet been mentioned but….the semantic argument as to whether he did or did not make a direct comparison needs to sit side by side with the reality that merely raising the topic of paedophilia in the same paragraph as climate change deniers has the subliminal effect of creating an association of one with the other.

  67. blogstrop

    Williams wanted to say that being a climate sceptic was outrageous. Right there, regardless of his poor taste in comparative illustrations, he abandoned science and the scientific method in favour of, for want of a better term, burning the witches.
    He disqualified himself from being a fair and reasonable science presenter, and he’s not alone in that.
    Being the ABC, we’ll hear nothing more about it from them unless it’s to defend the indefensible.

  68. I always thought Robyn Williams was that really hairy guy who played Mork from Ork.

    Or was that Rowan Williams? No, hang on, he was that really hairy guy who played the Archbishop of Canterbury in that movie The Anglican Communion Falls To Pieces.

  69. Please refer to the late Robyn Williams as “the late Robyn Williams”. It is disrespectful to his shade to act as if he were still alive.

  70. Driftforge

    I always thought Robyn Williams was that really hairy guy who played Mork from Ork

    I think that one is Robin Williams.

  71. But this one – with a y – is much, much funnier.

    I love it when he does that ‘Nanoo, nanoo’ thing at Keith Windschuttle in the opening credits.

  72. cynical1

    Bloody disgraceful thing to say.

    “In his forty years as an ABC broadcaster”.

    Enough to make an unsuspecting taxpayer vomit…

  73. Andrew

    I thought the most disgusting thing he did on that programme was invite the grub Lewandowski onto it. The paed thing was second.

    Interesting how quickly the ABC censors got to work on the Facebook page that day – deleting comments. You’d never have known there was any controversy.

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