Thursday 30 October 2014

Ladies and Gentlemen, the Party of evidence-based science.

The Greens like to claim the mantle of evidence-based science, and especially around climate change.

I knew that they veered away from science on GMOs and instead into the fearmongering realms, and tried to square things with handwaving about the science not being settled and that mandatory consumer labelling was all about consumer choice, but it was always a bit nonsensical. I think some of the anti-fluoridation movement came from there too.

Green MP Steffan Browning's endorsement of homeopathy for Ebola in Africa was more than a bit over the top though. I'd last night seen a webpage advocating homeopathy for Ebola - pretty terrible. The last thing that anybody should want are idiots going around pandemic zones, claiming to be doctors and looking like doctors, but advocating absolute nonsense. There are massive potential reputational externality problems here in which people stop listening to real doctors because they can't tell the difference. Well, that plus the people they'd kill directly.

Matt Nolan keeps wishing for a sane version of the Green Party. One that ditched this kind of garbage and focused on market-based or market-friendly solutions to environmental problems, like carbon pricing, water allocation markets for irrigation, effluent pricing or permitting, congestion charging and the like, without the other baggage.

How insane do the crazy parts of the Green Party have to be before it finally splits or before rational environmentalists start their own party? It's basically the old Alliance Party currently: the amalgam of environmentalists, including a few rational folks, and social justice / conspiracy theory / anti-corporate naturopathic oddballs.

Maybe we need to start with a public information campaign on homeopathic voting. The smaller the mark you put on the ballot, the more powerful it really is. In fact, if you can't even see the mark with the naked eye, it counts for like 50 votes. The vote counting machine knows the strength of your vote by its dilution. Very very lightly bring the marker close to the voting paper, but don't touch it. The memory of the marker ink will be in the circle.

Update: I note that others in the Greens have now clarified that they do not support homeopathy as it is not evidence-based. Good news.


  1. The solution (if you'll pardon the pun) is obvious.

    Send the Green fellow to an ebola infected area of West Africa, with only homeopathic 'remedies' to 'help' him. Film the results.

    This video seems relevant - the Homeopathic A and E.

    How DO people believe this nonsense?
    Homeopathy is a specail breed of nonsense - unlike most 'alternative' cures, they describe a mechanism, one which is demonstrably false.

    I for these people, guess scientific medicine is a victim of its own success, it works so well they take it for granted.

    And they seem to believe their feelings are more important than facts.

  2. the green party does not have a position on vaccine for anti-science and conspiratorially thinking reasons.

  3. Even on climate change, in reality they're only in favour of science that agrees with them. Science that suggests climate sensitivity is about half what we thought 10 years ago, science that suggests there might be some natural stabilisers in the system, or science that suggests that a warmer climate has some benefits as well as downsides - all of that can be ignored. In particular for NZ, science that suggests that modifying our farming techniques could lead to substantial carbon sequestration in soil (and also improve soil quality whilst we're at it, since humus is largely carbon) is not in favour, because the Green preference is to reduce farming.

  4. Here is a good post discussing the Greens anti-science health policies, and their recent move away from it under Kevin Hague.