The true cost of acting on the advice of people with no right to give that advice

In my last post I talked about how people who claim to have expertise they don’t have no right to publicly voice an opinion, especially if others will act according to their opinion. My post was focussed on climate change deniers and the role of the internet in giving them a voice, but it dawned on me that I have had a very close experience of the devastating results of just that kind of deception.

On February 22nd, 2011 at 12.51 I was at the gym when the earthquake hit, and I genuinely thought I was going to die.

The CTV building photographed on my phone at 12.55 on Feb 22, 2011. A devastating tragedy that should never have happened.

We got out of the building and one of the first things I saw was the collapsed CTV building, and I remember the horror when I realised that great many people had just died. We were evacuated to a nearby park and I saw two women standing at the hastily erected barriers crying, so I walked up and asked if I could do anything. They were mother and daughter and their son and brother worked in the building, I told them to keep hope and then we prayed together – I desperately hoped that maybe prayers could come true, but I later saw his name on the roll of those who had lost their lives.

Over the months since that day a great many questions have been asked about why a modern building had collapsed so completely and cost 115 lives, and in the process it has been revealed that Gerald Shirtcliff who had supervised the construction had lied about his qualifications and construction experience. In other words despite not being qualified to give a professional opinion, he gave that opinion, and 115 men and women were killed – 115 sons, daughters, fathers, sisters, uncles, friends and colleagues.

There is no difference between what he did and what happens when people who pretend to be climate scientists tell the world that climate change has little or nothing to do with human activity, except the magnitude of the destruction their deceit will lead to.

It could be easily argued that governments and industry should know better, and because their own scientific advisers (overwhelmingly) support the consensus view they should make the decisions that have to be made. Yes, they should, but as long as the public who vote them in and who buy their goods are in doubt about the truth of climate change; or worse still think it’s a scam to raise their taxes, nothing will be done. Nothing will be done because people who have no right to voice opinions on climate change have told the public that there is nothing to worry about because climate change is a scam being used by unscrupulous politicians to rip them off.

Gerald Shirtcliff has been exposed – now it’s time to do the same with the deniers. There is no point in using logic or reason to argue with them because I doubt that many of them actually believe their lies and they are not bound by the moral and logical constraints that the rest of us are. That means that despite knowing that they are wrong they will still conduct their deadly game of deceit, deceit that demands to be exposed.

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3 thoughts on “The true cost of acting on the advice of people with no right to give that advice

  1. “The true cost of acting on the advice of people with no right to give that advice | It makes perfect sense” was in fact a great blog post.
    However, if it possessed more pix this might be perhaps even better.
    Regards ,Agnes

  2. I started to write a comment to your post but couldn’t decide on an appropriate expletive (Wow! OMG! Crikey!) – none of them seemed appropriate or “enough”. I have never experienced anything that could possibly compare to what happened on 22/02/11 in Christchurch – and hope that I never will.

    The knowledge that Gerald Shirtcliff went on to “supervise” buildings in Australia is quite disturbing. I’ve tried not to think about it too much, but if it was possible for one person to fool the system, who’s to say that there are not more major buildings in our country (and yours) that have not had adequate engineering checks.

    Unfortunately, I fear that we will need to experience a real environmental shock before the climate change deniers will be exposed. In North Queensland, cyclones and floods happen; they happen quite regularly, however there are still people who are not prepared for cyclone season because they can’t accept that it could happen to them.

    • I also hope you never experience an earthquake like ours. I remember looking up at a concrete beam twisting above my head and thinking I was going to die, but strangely I wasn’t frightened, I just wanted it to hurry up and be over. Then came the worst part – desperately trying to make contact with my daughter with the cell networks down. The best text I ever got was from her asking if I was OK – she was alive. And then comes living in a disaster zone that won’t come right for at least 10 years.

      I think you’re right about the deniers only shutting up when things really start to collapse, but by then it will be too late. As long as there is someone, somewhere who can argue that climate change is caused by pixies and human activity has nothing to do with it they will continue to sow their toxic lies.

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