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The Forum > Article Comments > Why arenít more people 'factful'? > Comments

Why arenít more people 'factful'? : Comments

By Don Aitkin, published 3/5/2018

Every group Rosling sought answers from saw the world as 'more frightening, more violent, and more hopeless - in short, more dramatic - than it really is'.

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Hi Don,

I've knocked around Indigenous affairs for fifty-odd years and have tried to support positions based on the 'truth', i.e. based on some solid evidence, and no misunderstandings and misrepresentations. It's been a disillusioning journey since so much of the current Indigenous Grand Narrative seems more and more to me to be precisely 'misunderstandings'.

For example, the 'Stolen Generation' assertion: how many cases won in court ? One. Does everybody taken into care have a file in their State Archives ? Very likely. Does it cost anything to find one's file ? Only in terms of hours spent.

And the 'Deaths in Custody' assertion: at the time, thirty-odd years ago, of the Royal Commission, 23 % of all people in custody were Indigenous; 22 % of all deaths in custody were Indigenous. What would one expect ? If only 3 % of all people in custody were Indigenous, then of course we would expect only 3 % or less of all deaths in custody to be Indigenous. Indeed. After all, if only 1 % of those in custody were Indigenous, would we expect no more than 1 % of all deaths in custody to be Indigenous ? Or 3 % ? Surely only 1 %. On there other hand, if 90 % of all people in custody were Indigenous, what should be there regrettably-acceptable rate of deaths in custody who were Indigenous ? 3 % ? No, 90 %.

And so many other 'misunderstandings': I've typed up all of the correspondence of the SA Protector up to 1913, more than eight thousand letters; he was the sole employee of the grandly-named Aborigines Department. He chastises one pastoralist on Cooper's Creek in one letter who has expressed an intention to drive Aboriginal people off his lease; he is reminded that

[TBC]
Posted by Loudmouth, Thursday, 3 May 2018 12:37:23 PM
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[continued]

that he would be breaking the terms of his new lease, which specifies explicitly that Aboriginal people are entitled to use the land as they always had done, foraging, camping, carrying out ceremonies, etc. 'as if this lease had not been made', i.e. a right to Aboriginal people which applies to unallocated Crown Land. That right commenced in the earliest days and is still alive and well in the Environment Act.

The one-man Aborigines Department therefore - as far as one can tell from 8,000 letters - clearly did not condone people being driven off their land; or, for that matter, 'being herded onto Missions', i.e. by the one- and two-man Mission staff, flat out building cottages, teaching, giving out rations and stores, providing medical aid, and supervising farm staff. No Mission, as far as I know, ever had a human-proof fence. People came and went as they pleased.

And of course, he big one: massacres. Amazingly, there have been few forensic investigations of notorious massacre sites. There may have been one recently, south of the Kimberley but that seems to have gone quiet. Why so few ? How can one know without such physical investigations - no of just one or two, of course, but of, say, twenty or fifty ? Surely evidence matters, and the corollary of that is that one can't make definitive statements without it.

So trying to hang on to a Narrative based on truth, evidence and the real world has been increasingly fragile. I want to believe, but truth keeps getting in the way :)

Thanks Don,

Joe Lane
www.firstsources.info
Posted by Loudmouth, Thursday, 3 May 2018 12:41:06 PM
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I think I mostly agree with Rosling. And see where patent pecuniary interest and the truth collide? Pecuniary interests prevail? Thus we see coal-fired advocates unable or unwilling to see climate change! And green advocates almost to a generic man unable or unwilling to accept CARBON FREE nuclear power as the only logical substitute for dispatchable, reliable, affordable, baseload power. Yes, we can do stuff with particle accelerators as some alleged green advocate claim, even as it is as always the most expensive option! They remind one of the political enthusiasts, who never ever let the facts get in the way of their political propaganda! Be it those reminiscing about coal-fired steam power or the other crown who want to depopulate the planet and turn it into a green wilderness where they, non-human species and only they dwell! As if that were actually possible and they as the non-aggressive survivours/dreamers, would actually survive? There's nothing wrong with building dream castles in the clouds, but plenty with moving in, as permanent residents! Alan B.
Posted by Alan B., Thursday, 3 May 2018 1:01:00 PM
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Apologies for the "Grammarly" Corrections. Where the app removed all the paragraphs! And turned crowd into crown. Never happened with Microsoft's word. The only problem with Microsoft's word, you don't own it for life and able to transfer it from device to devise? But pay and pay and pay for the alleged lifetime use of this correction application! Alan B.
Posted by Alan B., Thursday, 3 May 2018 1:09:38 PM
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Rosling had a point. But his point wasn't that because Al Gore exaggerated, humans are not influencing climate. Climate change won't destroy the earth, at least not in the next millennium or so, but it will make it different. One of the big losers in that will be a lot of humans.

As Rosling noted, it turns out that lots of people, even well educated people, are ignorant about the wider world around them. They spend too much time seeking out information that affirms their existing prejudices. This article is a bit of a case in point.
Posted by Agronomist, Thursday, 3 May 2018 1:55:30 PM
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I suspect that there is an evolutionary advantage in being cautiously pessimistic and therefore we ought not to be surprised that whatever we think we know is, on average, more pessimistic than it ought to be.

Of course, if that's correct then we ought to also assume that we are no less ill-informed and/or counter-factually pessimistic than all prior generations.

That things are much better than most think, that things have improved so much more than most think, is hardly disputable. Why most get it wrong is the issue and I'm of the view that we are built that way. How we overcome these deficiencies is an enormous problem and I fret that it can't be done. People don't want to be told to not worry.

Three examples from recent history:

* in the 1980s Julian Simon was saying that the doomsayers who asserted that we were running out of all manner of things like oil, food and various essential metals, were all wrong. That it's a fact we weren't running out of anything, we had never previously run out of any particular resource and that we wouldn't run out of any resources now. Famously he was ridiculed by many of those doomsayers, the most egregious being Paul Ehrlich of 'Population Bomb' fame. He and Simon had a bet that ten resources selected by Ehrlich would be more scarce (as measured by price) ten years hence. Simon won the bet on each of the ten resources selected. Yet Simon is largely unknown and Ehrlich continued to be treated as a prophet.

/cont
Posted by mhaze, Thursday, 3 May 2018 2:05:01 PM
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