Friday, 20 June 2014

Simon Chapman: "Devoid of any decency and courage"

It's been a good month for speeches in the Australian parliament. First we had George Christensen's wonderful discussion of sock puppet charities and this week we saw a right royal roasting of the twisted sociologist Simon Chapman.

The speech was delivered by John Madigan of the left-wing Democratic Labour Party. Madigan is concerned about people who live near Australia's growing number of wind turbines. As a metropolitan socialist (who makes fun of Madigan's working class roots), Simon Chapman is naturally happy to see wind turbines spring up everywhere regardless of their effect on rural people which, at the very least, amounts to a form of Chinese water torture.

Despite having no relevant qualifications (no change there), Chapman glibly dismisses all complaints of psychological and physical ill health that are reported. His contribution to the debate has been (a) mocking those who say they have been affected, and (b) scouring the internet for any claim anywhere about the effects of wind turbines. He then compiles them in a list which he puts out as a PDF so he can say 'Ha! They say there are an unfeasibly large number of problems caused by wind turbines - what a bunch of loonies!' This is a trick that could be applied to almost any problem, not least the secondhand smoke that Simple Simon has spent a lifetime obsessing over. Scholars of logic will know that the existence of bogus claims does not prove the absence of legitimate claims.

Senator Madigan has grown tired of Chapman's nonsense and launched into a magnificent tirade in parliament on Tuesday. Aside from the long overdue check on Simple Si's credentials, it was amusing to see that, after years of making ad hominem attacks against those who he imagines to be funded by 'industry', he now finds himself accused—rightly or wrongly—of being in the pay of 'Big Wind'.

You can watch it all here, but these are the highlights.

This academic [Chapman] has a track record of making fun of people in regional and rural communities who are sick. He trades in scuttlebutt. He makes consistent attacks on anyone who makes a complaint against his network of corporate buddies. This academic has become the poster boy for an industry which has a reputation for dishonesty and for bullying.

... The wind industry is about one thing in this country: it exists to make people rich at the expense of many rural and regional Australians, their lives and their communities. My investigation shows it does not decrease carbon dioxide, it does not reduce power costs, it does not improve the environment. And this academic in question stands shoulder to shoulder with the wind industry companies and their colourful—and I use that term deliberately—executives. He promotes their products. He attacks their critics. He attends their conferences. He rubs shoulders with their henchmen. He is, in the words of the former member for Hume, Alby Schultz—who was a great campaigner on this issue, I might add—devoid of any decency and courage.

... So when I spoke with Alan Jones onto 2GB on 27 March, I made one simple point. I told Mr Jones we need to be careful about people who profess to be experts in this area. For the benefit of the Senate I repeat what I said in that interview:
'when we talk about people, using the title, using a title, such as Professor, let us be clear crystal clear here Alan. Most people in the community assume that when you use the title Professor, that you are trained in the discipline of which you speak. And I ask people, look and check. What is the person making these proclamations about other people’s health? What is the discipline they are trained in of which they speak? Because most people in the public assume when you speak of an issue of health, that you are trained in the discipline of which you speak, and there are people making pronouncements and denigrating people who are not trained in human health.'
I stand by this statement. It is fair and reasonable to encourage people to look behind the blatant campaigning done by people like Professor Chapman of the University of Sydney.

But it is the statement that has prompted him to threaten me, utilising a law firm that was instrumental in the set-up of Hepburn Wind. He has threatened to sue me for libel over this statement unless I pay him $40,000 plus costs. He has threatened to sue me for libel unless I organise an apology on the website of 2GB and an anti-wind farm website called Stop These Things. He has threatened me with contempt of parliament and a breach of parliamentary privilege if I raise these matters in the Senate. This reaction by Professor Chapman is something that my more experienced parliamentary colleagues have labelled a blatant try-on. It is another attempt by the wind industry to silence me, to scare me off and to intimidate me. It is a case of a Sydney university academic firing shots across the bow of the blacksmith from Ballarat. This is something he has done before now, tweeting about my position on this issue, always in the context of my background as a blacksmith—a background, I add, that I am enormously proud of. I remain one of the wind industry’s most stubborn and outspoken critics. I will not be silenced. I will not give up on the injustice inflicted on people who claim to be impacted by living near turbines. I will not stop. My comments to Alan Jones were a series of rhetorical statements or questions about the assumptions members of the public should be entitled to make when somebody professes to be qualified to speak about an issue of public health. In other words, I was asking people to check that so-called experts on this issue are relevantly trained and qualified. It is a reasonable request. Our media and the internet are crawling with self-appointed experts. Daily we operate in a cacophony of opinion presented as fact.

Professor Chapman has been an outspoken critic of those who have dared to question the wind farm orthodoxy. But is Professor Chapman a medical doctor? Is he legally entitled to examine and treat patients? Is he qualified in acoustics or any other aspect of audiology? Is he a sleep specialist? Does he hold any qualifications in bioacoustics or physiology or neuroscience? How many wind farm victims has he interviewed directly? How many wind farm impacted homes has he visited? Professor Chapman claims to receive no payment from the wind industry. How many wind industry conferences, seminars and events has he spoken at? How many wind industry events has he attended? Writing on the Crikey website in November 2011, Professor Chapman lamented how many conferences do not pay speaker’s fees, and, when one conference organiser refused to pay his hotel bill, he withdrew. This is the same Professor Chapman who was photographed at a campaign launch in Melbourne by the Danish wind turbine manufacturer Vestas. Did Vestas pay your hotel bill and other costs, Professor Chapman? These are reasonable questions—they put in context his actions.

... As a public health academic, Professor Chapman displays a lack of compassion for people who claim to be suffering debilitating effects from pervasive wind turbine noise. Professor Chapman’s undergraduate qualifications were in sociology. His PhD looked into the relationship between cigarette smoke and advertising. I question his expertise, I question his qualifications and I question his unbridled motivation to promote and support the wind industry at the cost of people’s lives, homes and communities. I question Professor Chapman’s lack of interest in speaking with wind industry victims. Professor Chapman has a record of public denigration of victims. I refer to his tweet in February this year about ‘wind farm wing nuts’.

... If Professor Chapman proceeds with this action, I look forward to having him answer in court those questions I have raised here tonight—questions about his qualifications, his expertise and his links with the wind industry financial or otherwise. I look forward to his cross-examination under oath as equally as I look forward to mine. I say this: his action, if it proceeds, is doomed in a legal setting or elsewhere for one reason; it is not based on the truth.

I don't know about you, dear reader, but I really hope this goes to court.


Anonymous said...

From Dave Atherton

Chris, this is my new cause celebre.

This is a summary of my letter that the BMJ published on wind turbines and ill health.

"In Portugal a study from Portugal suggested that foals born near wind turbines developed Equine Flexural Limb Deformities.

Also "Biologist Dr. Lynne Knuth, in a letter to the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin, testified as follows: “The problems with animal reproduction reported in the wind farms in Wisconsin are lack of egg production, problems calving, spontaneous abortion (embryonic mortality), stillbirth, miscarriage and teratogenic effects:

In chickens: Crossed beaks, missing eyeballs, deformities of the skull (sunken eyes), joints of feet/legs bent at odd angles.

In cattle: missing eyes and tails (updated Excerpts from the Final Report of the Township of Lincoln Wind Turbine Moratorium Committee). (4)

In conclusion it is possible in humans wind farm illnesses could be psychogenic. In animals it maybe a bridge too far.

Chris Price said...

The great thing about renewable energy is that most of it is useless. Unless new technology is developeed to store the energy - vanadium mega batteries for example - then the energy itself is useless. It is mostly produced when it isn't needed, and it can't be stored. This is not a blanket statement of course, if you live in a mountainous region with lakes, then both hydro power and pumped storage are abvailable. Most of us don't live in Scotland or the alps though.

Of course, there is a clear benefit to building wind farms. In Sicily it was found they had all been built by the mafia, for the grants. We might equally ask why they are built in the most windless part of the UK, the Thames Estuary; it certainly isn't for the wind. The borough of Wakering nearby, on the north cost of the estuary just beyond Southend, is the only part of the country that is officially designated a desert in some years (it has less than 10 inches of annual rainfall). Where there's no rain there's generally little or no wind. The forst place to build windfarms is the north-west, then the south-west, then the Channel, then the north-east, then the south-east. Unless of course it's not really about the wind.

In any case these things are all but useless until some form of mega-scale storage is developed.

Jackson said...

I've met him. He's adead set for all time prick.

James In Footscray said...

I'm really not sure you'd call the DLP 'left-wing' - 'socially-conservative agrarian socialists' maybe?

Just look at their key policies (including the crazy 'distributist' platform):

1.opposition to abortion, euthanasia and the destruction of human embryos
2.opposition to giving same-sex unions the same status as marriage
3.the economic philosophy of Distributism as an alternative to both socialism and capitalism
4.the decentralisation of power (the principle of subsidiarity)
5.small business for Australian manufacturing and farming
7.sovereignty over Australian land, resources and jobs
8.human rights in West Papua
9.student affairs
10.regional development
11.building up defensive capacity

JohnB said...

Disagree with Crapman and the wafer-thin veneer of civility quickly gives way to reveal the natural vile streak in the man. He is abrasive and obnoxious. He has the social graces of an oaf…… no…. a drunk oaf.

It has to be remembered that this moron of Public Health has been honoured by the State. Indeed. The professional liar….. propagandist for Tobacco Control, Simple Simon Crapman, the snot-nosed antismoker who’s helped society regress over a hundred years to a destructive fanaticism, has been… err… recognized for his “services”. Some of the description is quite hilarious – “distinguished service to medical research” [AHHHHHH HAAA]….. “world-leading academic, researcher, writer, commentator and public health policy advocate” [HEE HEEEEE]. The problem is, it ain’t a joke! It gives a clear indication of the pitiful state of academia, Public Health, and the government health bureaucracy….. and not just in Australia.

Professor Simon Chapman: Officer of the Order of Australia (AO)
Professor Simon Chapman has been awarded an Officer of the Order of Australia for distinguished service to medical research in the area of public health policy.
Professor Chapman is a world-leading academic, researcher, writer, commentator and public health policy advocate, particularly in the field of tobacco control.
He has played a major role in reducing the smoking rate in Australia from 45 per cent on men and 30 per cent of women in 1978 to 15 per cent in all adults today.
Professor Chapman has published over 18 books and major reports as well as over 400 articles in peer-reviewed journals.

“Awards” are a mainstay of the Tobacco Control racket: They keep the massive egos well massaged. It’s an opportunity to sip on a Chardonnay, delicately bite into some hors d’oeuvres, and admire your fellow fraudsters. There must be quite a number of awards nights each year. If you have no talent, ooze mediocrity, and deceptiveness is second-nature, come to TC. We have an award(s) for you.

Now, I don’t mind awarding an award as much as the next guy. The problem here is award category: They’ve got the category all wrong. I wouldn’t mind…. in fact, I’d enthusiastically applaud….. if Simple Simon was given the Crap Merchant of the Last 30 Years or the Prolific Crapper in Public Health award. There, that’s better.

Christopher Snowdon said...

I completely agree - Prof. Simon Chapman does not have the scientific expertise to assess the biological effects allegedly caused by wind turbines. They appear to create frequencies alien to humans and may be the effects are through resonance effects. Prof. Chapman has no idea about these complex phenomena, yet goes on with great arrogance to deny any effects. There are many academics who are promoting industry interests - like the head of the Australian research on biological effects of radiofrequency radiation (microwaves), Prof. Rodney Croft. He is a psychologist and hasn't got a clue about what goes on in cells at molecular level. Yet, he is the expert who is advising people who are suffering from mobile phone radiation and wireless radiation to have treatment for mental illness. It's a totally corrupt world. Shame!