Academics without a clue. Part 1.

I went to Danny Buchers lecture last night. Unfortunately, it was ten minutes long, not much more than a tweet, and I arrived from the coast about half-way through it. I parked the camry at the front of the uni and took it on hoof. Asked a well dressed lady if she knew where Danny Bucher’s lecture was and she said jump in, I’ll drive you there. Turns out she was on the executive and was full of praise for Danny…..Oh Danny is wonderful, he really knows whats he’s talking about etc etc…I sat there stony faced.
She said, yes Danny is out spokeperson for the media, he does so well.
I said, I noticed.
And isn’t he great? she said.
” I think he’s a disgrace” I said, ” his position has been consistently wrong, his remarks inappropriate. As a so-called expert, he’s a laughing stock and he should resign immediately”.
“Oh”, she said……and there was a long uncomfortable silence between two strangers trapped in a metal box. She pulled up and said, “up the stairs, good luck”.
If Danny presented any kind of philosophical arguments I missed them. What I saw was the usual collection of graphs, out of date stats and a very poor application of reason and muddied understanding.
He showed a graph with an increase in interactions and attacks, and of course, attributed that to population increase.
He admitted that juvenile numbers were increasing but thought that large sharks- the breeders, as he acknowledged- were decreasing. He allowed for this biological improbability whereby numbers of young sharks were increasing in numbers while there parents were decreasing, not by virgin birth or stork drop-offs, but by a theory that it was the adult white sharks that were predating the young and therefore , less adults, more juveniles. He admitted this was merely an (unpublished) theory.

He then went on to say that nets don’t work and used the Glen Orgias example at Bondi to show nets didn’t provide “perfect” protection. Thing is, no-one, not even the most staunch advocate, says they do. They merely say they reduce the rate of attacks and on this the science seems pretty rock solid.
Comparing attacks within netted beaches, to those outside netted one, especially on the north coast and it’s night and day. This is despite netted beaches being at the most populous areas in the state and thus, if the increasing pop=increasing attack theory were true, should be seeing the bulk of the increased attacks.

Obviously, you don’t have to be Einstein to see that something ain’t right with the good Doctors thinking and conclusions here. If nets don’t work to reduce the risk of attacks then we should be seeing the bulk of the attacks where the bulk of the population is………

Population increase for Ballina in the last five years has been modest- fcuk all really, I have the stats somewhere- yet the attack rate has been going through the roof, funnily enough just about the same time as juvenile/sub-adult whites started to become common sightings. Now, you tell me Doctor, what do you think the main causal factor is: the population increase or the increase in white shark numbers? Are you sure Doc? Yes, I know it is the accepted wisdom, but does it fit the facts?
Now in areas of high population, very high population growth and massive beach usage that are netted, we have very low to negligible rates of attack. How do you account for this?

Unfortunately, the talk was cut short, no questions, so I couldn’t ask the Doc these questions directly at the time.

The sun was low when I pulled back off the Bruxner into Ballina and I was so het up I stopped by an old flathead secret spot a bloke at the dump had told me about. There were terns diving either side of an old storm water drain, pelicans and cormorants rounding up fish and a big smoky yellow sun hanging low over the canefields. I bagged three keeper flathead in ten minutes and drove home a bit soothed from this encounter with academia.