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Plimer

December 17th, 2009

This Lateline featuring Ian Plimer and George Monbiot has to be seen to be believed. More from Tim Lambert and from James Farrell at Troppo.

Update I must say the response of those on Plimer’s side of the debate has been thoroughly disappointing. Tribal loyalty might perhaps justify silence in the face of an embarrassing performance like this. On the other hand, no one appears to have the cheek to suggest that Plimer came out looking good, and few on the delusionist side are willing to admit that the most prominent scientist on their side came across as a total fraud.

So we get two lines (a) It was really mean of Jones and Monbiot to keep on demanding that he answer the questions (which had been supplied in writing long in advance) (b) It’s too hard to tell. This is truly pathetic.

And, as I’ve said before, this style of dishonesty, originating with the tobacco lobby’s attempts to obfuscate the health effects of smoking, now permeates right wing discussion of any issue you care to name, from the Iraq war to the Global Financail Crisis. It’s hard to see how any kind of political discussion can be sustained in the face of this kind of thing

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  1. December 17th, 2009 at 15:45 | #1

    I agree, absolutely unbelievable. What do you call someone who states what seem to be falsehoods which he refuses to defend with evidence or argument? Careless? A fool? A liar?

    Monbiot’s questions were responded to with irrelevancy that seemed to be a deliberate attempt to throw smoke on incompetent or deceitful analysis.

    Plimer is testimony to the intellectual bankruptcy of the delusionist movement. Also testimony to problems within the higher education system.

  2. TerjeP (say tay-a)
    December 17th, 2009 at 16:02 | #2

    Monbiot was a waste of space because Tony Jones was asking the same set of questions anyway. Given that the main topic was Plimers heterodox claims I suspect that the only benefit in having Monbiot there was for the theatre of it all. I thought it generated more heat than light.

  3. Donald Oats
    December 17th, 2009 at 16:10 | #3

    Indeed, I staying with some friends in Adelaide when this interview (if that is the right word for it) started on TV. One of my friends had wondered what Plimer was really like – well, Plimer did not disappoint, that’s for sure! Monbiot had his case made by Plimer’s utter refusal to answer even the most simple of questions. Plimer attacked the lack of qualifications of Monbiot: not about answering questions but about Monbiot’s qualifications to pose the questions to Plimer! Come in Number 3, come in number 3, your time is up!

    Plimer knows he is winning in the rural areas and towns so why bother answering a serious scientific question or even an easy one? It raises the question of why he even bothered turning up to Lateline if he wasn’t going to bother properly responding to reasonable questions.

  4. jquiggin
    December 17th, 2009 at 16:14 | #4

    Terje, I’m disappointed that even this unbelievable display of evasion on Plimer’s part can’t elicit anything from you, other than yet more evasion and misdirection.

  5. Alice
    December 17th, 2009 at 16:29 | #5

    @TerjeP (say tay-a)
    Im constantly being disapointed by Terje as well…. Terje has loyalty to libertarianism despite all evidence of sensible policy to the contrary. I could almost agree with your desires for a government “about the same size as we had in 1901″ were it not for all the other irresponsible “lack of interventions” you espouse, down to climate science denialism and almost complete abrogation of progressive taxation initiatives. Even were the government to be smaller Terje, it still has responsibilities to act in the interests of the majority. This is a point you appear to fail to acknowledge.

  6. Alicia
    December 17th, 2009 at 17:21 | #6

    Heh I just watched this.

    It’s obvious Plimer doesn’t believe a word he’s saying.

    It’s obvious he is lying.

    It’s obvious the man is wholly owned and bought by King Coal. We know all this apart from the content of what he’s saying, from his voice, demeanor and eyes. LOL!

    I’m sending this everywhere.

  7. John H
    December 17th, 2009 at 17:28 | #7

    Plimer was pathetic. He sounded more like someone protecting his directorship on various mining companies than putting forward a reasoned argument. Yeah, he makes lots of mullah of those directorships. Has he ever declared this?

  8. Freelander
    December 17th, 2009 at 17:37 | #8

    People like Plimer typically have an incredible level of narcissistically fuelled conceit. This seems to be a defining characteristic of those in the denialist (and libertarian) movement. That is why they hold to cranky ‘original’ views in the face of obvious refutation and despite apparently being equipped, intellectually, to see that they are wrong. (It is also why someone like Plimer wants to win, against Monbiot, not with his evidence and arguments, but on the basis of his ‘qualifications’.) Taking a cranky view gives them a level of fame they would not obtain otherwise. They believe they are special. And they want the world to know it. But they are special. But not in the way they think. It would simply be sad, were it not for the harm they are doing.

  9. Glenn Tamblyn
    December 17th, 2009 at 17:46 | #9

    I actually think that Ian Plimer may have lost it. His language and inability to argue a case seem very telling. He and Monbiot have been ‘dancing’ with each other for some time and you would think that surely Plimer would come to an interview with his adversary well prepared, whether with evidence or high quality subterfuge. But he actually ended up looking rather pathetic.

    Plimer fought a good fight against Creationists years ago, but you have to wonder about his underlying psychological makeup. Does he actually live in the same world as us.

    A far more dangerous AGW denialist, precisely because he can do ‘high quality subterfuge’ is Bob Carter. And his willingness to start doing the rounds among conservative politicians rather than jetting off to ‘alternative’ Copenhagen conferences is telling. Carter focuses on where he can do the most damage, not just grandstand to try and sell books.

  10. Glenn Tamblyn
    December 17th, 2009 at 17:57 | #10

    @Freelander

    Yes Freelander. The snaps at Monbiot as just a journalist where as he is a scientist and the snap at ‘young man’ – Afronted self-rightious pomposity. Its a trait I have seen in any live interview I have seen with him. A smirking smile, and the pronouncement from on high from the great professor. His on-line responce to Monbiots set of questions was rude patronising insult from ‘the great man’ putting down a rude upstart. Its almost as if he feels he doesn’t have to justify his words. The Professor has Spoken

    I think there may be a lot going on in Ian Plimers head. But not much of it is about Science. And a lot of it is about Ian Plimer.

    Sad really.

  11. December 17th, 2009 at 18:04 | #11

    I watched it online this afternoon. I agree with Terje. Both sides used obfuscation and at least one side used smear and I am now none the wiser.

  12. Donald Oats
    December 17th, 2009 at 18:11 | #12

    @John H
    Ian Plimer has declared three directorships of mining and/or mining related companies. From the inside flap of his book, where he declares them (at least he does declare them):
    CBH Resources Ltd, Ivanhoe Australia Ltd, and Kefi Minerals plc. He has also worked for North Broken Hill Ltd.

    What is more important is the around-the-world tours and outback trips he takes. While people don’t see him on mass, those that do remember the simplistic slogans he dispatches, and they repeat them at dinner, at the pub, and out with mates. That is how the half-baked denial of AGW is spread. It isn’t from a rational analysis of the greenhouse effect and myriad other details. It spreads the same way many other ideas spread.

    The only fix for this is to do the same kind of tours, visiting people in rural areas and giving them an unvarnished but straight-forward picture with lots of catchy-but-honest slogans to displace the Plimertism that has taken hold. He is not the only one doing these tours, by the way. Interestingly the coalition has been assisting the process. Time will reveal all.

  13. Donald Oats
    December 17th, 2009 at 18:12 | #13

    @Glenn Tamblyn
    With regards to Carter: exactly.

  14. Alice
    December 17th, 2009 at 18:20 | #14

    @Senexx
    Only one side used obfuscation and smear Senexx. But obfuscation and smear are both polite words for a pack of absolute lies…and that was Plimer’s contribution to the debate.

    If you are none the wiser, it is entirely your own intellectual shortcomings.

  15. Donald Oats
    December 17th, 2009 at 18:24 | #15

    @Senexx

    How did George Monbiot use obfuscation? I remember he had to insist on Plimer answering the question repeatedly, specifically because Plimer would sweave, equivocate, invoke the great ad homenim, smirk, and worst of all, simply repeat lies as stated by Monbiot. The evidence of this is amply documented across the internet and in scientific articles.

    What is so sad is that there are a number of arguments that Plimer could have presented on their merits, based on available evidence, that would make sense. They might turn out to be incorrect in the end, but that would be the scientific approach to investigating climate science. Instead Plimer chooses a combination of rhetoric and leading people to draw an incorrect conclusion on things he knows (as a professional and practising Academic Lecturer in Geology for goodness sake) are simply false on all available evidence.

  16. Alice
    December 17th, 2009 at 18:30 | #16

    @Donald Oats
    Don – twist, turn, duck, weave, squirm, avoid evidence, avoid giving references, slime his way out, use a patronising derisive tone, in short try every trick in the devils book except the truth or facts (but then thats not ib the devils handbvooks) – you know something ? Plimer reminds me of some libertarians in here?

    Well I know where Plimer will end up if there is a god, but then people like Plimer probably thinks they can twist people’s views against god and get paid for it along the way, anyway.

  17. Alicia
    December 17th, 2009 at 18:45 | #17

    Plimer used the classic tactic of bullies since time immemorial which is to accuse those who he in fact is bullying of acting “inappropriately” (loathsome word), or rudely, in this case Monbiot firstly and then his mental audience.

    Which as we all know are most viewers of this interview in their untold numbers whom it’s fair to guess are not climate change refuseniks like this mining industry courtier and patsy but concerned citizens aghast at and rightly contemptuous of this craven bully’s grotesque and transparent theatrics.

  18. Freelander
    December 17th, 2009 at 18:57 | #18

    @Donald Oats
    Someone like Plimer would be almost unable to resist his directorships because they are evidence of ‘what an important person he is’. A very sad display with Monbiot. I must agree with Glenn. There may be a lot going on in Plimer’s head.

  19. Alice
    December 17th, 2009 at 19:04 | #19

    @Alicia
    Alicia – Plimer employed the hackneyed authoritarian patriarch routine so favoured by hired business lobbyists…

  20. Alicia
    December 17th, 2009 at 20:05 | #20

    Unfortunately for Plimer and blessedly for us the shrill, condescending authoritarian patriarch routine goes down today with women of all ages about as well as does Tony Abbott’s lewd and lame attempts to wind around our ovaries his sticky rosaries.

  21. paul walter
    December 17th, 2009 at 20:18 | #21

    The Monbiot-Plimer stoush was a set piece, don’t forget.
    For months a debate has been in the offing, involving these two. After much obfuscation mainly apparently from Plimer, the thing has happened, but not under the revealing glare of British TV as originally proposed.
    My guess is Plimer was giving it a trial run, to see if he could cope with Monbiot.
    I do not think there will be a debate on BBC, after “Lateline”.

  22. Alicia
    December 17th, 2009 at 20:22 | #22

    Paul this will have gone all around the world.

    Plimer’s involuntary rabbit in the headlights performance is polemical gold. It’s chortle territory for us.

  23. Alice
    December 17th, 2009 at 20:27 | #23

    @paul walter
    I dont think so either Paul – Monbiot came off looking heaps more normal and sane (mainly because he is)….. I doubt Plimer, who is pretty damn sneaky and pretty self absorbed, even with his self interested arrogance / studied ignorance, will be backing back up for another shot at Monbiot.

  24. nanks
    December 17th, 2009 at 20:40 | #24

    I thought Plimer started well and did a great job keeping calm and might have won the debate in the eyes of people who are susceptible to denialist rubbish. However, by the time his evasions piled up he looked hopeless and only someone utterly committed to denial could have remained convinced by his performance. Well done Jones and Monbiot.

  25. paul walter
    December 17th, 2009 at 20:41 | #25

    Bugger, just lost a post.
    But you all have apparently discussed already Terje ‘s appallingly misleading comment, already, so now I need not worry. Thanks.

  26. James Farrell
    December 17th, 2009 at 20:42 | #26

    Not on Britsh TV. But it didn’t take long for Monbiot to report back to his followers, and he has an enormous following. They’ll all watch the video.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/georgemonbiot/2009/dec/16/ian-plimer-versus-george-monbiot

  27. Alice
    December 17th, 2009 at 20:53 | #27

    @nanks
    Good summary Nanks…pretty well agree..he sunk as it went on.

  28. December 17th, 2009 at 21:32 | #28

    What kind of a name is Monbiot, is it French for left wing F wit scum? One thing he made abundantly clear is that he certainly is not a scientist, as he knows F-all about science.

  29. Alice
    December 17th, 2009 at 21:37 | #29

    Oh no – we have woken up the living dead of denialism….

  30. Chris O’Neill
    December 17th, 2009 at 21:37 | #30

    Senexx:

    I watched it online this afternoon. I agree with Terje. Both sides used obfuscation and at least one side used smear and I am now none the wiser.

    It’s worth pointing out Plimer’s worst or second worst lie highlighted in his “debate” with Monbiot is where Monbiot asks Plimer about his corrupted quotation of a statement in one of Charles Keller’s recent papers. Monbiot says Keller’s paper says:

    “The recent data from satellites and radiosondes blows away the contention that there has been no further warming.”

    and Monbiot points out that Plimer corrupted this to:

    “The recent data from satellites and radiosondes shows that there has been no further warming.”

    When asked why he made this corruption, Plimer goes off on a tangent and starts talking about the difficulties in measuring temperatures using satellites.

    This is Plimer’s standard procedure. When asked about one of his lies or misinformation, he ignores the question and starts talking about a peripheral issue.

    I am astounded that Senexx is none the wiser about Plimer after this and that TerjeP thinks Jones was asking the same questions.

  31. December 17th, 2009 at 21:38 | #31

    @Alice I am a mere layman trying to understand the subject. I recognise my considerable intellectual shortcomings on this issue. Thank you for your response.

  32. December 17th, 2009 at 21:42 | #32

    @Chris O’Neill

    They both caved to ad hominem attacks detracting from the issue. I am none the wiser on the issue. Many thanks for your response.

  33. December 17th, 2009 at 21:42 | #33

    Sorry, new link needed.

  34. Alice
    December 17th, 2009 at 21:42 | #34

    The zombies have come out to play…..Tony – is that left wing F scum you object to, or science? I suggest you go back to the USSR if you want to fight the commies (and those poor people were victims of a fascist regime anyway).

    Just go to bed….and say to yourself …there is no “red threat” and “climate change is real” and in a few days you will be fine and over your hallucinations.

  35. Alice
    December 17th, 2009 at 21:43 | #35

    @Senexx
    Thats OK Senexx – just trying to help out.

  36. Alice
    December 17th, 2009 at 21:45 | #36

    @Senexx
    Senexx – when the only person in this blog you agree with is Terje (the minority) I can assure you, you dont fool any of us. You are no layman so cut the crap.

  37. Alice
    December 17th, 2009 at 21:48 | #37

    First sign of a troll – an apology or a note of thanks for pointing out their ignorance.

    Its so predicatble.

  38. December 17th, 2009 at 21:49 | #38

    “climate change is real” Alice the climate has always changed, whats new?

  39. Alice
    December 17th, 2009 at 21:51 | #39

    @Tony G
    Tony – you know and I know the climate is cahinging but you are not.

  40. Alice
    December 17th, 2009 at 21:51 | #40

    @Tony G
    Tony – you know and I know the climate is changing but you, unfortunately, will not.

  41. Alice
    December 17th, 2009 at 21:57 | #41

    Two trolls in one night – its almost too much fun!

  42. Louis Hissink
    December 17th, 2009 at 21:58 | #42

    quiggin,

    a more professional reporting of the program would be useful. but as a Fabian delusionist, your delivery into the public domain was predictable.

  43. December 17th, 2009 at 22:01 | #43

    Alice we finally agree on something, yes the climate is changing, it is nothing new, it has always changed and it will continue to do so. There is nothing you or I or anybody else can do about it.

  44. Michael
    December 17th, 2009 at 22:03 | #44

    Tony G :
    What kind of a name is Monbiot, is it French for left wing F wit scum? One thing he made abundantly clear is that he certainly is not a scientist, as he knows F-all about science.

    Proves it takes one to know one.

  45. December 17th, 2009 at 22:05 | #45

    Michael Are U 1?

  46. fred
    December 17th, 2009 at 22:08 | #46

    Senexx
    I posted this [see below] at Oz Election Forum, addressed to another person, yesterday.
    You posted today in the same thread [on a different point].
    Later still today you made your comment #11 above .

    I am hurt and disappointed that I offer such pearls of wisdom and perspicacity and you either do not bother to read them or read and ignore.

    “Monbiot was ‘rude’ because Plimer was all over the shop filibustering and dropping red herrings because he could not deny that he had written lies in his book.
    When confronted with his deliberate misquoting of a referenced text, the error re volcanic gases which the US Vulcanism authorities specifically refuted and the blatant deception of using 1998 as the base point for his clearly false claim of the earth actually cooling in the last decade, Plimer resorted to obvious bluster in an attempt to cover up.
    He was ‘called’ on it.
    As he should be.”

  47. Freelander
    December 17th, 2009 at 22:25 | #47

    @Tony G
    Interesting how members of the ‘dead pillocks society’ once trained to mumble on with some meaningless prattle, for example, “the climate is changing, it is nothing new, it has always changed and it will continue …” do so with boring rapidity. Wouldn’t it be nice if they could be more entertaining? Is that asking to much? For example, if suggesting that Monbiot is of French extraction, could we at least hear something, again, like “cheese loving surrender monkey”? Please?

  48. Michael
    December 17th, 2009 at 22:29 | #48

    @Tony G
    Yeah Tony G, is that all you’ve got? Pretty lame.

  49. December 17th, 2009 at 22:43 | #49

    “the blatant deception of using 1998 as the base point for his clearly false claim of the earth actually cooling in the last decade, ”

    So to you people out there freezing your balls off, the world isn’t cooler than it was in 1998, disregard what your your thermometers say, the temperature was not hotter in 1998 than it is now and Monbiot is not a cochon.

  50. paul walter
    December 17th, 2009 at 22:50 | #50

    Re James Farrell’s comment (thanks for link), the one thing Monbiot neglected to mention in that summary the eventual rightist retreat to the back foot, in the form of claims or insinuations of environmentalist conspiracies and mafias, to venally corner the market on research grants, etc.
    And, as for what they’d do to the poor farmers, why that was too horrifying to contemplate.
    This is because this has me in mind of other comments above relating to Plimer’s own outside “interests”, outside his “day job”.

  51. Ken Miles
    December 17th, 2009 at 23:00 | #51

    I’m not normally a fan of Monbiot, but he absolutely wiped away any residual claim to intellectual honesty that Plimer may have had.

  52. Chris O’Neill
    December 17th, 2009 at 23:04 | #52

    Senexx:

    They both caved to ad hominem attacks detracting from the issue. I am none the wiser on the issue.

    Ad hom: You are wrong because you are an idiot.

    Not ad hom: You are wrong because of X, Y, Z. By the way, you are an idiot.

    Monbiot did not make an ad hom argument against Plimer. That you think he did destroys your credibility. Saying you are none the wiser just means you’re being dishonest.

  53. nanks
    December 17th, 2009 at 23:11 | #53

    Chris O’Neill :
    Senexx:

    Saying you are none the wiser just means you’re being dishonest.

    I dunno Chris – I’m thinking Senexx is often telling the truth about that one. :)

  54. snuh
    December 17th, 2009 at 23:19 | #54

    i remember george monbiot as a minor player in the pre-9/11 “global justice” movement. although i was sympathetic to his views, he never seemed to me to be particularly capable or smart. he seemed a bit of a lightweight, really. i winced when tim blair started calling him “moonbot” or something similar (i can’t remember exactly what), partly because of my recognition that such a mean label was not entirely underserved.

    so for me, the fact that monbiot holds his own and indeed scores points against plimer is extremely telling.

  55. Marginal Notes
    December 17th, 2009 at 23:50 | #55

    I thought the similarity between Plimer’s opening claims about world leaders wanting to get their sticky hands on all this money were eerily similar to Abbot’s parroting about a “great big tax” providing a slush fund for Labor. What is the genealogy of this talking point?

  56. Ubiquity
    December 18th, 2009 at 00:30 | #56

    Fabulous debate, Monbiot won hands down. I hope Plimer took his blood pressure pills.

    A debate

    “Though logical consistency, factual accuracy and some degree of emotional appeal to the audience are important elements of the art of persuasion, in debating, one side often prevails over the other side by presenting a superior “context” and/or framework of the issue, which is far more subtle and strategic”

    Monbiot won on most counts when it came to emotional appeal and a “superior context”. Monbiot: Mr Plimer please explain climate change, yes or no sir three bags full sir, come on, answer the question, Yeh answer monbiot question Plimer. Stop dodging the question you fraud. Plimer: but, but…….. explaining climate change well its like the ATP cycle you see not a multichoice question. Monbiot: You Fraud, answer the question with all due respect sir.

    Monbiot should stick to journalism,hollywood style, stay out of the science except the propaganda version you know the yes or no, good or bad, truth and morality version. Plimer should stick to geology, no more climate change debates without a crash course in debating for dummies.

    The winner, Lateline, followed by a close second the climate tax revolutionaries and the deniers dead last.

    Now, what a about the science ? That interview contributed nothing to the science but plenty positive Karma for the Climate Change supporters and as much as I had wished in my Bio exam that I could just give a yes or no to the ATP cycle question, I had to draw the damn thing otherwise I would have recieved an F for fail in the science.

  57. Chris O’Neill
    December 18th, 2009 at 00:48 | #57

    Tony G:

    So to you people out there freezing your balls off, the world isn’t cooler than it was in 1998, disregard what your your thermometers say, the temperature was not hotter in 1998 than it is now

    The thermometers say the temperature was not hotter in 1998 than it is now (over the 12 months to November). The 1998 anomaly was 0.56°C and so was the average anomaly for the 12 months to November 2009. Given that 1998 had a massive El Niño and the beginning of 2009 had a La Niña, this is quite remarkable.

    I wonder what Tony’s point is? He seemed to be starting irony but then just talked the truth.

  58. paul walter
    December 18th, 2009 at 01:09 | #58

    Ohhh, f’chrissakes, that was all covered on Latteline the other night.
    Come on Tony, brighten up and stop leading with your chin, mate.

  59. rog
    December 18th, 2009 at 06:40 | #59

    It wasnt Plimer -vs- Monbiot it was Plimer -vs- Plimer and Plimer lost.

    Plimer was asked by Monbiot to confirm specific assertions and references to those assertions made in his book and Plimer declined the opportunity to do so.

    I was wondering if Plimer has read his book?

  60. gerard
    December 18th, 2009 at 07:07 | #60

    They both caved to ad hominem attacks detracting from the issue. I am none the wiser on the issue.

    as an online discussion grows longer, the probability of someone using the term “ad hominem” incorrectly converges to 1.

  61. Salient Green
    December 18th, 2009 at 07:10 | #61

    Plimer is just out to sell a book and is prepared to lie to do it. How many times did he wave the thing around or call attention to it during the interview? Not only has he guaranteed sales from the nimbus brains on the wrong side of the science – the deniers, delusionists and delayers – but he has continued sales from the correct side of the science who need to refute his nonsense. The smug pric’s laughing all the way to the bank.

  62. nanks
    December 18th, 2009 at 07:33 | #62

    Salient Green :
    Plimer is just out to sell a book and …The smug pric’s laughing all the way to the bank.

    my daughter works in a book store (big chain) – she says they are selling stacks of Plimer

  63. TerjeP (say tay-a)
    December 18th, 2009 at 07:41 | #63

    jquiggin :Terje, I’m disappointed that even this unbelievable display of evasion on Plimer’s part can’t elicit anything from you, other than yet more evasion and misdirection.

    John – I have not read Plimers book, I have not followed his arguments. Other than catching the end of a brief interview of him by Phillip Adams on the radio this is the first time I have listened to him. I have on the other hand listened to lots of attacks on him which seem somewhat hysterical. I don’t know if the man is a complete fool or not. I don’t know if he is right or wrong. I would have liked him to answer the question. Perhaps he was being evasive. Perhaps his answer is complex and he needed space to make his case. I didn’t see enough in the interview to draw my own conclusion.

    Yes I would like him to answer the question. Yes I suspect that he can’t do so in a manner that is satisfactory. However I’d like him to have the space to try, otherwise I’ll have to go and read his damn book.

  64. Alice
    December 18th, 2009 at 07:58 | #64

    @nanks
    LOL nanks – quiet, funny and deadly.

  65. Alice
    December 18th, 2009 at 08:03 | #65

    @Salient Green
    Exactly Salient – that damn book never left his hand in the debate and did get waved around at every opportunity. Its a wonder Plimer wasnt wearing an ad board strapped under his double chin over his lily white paunch exclaiming “come in spinners, buy me book” so I can get away from Monbiot and get on with the business of flogging my book to the intellectually challenged.

  66. Alice
    December 18th, 2009 at 08:06 | #66

    Plimer – rat with a gold tooth.

  67. Freelander
    December 18th, 2009 at 08:19 | #67

    @nanks
    Hell. In that case I think I’ll write a climate change denial book. Misquoting, telling lies, outrageous claims, shouldn’t be difficult. I suppose it would require travelling around, being pompous, to promote it. Difficulty woud be keeping a straight face.

  68. Freelander
    December 18th, 2009 at 08:21 | #68

    The book would have to contain small words and large type given that it would be targetted at the hard of thinking.

  69. Freelander
    December 18th, 2009 at 08:25 | #69

    A new variation? A creationist explanation of why AGW is wrong? Why not, targets two hard of thinking markets.

  70. jquiggin
    December 18th, 2009 at 08:27 | #70

    Honestly, Terje, watch the video again. It took Plimer no time at all to come up with the response about the underwater volcanoes. It was only when Jones had him dead to rights on that point that he started dodging. And the other questions he was asked were equally simple and straightforward. Does he still claim that warming ended in 1998? Did he cite the conclusion of a specific paper to say the opposite of the actual conclusion? Plimer didn’t answer any of them because he couldn’t, and he made it obvious that he wouldn’t answer no matter how much airtime he was given.

    Meanwhile as I recall, you jumped on the stolen emails, happy to assume the worst based on selective and misleading quote-mining.

    I hope this is merely self-deception on your part, Terje. You are certainly not deceiving anyone here.

  71. nanks
    December 18th, 2009 at 08:42 | #71

    Freelander :
    A new variation? A creationist explanation of why AGW is wrong? Why not, targets two hard of thinking markets.

    if you can work in a guilt free self-help to wealth angle in there Freelander you are sitting pretty.

  72. Donald Oats
    December 18th, 2009 at 08:58 | #72

    A number of people who have graduated from Australian universities are now very unhappy that a professor, still gainfully employed at one or more universities (lectured this year at Adelaide University, so I am led to believe), could go on TV and radio as well as regular “contributions” to newspapers, and apparently just make stuff up!
    Again and again and again.
    Without any concern by the relevant Australian universities (Melbourne and Adelaide, possibly Newcastle) that this is damaging to their reputations as scientific research and teaching organisations. It no long matters whether Professor Ian Plimer is convinced that AGW is real or that it is not, what matters is that he apparently makes things up!

    Meanwhile, in supreme irony, read the last paragraph of this news article, and if you don’t know who the person is, google them. I don’t want to spoil the irony.

    Don.

    Teacher: “Young Ian Plimer, you have been a naughty boy. Now stay after school and write this on the blackboard one hundred times.”

    Plimer: “I must not make things up, I must not make things up, I must not…”

  73. December 18th, 2009 at 09:00 | #73

    TerjeP: It is actually stupid to suggest Plimer needed “space” on a television program (where time is the constraining factor) to answer a “complex” accusation that he corrupted a quotation. The “space” Plimer needed on Lateline was the short time required to cite the actual quotation he used to prove that he did not corrupt it.
    Are you suggesting Plimer came to the Lateline program without even contemplating that previous claims that he corrupted Charles Keller’s statement would be raised? If he had an answer to them, then one could expect he would come armed with it. It’s called preparation, something a professor should be familiar with.
    I am not surprised that you “didn’t see enough in the interview to draw my own conclusion”. You suspect “he can’t do so in a manner that is satisfactory. However I’d like him to have the space to try, otherwise I’ll have to go and read his damn book”.
    As I understand it the actual corruption of the Keller quotation is made in Plimer’s book. So please tell how will reading the book allow Plimer have the “space” to answer the accusation (made after the book was published) that the quotation was a corruption?
    Let me refresh your short memory span. Chris 0’Neill pointed out at 30 that Monbiot asked Plimer about the corrupted quotation of a statement in one of Charles Keller’s recent papers. Monbiot quoted Keller’s paper as saying: “The recent data from satellites and radiosondes blows away the contention that there has been no further warming.” Monbiot pointed out that Plimer corrupted this to: “The recent data from satellites and radiosondes shows that there has been no further warming.”
    Even the most block-headed Plimer apologist would not attempt your argument that “space” is needed to answer this accusation.

  74. nanks
    December 18th, 2009 at 09:16 | #74

    @Donald Oats
    do you know who brought the charge?

  75. TerjeP (say tay-a)
    December 18th, 2009 at 09:18 | #75

    John – I will watch the interview again. My comment wasn’t an attempt at misdirection and I’m sorry if that is what it seemed. I just thought that if the point of the interview was to challenge Plimers heterodox views then Monbiot wasn’t adding value because he didn’t have any questions to ask that Tony Jones wasn’t asking anyway and he didn’t profess any expertise beyond that of an informed journalist (which is what Tony Jones is). This isn’t a criticism of Monbiot who was clearly just a guest who was sticking to his guns.

    At face value it seems that Plimer made some claims about volcanoes that have been repudiated. He is probably wrong but I’m not informed enough one way or the other to form a strong view. To be properly informed I’d have to read his book (or an extract) so as to understand his actual claim and I’m not that interested in reading his book. I accept that lots of people say he got it wrong.

    I didn’t jump on the leaked emails. I went and read them along with commentary at realclimate and climateaudit and formed my own impressions. My criticism of those involved in climategate is not about them getting things wrong in terms of the science. It is about them using positions of power to deliberately obstructing public criticism and review (both formal peer review and informal public review).

    I notice you didn’t have much to say about climategate other than noting that you were ticked off at my views. Perhaps your own tribal tendancies kept you at bay in terms of debating the substance. I did note that Monbiot had no such problem. He was quite scathing of what the leaked emails reveal. Why do you have so much difficulty arriving at the same conclusion?

  76. TerjeP (say tay-a)
    December 18th, 2009 at 09:32 | #76

    p.s. Your suggestions (repeated) that I am at the whim of tribal loyalties make even less sense when you bring up issues like the Iraq war. I was a vocal opponent of the US invasion and a constant critic of the WMD evidence. I was also critical (and vocally so) of the propaganda that claimed that Saddam deliberately gassed his own people. Graham Young at online opinion gave me an ear full because I repeatedly calling George W Bush a liar. The blogosphere is littered with my views on all this. The notion that I’m wedded to a tribe is a silly debating point merely designed to denigrate and dismiss.

  77. TerjeP (say tay-a)
    December 18th, 2009 at 09:41 | #77

    p.p.s. And if I was really interested in tribal solidarity then I’d spend more time occupying some right wing echo chamber rather than the 30%-40% of my blogging time which is spent in your left wing echo chamber.

  78. jquiggin
    December 18th, 2009 at 09:43 | #78

    I didn’t post about the stolen (not leaked!) emails because I thought I would be too bad tempered about it, but I’ll give some observations

    (a) Those who undertook the theft are criminals, and those who took advantage of it are accessories after the fact. None of those involved have any standing on which to make moral judgements

    (b) Those who relied on “smoking gun” quotes about “tricks” and “hide the decline” were at best showing their ignorance of the way scientists (including economists) talk amongst themselves, and at worst compounding the dishonesty of the original theft

    (c) The suggestion that anything revealed in the stolen emails casts doubt on the validity of the underlying data is similarly false

    (d) The remaining question is whether Phil Jones and others acted improperly by trying to obstruct legitimate (if maliciously motivated) FOI requests. My initial impulse was to dismiss this question along with the rest. But Monbiot, whose judgement I respect and who, as a journalist, naturally takes such issues seriously, concludes that there is a big problem here. Since the issue is under formal investigation, I will wait to see what that investigation yields.

  79. jquiggin
    December 18th, 2009 at 09:46 | #79

    PS: I’m aware that you are not a rank-and-file tribalist, Terje. That’s why I’ve been disappointed in your take on this issue.

    From someone like Graham Young, for example, i would expect nothing less (or nothing more). If black needs to be white for his political purposes, or yellow needs to be purple, he will find a way to make it so.

  80. Freelander
    December 18th, 2009 at 09:58 | #80

    @TerjeP (say tay-a)

    The essence of the critique of Plimer is not that he has ‘heterodox’ views or that he ‘sticks to his guns’. The essence is that he repeatedly tells lies and makes things up and he does that even when his lies and inventions have painstakingly been brought to his attention. The essence of his problem with telling the truth was made blindingly clear by both Tony Jones and Monbiot. Intellectual freedom and freedom of speech should not be a free pass to allow him to persistently tell lies without sufferring criticism.

  81. Donald Oats
    December 18th, 2009 at 11:21 | #81

    @nanks
    Not yet…

    BTW, and I know this is a bit provocative, but any academic who works at a Plimer-free university and who is a bit bored before the Xmas break (probably reserved for marking exams), could always idly daydream about sending a personal Xmas message to a Plimer-infested university’s Public Relations Dept. Wait, isn’t Adelaide University one such example? Indeed it is, according to their very own Staff Directory Services.

    Maybe a message something like:

    “Saw this on ABC Lateline 15th Dec 2009 (Video here), and as a professional academic I simply cannot believe what I saw…” Sure looks good with a direct link to the actual video, just to complete the missive :-)

    That sure would send a message, loud and clear :-P

    But I cannot in good conscience condone such activities, fun though it may be to idly entertain such an idea in a daydreamy moment.

  82. TerjeP (say tay-a)
    December 18th, 2009 at 11:37 | #82

    On climategate:-

    a) Yes the email content was stolen. It is now public domain. It isn’t going to go away. We don’t know if this was a whistleblower or a hacker. The former looks more likely to me given the scale and specificity of what was collected and the care taken to veil certain personal details such as email addresses.

    b) No real argument. However put those quotes in context and they don’t improve. The emails in full paint a dim picture of those involved.

    c) I disagree. Some of the data has been doctored and does not show what it claimed to show. Data sets were spliced and passed off as something different despite public statements by those involved that data sets are never spliced and should never be spliced.

    d) I suspect a lot of things in life come down to whos judgement we trust. I don’t know Monbiot beyond the Plimer interview and a recent article he wrote on climategate. I don’t have a whole lot of faith in the review that is proposed.

  83. Alice
    December 18th, 2009 at 11:41 | #83

    @TerjeP (say tay-a)
    Terje…on some matters you are distinctly tribal if you will pardon me for saying so…somewhat more pleasant and amenable to deal with than the usual tribalist troll…but Terje….you still manage to softly softly peddle quite a few factually incorrect and irresponsible arguments in the interests of tribalism nevertheless, especially on climate science.

    You will probably take my comment as a compliment Terje…but dont fail to detect my disappointment in you, as JQs is evident. Detention on Fridays suggested until you drop the soft peddling of arrant nonsense.

  84. Alice
    December 18th, 2009 at 11:45 | #84

    @TerjeP (say tay-a)
    And Terje – you say this
    “p.p.s. And if I was really interested in tribal solidarity then I’d spend more time occupying some right wing echo chamber rather than the 30%-40% of my blogging time which is spent in your left wing echo chamber.”

    And you know as well as me that the dialogue is mostly male and mostly dry and mostly boring and often rude and often uncivilised in the right wing echo chambers you may have more in common with….

    Enuf said. There are blogs and there are blogs, which is why you are here (dont deny that one!)

  85. ken n
    December 18th, 2009 at 12:12 | #85

    In the update you are drawing a long bow again JQ.
    I did not see the programme (I’m not very interested in the subject) but understand that Plimer was dreadful and, if you say so, I accept that he looked like a fraud.

    From this you draw a line of dishonesty from the tobacco companies through P and his defenders ending up with all discussions involving those on the right – presumably you mean those of your right. You mention the Iraq war and the GFC.
    I don’t know what all those on the right say about the Iraq war. I guess I am one and I believe that Bush/Blair/Howard committed one of the most serious errors a government can commit: going to war of false grounds. Under the Westminster system Blair and Howard should have resigned when it was discovered there were no WMDs.

    I know many at about my point on the L/R spectrum who believe the GFC was caused by a combination of bad government in the US (going back many years) and a failure of bankers and others to price risk properly. I certainly don’t believe that what happened negates all the economic reforms over the past 30 years.

    I have gone on at some length because you tried to put many people, identified by where they are on that spectrum, into your evil and dishonest bucket.

    I have a T shirt that says “I think you will find it’s a bit more complicated than that”. Ben Goldrick was talking of science, particularly medical science, but the observation also applies to economics and politics. And people.

  86. Freelander
    December 18th, 2009 at 12:13 | #86

    @nanks

    How about a book that misquotes Plimer, presenting him as a believer in AGW but otherwise as a leading creationist scientist who believer geology proves the earth is at most 6000 years old? Doctoring quotes from his book shouldn’t be difficult. Its not as though he would have anything to complain about, except for having stolen his MO.

  87. Alice
    December 18th, 2009 at 12:22 | #87

    @Freelander
    I know just the author to do that job Nanks – imagine this – the inimitable Mr Windschuttle tracks through the footnotes and sources of the inimitable Mr Plimer!
    Now where is Windcshuttle when he could actually be usefully employed doing what he is best known for (nitpicking)?

  88. Donald Oats
    December 18th, 2009 at 12:37 | #88

    The Editorial in the UnAustralian on the 17th Dec 2009 is a stunner in bald face bulls**t. Like Plimer, they don’t even seem to care that they are bullsh**tin’. Anyway, read the third-last and second-last paragraphs after watching the Lateline interview – for maximum impact, in that order.

  89. Donald Oats
    December 18th, 2009 at 12:38 | #89

    Dastardly moderation…got me

  90. TerjeP (say tay-a)
    December 18th, 2009 at 12:41 | #90

    Alice – I don’t think the left are less rude than the right. In terms of this blog SJ is forever being rude.

    You probably can’t see it but you are far more tribal than me. And it blinkers your outlook far more than tribalism blinkers mine.

  91. jquiggin
    December 18th, 2009 at 12:42 | #91

    Ken N, the program is linked in the very first line of the post. Please watch it before commenting further.

  92. Ernestine Gross
    December 18th, 2009 at 12:44 | #92

    rog :It wasnt Plimer -vs- Monbiot it was Plimer -vs- Plimer and Plimer lost.
    Plimer was asked by Monbiot to confirm specific assertions and references to those assertions made in his book and Plimer declined the opportunity to do so.
    I was wondering if Plimer has read his book?

    I couldn’t agree more.

    I was amazed when Plimer did not answer the specific questions; Monbiot asserted fabrication and provided Plimer with an explicit opportunity to prove him wrong in public.

  93. James
    December 18th, 2009 at 12:56 | #93

    @TerjeP (say tay-a)
    Rather than read Plimer’s damn book, you could read Ian Enting’s compehensive list of problems with it. Ian is a mathematician at U Melbourne who has published extensively on the mathematics of the carbon cycle, climate simulations, etc.

  94. Alice
    December 18th, 2009 at 13:09 | #94

    @TerjeP (say tay-a)
    I happen to like SJ Terje …plus she is funny and certainly nowhere (nowhere) near as rude as some of the troll drop ins. Sea Bass started out rude but has become much more urbane, but no more accurate, Terje….a bit like yourself come to think of it!

  95. ken
    December 18th, 2009 at 13:09 | #95

    No, JQ, I’m not interested in the programme or Plimer’s book. I accept everything you say about the programme and Plimer.
    My comments were about your remarks that “this style of dishonesty now permeates right wing discussion of any issue” I do not believe that any style of dishonesty permeates right wing (and I identify myself in that category) discussion as a whole.
    There is, I am sure, dishonesty on the left the right and at points in between.
    Broad condemnation of any group, identified by where they are on the spectrum, is careless argument. Often used by some on the right towards the left, I agree, but not good argument wherever it originates.

  96. Alice
    December 18th, 2009 at 13:11 | #96

    @TerjeP (say tay-a)
    I deny that Terje – and at least Im not a climate science denialist.

  97. ken n
    December 18th, 2009 at 13:11 | #97

    The last comment was from me. Dunno why WordPress keeps trying to change my identity.

  98. Alice
    December 18th, 2009 at 13:20 | #98

    @Donald Oats
    Baldfaced Don – I agree – more sickening blatantly biased dishonest news reporting from the sick empire of Murdered Media.

  99. Donald Oats
    December 18th, 2009 at 13:28 | #99

    @Alice

    Well, if Keith Windschuttle goes through Plimer’s ahh footnotes, we know he won’t find any massacres in them.

  100. Socrates
    December 18th, 2009 at 13:32 | #100

    I would agree with Terje that it is futile to argue whether the left is less rude than the right, or vice versa. But that is a side issue.

    That being said, I thought that, even for someone not across the details, Plimer’s inability to answer the questions were damning. I thought his whole performance was very poor. His tactics were not even clever. Attacking the moderator in a pompous fashion is hardly likely to gain one much sympathy from the moderator or the audience. Those who still insist on defending Plimer after that performance obviously have a high personal psychological “investment” in climate change theories being false.

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