Miranda Devine, in yesterday’s Sydney Morning Herald brings us the sad story of how Ian Plimer is being shouted down and silenced:
Human-caused climate change is being “promoted with religious zeal … there are fundamentalist organisations which will do anything to silence critics.” …
It is difficult for non-scientists to engage in the debate over what causes climate change and whether or not it can be stopped by new taxes and slower growth, because dissenting voices are shouted down by true believers in the scientific community who claim they alone have the authority to speak.
The same day in Sydney’s Daily Telegraph Piers Akerman also carried Plimer’s message
Professor Plimer asks why this science is ignored. He would also like to know why the IPCC’s models, used by Rudd and Garnaut to justify policies, do not include the heat and C02 emissions from 85 per cent of the world’s volcanoes, those under the oceans lying along 64,000km of mid-ocean ridges?
He says volcanoes on the floor of the Arctic Ocean heat the Arctic waters, that subglacial volcanoes in Antarctica erupt and exhale heat beneath the ice from hot gas vents and hot springs, but we don’t hear about them or the subglacial lakes and river systems in Antarctica.
Possibly because the total heat flux from the Earth’s interior amounts to just 0.075 Watts per square metre, while incoming solar radiation is 342 Watts per square metre, about 5000 times as much. And human emissions of CO2 are one hundred times that from volcanoes on land and under the sea.
And today the Australian reprinted extracts from Devine’s and Akerman’s columns. And the “shouted down” Plimer wasn’t just in every single daily paper in Sydney. This week Plimer was also on ABC radio telling everyone that volcanoes emit more CO2 than people or the biosphere and touting EG Beck’s work. And earlier this month he was on TV, in the Australian and in the Canberra Times with some alarmist scaremongering about how an emissions trading was a “scam” which would totally destroy the mining industry. And that’s just this month. And “silenced” Plimer has been pumping out such misinformation for years now.
But what really takes the cake in Devine’s piece is this:
He likens the debate to the famous 1990s battle he had in the Federal Court, where he accused an elder of The Hills Bible Church in Baulkham Hills of breaching Australia’s Trade Practices Act by claiming to have found scientific evidence of Noah’s Ark in Turkey.
Plimer says creationists and climate alarmists are quite similar in that “we’re dealing with dogma and people who, when challenged, become quite vicious and irrational”.
You see, Plimer really did try to silence Allen Roberts:
Justice Ronald Sackville queried legal counsel as to whether his court was an appropriate forum for Melbourne academic, Ian Plimer, to sue Allen Roberts, who claims that he discovered Noah’s Ark in Turkey. Professor Plimer, head of earth sciences at Melbourne University, had earlier told the court that Mr Roberts made misleading and deceptive statements about the site in Turkey, in a series of lectures he gave in several capital cities during 1992. He took Mr Roberts to court, seeking an injunction to prevent repetition of the action.
Unlike Plimer, Roberts did not have his nonsense splashed across TV, radio and all the daily papers — he was just giving lectures, but Plimer tried to stop him from giving any more. Fortunately for Plimer there is no danger of someone suing Plimer for making misleading and deceptive statements to promote his new book, because he lost the case and the appeal, thus creating a precedent.
Plimer’s new book Heaven And Earth: The Missing Science Of Global Warming hasn’t been published yet, Jeffrey Shallit’s review of Plimer’s anti-Creationist book gives us some clues as to what his new book will be like.
Plimer’s new book is a shoddily-written polemic that, in places, verges on the hysterical. …
Plimer seems to believe that the battle against creationism is a gutter fight. He correctly observes that many creationists are dishonest (taking quotes out of context, fabricating evidence, ad hominem attacks, etc.), but has indulged in some of the same tactics himself. Plimer thinks the battle against creationism cannot be won by rational debate.
Plimer is certainly right to imply that the preponderance of creationists are so abysmally ignorant and arrogant — a deadly combination — that they cannot be convinced by rational argument. But the creation/evolution debate is not about convincing the creationists. One might as well argue with squid. The debate is about educating the public at large — the same public whose elected representatives pass laws, select textbooks, set curriculums, and fund research. We cannot successfully fight the pseudoscience of creationism by adopting gutter tactics. After all, the creationists have much of the public on their side: polls show strong support for “equal time”, where creationist “theory” and evolution are taught side-by-side. Joe and Mary Average are not going to be convinced of the truth of evolution by rude, squabbling scientists. If science and its conclusions are to remain credible in the eyes of the public, scientists must behave with decorum, be very careful about acknowledging the work of others, avoid ad hominem attacks, and be quick to admit error when proved wrong. Ian Plimer, regrettably, does not seem to understand this.
And that was when he had the science on his side…