Adam Morton asked Ian Plimer where his dodgy Figure 3 came from (my emphasis):

Some of his critics say they are surprised that a former head of the University of Melbourne geology department, with more than 120 published papers to his name, would include unsourced graphs in his book. Asked where he found one graph showing temperatures across the 20th century differing markedly to the data used by the IPCC or the world’s leading climate centres, Plimer says he can not recall.

Gee, imagine what Plimer would have said if some climate scientist had been caught out unable to provide a source for an important graph.

Comments

  1. #1 eddie
    May 1, 2009

    On comparing his fig 3 with the actual graph as shown in your previous post, it appears he has taken the short 5yr dip due to the actual ww2 and exaggerated it’s length to claim it covers the 30yr post-war period.

    Seems that it could only be a deliberate distortion.

  2. #2 dhogaza
    May 1, 2009

    Wow, he actually does this?

    His book challenges claims that six of the warmest years since industrialisation were between 1998 and 2006, instead quoting NASA figures that the hottest four years were in the 1930s. He fails to say in the book that this data is for the US alone.

    Beyond slimey.

  3. #3 Chris S.
    May 1, 2009

    I don’t know if you’ve seen this article from one of Plimer’s colleagues at the University of Adelaide

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2008/04/24/2226189.htm

    I’d like to think Prof. Brook may have pushed a copy under Plimer’s door at some point…

  4. #4 bi -- IJI
    May 1, 2009

    But Clinton Did It Too, so it’s OK! Mars is warming! Cap-and-trade will kill the economy! Obama is a socialist redistributist! More and more Americans are becoming climate skeptics! Urban Heat Islands! Organ Petition!

  5. #5 Dano
    May 1, 2009

    Gee, imagine what Plimer would have said if some climate scientist had been caught out unable to provide a source for an important graph.

    The entire denialosphere/wingnutosphere would come out like cane toads in spring, croaking up a cacophony to denounce all of science and knowledge.

    Best,

    D

  6. #6 eddie
    May 1, 2009

    Hold on…

    …ah ah ahtch-oink!

    Oh dear.

  7. #7 Ken
    May 2, 2009

    I think Plimer is smart enough and understands science well enough to know his arguments are weak at best. He’s also smart enought to know how to extract money from the credulous by writing what they want to hear and want to be true. If he had real scientific arguments to put he would have published them in science journals and had a real impact on actual scientific understanding of climate. Perhaps he has strong idealogical reasons for telling lies for the cause. Or else it’s just about personal money and fame. Does Plimer have kids? Does he fear more for their short term economic security (the costs of acting on climate)than for their children’s security in a world undergoing serious climate change?

  8. #8 michael
    May 2, 2009

    guys please
    your original hypothesis Anthropogenic Global Warming was falsified(CO2 goes up warming flat/down)
    Change the name to Climate Change (who can argue) of course the climnate is changing always has always will.
    the arctic is melting then it is not
    unless we stop all CO2 production by next thursday were doomed.
    clearly the system is extremely complex, accept the data, the original one factor doomsday style hypothesis is fasified.

  9. #9 ScaredAmoeba
    May 2, 2009

    “Ian Plimer ‘can not recall’ where his graph came from.”

    In the absence of supporting evidence, a genuine sceptic will have difficulty in drawing any conclusion, other than the graph is a fiction invented by Plimer himself.

    Let him pull the bones out of that.

  10. #10 Chris O'Neill
    May 2, 2009

    michael:

    your original hypothesis Anthropogenic Global Warming was falsified(CO2 goes up warming flat/down)

    11 years of data a climate does not make. The specification of a climate requires at least 30 years of data. Thus falsification will take at least 30 years of data.

    BTW your statement is a troll as it is irrelevant to Plimer’s shoddy lack of citation.

  11. #11 mark byrne
    May 2, 2009

    Michael,

    Can you explain how the AGW hypothsis was falsified? *Caution you have to know what it is to falsify it.

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2008/05/what-the-ipcc-models-really-say/

  12. #12 Bernard J.
    May 2, 2009

    your original hypothesis Anthropogenic Global Warming was falsified(CO2 goes up warming flat/down)

    Erm, no Michael.

    If you had been present in even the first lesson of Statistics 101 you would know about signals and noise.

    The only thing that you have demonstrated as being falsified is your capacity to argue scientifically, or indeed, your capacity to engage even in a most basic of informed lay style.

    Back to kindergarten with you.

  13. #13 Bernard J.
    May 2, 2009

    Back on thread…

    Considering that the 20th century temperature trend has to be one of the most fundamental aspects to Plimer’s (or anyone’s) discussion of warming, I can only think of two scenarios that might explain his failing memory.

    In the first alternative, to genuinely not be “able to recall” where it came from might simply be a concealment of gross incompetence (in fact checking and in fact documentation) of the gravest sort, in which case the whole scientific basis of Plimer’s case collapses.

    Alternatively, it might be an indication that such recollection does exist, but because he is aware of his graph’s inconsistency with the true trajectory, he is refusing to disclose the source, whether that source is himself or someone else. This is fraud.

    Perhaps Plimer should be taken to court.

  14. #14 Michael
    May 2, 2009

    “guys please your original hypothesis Anthropogenic Global Warming was falsified(CO2 goes up warming flat/down) Change the name to Climate Change (who can argue) of course the climnate….[blah, blah blah]” – michael

    That wasn’t me, I can’t mimic stupidity quite that authentically.

  15. #15 Arachnid
    May 3, 2009

    Consider the published work of Prof Plimer and his obvious experience, not only in debating a topic and defending hypotheses as is “science”, but also in the use of visual aids to help defend said point of view, and like me you may conclude that he is just not that stupid. Perhaps you will sell some more copies of his book through continued pompous conjecture?

  16. #16 bi -- IJI
    May 3, 2009

    Arachnid: The graph may come from nowhere, but hey, it looks nice!

  17. #17 Bernard J.
    May 3, 2009

    Consider the published work of Prof Plimer and his obvious experience, not only in debating a topic and defending hypotheses as is “science”, but also in the use of visual aids to help defend said point of view, and like me you may conclude that he is just not that stupid.

    Actually, Arachnid, unlike you I would not “conclude that he is just not that stupid”.

    I had the (genuine) pleasure of Plimer’s lecturing for first year geology, and when it comes to coal and sedimentary geology he certainly speaks with authority. However, since my undergraduate science degree decades ago I have completed an additional three postgraduate degrees and a diploma, and I have learned a thing or two about scientific research, analysis, and interpretation.

    Plimer’s AGW denialism has nothing to do with his “obvious experience”, and it certainly is not validated by whatever capacity for “debating a topic and defending hypotheses as is [sic] “science”" that he might demonstrate. Experience in a non-related area of science is not an automatic qualification for apparently authoritative commentary in other fields, and neither is an ability (or otherwise) in public speaking. As to “visual aids”, his dodgy portrayal of global temperature trajectory in his ‘figure 3′ is hardly a glowing endorsement of his credibility…

    And with respect to “pompous conjecture”, I rather think that [Tim Lambert's](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2009/04/the_science_is_missing_from_ia.php) and [Barry Brook's](http://bravenewclimate.com/2009/04/23/ian-plimer-heaven-and-earth/) deconstructions, amongst many others, show that the critiques of H&E are rather more solidly based in reality than in speculation.

    If I practiced my own science half as badly as Plimer demonstrates himself to be doing in H&E, not only would I be mortally embarrassed and ashamed of myself, but I’d be out of a job before I knew what hit me. I can only conclude that Plimer has either gone prematurely ‘emeritus’, and has thus wandered into the dreaded realm of scientific “stupidity”, or that he has forgone his ethics and dived for the publicity and the cash.

    If the latter is the case then I might concede that Plimer is “not that stupid” – ethically and scientifically bankrupt, perhaps, but not commercially so. Of course, if he has any regard for his descendants’ welfare, or that of the rest of the human and non-human species on the planet, then commercial savviness would also not stack up against plain old everyday stupidity.

    Whatever the case might be, H&E should be on the same shelves as anything to do with crop circles, alien abductions, homeopathy, flat/hollow earth theories, HIV/AIDS denialand other misguided notions.

    Is is not a book firmly founded in science.

  18. #18 Dano
    May 3, 2009

    Experience in a non-related area of science is not an automatic qualification for apparently authoritative commentary in other fields, and neither is an ability (or otherwise) in public speaking. As to “visual aids”, his dodgy portrayal of global temperature trajectory in his ‘figure 3′ is hardly a glowing endorsement of his credibility…

    But the folk making these assertions would have you believe that they call their auto mechanic to come over and fix their leaky pipes. This is a clear indicator that these people can be ignored.

    Best,

    D

  19. #19 John Mashey
    May 3, 2009

    Bernard J: help me with some history.

    I’m trying to put together a trajectory of belief systems, specifically the different ways people get into anti-science. Of course, anti-AGW views are well represented among a subset of geologists.

    Do you have any idea when Plimer started espousing his current viewpoint?

  20. #20 frankis
    May 3, 2009

    Perhaps Plimer has learned more from arguing against the creationists than they have learned from him. In other words, they won.

    It’s actually clear isn’t it that Plimer’s “debating” tactics in recent days have come from the Creationist playbook? Tim presumably agrees as he’s titled one of these posts after Gish.

    At the moment Plimer would certainly fail a Turing test capable of distinguishing creationists from sentient life.

  21. #21 Lars Karlsson
    May 4, 2009

    To Plimer’s defence, I can say that it is extremely difficult to find an accurate graph of the global temperature. Plimer is an important man – how many seconds do you think he can spare?

  22. #22 DavidK
    May 4, 2009

    Not sure what you’re trying to say Lars, so tried to find out more here and here

    Your comments, and that blog says it all, really.

    Barry is giving you some good advice. Hint: If you want to be a real sceptic like the rest of us, start behaving like one.

  23. #23 Bernard J.
    May 4, 2009

    DavidK.

    When Lars Karlsson said:

    Plimer is an important man – how many seconds do you think he can spare?

    I could only assume that he was being ‘ironic’, in the tradition of Jennifer Marohasy. After all, even the most busy and important scientist in the world would have sufficient “seconds” to spare in order to get the most important graph in his book correct…

  24. #24 Lars Karlsson
    May 4, 2009

    David, Bernard,
    I was being ironic in the genuine sense of the word, and Denial Depot is a satirical blog.

  25. #25 Gaz
    May 4, 2009

    Lars, I got it! Very funny too.

    How sad, though, that such over-the-top satire is so hard to distinguish from the stupid stuff produced by people who are taking themselves seriously.

  26. #26 DavidK
    May 4, 2009

    So help me out here … is that like ‘Socratic irony’? I mean, there’s plenty of data/graphs out there if anyone cares to look (and remember where they sourced it, unlike Plimer). I guess some people just want to make stuff up.

  27. #27 Lars Karlsson
    May 4, 2009

    Gaz,
    yes indeed, compare this to this.

    David,
    Making sure your data are correct is the single most important thing to a scientist. There is absolutely no excuse for that graph.

  28. #28 frankis
    May 4, 2009

    DavidK wakey wakey mate, Lars linked to the correct bl**dy graph himself in his witty first comment, which joke was sadly spoilt by you and Bernard needing to have it explained to you!

    It’s become known as Poe’s Law that parody of a fundamentalist (here denialist or delusional) argument is inevitably going to be mistaken by some woodduck or other (sorry guys!) for the real thing.

    Welcome Lars :)

  29. #29 DavidK
    May 4, 2009

    Agghhh, my head hurts. I’ve had, umm ‘robust dialogue’ with some wingnuts who use NOAA graphs to “prove” the globe is cooling.

    Lars, I owe you one!

  30. #30 Bernard J.
    May 4, 2009

    Frankis – I thought that I was gently explaining to David that Lars was being ironic!

    Personally, I was quite amused by Lars’ comment!

  31. #31 frankis
    May 4, 2009

    Yeah I may just have not been giving you the deserved benefit of the doubt there Bernard, sorry. Trouble is that when you say something about Socratic irony “in the tradition of Jennifer Marohasy”, in an ironically complimentary way about a comment that you genuinely do intend to compliment, your level of irony has gone deep there my friend :)

    Bernard, carry on doing what you do around here thanks. You too DavidK :)

  32. #32 clarencegirl
    May 5, 2009

    The cane toads are croaking in the letters column of our local newspaper about that great scientist, Ian Pilmer.
    I noticed that the publishing company Connor Court [www.connorcourt.com] doesn’t claim this latest book as coming from its own stable and cites Pilmer as the manufacturer of the book “Heaven and Earth”.
    Does this mean that he self-published now?

  33. #33 freespeech
    May 6, 2009

    A graph?
    Perhaps you might want to comment on where the data to Albany University’s Professor Wang’s UHI paper came from. It’s been 11 years and he still hasn’t produced it despite many requests. But he’s a climate scientist so he gets a free pass.

  34. #34 bi -- IJI
    May 6, 2009

    freespeech:

    Which paper is that? Oh, right, you Can Not Recall either.

  35. #35 sod
    May 6, 2009

    Wang W.-C., Zeng Z., Karl T.R. (1990),
    “Urban heat islands in China”,
    Geophysical Research Letters, 17: 2377–2380.

    http://www.lavoisier.com.au/articles/greenhouse-science/temperature-data/Keenan0807plusRay.pdf

    Jones and Wang have been accused of faking data or making false claims.

  36. #36 Ian Enting
    May 11, 2009

    John Mashey was asking when Plimer started his anti-AGW activity. The earliest I know of was in The Skeptic (published by Australian Sceptics, originally targetted at spoon-bending etc), vol 13 (no. 3) , pp11-17, 1974, where he claims volcanoes are a source of 200 Gt, cf 7 Gt from humans (which presumably means the units are
    Gt of carbon, not Gt of CO2).

  37. #37 Ian Enting
    May 11, 2009

    John Mashey was asking when Plimer began his anti-AGW activity. The earliest that I know of was in The Skeptic (published by Australian sceptics, originally targetted at spoonbending etc), vol 13 (no 3), pp11-17, 1994. This has the claim of 200 Gt/year CO2 from volcanoes c.f. 7 Gt/year from humans, (so presumably his units are Gt of carbon, not Gt of CO2.

  38. #38 Roger Jones
    May 12, 2009

    John Mashey #19

    Plimer’s first outing was at the ABC program Science at the Pub http://www.scienceinthepub.com/inter/scipubvic.html in 1999. He was asked to put a counter view to Ann Henderson-Sellers and did so because all science needs healthy scepticsm (He admitted to not knowing a lot about climate change). This was witnessed by Dave Etheridge, myself and about 80-100 others. His scepticism has since become unhealthy and he knows little more about climate change than he did then.

    Thursday 8 July 1999, SciPub XXIV: `Greenhouse warming is a lot of hot air’ with Professor Ian Plimer, School of Earth Science, University of Melbourne and Professor Ann Henderson-Sellers, Director, Environment, ANSTO and member of National Greenhouse Advisory Panel.

  39. #39 Roger Jones
    May 12, 2009

    Sorry – should amend that – ’cause I suspect that the earlier Skeptics article listed by Ian Enting “nominated” Plimer for the ABC broadcast, but this is the start of his present trajectory that culminated in his latest, most magnificant tome.

  40. #40 Steven Langley
    June 1, 2009

    I suggest that everyone should nominate Ian Plimer for a Bent Spoon Award from the Australian Skeptics. I tried, but so far, no nomination has appeared. If lots of people do it, they’ll have to nominate him and he’ll win! That would permanently damage his credibility with his fans.