Jim Lippard on Plimer

Some people have wondered what happened to Ian Plimer. Before his current anti-science book, didn’t he take it to the creationists in Telling Lies for God? Trouble is, Plimer’s methods have not changed — Telling Lies for God has the same cavalier approach to evidence as Heaven and Earth. Jeffrey Shallit reviewed it and concluded:

Unfortunately, to paraphrase Samuel Johnson, what is good about Plimer’s book is not original, and what is original is not good. … 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.

Jim Lippard shows how the part of Telling Lies for God that is about Lippard is a “dishonest hatchet job”.

Lippard comments on Heaven and Earth:

Some Christians who found Plimer to be worthless as a source on creationism as a result of my critique have nonetheless found him to be a worthwhile source on anthropogenic climate change, such as Bill Muehlenberg and some of the commenters at his CultureWatch blog. This strikes me as an inconsistent position–Plimer has demonstrated unreliability in both debates, and shouldn’t be relied upon as a source for either. That doesn’t mean to ignore what he says, or that everything he says is wrong–it’s just that everything he says needs to be thoroughly checked for accuracy. If it checks out, then it’s better to cite the original source, not Plimer.


  1. #1 Bruce Sharp
    July 15, 2009

    This seems to be a common trait, and I’ve always been a little bewildered by the manner in which many people are willing to ignore the nature of a person’s arguments as soon as they wind up on the same side of the debate. Christopher Hitchens and David Horowitz come to mind. The character of their arguments in favor of Bush et al are no different than the character of their arguments in favor of the Left, years earlier. I suppose human nature makes it hard to be objective; it takes a conscious effort to apply the same skepticism to arguments that appeal to our own biases.

  2. #2 Dave Andrews
    July 15, 2009

    Wow Tim,

    In your desire to denigrate Plimmer you are now relying on a supporter of Creationism. Absolutely, f*****g amazing!!!

  3. #3 Bruce Sharp
    July 15, 2009

    Dave, I apologize if you’re just joking. But in case you aren’t, you might want to read something about Lippard. Or better yet, read something by Lippard.


  4. #4 bluegrue
    July 15, 2009

    Reality calling Dave Andrews! Reality calling Dave Andrews!
    Both [Lippard](http://lippard.blogspot.com/search/label/creationism) and [Shallit](http://pandasthumb.org/archives/author/jeffrey-shallit-1/) are _opposed_ to Creationism.

  5. #5 John Quiggin
    July 15, 2009

    I had a very similar reaction to Telling Lies for God. I remember getting it out of the library, expecting him to give the creationists a good shellacking. But the book was a disappointing and incoherent rant.

    On Hitchens, I reviewed one of his books when he was on “our” side, and had some ambivalence, which I guess I still retain. To some extent, you need gadfly types like this, but the eagerness with which he went after Clinton was an indicator of things to come. I was never aware of Horowitz in his days as a leftist, but you can just see him as the worst kind of grievance-politics, lefter-than-thou kind of radical.

  6. #6 Bruce Sharp
    July 15, 2009

    One of the many unfinished articles cluttering my computer is a bloated, incoherent essay on the nature of arguments. What makes a good argument? What makes a bad argument? Personally, I have a very low tolerance for polemics… but nonetheless, I find myself in grudging agreement with John’s remark that “To some extent, you need gadfly types like this.” What is required to persuade is highly variable. Not only is it variable from one person to the next; it’s also variable based on how much the argument reinforces what we’re predisposed to believe.

  7. #7 GC
    July 15, 2009

    I bought “Telling Lies for God” not long after it came out. It is an hilarious book. There’s parts where Plimer is incoherent with rage. I particularly remember the bit about the cannibals and the koalas. But after reading it, I felt disappointed. It wasn’t a cool hard look at creationism, carefully taking it apart. It was an hysterical, incoherent, sneering rant. I decided I wasn’t going to give it to my creationist brother-in-law; not if I wanted him to change his mind and us to remain on good terms. Of course if he really annoyed me, it would be the perfect gift.

  8. #8 frankis
    July 16, 2009

    Without God to fall back on perhaps Plimer believes he is telling lies for the mining industry, on whose back Australia rides. Maybe any lie told against “greenies” would be a good lie in Plimer’s opinion. Or it might be tit for tat – all the world’s competent climatologists are conspiring to dump on Ian and his delusional bruthas so any lie can be justified in self-defence ‘cos it’s a war out here, mate!

    He’s a one-man scandal.

  9. #9 bi -- IJI
    July 16, 2009

    Shorter Dave Andrews:

    Plimer criticizes creationism, so everything he says is obviously right.

  10. #10 Lance
    July 16, 2009

    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.

    So Deltoid the home of flagrant ad hominem mania is using the argument that Plimer is too mean to discredit him? As far as I can tell the only decorum exercised here is avoiding actual death threats.

    Wow! Talk about hypocricy.

  11. #11 Demesure
    July 16, 2009

    Yeah, Deltoid, specialized in smearing “deniers” and citing someone lecturing that “adhom attack should be avoided”, that’s priceless.
    I’m not sure hypocrisy beats undecency here.

  12. #12 Mark
    July 16, 2009

    Oh, look the trolls are out to play.

    Gruff! Gruff!

    Again they use the “you called me an idiot therefore you’re wrong because it’s an ad-hom attack!!!”

    Nope, you’re told your ideas don’t work and therefore you’re an idiot.

    Oddly enough, the two trolls (who walk along the prom, prom, prom..?) are entering into ad-hom like territory…

  13. #13 Jim Lippard
    July 16, 2009

    Lance, Demesure: You are missing the point if you think ad hominem is the most significant criticism of Plimer. It’s probably the least significant.

    Bruce, bluegrue: Thanks for helping out Dave.

    Tim: Thanks for the quotes and links.

  14. #14 Dave Andrews
    July 16, 2009

    Bruce, bluegrue,

    My bad I misread the first part of the link Tim provided to Lippard’s Telling Lies for God.

    Mind you if you link to his name on that link you get to a site promoting goth scene, vampires, grindhouse etc so perhaps this is not so much better

  15. #15 Jimmy Nightingale
    July 16, 2009

    Re #11

    Ad hominem is about attacking someone’s arguments because of who they are. That should not be confused with attacking someone because their arguments are crap. Lippard is definitely in the latter category.

  16. I wish we could get some of these people to criticize us peak oil pessimists. We don’t seem to attract the wing-nuttiest of the wingnuts that the AGW debate attracts. Something positive to be said about keeping your sabres sharp.

  17. #17 Jim Lippard
    July 17, 2009

    Dave Andrews wrote: “My bad I misread the first part of the link Tim provided to Lippard’s Telling Lies for God.

    Mind you if you link to his name on that link you get to a site promoting goth scene, vampires, grindhouse etc so perhaps this is not so much better.”

    It’s Plimer’s “Telling Lies for God,” not mine, and I’ve no idea what you’re talking about in your last sentence. Which link is that? My blog has never discussed those topics.

  18. #18 Bernard J.
    July 17, 2009

    Dave Andrews’ capacity for literature review (#2, #14) is underwhelming, to put it nicely.

    Perhaps this is a reflection of his reasoning in the formation of his stance on climate science.

    This repeated demonstration of such (absence of) capacity for background research would move me to instantly fail a first-year science undergrad if they presented it in a report or an essay.

  19. #19 Bernard J.
    July 17, 2009

    Jim Lippard’s [link](http://ocean.mit.edu/%7Ecwunsch/papersonline/durkinemails.htm) to a page presenting some correspondence from Durkin is revealing. ‘Objectivity’ is not the first word that comes to mind when reading it.

    Jim, are these exchanges verified as genuine?!

  20. #20 Bernard J.
    July 17, 2009


    If you follow [this link](http://www.discord.org/~lippard/plimer-book.html) and then click on your name you will see what Dave Andrews is talking about.

    It’s pretty obvious that the link is a dodgy one, as it leads to a technical comment about changes to a social network, but obviously it didn’t stop DA from trying to extract some real ad hominem of the guilt-by-association type.

    As I said at #18, Andrews’ capacity for proper and insightful research is seriously underdeveloped. And for those who still struggle to understand the [difference](http://www.helium.com/users/114446), mine is not an ad hom, as it is based upon the evidence that Andrews himself has supplied, and not upon any subjective assessment on my part.


  21. #21 Barton Paul Levenson
    July 17, 2009

    Akashiya Moka voice: “Don’t you like vampires?”

  22. #22 Marion Delgado
    July 17, 2009

    I would say the latest wing of attackers of the NCSE (and of Francis Collins, Chris Mooney, etc.) aren’t so dishonest and are way more intelligent, and experts in the science they debate about, but they share Plimer’s old attitude to a degree.

    The citation by Lippard of Ray Hyman’s “rules” for proper criticism is really, really important. I kind of pamphlet that thing around.

  23. #23 TrueSceptic
    July 17, 2009

    19 Bernard,

    I thought Durkin’s responses in this exchange were common knowledge. Also see [here](http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/science/article1517515.ece). Note that he apologised later.

    (I must be be one of many who was so outraged by TGGWS that I got involved in forums discussing climate change for the first time.)

  24. #24 Bernard J.
    July 17, 2009


    I completely missed the potty-mouthed episodes from Durkin. Seems that I was hiding under a rock when his parody of a Tourette’s sufferer was circulating…

    I’m not sure that later apologies wash the stain away!

  25. #25 Jim Lippard
    July 17, 2009

    Bernard J. (#20): Thanks! That was actual a typo link to a site I have nothing to do with, which I’ve now corrected (discord.com instead of discord.org).

    (#19): To the best of my knowledge, yes–I linked to the collection of emails on Carl Wunsch’s website at MIT. If there’s any doubt, I’m sure a quick answer could be obtained from Simon Singh, Ben Goldacre, or Armand Leroi.

    Barton (#21): Who doesn’t?

    Marion (#22): I actually fall on the side that’s critical of Mooney over accomodationism. For a thoughtful discussion among philosophers, some of whom have no skin in the game on the issue, see Jean Kazez’s blog. (I’m very disappointed that Mooney pointed to my comments on Kazez’s blog where I admitted and apologized for an error as a sign of weakness in my position to be attacked, but declined to engage with the substance.)

  26. #26 Marion Delgado
    July 17, 2009

    Jim, it seems obvious to me that the people most engaging with Mooney, et al. (and who are also, as I said, attacking NCSE and Francis Collins in exactly the same terms) are totally throwing out every piece of advice Ray Hyland had in Proper Criticism.

    People reading the comments can judge for themselves:


  27. #27 TrueSceptic
    July 17, 2009

    24 Bernard,

    I should have put that better: the apology in no way excused the lying creep’s behaviour; it served only to show that he admitted that behaviour (for the benefit of any who might doubt what was said).

    I suppose Durkin/TGGWS was a much bigger deal in the UK, at least until the US denialists got hold of it the programme/DVD.

  28. #28 TrueSceptic
    July 17, 2009

    25 Jim,

    That email exchange was recorded in many places. Wunsch, of course, has a copy because he was disgusted by Durkin’s dishonesty in how he treated Wunsch’s contribution to the original version of TGGWS (I have no idea if it survived later editing).

  29. #29 Dave Andrews
    July 17, 2009

    Bernard J,

    This is a blog not part of whatever course you teach. I have been upfront about the fact I misread the first part of the link, ie I made a mistake and admitted it. How many people do that here?

    However, having reread the article I then clicked on Jim’s name and went to the site I mentioned. I did not go any further because I had no interest in what came up and had no reason to believe it was not a real link. Perhaps Tim should have checked it out before he posted it?

  30. #30 Jim Lippard
    July 18, 2009

    Marion: Compare to this list of questions for Mooney that he hasn’t answered. This list of questions doesn’t violate any of Ray Hyman’s recommendations. It would be nice to see Mooney and Kirshenbaum answer them.


  31. #31 Bernard J.
    July 18, 2009

    Dave Andrews.

    Yes, Deltoid is “only” a blog. However, if you are going to engage in criticism of a person, or of a scientific claim, whether it is on a blog or in a scientific essay/report/monograph, you still need to do a basic level of critical analysis of the material that you draw upon. The fact that you are commenting on a blog does not excuse you in any way from applying the most rigorous of processes in establishing a case. Science is science, and science discussed on a blog does not require ‘critiquing’ corners to be cut, any more than it would in the professional domain.

    And yes, everyone makes typos, and misreads material… however your blithe ploughing-on to a second uncritical interpretation immediately after your first hash indicates someone who is following an ideology, and not a critical deconstruction of the evidence.

    It’s all well and good if that’s the level at which you desire to engage on a topic, but don’t expect to gain any credibility amongst other commentators if you are that sloppy.

    And don’t be surprised when scientists who are expert in their own fields of endeavour point out to you, or to Denialists in general, that the disparagers of AGW are mishandling evidence in the same sloppy fashion.

  32. #32 Marion Delgado
    July 18, 2009


    I would not answer most of those questions myself. I don’t think this thread (or maybe even Deltoid) is the place to go into it further, though.

  33. #33 Lance
    July 18, 2009


    In true spirit of Deltoid you respond to a post about the inappropriateness of ad hominem attacks with an ad hominem attack.

    Thanks for proving my point.

    The article by Jeffery Shallit that Tim quoted criticizes Plimer for his lack of decorum and use of “gutter tactics” too which you respond by calling people idiots.

    Nice work.

  34. #34 Jim Lippard
    July 18, 2009

    Fair enough, Marion.

  35. #35 bi -- IJI
    July 18, 2009

    Shorter Lance:

    I’ll just keep ignoring people’s substantial arguments so that I can repeatedly accuse them of making ad hominem attacks! If I do this again and again, Plimer’s arguments will magically prove themselves!

  36. #36 Marion Delgado
    July 18, 2009

    Even shorter Lance: Comment by Lance blocked. [unkill]​[show comment]

  37. #37 Mark
    July 18, 2009

    Or “They are ad-hom attacks because you’re all nasty people”.

    Which, ironically enough, is ad-hom…

  38. #38 Mark
    July 18, 2009

    No, thank YOU lance for not having one, making any change look like it is a significant one.

    Well done.

  39. #39 Paul
    July 19, 2009

    Anyone want to take on Richard S Courtney or Brian G Valentine?

    They have appeared over at Greenfyres blog.


    Accusations of propaganda etc. are rife.

  40. #40 Bernard J.
    July 19, 2009

    This would be the Brian G Valentine who [said](http://greenfyre.wordpress.com/2009/07/17/new-study-climate-deniers-are-fundamentally-wrong/#comment-3682):

    …the interpretation of the global temperature data from Hadley Centre over the period, 1998-2008 (for which 2008 data are verified), depends on the order of the spline interpolation of the data.

    Least squares reductions of the data show there has been no warming over the period. Higher order spline interpolations show a maximum occurring near 2002.

    Hmmm… shades of [polynomials past](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2009/01/the_australians_war_on_science_32.php).

    Of course, the fact that I am ‘anonymous’ will render completely irrelevant the thrust of my point, in RBV’s opinion. Must be nice (for him, that is) to do ‘science’ in such a random, cherry-picking, and generally uninformed fashion.

  41. #41 Mark
    July 19, 2009

    BGV should then have the figure for this years average then, shouldn’t he.

    What does he reckon the 2009 average is going to be.

    Bet he’s wrong…

  42. #42 guthrie
    July 19, 2009

    Too late, Courtney has run away screaming. I’ve called him a liar, can I call you a witness if he sues me for defamation?

  43. #43 Eamon
    July 19, 2009

    Ah! Brian V who challenged meteorologist Bob Ryan to a Climate Change debate? http://voices.washingtonpost.com/capitalweathergang/2009/03/bob_ryan_earns_praise_debate_c.html

  44. #44 Eamon
    July 19, 2009

    I have no idea what happened there but the piece before the .html should read: bob_ryan_earns_praise_debate_c.html

  45. #45 Eamon
    July 19, 2009

    Crap! Doo! Doggy-doo!


  46. #46 Eamon
    July 19, 2009

    Interesting. Plimer’s book had a pretty negative 1-star review last week on the Amazon.co.uk site. Now it’s gone:

  47. #47 bluegrue
    July 19, 2009

    Eamon, “markdown” is out to get you. You are not the only victim.

    Pairs of underscores turn the text inbetween into italics, that’s what is messing up your URLs. You can either escape the underscores by prepending backslashes like this \\\_ or you can use the markdown syntax for URLs:

    [This is a link to google](http://www.google.com)

    The latter is the better choice for long URLs, IMHO.

    More info can be found following the link above the comment box.

    Eamon’s links:
    [WashPost: Bob Ryan Challenged to Climate Change Debate](http://voices.washingtonpost.com/capitalweathergang/2009/03/bob_ryan_earns_praise_debate_c.html)
    [Plimer on amazon.co.uk](http://www.amazon.co.uk/Heaven-Earth-Warming-Missing-Science/dp/0704371669/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1248025295&sr=8-1)

  48. #48 Tim Lambert
    July 19, 2009
  49. #49 MAB
    July 19, 2009

    Is anyone able to “retreave” the 1 star review?

  50. #50 greenfyre
    July 20, 2009

    re: http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2009/07/jim_lippard_on_plimer.php#comment-1784638

    Thanks Paul, but I’ve done with Courtney now … I left him to after Valentine so that I could take my time with the bludgeon.

    I still haven’t decided if he pissed me off enough to profile him and really expose his crap.
    If anyone is interested … http://greenfyre.wordpress.com/2009/07/17/new-study-climate-deniers-are-fundamentally-wrong/

  51. #51 Paul
    July 20, 2009

    Can’t see your review Tim??

  52. #52 TrueSceptic
    July 20, 2009

    For anyone who hasn’t already done so, I recommend reading the exchange at [Greenfyre](http://greenfyre.wordpress.com/2009/07/17/new-study-climate-deniers-are-fundamentally-wrong/)

    Courtney and Valentine are quite a pair! Courtney is a well known liar, of course, but Valentine appears actually to be insane (yes, in the true sense).

  53. #53 Bernard J.
    July 20, 2009

    I can’t see your review either Tim.

    Seems that someone is either leaning on Amazon, or acting within it to remove unfavourable publicity.

    This is obviously why Plimer wrote a populist book, rather than publishing in peer-reviewed literature. He certainly wouldn’t be able to slither through scientific scrutiny the way he can in the commercial world.

    I’d love to see the reviews that they’ve been taking down.

  54. #54 Bernard J.
    July 20, 2009

    …or maybe Amazon simply moderates reviews before putting them up.

    I spoke hastily!

  55. #55 Paul
    July 20, 2009

    No. 53

    I can see Tims Amazon review now.

  56. #56 Dave R
    July 20, 2009

    Not sure if you can edit amazon reviews but there’s some text missing:

    The reasonable conclusion (and the one made by atmospheric scientists back Plimer decides.

    And a typo (“or” instead of “of”):

    gives a cite that says the opposite or what he claims

  57. #57 Tim Lambert
    July 20, 2009

    Thanks, I edited it. (though presumably it will several hours for te changes to appear).

  58. #58 John Mashey
    July 20, 2009

    Amazon does moderate, and it can take a while for comments to appear.

    However, there is another behavior of their software that people might want to evaluate, and let Amazon know if you don’t think much of it.

    1. Go to the Plimer book entry @ http://www.amazon.com

    2. Look at customer ratings, which display the classic bimodal distribution of anti-science books.

    3. Look at the 1-star ratings.

    4. Find the one labeled “Full of fundamental errors…” by Matthew Andrews, of Canberra, who offers a detailed analyses with many pointers.

    5. Now look at the comments on his review. Amazon has a downrate button that says a given comment doesn’t contribute to the discussion, and at so e level or percentage, the comment is suppressed, although you can click to make it reappear.

    Most of Matthew’s comments in reply to questions on his own review are suppressed…

  59. #59 guthrie
    July 20, 2009

    John, interestingly enough I can only see 4 reviews, from here in Scotland. The one star reviews are from Mr Lambert and Mr Laws. I don’t see a mathew anywhere.
    Do you think its because I’m coming in from the UK, or perhaps it has been taken down or what?

  60. #60 John Mashey
    July 20, 2009

    I think you’re looking at http://www.amazon.co.uk, which indeed has only 4 reviews, many less than http://www.amazon.com. There may be an auto-redirect that puts you back at the UK site.

  61. #61 Eamon
    July 21, 2009



    Tim@48 – Nice review!

  62. #62 Billy Bob Hall
    July 21, 2009

    Ian’s book is not ‘Ant-Science’. I don’t know how anyone could have ‘formed that view’.
    It is definitely ‘Anti-IPCC’. I guess this should be no surprise to anyone though… In fact I don’t even know why I even bothered to comment on that here…. ? Its ‘self evident’ isn’t it ? I’m sure its a waste of time trying to tell any of you smart guys what’s going on.

  63. #63 Barton Paul Levenson
    July 21, 2009

    Billy Bob Hall writes:

    Ian’s book is not ‘Ant-Science’. I don’t know how anyone could have ‘formed that view’.

    Billy, Ian Plimer thinks the sun is made out of iron. You can’t get more anti-science than that.

  64. #64 bluegrue
    July 21, 2009

    @62 Billy Bob Hall

    How do you call it, if in your introduction you take the temperature record from 1885 to 1988, taken from a [1996 publication](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2009/05/ian_plimer_lies_about_source_o.php#comment-1655712), and pass it off [as the temperature data for 1880 to 2000](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2009/05/ian_plimer_lies_about_source_o.php#comment-1634324)? Ian Plimer does exactly that in his figure 3. This is the charitable version of events, by the [looks of it](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2009/05/ian_plimer_lies_about_source_o.php#comment-1741773) he lifted the known bogus diagram from Durkin’s TGGWS, which Durkin was forced to pull after a single airing. Oh, and he attributed it to the German book _Klimafakten_ in an interview, a flat out lie as I personally checked that book. Besides, temperature data is readily available up, so why not include data up to at least 2007 or 2008?

    Or what do you call it to base your argument on Frijs-Christensen & Lassen 1991, but to ignore Lassen 1999 and Laut 2003 which show the original findings to be
    [a) superseded and contradicted by newer data, and
    b) based on a smoothing artifact?](http://www.skepticalscience.com/solar-cycle-length.htm)

    Is this science or anti-science? Both are from Plimer’s intro.

  65. #65 TrueSceptic
    July 21, 2009

    58 John,

    There are some nasty types supporting Plimer there, aren’t there?

    How do I see the suppressed comments?

  66. #66 TrueSceptic
    July 21, 2009

    62 Billy Bob,

    It sure is a waste of time posting here when you lack the faintest knowledge of the subject!

  67. #67 bi -- IJI
    July 21, 2009

    Shorter Billy Bob Hall:

    I don’t understand why Plimer’s book is anti-science, and I can’t be bothered to explain why I think Plimer’s book is actually good science. Therefore, Plimer is absolutely correct. My logic is perfect.

  68. #68 Gil
    July 21, 2009

    What I can say? I found Telling Lies for God in the bargain bin. I personally enjoyed reading the book. I’d hazard a guess that Ian Plimer was trying to reach a lay audience rather than preach to the informed choir. However I wonder about Heaven and Earth. Is he a grumpy Conservative who goes into damage control when the insinuation of environemntalism is raised? Therefore Ian Plimer can’t entertain notion there may be any truth to Global Warming as any concessions could mean the greenies wrest control of society so they can run it into the ground (or something like that)? A more reasonable notion is what real world problems are likely from Global Warming. Unfortunately the arguments always seems to get skewered in a way that you either have to deny Global Warming in its entirety or you have to take a ridiculous doomsday scenario. Conservatives like to display the looniest alarmists as the norm therefore all is well with the climate.

    P.S. the one star reviews have now appeared at amazon. 😉

  69. #69 Chris O'Neill
    July 21, 2009

    Billy Bob Hall:

    I’m sure its a waste of time trying to tell any of you smart guys what’s going on.

    Show us that bluegrue @64 wasn’t wasting his time trying to tell you what’s going on.

  70. #70 Mark
    July 21, 2009

    > Unfortunately the arguments always seems to get skewered in a way that you either have to deny Global Warming in its entirety or you have to take a ridiculous doomsday scenario.

    > Posted by: Gil

    False dichotomy.

    Denialists make out you have to accept AGW in its entirety to be accepted as a climate scientist.

    This is not correct.

    Ever notice how denialists will NEVER tell you what probability of them being wrong would be? Or their probability for AGW being right?

    For them it’s 100% one way or another.

    But reality and the scientists can accept AGW’s base tennets as proven and disagree about the detail.

    Denialists will trumpet this as “IPCC scientist denies AGW” like they did about that Hurricane guy who didn’t think that there would be much change in hurricane numbers with global warming.

    He figured the basic tenets were right and that the detail where he didn’t KNOW any better were probably right, but for himself in his sphere of expertise, didn’t think the IPCC consensus was right.

    In the words of Calvin And Hobbes: “A good compromise leaves everyone unhappy”.

    But denialists touted his disagreement as if he disagreed with ALL of AGW.

    He didn’t and doesn’t.

    He even admits he is only right in his opinion. He does think there is some small chance he’s wrong on the hurricanes.

    But he does agree with AGW.

    False dichotomy.

    Only denialists want 100% so they can parrot “you can’t be 100% certain, so therefore AGW is WRONG”.

  71. #71 John Mashey
    July 22, 2009

    re: #63 BPL

    Subtle nit, along lines of science, pseudo-science, anti-science, where anti-science is intended to obscure science.

    I’d call an iron-sun idea pseudo-science.
    Iron-sun folks really believe the idea and want to get it accepted by science. Most pseudo-science ideas have minimal specific usefulness for anti-science efforts.

    Plimer’s work seems more like anti-science, i.e., to show that whatever is going on is {anything but human-generated CO2}, and is happy to include all the usual anti-science arguments, and throw in pseudo-science ones as well.

    A related, if slightly different example is Svensmark & cosmic rays, i.e.,

    a) Start with a plausible, possibly testable idea: cosmic rays have some influence on warming. Science.

    b) Evidence doesn’t pile up to help it, in fact, evidence tends to go the other way, or at least provide fairly low bounds on plausible effects. Science.

    c) Keep pushing claims of strength of effect, beyond plausibility. Non-science, at some point possibly becoming pseudo-science, although nowhere extreme as the iron sun, crop circles, etc.

    d) Then, someone else says “It’s not CO2, because it could be cosmic rays”. Anti-science.

  72. #72 Marion Delgado
    July 23, 2009

    By the way I remember Jim Lippard well from back in the days of Scientology skepticism:


    (at the time, John Travolta and Kirstie Alley were trying to get Americans worked up against Germany. It was long before Tom Cruise attacked Brooke Shields).

  73. #73 Billy Bob Hall
    July 24, 2009

    Yes ‘TrueSkeptik’. I haven’t got the faintest knowledge of the subject, but so long as I have wasted a few seconds of your precious time… well that’s good enough for me. 😉

  74. #74 bluegrue
    July 24, 2009

    @Billy Bob Hall
    Care to reply to my questions to you at 64? Otherwise you have just earned yourself a title that is not fit for printing.

  75. #75 Chris O'Neill
    July 24, 2009

    I haven’t got the faintest knowledge of the subject, but so long as I have wasted a few seconds of your precious time… well that’s good enough for me. 😉

    At least he’s honest about being an ignorant jerk.

  76. #76 Mark
    July 26, 2009

    > At least he’s honest about being an ignorant jerk.

    > Posted by: Chris O’Neil

    This does the opposite of clearing him of the “being a jerk” problem.