Temper tantrums at the Spectator

After Ian Plimer reneged on his agreement to answer Monbiot’s questions, the folks at the Spectator have reacted just like Plimer does to criticism — with name calling and nothing to address the criticism.

Spectator columnist Rod Liddle

Moonbat … You pompous, monomaniacal, jackass. … reminds me a little of the hardline creationists you find jabbering in the backwoods of the Appalachian Mountains

Novelist James Delingpole, the man that the Spectator decided was best qualified to review Plimer’s book:

ineffable barkingness of George Moonbat …. if anyone ever chooses to take any of the self-hating Old Stoic’s ravings seriously, we’ll soon all be living in caves, travelling round in coracles, and dining on nettles and ground acorns … Moonbat

The editor of the Spectator Fraser Nelson endorses Liddle’s comments and added:

high priests of climate change alarmism fear debate … setting prissy conditions

None of them even acknowleged the existence of the questions that Plimer cannot answer. If he really wanted a debate, why didn’t Nelson try to get Plimer to answer them?

2) Figure 3 (page 25) is a graph purporting to show that most of the warming in the 20th Century took place before 1945, and was followed by a period of sharp cooling. You cite no source for it, but it closely resembles the global temperature graph in the first edition of Martin Durkin’s film The Great Global Warming Swindle. Durkin later changed the graph after it was shown to have been distorted by extending the timeline.

In your book it remains unchanged.

Tim Lambert has reproduced the graph here.

a. What is the source for the graph you used?

b. Where was it first published?

c. Whose figures does it use?

d. How do you explain the alteration of both the curves and the timeline?

More comments: greenfyre and Mehdi Hasan.

Update: Monbiot comments:

Just as significant as what Fraser Nelson wrote is what he didn’t. At no point, as far as I can see, has he pressed Ian Plimer to honour our agreement and ensure that the debate could go ahead by answering my questions. Fraser attacks me for publishing my evidence, but says nothing about Plimer’s failure to publish his. In organising this debate, the Spectator was supposed to be neutral. But the referee has taken sides throughout the game. Quite why this magazine continues to champion Ian Plimer, who can’t answer the basic questions I sent him and whose book contains page after page of hilarious schoolboy howlers, remains a mystery.

Comments

  1. #1 Steve Chamberlain
    September 19, 2009

    From Delingpole’s rant:
    “Monbiot, as I reported before, was the one who chickened out. But he did it such a way [sic] as to try to present himself as the victor… The contrast between what Monbiot repeatedly tells you – that he won the debate because Plimer chickened out – and the evidence of their correspondence speaks for itself.”

    Which rather turns everything I’ve read here and at the Grauniad completely on its head. Predictably, Delingpole accuses Monbiot of “cognitive dissonance”.

    Delingpole and Teh Spectator are mad, weird and ultimately not worth wasting even a minute of one’s ever-decreasing lifespan reading (I should know, I just wasted three).

  2. #2 greenfyre
    September 19, 2009

    Tim
    Thanks for the mention. For the Fraser Nelson piece I have a more specific response at An empty head for The Spectator

  3. #3 Dave R
    September 19, 2009
  4. #4 TrueSceptic
    September 19, 2009

    The evidence has always been clear and available for all to see. To now claim that Monbiot has backed out, as I expected they would when Plimer did so, shows that Liddle, Nelson, and Delingpole are either:-

    1. Shameless liars (and so stupid that they imagine they can get away with it)
    or

    2. So cretinous that they cannot read simple English and actually believe their delusional wing-nuttery.

  5. #5 inks
    September 19, 2009

    The Spectator slipped up by printing the guff on their front page in the first place. I’d have thought they’d shut up about it in embarrassment. Rallying to Pilmer’s defence is adding to their humiliation.

  6. #6 JM
    September 19, 2009

    Moonbat, they call Monbiot “Moonbat.” Get it? What a witty bunch.

  7. #7 Stu
    September 19, 2009

    Following the trail over to Greenfyre’s and on to the correspondance between Monbiot and the Spectator, we find the following hilarity:

    Monbiot: “Dear Phoebe,

    I have just noticed this message* in the thread and have two comments.

    1. It is not an accurate summary of my discussion with Matthew.
    2. It suggests that you are not acting in a neutral capacity in organising this debate.

    Can I have your assurance that there will be no further misrepresentation and that you will not seek to take sides in this debate?

    *Dear Ian,

    I would like to introduce myself, Phoebe Vela, I am in charge of the Events for the Spectator. As I sure you are aware, we finally managed to hold George Monbiot’s feet to the fire and get him to agree to debate with you on the topic on Wednesday 21 October 2009 in London. He did specify that he wanted you to answer some specific questions which would be put on our website and that of the Guardian as a prelude to the debate/trial. Please see below. I hope you will agree that Matthew d’Ancona taunted him on your behalf in order to guarantee a good event…

    …I did call George this morning to finalise the details and understand that there is a problem and that you have pulled out. I find this hard to believe.

    Phoebe Vela: You have my assurances that we completely neutral on this and my email to Ian was to understand why he pulled out having taunted you.

    So, did or did not the Spectator journalist taunt Monbiot? Are the Spectator trying to be neutral or not? Did Plimer pull out or not?

    Anyone who scratches the surface of this story will be blinded by just how disingenious Plimer has been.

  8. #8 Donald
    September 20, 2009

    Why do deniers always resort to such obvious projection tactics? (Plimer now Liddle comparing Monbiot to a creationist.)

  9. #9 ChrisK
    September 20, 2009

    It’s OK, soon Plimer is going to come clean and admit the whole thing has been a hoax to show how the so-called sceptics will actually believe anything that goes against AGW and won’t even do the most basic fact checking. He’s probably having a good chuckle that they’ve even fallen for the comparison between AGW and creationism, given that he obviously knows the ‘sceptics’ are the ones using political campaigns to try to undermine science.

    Soon, I’m sure.

    Any day now…

  10. #10 Donald Oats
    September 20, 2009

    Ian Plimer, and his book H&E, are yet another demonstration of how a scientist can derail from scientific discourse, and engage in precisely the same kind of irrational time wasting arguments that they accuse their layperson opponents of using.

    Aside from the cost of dealing with this sort of noise, the thing that has me most scunner is that if this sudden leap in stupidity can happen to the emeritus professors of the world then it can happen to anyone – including me!

  11. #11 Marion Delgado
    September 20, 2009

    If this pans out, you ALL have to give ME credit. I completely claim priority. Okay?

    I believe eventualy we will find out that every columnist at the Spectator is really a character created by, and written by, former Young Ones comic Alexei Sayles. You’ve been warned.

  12. #12 Jeremy c
    September 20, 2009

    “I believe eventualy we will find out that every columnist at the Spectator is really a character created by, and written by, former Young Ones comic Alexei Sayles. You’ve been warned.”

    What even the greek guy who writes that nasty ‘High Life’ column (I’m assuming he still writes that, I haven’t read the speccie in a long time).

  13. #13 Steve Chamberlain
    September 20, 2009

    Chris K (9), presumably this along the lines of Frankie and Benjy, a pair of hyper-intellegent pan-dimensional beings responsible for the creation of the Earth but who everybody else thought were just ordinary lab-bred Mus musculus?

    I just hope Plimer makes it before Max Quordlepleen gets up on stage…

  14. #14 Jeremy C
    September 20, 2009

    I followed greenfryre’s links to the speccie and it seems the editor is getting a real kicking, the readers having collectively seen through the editor’s efforts.

  15. #15 TrueSceptic
    September 20, 2009

    6 JM,

    “Moonbat” is quite old and apparently George doesn’t mind it anyway. So much for the shining wits.

  16. #16 TrueSceptic
    September 20, 2009

    11 Marion,

    Just one thing: it’s Sayle

  17. #17 mb
    September 20, 2009

    I was enjoying the comments–found at the Spectator link mentioned above–that seemed to insist that Monbiot should have participated anyway. They left me wondering if Ian Plimer had information that could only be communicated through a series of gestures and grunts, or if they were hoping that matters of science would be resolved by a swimsuit competition between the two.

    Then I saw a comment that was really funny.

    Taken from a comment made by John Levett: “Whether Plimer is a charlatan or not, he speaks for many of us who are frustrated by this lack of debate.”

    Haha. I don’t care if he’s a liar, he speaks for me!

  18. #18 TrueSceptic
    September 20, 2009

    17 mb,

    Perhaps John Levett is a Denial Depot regular? ;)

  19. #19 Paul UK
    September 20, 2009

    I seem to remember that this all started because Monbiot fired the first shot with some questions for Plimer and Plimer refused to answer.

    I think if we strip back to that moment. It doesn’t really matter what happened after, Monbiot rightly has the upper hand as it were.

    I’m sure Gavin Schmidt and other climate scientists would have just answered with a lot of confidence and without hesitation.

  20. #20 John Mashey
    September 20, 2009

    Paul UK:
    re: RC answering:

    They did.

  21. #21 Nigel P
    September 20, 2009

    Never seen anything of James Delingpole’s before. Wish I hadn’t now.

  22. #22 pough
    September 20, 2009

    Taken from a comment made by John Levett: “Whether Plimer is a charlatan or not, he speaks for many of us who are frustrated by this lack of debate.”

    Anyone who insists on a spoken debate of science is a liar, a fool or both. It’s a subject best understood by individuals who have spent years of their lives trying to grasp knowledge accumulated over decades by thousands of very smart people in millions of lines of text (or more) and they think it’s best settled in a format that favors liars, one used primarily by such truth-seekers as lawyers and politicians?

  23. #23 James Haughton
    September 20, 2009

    It sounds like the Spectator are having trouble finding a debating opponent for Ian Plimer, promoter of pseudoscience for vested interests.
    I’d like to suggest that they invite the similarly-named Ian Plimer, fearless champion of scientific thought in the face of antiscientific conservative hogwash, to debate him. Since I believe the two both work at the same institution, there’s probably some two-for-one deal they could get on the airline tickets.
    They could debate the proposition “Is ‘If you can’t beat them, join them’ ever morally defensible?”
    Suggested tactic: Ian Plimer could invite Ian Plimer to test the proposition that CO2 is harmless by sticking his head in a plastic bag.

  24. #24 Stu
    September 20, 2009

    Jeremy C #14,

    thanks for that, I’d have never bothered to read those comments if you hadn’t pointed to it. At first it seemed like people who didn’t frequent the Spectator’s site wading in to make the occasional sane post, but then it was quite clear that many regulars had seen exactly what was going on.

    Brilliant :)

  25. #25 MikeB
    September 21, 2009

    Seems that Lord Lipsey believes Plimer, according to a letter in the Guardian http://www.guardian.co.uk/theguardian/2009/sep/17/space-exploration.

    A reader http://www.guardian.co.uk/theguardian/2009/sep/19/moon-mars-monbiot-godot puts perfectly what we all think, especially when you remember Lord Lawson…

  26. #26 lord_sidcup
    September 21, 2009

    If the good people here can find the time, I wonder if you would be so kind as to tell my Member of Parliament what unmitigated tosh Plimer’s work is:

    http://www.talkcarswell.com/show.aspx?id=900

    He seems to have read it recently, and is taking it seriously.

    Many thanks.

  27. #27 Marion Delgado
    September 21, 2009

    tx TrueSkeptic, but please, teach the controversy on the spelling of Mr. Sayle(s) name. The lack of debate on this issue is disturbing to me, a truth seeker!

  28. #28 TrueSceptic
    September 21, 2009

    27 Marion,

    No controversy. You made a trivial error and I made a trivial correction, that’s all :D

  29. #29 Dave Andrews
    September 21, 2009

    Paul UK,

    “I’m sure Gavin Schmidt and other climate scientists would have just answered with a lot of confidence and without hesitation.”

    Well, Gavin often gets asked lots of questions at Climate Audit. He never responds but goes away and pretends he discovered the issues raised by the questions himself.

  30. #30 Jeremy c
    September 21, 2009

    Who wants to come along with me to the planned speccie thing with Plimer to each ask just the one question, “Why didn’t you answer Moonbat’s questions?”

    Anyone up for it?

    (BTW From now on I’m gonna use ‘Moonbat’ as an affectionate, approving title demonstrating George Monbiot’s success in driving denialists to the brink of existential despair)

  31. #31 Dave R
    September 21, 2009

    Dave Andrews @ 29:

    He never responds but goes away and pretends he discovered the issues raised by the questions himself.

    No he doesn’t you liar.

  32. #32 TrueSceptic
    September 21, 2009

    30 Jeremy,

    I’m tempted.

    As I said before, “Moonbat” is old and he doesn’t mind it anyway.

  33. #33 TrueSceptic
    September 21, 2009

    29 Dave Andrews,

    Really? Gavin is a regular at ClimateFraudit and he gets asked lots of questions?

    Perhaps you’d like to rephrase that as something somewhat closer to reality?

  34. #34 Jim Eager
    September 21, 2009

    Sorry, Dave doesn’t do reality, or even anything close to it.

  35. #35 Dave Andrews
    September 22, 2009

    TrueSceptic,

    You know what I meant. Many questions have been asked at Climate Audit about work that Gavin, and other members of the ‘Team’have been involved in. See, for example, the threads relating to Steig et als paper on so-called Antarctic warming earlier this year.

    The questions are raised and suddenly Gavin finds he has realised a ‘mistake’ all by himself.

    Of course Gavin never posts at CA,although other members may visit occassionally, but generally they don’t like it when the heat get turned on and they may have to answer some serious questions. So they throw a ‘hissy fit’ and leave.

    So much for ‘robust science’.

  36. #36 Dave Andrews
    September 22, 2009

    TrueSceptic,

    As an example, after Nature’s front page exaltation of Steig et als paper, questions were asked at CA. Steig himself posted a few comments but when the going got tough took umbrage at the fact that his name had inadvertently been misspelt a couple of times and so he then took his ball away and went home!

    I’m sure you are probably already well aware of this and the ‘robust science’ Steig was obviously involved in.

  37. #37 Dave Andrews
    September 22, 2009

    TrueSceptic,

    Have a look at the threads on CA for, eg, Santer et al 2007, Mann et al 2008, and now Kauffman et al 2009 and see how the SIs that this ‘robust science’ is supposed to provide in order to actually get published is deficient in almost every respect. Note also how novel and untransparent statistical methods are devised to achieve certain aims.

    Then, tell me about this ‘robust science’.

  38. #38 Hank Roberts
    September 22, 2009

    In other news, the British Crown has completed its report on the unfortunately successful defalcations led by traitor George Washington of the Western Atlantic colonies, and is about to issue its report on whatever it was that happened to the penal island south of the India territories.

    All right thinking patriots will be glad to know that the past 200 years have been lived in an illusion perpetrated by the infamous Gutenberg and his ilk, who spread bogus stories widely.

    The elimination of reading and printing, and the delivery of all news by Broadsides issued by the Crown, will make everything Right.

  39. #39 Vince Whirlwind
    September 23, 2009

    ChirsK #9:
    “It’s OK, soon Plimer is going to come clean and admit the whole thing has been a hoax to show how the so-called sceptics will actually believe anything that goes against AGW and won’t even do the most basic fact checking. ”

    Do you know – when his book was first released, Plimer appeared on the Australian Lateline show:
    http://www.abc.net.au/lateline/content/2008/s2554129.htm

    I watched this interview and thought “comedy”!.
    Several nights later I had dinner with several people including two people who work in the same field as Plimer (which is not climatology, as I’m sure you know!) and who know him – I put it to them that Plimer was setting up an elaborate hoax to make the Denialidiots look even stupider.

    Sadly, they told me Plimer was strong on communication (“a great lecturer”), and not so strong on science, even in his own field. They thought it extremely unlikely that Plimer was anything but 100% sincere in his deluded denialidiot beliefs.

  40. #40 Tim Lambert
    September 23, 2009

    **Update:** Monbiot [comments](http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/georgemonbiot/2009/sep/23/spectator-plimer-climate-change-sceptic):

    >Just as significant as what Fraser Nelson wrote is what he didn’t. At no point, as far as I can see, has he pressed Ian Plimer to honour our agreement and ensure that the debate could go ahead by answering my questions. Fraser attacks me for publishing my evidence, but says nothing about Plimer’s failure to publish his. In organising this debate, the Spectator was supposed to be neutral. But the referee has taken sides throughout the game. Quite why this magazine continues to champion Ian Plimer, who can’t answer the basic questions I sent him and whose book contains page after page of hilarious schoolboy howlers, remains a mystery.

  41. #41 TrueSceptic
    September 23, 2009

    Dave Andrews,

    It appears that you are under the strange delusion that legitimate scientists are answerable to a blog whose entire raison d’être is repeated attempts to smear them with accusations of fraud and/or incompetence.

    I will also comment that you provide no links to your claims, and that in typical denydiot fashion you are ignoring the thread topic and attempting to introduce an irrelevant one.

    The topic is the behaviour of Ian Plimer and those supporting his nonsense. Kindly return to it.

  42. #42 Dave Andrews
    September 23, 2009

    TrueSceptic,

    First. you responded to my original post which subsequently you suddenly find is ‘off topic’. I then followed up.

    Second, you know exactly how to access CA and the threads I mentioned.

    Third, you have absolutely no answers to the issues I raised>

  43. #43 Dave Andrews
    September 23, 2009

    TrueSceptic,

    Moreover, I never said that the scientists should be answerable to a blog. The Journals in which they publish state that as part of the publication they should provide full and clear backup information so that their work can be properly understood and replicated by fellow scientists. It is quite clear that there is a considerable dereliction of duty in this regard on both the part of the scientists and also the Journals. However, the latter at last now seem to be tightening up their procedures.

    Which still leaves you to tell me about how ‘robust’ this ‘robust science’ is.

  44. #44 Dave Andrews
    September 23, 2009

    Hank,

    You are obviously in —— mode today.

  45. #45 Michael
    September 23, 2009

    Dave ‘concern troll’ Andrews,

    If you’r so concerned about the processes of science, get your CA friends to submit a journal article to Nature about their findings…..until then it’s just a circle jerk.

  46. #46 Hank Roberts
    September 23, 2009

    Dave illustrates Plimer’s method while trying to distract people from the topic.

    Assert, don’t cite, repeat, offend.

    Same reason they send in clowns at rodeos and bullfights, when the guy in the fancy suit with the cape is screwing up and in danger of getting, now, what’s the right word ….

  47. #47 sleepy
    September 23, 2009

    It’s “Gored” Hank – the correct word is “Gored”! Dave Andrews got it right in the arse, poor bastard.

  48. #48 TC is a Joke
    September 23, 2009

    Shorter Dave Andrews:

    I cannot stand all these examples and evidence presented by warmist, so I’ll smear Greenpeace, smear Monbiot, smear Schmidt. I need present no evidence, all you need to know is just don’t trust any sources that I smear.

  49. #49 lord_sidcup
    September 24, 2009

    Seems like my Member of Parliament is still taking Plimer seriously:

    http://www.talkcarswell.com/show.aspx?id=1008

    My comments also fail to appear on his blog.

  50. #50 Dave Andrews
    September 24, 2009

    Hank,

    Experience teaches that you read widely in both the science and the blogosphere. So the points I am making are not new to you and you understand precisely what they are about.

    Rather than address them, however, you prefer to take ‘cheap shots’. Why?

  51. #51 MikeB
    September 24, 2009

    Question – ‘Rather than address them, however, you prefer to take ‘cheap shots’. Why?’

    Answer – Because your a sad troll and Hank is having a laugh (as are the rest of use).

    Lord sidcup – after reading the comments on his blog, they all seem to be away with the fairies, including him – see here for his many idiocies http://www.theyworkforyou.com/mp/douglas_carswell/harwich. His majority is only 640, so your in with a chance of someone less stupid…but I suspect you might have to put up with a complete dick being your local member….

  52. #52 sleepy
    September 24, 2009

    “Read widely …”? Hah!

    Some pillock titled his book “Heaven & Earth”, understanding neither, and that was plenty good enough for Dave and teh Spectator.

  53. #53 lord_sidcup
    September 25, 2009

    I retract what I said earlier about comments critical of Plimer not being posted on my MP’s blog. Some seem to be getting through now:

    http://www.talkcarswell.com/show.aspx?id=1008

    It is always nice to see a cosy little enclave of science denial invaded by a few people who know what they are talking about.

    MikeB – I don’t think Douglas Carwell’s seat is under serious threat. The Labour Party here is in freefall. Makes it all the more important that Plimer’s rubbish is challenged whenever and wherever possible.

  54. #54 bi -- IJI
    September 27, 2009

    Tilo Reber, get back in your own thread, or get your own blog where you can post incessantly about how you’re being burnt at the stake.

    *[I've deleted his comments because he is only allowed to post to his own thread. Tim ]*

  55. #55 Lionel A
    October 1, 2009

    Plimer’s cheerleader Delingpole is at it again, this time in the UK Telegraph:

    http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/jamesdelingpole/100011716/how-the-global-warming-industry-is-based-on-one-massive-lie/

    attention to this from an article on RealClimate:

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/09/hey-ya-mal/

    Delingpole seems to think that there is a global warming industry!