Plimer exposed as a fraud

Ian Plimer’s performance in his debate with Monbiot has to be seen to be believed. Rather than admit to making any error at all, Plimer ducks, weaves, obfuscates, recites his favourite catch phrase, tries to change the subject and fabricates some more. When confronted with the fact that the USGS says (backed with scientific papers) that human activities emit 130 times as much CO2 as volcanoes, Plimer claims that the USGS doesn’t count underwater volcanoes. When told that the USGS specifically said that they do count undersea volcanoes, Plimer invented a story about how the nature of the rocks under the ocean proves that there must be unobserved emissions. Needless to say, this is not acceptable conduct for a scientist.

The University of Adelaide’s code of practice on research misconduct states:

Misrepresentation : A researcher or reviewer shall not with intent to deceive, or in reckless disregard for the truth:

(a) state or present a material or significant falsehood;
(b) omit a fact so that what is stated or presented as a whole states or presents a material or significant falsehood.

Elsewhere, James Randerson interviewed Plimer and

found him to be one of the most difficult and evasive interviewees I have spoken to in my career, frequently veering off on tangents rather than answering the question I had put.

Randerson has an another example of Plimer refusing to admit to even the most blatant error:

Elsewhere in the book, Plimer appears to have conflated a US temperature record and the global average temperature. On page 99 he writes “Nasa now states that […] the warmest year was 1934.” The Nasa dataset he is referring to covers the US only but he seems to be referring to the world average.

Again, Plimer does not appear to accept that the world is warming. But in fact, the hottest year on record is 1998 and eight of the 10 hottest years ever recorded have occurred this century.

When I put the mistake to him he responded: “The 1930s in North America and probably the rest of the world were a hot period of time.” But what about increased global average temperature since then? “That has been disputed by many of my colleagues who I have a great regard for because they’ve been the people involved in putting measurements together … I do dispute that as do many other people who are far more qualified in atmospheric sciences than I.”

Bob Burton tracks down the story of how the AAP reported Plimer’s speech before it happened. As you might have guessed, the journalist did a cut and paste from a press release put out by a PR firm.

On Saturday the Sydney Morning Herald printed a report from Copenhagen by Ian Plimer on a news page. My letter to them:

Please cancel my subscription to the SMH.

The SMH simply does not care about the accuracy of what it publishes. You obviously did not bother to check whether there was any basis to Ian Plimer’s dishonest smears of climate scientist, allowing him to falsely accuse them of fraud and “mafia-type thuggery”.

I don’t know why you think your business model should involve deceiving your readers, but I’m not buying it or your paper any more.

Comments

  1. #1 dhogaza
    December 15, 2009

    What does it take to get the university to take action? Is there a complaints process?

  2. #2 P. Lewis
    December 15, 2009

    I refer the honourable gentleman to a reply I gave earlier.

    Over to you UoA.

  3. #3 MarkB
    December 15, 2009

    “Needless to say, this is not acceptable conduct for a scientist.”

    It’s acceptable and admirable for a sleazy lawyer, though, which is what global warming deniers remind me of.

  4. #4 MapleLeaf
    December 15, 2009

    Does Plimer have tenure? If he does, it is going to be hell to get him dismissed. However, there seems to be enough evidence of misconduct that an investigation is warranted.

    Really Oz, don’t drop the ball on this one, please.

    The reputable scientists really need to move on this and demand an investigation into his conduct.

  5. #5 dhogaza
    December 15, 2009

    Does Plimer have tenure? If he does, it is going to be hell to get him dismissed.

    I would assume he has tenure but could be censured or otherwise disciplined under the policy … but I’m just guessing.

  6. #6 Ben Lawson
    December 15, 2009

    It was inevitable that Plimer would ultimately reveal his intellectual and scientific bankruptcy. Just as Monckton is doing in Copenhagen as we speak.

    But they’ve proven to be useful tools for the denialists. :-(

  7. #7 Dano
    December 15, 2009

    If you notice, this fringe is getting more and more twitchy. The world is effectively ignoring them and they must go to a more crazy place each time to get attention.

    Can you imagine in a month or so when the CRUhack Swift Boat campaign fades and nothing got delayed how crazy they’ll be?

    In the spring 2010 when ACES gets passed in the U.S. (if only to avoid EPA restrictions) how bonkers they’ll be? It’ll get much worse wrt cuckoo behavior before they all die and go the f— away and the other fringe crazies who need their crazy fix look to something else to crazy about.

    Best,

    D

  8. #8 Jeremy C
    December 15, 2009

    Just finished streaming the Lateline interview here in London. Wonderful! I don’t think Plimer got pinned down like that in any interview during his recent UK visit.

    For non Aust people here you have to go to: http://www.abc.net.au/lateline/ to view it. Its worth it and I’ve sent a congratulatory note to ABC NewsCAf to encourage them.

    Plimer tried it on with the CRU hack but didn’t get away with that.

    It was very odd to see Plimer not being familar with what he wrote and how he came apart when Jones showed himself to be more familar with the book than its author.

    At the start of the interview Monbiot repeated his point about how denialism is rising – this is such an important thing it has to be restated until we get out into the community showing the same energy and tenacity as the deniers

    I hope the interview goes viral across the world. Perhaps all the deltoid contributors can start posting it on denier sites but if you do don’t label it as a Plimer slap down otherwise it wil get deleted very quickly.

  9. #9 carrot eater
    December 15, 2009

    What is it with this fascination of getting various deniers sued, reprimanded or fired?

    Just keep pointing out their obvious errors, dodges and misrepresentations. Any formal sanction or lawsuit is not only unlikely, but will only feed the ridiculous Galileo complex of the other side.

  10. #10 Fran Barlow
    December 15, 2009

    Yes, let us all write to the U of A and ask them to start proceedings against Plimer on academic misconduct.

    His performance on Lateline where he didn’t even pretend to defend the claims he made in his book surely warrants it.

  11. #11 DavidCOG
    December 15, 2009

    Astounding performance by Plimer. He knows he’s lying. He absolutely does. No doubt.

    Great work by Monbiot – bar the continued questioning of CRU scientists credibility and his Chicken Little panicking over a couple of polls.

    Also, good work by Tony Jones – he’d done his homework. Good man.

    To continue the theme: how blatantly does Plimer need to lie before his university take notice and act? What’s the point of scientific credentials if you just wander around saying any old shit that suits your agenda? Tenure only means the right not to be terminated without just cause – if Plimer’s book and subsequent performance isn’t just cause, what is?

  12. #12 joni
    December 15, 2009

    I had Plimer as my geology professor at Newcastle in the 80’s, and I am disgusted to say that I admired him then. His performance last was disgusting – no wonder he never wanted to debate Monbiot.

  13. #13 John Mashey
    December 15, 2009

    So, Oz folks:

    a) One can decry him day-in, day-out in blogs.

    b) But, he has a position at a university. I assume he’s tenured.

    c) But, has the university said anything officially?

    d) Suppose some reasonable number of U of Adelaide grad signed a simple letter to the head of the U saying something like “We’re sorry to see the U has gone downhill. It now best-known to the world via the activities of Plimer (attached examples), and we will make sure our children do not attend.”

  14. #14 dhogaza
    December 15, 2009

    What is it with this fascination of getting various deniers sued, reprimanded or fired?

    Carrot Eater, I agree with you regarding columnists on op ed pages, etc. The standards of journalism don’t apply there, and even for those newspapers which claim to do basic fact checking on op eds, it’s no secret that the bar’s far lower than for reported news.

    Regarding Plimer, though, universities have policies regarding academic standards for a reason, primarily to protect the reputation of academic institutions and the university itself. It is entirely appropriate to ask the university to uphold such policy, just as it’s entirely appropriate to insist that they uphold policies regarding sexual and racial discrimination, student conduct (punishment for cheating, etc), and the like.

  15. #15 Betula
    December 15, 2009

    Misrepresentation : A researcher or reviewer shall not with intent to deceive, or in reckless disregard for the truth:

    (a) state or present a material or significant falsehood.

    Does intentional exaggeration count as stating a significant falsehood with intent to deceive?
    Just asking.
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/copenhagen/article6956783.ece

  16. #16 ABG
    December 15, 2009

    Can anybody find an appropriate email address for Plimer’s superiors? The U of A website is a complete maze. If any faculty member at my institution ever conducted themselves in such a manner I would certainly press for an inquiry. It’s one thing to be a skeptic, it’s a completely different matter to lie and to fabricate.

  17. #17 ABG
    December 15, 2009

    Here’s the office of the Vice-Chancellor & President:

    vice-chancellor@adelaide.edu.au

  18. #18 GFW
    December 15, 2009

    The former Vice President is not a researcher subject to academic conduct rules. Yes, he made a dumb mistake there. But, note how all the mainstream climate researchers were quick to correct him “Most climate scientists agree that a 20 to 30-year timescale is more likely for the near-disappearance of sea ice.” and even the outlying one that Gore thought he was quoting also corrected him “I was very explicit that we were talking about near-ice-free conditions and not completely ice-free conditions in the northern ocean” [in 5-7 years].

    So, one should conclude that as usual, actual reputable scientists have a stronger fealty to truth than anything else (even the one politician who has done the most to publicize the problem those scientists have uncovered).

  19. #19 GFW
    December 15, 2009

    I didn’t expect two more posts so quickly. My #18 is a response to Betula’s #15.

  20. #20 dhogaza
    December 15, 2009

    And, of course, Gore’s sin was to claim that the researcher said the arctic might be ice free in summer within six or so years, when the researcher said it was possible the arctic might “only” be 80% ice free in that time frame.

    Simple enough mistake, and as pointed out, quickly corrected by a variety of scientists, including the original author Gore mistakenly misquoted.

    I don’t suppose Betula has ever made a factually incorrect statement in any of his posts …

  21. #21 Mercurius
    December 15, 2009

    Extraordinary that Plimer begins his contribution to the debate with a big anti-government rant when he’s a Professor at a publicly-funded university. He is, in the rhetoric of his own wingnut logic, a “tax-eater”.

    I presume he’ll resign his post so as to avoid being a complete hypocrite.

  22. #22 Michael
    December 15, 2009

    Someone pointed out how unfamiliar Plimer seemed with his own book, repeatedly offering that he would have ‘to look it up later’ when pressed on specific points.

    There have been simliar books in the past on different subjects – weighty tomes with extensive reference lists, but that were essentailly frauds. These kind of books tend to be group efforts, even when they are attributed to a single author. Even if Plimer had written the majority of his book, I’d expect that he’d have been fed a lot of the references and quotes and happily incorporated them without checking.

  23. #23 eddie
    December 15, 2009

    Ahahahaha! Great video. My only disappointment was, after plimer’s second “I’ll have to check my notes…” the interviewer didn’t challenge him: “Prof. Plimer. Have you actually read the book?” it’s plausible that he is just fronting the book for industry PR.
    OTOH, I don’t accept the criticism of Monbiot here. His disappointment at the behaviour of some climate scientists is reasonable. It needs to be made clear that that doesn’t invalidate the science, and it needs to be made equally clear that only one side here deals in dishonesty. Being open about the contents of the stolen emails distinguishes us from the liars and thieves on the other side.

  24. #24 Dirk Hartog
    December 15, 2009

    Re #16 AGB

    Some relevant email addresses:

    chancellor@adelaide.edu.au, vice-chancellor@adelaide.edu.au, dvcr@adelaide.edu.au, dvca@adelaide.edu.au, faculty.sciences@adelaide.edu.au, head.ees@adelaide.edu.au

    Don’t expect any action though, or even an acknowledgment of your email. It is much better from the University’s point of view to stay quiet and wait for the storm to blow over.

  25. #25 dhogaza
    December 15, 2009

    OTOH, I don’t accept the criticism of Monbiot here. His disappointment at the behaviour of some climate scientists is reasonable.

    The problem is that he’s taken the denialist spin at face value. There are things to be disappointed about (the request by jones to delete e-mails, for instance) but most of the other stuff being claimed is just bogus when context or a reasonable comprehension of the englis language (“trick”) is taken into account.

    That’s why I, at least, find disappointing in Monbiot’s reportage on the e-mails.

  26. #26 Owl
    December 15, 2009

    This all sounds like desperation. I am english and am ashamed that my fellow countrymen are involved in this disgusting fraud.
    You don’t seem to have noticed but the majority of people CAN read a graph and can see the manipulations involved. Phil Jones did not stand down of his own accord, the game is up.
    Seeing your religion failing is hard but life goes on.

  27. #27 Mark
    December 15, 2009

    I found it somewhat mind-boggling that Plimer would attack Monbiot for not having a science background (I guess a M.A. in Zoology at Oxford doesn’t count as a background in science?). And he then proceeds to ask a series of questions (about science which Monbiot does not lay claim to) to which he presumably wants a scientific answer, and mocks him for not answering. This is in response to being asked questions about Plimer’s own “science”, to which he provides no answers.

    Added to that, how can an Australian word a series of questions beginning with “Please explain…”, and expect not to be laughed at?

  28. #28 SCPritch
    December 15, 2009

    I think “selection” is a very moralistic word.

    HAHAHAHHA

  29. #29 Paul
    December 15, 2009

    Plimer showed himself to be a pompous untrustworthy twit. His whole performance relied on bluff and playing for time. That won’t make a difference to the Andrew Bolts of this world but it might to the poorly informed wavering and unsure punter.

  30. #30 SCPritch
    December 15, 2009

    The most mind blowing part of that debate was surely when they were discussing Plimer’s claim that the globe has cooled since 1998.

    *And it was Plimer!!!* who attempted to criticise Monbiot for focussing on a small 5 or 10 year period and ignoring the temperature record on longer time scales.

    W. T. F.

  31. #31 J Akerman
    December 15, 2009

    The video of the interview is available for only a few days to download [from this site.](http://www.abc.net.au/lateline/vodcast.htm)

  32. #32 Marion Delgado
    December 15, 2009

    At last! The vicious hob-nailed boot of censorship descends on the unwitting Sidney Morning Herald! We freedom-lovers knew this day would come.

  33. #33 J Akerman
    December 15, 2009

    Plimer is copying the [Wrecking Crew](http://tcfrank.com/books/the-wrecking-crew/) tactics, which were used by those who were the force behind the Bush ascendency.

    Its a win-win tactic, they get to trash science/government by being really bad at it, which proves their point, that public science/government is not to be trusted.

  34. #34 JMR
    December 15, 2009

    It’s a trifling matter in the scheme of things, but also rather telling: how does a so-called academic continue to mispronounce the name of a debate opponent? He was either showing his ignorance, or deliberately mispronouncing Monbiot’s name. To use his own oft-repeated words, it was “the height of rudeness.”

  35. #35 Former Skeptic
    December 15, 2009

    (Slightly) OT:

    I would pay to watch a catfight between Monckton and Plimer. Who’s with me?

  36. #36 Fran Barlow
    December 15, 2009

    I include below a sample letter which those so moved may wish to forward to the appropriate officers of the University of Adelaide in support of action to hold an inquiry into the professional conduct of Ian Plimer. I think that however each of us regards Mr Plimer, or what we may think should happen in response, it is important to get proceedings started by fitting our claims into a form which the University will find hard to ignore. I intend to send this letter also to Julia Gillard, in her capacity as Minister for Education.

    As many of you will be aware, Professor Ian Plimer has recently been the subject of some controversy. This derives not merely from his outspoken views on the political context within which proposals to stabilise and lower atmospheric concentrations of CO2 and other greenhouse gases takes place, to which, Professor Plimer, is surely entitled.

    It concerns claims of fact made in his most recent publication, Heaven & Earth. You will be aware, I feel sure, of the reviews by reputable scientists such as Ian Enting of this non-peer-reviewed book and the rather serious misrepresentation they have found. They found for example that in a number of cases, claims made were not sourced to actual data, and in one case where it was, the citation was radically at odds with the claim for which the source was adduced.

    You may be aware that last night, on the now internationally televised Lateline, some of these and other matters were in part canvassed again in the course of an exchange between George Monbiot and Professor Plimer moderated by Tony Jones. Most disappointingly, Professor Plimer offered neither a defence of his right to make such claims, nor a correction, but rather, sought to obfuscate by introducing other issues aimed at covering up his fraud.

    You will recall, doubtless, the investigation some years ago into a work by Bjorn Lomborg by the Danish Committee on Scientific Dishonesty in which the case was made out that the book titled The Skeptical Environmentalist was characterised by the DCSD as follows:

    Objectively speaking, the publication of the work under consideration is deemed to fall within the concept of scientific dishonesty. … In view of the subjective requirements made in terms of intent or gross negligence, however, Bjørn Lomborg’s publication cannot fall within the bounds of this characterization. Conversely, the publication is deemed clearly contrary to the standards of good scientific practice.

    The DCSD went on to list the areas that were problematic for an ostensibly scientific work in that book:

    1. Fabrication of data;
    2. Selective discarding of unwanted results (selective citation);
    3. Deliberately misleading use of statistical methods;
    4. Distorted interpretation of conclusions;

    6. Deliberate misinterpretation of others’ results

    There is a perception amongst those qualified to know that Plimer’s work fails in each of these respects and the association of Professor Plimer and these ostensibly spurious and specious claims has the potential to damage seriously the academic reputation of the University of Adelaide, particularly as the nature of the controversy to which Professor Plimer is a party, will, perforce, provoke detailed scrutiny of the ostensibly scientific claims he makes.

    Your institution asserts inter alia that its policy restrains a researcher or reviewer with intent to deceive, or in reckless disregard for the truth:

    (a) stat[ing] or present[ing] a material or significant falsehood;

    (b) omit[ing] a fact so that what is stated or presented as a whole states or presents a material or significant falsehood.

    I believe it is incumbent upon your institution to commence proceedings to clarify the issues of scientific integrity attaching to Professor Plimer and his work, so as to better position the University of Adelaide to protect the academic interests of other staff and students there.

  37. #37 IA
    December 15, 2009

    The tactic of continually holding up the book (as if he was desperately trying to flog a few more copies before it headed into the remainder bin) just looked silly.

    The tactic of saying he needed to refer to the book and the references was meant to make him look scholarly. It just made him look ill-prepared and evasive.

    The tactic of trying to wedge Jones and Monbiot as co-conspirators against him in the debate made him look paranoid (but will no doubt be used by Bolt et al to explain his poor performance)

    But the kicker was the refusal to answer any of the questions. This exposed him for what he is- a sad old party hack, not keeping up with the science and denying reality just for the sake of his pride and political affilaitions.

  38. #38 Arie Brand
    December 15, 2009

    Plimer will be sixty four in a few months time (he is from 12/2/46). So ere long the University will get rid of him in a natural way.

    Both Monbiot and Tim Jones did a very good job in pressing him on his lies. Monbiot was wise not to get involved in a discussion of the CRU hack, even though he might now have some reswervations about his earlier opinion.

    Plimer was even more pathetic than during his earlier performances. Since both Jones and Monbiot are now wise to his ways they kept avoiding his red herrings and pinned him down well and proper.

  39. #39 Fran Barlow
    December 15, 2009

    Plimer will be sixty four in a few months time (he is from 12/2/46). So ere long the University will get rid of him in a natural way.

    Not good enough IMO. He needs to be stripped of his academic credentials and publicly shamed.

  40. #40 Steve
    December 15, 2009

    “Not good enough IMO. He needs to be stripped of his academic credentials and publicly shamed.”

    /disagree

    nutters thrive on publicity – whether good or bad. If you try and agitate for the University to dump him, it would be straightforward for the skeptics to cry pressuring and censorship of alternative views, mention the CRU emails in the same breath, and then sit back and enjoy the notoriety/increased readership for Plimer.

    I think he should have his academic credentials stripped, but lets be pragmatic, and just treat this old boy like an embarrassing uncle until he fades away.

  41. #41 acker
    December 15, 2009

    I couldn’t beleive my eyes or ears when I heard Ian Plimer raise his voice and tell George Monbiot he was from “ill breeding” TWICE !! on Lateline ABC 15/12/2009

    It was almost Nazi – National Front – Ultra Monarchist like, the comments he made, which came out while he was being questioned by Monbiot and later Tony Jones about the emmisions he stated in his book that volcanoes released, which differed to many other notable sources that they quoted.

    The biggest Volcano on Lateline last night was Ian Pilmer himself..;)

  42. #42 Fran Barlow
    December 15, 2009

    /disagree

    nutters thrive on publicity – whether good or bad. If you try and agitate for the University to dump him, it would be straightforward for the skeptics to cry pressuring and censorship of alternative views, mention the CRU emails in the same breath, and then sit back and enjoy the notoriety/increased readership for Plimer.

    You say that like it’s a bad thing. We could finally have a serious public debate on just why peer-review is important, and the difference between censorsing of opinion and requiring scientific rigour. We could revisit why those emails from CRu are not the smopking gun the filth merchant fraudsters say they are.

  43. #43 David Irving (no relation)
    December 15, 2009

    Maybe I should have stayed up and watched it after all. Two minutes in, I found Plimer’s smugness so unbearable I just turned it off.

  44. #44 Fran Barlow
    December 15, 2009

    I almost switched off after Monbiot started apologising for “climategate”. He has declined a good deal in my estimation as a result of his conession. Then again, his position on biofuels some while back was also ill-considered.

  45. #45 Paul
    December 15, 2009

    The sceptics love Plimer because he’s a professor. The fact that he’s not a climate scientist doesn’t make much difference.

    Also, as well as his professorship at the University of Adelaide he is Professor Emeritus, at the School of Earth Sciences, University of Melbourne.

  46. #46 mourdre
    December 15, 2009

    I, too, was shocked to hear Professor Plimer’s asides that “Mr Monbiot is showing ill-breeding” and “For God’s sake get some manners young man”.
    A more rounded picure of this man is slowly emerging.
    We saw the arrogant contempt he showed for a colleague who disagreed with him – Charlie Veron – on ABC Breakfast back in April when his book was launched.
    We have seen his venomous side – comparing Al Gore with “slime”.
    We have seen the hypocrisy of his claims that other scientists are being unnecessarily alarmist, yet in his recent Adelaide speech he warned that “the Australian economy risked total collapse” and “Australia will go broke and will become the laughing stock of the world” and “Australia faces the very real risk of losing everything our forefathers busted their guts for over the past 200 years”, not to mention his astounding claim against his critics, that “I have not heard one of them base their opinion on science or intellect”.
    To this we add his latest toffee-nosed class snobbery against Monbiot and his apparent belief that people without a science degree are disqualified from asking him scientific questions.
    Plimer will need telescopic sights mounted on the end of his nose if he looks down any further on non-scientists, journalists and ill-bred uppity young people who dare challenge his scientific authority.

  47. #47 Marion Delgado
    December 15, 2009

    something that’s always bothered me:

    not to encourage jingoism or rabid nationalism, but do the right-wing anti-environmentalists (and the war-mongers) in Australia and Canada not notice how often they’re deferring and even kowtowing to the US government and/or big corporations that are considered, and proclaim themselves, American, as in United States of?

    The Americans hate the French, who don’t concede anything by way of tribute to them, but pat the heads of the (right sort of) Canadians and Aussies, and you’d think right-wingers would be more chauvinistic or something about that. ah well.

  48. #48 Marion Delgado
    December 15, 2009

    Perhaps these Pagliacci like Plimer and Monckton are confusing the peerage with peer review, and since the former is broken and not conversant with science, they think the latter is as well.

    If Ian Plimer gets any more classist we should start calling him Ian Climber.

  49. #49 Ken Fabos
    December 15, 2009

    I’m increasingly convinced that Plimer’s free market ‘ideology’is based around the good old free enterprise staple of parting suckers from their money. Maybe, in his previous experience with Creationists, he found there was something of value to be learned from them after all; ie the willingness of people to pay to read and be told what they want to hear.

    Plimer may believe that adaptation is better than mitigation or that the prosperity built on the back of fossil fuels can’t be maintained by other means. He may even believe that the chances of reducing global emissions is next to zero and that nothing anyone, including himself, says will make a scrap of difference (and so feel no guilt). But I don’t think he believes his own arguments.

    I think Plimer knows his sciency sounding arguments are bereft of scientific content; they were never intended for scientists. But most of all I think he knows that even if his arguments have no scientific value, people will still pay lots of money for them.

    More lucrative, I suspect than being a professor. His own personal adaptation program?

  50. #50 peterd
    December 15, 2009

    I visited deltoid quite early this morning and noted there’d already been much comment on Plimer’s ABC TV performance last night. I hope I may be permitted to share, in the form of a reproduced email exchange, my own experience in trying to pin down the elusive Professor Plimer on the topic of “submarine volcanoes”.

    In July 2007, following on the heels of the ABC’s screening of TGGWS, and of Plimer’s column in The Melbourne Age, where he tried to criticise the BAMOS critique of TGGWS, I emailed the following query to Plimer. (I think my tone was respectful throughout.)

    Dear Professor Plimer,
    I was interested to read your comments, in last Thursday’s Melbourne ‘Age’, on the ABC’s screening of “The Great Global Warming Swindle”. I am interested to know a little more about a couple of things. What is the “well-documented scientific fraud” in the film “An Inconvenient Truth”? And who are the “three scientists with a more rational view to the doomsday hype” you mentioned, who were “uninvited”?

    No immediate reply. I then sent the following.

    Dear Professor Plimer,
    I was interested to read your comments, in last Thursday’s Melbourne ‘Age’, on the ABC’s screening of “The Great Global Warming Swindle”.
    I have another question, to follow my earlier questions, which relates to your comment that the BAMOS critique “….contains schoolboy howlers and a lack of logic intertwined with politics”. I would like to know specifically what “schoolboy howlers” can be found there, and where the “lack of logic” and “politics” are [sic] contained.
    Yours sincerely, etc.

    This received an immediate reply. Plimer did not address me by name or title. I thought this rather, well, ill-mannered.

    “The best is their attempt to explain away volcanoes, how can they ignore 85% of the world’s volcanoes?”

    Sensing I might be “onto something”, as they say, I decided to do a little digging of my own on the internet and ask some more.

    Dear Professor Plimer,
    do you mean that in the section of the BAMOS article where it discusses the “ASSERTION: [that] Volcanoes produce far more carbon dioxide than human activities, so anthropogenic greenhouse gases cannot be having a significant effect on global average temperature”, the estimate of CO2 from volcanoes does not include 85% of the world’s volcanoes? If so, what is the tonnage of CO2 emitted by this “missing” 85%? Do you have a source for that data? OR do you mean that the 300 million tonnes per annum cited by Morner/Etiope represents only 15% of the total? The total would then be (300 x 10^6) x (100/15) = 2000 million tonnes, which is still only about 7% of the “anthropogenic” emissions.
    (Incidentally, 300 million is only about 1% of 27 billion, not 2% as the BAMOS authors write. Or have I missed something?)
    (signed)

    This received the following, almost immediate, response. (Again, no form of address was used by the professor.)

    Most volcanoes are submarine, they are mafic, they release CO2, they never enter any equation

    I followed up immediately as follows.

    Dear Professor Plimer,
    the issue is the amount of CO2 getting into the atmosphere from volcanoes.
    I am not a geologist- I only did Geology 101 at varsity- but I am quite capable of following some scientific papers- indeed, I have written a few of them myself. I encourage you to share with me any references you have to the total amount of CO2 entering the atmosphere (or the seas, for that matter) from volcanoes. I can find no data on the internet that substantially alters the conclusion drawn by the BAMOS team of authors. Indeed, at a USGS site, http://volcanoes.usgs.gov/Hazards/What/VolGas/volgas.html,
    I find the following statement:

    Comparison of CO2 emissions from volcanoes vs. human activities.
    Scientists have calculated that volcanoes emit between about 130-230 million tonnes (145-255 million tons) of CO2 into the atmosphere every year (Gerlach, 1999, 1991). This estimate includes both subaerial and submarine volcanoes, about in equal amounts. Emissions of CO2 by human activities, including fossil fuel burning, cement production, and gas flaring, amount to about 27 billion tonnes per year (30 billion tons) [ ( Marland, et al., 2006) – The reference gives the amount of released carbon (C), rather than CO2, through 2003.]. Human activities release more than 130 times the amount of CO2 emitted by volcanoes–the equivalent of more than 8,000 additional volcanoes like Kilauea (Kilauea emits about 3.3 million tonnes/year)! (Gerlach et. al., 2002)
    Do you have anything that refutes this conclusion (that CO2 emissions from volcanoes are a very small fraction of the anthropogenic emissions)?
    If not, can we please move the discussion forward?
    Sincerely,

    NO RESPONSE.

  51. #51 peterd
    December 15, 2009

    A small correction: there should have been a line separator of some kind to separate the USGS statement quoted in my mail to Plimer from my own, final questions to him (beginning “Do you have anything that refutes…..?”).
    My apologies for any confusion.

  52. #52 el gordo
    December 15, 2009

    P. Lewis is correct and I have nothing further to add.

  53. #53 Mercurius
    December 15, 2009

    Ummm, I find the charge about alleged ‘academic misconduct’ by Plimer hard to sustain. Plimer is publishing junk science in unreviewed books:- from a purely academic perspective, so what?

    It’s not like he falsified findings in the Journal Nature, or has monstered PhD candidates into publishing nonsense.
    He’s a fool and a liar, but he’s a fool and liar in an area unconnected with his professorial duties. The only thing brought into disrepute by his actions is himself, and anybody dull-witted enough to be bamboozled by his excresences.

    Besides, if we instituted misconduct proceedings against every Professor who held eccentric and unfounded views in areas unconnected with their academic purview, who would be left?

    I’d say the UoA will take no action, rightly in my view.

  54. #54 Jim Eager
    December 15, 2009

    Owl wrote: “You don’t seem to have noticed but the majority of people CAN read a graph and can see the manipulations involved.”

    You mean the way your ilk could read the manipulated graph in the great film swindle and not see the missing 30 years showing no correlation between the sun and temperature?

    The easiest way to fool yourself is to eyeball a straight line trend in a graph.

  55. #55 mourdre
    December 15, 2009

    Jim Eager makes a good point. I’d be much more interested in what we might learn from FoI requests for e-mail exchanges between Plimer and certain people, or between Carter and Senator Steve Fielding etc. Anybody done this? All Australian universities are subject to FoI.

  56. #56 Bernard J.
    December 15, 2009

    Oh, for pity’s sake:

    You don’t seem to have noticed but the majority of people CAN read a graph and can see the manipulations involved.,/blockquote>

    [Owl](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2009/12/plimer_exposed_as_a_fraud.php#comment-2146584).

    Please show a graph – the best one that you can find – that illustrates any inappropriate “manipulation” by those climate scientists of whom you are apparently so ashamed.

    Go on, show us where the science and the data have been misrepresented.

    Then have another, closer, look at the Plimer interview, and at the Plimer deconstructions on Deltoid, RealClimate, Open Mind, and elsewhere, and try to tell us again that it’s the climatologists of the world who are wrong, and not Plimer.

  57. #57 J Akerman
    December 15, 2009

    Bernard asks:

    >Please show a graph – the best one that you can find – that illustrates any inappropriate “manipulation” by those climate scientists of whom you are apparently so ashamed.

    Will [this one](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2009/05/ian_plimer_lies_about_source_o.php) do Bernard?

  58. #58 Fran Barlow
    December 15, 2009

    You miss the point Mercurious.

    Plimer is running shotgun for those who wish to trade humanity’s future for the right to use the atmosphere as an industrial tip. He is lying, verballing scientists and slandering the entire scientific community in the service of this agnotology, and he’s doing it with public funds. Large sections of the public would be loathe to say the things he is saying, but if the meme that there is dissent among scientists can be sustained, there is an opportunity to be in the company of ostensibly well-informed people.That he is a minerals gerologist rather than someone equipped to comment on atmospheric science is not something many people will pay attention to. In the “debate” on Lateline last night he repeatedly cited his own authority as a scientist agains the mere journalist Monbiot. We ought to take this standard and shove it metaphorically into each of his orifices until everyone can see how ill-fitting it is.

    If he had eccentric views on alien visitation and Stonehenge, one could laugh, but this matter is deadly serious.

  59. #59 carrot eater
    December 15, 2009

    dhogaza: So you’ve found some academic codes of conduct. Can you think of similar case to this where those were used like that?

    I say again, don’t feed that stupid Galileo complex. Embarrassing him by exposing him is more than good enough.

    I’d imagine that the Uni already knows it has a clown on its hands, unless dept chair and deans actually agree with him.

  60. #60 John
    December 15, 2009

    Maybe you’re all being a big hard on Plimer. After all, he spends lots of time in the outback speaking with average people.

  61. #61 phillip soffermann
    December 15, 2009

    Poor old Tim…want to shoot the SMHessenger now do we? Poor old Ban Farlow#36 is behaving like a snotty-nosed brat…has got the shtz, pulled up stumps, grabbed his bat and run home bawling ’cause Plimer won’t play with him! Poor old Acher#41 cites fascism in defence of that Serial Pest Mondiot for her incessant interrupts while Plimer was speaking! Apart from that…I thought the Lateline Debate went well…and I even detected a “slight-warming’ of Tony Jones towards Plimer…compared with their previous Lateline interview.

  62. #62 Fran Barlow
    December 15, 2009

    Mr Soffermann,

    Amidst the welter of playground level abuse, I note that like your pro-bono client, Plimer, you fail to make a substantive point.

    What is it about you lot that obstructs you from proposing anything resembling a coherent idea?

  63. #63 Bernard J.
    December 15, 2009

    [Janet Akerman](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2009/12/plimer_exposed_as_a_fraud.php#comment-2146673).

    Do you know how long the Plimer interview is actually going to be available? I thought that these days the ABC left video material up for months, if not years.

    Perhaps this is one for the Youtube lexicon – copyright considered, of course…

  64. #64 cce
    December 15, 2009

    I wish you Aussies had exported Tony Jones to the world rather than Murdoch.

    A helpful tip when debating about the “lack of warming.” It doesn’t matter which analysis of temperature you use, Satellite LT, Satellite SST, Ship/Buoy SST, Radiosonde, or thermometer, every single one of them from every team shows that the last decade was warmer than the previouis. Plimer can keep looking for adjustments that tell his story, but he won’t find them.

    I also wish that people would refrain from using the word “unequivocal.” Although probable, it is not “unequivocal” that the last ten years is warmer than anything in medieval times, and certainly not for the last 4000 years.

  65. #65 MapleLeaf
    December 15, 2009

    Phillip “of that Serial Pest Mondiot for her incessant interrupts while Plimer was speaking”

    “Her incessant interruptions”??? His name is George Monbiot. It would have helped if Pfilmer had not continually refused to answer the questions and had not kept going off on tangents.

    Actually, Tony Jones was obviously getting quite pissed off with Plimer. Did you actually watch it? And if so, what kind of rosy coloured glasses were you wearing at the time? Or maybe there were some chemicals involved?

    Funny how you are your ilk throw your toys when some cherry picked emails from CRU are distorted and spun and then go around screaming “fraud, fraud!”, yet you are completely oblivious to the fraud and lies of Pflimer and his cohorts. Wake up!

    If I had a dollar for the number of times a “skeptic” has quoted Plimer or Monckton or Lindzen when I have been talking with them about AGW with then I’d be wealthy. Do not underestimate the clout that these morons have with the public!! Plimer needs to be given his marching orders for misconduct, not for his views on AGW. So what if it plays into their martyr complex angle, the point is is that he will no longer be able to pompously claim to be a credible scientist who works at U of A. Profs. are not beyond reproach, especially when their lies threaten lives.

    On a side not, stumbled on an interview on a USA network with Schmidt and Christy on YouTube. Christy was disappointing. He was claiming that CRU fudged the SAT data when making reference to “hide the decline”. He should know better than that. It is odd, it is as if Lindzen, Christy, Spencer, Plimer etc. are all reading from the same script in terms of their arguments and reasoning.

  66. #66 Jimmy Nightingale
    December 15, 2009

    I find it amusing that Plimer is following almost exactly the same modus operandi as he did in the court case against Roberts/Ark Search (see here: http://creation.com/plimer-court-case-our-press-release). Just read the phony claims part of the release. If nothing else, he is at least predictable.

    As for the debate, I must say that the media coverage has been rather disappointing. Looks like they know that there is no way they (as in the Oz, Telecrap etc) can spin this into anything positive, so it’s best to remain silent. Realistically, a debate between a mining geologist and a journalist on a subject that neither is an expert in – who cares? Why is the ABC giving Plimer more media coverage to spruik his ignorance (wilful or otherwise)? I’d much rather they give media time to someone like Plimer’s colleague at the University of Adelaide, Dr Barry Brook or the University of Queensland’s Dr Ove Hoegh-Guldberg.

  67. #67 Bernard J.
    December 15, 2009

    [Janet](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2009/12/plimer_exposed_as_a_fraud.php#comment-2147244).

    Ah, I was thinking about that graph last night!

    I am more certain that ever that it is a pliagarism from the GGWS, especially as it [exhibits the hallmarks of vectorisation](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2009/05/ian_plimer_lies_about_source_o.php#comment-1741773). I doubt that Plimer could provide the original data in a month of Sundays, and together with the obvious manipulation of the curve, it makes a mockery of any criticism that he, or anyone else for that matter, directs at the CRU team with respect to the stolen data.

    He is a hypocrite as well as a fraud and a liar.

  68. #68 William Wallace
    December 15, 2009

    Climate change denial….lol. It is AGW denial, and it’s a lot like homeopathy denial.

  69. #69 Bernard J.
    December 15, 2009

    [Carrot eater](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2009/12/plimer_exposed_as_a_fraud.php#comment-2147271).

    I have to agree with some of the others here with respect to investigating whether Plimer has breached academic codes of conduct.

    It might be permissible for a journalist or a TV station to release ‘non-truth’ as news, but it is not permissible for a scientist to release ‘non-truth’ as science.

    If Plimer identifies himself as ‘Professor’, or ‘Dr’, or if he permits another to so identify him, he is automatically using his academic bona fides to support anything that he says, whether it is within his field of understanding or not. In all such instances he is bound by the codes of conduct appropriate to the institutions that grant his titles, and by the codes of any professional intitute to which he belongs.

    Plimer and his Denialati colleagues are collectively extremely vociferous about demanding that Phil Jones be recognised, censured, suspended, decloaked, jailed, or even murdered for an alleged action that has no obvious evidential support, and yet Plimer is clearly and provably guilty of exactly the same malfeasance that he accuses others of – in Plimer’s own words, he accuses them of “the biggest scientific fraud in history”.

    If it’s fine for them to request action for misconduct (and it should be if any can be shown to exist), then it should apply to Plimer as well.

    Besides, people are called to account for their misconduct every day in many different spheres of society. If Plimer has a case to answer, he should answer it just as anyone else should be required to do.

  70. #70 Robert P.
    December 15, 2009

    I agree with mercurious and carrot eater. If Australian Universities are anything like those in the United States, Plimer pretty much can say and write anything he wants, no matter how foolish or mendacious, without worrying about academic sanctions, as long as he keeps it outside of the scholarly literature. That’s why Arthur Butz (Holocaust denier, Northwestern University) and Peter Duesberg (HIV denier, U.C. Berkeley), for example, have retained their academic positions. Better to work at ensuring that their “work” is recognized as irrelevant (as Duesberg and the other HIV denialists have been effectively marginalized within the biomedical community.)

  71. #71 j.kross
    December 15, 2009

    First. Monbiot concedes that science is not settled by engaging Plimer. Secondly, Plimer’s opening argument makes perfect sense. Its all about power, taxes and more money & nothing about the environment. Science was raped (CRU etc) to create a global taxing machine. The rest of the debate is a no brainer; a journalist and geologist arguing over climate. The climate must be allowed to reach extremes as it has done for centuries or we’re in serious trouble. Finally, there is a groundswell of opinion against AGW in the US and Australia and today the Opposition is daring PM Rudd to bring on an election, buoyed by population getting wise on dodgy science and partying world leaders trying to impoverize ordinary folk for Al Gore’s religion of global warming. Monbiot is on shaky ground.

  72. #72 phillip soffermann
    December 15, 2009

    Mr Barlow,
    Firstly…let’s not talk about ‘Climate Change’ because that is a constant and random variable that has existed since time began. Now let’s talk about the much-hyped ‘Global Warming’. South Australia, during the first 2 weeks of December just passed, recorded the LOWEST December ‘first-fortnight’ temperatures ever measured (over 150yrs). Would you prefer they were the HOTTEST just so you and your friends could slap each other on the back and call yourselves ‘futurologists’?
    1998 may well have been a ‘warm’ year…but it taken 10 years for me to find that out! Some scientists say the last 10 years have cooled,plateaued or warmed…take your pick!… they are all scientists’ ‘opinions’. What I would like to know is…how many ‘scientists’ opinions’ have been ‘East-Anglianised’?

  73. #73 Vince Whirlwind
    December 15, 2009

    I think Plimer is doing us all a huge favour – by collecting all the Denialist nonsense in one book, he allows all of Denialism to be debunked in one shot, rather than having to run around debunking the various kooks individually.
    This is why I initially thought Plimer was deliberately setting-up the Denialists.

  74. #74 carrot eater
    December 15, 2009

    Bernard J: I’m afraid I agree with Robert P. So long as Plimer is not knowingly putting fraudulent data in the academic literature, I don’t think there’s much precedent here for official academic sanction. If there is, find me some precedent.

    Tenured profs can and do go around saying strange things in public.

    That said, remember that there are unofficial ways of making life uncomfortable at the uni.

  75. #75 Vince Whirlwind
    December 16, 2009

    Phil, what you seem to have missed is the fact that the term “climate change” was coined and disseminated by your denialist ilk as a PR-exercise designed to water-down concern over Global Warming.
    Haha.
    Secondly, your statement that “some Scientists say the last 10 years have colled, plateaued, warmed…” is false. Scientists know that in any 10-year period the noise in climate measurements will exceed any trend, so they know that such statements would be ignorant or mendacious.
    What scientists *can* say is this: “The last decade has been the warmest decade on record.”
    Thirdly, even the most cursory glance at the BoM’s website shows there has been no exceptional coldness in Adelaide so far this month:
    http://www.bom.gov.au/jsp/ncc/cdio/cvg/av
    Perhaps you can reference your claims about the weather in Adelaide?
    For bonus points, you could explain to us the difference between weather and climate?

  76. #76 Aussiejoe
    December 16, 2009

    Regarding the Lateline Plimer/Mombiot interview, 15 December 2008 when two journalists (Jones and Mombiot) rudely bullied the guest Professor, I can only say that the constant ungracious interruptions by Mombiot, and the pathetically smug non-intervention by Jones, pushed me absolutely away from the man-made climate change position.

    When debaters use verbal stand-over tactics to force their point, I immediately smell a rat.

    And yes, Prof. Plimer, for Mombiot to continually interrupt when someone else is taking their turn to speak, is indeed the height of ignorance.

    Tony Jones and George Mombiot did themselves a disservice by demonstrating that ignorance may not be restricted to their lack of manners, it may also be reflective of their highly questionable opinions.

    And please, quit disparaging those who have alternative opinions.

    The right to free speech has not yet been taken away. Almost, perhaps, but not quite.

  77. #77 Danny Yee
    December 16, 2009

    Plimer is a dangerously demagogic deluder, but I don’t think it would be appropriate for his university to take any action against him.

    Just as any principled defence of freedom of speech will involve defence of material we find repulsive, so any principled defence of academic freedom will involve defending some scoundrels.

  78. #78 dhogaza
    December 16, 2009

    Bernard J: I’m afraid I agree with Robert P. So long as Plimer is not knowingly putting fraudulent data in the academic literature, I don’t think there’s much precedent here for official academic sanction. If there is, find me some precedent.
    Tenured profs can and do go around saying strange things in public.
    That said, remember that there are unofficial ways of making life uncomfortable at the uni.

    Well, sure, like Michael Behe’s department prominently displaying a statement that says, in essence, he’s and idiot.

    Yet Behe doesn’t lie about basic stuff (more CO2 from volcanos vs. burning fossil fuels). His sins are those of a weak, refutable analysis that he claims is Gospel (quite literally). But at least he’s tried to put together a reasonable scientific case. He’s more like Lindzen than … I started to say “Watts” but even Watts seems less lying than Plimer (I give Watts a little more slack because he only has a high-school education).

    Plimer’s sins are far more basic, and far more egregious … he’s doing the equivalent of arguing that the earth is flat and tries to cash in on his position as a tenured professor to do so.

  79. #79 marcusj
    December 16, 2009

    Do any mac users here know of a webkit equivalent of Firefox’s killfile thingy? If I read about “Al Gore’s religion of global warming” (71) one more time, I’m gonna get in trouble with law or something. Screaming’s not enough…

  80. #80 Gaz
    December 16, 2009

    I can only say that the constant ungracious interruptions by Mombiot, and the pathetically smug non-intervention by Jones, pushed me absolutely away from the man-made climate change position.

    That’s tremendous, Aussiejoe, you’re making your decisions about the science on the basis of the perceived “ungracious” manners of participants in a TV debate, none of whom (and I inlude Plimer here) are climate scientists.

    God help us.

  81. #81 janama
    December 16, 2009

    But what Plimer said about the latest cooling is correct.

    “TONY JONES: I mean, what sceptics like Andrew Bolt would argue is that it’s happening because there are people out there who don’t believe these scientists, now they appear to have proof, there’s a dissension among the scientists, and they are not letting the public know that there’s dissension between themselves about the arguments about what is happening. Take one, because one of these published emails, it goes to one of the hottest sceptic arguments, that since 1998, and I say hot, you know, advisedly, because 1998 the hottest year, carbon dioxide in the atmosphere increased after that, but the temperature did not keep going up. So the argument of the sceptics is therefore the theory of global warming is not working like it should.

    TIM FLANNERY: Well, the thing is we deal with an incomplete understanding of the way the earth’s system works, we know enough to say as the IPCC said that greenhouse gases cause warming. They are 90 per cent sure, 90 per cent plus sure that it’s caused by humans, we can go that far. In the last few years, were there hasn’t been a continuation of that warming trend, we don’t understand all of the factors that create earth’s climate, so there are some things we don’t understand, that’s what the scientists were email about, you know, we don’t understand the way the whole system works, and we have to find out.

    TONY JONES: The published email that made the front pages of papers was from a respected US climatologist, called Kevin Trenberth saying we can’t account for the lack of warming, it’s a travesty that we can’t. He appears worried that science is not doing the right thing or the climate is not doing what he expected it to do.

    TIM FLANNERY: No, it’s not. These people work with models, computer modelling, when the computer modelling and the real world data disagrees you have a problem, that’s when science gets engaged. What Kevin Trenberth, one of the most respected climate scientist in the world, is saying is, “We have to get on our horses and find out what we don’t know about the system, we have to understand why the cooling is occurring, because the current modelling doesn’t reflect it”. And that’s the way science progresses, we can’t pretend to have perfect knowledge, we don’t. We have to go forward and formulate policy on the basis of what we know now.

    TONY JONES: Is it right that cooling occurring? I mean 1998 was the hottest year, there’s many other hottest years since recorded history in that 10 year period. Are they right to say it’s cooling or not?

    TIM FLANNERY: We had a huge cooling event in Sydney between yesterday and today. Time scales are important. If you take too short a time scale you won’t get a climate signal, you get a regional weather signal or whatever else. The scales that the climate scientists use to look at the overall trend is century long, and on that trend we are still warming, sure for the last few years we have gone through a slight cooling trend, we saw it in the 1940s the same sort of thing, but that does not negate the overall warming trend.”

  82. #82 Fran Barlow
    December 16, 2009

    gaz @ 80 said:

    That’s tremendous, Aussiejoe, you’re making your decisions about the science on the basis of the perceived “ungracious” manners of participants in a TV debate, none of whom (and I inlude Plimer here) are climate scientists.

    Aussie Joe‘ is a longstanding troll who spammed Barry Brook’s blog for a while with his own brand of specious filth merchant nonsense, until Brook kicked him off. Even then he went back for seconds under another nym. Now he’s doing concern trolling here.

    Hmmmm

  83. #83 Daniel J. Andrews
    December 16, 2009

    And please, quit disparaging those who have alternative opinions.

    The right to free speech has not yet been taken away. Almost, perhaps, but not quite.

    And we have the free speech right to disparage those who make up their own “facts”. If they want to lie that’s their right, but they shouldn’t get upset when we use our right to demonstrate that they are liars.

    Incidentally, alternative opinions are quite different from alternative “facts”. If an alternative opinion is supported by made-up facts (and contradicted by real facts) then what use is that alternative opinion in the first place, and why is it polluting the discussion? Willful ignorance is to be mocked severely.

  84. #84 Daniel J. Andrews
    December 16, 2009

    Oops. thanks Fran. Your post came in while I was composing. Sorry for troll-feeding. Will ignore it then.

  85. #85 j.kross
    December 16, 2009

    Hmmmm…people willing to get into trouble with law or something if Al Gore’s religion of Global Warming is brought up…As a free citizen of the world, I will not allow myself to be intimidated by Al Gore’s religion, nor his followers. That’s my inalienable right. Its my planet too!

  86. #86 frankis
    December 16, 2009

    Plimer looks and sounds like he has incipient Alzheimers or senile dementia, that was a woeful advertisement for Adelaide Uni that went to air last night!

  87. #87 Fran Barlow
    December 16, 2009

    Danny Yee above said:

    Just as any principled defence of freedom of speech will involve defence of material we find repulsive, so any principled defence of academic freedom will involve defending some scoundrels.

    Rubbish. Nobody denies Plimer’s right to utter any nonsense he likes. What he cannot do is buttress his nonsense with the claim to authentic scientific enquiry backed by an accredited publicly funded university because that prejudices the standing of the institution and thus all who are accredited by it. There is no question of academic freedom here. The question is one of professional academic standards and personal integrity. He ought not to be allowed to connect the university with demonstrably false claims, including by implication claims agains his academic colleagues at Adelaide, such as Professor Brook.

    If you want to lie or say crazy stuff you can’t generally say it in public on your employer’s dime, or in their name.

    If Plimer were being hauled off to jail for writing an eccentric tract, you’d have a point, and even I would defend him, but it this is not a free speech issue.

    Self evidently, if anyone who is a scientist can say anything at all using their credentials without being accountable then the whole concept of scientific credibility is rendered worthless. That loss is far more an injury to the public than the frustration for some crank.

  88. #88 Danny Yee
    December 16, 2009

    Fran, I would have thought Adelaide University was quite capable of defending its reputation without resorting to direct action against Plimer which might create a bad precedent (how do you word a policy on this so it can’t be used to silence dissent?).

    They could get a pile of academics to issue a statement disagreeing with Plimer’s nonsense, or to make a positive statement on climate change. That would seem more effective, in undoing the harm done by Plimer, than going after him personally (and no doubt turning him into some kind of martyr).

    They could probably insist that he not claim his institutional affiliation when talking outside his area of expertise.

  89. #89 Aussiejoe
    December 16, 2009

    Sorry, Fran. You have pilloried the wrong Aussiejoe. I have never taken the trouble of making a post before. Mostly I felt embarrased for the over-ruling style of the two journalists mentioned. Anyway, I won’t be back – don’t enjoy angry, aggressive environments.

    The rudeness does nothing for the debates going on here.

  90. #90 Fran Barlow
    December 16, 2009

    It’s perfectly simply Danny. My partner teaches and supervises research at UWS.

    If someone is guilty of academic fraud or serious misconduct, they get sanctioned. You can’t plagiarise and appeal to free speech. Neither can you misattribute words or data or make stuff up citing your right to free speech. If you have an opinion, you have to say that’s what it is not present that it is science, unless you can show that it is indeed well-attested.

    We don’t need to invent new forms of words to deal with this as it is already contemplated in the policies of Adelaide University.

  91. #91 Russell
    December 16, 2009

    GFW & Dhogaza;

    How can anyone doubt Gore’s expectation of a meltdown in five years when we have it on equally good authority that arctic ice is assaulted from below by temperatures of “several million degrees inside the Earth. ” and that due to CO2 , The surface of venus is hotter than the boiling point of lead.”

    Does Al ‘s tutorial hot line connect to Prof. Plimer’s office?

  92. #92 carrot eater
    December 16, 2009

    dhogaza: Behe had come to my mind as well, in terms of the ‘uncomfortable’ thing. Even that is pretty much unprecedented; I can’t think of another example where the department made such a public disclaimer, disavowing any support for a faculty member’s positions. So I suppose if his (Plimer’s) colleagues disagreed with him, they could take that step. I’m not sure what sort of relationship Lindzen has with his colleagues at MIT. But yes, Behe is not the a tenth the blatant scumball that Plimer is, though I think he can be slow to concede a point, unless he’s in court.

    Still, I think that so long as he’s not doing something strange with a kangaroo, and so long as he’s not doing dirty things in the academic literature, I rather doubt an official sanction of the sort some are looking for.

    With both free speech and academic freedom, you get both cranks and geniuses. That’s just life. I don’t approve of trying to improve matters by trying to shut the cranks up.

  93. #93 carrot eater
    December 16, 2009

    Good grief, Russell. Two instances of Al Gore fumbling a fact while talking (geothermal temps and the melting/boiling lead). In either case, did he continue repeating that mistake, after being told it was clearly wrong, in an attempt to mislead?

    No.

    Completely not comparable to Plimer’s stupidity about volcanoes.

  94. #94 WotWot
    December 16, 2009

    @ 66

    I find it amusing that Plimer is following almost exactly the same modus operandi as he did in the court case against Roberts/Ark Search

    While I had sympathy for Plimer’s view in that case, I also started losing respect for Plimer during the case. It was clear he had seriously obsessive tendencies and was infatuated with his own opinion and self importance.

    @ 72

    South Australia, during the first 2 weeks of December just passed, recorded the LOWEST December ‘first-fortnight’ temperatures ever measured (over 150yrs).

    Ooh, can I play this game too? Darwin just had its hottest recorded October, and the hottest recorded minimum night time temperature.

  95. #95 Muzz
    December 16, 2009

    I haven’t watched the whole thing yet, but I saw the volcano emission bit.
    Plimer seems to have a quibble, although he faffed around and didn’t elaborate, with how they counted the underwater side of the carbon emissions.

    Does anyone have any more on that point? What’s he (not) saying there and how is he wrong?
    (if it’s reasonably well known talking point you can just link me or whatever. Cheers)

  96. #96 Chris O'Neill
    December 16, 2009

    j.kross

    world leaders trying to impoverize ordinary folk

    impoverize. I love it.

  97. #97 pough
    December 16, 2009

    And yes, Prof. Plimer, for Mombiot to continually interrupt when someone else is taking their turn to speak, is indeed the height of ignorance.

    You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

    And please, quit disparaging those who have alternative opinions.

    Can we continue to disparage those who have stupid opinions? Oh, wait. Was that comment directed at Plimer? Because he’s pretty constantly disparaging people with alternative opinions. Seems to be his thing.

  98. #98 Chris O'Neill
    December 16, 2009

    Muzz:

    What’s he (not) saying there and how is he wrong? (if it’s reasonably well known talking point you can just link me or whatever. Cheers)

    Just read Tim Lambert’s introduction at the beginning of this thread. I would have thought that’s a good idea since you’re posting to it.

  99. #99 Mercurius
    December 16, 2009

    Aussiejoe is priceless:

    “I can only say that the constant ungracious interruptions by Mombiot, and the pathetically smug non-intervention by Jones, pushed me absolutely away from the man-made climate change position.”

    So, let me get this straight: you base your scientific knowledge on how courteously it is presented?

    Very well. The f#$%ing Earth is f@#%ing round, numbnuts! A free-falling sonofabitch object accelerates at 9.8 m/sec^2, now STFU you piece of %#$@^

    I guess Aussiejoe now believes the earth is flat and gravity is a fraud, since I put it so rudely.

    “Anyway, I won’t be back – don’t enjoy angry, aggressive environments.”

    Can the mod please hold Aussiejoe to his promise?

  100. #100 phillip soffermann
    December 16, 2009

    #86 Sicnarf…
    Yours are the sort of comments made by a demented fool. All you do is debase the debate!

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