Plimer suffers from crank magnetism

Crank magnetism is the tendency of someone attracted to one crank idea to be attracted to more. Ian Plimer, already notable for his acceptance of the iron Sun theory and the volcanoes emit more CO2 than humans theory has now been revealed as believing (like Christopher Booker) that white asbestos is harmless. But Plimer has gone beyond that to denying that white asbestos (chrysotile) is even asbestos:

MATT PEACOCK: Well can I ask you a simple question about your expertise, rocks? A few years ago you told me chrysotile was not asbestos, is that right?

IAN PLIMER: Chrysotile’s a serpentine mineral. That is absolutely correct. Mineralogically it’s a serpentine mineral.

MATT PEACOCK: So it’s not asbestos?

IAN PLIMER: It is called commercially asbestos. The mineral chrysotile is a serpentine mineral.

MATT PEACOCK: Even the asbestos industry calls it asbestos. I mean the town Asbestos mines chrysotile.

IAN PLIMER: As I said it’s called commercially asbestos.

MATT PEACOCK: But scientifically…

IAN PLIMER: However …

MATT PEACOCK: With respect, Professor, it’s called asbestos scientifically too.

IAN PLIMER: I’m sorry. You are just a journalist. I have spent my life studying minerals. Look up any basic mineralogy textbook, the sort of thing that we give to 18-year-old students at university, and you’ll see that chrysotile is a serpentine mineral.

MATT PEACOCK: Called asbestos.

IAN PLIMER: A family of serpentine minerals.

MATT PEACOCK: Called asbestos.

IAN PLIMER: Whereas asbestos minerals are amphibole minerals.

MATT PEACOCK: Amphibole like crocidolite and amosite, but chrysotile is part of the family called asbestos. Is it not?

IAN PLIMER: I am sorry. You are demonstrating mass ignorance. You are out of your depth. I invite you to come to some elementary first year mineralogy lectures and you will learn…

Needless to say, textbooks classify white asbestos as a form of asbestos. It’s one thing for Plimer to make basic errors about climate science or the health effects of white asbestos, areas where he has no expertise, but it’s another thing to get basic mineralogy wrong, something on which he is supposed to have expertise.

If you think that Plimer being this blatantly wrong would shake the confidence of his supporters, you are unfamiliar with Tim Blair, who describes it as merely an ‘attempted “gotcha!”‘

(Hat tip: Lionel A)

And while Plimer’s crank magnetism has, so far, not made him embrace Creationism, he has, in his new book, fully adopted the Creationist tactic of loading up school children with loaded questions for their teachers. He even borrowed the title from a Creationist movie.

As for the content of Plimer’s new book, it just repeats some of the numerous errors in Heaven and Earth as Ian Enting details here. Plimer’s response to Enting was shamelessly dishonest, as Graham Readfearn explains:

Professor Plimer claimed there was no way that Melbourne University’s Professor Ian Enting, who appeared on the show as a critic, could have read a copy of his book, which former Australian Prime Minister John Howard endorsed at an event earlier this week.

Professor Plimer said on air: “The book came out and was launched last night [Monday December 12] in Sydney. [Professor Enting] could not possibly have read a copy of this book. He is making things up and just skating on thin ice.”

Yet it was Plimer himself who officially launched the book at an IPA-organised event on November 24 in Melbourne a full 18 days earlier. The Sydney event was a second launch.

Also, check out Plimer vs Plimer, where Plimer contradicts himself.

Comments

  1. #1 Marion Delgado
    December 15, 2011

    I don’t disagree about the facts but I think this example of crank magnetism is like a lot of other cases – it’s not so much conviction it’s an implied deal – I’ll take your nonsense seriously if you take my nonsense seriously.

  2. #2 Marion Delgado
    December 15, 2011

    Also, and I said this on my Amazon review when I revised it, sorry for all caps, but I BELIEVE NOW PLIMER ONLY WROTE A COUPLE OF CHAPTERS OF ‘HEAVEN AND EARTH.’

    I am certain he didn’t even know the detailed content of it. That’s why he was so embarassed whenever asked about crank magnetism material in it. I honestly think he either plagiarized or had ghostwriting assistance. This is from reading Heaven and Earth a couple of times and watching Plimer talk about it.

  3. #3 Lionel A
    December 15, 2011

    Blush!

    That exchange on abc was brought to my attention by Phil_M on DESMOGBLOG.

    Plimer does go out of his way to avoid answering pointed questions, he could have a career in politics.

    Hang on a mo’, he does have a career in politics for that is his forte now, he is certainly no longer engaged in science, not publicly. In that light his latest book aimed at children should be put on the fiction shelves along with Harry Potter books.

    Yes. I picked up on the ‘Expelled’ theme in the title too being well aware of the creationist inspired, Ben Stein vehicle ‘Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed’.

  4. #4 chek
    December 15, 2011

    Well whatever credibility he is thought to have had had already evaporated with the Monbiot encounter. The Matt Peacock interview was just another embarrassing exhibition of bluster and evasiveness from Plimer, very visible even to the layman. The only surprising thing was it was about his own field this time.

    What must his department colleagues have made of it, let alone any of his students?

  5. #5 davboz
    December 15, 2011

    Aside from this, or any previous or future topic, a needledick such as you can’t help but be wrong more than he is right. Unless, of course, you believe yourself to be a pindick of most minute girth, in which case you’d be so right on.

  6. #6 Chris McGrath
    December 15, 2011

    Matt Peacock’s interview is great but I just don’t think it is possible top the demolition of Plimer by George Monbiot when interviewed on Lateline by Tony Jones in 2009: http://www.abc.net.au/lateline/content/2009/s2772906.htm

    The transcript doesn’t do it justice – you should watch the clip right to the end where Plimer keeps point blank refusing to answer repeated questions.

    Like a punch-drunk fighter being pounded on the ropes – Plimer just hangs in there and takes the punches full in the face without even putting up his gloves in the end. You get the feeling he should have run from the room screaming with his pants on fire.

  7. #7 Ezzthetic
    December 15, 2011

    When watching Plimer’s encounter with Monbiot, I certainly gained the suspicion that he had had little to do with the real authorship of Heaven and Earth other than lending his name to it. He simply did not know what his own position was on most of the things he was asked. He had to keep stopping and looking things up in the index. (If he didn’t write it, would it have killed him to have at least read it?)

  8. #8 Steve
    December 15, 2011

    Plimer also said he had not taken any money from the coal industry. Isn’t he the director of several mining companies that mine coal amongst other things?

  9. #9 Scribe
    December 15, 2011

    Ian Plimer has millions of dollars riding on the success of the mining industry, so any carbon emission abatement scheme will directly hurt him financially. So make no mistake, he’s talking from his pocket when it comes to carbon dioxide. Plus his shameful denialism is almost certainly funded by the likes of Gina Rinehart, who, just like Plimer, stands to lose vast amounts of money should humanity actually do something to avert the clear and present danger of AGW.

    What about asbestos? Plimer says that white asbestos, known as chrysotile, is not really asbestos, and even asserted that it was not a carcinogen (in fact, research has found that chrysotile is the main cause of pleural mesothelioma). Plimer’s friend, Christopher Booker, AGW denier, also says that white asbestos is harmless? From Wikipedia:

    Booker has repeatedly claimed that white asbestos is “chemically identical to talcum powder” and poses a “non-existent” risk to human health, relying primarily on a 2000 paper for the UK’s Health and Safety Executive by John Hodgson and Andrew Darnton. He wrote in January 2002 that “HSE studies, including a paper by John Hodgson and Andrew Darnton in 2000, concluded that the risk from the substance is “virtually zero”. In response, the HSE’s Director General, Timothy Walker, wrote that Booker’s articles on asbestos had been “misinformed and do little to increase public understanding of a very important occupational health issue.” The Health and Safety Executive issued further rebuttals to articles written by Booker in both 2005 and in 2006. In an article in May 2008, Booker again cited the Hodgson and Darnton paper, claiming that ‘they concluded that the risk of contracting mesothelioma from white asbestos cement was “insignificant”, while that of lung cancer was “zero”‘. This article was also criticised by the UK’s Health and Safety Executive as “substantially misleading”, as well as by George Monbiot, who argued that Booker misrepresented the authors’ findings. Booker’s claims were also critically analysed by Richard Wilson in his book Don’t Get Fooled Again (2008). Wilson highlighted Booker’s repeated endorsement of the alleged scientific expertise of John Bridle, who in 2004 was convicted under the UK’s Trade Descriptions Act of making false claims about his qualifications.

    Maybe it has something to do with the lucrative ($100 million) Canadian mining industry’s trade in white asbestos (200,000 tonnes/year exported to third world)? Anyone willing to bet Chrysotile Canada Inc. (LAB Chrysotile) is cutting checks to these two fine gentlemen?

    BTW, if you want to chat with Plimer about all this, his email is ian.plimer@adelaide.edu.au or call him at +61 8 8303 7040 or his mobile (cellphone) is 0421 089 651 (internationally, +61 421 089 651)

    In other news, the right wing Quadrant magazine implies the Peacock-Plimer interview was a setup to promote Peacock’s book on asbestos.

  10. #10 MikeH
    December 15, 2011

    Steve @ 8

    From Wikipedia

    “He is a director of three Australian mining companies: Ivanhoe,[7] CBH Resources[7] and Kefi Minerals.[8] In 2010, he was appointed chairperson of the board for TNT Mines Limited.[9][10] He is also listed as a director of Australia-based coal gas company Ormil Energy.[11]
    In 2008 and 2009, according to a columnist in The Age, Plimer earned over A$400,000 from these interests …”

  11. #11 Greg Laden
    December 15, 2011

    What? Nothing about DDT?

  12. #12 jakerman
    December 15, 2011

    Ivanhoe Mines Ltd.
    >Core assets are Ivanhoe’s 66% interest in the world-scale Oyu Tolgoi copper and gold mine development project in southern Mongolia; **its 58% interest in Mongolian coal miner** SouthGobi Resources (SGQ:TSX,1878:HK);

    [Board of Directors](http://www.ivanhoeaustralia.com/s/Board_of_Directors.asp) includes:

    >Professor Ian R Plimer Independent Non-Executive Director

  13. #13 jakerman
    December 15, 2011

    Someone should tell Allan Jones (next time he’s laying down the red carpet for Plimer) that Plimer also has [an interest](http://www.businessspectator.com.au/bs.nsf/Article/Ormil-Energy-director-takes-up-rights-AV77N?OpenDocument) in in [Coal Seam Gas](http://www.investsmart.com.au/shares/asx/Ormil-Energy-OMX.asp).

  14. #14 jakerman
    December 15, 2011

    Correction, Plimer is not a director of [Ivanhoe Mines](http://www.ivanhoemines.com/s/Directors_Executives.asp).

    The Austrlian part called Ivanhoe Australia is the part that Plimer is a director of. Plimer’s part of Ivanhoe reported no interest in coal mining.

  15. #15 Mikem
    December 16, 2011

    Well…..it all just goes to show that even geology professors with substantial tertiary qualifications can suffer from the same affliction which affects some other individual members of the human race – batshit craziness.

  16. #16 Ros
    December 16, 2011

    “Chrysotile is not a single mineral, but a group of polymorphous minerals with the same chemical composition but different crystal lattice. Some Chrysotile polytypes are:
    Clinochrysotile
    Orthochrysotile
    Parachrysotile
    Lizardite.”
    Lizardite for example forms cryptocrystalline masses sometimes with a lamellar or micaceous character-is not asbestos.

    Why does this matter. Because this argument has to be a new low in this debate. The transcript for Peacock and Plimer would have been better to just say
    Peacock: I am smarter than you
    Plimer: no you are not I am smarter than you.
    Peacock: ditto
    Plimer: ditto

    Having read the whole transcript all I see is 2 arrogant men chest butting. They both wilfully play with meanings and misinterpret what the other is saying. They are both showing off at the expense of the listeners.

    You can’t seriously think that Plimer doesn’t know what chrysotile is, (or that it does exist as abestiform fibres as well as cryptocrystalline masses). It isn’t that he doesn’t know, he is just being a smart arse, who descends to abuse. From Plimer’s crack I am assuming that Plimer knows that Peacock knows what he is talking about. Peacock is no better he descends to talking over Plimer and repeating his mantra and pretending he doesn’t know what Plimer is saying.

    But what do the partisans shriek, on one hand that Plimer gets get basic mineralogy wrong, on the other that Peacock was about promoting his book. Again childish twits the pair of them.

    Well it wasn’t an entire waste of time, I now know that asbestos fibres come in wrinkly and straight forms.

  17. #17 bill
    December 16, 2011

    I’ve always thought the reason Plimer kept bringing the book out during the confrontation with Monbiot (and, let’s face it, Tony Jones, who he clearly had totally exasperated!) was pure plug… it’s almost comic the way he keeps having to ‘consult’ it, thereby tilting it into the camera’s view… now I’ll have to watch again with the alternative theory in mind…

  18. #18 bill
    December 16, 2011

    ‘Partisanship’? Say what? It’s asbestos –

    Chrysotile is an asbestiform sub-group within the serpentine group of minerals. There are three known species of chrysotile: clinochrysotile (which is monoclinic), orthochrysotile (which is orthorhombic) and parachrysotile (which is also an orthorhombic polymorph of orthochrysotile). Thes[e] varieties are all phyllosilicates. The chemical formulae for the three are the same: Mg3Si2O5(OH) with variable iron as Fe2+ substituting for magnesium. Chrysotile varies in color from gray-white to golden yellow to green. It has a hardness of 2.5 – 3. The three varieties form the fibrous members of the serpentine group and have been extensively mined as asbestos

    Chrysotile or white asbestos is the most commonly encountered form of asbestos, accounting for approximately 95% of the asbestos in place in the United States and a similar proportion in other countries [emphasis mine]

    Websters, and every other dictionary. See link for extensive references.

  19. #19 Nick
    December 16, 2011

    Ros,Peacock gives Plimer plenty of air–no ‘chest-butting’– in the larger part of the interview. How does he use that opportunity? In an abysmal display of self-serving dishonesty.

    Plimer claims that all the students he teaches lack fundamental skills that they should have received in secondary school,in one stroke damning secondary teachers en masse while heaping himself with praise. Then he lies shamelessly about climate science,claiming it is a young science and ignores geology.

    Moncktonian in every way.

  20. #20 Mercurius
    December 16, 2011

    1. Plimer concludes the interview with a swipe at the ABC journalist for being in a receipt of “taxpayer’s money” to make a living. I trust Plimer will donate his taxpayer’s salary as a Professor at a public university to a charitable cause, since he obviously doesn’t approve of ‘tax-eaters’.

    2. It’s incredibly bad form for a teacher to ridicule his students in public. A poor teacher always blames his students…

    3. If ‘geology has been ignored’ in climate science, them I’m sure that Professors of Geology from around the world will join Plimer in his crusade to ensure that geology gets its due. Not supposing, of course, that all those Professors of Geology are in the pocket of Big Green to keep quiet, hmmm?

  21. #21 Wow
    December 16, 2011

    > I’ll take your nonsense seriously if you take my nonsense seriously.

    OK, I can see Plimer’s nonsense.

    Where is the other nonsense?

    > Well it wasn’t an entire waste of time, I now know that asbestos fibres come in wrinkly and straight forms.

    Well you now know that Plimer will refuse to acknowledge any facts that indicate he’s made a mistake of any magnitude anywhere.

  22. #22 Marion Delgado
    December 16, 2011

    Wow: The other nonsense is the Iron Sun stuff, the charts from the Great Global Warming Swindle, asbestos carcinogen denial, etc. etc.

    Is he inherently dippy? Yes. Among his demands of Monbiot was 10My time-flitches. A flitch is a notch in a tree, basically. A longitudinal cut – it’s many other things. It has a very nonstandard slang/jargon meaning in at least Australian mining, apparently, taking wedge samples out to follow shifting. For instance of slag heaps. So it’s already nonstandard (and has jack to do with climate change). But he brings it into the really surreal world by demanding “time-flitches.” I can only guess this neologism means in his addled brain taking samples from cliffs for comparative analysis of geological time instead of to see recent movement of a slag heap. In any event, it was pure gabbleflab.

    On the face of it he wanted Monbiot to scoop time wedges out of the space time continuum and, presumably, stick a thermometer in them to prove warming. With a Time-Ax.

    Great. Now *I* want a time-ax.

  23. #23 Jeffrey Davis
    December 16, 2011

    The very first comment in this thread nails it. There are genuine cranks and there are those who court cranks for political ends. And there are apparently those who see in the large number of modern cranks an unending revenue stream.

    I don’t know Plimer from a hole in the wall, but the reported behavior suggests to me someone who views the genuine cranks of the world as easy pickings. Didn’t read his own ghost written book? That’s really not admirable, but it does suggest the same kind of shameless bravado that we like to see in literary scoundrels.

  24. #24 Amoeba
    December 16, 2011

    Plimer is a wannabe S Fred Singer. Both deny the dangers of Asbestos, and the dangers of man-made climate change. I suspect that the only reason Plimer doesn’t promote cigarettes as safe, is because that particular boat has been sunk.

    His targeting of children with his new book, is frighteningly reminiscent of the tobacco industry’s targeting of children as customers.

    I can’t help wondering who’s paying him?

  25. #25 Scribe
    December 16, 2011

    Ian Plimer stars in “you can smell a con when there’s a con“. (Youtube, new)

    Burning irony, yes, it hurts.

    Hat tip to independentaustralia.net’s Plimer and Howard ape creationists

  26. #26 Marco
    December 16, 2011

    I liked Tory Shepherd’s take on Plimer’s new book
    http://www.thepunch.com.au/articles/how-plimers-climate-change-book-might-just-work/

    Note especially the very apt reference to creationists’ tactics (Plimer once fought a battle with creationists, and now he’s taking over their tactics…nice going, “professor”!).

    The comments give me some hope: there are a few denidiots, but more who are more even-handed.

  27. #28 GWB's Nemesis
    December 16, 2011

    The first sentence of Svend Funder’s Science paper (#27) is as follows: “Global warming will probably cause the disappearance of summer sea ice in the Arctic Ocean during this century, and the ocean bordering North Greenland is expected to be the very last area to become ice-free in summer.”

    Strange that Plimer didn’t highlight that in his piece…

  28. #29 Lionel A
    December 16, 2011

    Acacia @ 27

    In Plimer’s book excerpt reprinted in that article, at the bottom, is embedded a strange claim – emphasised:

    ‘…Antarctic ice core (Siple) shows that there were 330 parts per million of carbon dioxide in the air in 1900; Mauna Loa Hawaiian measurements in 1960 show that the air then had 260ppm carbon dioxide.

    Either the ice core data is wrong, the Hawaiian carbon dioxide measurements are wrong, or the atmospheric carbon dioxide content was decreasing during a period of industrialisation.

    As in all other areas of science, uncertainty rules.

    This is an extract from Ian Plimer’s book How to Get Expelled from School: A Guide to Climate Change for Pupils, Parents & Punters.

    This cannot be so surely. I have started investigating but, not having access to all the papers that I am turning up it may take me awhile – but this is Plimer’s game is it not. Toss out misinformation that takes time to rebut and thus waste people’s time or ensure they give up checking.

  29. #30 GWB's Nemesis
    December 16, 2011

    Lionel A: Seems very odd again. The Siple data are online in graph form [here](http://cdiac.ornl.gov/trends/co2/graphics/siple-gr.gif). It was 280 +/-5 ppmw in 1750. By 1900 the graph suggests around about 300 ppmw. Mauna Loa data are [here](http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/trends/). In 1960 this was about 320 ppmw, just as the Siple data suggests.

    There is no inconsistency that I can see, and Plimer’s numbers don’t seem to add up.

  30. #31 Lionel A
    December 16, 2011

    OK

    One result on Siple ice core

    with figures for extracted CO2 ppm concentration in 1899 of 295.8 and in 1903 of 294.8

    This found at Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center

    More could be found through NSIDC Siple Dome Ice Core but there is much to plough through there.

  31. #32 Wow
    December 16, 2011

    GWBN/Lionel, given that the only people who would buy Plimers’ book are those who already believe he as the truth about climate, who would buy the book and check up whether his statement there (quoted in post 29) is correct or made up?

    NOBODY.

    Would he gain ANY form of censure over his lying in that book?

    NO.

    Would anyone who currently believe Plimer even listen to your facts about what that paper and Mauna Loa records say?

    NO.

    Does Plimer still get paid royalties for a book he lies in?

    YES.

    Therefore why should he bother telling the truth? There’s no downside for him, telling the truth would be devastating to his case and his fans and the upside nonexistent.

    Therefore he lies.

    Until lying isn’t given free rein and ignored when inconvenient, Plimer and the rest of the denialists will continue to lie when it suits them.

  32. #33 Lionel A
    December 16, 2011

    Thanks GWB’s Nemisis @ 30, I did see that but was looking for data to study. That graph has a pronounced blip on the 1900 date. Did Plimer cherry pick that year? He still failed on the numbers though.

  33. #34 Chris O'Neill
    December 16, 2011

    This cannot be so surely.

    Indeed.

    (Siple) shows that there were 330 parts per million of carbon dioxide in the air in 1900

    Actually 295.8 ppm in 1899.

    Mauna Loa Hawaiian measurements in 1960 show that the air then had 260ppm carbon dioxide

    Actually 316.91 ppm in 1960.

    Plimer is a criminal.

  34. #35 russell
    December 16, 2011

    As a smoker, i wonder where Plimer stands on the burning question of asbestos cigarette filters?

  35. #36 Bernard J.
    December 16, 2011

    Ian Plimer.

    >How to Get [One’s New “Textbook”] Expelled from School: [Write] A [Crappy Denialist’s] Guide to [Pseudoscientific] Climate Change for Pupils, Parents and Punters.

    There… I did what your editor wasn’t able to.

  36. #37 John Mashey
    December 16, 2011

    re: 24
    There’s also sending 14,000 copies of Jo Nova’s “The Skeptics Handbook” to presidents of US school boards, courtesy of Heartland.

  37. #38 FrankD
    December 16, 2011

    I note on the first table on the Siple link that there is a date for the ice and a date for the enclosed air.

    I don’t quite get the process, but I presume it take several decades for surface snow to get buried sufficiently to compact into ice, and during that time gases are exchanged between the atmosphere and the “trapped” layer. Does that sound right?

    In any case, the last reading on that table has an ice date of 1891, enclosed air date of 1962 – 1983, and a CO2 concentration of 328 ppmv, which are quite close to Plimer’s numbers. So perhaps when Plimer talks about 1900, he is talking about the ice date, but the *air it contains* comes from 1980.

    The more I look at Plimers claims, the more ineptitude I see. I used to think he was deliberately misrepresenting the data, but increasingly I’m thinking he’s just an idiot.

  38. #39 Scribe
    December 16, 2011

    Plimer’s rigid skepticism.

    What a wanker.

  39. #40 Bernard J.
    December 17, 2011

    I’ve [made the comment](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2010/03/lambert_monckton_debate_on_you.php#comment-2388985) many times [in relation to Monckton](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eternity_puzzle#Solution), but it would seem to apply to Plimer too…

    If one deliberately and knowingly tells lies or otherwise promulgates untruth for financial gain, is one not [committing fraud](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fraud#Elements_of_fraud)?

    If Plimer is speading scientific untruths knowlingly he would seem to be satisfying the criteria for having engaged in commercial fraudulence, it which case he leaves himself open to legal recourse. Alternatively, if he is promoting his claims without genuinely understanding their invalidity, he is demonstrating such professional incompetence that he should be censured by his institution, or by the relevant professional bodies overseeing the discipline(s) in which he claims expertise.

  40. #41 Ezzthetic
    December 17, 2011

    I suppose it’s possible that Plimer kept pulling out his copy of his book and thumbing through the index in response to every question he was asked in order to demonstrate to the audience what a handy-dandy reference it was, but I couldn’t get rid of the feeling that he simply didn’t know what he’d “said” on the subject.

  41. #42 Lotharsson
    December 17, 2011

    > …I couldn’t get rid of the feeling that he simply didn’t know what he’d “said” on the subject.

    I wonder if someone will do an extension to the Plimer v Plimer page for the new book. Would be interesting for an interviewer to point those contradictions out in person and ask for a resolution…

  42. #43 bill
    December 17, 2011

    I’m genuinely intrigued.

    As I said above, seeing the debate shortly after it was first posted I’d assumed it was the classic promotional sneak-peek plug. You know; “I see here in my book [lifts cover into shot] which is available at a very reasonable $34.95 from all good bookstores and quite a few bad ones, that what I said was…”? That sort of thing.

    (How many authors have you heard interviewed who start every third or fourth sentence with “well, in my book, I outline…”? Even the ‘good’ ones do it; because, after all, they wrote it for a reason, whether economic, egotistic, pedagogic, or some combination of the three, and all such purposes are best served by moving units!)

    The idea of his not actually being aware of the contents – particularly his not being the actual author of some larger or smaller portion – while highly entertaining, seems a mite implausible to me. Though a ‘softer version’ (e.g simply doesn’t remember what he’d said or how he’d used a quote, or perhaps simply doesn’t feel inclined to) seems more credible.

    What reaction did other folks have?

  43. #44 Lotharsson
    December 17, 2011

    > Though a ‘softer version’ (e.g simply doesn’t remember what he’d said or how he’d used a quote, or perhaps simply doesn’t feel inclined to) seems more credible.

    If the Plimer v Plimer page is anything to go by, I have to idly speculate about “schizophrenia” leading the Plimer persona being interviewed wondering whether claims he is being asked about were written by the *other* Plimer persona.

    ;-)

  44. #45 Lionel A
    December 17, 2011

    A simple search on ‘Siple’ at the CDIAC site brought up a Metadata Report which included this under Notes:

    An atmospheric CO2 record for the past 200 years was obtained from the Siple Station ice core. At shallow depths, atmospheric air still circulates through the open pores (Friedli et al. 1986). The enclosed air was younger than the surrounding ice because the enclosure of air in bubbles occurred only between depths of 64 and 76 m. On the basis of porosity measurements, investigators determined that the time lag between the mean age of the gas and the age of the ice was 95 years and that the duration of the close-off process was 22 years (Schwander and Stauffer 1984). Neftel et al. (1985) concluded that the atmospheric CO2 concentration ca. 1750 was 280 +or- 5 parts per million by volume (ppmv) and that it increased by 22.5% to 345 ppmv in 1984 essentially because of human factors. Graphs in Friedli et al. (1986) also reported that the preindustrial (pre-1800) CO2 concentration was ~280 ppmv.

    I think this is the Friedli paper if somebody with academic access to Nature (I have registered but still cannot get access to this article) would care to examine more closely.

  45. #46 Lionel A
    December 17, 2011

    I have found that Sherwood B. Idso and Robert C. Balling Jr. have produced a paper that may include analysis of Siple data. Uh! OH! The plot thickens, maybe.

  46. #47 bruced
    December 17, 2011

    This book should be banned from schools one just one ground – it suggests a very dangerous, potentially lethal experiment to children. Question 33 – Is CO2 poisonous? Plimer’s answer No. Reality it is like any gas, CO2 is dangerous in sufficient concentration. CSIRO has put O2 monitors on all labs that have solid CO2 or Liquid N2 after a tragic accident. The celebrated case of mass CO2 poisoning occurred in 1986 at Lake Nyos in Cameroon where a lake “event” led to 1700 deaths. I’m sure no-one would like to see a child dead through testing Plimer’s dangerous nonsense. So if like me you think this comment is justified, an email to your state minister of education or of health could usefully stir the pot on our potty Geology professor.

  47. #48 Jeff Harvey
    December 17, 2011

    Lionel,

    The Idso-Balling paper was published way back in 1991. Ancient history by two affirmed climate change deniers.

    Avoid.

  48. #49 Lionel A
    December 17, 2011

    Jeff, yes I know about Idso’s and Balling’s background but wonder if Plimer was using their, now long in the tooth paper, as a source for numbers. This seems to be how creatures like Plimer try to maintain a veneer of credibility.

  49. #50 Militant Agnostic
    December 17, 2011

    bruced @47 – There is a big difference between the dager of Nitrogen and CO2 – Nitrogen at atmospheric pressure is only hazardous if it has displaced most of the oxygen in a confined space while C02 is actually toxic at much lower levels, long before it starts to significantly reduce the Oxygen content in a confined space. The Apollo 13 crew had to adapt the Command Module CO2 filters to fit the Lunar Excursion Module in order to avoid CO2 poisoning during the period when they lived in the LEM. Plimer is indeed a crackpot, perhaps driven more by attention seeking than by money.

  50. #51 Harry
    December 17, 2011

    @Militant Agnostic.

    “Plimer is indeed a crackpot, perhaps driven more by attention seeking than by money.”

    I think you could say that about much of the “Skeptical” side of the argument. (I won’t dignify this by calling it a debate). It’s not big oil we are battling, it’s mainly just human vanity. Monckton, Plimer, McIntyre, Nova….. It’s not about warming, it’s about them.

  51. #52 Phil M
    December 17, 2011

    Lionel @ 3 ;)

    Scribe @ 9

    Maybe it has something to do with the lucrative ($100 million) Canadian mining industry’s trade in white asbestos (200,000 tonnes/year exported to third world)? Anyone willing to bet Chrysotile Canada Inc. (LAB Chrysotile) is cutting checks to these two fine gentlemen?

    I thought exactly the same. I searched for a little while for the link between Canada Inc or James Hardie etc & found not much. I’m sure its there, the tracks are just covered well. Plimers stubborn resistance to objectivity on that subject, in the face of evidence, reeks of paycheck.

    In other news, the right wing Quadrant magazine implies the Peacock-Plimer interview was a setup to promote Peacock’s book on asbestos.

    Not sure, if they implied that, or the soon to be released mini series on the subject. Either way, the implication misses its mark by a long way. Book promotions don’t usually continue nearly 3 years after release & the mini series has not even advertised yet, so it would be uncoordinated poorly timed promotion. They are clutching for straws & trying to make excuses for Plimers obviously bad showing.

  52. #53 bill
    December 17, 2011

    Harry @51

    I agree – it’s about them, and their ideology.

    I think much of the motivation for the Plimers and Novas is that it simply cannot be that the Greens (in the broadest sense as well as the specific) are right, so any evidence that supports environmentalism must in itself be defective, and massive accumulations of evidence are proof of a conspiracy.

    From the Big Oil and Big Thinktank perspective such people amount to what Lenin would call ‘useful idiots’.

  53. #54 Mike
    December 17, 2011

    @47, I’m just amazed that Plimer, as a self professed “logical thinker” actually uses this insanely stupid argument of the apparent “lack of toxicity” of CO2. It is a common one I hear among people who think they’re being sceptical.

    It is not the pure biological toxicity which we are talking about. It is the environmental effect. These are two separate (and not necessarily directly related) properties. Look at oxygen. Essential for life. Light a match to an oxygen cylinder though, and kiss your life goodbye. Beneficial one way. Dangerous and harmful in another.

    It still amazes me that so many “sceptics” cannot actually rationalise this. It cuts right to the core of the “plant food” argument they (and Plimer) regularly use. What the heck use is CO2 as plant food if it ends up changing the planetary environment so much that plants struggle for survival for other reasons, regardless of the abundance of this “plant food”?

    It’s very disturbing that someone of Plimer’s influence and education either does not have the ability to distinguish the difference, or knows the difference but deliberately chooses to mislead people about it.

  54. #55 Fran Barlow
    December 17, 2011

    such people amount to what Lenin would call ‘useful idiots’.

    Although often so attributed, there’s no direct evidence that Lenin ever used this phrase. His 45-volume Collected Works, of which I have a copy, contains even minor notes, but this phrase does not appear.

    All of the references I’ve found over the years are traceable back to those hostile to Lenin/communism. There’s even a book of famous misquotes/attributions caled “They never said it” (or similar) in which this “quote” appears.

  55. #56 P. Lewis
    December 17, 2011

    Mike wrote

    Look at oxygen. Essential for life. Light a match to an oxygen cylinder though, and kiss your life goodbye.

    You don’t have to go so far as using a flame (or even a spark) to show that oxygen can be bad for you. Just search on hyperoxia or oxygen toxicity.

  56. #57 John
    December 17, 2011

    But oxygen is weightless and odourless. How can it be harmful /plimerargument

  57. #58 Bernard J.
    December 17, 2011

    From Watts’ site about his reviewership:

    >An invitation letter is available from < https://fod.ipcc.unibe.ch/fod/PDFs/WGIAR5_ExpertReview_InvitationLetter>…

    >[snip]

    >Your username and password will be required to access the WGI AR5 FOD Chapters and to submit a review. The drafts, review form, and additional supporting material are available from the WGI AR5 FOD Expert Review website:

    >https://fod.ipcc.unibe.ch/fod/

    >Expert Reviewers are kindly reminded that all materials provided from this website are available for the sole purpose of the Expert Review and may not be cited, quoted, or distributed.

    Given that Watts has already published material from the domain from which recipients of the letter are not supposed to quote, it seems that Watts’ expertise is in not following the instructions given by the acceptance letter he received.

    Or perhaps his ‘expertise’ is in making out that he was invited to join AR5 by the IPCC’s initiative, when in fact it is clear from the text in the comments that he applied off his own bat, and received the ‘invitation’ in response, rather than having been sought out by the IPCC.

    I note that those links indicate that AR5 material is apparently hosted by La Universidad Iberoamericana in the Dominican Republic. Firefox didn’t like the site, which makes me wonder – is AR5 really working out of the Dominican Republic, or is someone going to a lot of effort to have a lend of some Denialati? Either way, I was not sufficiently moved by curiosity to follow the links.

  58. #60 bill
    December 17, 2011

    Fran @55

    It’s always the way with these quotes, isn’t it? Shakespeare, Marie Antoinette, Alfred Hitchcock, King Canute, Sherlock Holmes… [sigh]

    ‘Useful Idiots’ is such a handy coinage, though, to describe a very real phenomenon in the political process. I salute whoever did come up with it for their gift to the lexicon, if not for their probable ruthlessness!

  59. #61 Michael Ashley
    December 17, 2011

    Talking about crank magnetism, Plimer also thinks that the [“expanding earth” theory](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Expanding_Earth) is worthy of consideration! [Here is Plimer](http://sixtyminutes.ninemsn.com.au/webchats/871537/chat-ian-plimer) discussing the expanding earth theory and how plate tectonics isn’t sufficient to explain what we observe (the discussion is about 2/3rds of the way through the interview, search for “expanding”).

  60. #62 Rats in a sinking ship
    December 18, 2011

    “Ian Plimer has millions of dollars riding on the success of the mining industry, ”

    So has inpector Garnaut, dopey. Albert Gore has made lots of underhanded money and Jimmy Hansen has been found with his snout in the trough. Let’s not even discuss the creepy Doc. Pachuari.

    What a rotten blog attracting even more rotten commenters.

  61. #63 MikeH
    December 18, 2011

    From the Plimer interview linked to by Michael Ashley

    Ian Plimer: The forces of nature are far far greater than anything we humans do. It is only those who have a supreme ego that could argue that humans could change the planet from oil or from mining.

    And only someone earning a truckload of money from mining could make that argument.

    Plimer is also a member of Gina Rinehart’s far right lobby group, Australians for Northern Development and Economic Vision.

    see [Revealing Rinehart’s hard-right agenda](http://www.businessspectator.com.au/bs.nsf/Article/Rinehart-Fairfax-Media-Ten-Network-MRRT-mining-pd20101222-CCQYQ?OpenDocument)

    This group includes John McRobert who served as Pauline Hanson’s advisor.

  62. #64 MikeH
    December 18, 2011

    The appropriately named “Rats in a sinking ship” makes a valid point about attracting “rotten commenters”. Hopefully he won’t be back.

  63. #65 Andrew Strang
    December 18, 2011

    A more caring title for children than Plimer’s, by a greater author could be ‘Scientific Results of Pressing ON’

  64. #66 John Brookes
    December 18, 2011

    Plimer’s use (or abuse) of the Siple ice core data is a very simple ploy. From the late 50’s we have impeccable data from Mauna Loa. Just a steadily increasing increase with seasonal variations. So its no use trying to create doubt there. But if you go back further, you can find (or misrepresent) data that is not quite so complete or certain – and you can use it to create uncertainty & controversy.

    Pathetic.

  65. #67 Marion Delgado
    December 18, 2011

    Lenin did, however, on more than one occasion, use the phrase “politically correct”, and almost the way we use it now: i.e., to describe people who, however admirable and useful their enthusiasm and devotion was, were a bit much – there was, e.g., a Bolshevik way to eat your porridge in the morning and Marx help the comrade whose speech could be construed as demeaning workers or peasants or Marxism or the vanguard Party, etc.

    To be specific, Lenin basically said political correctness should be encouraged in general but curbed when it became fanatic or nutty or just generally counterproductive.

    Two of Lenin’s initiatives were in fact politically incorrect by Bolshevik standards, namely the New Economic Policy / liberalization and the extensive provisions the state made to preserve ethnic and even religious culture (the latter especially in the Islamic autonomous regions). While that’s politically correct now, in that era the Bolshevik ideal was the melting pot, not the ethnic enclave supplied by the State with books in the local language and even a State-supported mosque, e.g.

    I think the PC overenthusiastic comrade had some overtones of “a little stupid but useful.” The difference is they weren’t people outside the Party being idiotically useful to its sinister machinations. Only an imbecile would believe Lenin talked like that – it’s similar to the “promises are like pie-crusts, meant to be broken” crap. A lot of that comes either from the CIA or the John Birch Society, and neither have a record of honesty or integrity.

    On a related note, Stalin didn’t say anything about “no man, no problem.” And the alleged quote about the death of one man is a tragedy a million men is a statistic was him quoting someone else and not in the context at all of things like the purges or the 1930s famine. The main correct quote from Stalin is about voting – it’s usually expressed exactly as he said it, according to numerous eyewitnesses including his personal secretary.

  66. #68 Tom R
    December 18, 2011

    For Rats in a sinking ship , it is true that people from both sides of the argument have made money from their respective stances (which alone makes you question the charge that renewables are not financially viable??)

    What is interesting though, is that I do not recall Garnaut, Gore or Hansen lying about it on a national broadcast in the way that plimer has done in his interview with Matt Peakock.

    MATT PEACOCK: A final question, with respect Professor, have you ever taken any money from the coal industry or the asbestos industry or their lobbyists?

    IAN PLIMER: Not at all.

    Why does he feel the need to be so deceptive?

  67. #69 Amoeba
    December 18, 2011

    MikeH@ 63

    From the Plimer interview linked to by Michael Ashley
    Ian Plimer: The forces of nature are far far greater than anything we humans do. It is only those who have a supreme ego that could argue that humans could change the planet from oil or from mining

    I’m pretty certain that Plimer, or should that be Pliemer, is being economical with the truth, yet again. IIRC, humans aided by fossil-fuels and explosives, have considerably outstripped mother nature in terms of moving pieces of the crust about.

    It’s late here and I couldn’t find the research I was looking for, but I feel pretty certain that someone here could lay their hands on it.

  68. #70 sillyfilly
    December 18, 2011

    On Saturday 17 December 2011 the Australian published an extract from Professor Ian Plimer’s book: How to Get Expelled from School: A Guide to Climate Change for Pupils, Parents & Punters. entitled “Glacial Chill: Ebbs and Flows”.

    In this article , Plimer asks the question: “the alarmist media stresses that changing sea ice and continental glaciers indicate rapid global warming. Is this really so?”

    What follows is far from fact. Plimer cuts and pastes (with a little commentary) his first seven paragraphs from this press release by the University of Copenhagen. Rather than agreeing with Plimer’s point of view, the study indicates that:
    “Our studies show that there are great natural variations in the amount of Arctic sea ice. The bad news is that there is a clear connection between temperature and the amount of sea ice. And there is no doubt that continued global warming will lead to a reduction in the amount of summer sea ice in the Arctic Ocean.
    He continues on with supposed data from glaciers. Particularly, the Bolivian Telata glacier. Here is a press release from the CNRS: the French National Centre for Scientific Research who funded the Bolivian Study:
    The moraines were dated by measuring the concentration of certain elements(3) in the rocks, thus making it possible for the first time to reconstruct the history of the glacier during the Holocene, in other words over the past 10 000 years. During that period, the surface area of the glacier decreased and its front retreated by 3 km. The glacial retreat, which was initially slow, has accelerated since the beginning of the 19th century, retreating by 2 km since 1820….This is the first time that a study shows that the melting of these glaciers during the Holocene was closely connected to variations in surface temperatures of the tropical Pacific Ocean. The research therefore confirms the exceptional nature of the rapid melting observed since the industrial revolution. Melting since 1820 is not linked to variations in insolation but to other mechanisms. This work shows the extreme vulnerability, over the next decades, of these tropical glaciers, which are located at high altitude in an area where warming in the 21st century is predicted to be at its highest (4-5 °C in the Telata region).
    And for further information on glaciers, ice–cores etc, Prof Plimer could have gone here:
    Charney lecture:
    Past and Contemporary Climate Change: Evidence From Earth’s Ice Cover
    Presented by E. S. Mosley-Thompson, Byrd Polar Research Center, Ohio State University and Department of Geography, Ohio State University

    And here’s some snippets of what she had to say:

    The tropical ice core composite carries the signature of 20 th century warming particularly the last twenty years.
    Glaciers between elevations of 4 1/2 to 6 Km all show characteristics of melt.
    The Tibetan ice-core composite shows no Mediaeval Warm Period nor a Little Ice Age (because they were largely North Atlantic phenomena)
    EPICA ice core data shows modern CO2 concentrations (from data for the last 800,000 years) to be outside natural variability.
    Mt Kilimanjaro has lost 85% of it’s ice cover since 1912 and 20% since 2000. Similar rates were experienced in the Papuan glaciers near Puncak Jaya.

    And in finality, the last few sentences of the extract comment thus:

    “Antarctic ice core (Siple) shows that there were 330 parts per million of carbon dioxide in the air in 1900; Mauna Loa Hawaiian measurements in 1960 show that the air then had 260ppm carbon dioxide.
    Either the ice core data is wrong, the Hawaiian carbon dioxide measurements are wrong, or the atmospheric carbon dioxide content was decreasing during a period of industrialisation.
    As in all other areas of science, uncertainty rules.”

    If Plimer has done his research properly, he would, no doubt, take note of the following: From the Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Centre (CDIAC):

    Historical Atmospheric CO2 record derived from the Siple Station ice core
    “An atmospheric CO2 record for the past 200 years was obtained from the Siple Station ice core. At shallow depths, atmospheric air still circulates through the open pores (Friedli et al. 1986). The enclosed air was younger than the surrounding ice because the enclosure of air in bubbles occurred only between depths of 64 and 76 m. On the basis of porosity measurements, investigators determined that the time lag between the mean age of the gas and the age of the ice was 95 years and that the duration of the close-off process was 22 years (Schwander and Stauffer 1984). Neftel et al. (1985) concluded that the atmospheric CO2 concentration ca. 1750 was 280 +or- 5 parts per million by volume (ppmv) and that it increased by 22.5% to 345 ppmv in 1984 essentially because of human factors. Graphs in Friedli et al. (1986) also reported that the preindustrial (pre-1800) CO2 concentration was ~280 ppmv.”

    And also this:

    Atmospheric CO2 concentrations (ppmv) derived from in situ
    air samples collected at Mauna Loa Observatory, Hawaii
    Source: C.D. Keeling T.P. Whorf, and the Carbon Dioxide Research Group
    Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SIO)
    University of California
    Year Annual
    1959 316.00
    1960 316.91

    So Plimer, in a few short sentences, has made the most palpable errors. The ice-core data is right, the Hawaiian (Mauna Loa) data is right and the atmospheric carbon dioxide content is still increasing.

    These manifest errors in Plimer’s substandard and unscientific polemic in no way support his contention that that glacier and ice-core data are not indicative of a changing climate.

    Isn’t it time that Professor Plimer, his supporters and backers: including Alan Jones of 2GB, Andrew Bolt Of the Herald Sun and sponsoring organisations such as the Galileo Movement and the Institute of Public Affairs admitted their errors. If this is any indication of other Plimer arguments presented in his book: then this statement “Are pupils, parents and the public being fed political propaganda on climate change? Now is your chance to find out” is absolutely true. But Plimer is the feeding station for this political propaganda and in this regard he has proven to be an abject scientific failure.

    Perhaps we need another version of the Australian’s War on Science

  69. #72 Bernard J.
    December 18, 2011
  70. #73 MikeH
    December 18, 2011

    Plimer’s mate, emeritus Bob, the geologist from the IPA has an [article](http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/3737156.html) at the ABC which I have managed to summarise for you.

    It is not warming but if it is warming 2 degrees is nothing to worry about but it is not warming but if it is warming we should adapt and the debate is not about idealogy but about science but I had a penny which I dropped which made it all about idealogy but it is the left’s fault.

  71. #74 Scribe
    December 18, 2011

    It’s not big oil we are battling, it’s mainly just human vanity. Monckton, Plimer, McIntyre, Nova….. It’s not about warming, it’s about them.

    No. People like Gina Rinehart (inter alia) are bankrolling the speaking fees, flights, hotels etc for the Moncktons and Plimers Pliemers et al of the world. Don’t be naive.

  72. #75 Lotharsson
    December 19, 2011

    > It is not warming but if it is warming 2 degrees is nothing to worry about but it is not warming but if it is warming we should adapt and the debate is not about idealogy but about science but I had a penny which I dropped which made it all about idealogy but it is the left’s fault.

    Same as the last umpteen IPA press releases signed by Bob then? ;-)

  73. #76 John
    December 19, 2011

    The only thing I can add to MikeH’s excellent summation is if Carter’s so worried about political ideology trumping science, where is the outrage about John Howard launching Plimer’s childrens’ book? A book Plimer freely boasts has political motivations?

    And just how can Carter ridicule those who correctly think oil money is funding denialism when he is happily receiving it?

  74. #77 Fran Barlow
    December 19, 2011

    Marion Delgado said:

    Lenin did, however, on more than one occasion, use the phrase “politically correct”, and almost the way we use it now: i.e., to describe people who, however admirable and useful their enthusiasm and devotion was, were a bit much – there was, e.g., a Bolshevik way to eat your porridge in the morning and Marx help the comrade whose speech could be construed as demeaning workers or peasants or Marxism or the vanguard Party, etc.

    Got a cite? If so, I’d be surprised.

  75. #78 Jeremy C
    December 19, 2011

    Interesting that none of the usual suspects have come out to try and support Plimer in this thread or Monckton in the previous thread e.g. Duffer. Very brave of Rat-etc to try though. It almost seems as though they have given up trying to defend Plimer and Monckton’s off-the-wall assertions as though they know such assertions are tosh and so can’t get anywhere by twisting the facts and torturing the data. Perhaps Monckton and Plimer are only now useful as noise makers to distract and the deniers know that its better to keep those two away from the data lest the public at large start asking questions.

    BTW Mike @ 73. Yeah, Carter gives a real gift at the beginning of his article in stating his role as ‘science’ advisor to the GWPF giving handing me the opporunity to post a question asking him how he allowed them to come up with their graph showing no warming between 2001 and 2010 and I just plugged in Tamino’s handy analysis.

    Perhaps Plimer, Monckton and Carter should be called the three busketeers.

  76. #79 zoot
    December 19, 2011

    More like the three stooges.

  77. #80 Lionel A
    December 19, 2011

    It looks almost as is Bob Carter, and his Drum article, could do with their own thread here. Anybody who cites the GWPF, ICSC and links to the NIPCC for proof ‘…that thousands of refereed scientific papers contain information that conflicts with the dangerous human-caused warming hypothesis’ is not right in the head, or at least hopes his readership isn’t.

    Maybe Bob Carter has not heard of the excellent resource at Skeptical Science that gives the lie to his words.

    It appears that Carter needs educating on the true outcome of the court case respecting Gore’s ‘Inconvenient Truth’ either that or he is at best delusional at worst mendacious.

  78. #81 ianam
    December 19, 2011

    The phrase “politically correct” was used primarily by feminists and other progressives in the 70’s and 80’s as an ironic, satirical, self-critical term, e.g., “don’t be so politically correct, come party with us”. This usage was twisted around by a coordinated series of magazine articles in The Atlantic and elsewhere by right wing reactionaries, turning it into a powerful propaganda tool.

  79. #82 ianam
    December 19, 2011

    P.S.

    For more details see [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Politically_correct#Counterclaims](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Politically_correct#Counterclaims) … also, the subsequent section, “Political correctness and science”, is relevant, e.g.,

    Groups opposing certain generally accepted scientific views on evolution, global warming, passive smoking, AIDS, and other politically contentious scientific matters argue that PC is responsible for the failure of their perspectives to receive a fair public hearing

    Marion Delgado writes:

    almost the way we use it now: i.e., to describe people who, however admirable and useful their enthusiasm and devotion was, were a bit much – there was, e.g., a Bolshevik way to eat your porridge in the morning and Marx help the comrade whose speech could be construed as demeaning workers or peasants or Marxism or the vanguard Party, etc.

    But that is not how the term is used now. Rather, consider http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2001/dec/16/race.world

    Political correctness is one of the brilliant tools that the American Right developed in the mid-1980s as part of its demolition of American liberalism. The core of the conservative proposition is that moral individuals are the basis for a just society and dynamic capitalism, a head-to-head confrontation with the ‘liberal’ view that individuals are social animals and that fair societies require universal rules asserting justice in its widest sense. Justice does not come from coercive rules, argue conservatives; it comes from moral individuals. The whole fabric of taxation, welfare, regulation, anti-discrimination legislation and public initiative is a coercive web which undermines freedom and morality. It must be fought to the last.

    What the sharpest thinkers on the American Right saw quickly was that by declaring war on the cultural manifestations of liberalism – by levelling the charge of political correctness against its exponents – they could discredit the whole political project. Rush Limbaugh, the right-wing talk-show host, talking about ‘feminazis’, is part of the same movement as Allan Bloom, whose seminal book, The Closing of the American Mind , argues that political correctness has infected the US’s capacity to think. This is the populist battering-ram behind which the Right makes the case for tax cuts for the wealthy and welfare minimalism for the poor.

  80. #83 ianam
    December 19, 2011
    It’s not big oil we are battling …

    Don’t be naive.

    That’s a gentle way to put it. If it were just the egos of crackpots that is driving denial, then why is it so successful in the arena of political opinion when the science is so strong? Turning a blind eye to the corporate lobbying, funding of special interest groups and public relations campaigns by the oil and coal industries which have affected policy decisions and legislation worldwide isn’t just naive, it’s a form of denial.

  81. #84 Mikem
    December 19, 2011

    Mike @73,

    Good to see Carter just re-asserting the standard denialist argument. Basically you start with “it’s not warming at all” and as each successive argument is discredited you eventually shift through a myriad of different and inconsistent positions until you get to “well it doesn’t matter anyway” and eventually wave it all away with “you’re just pushing a lefty agenda”.

    Once again, rather sad evidence that in some cases even a PhD can’t buy reason and logic.

    Or in Duff’s case, absolutely nothing can.

  82. #85 yaafah
    December 19, 2011

    ianam,

    Yep, because nobody is funding the “other side”. Paupers they are.

    Nice Wiki cite. No bias there. The first “citation” from The Guardian with a tip of the hat to Greenpeace.

  83. #86 John
    December 19, 2011

    This is science, yaafah. It’s not about “sides”. There are no “sides” in the scientific literature because sceptics, despite what they claim, do not have any legs to stand on.

    If you can’t see the difference between governments, liberal and conservative, funding scientists to do their jobs and oil and mining companies funding politically motivated thinktanks to spread misinformation you are deluded. If you think the two are equal you are deluded. If you think Wikiedia, The Guardian and Greenpeace are colluding in a secret conspiracy for one world government you are more deluded than I thought.

  84. #87 silkworm
    December 19, 2011

    Justice does not come from coercive rules, argue conservatives; it comes from moral individuals.

    This appeal to moral individualism is the meme that the right-wing think tanks use to hold together the Christian conservatives and the libertarians in the Tea Party movement.

  85. #88 Lotharsson
    December 20, 2011

    > This appeal to moral individualism is the meme that the right-wing think tanks use to hold together the Christian conservatives and the libertarians in the Tea Party movement.

    …whilst promoting “leaders” who more often than not make a total mockery of those “morals” in their private lives – if not overtly in their public ones. It’s amazing how many Christian conservatives a blatant hypocrite can lead around by the nose as long as he pays lip service to their faith and begs forgiveness whenever he’s caught out. (And it’s almost always a “he”, although there are some exceptions.) It’s gotten to the point almost a rule of thumb that a loud and proud moral campaigner will more likely than not be violating the very morals he shouts loudest about.

    And it’s also amazing how poorly this “moral individualism” appears to work in real life, perhaps because (as illustrated by the leaders) far fewer folks live anywhere near up to the kind of moral ideals (e.g. the “post-conventional” stages of [Kohlberg](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lawrence_Kohlberg's_stages_of_moral_development)) that make society work, if they think they can get away with it because (for example) “moral” conservatives have seriously weakened the rules and rule-enforcing institutions that keep people acting from Kohlberg’s lower stages more or less in line.

  86. #89 Wow
    December 20, 2011

    > Paupers they are.

    Given that the funding for a postgrad student for a university works out around £18,000 p.a. yes, they are.

    Now on the other side, we have the Texaco CEO who got around $25mil in a year.

  87. #90 yaafah
    December 20, 2011

    John,

    See, those quotes around “other side” are to point to the fact that I am well aware that there are no sides. Otherwise, I would have just written other side.

    Oil companies fund climate science too. Is that bad? Or is that OK because it is “right”?

    As far as conspiracy, you said that, not me. That said, the Wiki cite is pure spin.

    See, I make my living from government funded science, so I am very well aware of how it works. And it is far from as pure as you portray it. Which is fine with me because I get paid quite well. But feel free to live in that sugar coated world where all scientists, and science, are as pure as the driven snow.

    Oh, and FWIW, I am actually on your “side”. I just happen to think ianam, and Wow, and other smarmy assholes like them do more to push people in the other direction than they do to convince anyone of their opinion or the opinion of scientists.

    Wow,

    Great comparison! CEO vs. postgrad. Apples and oranges much? How about general funding for a PI? Shall we take, for example, Dr. Mann? Care to wager on his salary? Seems a few bucks get sent his way…

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704541004575010931344004278.html

    Yep, that $3 Billion NSF doles out each year is nothing. Certainly much is used for quality research. But not all. Should we discuss DOE funding? Even worse.

    Delusional indeed. But it pays my bills.

  88. #91 Ian Forrester
    December 20, 2011

    I see another dishonest troll has found their way to deltoid.

    yaafah, it is obvious which side you are on, the side of dishonesty, ignorance, arrogance and delusion.

    You obviously do not understand:

    government funded science, so I am very well aware of how it works.

    since if you did you would know that salary and grant money are two very different things. Grant money goes to pay other salaries, fund field work, pay for computer time etc. not into the pockets of the grant holder.

    Go and slither back under the rock you came from, such blatant lies are not wanted here.

  89. #92 Scribe
    December 20, 2011

    But feel free to live in that sugar coated world where all scientists, and science, are as pure as the driven snow.

    I’m sure there are scientists with dubious morals. I mean, we have people like Plimer and Lindzen as examples.

    But to imply that tens of thousands of scientists the world over are all engaged in some sort of crooked conspiracy to promote a false concept (AGW) is totally nuts! Ergo, Yaafah is totally nuts (or paid to make nutty accusations, which is more likely).

  90. #93 John
    December 20, 2011

    >I make my living from government funded science

    Of *course* you do!

    >FWIW, I am actually on your “side”

    Of *course* you are!

    Personally, I don’t think Dr. Mann is paid enough for the bullshit he has to endure for producing one politically inconvenient graph.

    Double his wage. *Triple* it! He’s earned it.

    You examples are total false equivalencies. Are you saying that scientists are paid merely to support one viewpoint? Because that is what deniers are paid to do. The two are not equal and your argument is intellectually barren.

  91. #94 Mikem
    December 20, 2011

    @90. Yaafah, you asked “care to wager on his salary?”, then promptly linked to an article on his research grants (WSJ of all things, which went on to pretty much state that the research grants prove it’s all corrupt), then for good measure and confusion bandied around the figure of $3 million.

    I don’t think it’s unreasonable to say that this hotchpotch of statements-in-a-sentence confuses the issue of “funding” and “personal income”. This is the sort of confusion climate-sceptics thrive on, because to them, all it means is that Mann gets paid millions of dollars to say the planet is warming and spends it on his personal Ferrari collection (and yes, many climate sceptics really are stupid enough to conclude that from what you wrote).

  92. #95 bill
    December 20, 2011

    See, I make my living from government funded science, so I am very well aware of how it works.

    That’s just too intriguingly worded not to demand some details. More information, please.

  93. #96 Lotharsson
    December 20, 2011

    > See, I make my living from government funded science, so I am very well aware of how it works.

    Better trolls, please. These ones are no fun – they instantly refute themselves.

  94. #97 Fran Barlow
    December 20, 2011

    scribe said:

    But to imply that tens of thousands of scientists the world over are all engaged in some sort of crooked conspiracy to promote a false concept (AGW) is totally nuts!

    And when one tries to think through the work and organisation that would be entailed to actually reconcile all of the data and the hindcasting and modelling to get the result which would be the object of the conspiracy, and the mechanics of keeping that all hidden, the task would be

    a) mindbogglingly difficult to establish and maintain
    b) itself an astonishingly sophisticated piece of epistemic engineering — probably more challenging than actual climate science itself since one couldn’t do this without extraordinary knowledge of all the relevant branches of evidence
    c) damned near impossible to keep secret for more than 24 hours, given the financial incentives to blow he whistle and the ease of doing so.

    Without a conspiracy of course, the probability that the world’s scientific community working in multiple disciplines could all make not only the same category and magnitude of error, but do it in ways that produced closely corroborating trend lines is so low as to be dismissed as fanciful.

    To rely either on this fanciful scenario, or on a global conspiracy running for more than a century and with increasing intensity over the last 50 years in the teeth of powerful corporate interest to inform policy would be several notches the wrong side of criminally reckless on a global scale.

  95. #98 zoot
    December 20, 2011

    See, I make my living from government funded science

    Which government? Which science?

    And for the record, I’m highly placed in the oil industry (I buy petrol for my car).

  96. #99 Marco
    December 21, 2011

    Yaafah, if you indeed make money from government funding, I have a very simple challenge for you:

    1. Take the two examples of grants to Mike Mann in the wsj link you provide
    2. Find these projects in the NSF database
    3. Determine how much of the funding goes to Mike Mann *personally*. That is, how much of that money he can put in his own pocket as salary

    If you can’t meet the challenge, or find that you’ve erred, I expect an apology for making the implicit claim that Mann is driven by financial motives in his research.

  97. #100 Scribe
    December 21, 2011

    The Sydney Morning Herald has some choice Letters to the Editor about Plimer and his Sideshow Bob, John Howard.

    Woohoo, post #100.

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