Reaction to Ashley's review of Plimer

Harry Clarke

It is not wrong to challenge orthodoxy anywhere but the work of Plimer is unscientific and both irresponsible and dangerous - he has provided a social diservice. The extensive publicity he has received has had an entirely undeserved impact.

Forget Plimer, read the science.

John Quiggin

In the Oz of all places, a demolition of Ian Plimer so scathing, and so convincing, that it's hard to imagine how he can salvage any kind of academic reputation, other than by a full retraction (which would be a pretty impressive move, admittedly). ...

If there are any genuine sceptics left among those who doubt the findings of mainstream science, this piece ought to convince them that Plimer's work offers them no support, and should lead them to also to dismiss, as unable to tell science from nonsense, the many peddlers of delusion who have promoted this work, such as William Kininmonth. But, at this point, I can confidently predict that nothing will shift the remaining delusionists.

And sure enough, over at Catallaxy, CL asserts that the critics of Plimer are lying, and Jason Soon (of Concept Economics) produces this apologetic:

Credit where credit is due, CL. He's a computer graphics teacher. This means he may have helped put Pac Man in video arcades.

The Deltoid piece is standard MO. So Plimer quoted some dodgy source. We aren't told how important that particular source is to the overall argument that Plimer is making. He had some piece a few weeks ago too where he was nitpicking misquoted sources, etc. So perhaps Plimer's editors need to lift their game. Still no actual engagement with the argument, whatever it is.

So Plimer's numerous howlers are not his fault but those of his editors. And maybe he put a whole bunch of stuff in his book that was irrelevant as well as wrong. And while Soon can't say what Plimer's argument is, he's sure that critics have not engaged with it. (Hint for Soon: if you want to find out what Plimer's argument is, trying reading the first paragraph of my review.)

Soon continues with:

For the record I have no interest in any of this stuff and tend out of laziness to take the consensus view on warming. But Lambert has hardly 'demolished' anything. let's see him write a book of similar length on a subject outside his specialty (putting Pacmans on screens) and see how he goes.

A lot better than Plimer I would think. Because I would run my stuff past folks with expertise in the area and listen to what they say. This is just basic scholarship and the fact that Plimer did not do it does not excuse the mountain of stuff he got wrong, it makes it worse.

More like this

One of Ian Plimer's claims is that the IPCC ignores astronomy, so it's interesting to see what an astronomer thinks of his book. In today's Australian, the blue moon continues with a review of Heaven and Earth by Michael Ashley: Plimer probably didn't expect an astronomer to review his book. I…
Cardinal Pell's response to the Greg Ayers dissection of Pell's parroting of Plimer is telling -- he is unable to offer any sort of scientific argument and just blusters: "Ayers, when he spoke to the House, was obviously a hot-air specialist. I've rarely heard such an unscientific contribution." "I…
The Australian has continued its war on science by printing an extract from Ian Plimer's new book, How to Get Expelled from School. The extract is largely plagiarised from this press release on a recent paper in Science by Funder et al finding large fluctuations in Arctic sea ice over the last 10,…
Jane Fraser, columnist in The Australian , writes a column based on "facts" she got from a chain email: Back to Plimer. He says he knows how disheartening it is to realise all your savings on carbon emissions have been eaten up by natural disasters. You've suffered the inconvenience and expense of…

let's see him write a book of similar length on a subject outside his specialty

Never mind the quality, sir, feel the length.

I feel that I could quite confidently write a very long book on virtually any subject that I don't know much about.

Paradoxically, the less you know the easier it would be. I could fill it with all kinds of irrelevant nonsense.

Actually, Jason Soon might have just the right idea. I have been wondering whether I (or we) should start writing a Climatatus! trilogy which incorporates all the climate conspiracy theories that have been proposed to date. With so much junk being tossed out by the climate inactivists day in day out, I have no doubt that we can easily fill hundreds of pages. Oh, and perhaps include a bibliography in the style of Andromeda Strain.

20,000 copies, here we come!

Frank, count me in. I feel just sufficiently crazy.

By Gavin's Pussycat (not verified) on 09 May 2009 #permalink

Me too. My qualification is that I used to work in the NSW Parliamentary Library, where a common request was "You know my view on X; find me some stuff to support it; nothing against it of course".

No, Frank. That's my idea. I thought of it months ago... You can have the task of writing the first work of credible scepticism(tm).

anthony,
I'm laughing out loud, just priceless!

By Mark Byrne (not verified) on 10 May 2009 #permalink

"...on a subject outside his specialty."

Kinda sums it up nicely.

Gotta love the sneering attacks on computer graphics. Anyone wanna place bets on whether Soon has the math chops to understand even a basic rendering pipeline?

"So Plimer quoted some dodgy source." I think it's a bit more than that.

In an article Plimer wrote in Online Opinion he commented on the ABC screening of Durkin's GGWS and the discussion afterwards. http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=6155 . He made the vacuous comment about it being 'a hoot'. Regardless, if he watched the screening, and its aftermath, he must have known that Durkin's work was completely discredited. Why then include it in his book? A pretty serious question I think. Certainly a lot more serious than the "so what?" implicit in "So Plimer quoted some dodgy source."

I understand Hollywood are wanting to make a movie of Plimers book, like the Da Vinci Code.

It will have a character like Plimer, running around Australia being hunted down by the secret science societies controlled by governments, whilst Plimer is solving puzzles that unlock the 'truth'.

Paul@12

Didn't Michael Crichton already do that, just with Richard Lindzen in place of Ian Plimer and with zombies?

What do you want to wager Soon's amp goes to 11?

By Majorajam (not verified) on 11 May 2009 #permalink

Possibly there are two Pauls.
I wasn't aware of another one. I don't read popular fiction (i do read unpopular fiction occasionally).
Channel Five here in the UK broadcast the 'Code' movie at the weekend, i was inspired by that. The film is crap. But i had to watch it, just to find out.

let's see him write a book of similar length on a subject outside his specialty

Maybe you could write a 1,000-page on how AGW is a hoax, consisting entirely of outdated and discredited data, specious analogies, and situational ad hominem. It'd be fairly light work, I'm sure, and it could sell 25,000 copies in Australia alone!

Then, you could reveal that every argument in the book is false, and watch people like Soon scramble to defend your "scholarship."

If the stakes weren't so high for being misread, I had an idea for a work of satirical fiction in which scientists discover that the greenhouse effect is too weak, and the Milanocovich cycles are moving ahead of expectations to drive us to the start of the next ice age. In response, they form the Global Warming Project in which everyone's moral duty is to pump out as much CO2 as possible. Some people object, claiming a new ice age would be a good thing; others say the whole project is a scam, set up by the oil companies to boost sales; and so on...

Oops, I foolishly ignored the spellchecker having underlined my mangling of M's name, which should be Milankovitch (it's still underlined but at least I should have stopped and looked.)
Curiously, the spellchecker also doesn't like "spellchecker" as a word ... oh well, hmm. Wait, it doesn't like "hmm" either; however I know for certain that's a legal word under the official Scrabble(TM) dictionary. So are ah, eh, em, en, and hm. Hm is also getting underlined. Clearly the spellmeisters here are not Scrabble(TM) mavens.

By Jim Prall (not verified) on 12 May 2009 #permalink

As a 20 year old I'm feeling like a true global warming "denialist" as you would call me because I'm having a hard time accepting the earth is getting warmer. After all, it has now been getting coooolder for more than half my life here on earth so far. I recently heard Thomas Friedman speak and asked him about this. His response? Oh, it is not 'global warming' it is "Global Weirding!"

Isn't this what we used to call "Weird Science?"

By Sally Johnson (not verified) on 16 May 2009 #permalink

Sally Johnson:

After all, it has now been getting coooolder for more than half my life here on earth so far.

Is your life at least 60 years long and is the second half colder than the first half?

By Chris O'Neill (not verified) on 16 May 2009 #permalink

Sally Johnson:

After all, it has now been getting coooolder for more than half my life here on earth so far.

Actually, is the second half of your life colder than the first half?

Didn't think so.

By Chris O'Neill (not verified) on 16 May 2009 #permalink

As a 20 year old I'm feeling like a true global warming "denialist" as you would call me because I'm having a hard time accepting the earth is getting warmer. After all, it has now been getting coooolder for more than half my life here on earth so far.

i have [good news](http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut3vgl/from:1999/plot/hadcrut3vgl…) for you! actually it has been getting WARMER over the last 10 years.

Please show me some World Met Bureau stats that reflect your absurdity!

By Sally Johsnon (not verified) on 16 May 2009 #permalink

Please show me some World Met Bureau stats that reflect your absurdity!

the link to ["woodfortrees"](http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut3vgl/from:1999/plot/hadcrut3vgl…) that i gave you above, allows you to chose all four major datasets.

they all show a positive slope of the trend over the lost 10 years.

i am sorry, you got your information from denialist web pages. basically, it is all wrong.

time for a new start....

So, according to AGW Zeolots posting here, our world media is full of "denialist webpages" such as

The Australian
The Age
UK Register

Get a grip fellahs - there is no conspiracy here - there is just no proof of AGW, other than the spin presented by those govt funded agencies looking for more funding and those "blogging scientists" seeking to be seen as meaningful.

By Sally Johnson (not verified) on 16 May 2009 #permalink

oh, and please do not quote me NASA figures. Those guys would sell their mothers for more funding.

And just who do you think you are to accuse people of dishonesty and fraud? Have you got any evidence to support your obnoxious claim? Quotes from obscure blogs (who the heck runs 'The Register'? I could not see anything on the site) do not count as evidence. We need data. Your response to an earlier post ("Please show me some World Met Bureau stats that reflect your absurdity!") suggests that you do not even have the beginnings of an education in science, yet at the same time have the arrogance to believe that you can hold your own in a discussion.

In an earlier comment you said that you are 20 years old. I suggest that you spend the next 10 years getting a basic science education, by which time you might be sufficiently well-informed to be justified in making rude comments.

By Richard Simons (not verified) on 16 May 2009 #permalink

Canadian statistician Steve McIntyre has been tracking the changes closely on his Climate Audit site, http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=2964 and proves that NASA is Rewriting History, time and time again. The recent changes can be seen by comparing the NASA 1999 and 2007 US temperature graphs. Fee welcome to check it out.

By Sally Johnson (not verified) on 16 May 2009 #permalink

P.S. Looking at the NASA website, we can see that the person in charge of the temperature data is the eminent Dr. James Hansen - Al Gore's science advisor and the world's leading long-term advocate of global warming.

Can't everyone smell the BS here?

By Sally Johnson (not verified) on 16 May 2009 #permalink

Sally, lots of BS around right now, all of it on posts signed by "Sally Johnson".

By Ian Forrester (not verified) on 16 May 2009 #permalink

Notice how this troll "Sally Johnson" completely ignores the substance of any response to her assertions. Also, she makes plainly non-sequitur statements e.g.

please do not quote me NASA figures

after figures from a source other than NASA were quoted.

By Chris O'Neill (not verified) on 16 May 2009 #permalink

Shorter Sally Johnson:

There's no evidence of global warming, because any evidence of global warming comes from greedy scientists looking for more funding. This is not an ad hominem attack.

Go here for a discussion of the temperature record and adjustments to past data.

http://cce.890m.com/temperature-record/

Choose any temperature analysis you wish. The last decade was warmer than the decade prior to that, which was warmer than the decade prior to that. That is true if you use Satellite lower troposphere measurements, satellite sea surface measurements, ship and buoy based measurements of sea surface temperature, land based measurements, and radiosonde (weather balloon) lower troposphere measurements. By my count that is 5 independent datasets, each of them with their own problems, but taken together represent overwhelming and undeniable evidence that the world has warmed for each of the last three decades.

Sally did not say there is no eveidence of global warming. She said there is no evidence of AGW ie - human induced global warming. There is a significant difference between the two positions and obviously the source of scientific debate.

Sally is also correct in that temperatures have declined in the last ten years. cce is also corrent that on average the last decade was warmer than the previous and a longer time period must be established to determine climate activity. For arguments sake, instead of just focussing on the modern warming period, which AGW Alarmists like to do, lets get back to more meaningful statistical analysis and look at global temps over the last 1500 years. How would you explain away the Medieval Warm period, which was as warm and warmer than today's temperatures?

AGW arguments might make some folks feel in some way more relevant in today's world, but we are not experiencing it. We are experiencing 'Modern Global Warming'. It is a natural occurance and it is as simple as that.

By Peter Smith (not verified) on 17 May 2009 #permalink

Silly Sod! Your data starts in 1999, not 1998 which is beginning point to harness a decade worth of data. Your chart does not include a decade of data but nice attempt to mislead and continue alarmist agenda.

You cannot 'pretend' to refute someone's point. You must actually do it.

And I look forward to hearing how you explain the medieval warm period and other warmer periods in earth's history before that. Perhaps you think the Egyptians had help building those pyramids from high-poluting aliens and managed to warm up the earth at the same time?

By Peter Smith (not verified) on 17 May 2009 #permalink

Shorter Peter Smith:

Sally never said that there is no evidence of global warming. However, there is evidence of global cooling, even though this doesn't necessarily mean that there is no evidence of global warming.

This shows that the recent global warming -- which doesn't exist since it's cooling -- is completely natural.

Silly Sod! Your data starts in 1999, not 1998 which is beginning point to harness a decade worth of data. Your chart does not include a decade of data but nice attempt to mislead and continue alarmist agenda.

Huh? You need to check your arithmetic. early 1999 to early 2009 is 10 years.

Please could you point me to data showing that the Medieval Warm Period was warmer than today's temperatures. All I've been able to find indicates that, although the northern hemisphere was probably warmer in the summers, it was neither a year-round effect nor a global effect.

Sally Johnson says

Canadian statistician Steve McIntyre has been tracking the changes closely on his Climate Audit site, http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=2964 and proves that NASA is Rewriting History, time and time again. The recent changes can be seen by comparing the NASA 1999 and 2007 US temperature graphs.

When temperature data is collected there are sites that do not send in their data immediately, others in which equipment is later found to be not working correctly and so on. Are you seriously suggesting that these should not be corrected? I don't know what you mean by the 1999 and 2007 US temperature graphs but I found nothing at that site that seemd to fit the description.

Tell me, why do you think that a person who relies largely on a reputation for stirring things up and keeping in the news is inherently more reliable than people working in relatively steady employment and relative obscurity? Who has the bigger incentive to exaggerate? The data from the Hadley Centre are very similar to the US data. Do you think the UK Met Office is in on the conspiracy too?

By Richard Simons (not verified) on 17 May 2009 #permalink

thanks Richard, i missed peter s reply!

Silly Sod! Your data starts in 1999, not 1998 which is beginning point to harness a decade worth of data. Your chart does not include a decade of data but nice attempt to mislead and continue alarmist agenda.

just because this error happens a lot:

99, 00, 01, 02, 03, 04, 05, 06, 07, 08.

can you do the counting Peter? all by yourself?

Peter Smith posts:

How would you explain away the Medieval Warm period, which was as warm and warmer than today's temperatures?

By pointing out that the Medieval Warm Period wasn't global, and that temperatures now are higher than they've been for at least 2,000 years and possibly much longer.

Er, Gaz, that would be 0.069 instead of 0.690.

Nevertheless, that's a positive difference.

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 18 May 2009 #permalink

29 Richard,

Sadly, this denidiot lacks the basic tools (actual scepticism and a modicum of critical thinking) to learn much about anything. I would also mention common sense, but we all know it's not really that common.

What a scary world these skeptards must inhabit, where science has been taken over by some conspiracy to tell us lies (unless the temperature goes down, of course, when they mysteriously tell the truth for a while)!

By TrueSceptic (not verified) on 18 May 2009 #permalink

36 Peter Smith,

Sally Johnson said,
"As a 20 year old I'm feeling like a true global warming "denialist" as you would call me because I'm having a hard time accepting the earth is getting warmer. After all, it has now been getting coooolder for more than half my life here on earth so far."
This is the opposite of what you claim she said.

And where does she even mention AGW? All she does is accuse NASA GISS of cooking the books.

By TrueSceptic (not verified) on 18 May 2009 #permalink

Read my remarks in #26 for AGW reference.
.
Hansen is a very good cook. This has been verified extensively.
.
Finally, 31,000 scientists have signed the Petition Project statement that âthere is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxideâ¦is causingâ¦catastrophic heating of the Earth's atmosphere.

By Sally Johnson (not verified) on 18 May 2009 #permalink

31,000 scientists, some of them qualified dental technicians, are unconvinced about matters in which maybe 8 have any professional expertise.

By luminous beauty (not verified) on 18 May 2009 #permalink

Common sense is the most fairly distributed thing in the world, for each one thinks he is so well-endowed with it that even those who are hardest to satisfy in all other matters are not in the habit of desiring more of it than they already have.

---Rene Descartes

By luminous beauty (not verified) on 18 May 2009 #permalink

47 Sally,

You say "AGW zealotry" but make no claims about AGW itself. (I might describe Hansen as a zealot myself.)

Verified extensively? Really? Show us. (Note that sources known to be dishonest or incompetent will be exposed as such).

What's it like living in this scary world where peer-reviewed science is just a conspiracy?

By TrueSceptic (not verified) on 18 May 2009 #permalink

48, 49 Luminous,

Nice, as always :-)

By TrueSceptic (not verified) on 18 May 2009 #permalink

Bernard J. #44: "Er, Gaz, that would be 0.069 instead of 0.690."

Thank you for picking up that typo.

(Coming in late)

Sod @ 41: you should hang around Computer Scientists some more. You have made the classic fencepost error. You were counting the posts, when you _should_ have been quoting the _intervals_.

If you are counting the years as units, then 1/1/1999--31/12/2009 is a period of eleven years. But that is not the period being discussed. It was â_early_ 99 to _early_ 09â, and 1/1/1999--1/1/2009 is a period of ten years, QED. When you are counting years like that, then the interval 99â00 is â1â, 00â01 is â2â, ... and 08â09 is â10â.

Come back next week, and we'll explain in short words why strcpy() is deprecated.

Sod @ 41: you should hang around Computer Scientists some more. You have made the classic fencepost error. You were counting the posts, when you should have been quoting the intervals.

i hang around computer scientists a lot. i did not make any error.

If you are counting the years as units, then 1/1/1999--31/12/2009 is a period of eleven years. But that is not the period being discussed. It was âearly 99 to early 09â, and 1/1/1999--1/1/2009 is a period of ten years, QED. When you are counting years like that, then the interval 99â00 is â1â, 00â01 is â2â, ... and 08â09 is â10â.

that was exactly my point. i don t see, how you can count the number "99" in this context, apart from meaning the year starting on 01.01.99 to 31.12.99.

10 years is the period, exactly as i said. Peter claimed that a 10 year period from "now" would reach back to 1998. it does NOT.

My, what big words 29 Richard uses! How impressive! ( not... it was Sartre who debunked the myth of the notion that people suffering from multisyllabic syndrome are good communicators; even Jane Austen knew that... but to pop in the odd one you've learnt that morning in the dictionary is always fun, n'est-ce pas?)
Yes, the world's always been quite scarey, especially when you place yourself between someone and a truckload of money! Plenty set to be made out of the "State of Fear" created about degree changes in temperature aka "Global warming terror" ney, "CO2 pollution", ney the current "climate change", ney the "carbon pollution" misnomers.. do those guys making up the buzz words know what carbon is, te he?
And if body counts are valid, an entire legion of scientists in the other dark ages swore the earth was flat and geocentric (at the centre of the universe), and gave old Galileo stick.
It would be interesting to investigate Al Gore et al's investment portfolios as his ilk scar the natural landscape with rashes of costly and impractical eyesores like windmill farms ad infinitum wouldn't it?......while they drive about in their double aluminium smelted engines that would never pay back their own CO2 footprint in their own lifetime. (You'd be better off sticking to a Cuba policy of old & few cars! )
Thatcher encouraged the CO2 argument to get rid of inferior costly brown coal mining, and anything with that in its funding grant title got the green guernsey.
I cannot believe some of you are still talking about computer data modelling that deals with a few decades (famous embarassing hockey stick which left out an ice age). No doubt as the CO2 graph spikes as it sometimes does throughout the milleniums of history of this planet, you will all be shivering and whining in your little booties as we hit the next ice age, and wondering why you suffer brown outs and black outs in your airconditioned homes as the propellors have stopped turning fast enough & you pay megabucks to heat your soup.
http://www.spectator.co.uk/melaniephillips/3302471/a-cooling-ardour.tht…
This will be as the more piously salubrious celebrity greenies jet set about the planet (in private jets) or go to the moon on ecotourism jaunts with their 4 - 6 children(hopefully paying far more for fuel than they have ever done before) feeling pious, safe and warm no matter what. Sucked in!
Surely, a plane ( or moon) trip for a true greenie should be a real no no now .
So I will begin listening to( but not believing) them when they walk the talk.
That is,literally, walk... no bicycles even, as I'm sorry, ....but they also stem from those filthy fools who mine stuff for them. No movies, no TV, no computer networks ( it takes a lot of power to make those), no warmth ( no heaters, no fires as you'd be denuding the planet of trees... something I truly do disapprove of).
In the meantime India will tell you all to get stuffed as it works on nuclear power options.
Plimer has won major worldwide science prizes (not just Aussie ones),
What's 29 Richard's track record? Don't wanna know!
And if 29 Richard had the remotest inkling of the geological discipline in science, he would begin to know that the earth's layers unfold a rich history of this earth's " climate change". That is, the climate has been "a changin'" long before his few decades, and geologists using SCIENCE (.....not hockey stick computer models) can tell you all about it. "Read all about it!"
That is, the earth's geological record tells us it has been warming and cooling (unperturbed by man), and when you graph it next to the CO2 record the two do not synchronise in terms of warming. The CO2 spike lags by 800 years usually or more.
If it's up in a spike it preempts a cooling down (ice age), and the planet has spent most of its time in ice ages.
Even a primary school student could work that one out.
Have you actually LOOKED at the full IPCC report, that's why so many scientists are SO ANGRY about this SCAM!!!
I don't think 29 Richard would understand any of the above actually, so it's for others that can.

"

29 Richard,

Sadly, this denidiot lacks the basic tools (actual scepticism and a modicum of critical thinking) to learn much about anything. I would also mention common sense, but we all know it's not really that common.

What a scary world these skeptards must inhabit, where science has been taken over by some conspiracy to tell us lies (unless the temperature goes down, of course, when they mysteriously tell the truth for a while)! "

By No Lemming (not verified) on 02 Jun 2009 #permalink