The panicky Professor Ian Plimer appears to have run from the field of intelligent debate in his latest duck-and-dodge fest with UK Guardian Columnist George Monbiot.
Plimer is the author of Heaven and Earth, a terrible hash of logical misdirection, plagiarism and mistakes which was shredded into fine bits by people like our favourite Australian, Tim Lambert at Deltoid blog.
After Monbiot joined the public lashing, Plimer protested and demanded that Monbiot engage with him in debate. Monbiot agreed, but only on condition that Plimer first respond in writing to a handful of questions about the accuracy and source of material in his book.
Plimer has been hiding out ever since. First he lobbed back a laughable collection of counter questions which he has since suggested were intended to test whether Monbiot had read Heaven and Earth. There is no evidence these queries were designed to solicit answers - the prime purpose seemed to have been distraction - but Gavin Schmidt at RealClimate.org nevertheless answered them all, grading them for relevance and scientific content. Fail. Fail.
Plimer has since been incensed (and insensible) in his correspondence (which Monbiot has provided here in full). For example, in trying to weasel out of answering the queries that Monbiot had posed, Plimer says:
“… your questions appear to derive from a person with an unhealthy incandescent anger hence the lack of structure, coherence, internal consistency and hints of irrationality.”
Well, let’s take an example. Here is Monbiot’s question #10, directed politely to the good Dr. Plimer:
“You state that “Volcanoes produce more CO2 than the world’s cars and industries combined.” (p413)
This is similar to the claim in The Great Global Warming Swindle, whose narrator maintained that “Volcanoes produce more CO2 each year than all the factories and cars and planes and other sources of man-made carbon dioxide put together.”
But you do not provide a source for it.
This is what the US Geological Survey says: “Human activities release more than 130 times the amount of CO2 emitted by volcanoes”.
a. Please provide a reference for your claim.
b. How do you explain the discrepancy between this claim and the published data?
Far from Plimer’s peavish characterization, this questions (like all the others) seems well-structured, coherent, internally consistent and entirely rational. Although, you could argue that it is overlong. A shorter version might have been:
“Dear Dr. Plimer, Are you a liar or an incompetent doofus? Please provide sources to support your response.”
Apparently, Plimer is stumped by the annoying rationality of this inquiry - or he simply has no sources to quote.
We are left to wonder - as Monbiot is left alone on the stage.