Wednesday, 16 September 2009

CC Deniers and 'debate'

An extract from Monbiot, relevent to Australia in that he's on Plimer's case . . .

"Creationists and climate change deniers have this in common: they don’t answer their critics. They make what they say are definitive refutations of the science. When these refutations are shown to be nonsense, they do not seek to defend them. They simply switch to another line of attack. They never retract, never apologise, never explain, just raise the volume, keep moving and hope that people won’t notice the trail of broken claims in their wake.

This means that trying to debate with them is a frustrating and often futile exercise. It takes 30 seconds to make a misleading scientific statement and 30 minutes to refute it. By machine-gunning their opponents with falsehoods, the deniers put scientists in an impossible position: either you seek to answer their claims, which can’t be done in the time available, or you let them pass, in which case the points appear to stand. Many an eminent scientist has come unstuck in these situations. This is why science is conducted in writing, where claims can be tested and sources checked.

So when the Australian geologist Professor Ian Plimer challenged me to a face-to-face debate in July(1), I didn’t exactly leap at the chance. His book Heaven and Earth, which purports to destroy the science of climate change, contains page after page of schoolboy errors and pseudoscientific gobbledegook. As the professor of astrophysics Michael Ashley wrote, “It is not ‘merely’ atmospheric scientists that would have to be wrong for Plimer to be right. It would require a rewriting of biology, geology, physics, oceanography, astronomy and statistics.”(2) But never, as far as I can determine, has Plimer responded to the devastating points made by his critics. He just keeps shifting his ground"

The rest of the article.

Related Mobiot articles:

Correspondence with the Spectator

Correspondence with the Spectator