16 Feb 2005, Comments (0)

Wombat Coprolites

Author: Helen

Ian Plimer, geology professor at Melbourne University and climate change sceptic, has a hilarious piece in the SMH yesterday claiming environmentalists are against data. …Data is an evil that demystifies the romance of nature. Environmentalists are like creationists. Really! They only operate by warm fuzzy storytelling and a yearning for the past, y’know.

I’d like to know what Tim Lambert and John Quiggin, the CSIRO and the IPCC would say about that. I think it’s pretty damn cheeky and he could only imagine he could get away with it if he thinks the SMH-reading public has no capacity for critical thought whatever.

Although I applaud Prof Plimer’s efforts fighting creeping creationism*, I think he’s hardly “divorced from value judgment” (his words) when it comes to environmentalism. He doesn’t own up, in the article, to his links to the mining industry (his areas of expertise cover what to dig up, and where.) Neither does he mention his links to right-wing think tanks, the Institute of Public Affairs and the Lavoisier group in Australia, and the astroturf site Envirotruth, which is operated by the National Center for Public Policy Research, which “…advocates private, free market solutions to today’s environmental challenges”. Digging it up and shipping it out, in other words.

Professor Plimer has fun portraying environmentalists (and us laypeople who agree with preserving ecologically significant areas) as stupid. His assumption that noone will check his biases proves he really does believe we are stupid.

*Note, the reviewer agrees with Plimer’s conclusions but is pretty underwhelmed by his scholarship.

Comments (0)

  • Ken Miles says:

    Plimer has become a joke. Whenever he gets on to the topic of global warming, he is guilty of most of the sins which he attacks creationists for in “Telling Lies for God”.

  • I see no evidence that Plimer was saying that *all* greenies ignore evidence, and as Plimer’s a Uni prof I expect he would encounter scientifically-able greenies regularly. So I don’t see why mentioning some able greens has any relevance. (I don’t deny that he was being pretty patronizing and rude towards SMH readers, though).

    >he’s hardly “divorced from value judgment” (his words) when it comes to environmentalism. He doesn’t own up, in the article, to his links to the mining industry (his areas of expertise cover what to dig up, and where.) Neither does he mention his links to right-wing think tanks, the Institute of Public Affairs and the Lavoisier group in Australia, and the astroturf site Envirotruth, which is operated by the National Center for Public Policy Research, which “…advocates private, free market solutions to today’s environmental challenges”.

    Plimer never makes any secret of these sorts of things. I’ve heard him talk on ABC radio where he boldly defends the mining industry, says he’s proud to work for it, and is basically up-front about such things, in the most hostile of venues, as it is possible to be.

    And I’ve met him quite a few times, and given half a chance he’ll always go on about how proud he is to be involved in all these sorts of things. So I don’t think the usual lefty ad hominem arguments have much force here.

  • Helen says:

    thanks for the comments… Scott, I don’t think my arguments were ad hominem. I have gone back and re-read what I wrote. His article, on the other hand, was pretty much ad hominem, though directed at a perceived group rather than an individual.

    Sometimes I do stray into the AH territory on this blog… For instance, Devine and Bolt are eejits, period. (My blog, my rules, and all that.)

    I agree that Plimer hasn’t made any secret of his mining industry / think tank links in other fora. But my post states specifically “he doesn’t own up, in the article…”etc etc. So it should be clear I’m referring to the SMH article and not his entire output. It seems for the purposes of an article in a daily broadsheet it doesn’t hurt to conceal your biases.

    One of the reasons why I think everyone should leave the fiction of being without bias and leave their biases out and proud so that everyone can work around them.

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