Thursday, May 28, 2009

"An Enormous Disservice To Science"

This is the kind of review you get when you base a book around Andrew Bolt-approved conspiracy theories about global warming :

The writings are always earnest, often involve conspiracy theories and are scientifically worthless.

Plimer sets out to refute the scientific consensus that human emissions of CO2 have changed the climate. He states in his acknowledgments that the book evolved from a dinner in London with three young lawyers who believed the consensus. As Plimer writes: "Although these three had more than adequate intellectual material to destroy the popular paradigm, they had neither the scientific knowledge nor the scientific training to pull it apart stitch by stitch. This was done at dinner."

This is a remarkable claim. If Plimer is right and he is able to show that the work of literally thousands of oceanographers, solar physicists, biologists, atmospheric scientists, geologists, and snow and ice researchers during the past 100 years is fundamentally flawed, then it would rank as one of the greatest discoveries of the century and would almost certainly earn him a Nobel prize. This is the scale of Plimer's claim.

If Plimer can do what he claims, and can prove that human emissions of CO2 have no effect on the climate, then he owes it to the scientific community and, in fact, humanity, to publish his arguments in a refereed journal.

The arguments that Plimer advances in the 503 pages and 2311 footnotes in Heaven and Earth are nonsense. The book is largely a collection of contrarian ideas and conspiracy theories that are rife in the blogosphere. The writing is rambling and repetitive; the arguments flawed and illogical.

Plimer believes "global warming" occurring on Mars, Triton, Jupiter and Pluto proves human emissions of CO2 don't affect Earth's climate.

He believes global warming does not lead to biological stress. He believes volcanoes emit significant quantities of chlorofluorocarbons. He believes the sun formed on the collapsed core of a supernova. All these ideas are so wrong as to be laughable: they do not offer an "alternative scientific perspective".

Plimer has done an enormous disservice to science, and the dedicated scientists who are trying to understand climate and the influence of humans, by publishing this book. 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.

Now that would be a book of reality-shattering consequence.

Sales of Ian Pilmer's 'Heaven & Earth' appear to have peaked at just under 4000 copies, including sales to libraries and universities. Andrew Bolt claimed the book had shifted 25.000 copies.

Bolt promoted the shit out of 'Heaven & Earth' on his '1 million hits a month!' blog and it received at least a dozen big raves by columnists for The Australian, Daily Telegraph and Herald Sun. The message from them all was clear and hysterical, there's a Great Greeny Global Warming Conspiracy underway and this book exposes it! You Must Read This Book!

But even with all that free promotion and praise, 'Heaven & Earth' sold only moderately well. As a loose comparison, my first novel, Max & Murray, sold about the same number of copies, in the same time period, but without appearances all over the ABC and the dozens of pages of hype in The Australian.

Pilmer's book sales clearly show the supposedly vast unrepresented masses who don't think global warming poses a threat to Australian industry, tourism or general livelihood is not anywhere near as great as Bolt likes to lead his readers to believe. This is why the Liberal Party doesn't want to fight an election on Global Warming Reality, they know the actual levels of dissent amongst the Australian public doesn't match the reality claimed by the likes of Andrew Bolt, Tim Blair and Piers Akerman. All three are Murdoch employees who repeatedly fail to acknowledge that their own boss, Rupert Murdoch, is the most influential promoter of the 'Global Warming Myths' they claim will lead this country to greater economic ruin than we are currently experiencing.