Whatever you think of Ian Plimer’s book Heaven and Earth, you’ve got to admit that the good doctor puts himself in some interesting spots in public debate. He came onto my radar in the 1980s as an outspoken critic of creationism. If a creationist delegation wanted to debate the ‘science’ of their position, Plimer would step up to the plate. There was a colourful discourse (it wasn’t really a debate) between Plimer and a creationist named Duane Gish held in Sydney in 1988. There is a series of 16 clips, and you catch some of the Plimer style here…
Here he is speaking against what mainstream science would regard as a pseudo-science. Most of the scientific community would have put their voice on the same side, if not with the same rhetoric.
Now 20 years later, curiously, he places himself against the broad scientific point of view with regard to the causes of global warming. You can see clips from one of his talks here.
And he is finding himself the target of the same kind of critique as he dished out himself in earlier times. (I’m sure he wouldn’t consider it the same kind of critique!)
Interesting. He is somebody attracted to putting forward contrary positions. How does he make sense of his two apparently contrasting opponents? Well, he brings them both together by saying that the Global Warming movement is a new fundamentalist religion:
Here’s one thread of discussion I’ll be following up on. George Monbiot has challenged Ian Plimer to two debates – one live, and one on-line by discussion of a short series of focussed questions. It’s those questions I’ll be watching, as they are very clear, and it should be easy enough to see if the answers are direct, or evasive. Stay tuned.