Writing in the SMH, Paul Sheehan argues that Professor Ian Plimer’s new book:

… is an evidence-based attack on conformity and orthodoxy, including my own, and a reminder to respect informed dissent and beware of ideology subverting evidence.

It seems Sheehan has managed to read and review Plimer’s book (although others note that they weren’t able to get a review copy), while we are left with his extremely condensed summary. But I hope that Plimer’s work is more evidence-based than Sheehan’s own. The column cobbles together a few quotes of Plimer making assertions that aren’t supported by any evidence, which Sheehan uses to suggest that the majority in the global warming debate are tainted by ideology while those voicing the minority opinion are arguing from evidence. The flimsiness of this argument is highlighted by the contrast between two of the concluding paragraphs. The IPCC is dismissed as a tainted body whose findings had nothing to do with a review of the evidence:

The setting up by the UN of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 1988 gave an opportunity to make global warming the main theme of environmental groups. “The IPCC process is related to environmental activism, politics and opportunism. It is unrelated to science. Current zeal around human-induced climate change is comparable to the certainty professed by Creationists or religious fundamentalists.”

And then, Plimer himself is lauded as a highly-regarded scientist:

Ian Plimer is not some isolated gadfly. He is a prize-winning scientist and professor. The back cover of Heaven And Earth carries a glowing endorsement from the President of the Czech Republic, Vaclav Klaus, who now holds the rotating presidency of the European Union. Numerous rigorous scientists have joined Plimer in dissenting from the prevailing orthodoxy.

For a column arguing for evidence-based evaluation to be filled with such ad hominem criticisms and appeals to authority strikes me as ironic.

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