Monbiot describes the lack of response from Plimer as “Answers Come There None.” As it happens “silence” is the best description for the typical climate change Denier response to this whole issue. In that respect it’s very reminiscent of the lack of attention given to Anthony Watts’ self-inflicted humiliation.
I was interested in the Denier reaction particularly with regard to:
- Plimer’s failure to answer Monbiot’s simple, straight forward questions. Answers that should have been in his book in the first place, but regardless should be less than an hour’s work to answer fully;
- Plimer’s sophomoric attempt to appear learned by asking nonsense questions cloaked in pseudo-scientific bafflegab;
- Plimer’s pathetic excuses, silence, craven display of cowardice and immaturity, and the consequent calling off of the debate by The Spectator.
In seeking answers I will note that my searches were hardly exhaustive nor systematic. For three periods, Aug 1 – Aug 12 (the debate announced), Aug 12-Sept 14th (Plimer’s and Monbiots questions) and Sept 14th-present (debate canceled) I searched the web generally and blogs specifically, looking at the top 50 to 100 hits for each. I also did specific searches of “the usual suspects” eg wattsupwiththat, Climate Depot.
For a group that obsesses on “debates” the Denialosphere was eerily silent about this particular debate. For the two weeks following it’s announcement I could find only two Denier blogs that talked about it at all.
Gird your loins for battle… doesn’t say much of anything other than to announce “This exchange, if it comes about will be a defining moment. Watch this space.“, and then never mentions it again.
The other is merely a reprint of Delingpole’s Spectator challenge for the debate. It is vacuous tripe that merely attempts to justify his earlier idolizing of Plimer by:
- repeating unsubstantiated and patently false claims about the quality of Plimer’s science;
- failing to mention that Plimer has been pretty much universally condemned as a hack by climatologists and other scientists;
- failing to mention any actual science at all;
- filling space with name calling and juvenile boasting.
In what I assume is an inadvertent admission of the intellectual blindness of the Deniers, Delingpole encourages readers “Enough detail: read the piece [Delingpoles’]; then read the book; then make up your own mind.” ie you should make up your mind based solely on Plimer’s book and Delingpole’s uncritcal fawning. God forbid you should also look at any of the science, the critiques of Plimer, or Monbiot’s writings before “making up your own mind.”
Actually Delingpole is quite a study of faulty reasoning and flagrant lying. He describes the cogent, factual critiques of Plimer as “find a page of nit-picking quibbles put up by a parti-pris computer modeller.” Is he vying to replace Christopher Booker as Britain’s prize idiot?
As far as I can tell the Denialosphere is as silent about the questions as they were about the debate as a whole. As occurred on this blog there was some red herring obsessing on the the fact that Monbiot dared to negotiate (and here) the asking of written questions before debating, as if this somehow made the debate unfair or something. No one I saw was able to actually articulate why this is a problem, probably because it isn’t.
There was also some commentary that made it absolutely clear that none of them had read Monbiot’s questions, such as suggesting the questions were about editing errors that have since been corrected, or that they were somehow complex and/or difficult. One deluded soul actually thinks Plimer answered Monbiot’s questions.
Nowhere could I find anything resembling discussion of the content of either Monbiot’s or Plimer’s questions. As close as anyone came was “Schmidt’s responses look even more impressive than Plimer’s bunch of heavily-sounding questions“, scrupulously avoiding any attempt to actually examine either set.
Either the author was incapable of understanding any of it, or is perfectly aware that Plimer’s questions are raving idiocy and just didn’t want to go there. I suspect the latter as even this neutral lay commentary sees Plimer’s questions as a ploy and Plimer as a “self-important prat”, though he erroneously believes Plimer’s questions to be scientifically legitimate.
When the debate was first announced I did note that Plimer might just spout nonsense, and indeed he did. Now that The Spectator and/or Plimer have forced the cancellation of the debate I will note that also in the “No Crystal ball Needed Dept“, I predicted that:
“…the Deniers tend to be impervious to objective reality. Plimer could break down in tears, declare it all a fraud, retract everything he ever said, and Climate Despot would still report it as a Denier “win.” The claim would be accompanied by an account that was no more fictional than their usual reporting, and the rest of the Denialosphere would dutifully pick it up and propagate it just as they always do.”
OK, ClimateDespot itself has also been very silent on the debate, even though they have covered Plimer in the meantime. The Spectator‘s official attempt to blame Monbiot for “chickening out” has been discussed here.
The Spectator drones also have absolutely nothing to say, but they write posts anyway. Delingpole predictably claims that Monbiot chickened out. Beyond that his post is just the usual study in intellectual incoherence, juvenile boasting and straw men; he really is a dog’s breakfast when it comes to logical thinking. Rod Liddle has just as much nothing to say.
I do realize that it sounds as if I am the one being dismissive here, but how do you critically analyse adolescent name calling and prepubescent posturing other than to name it for what it is? Check their posts, these clowns literally say absolutely nothing of substance.
In the end I can find only two posts that even pretend to analyse the debate from a Denier perspective, both from the same blog. The first
Why has Plimer won the debate? Because the end result is that Monbiot has refused to publicly debate with him. And in any sport, failure to show up automatically makes you a loser.
I have to assume that if the author has any rational argument as to why Plimer’s defaulting on the conditions of the debate did not constitute defaulting the debate itself, then he would have made it. That instead he attempts to portray Plimer’s juvenile waffling and weaseling
all Plimer had to do is artificially concoct an “escape route” that would allow Monbiot to declare himself the winner
as deliberate cunning is absolutely pathetic. The author apparently hopes that there are people stupid enough to believe that Plimer’s default was actually a strategy to get Monbiot to refuse to debate. The “I meant to do that” defence? seriously? HELLO!
- It was Monbiot who set the conditions, not Plimer.
- If, as the author alleges, Plimer was going to humiliate Monbiot in the debate itself, why would he want to give Monbiot any pretext to withdraw?
- Even if this delusion were true in any respect, it does not negate the fact that Plimer is the one who defaulted.
The rest of the post is no better. Plimer’s questions and the responses to them are assessed on how they look rather than their content, Monbiot’s questions are not mentioned at all, etc. If there is any substance here I cannot find it.
His second post “The Funnier Side Of Monbiot & Schmidt’s “Plimer Débâcle” is a restatement of the same false premise, with some new flawed reasoning and false claims for garnish. As a substitute for intelligent analysis the author commits the Appeal to Ridicule fallacy, probably in the futile hope that the reader will somehow miss the fact that the author apparently cannot:
- defend Plimer’s actions or his questions;
- refute or even intelligently discuss the responses to them (may not even understand them, there is certainly no evidence of it)
- show any errors in fact or reasoning in any of the critiques of Plimer’ s questions, behaviour or book;
- show any fault in any of what Monbiot has said or done in the context of this debate.
While superficially appearing to have more substance than a Delingpole or Little rant, these posts are actually just as devoid of rational discussion or actual content of any form.
So it would seem that no one in the Denialosphere or elsewhere has been willing to even try to rationally:
- defend Plimer’s questions as rational, reasonable or in any way relevant;
- respond the the critiques of those questions;
- show Monbiot’s questions to be anything but well-structured, coherent, internally consistent, relevant and entirely rational;
- defend Plimer’s failure to live up to his obligations;
- show that Monbiot is somehow at fault.
More curiously, outside of a handful of The Spectator’s cadre and fellow travellers, almost no one in the Denialosphere has even been talking about the debate at all. The Denialosphere is a typically place where contagion spreads with remarkable speed, and Plimer has been their célèbre de jour, so it’s puzzling.
It’s true that individuals have taken it up in comment threads and on forums here and there, but there is almost nothing on Denier sites and blogs. Granted the Denialosphere is a vast empty space that for the most part merely echoes memes and stories that originate from perhaps a couple dozen hubs, but why were the hubs silent?
Did they know right from the start that Plimer would make a complete mess of it? Were they trying to avoid drawing attention to what they expected to be a grotesque humiliation of their hero? self-inflicted and/or at Monbiot’s hands?
It’s the only reasonable explanation I can think of.
“Since 1982, spring in East Asia (defined here as the eastern third of China and the Korean Peninsula) has been warming at a rate of one degree Fahrenheit per decade.” Earth Gauge
We give our consent every moment that we do not resist.
Denier “Challenge” aka Deathwatch Update: Day 328 … still no evidence.
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