More reactions to the SMH piece

Today I’ve seen a few more interesting comments on the Sydney Morning Herald opinion piece by Paul Sheehan that I wrote about yesterday.

There is a comment at the Pure Poison thread that I already linked to that is worth highlighting. Macondo says

We don’t have to read Plimer’s book; Sheehan’s piece is not a book review, it’s just another piece of anti-GW polemic, using Plimer’s name in an egregiously exaggerated way to dazzle the readers with science and celebrity. It’s OK to size up his piece on its own merits or lack of them.

Firstly, take away all the rhetorical devices and persuasive techniques (that I learnt how to analyse in Form 6 decades ago) and what is left? Virtually nothing. Mostly contentious – to say the least – ’science’ quotes from Plimer, and even that is mostly polemical, as you would expect from this attack-dog geologist who had a reasonably well known triumph over easy-target creationists not that long ago (geologically speaking).

and much more, I recommend going over and reading the whole comment here.

There is an excellent post on the column at Bouphonia as well, I like this quote in particular which is in response to Sheehan listing off the number of pages, references etc. in Plimer’s book,

Of course, if we were to compile all the words, pages, and footnotes that suggest that Plimer is wrong, they’d dwarf his magnum opus like an elephant dwarfs a dust mite. Which just goes to show you that sheer bulk is not always the best way to gauge the accuracy of scientific papers. It just so happens that Plimer’s book is voluminous and heavily footnoted because it’s correct, while the myriad papers reflecting the consensus view are voluminous and heavily footnoted because they’re the product of conformity. That’s the kind of detail you’re liable to miss unless you have a science-savvy guide like Sheehan.

Once again I suggest following the link to read the whole thing.

Finally, while numerous global warming denial sites are getting excited by Sheehan’s conversion, as if he is some great arbiter of scientific truth, it seems perhaps that he hasn’t always been that great at assessing science anyway as Tim Lambert points out in this comments thread at Deltoid.