I haven't had the chance to attend a technical conference purely as an amateur, simply interested in observing the state-of-the-art in a particular subject area. This post by J. Jackson (and here) is a fascinating account of the recent Energy Institute Conference. Mr. Jackson makes no claim to be an expert, he says he adopted an “I know nothing, I’m only here to learn” persona
From Jackson's report, Peter Odell tries to swim against the tide:
Prof. Illum made another intervention, as Odell and the economists were getting tetchy: “Today we have heard specific concrete analyses. They are in conflict with the theoretical analyses of Arnott and Odell. A theory is refuted if it is in conflict with practical experience and historical data….we are at a singular point in history. We have built a world on oil and there is no substitute.”
(Whew, this guy may have No English Mothertongue, but he certainly puts his points across succinctly).
Odell, and perhaps this was because of his illness, made a rambling retort attacking Campbell, which ended with the statement that “there is no problem”; wide murmurs of disapproval.
Murmurs in an audience translate to a chorus of whispers, likely consisting of "What a knob", "He's flipped", "Time to retire", "I wonder who's signing his paycheck?", and "Get some rest, man".