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Old February 16th, 2012   #1
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Default A look inside the Heartland Institute and education policy

I found this article from Bad Astronomy interesting in highlighting the role of certain interest groups in attempting to influence the education cirriculum of different state boards in order to push an agenda on the students. There's often a lot about so-called 'liberal' brainwashing of the students, though I think this can come from any direction.

Quote:
The Heartland Institute — a self-described “think tank” that actually serves in part as a way for climate change denialism to get funded — has a potentially embarrassing situation on their hands. Someone going by the handle “Heartland Insider” has anonymously released quite a few of what are claimed to be internal documents from Heartland, revealing the Institute’s strategies, funds, and much more.

[UPDATE: Heartland has confirmed that some of the documents are real, but claims the strategy document, which I quote below about teaching strategy, is faked. This claim has not yet been confirmed or refuted. DeSmogBlog has more info.]

These documents are available over at DeSmogBlog. Several people are going over them, and so far they appear legit. You can read some relevant discussions at DeSmogBlog, Deep Climate, Planet 3, Greg Laden, ClimateCrocks, Shawn Otto, and Think Progress. John Mashey at DeSmogBlog has more info that also corroborates the leaked documents, and to call it blistering is to severely underestimate it.



One thing I want to point out right away which is very illuminating, if highly disturbing, about what Heartland allegedly wants to do: they are considering developing a curriculum for teachers to use in the classroom to sow confusion about climate change. I know, it sounds like I’m making that up, but I’m not. In this document they say:
[Dr. Wojick's] effort will focus on providing curriculum that shows that the topic of climate change is controversial and uncertain – two key points that are effective at dissuading teachers from teaching science.
That seems clear enough, doesn’t it? From that, it sure sounds like they want to dissuade teachers from teaching science. I imagine there will be a lot of spin about how this quote is out of context, or a typo, or something alone those lines. Perhaps. But I remember all the hammering real scientists took when they used jargon in their emails to each other, jargon which was gleefully misinterpreted to make it seem as if these scientists were faking data. Interesting how this is pointing right back at them. Just as I said it does.


When it comes to all this, the comparison to “Climategate” springs to mind, but there’s one enormous difference: Climategate was manufactured, a made-up controversy (what I call a manufactroversy) that had no real teeth — as was its failed sequel. The emails released weren’t damning at all, and didn’t show scientists tinkering with or faking data. As much as the media made of it, as much as climate change denial blogs played them up, it has been shown again and again that Climategate was all sound and fury, signifying nothing.


These new documents, though, look different, especially given that quote above. The next few days should be very interesting as people start digging into them, especially if they prove to be authentic.


And how ironic! It was the Heartland Institute themselves who played up Climategate quite a bit. Back in 2009 when they were trumpeting Climategate, Heartland said:
The release of these documents creates an opportunity for reporters, academics, politicians, and others who relied on the IPCC to form their opinions about global warming to stop and reconsider their position. The experts they trusted and quoted in the past have been caught red-handed plotting to conceal data, hide temperature trends that contradict their predictions, and keep critics from appearing in peer-reviewed journals. This is new and real evidence that they should examine and then comment on publicly.
That claim from them is nonsense, but it will be interesting to see how happy they are when the tables are turned, and “reporters, academics, politicians, and others” look into their documents. And around that same time they also said:
For anyone who doubts the power of the Internet to shine light on darkness, the news of the month is how digital technology helped uncover a secretive group of scientists who suppressed data, froze others out of the debate, and flouted freedom-of-information laws.
Again, none of that is true. But that claim about freezing out others sticks out, especially in light of another of these leaked Heartland internal memos which says,
Efforts at places such as Forbes are especially important now that they have begun to allow high-profile climate scientists (such as [Peter] Gleick) to post warmist science essays that counter our own. This influential audience has usually been reliably anti-climate and it is important to keep opposing voices out.
Emphasis mine. Yes, that sounds like a group interested in promoting “sound science”.


Wow. Just, wow.

There has been previous examples of this before, at least here in Texas, with attempting to get intelligent design introduced as a subject to be taught by intentionally making the theory of evolution either confusing or turning scientific methods upside down to say it's just a 'theory'. There was also a great deal of interference of these groups in Texas's recent revisions on the social studies standards influenced by groups trying to push "American Exceptionalism" as a legitimate viewpoint on the board.
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Old February 16th, 2012   #2
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Default Re: A look inside the Heartland Institute and education policy

If you look at the climate discussions here over the past years you can see a lot of people who bought this "climate skepticism" stuff regardless of how obvious it was that there are big incumbents who stand to lose a lot if the climate debate were to change the status quo.

The most likely solution at this point is geoengineering. Which is an euphemisms for "actively screwing with a system we barely understand after we passively screwed it up due to ignorance and greed". Interesting times.


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Old February 16th, 2012   #3
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Default Re: A look inside the Heartland Institute and education policy

The "climate skepticism" is well-founded. Not because of what the Heartland Institute or any other political organization on either side says, but because a large body of respected scientists disputes the notion of man-made global warming.

No one is denying that we went through a warming trend, but remember that back in the 70's, many of the scientists who are now vehement supporters of man-made global warming were making dire predictions of global cooling.

What people need to do is consider the source. If you read it on World Net Daily, question it. If you read it on Media Matters, question it. Find more reliable sources.

Here's a report from the US Senat Committee on Environment and Public Works that discusses the large number of scientists dissenting against the notion of man-made global warming. .: U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works :: Minority Page :.

Believe what you like. This issue is one that we honestly don't have enough data to make a definitive call on wither way. Maybe a century from now we'll have enough reliable environmental data to do accurate forecasting. Until then, I'm keeping an open mind and drawing my own conclusions.

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Old February 16th, 2012   #4
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Default Re: A look inside the Heartland Institute and education policy

Quote:
Originally Posted by Demonseed View Post
The "climate skepticism" is well-founded. Not because of what the Heartland Institute or any other political organization on either side says, but because a large body of respected scientists disputes the notion of man-made global warming.

Here's a report from the US Senat Committee on Environment and Public Works that discusses the large number of scientists dissenting against the notion of man-made global warming. .: U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works :: Minority Page :.

Believe what you like. This issue is one that we honestly don't have enough data to make a definitive call on wither way. Maybe a century from now we'll have enough reliable environmental data to do accurate forecasting. Until then, I'm keeping an open mind and drawing my own conclusions.
I've seen this go around before, and there's been some disputes concerning this list of 600+ "scientists" and their position within the international community. The list itself actually originates from what was then the House 'Minority' (Republicans), so there's already going to be a political slant in the information presented. It's not actually a government 'publication'. The name right there- Marc Morano- is a staffer for James Inhofe, Oklahoma Senator. Inhofe is one of the Senators leading the 'charge' against environmental legislation, and if you look at his campaign contributions and see where oil and gas rack up on that list, it's no surprise he'd send out this kind of information.

As to the list itself, it was discussed and torn apart back then.

650 international scientists? Err, not exactly. : Deltoid

Quote:
650 international scientists? Err, not exactly.

Category: Global Warmingcherry picking
Posted on: December 11, 2008 12:45 PM, by Tim Lambert
Last year Inhofe released a list of 400 scientists who disputed mainstream climate science. But as Joe Romm and Andrew Dessler observed, the list was padded with TV weathermen, economists and so on and contained very few actual climate scientists. Now he's back with more of the same in a new list that adds 250 more names. Update: Joe Romm takes apart the new list. My favorite entry (reproduced in full so you can get the full nutty flavour):
Field Geologist Louis A.G. Hissink is the editor of The Australian Institute of Geoscientists Newsletter and is currently working on the ore-reserve feasibility study of the Koongie Park Base Metals project in Western Australia. Hissink, who earned a masters in geology, recently dissented from man-made climate fears. "The assumption that humanity, from its burning of hydrocarbons, is raising the surface temperature of the earth by affecting its greenhouse effect, is not supported by theory nor the physical evidence. No gas is capable of storing heat so the assumption a gas could is to misunderstand basic physics and the greenhouse effect," Hissink told EPW on January 21, 2008. "The global mean temperature derivations from the surface meteorological stations confuse the thermal state of the measuring instruments with unspecified volumes of air nor are those temperatures linked to any discrete physical object; in geostatistics this is known as a data set lacking sample support and no more a metric of the earth's thermal state as the mean calculated from the telephone numbers of the meteorological stations producing the temperature readings," Hissink explained. "Recent discoveries by NASA in the area of space exploration show that the earth is connected to the sun electromagnetically where tens of millions of amperes of electric current are routinely measured during polar aurora displays by satellites - this enormous source of energy, and thus heat, is completely ignored as a factor affecting the earth's thermal balance in global climate models. It is this electromagnetic connection that underpins the solar factor that modulates the earth's climate," Hissink added.
And that, mind you, is relatively sane for Hissink. Earlier he combined Gavin Menzies with Velikovsky with AGW denial to come up with the worst argument against global warming ever.

Also on the list is this guy, who isn't a climate scientist and doesn't even have a job as an economist any more:
John Lott, Jr., who has a Ph.D in economics, is a senior research scientist at the University of Maryland and has published over 90 articles in academic journals. In his March 3, 2008, article arguing against man-made climate change, "Global Warming: Is It Really a Crisis?", Lott said, "Are global temperatures rising? Surely, they were rising from the late 1970s to 1998, but "there has been no net global warming since 1998." Indeed, the more recent numbers show that there is now evidence of significant cooling [...] Mankind is responsible for just a fraction of one percent of the effect from greenhouse gases, and greenhouse gases are not responsible for most of what causes warming (e.g., the Sun)."
The difference between weather and climate is just too much for these people to understand.

Update: Joe Romm takes apart the new list.
More on Inhofe's alleged list of 650 scientists : Deltoid

Quote:
More on Inhofe's alleged list of 650 scientists

Category: Global Warming
Posted on: December 17, 2008 1:18 PM, by Tim Lambert
Greenfyre has a nice roundup of corrections to Inhofe's list of 650 604 scientists that he claims dispute the consensus on global warming. Eli Rabett notes some resume inflation in the list, while Bob has a blog doing an entry on each name on the list

Reporters seem to have wised up to Inhofe's game and the list has been mostly ignored in the media. Here in Australia, that means that all the AGW denialist columnists will write about it, and sure enough, here's Miranda Devine in today's paper
They include Japanese scientist Dr Kiminori Itoh, who was an expert reviewer for last year's United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, who declared global warming the "worst scientific scandal in [history]". Former NASA atmospheric scientist Dr Joanne Simpson is quoted: "Since I am no longer affiliated with any organisation nor receiving any funding, I can speak quite frankly ... As a scientist I remain sceptical."
OK, let's look at those two. I wonder what Inhofe hid with that ellipsis? Here's a fuller quote from Simpson:
What should we as a nation do? Decisions have to be made on incomplete information. In this case, we must act on the recommendations of Gore and the IPCC because if we do not reduce emissions of greenhouse gases and the climate models are right, the planet as we know it will in this century become unsustainable. But as a scientist I remain skeptical.
And she goes on to talk about how NASA's Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission can provide more complete information by testing the predictions of climate models. Simpson is skeptical, but she's using the word with its original meaning, not the way that "global warming skeptics" use it.

What about Itoh? The quote seems to have come from this post on Pielke Sr's blog:
[I] did some contribution to the IPCC AR4 as an expert reviewer. This is no doubt surprising for an environmental physical chemist like me. I am now even feeling that my original expertise, metrology, was all along close to meteorology; that is, "meteorology" is formed by putting "eo" inside "metrology."
It is an exceptionally great pleasure for me that I can introduce to you my recent book "Lies and Traps in the Global Warming Affairs" ...
Preface: The worst scientific scandal in the history.
Alas, Itoh doesn't explain why global warming is such a big scandal. I looked at his comments on the IPCC AR4 draft, and the changes he wanted seemed pretty minor. You'd think if the report was part of such a big scandal, he's be wanting to make sime big changes.

(Credit to DavidONE, who first picked up Inhofe's quote mine of Simpson.)
Inhofe's 650 "dissenters" (make That 649... 648...) | The New Republic

Quote:
The Senate's proudest global-warming skeptic, James Inhofe of Oklahoma, recently released a list of "MORE THAN 650 INTERNATIONAL SCIENTISTS" who "DISSENT OVER MAN-MADE GLOBAL WARMING CLAIMS." Exciting! Let's take a look.

First, a bit of background: In January, Inhofe posted his initial list of more than 400 "prominent scientists" who, he claimed, disputed that man-made greenhouse gases were responsible for rising global temperatures. Trouble is, when people started sifting through the names, they found that many experts on the list were actually weathermen, economists, and people with no real background in climate science. Worse still, when Andrew Dessler started contacting some of the actual climate scientists listed, many of them expressed first shock, then horror, and then e-mailed Inhofe's staff and demanded to be taken off, since they didn't disagree with the scientific consensus on climate change at all.

Well, fine, every list has its warts (and, in fairness, Inhofe's list still looks more reasonable than Rolling Stone's best-of-2008 album list), and we'll grant Inhofe a do-over. So here's the latest release. Many of the names are the same as before. But now, among other things, Inhofe's website cites a study allegedly proving that half of recent warming is due to the sun. Well, Joe Romm e-mailed the paper's author, Anja Eichler, who replied that she was "misinterpreted" on this point, and that her study actually shows something perfectly compatible with the IPCC consensus: Variations in solar activity have been correlated with temperature change in the past, but over the last 150 years, that hasn't been the case. "In this time," Eichler notes, "the increase in the CO2 concentrations is significantly correlated with our temperature." That's… pretty much what all the other recent scientific studies say. Not an auspicious start.

Update: Sen. Inhofe's communications director, Marc Morano, e-mails to say that Eichler wasn't included in the list of 650—they were merely reprinting on their website a post by another physicist, Lubos Motl, who cited Eichler's study as an example of "skeptical climatological literature" that showed the "participants of the Poznan conference are lunatics." Noted and corrected.

Second update: Here's a Belgian scientist who is on the list of 650 but doesn't appear to be a skeptic, either.

And a third: I see Inhofe's "Gang of 650" also includes Erich Roeckner, a renowned climate modeler at Germany's Max Planck Institute, who's quoted as saying there are still kinks in current climate models. But that's not controversial; all climatologists recognize that their models can't account for every last physical process. Inhofe's report then cites Roeckner telling Nature in 2006, "It is possible that all of them are wrong"—implying that he's casting doubt on the link between human activity and climate change. But he's not! Roeckner was referring to the IPCC's emissions scenarios, which involve assumptions about the rate of growth of greenhouse-gas emissions. (Scroll down here for the full quote.) We already know that emissions are growing faster than the IPCC's worst-case scenario, and that's bad news, not good.

Anyway, Roeckner's as far as you get from a "dissenter": See this 2004 paper, which yet again establishes the link between greenhouse-gas emissions and temperature increases. Or see this link, where Roeckner is quoted in multiple news stories sounding downright alarmist about the consequences of man-made warming. "Humans have had a large one-of-a-kind influence on the climate... Weather situations in which extreme floods occur will increase," he informed Deutsche Welle in 2004. "Our research pointed to rapid global warming and the shifting of climate zones," he told ABC News in 2005. Quite the heretic, that one.
--Bradford Plumer
Long story short the list was mainly put together by Inhofe's staffers with little concern as to who they included so long as they showed some opposition to the 'mainstream' ideas on climate change- even if it was simply disputing models while believing that pollution. Never mind that most of them weren't really even 'experts' in the field. As Center for Inquiry concluded:

Ranking Member?s Senate Minority Report on Global Warming Not Credible, says CFI | Center for Inquiry

Quote:
Center for Inquiry Reveals that 80 Percent of ‘dissenting scientists’ in report haven’t published peer-reviewed climate research

Washington, D.C. (July 17, 2009) – The Office of Public Policy, the Washington, D.C. lobbying arm of the Center for Inquiry (CFI), an organization committed to defending scientific integrity, has today dealt a body blow to global warming skeptics by releasing findings exposing the lack of credibility of dissenting scientists challenging man-made global warming. The dissenting scientists are cited in the U.S. Senate Minority Report, a document being hailed by lawmakers opposed to legislation needed to slow global climate change. Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla initially released the report through the office of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, where he is the ranking minority member.

In this Senate Minority Report, almost 700 individuals with implied scientific credentials are offered as evidence that measures to address climate change are premature, and that further research is needed. Sen. Inhofe has used this report to support the claim that there is an ever-increasing international groundswell of scientific opposition to the position of approximately 2,000 scientists whose work is the basis of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Science Report (IPCC) released in 2007. The Center for Inquiry maintains that the Senate Minority report fails to make a credible case that a large number of actual climate scientists take exception to the near-universal consensus of the research community.

“It is beyond question that the work of the U.N. scientists has survived the scrutiny of their colleagues, and that they constitute a significant majority of active researches addressing this problem today. This led us to take a careful look at the broad conclusions of the Senate Minority Report,” said Dr. Stuart Jordan, science policy advisor to the CFI Office of Public Policy and retired emeritus senior staff scientist at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

“As a result of our assessment, Inhofe and other lawmakers using this report to block proposed legislation to address the harmful effects of climate change must face an inconvenient truth: while there are indeed some well respected scientists on the list, the vast majority are neither climate scientists, nor have they published in fields that bear directly on climate science.”

After assessing 687 individuals named as “dissenting scientists” in the January 2009 version of the United States Senate Minority Report, the Center for Inquiry’s Credibility Project found that:

• Slightly fewer than 10 percent could be identified as climate scientists.
• Approximately 15 percent published in the recognizable refereed literature on subjects related to climate science.
• Approximately 80 percent clearly had no refereed publication record on climate science at all.
• Approximately 4 percent appeared to favor the current IPCC-2007 consensus and should not have been on the list.

Further examination of the backgrounds of these individuals revealed that a significant number were identified as meteorologists, and some of these people were employed to report the weather.

Dr. Ronald A. Lindsay, the Center for Inquiry’s chief executive officer, is concerned about the falsehoods and half-truths being uttered by lawmakers now arming themselves for a major fight over legislation addressing climate change. Said Lindsay, “Sen. Inhofe and others have had some success in conveying to the media the impression that the number of scientists skeptical about man-made global warming is swelling, yet this is demonstrably not true.” Lindsay points out that Inhofe’s office had misleadingly claimed in a press release that the number of dissenting scientists outnumbered by more than 13 times the number of U.N. scientists (52) who authored the 2007 IPCC. “But those 52 U.N. scientists were in fact summarizing for policymakers the work of over 2,000 active research scientists, all with substantially similar views on global warming and its causes. This is the kind of broadside against sound science and scientific integrity that we at CFI deplore,” asserted Lindsay.

Dr. Paul Kurtz, the founder of the Center for Inquiry, stressed that “It is essential that the government base its policies on the best scientific information we have and it is a preponderance of scientific judgment that global warming poses a dire threat to the future of humanity on the planet.”

After painstakingly taking the time to vet many of the scientists now serving as “consensus busters” Jordan says that it is difficult for him and his colleagues not to conclude that “this is one more effort of a contrarian community to block corrective action to address a major—in this case global—problem fraught with harmful consequences for human welfare and the environment.”
As far as 'dissenters' go you can always find people who don't uphold the more dominant views in a field. But the way the list here is presented is just plain dishonest.

Problem is, as Inhofe and others demonstrate, it's tied intricately to the two-party system in the US and people form their opinions accordingly. It's this confusion and distrust that institutions like Heartland and others rely on. There's defintely kinks to be worked out here, but it's hardly the mass conspiracy and number rigging that these guys are making it out to be.

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Old February 17th, 2012   #5
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Default Re: A look inside the Heartland Institute and education policy

Quote:
Originally Posted by Demonseed View Post
The "climate skepticism" is well-founded. Not because of what the Heartland Institute or any other political organization on either side says, but because a large body of respected scientists disputes the notion of man-made global warming.

No one is denying that we went through a warming trend, but remember that back in the 70's, many of the scientists who are now vehement supporters of man-made global warming were making dire predictions of global cooling.

What people need to do is consider the source. If you read it on World Net Daily, question it. If you read it on Media Matters, question it. Find more reliable sources.

Here's a report from the US Senat Committee on Environment and Public Works that discusses the large number of scientists dissenting against the notion of man-made global warming. .: U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works :: Minority Page :.

Believe what you like. This issue is one that we honestly don't have enough data to make a definitive call on wither way. Maybe a century from now we'll have enough reliable environmental data to do accurate forecasting. Until then, I'm keeping an open mind and drawing my own conclusions.
The source thing goes both ways. If you see something written up by one of the governments which is vehemently opposed to making any concessions then ignore it. If it is written by an international panel representing the vast majority of scientists better believe it.

I also find the notion that we should be apathetic until we have more data rather strange. Suppose your doctor tells you "you have an operable brain-tumor, but it may be benign, so we'll just wait a few more years and see how it goes instead of spending lots of money on an operation which may be unnecessary. And don't bother getting a second opinion, the majority of respected surgeons may tell you that I am wrong, but I and a bunch of other guys who are being paid by insurance companies think an operation is really stupid at this point".

Quote:
Originally Posted by Commissar MercZ View Post
As far as 'dissenters' go you can always find people who don't uphold the more dominant views in a field. But the way the list here is presented is just plain dishonest.

It helps to understand how science works. What a politican may label a "dissenter" may in fact just be some guy who thinks he found a way to improve one aspect of a theory he fundamentally agrees with.

It is also not really in the nature of a scientist to go "I believe this paper I just read is the absolute truth" - with this attitude he'd be out of a job pretty soon.

There is also quite a bit of an incentive to write articles which go against the stream as such articles are very likely to stand out. If it turns out that you're wrong you can always say that you contributed to the accepted theory by investigating plausible alternatives and preparing future work which proves these alternatives wrong.
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