Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Defending Willy Soon With 7th-grade Insults

The Heartland Institute is flooding #Soongate with this tweet, every six hours for the past three days:

Meanwhile the people who want to seriously discuss Willie Soon have moved to #WillieSoonGate.

In their link, Joseph Bast (Heartland's president) tries the "call everyone names" defense, which frankly looks desperate and ridiculous.
“The Heartland Institute stands four-square behind Willie Soon. He’s a brilliant and courageous scientist devoted entirely to pursuing scientific knowledge. His critics are all ethically challenged and mental midgets by comparison...." 
Mental midgets! That wouldn't even fly in a high school debate. Joseph Bast reportedly makes over $150,000 a year. And his best defense is a 7th-grade insult.

Peter Dykstra has an interesting take on all this, starting with
The most remarkable aspect of Willie Soon’s soiled science scandal is that in the light of damning evidence of a serious ethical lapse, the climate denial camp shows no interest in self-policing.
Eli notes a relevant finding from InsideClimate News. and writes
InsideClimate News summarizes the 11 papers, including whatever financial disclosure information was included, and in 5 of the papers the non-controversial funders that add prestige to the paper were listed, while Southern and Donors were not. 
Soon (and his defenders) could have dealt with this problem on the very first day, by saying something like
Yes, funding hasn't always been disclosed in some of my papers. Disclosure from researchers is vital part of the scientific process, and it won't happen again. I'm sorry. 
Instead, they had to stomp their feet and act like someone stole their cookie, and get their weak and equally ineffective bench to do.the same.

By the way, Joseph Bast didn't even finish college. He was a brilliant student according to him, but his lack of a degree wasn't his fault -- he was done in by the bureaucracy.

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