Friday, May 11, 2012

The Heartland Institute Tries Apologizing

The Heartland Institute finally tries apologizing. It is, to say the least, underwhelming:
Russell Cook notes over at The American Thinker how The Heartland Institute’s one-day Unabomber billboard along a highway near Chicago “was a gift to alarmists on a silver platter.”

Noted. It was a mistake on our part. Sorry about that.
Then Jim Lakely immediately goes back on the offensive, demonstrating they aren't really contrite at all:
Cook faults Heartland for allowing climate alarmists to continue playing their “shell games” that “keep the public from fully comprehending the enormous faults in the idea of man-caused global warming.” Again: Guilty as charged.

But the larger story here, writes Cook, is that “alarmists have failed for nearly 20 years to prove the science is settled or that skeptics are unworthy of public trust, but they’ve only accomplished this by avoiding any debate about those assertions.”
Every other Google Alert I get now refers to them as the "radical Heartland Institute," and with "apologies" like this it's not looking like a label they are going to shake off. Character always outs in the end.

"Character, in the long run, is the decisive factor in the 
life of an individual and of nations alike."
-- Theodore Roosevelt


Russell C said...

And true to form, you play the same shell game here, utterly failing to even refute what I said in my piece about AGW'ers inability, "to prove the science is settled or that skeptics are unworthy of public trust". Character does count in the end, as you say, but it is ironically your own blog page quote that will wipe out the idea of AGW "Rule #1: You can never ask too many questions."

Every day there is more and more evidence that those promoting AGW never took your own rule to heart about practically every contradiction that pops up in the issue. You instead play shell games to hide the existence of these contradictions.

I'm no climate scientist by any stretch of the imagination, but I do know what contradicting science assessments look like. But all I have ever heard from the pro-AGW side is that skeptic scientists are corrupt. So I did my due diligence to check that out, and now I have 40+ online articles and blogs detailing how that accusation shreds itself to bits.

When the public discovers there has never been a good excuse to ignore skeptics, the outrage over the accusation will outweigh everything else there is, and they will ask people like you why so much effort was put into marginalizing critics of AGW instead of proving them wrong in the first place.

Here's some incredibly basic questions for you to ponder: scores of book authors and reporters – Oreskes, Burton, Hoggan/Littlemore, McClure, Blakemore, Goodell, Rampton, Gore, Begley, Monbiot, Freudenburg, Beavan, Vanderheiden, to name a few – cite Ross Gelbspan as their source to prove skeptic scientists are corrupt. Can you name a single person who independently corroborates that accusation? If not, why not? And that bit of evidence Gelbspan so dearly loves, the 1991 coal industry memo.... why does no accuser seem to have the courage to show it in its full context?

Rule #1: You can never ask too many questions. So why do AGW'ers bury their heads in the sand rather than ask lots of questions?

Anonymous said...

And yet there are still some unapologetic souls..

NnN said...

Ok Russell I'll explain it. You are half-right, but half-wrong.

The vast bulk of skeptics are made up of unpaid grassroot political ideologues. They aren't being paid by industry. It's much like how creationists have organized attacks on evolutionary biology. Primarily it's based on a groundswell of support. No-one is paying millions of creationists to be skeptical of evolution. In both cases of climate and evolution skeptics I see that ideology causes them to demand absurdly high levels of proof for anything that sounds like it supports the science they don't like, while causing them to lap up anything that sounds like it refutes it, irrespective of evidence. With creationists the ideology is religious, with climate skeptics it's political. When debating creationists I occasionally see verse thrown in, when debating climate skeptics I often see left/right political screeds thrown in.

A grassroots movement is like a fire. To make it more effective you can stoke it. You aren't controlling it, you just poke it around to make it more intense. That's what the institutes like heartland do. They help stoke the message and also connect it to the media. For example those news items we hear about petitions of skeptical scientists almost invariably turn out to be organized by institutes such as Heartland, who then manage to get them into the media spotlight. As a case in point creationists also use the same tactic. Sometimes the similarity is uncanny:

500 doctoral scientists skeptical of Darwin
Growing list of signatories challenges claims about support for theory

500 scientists refute global warming dangers
'Centuries of human history say warm periods are good for people'

Now look at it from the point of view of an industry that is very much opposed to action on carbon emissions. They don't need to pay for a fire, they only need to stoke one. Much cheaper. But the fact that these organizations have received funding from fossil fuel companies is odd unless the oil companies thought they had something to gain by it.

David Appell said...

Russell C: Who are you, and what piece of yours are you talking about?

ferd berple said...

Big Oil stands to benefit more than any industry if CO2 limits are mandated.

By removing coal for baseline electrical generation, industrialized countries will be forced to turn to oil and gas, forcing prices and profits higher for Big Oil.

It should really be no surprise that the IPCC was founded by an oilman.

The purpose of the IPCC was (is) to use environmentalism to remove coal as competition to oil, giving oil a monopoly position from which to drive prices.

ferd berple said...

The reality is that there is currently only one fuel source on the earth that is plentiful and low cost and found almost everywhere. It is the same fuel the industrialized nations used to bring their citizens out of poverty. It is the same fuel that India and China are using to bring their populations out of poverty. It i the only fuel available that might make it possible to bring Africa out of poverty.

However, the rich of the world do not want this. The rich fear the poor. They will use every excuse to keep the poor of the world poor.

When folks talk about saving the world it is BS. What they are talking about is saving their own standard of living, leaving the billions that live in poverty to remain in poverty.

Russell C said...

How strange. David completely sidesteps my questions. Do I really have to point to my name above as a clickable link and the non-coincidental occurrence of my first name matching the author of the American Thinker piece referred to in Heartland's blog? It would appear David's reply is yet another shell game maneuver to avoid answering my utterly straightforward questions, and an inexplicably weak one at that.

These kinds of sidesteps are something I see whenever I try to engage AGW believers in any kind of discussion. They don't refute a word I say, and it seems they cannot trouble themselves to click on any kind of links I provide out of fear it may lead them into some kind of tar pit.

We could almost coin a one-liner joke out of this: "What do you call a global warming believer who actually clicks on links to skeptic pages and reads everything in them? A person on the verge of becoming a full-fledged skeptic!"

David Appell said...

Russel: Why so defensive? I simply asked who you were and what "piece" you were referring to. I'm wary of people who disparage others while remaining anonymous -- they don't have a leg to stand on, and aren't worth the time. And I don't spend all day reading blogs and I didn't recognize your name or make a connection to an American Thinker piece. (BTW, not a great venue if you want to be taken seriously other than by the chorus.)

Russell C said...

Right. And you are still unable or unwilling to answer the straightforward questions I asked, is that correct? This is the appearance you give, one that is very hard to avoid. Nice shell game in mentioning American Thinker as a 'chorus venue' - pave the way for me to have one of my articles online at ThinkProgress or the Huffington Post and your defense point goes 'poof'. I've already challenged the HuffPo to take one of my articles, no word back from them yet.

Choose not to read my blogs or articles if you wish, but readers will be less likely to believe you are too busy and instead more likely to think you are unwilling to read anything that undermines your side of the issue. Such an appearance does not bolster your side, it continually weakens it. Who constantly appears to have a leg to stand on when they ask for debate? Skeptic scientists and skeptic speakers who are extremely well aware of all the arguments. Who looks like they have no confidence in IPCC assessments when they run from such debates or any other challenges about the issue? AGW'ers.

Case in point would be your claims of death threats against AGW scientists in Australia, one more shell game that seems to have crumbled to dust. Not working out too well for you, is it?

David Appell said...

Russel: I don't have time to reply to every comment, and those I disregard first are from people afraid to sign their name to their opinions.

Russell C said...

Right. But you've replied to all of my comments - though in what appears to be 100% sidesteps of direct questions I ask - and the absence of the last 3 letters of my last name, "ook", ends up looking like a technicality you try to take advantage of, considering how the clickable link for my partial name takes readers to a site where my full name is spelled out along, above the collection of my online articles.

So your statement about "people afraid to sign their name to their opinions" goes 'poof' in this case, does it not? - Russell Cook

David Appell said...

Russell: If you want to pick a fight, let me suggest you look elsewhere.

Russell C said...

"Rule #1: You can never ask too many questions."

Can you name a single person who independently corroborates Ross Gelbspan accusation? If not, why not? And that bit of evidence Gelbspan so dearly loves, the 1991 coal industry memo.... why does no accuser seem to have the courage to show it in its full context?

No fight intended whatsoever. Just askin'. If you can't answer these, that's perfectly fine, although the appearance here is that you don't follow your own #1 rule. Worse, the appearance is that you shy away from asking your own devil's advocate questions. Is this not something journalists do in order to make sure a narrative is able to stand on its own merits?

We're told skeptic scientists are corporate-corrupted cranks. I point out fatal faults in that collective narrative. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to pick a fight with yourself on this. See if you can independently corroborate Gelbspan's accusation without relying on any of his 'evidence'. Try it, see what happens.

David Appell said...

Russell: I don't recall ever writing about Ross Gelbspan. Where did I do that?

Russell C said...

@Appell: "...I don't recall ever writing about Ross Gelbspan. Where did I do that?"

Right here at Quark Soup. Thursday, July 15, 2010, 4th paragraph: "...I started to read a lot of books. I read The Heat is On by Ross Gelbspan, and Spencer Weart's The Discovery of Global Warming and several other books, and I learned what people were concerned about." Your first sentence was, of all things to say, "Believe it or not, I was once a skeptic about man-caused climate change."

Google Search is your friend on such matters when you pose the question to yourself. If fact, if you recall your foray into Steven Goddard's blog in July of last year, and happened to check out the comments that followed yours, I already pointed out the above Quark Soup blog, and othwise the same line of questioning I'm asking right here:

Entertaining thing about internet searches, it turns out you were on Stephen Schnieder's cc email list along with Ross Gelbspan back in 2003, when Schneider was emailing Michael Mann on steering journalists' reports: Fascinating that Tony Socci is also on that cc list.

But is your question something of a sidestep to my very first comment about all the others who cite Gelbspan? Rather than me asking about such things, try asking yourself those questions, and why the folks claiming Gelbspan is the guy who exposed the corruption of the skeptic scientists don't give credit to Andy Rowell or Curtis Moore / Alan Miller.