The Heartland Institute sinks to a new low

By Phil Plait | May 4, 2012 11:09 am

The Heartland Institute, a far-right climate change denying "thinktank" has put up a series of billboards so disgusting, so vile, that I find it difficult to find words to tell you just how disgusting and vile they are.

So instead, I’ll show you one:

When I first heard of this earlier today, I thought it was a joke. No one would seriously do this, right? Creating an actual billboard like this would be taking Poe’s Law and aiming right between your own eyes!

But it’s real. Heartland actually put these up, and according to their press release, they’re proud of it. And other people Heartland has on the billboards? Charles Manson, Fidel Castro, and they’re considering putting up some with Osama bin Laden.

Yes, seriously.

I could go on and on about just how incredibly offensive this is, but you can read about it here, here, here, and here. [UPDATE: And here, here, and here.]

[UPDATE: Apparently, Heartland has decided to pull down the billboard ad... of course, they're claiming it "got attention" but somehow neglect to mention this attention was overwhelmingly negative and disgusted. But you can expect Heartland to continue their skeevy campaign against reality; I'll note that they not only do not apologize for the ad, but state outright they won't apologize for it. Lovely. Science writer and humanitarian Shawn Otto has posted a list of names and links of companies that support Heartland, just so's you know.]

Still, there’s one thing I do want to highlight. The press release is a non-stop firehose of misinformation and spin, but among the venom-dripping things they say, one bit of crazy stands out:

The people who still believe in man-made global warming are mostly on the radical fringe of society. This is why the most prominent advocates of global warming aren’t scientists. They are murderers, tyrants, and madmen.

Actually, "a solid majority" of Americans think global warming is real. They’re the radical fringe? As usual, the global warming deniers accuse others of doing what the deniers themselves are guilty of.

And the prominent advocates of global warming aren’t scientists? Like Michael Mann and James Hansen? Oh wait, those two are actual climate scientists. You know, the kind of people who are experts in climate science. The kind who don’t tend to sign climate change denial screeds.

Also, the "murderers, tyrants, and madmen" line? Nice, Heartland, nice. Rhetoric like that really makes you look sober, sane, and willing to discuss things rationally.

Always remember, this is the reality Heartland is trying to deny:

The Earth is warming up. The rate of warming has increased in the past century or so. This corresponds to the time of the Industrial Revolution, when we started dumping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Greenhouse gases warm the planet (hence the name) — if they didn’t we’d have an average temperature below the freezing point of water. Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas which is dumped into the atmosphere by humans to the tune of 30 billion tons per year, 100 times the amount from volcanoes. And finally, approximately 97% of climatologists who actually study climate agree that global warming is real, and caused by humans.

Those are the facts. It’s hard to believe anyone takes Heartland seriously at this point. And while they’re fiddling, the world burns.


Related Posts:

- Breaking news: a look behind the curtain of the Heartland Institute’s climate change spin
- Hip, hip, hypocrisy!
- A case study of the tactics of climate change denial, in which I am the target
- NASA talks global warming
- The world is getting warmer
- Our ice is disappearing
- Climate change: the evidence

Comments (144)

  1. Keith K

    Yes. I do.

    I also have facial hair and am need of a haircut. My last name also starts with K.

    These are all things I share with this depiction of Ted Kaczinski.

    Truly, I am a murderer.

    (Or perhaps these loosely related facts are irrelevant to the climate)

  2. The Captain

    If there ever was a time for skeptics to band together and put money up for a billboard next to this one with Ted Kaczynski’s face and the words “I still believe the earth is round. Do you heartland institute?” this is the time!

  3. Proponents of the denial are merely seeking a stage. We science people have been looking deeply into this since 1957 (IGY) History of the planet dictates.

    john harris
    GeoPhysics Instructor

  4. Kaczinski’s story is considerably more complicated than “a murderer”.

    I doubt that Heartland asked any of these people what their beliefs are. Clearly, we should demand long form references.

  5. L.Long

    Yes they are murderers! So what? If they believe in global warming then that means that the murderers are at least smarter than Heartland! Just cuz they are terrible people doesn’t mean they are ignorant of everything. And it shows how stupid Heartland is, since they seem to think what nasty people think is important.

  6. Thopter

    Isn’t this the opposite of the Appeal to Authority logical fallacy? If someone really bad believes something is true, then that something must also be really bad?

  7. Tim F.

    I know its totally besides the point, but does he? It would be a delicious piece of irony if he’s actually a climate change denier. I hope someone buys every billboard directly after these and puts up an ad saying ” Actually we have no idea if Ted believes in global warming, we prefer to ignore both actual science and proper sourcing of opinions.”

    Or to better target their targeted audience just poll as many abortion clinic doctors as you can until you find a few deniers and run the inverse to their ad with abortion tagged to their viewpoint.

  8. Ryan

    I believe this is referred to as the Guilt by Association fallacy.

  9. AySz88

    Someone needs to set up silly billboards nearby with things like Elmo saying “I still believe that 1+1=2; do you?”, or “I still believe that Earth is round; do you?” (Or start a social media meme along those lines.)

    (Or also have popular scientists and science communicators (Hawking, Bill Nye, etc.?) and links to Skeptical Science or something, but that’s not as funny.)

    I’d love to financially chip in a bit to the effort.

    [edit] Hm, this could be pretty juicy material for a meme, actually.

    Cookie Monster: I believe cookies are still delicious! Do you?
    Soup Nazi: I believe no soup for you!
    Milton: I believe you have my stapler.

  10. Liath

    I suspect, and I hope, that this sort of vile propaganda technique will backfire on the Heartland people. I doubt that these billboards will have the effect that Heartland is trying for.

  11. mk

    This screams for a video response similar to Will I Am’s “Yes We Can.” Something along the lines of “Yes, We Accept The Scientific Evidence!” (Not nearly as catchy, I realize)

    Appearing in said video would be:
    Naomi Oreskes
    Neil DeGrasse Tyson
    James Hansen
    Michael Mann
    Richard Dawkins
    Barack Obama
    Bill Clinton
    Hillary Clinton
    Susan Sarandon
    Danny Glover
    Adam Savage
    Jamie Hyneman
    Ashley Judd
    Olympia Snowe
    Arnold Schwarzenegger
    and of course… The Bad Astronomer.

    Song written and performed by Tim Minchin.

    Video played in every major and minor market in the States until Election Day.

    Just a thought.

  12. Halcyon’s Law of the Internet: The use of an ad hominem attack rather then a rational argument betrays the lack of such rational arguments.

  13. Derrick

    I think this will backfire, because Ted Kaczynski was basically right about everything he wrote. Industrial “civilization” is a horror and needs to be dismantled by any means necessary.

  14. Peptron

    When I saw that ad, the first thing I thought was “Hitler thinks that smoking is bad. Do you?”. Also, “Hitler thought people need air to live. Do you?”.

    The second thing I thought was that some sort of angry employee wants to destroy the institute. I cannot imagine that somebody doing that wasn’t out to get The Heartland Institute. Making an ad saying that a large portion of the population are serial killers waiting to strike cannot end well no matter how I look at it.

  15. Foo Bar

    You know who else used propaganda and logical fallacies? Hitler.

  16. What’s the Heartland Institute’s position on that theory of gravity thing?

  17. Zapp Brannigan

    Gosh! Here I was accepting the overwhelming scientific consensus on climate change, but then I found out that the Unabomber agrees with me, so now I’m going to have to become a climate change denier. I sure hope I don’t find out he likes chocolate!

  18. John Mashey

    Heartland is (for now) a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) public charity in USA.

    http://www.desmogblog.com/sites/beta.desmogblog.com/files/%281-15-2012%29%202012%20Fundraising%20Plan.pdf lists folks who got tax-write-offs for funding Heartland.

    As a reminder on 501(c)(3):

    http://www.desmogblog.com/fake-science-fakexperts-funny-finances-free-tax PDF p.8:

    (quoting http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-tege/rp_1986-43.pdf , Rev. Proc. 86-43, 1986-2 C.B. 729 )

    “Educational Purpose” section:

    ‘SEC. 3. CRITERIA USED TO DETERMINE WHETHER ADVOCACY BY AN ORGANIZATION IS EDUCATIONAL …

    .03 The presence of any of the following factors in the presentations made by an organization is indicative that the method used by the organization to advocate its viewpoints or positions is not educational.

    1 The presentation of viewpoints or positions unsupported by facts is a significant portion of the organization’s communications.

    2 The facts that purport to support the viewpoints or positions are distorted.

    3 ==> The organization’s presentations make substantial use of inflammatory and disparaging terms and express conclusions more on the basis of strong emotional feelings than of objective evaluations. <==

    4 The approach used in the organization's presentations is not aimed at developing an understanding on the part of the intended audience or readership because it does not consider their background or training in the subject matter.'

    Of course, given Heartland's ~20-year tobacco connection, I suppose nothing is surprising.

  19. The stupid. It burns with the white hot intensity of a million supernovas. By this logic, because bin Laden thought that the sky was blue, we should all declare it purple and ridicule anyone who says it’s blue as a bloodthirsty terrorist…

  20. Invoking Godwin’s Law in 3… 2…

  21. Kiff Kroker

    Bravo for including a link to the actual press release. I’d encourage people to go read it and not go by just the one out-of-context snippet you chose to highlight. Here’s a more relevant snippet, explaining the point of this campaign:

    “Of course, not all global warming alarmists are murderers or tyrants. But the Climategate scandal and the more recent Fakegate scandal revealed that the leaders of the global warming movement are willing to break the law and the rules of ethics to shut down scientific debate and implement their left-wing agendas.”

    Definitely go READ THE PRESS RELEASE! It’s extremely coherent, includes numerous examples and references (unlike this article) and actually makes a good case. Warning: must be open-minded or else don’t bother — just go back to living in your bubble.

  22. Wow, just wow. Can we now say that the Hartland Institute is the poster child for logical fallacies?

  23. I feel when I see this that the Hearland Intitute is growing desperate as more and more people refuse to accept their arguments. I see it like someone giving a speech, continually raising their voice ever louder until, eventually, they are shouting at the last vestiges of their audience as they turn to wander off.

  24. Daniel J. Andrews

    What Peptron said…those were my first thoughts too. This is a blatant sign saying “We think the average person is so stupid they’ll fall for this”.

    Interestingly, Bast (heartland head honcho) has written to former funders like GM asking them to give funds (after they were cut-off for denying warming is happening) because it is all a misunderstanding that the heartland institute denies global warming is happening.

    “The Heartland Institute does not ‘deny the existence of climate change,’” and even admits to warming in the last half of the 20th century. Such opportunistic flip-flopping would probably make even a well-experienced politician dizzy.

    Incidentally, the Norway killer didn’t believe in global warming. Imagine the screams of outrage (and rightly so) if someone up a picture of that guy with a caption saying “I don’t believe in global warming. Do you?”

    Here’s the full paragraph for Bast’s letter.

    The Heartland Institute does not “deny the existence of climate change.” It supports research and scholarly debate on the causes and effects of climate change. While the organization itself doesn’t have an “official” position on climate, its spokespersons have repeatedly said they believe some warming occurred in the second half of the twentieth century, there is evidence of a small human impact on climate, and carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas.

    fakegate.org/the-heartland-institute-replies-to-forecast-the-facts/
    Righhtttt, they don’t have an “official” position on climate.

  25. Reminds me of this image

    https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-rxcaDCyenec/T6BmjV8RtXI/AAAAAAAAAlI/fXI7bnrFKkc/s320/538417_10150793342062722_281168802721_9507197_1823506920_n.jpg

    For those who don’t want to click through, it says:

    President Obama should go on TV and ask people not to eat yellow snow if only for the joy of hearing Fox News explain how good yellow snow really is.

  26. Muzz

    I thought these guys were subtle and wise string pullers, canny manipulators, insidious devisors of far reaching networks of influence.

    I guess they’ve had a bit of staff turnover lately. Out with Machiavelli, in with… some guy from down the pub by the looks.

  27. Nick

    Yep, and Stalin believed 2+2=4 right up until the day he died. I’d wager Kaczynsky believes it too. They both probably also believe that lead has a higher atomic mass than hydrogen and that the US is located north of the equator. What’s your point heartland?

    Isn’t resorting to fallacies like this basically admitting you don’t have a real argument?

    And yes, this is basically huilt by association, with a bit of poisoning the well.

  28. Nick

    Yep, and Stalin believed 2+2=4 right up until the day he died. I’d wager Kaczynsky believes it too. They both probably also believe that lead has a higher atomic mass than hydrogen and that the US is located north of the equator. What’s your point heartland?

    Isn’t resorting to fallacies like this basically admitting you don’t have a real argument?

    And yes, this is basically guilt by association, with a bit of poisoning the well.

  29. Kiff kroker (21): Um, seriously? The press release is loaded with stuff that is provably false, from top to bottom.

    And gee, I guess it’s OK they’re lumping me in with madmen, tyrants, and murderers, since they also say “Well golly, not EVERYONE who thinks this is a deranged serial killing terrorist.”

    Sheesh.

  30. Dutch Railroader

    I think it’s great that the Heartland Institute did this. They’re made their tactics and motivations crystal clear for all to see.

    On the other hand, it’s well known that people often make nominally rational evaluations from a really emotional basis. They have chosen to play a completely different game than the standard “debate” on merits. This is why creationists usually win “debates” with scientists. The first plays completely to emotions, while the second gets shellacked by sticking to the rational side and things like facts.

    The Heartland game is flat out to win. They clearly believe that the end justify the means. They are not interested in a debate, the facts, or who is right.

    Negative advertizing works and there will be people who will be swayed by this, even though they will not be able to articulate why.

  31. Raine

    Sadly, this will probably be an efficient campaign among the target audience.

    A campaign like this would backlash like no campaign before if – and IF – it was targeted towards the thinking, intelligent people. This just proves that Heartland is desperate and they need to appeal to the lowest common denominator; ignorance.

  32. vexorian

    I don’t care about whether an ad is offensive or not.

    What really pisses me off is when an ad is downright stupid. And these really are. This is just {Hitler Ate sugar} all over again.

  33. Kiff Kroker's Nemisis

    Kiff, I did go read the press release, before you posted, because I didn’t believe Phil when he wrote that they were considering using bin Laden in one of these ads. Turns out, they come right out and say it. How exactly can bin Laden STILL believe something? He’s dead.

    On to your quote, Heartland distorts the truth terribly there, with the Climategate information, they go on to say, “Climategate was the leak of emails from the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia in England in 2010 and 2011. The emails revealed a conspiracy to suppress debate, rig the peer review process to keep out of the leading academic journals any scientists skeptical of catastrophic man-caused global warming, hiding data, fudging research findings, and dodging Freedom of Information Act requests.”

    Lies! Blatant, flat out lies!

  34. Sili

    And the prominent advocates of global warming aren’t scientists? Like Michael Mann and James Hansen? Oh wait, those two are actual climate scientists. You know, the kind of people who are experts in climate science. The kind who don’t tend to sign climate change denial screeds.

    Exactly. The general public doesn’t care for experts.

    But it’d be nice to see someone putting the Pope up next to those other guys. That’d be a nice way to drive a wedge between the Fundies and the Crazy Catholics.

  35. Ori Vandewalle

    It amuses me that they felt the need to identify the photo as being of Ted Kaczynski – Unabomber. I think it demonstrates the level of intelligence they expect their target audience to have.

  36. Janet Factor

    I was just reading the section in Steven Pinker’s book The Better Angels of Our Nature (hardcover, begins on page 560) that talks about how a virulent ideology that is patently false and is not supported by a majority of the population can nevertheless take over a society. This strategy is right out of that scenario.: it’s a form of enforcement, which is critical to the process.

  37. amphiox

    Even the part that Kiff Kroker chooses to quote from the press release has already been demonstrated to be a bald-faced lie. No laws or rules of ethics were “broken” in the climategate and fakegate “scandals”. The scientists were exonerated. There is no global warming “movement”, only climate scientists reporting the results of their research, and there are no “leaders”.

  38. JMW

    Or…their real plan is more insidious: in the next few days they’ll claim their website was hacked, and that they didn’t commission the ads, and that they’re just innocent victims of some (very rich) special interests intent on dragging their good name through the mud.

  39. @Thopter: This form of logical fallacy is called “reductio at hitlerum” It basically says: “Hitler had the same view. Hitler way a bad person, thus your argument is wrong”

  40. Wzrd1

    This is simply the heart and soul of the current conservative methodology. Rather than present facts in a rational manner (which they cannot, as the facts PROVE global warming is real), they resort to denouncement. Even if, with this ad series, it is by association.
    Years ago, it was the “godless communist”, today, the “apologist” or “fringe” (when referring to THE MAINSTREAM).
    Of course, if they DO use OBL, they’ll end up with the same debacle as the GOP candidates had with the crosshairs campaign posters.

  41. James

    Wow.

    You Yanks really don’t like Fidel Castro, eh?

  42. TychaBrahe

    I remember reading something by Carl Sagan that was written in the late 80s or early 90s about global warming, the first time I encountered the idea. He said that he was already seeing signs that big business was organizing propaganda to oppose the idea, because it meant changing how our society used energy.

  43. Mejilan

    I’m kind of happy to see Heartland shed (and shred) the flimsy illusion of credibility that they’ve tried to project up until now. I don’t see this kind of obviously ridiculous shock advertising convincing anyone other than those that are already blindly in their camp. Or, in other words, convincing anyone at all. Perhaps I’m being a bit optimistic about the rest of humanity, however.

  44. Tony Mach

    Phil, have you seen this? “The number and capability of weather satellites circling the planet “is beginning a rapid decline”
    http://goo.gl/SQXj5

    You have an interest in space and in global warming, you should report this on your blog too!

  45. Chris

    Hitler celebrated Christmas. Do you?

  46. L5Rick

    Too bad that Heartland has decided to stoop to the level of Bad Astronomy, Climate Progress, Skeptical Science, 350.org, 1010.org and other pro-catastrophe sources by calling people names. Remember, the anthropogenic climate cult drew first blood by using the nasty term “denier” and did so long ago. This topic isn’t about the ad hom attacks from either side though. It’s supposed to be about the science. The fact is, catastrophic anthropogenic (global warming/climate change/climate disruption), has been dis-proven in detail. The fact that you guys can’t/won’t look at the evidence you are mistaken is more telling than an organization you are attacking reacting to your attacks in kind. Group-think is a destructive thing folks. Test your beliefs and see if they stand up to a skeptical examination.

  47. Tuffy

    It’s pure “Appeal to Anti-Authority” fallacy, where “Person P accepts idea I. Therefore, I must be wrong.”

    The reality is that climate change’s existence doesn’t depend on who does or does not accept it to be true.

  48. William

    They received a lot of money from Philip Morris. I suggest they do the following ad as well:

    http://i66.photobucket.com/albums/h244/petergodly/heartland_new_ad.jpg

  49. Jay

    Whoever’s directing this stuff (and I’d love to know) has launched a worldwide campaign because similar malarky is appearing in Australian media.
    And I just learned the other day that Rachel Carson is the biggest mass-murderer since… you know who…
    Maybe they should all take a nice long bath in their favorite, DDT.

  50. Rick

    I hope Mejilan is right and this profound ass-hattery will do them more harm than good…Do I hear the sound of furious back-pedaling and the gurgles of a poor PR sap getting waterboarded at Heartland HQ?

  51. Doug

    If you have consensus is it science?

  52. Naked Bunny with a Whip

    I’m glad to see the Heartland Institute dropping any pretense of being a “research organization” with this latest round of bald-faced propaganda. I’m not surprised that denialists think that we should keep an open mind with them even now, though; it’s not like they have anything better to offer than fallacious arguments and emotional appeals.

  53. Satan Claws

    It’s amazing how the skepticism that the HI so calls forward doesn’t seem to work here.

  54. bonmom

    I’m sure some fringe whackos from the far right could be found to advertise that they believe there is no global warming. Every belief has its embarrassing supporters and opponents. This is such a non-argument, but with critical thinking and education going the way of the Dodo, I won’t be surprised if it works.

  55. What’s the problem? How many years have you personally likened genuine skeptics with Holocaust deniers?

  56. Dutch Railroader

    Dear Phil,

    Go have a look again at the Heartland link that you embedded. They now claim this was some clever trick to show how hypocritical those concerned with AGW are. Something like, “Well you call skeptics mass murderers, but look how you whine when it happens to you.” They also claim to have withdrawn the billboard. This gets more twisted by the minute…

  57. Steve Metzler

    Well, I’m going to get some popcorn and go read the comments over on WUWT. Though I understand from reading about the reaction to this campaign elsewhere that they are almost unanimously unfavourable of the HI showing their true colours.

    Still, I’m willing to bet there is more than one Kiff Kroker popping up over there. Where will it all end? Wasn’t it just a few weeks ago that uber-skeptic Fred Singer shot down half of the denier’s favourite tropes in one fell swoop? Vis:

    Climate Deniers Are Giving Us Skeptics a Bad Name – Fred Singer

    …anyway, I just had a gander at some of the comments over there (after reading Watts’ pathetic blog post on the subject, which took about 5 u-turns), and they are predictably along the lines of: “That was really stupid of Heartland, and it’s going to set back our cause by about 15 minutes. But Al Gore is still fat, therefore AGW is a fraud”.

    ETA: just read Dutch Railroader’s post. So now they are backing down. It was all an “experiment” to turn our knobs. Nice one.

    I despise everything these selfish, opportunist, evil shills-for-hire stand for.

  58. bemilm

    @Kiff kroker (21), No one broke any laws or rules of ethics (as BA already said). I think you a suffering from a common misconception: freedom of speech is not freedom from criticism. You are well within your right, as are those slimy troglodytes at the Heartland Institute, to put forth all kinds of obfuscations, logical fallacies, and ad hominem attacks. And I am well within my right to call you an idiot and to tell you to shut up. So I will: you’re an idiot, please do shut up.

  59. MartinM

    How many years have you personally likened genuine skeptics with Holocaust deniers?

    None. And you damn well know it.

  60. Chris Winter

    This reminds me strongly of that spoof protest in which someone holds up a sign reading “I have no rational argument.” (And also the one that says, “Grow a brain, morans!”)

    It’s easy to dismiss this as an “own goal” on Heartland’s part. But that would not be advisable, given the tenor of the current political scene. It must be countered. The approach I would take is to find the approximate cost of this billboard campaign and point out how much anti-AGW science research that sum could fund — if there were any to be found.

    This would subtly underline the fact that Heartland has no science to back up its position. Also, as John Mashey notes, such advocacy probably does not fit its 501(C)3 status.

  61. NoeValleyJim

    It was all just a joke, I get it now! HAHAHAHA, that is hysterical.

    Get it? Get it?

    What is the matter with you, don’t you have a sense of humor?

    How do we challenge their tax exempt status? I am willing to spend some time on this.

  62. NoeValleyJim
  63. Joe

    While I do believe in climate change, if the extreme types are correct, it’s already to late. We are are either going to drown in flooded costal plains or starve in the drought stricken oven hot interior. So, I am just going to continue as always, ’cause it don’t make o bit of difference . By the way we had 53 days over 100 last summer. This has happened ever 20 years or so for centuries. How are we supposed to tell our “normal” extreme weather from climate change.

  64. Dutch Railroader

    I love the unintended irony in the Heartland release about their “experiement”

    “Heartland has spent millions of dollars contributing to the real debate over climate change, and $200 for a one-day digital billboard. In return, we’ve been subjected to the most uncivil name-calling and disparagement you can possibly imagine from climate alarmists. The other side of the climate debate seems to be playing by different rules. This experiment produced further proof of that.

    Yes, after posting a grotesque billboard and being disparaged for it, you can indeed be sure that those who have established the reality of AGW do not play by your rules.

  65. Rick

    Part of the problem is that the press, in an effort to appear even-handed and non-partisan, is giving equal weight to positions that are opposing yet terribly out of balance reality-wise. It is time for a few filters….time to call BS or at least ridicule or ignore the ignorant and stupid. I reacted in disbelief to the billboards in question…I’d prefer to laugh with the rest of society at their drooling stupidity.
    Thank you, Badastronomer, for all you do.

  66. SLC

    Where is the evidence that Osama bin Laden believed in global warming. Or Charles Manson for that matter,.

    Dr. Plait didn’t mention it but the Heartland Institute was originally set up by the tobacco companies to spread disinformation about the link between smoking and lung cancer. Thus they have experience in the disinformation world. Currently, they are heavily funded by the Koch brothers.

  67. Dragonchild

    Ha ha, Phil, I take it you’ve never been to Ohio. This billboard didn’t even make me flinch.

  68. Brian Too

    Just for fun:

    “Lungland Institute”
    “Tobaccoland Institute”
    “Fantasy Island Institute”
    “Hail Mary Institute”
    “Lost Causeland Institute”
    “Dollarland Institute”
    “Lobbyland Institute”

  69. Steve Metzler

    Doug (#55):

    If you have consensus is it science?

    There is a consensus among practicing climatologists (and nearly every national science organisation on the planet) that the earth is warming at an unprecedented rate, and that mankind is the primary cause of that sudden warming. Why? Because mountains of painstakingly gathered evidence point that way, and no natural cause(s) can account for this amount of warming over such a short period.

  70. Ozonator aka Robert Rhodes

    Heartland can go lower on behalf of their employers. Dittoheads can get a do-over for the war between the States or the EssoKochs can unleash corporate anarchy to go with their corporate House of Reps, corporate US Extreme Court, extremist media outlets, and corporate presidential Mormon. For example, coast2coast am 4 payola can kill off the rest of Art’s fans with medical advice.

  71. Grand Lunar

    -” This is why the most prominent advocates of global warming aren’t scientists.”

    Appearently, the Heartland Institute never heard of climate scienstists.

    -”This is why the most prominent advocates of global warming aren’t scientists. They are murderers, tyrants, and madmen.”

    Aside from scientists, does this also mean people like the captains on Deadliest Catch, Jeremy Wade of River Monsters (as far as I can tell), and the Mythbusters are counted as such people?

    Any lower than this, and the Heartland Institute will hit Challenger Deep.
    Or if they’re past that, maybe they’ll hit the Moho Layer.

  72. The main complaint I have here is that politics has a penchant for using science to pad their ideologies where they see a direct correlation with what they believe.

    To me, this is a perversion of the true nature of the sciences. At its core, science should remain apolitical. The only “agenda” that science should push is the enrichment of our knowledge about how stuff works, not to validate some strongly-held ideological belief which may or may not justify government intervention.

    As Dr. Henry Jones, Jr. said in Raiders of the Lost Ark, “[Science] is the search for fact, not truth.” Although stated by a fictional archaeologist, it is a tenet we would do well to remember.

  73. Can’t we just declare these people hostes humani generis?

  74. antiavenger

    At this point, it’s not even about the denying anymore that’s really angering me about these guys. It’s pulling this kinda stuff…

  75. Matt G.

    I see Microsoft Corp. on that list of supporters. I thought Bill Gates was a Global Warming (reality) supporter, or am I just confusing his vaccine stance for overall science support?

  76. MartinM @ 3:38pm

    Really?

    http://discovermagazine.com/search?SearchableText=denier&Submit.x=0&Submit.y=0

    186 results. Want to amend your statement? Geez, it’s as if it has become so common to link genuine skeptics (i.e those who aren’t falling for the appeal to authority fallacy) with Holocaust deniers that you don’t even notice anymore.

  77. ND

    This institute lives in a bubble and have no idea what’s happening outside of it. And they thought it would work?!

  78. jick

    I’m surprised nobody said it so far, but somebody should (have) set up a giant billboard next to them:

    “Hitler didn’t believe in Global Warming. Do you?”

    In case they protest, hell, when did Hitler ever say he believed in Global Warming?

    OK, now please excuse me, I think I’m going to Hell.

  79. Beau

    From Heartland’s press release, LOL

    ” Politicians aren’t scientists, and they aren’t motivated by the search for scientific truth.”

    I believe that’s the most truthful thing they’ve said. But I’m sure they meant Democrats, and not those Republicans who strive for scientific truth.

  80. Stargazer

    When you realise that, after running out of all your arguments, all you have left is your insanity, this is the result.

  81. Stargazer

    Possible response: “Jesus wasn’t a massive douche. Are you?”

  82. Messier Tidy Upper

    My jaw literally dropped seeing that heartland sign. How despicably disgusting and logically beyond weak. Truly crazy case of the tarring by (ridiculous) association fallacy -nothing less certainly nothing more. Even for climate change deniers that’s low. :-(

    Incidentally, I’m pretty sure that Ted Kaczynski believes 1 + 1 = 2 and Pi doesn’t equal exactly 3 as well – does that make those facts wrong also!? ;-)

    @79. John W. Kennedy : Can’t we just declare these people hostes humani generis?

    Um, what? Haven’t heard that term before. What would that mean please?

    @55. Doug asked : “If you have consensus is it science?”

    Depends what you mean. Science isn’t decided by consensus but if you have 98 or so out of 100 experts saying that X is science and agreed upon as fact then you’re going to need some pretty powerful logic and very strong supporting evidence to say otherwise.

    @60. Ed Minchau asked : “What’s the problem? How many years have you personally likened genuine skeptics with Holocaust deniers?”

    The answer tothat would be none -forme and from the BadAstronomer ithink also. Denier does NOT only mean Holocuast denier and at this stage it isn’t “genuine skepticism” to refuse to accept the reality of Human Induced rapid Global Overheating. I personally dislike and usually refarinfrom using the word “denier” prefering to use ‘Climate Contrarian’ instead but I understand why the BA uses that word – and I don’t think it is skeptical or reasonable to claim all the climatological experts are somehow part of some massive conspiracy. :-(

  83. John Mashey

    re: 66 NoeValleyJim
    Tax-exempt status.

    Check #18, and think about what that Fake science,… document was written for.

    Then read
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/feb/17/heartland-institute-fresh-scrutiny-tax?newsfeed=true
    Suzanne got the hint and asked.

  84. @78. Grand Lunar :

    ” This is why the most prominent advocates of global warming aren’t scientists.”
    Appearently, the Heartland Institute never heard of climate scienstists.

    Isaac Asimov had a science degree and worked as a practicing scientist for a time, Carl Sagan was a scientist, Stephen Hawking is probabaly the most famous living scientist – these three prominent scientists and so very many more all accept the reality of HIRGO.

    Oh & Sir David Attenborough, the famous naturalist and science presenter too! ;-)
    (Click on my name here for the Youtube video.)

    -”This is why the most prominent advocates of global warming aren’t scientists. They are murderers, tyrants, and madmen.”

    Most “murderers, tyrants, and madmen” are famous for being well, murderers, tyrants, and madmen rather than advocates of HIRGO.

    Can anyone immediately think of a global tyrant or murderer whose *primary* claim to fame is HIRGO advocacy? I sure can’t! ;-)

    Any lower than this, and the Heartland Institute will hit Challenger Deep.
    Or if they’re past that, maybe they’ll hit the Moho Layer.

    LOL. Classic. :-)

  85. @48. L5Rick :

    Too bad that Heartland has decided to stoop to the level of Bad Astronomy, Climate Progress, Skeptical Science, 350.org, 1010.org and other pro-catastrophe sources by calling people names.

    Pro-catastrophe? Really? :roll:

    Then you go on to say the BA is name-calling? :roll:

    Remember, the anthropogenic climate cult drew first blood by using the nasty term “denier” and did so long ago.

    Citation required – who and when exactly please?

    Also why do you use the inaccurate and derogatory word “cult” for something that is based on a mountain of sound scientific evidence including the works of thousands of actual scientists from glaciologists and biologists to astrophysicists?

    This topic isn’t about the ad hom attacks from either side though. It’s supposed to be about the science.

    Yes, it should be. Shame so much politics (& now on your part semantic quibbling too) creeps into it though. :-(

    It would be wonderful if those who are politically opposed to certain potential solutions to the HIRGO issue – such as international treaties and carbon taxes and shifts away from fossil fuels – at least recognised that the science evidence is clear on this matter and admitted we have got a problem even if they then advocated doing nothing other than adaption or better yet put forward their own preferred alternative solutions instead of denying reality.

    The fact is, catastrophic anthropogenic (global warming/climate change/climate disruption), has been dis-proven in detail.

    It has? By who and in which peer-reviewed science journals?

    Or is it only “disproven” in some minds by rightwing editorials and political rags and talkback radio shock jocks? :-(

    The fact that you guys can’t/won’t look at the evidence you are mistaken is more telling than an organization you are attacking reacting to your attacks in kind. Group-think is a destructive thing folks. Test your beliefs and see if they stand up to a skeptical examination.

    I’ve done that – & then I changed my mind and stopped being a climate contrarian! ;-)
    (Which I was for a few years to my shame. Click on my name for linked comment with mypersonal story on this issue.)

    I suggest you take your own advice. Look into the science, look at both sides. Don’t justaccept what the contrarians claim. Be skeptical about “climate skeptics ” as well as the majority of practicing climatologists.

  86. Phlip

    My favourite is the part where they complain that the *response* to the billboard was “uncivil”. Because the billboard itself totally is the most civil thing imaginable…

  87. Messier Tidy Upper

    @ ^ Phlip : Yup. Indeed. :-)

    @60. Ed Minchau asked : “What’s the problem? How many years have you personally likened genuine skeptics with Holocaust deniers?”

    Please see :

    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2010/02/26/two-posts-about-denialism-climate-change-and-otherwise/

    As I said before, the use of the term “denier” does NOT necessarily mean Holocaust (Shoah) denier and the BA has NOT said they deny *that* historical episode of genocide merely that climate change deniers deny the reality of climate science and what it is telling us.

    @ MTU (me) comment posted on May 5th, 2012 at 1:35 am replying to #78. Grand Lunar :

    Isaac Asimov had a science degree and worked as a practicing scientist for a time, Carl Sagan was a scientist, Stephen Hawking is probabaly the most famous living scientist – these three prominent scientists and so very many more all accept the reality of HIRGO.

    See for instance :

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mu1PicT0TMU

    featuring the comments of Stephen Hawking and Carl Sagan &

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o6tSYRY90PA&list=PL029130BFDC78FA33&index=27&feature=plpp_video

    Isaac Asimov on the Greenhouse effect in 1988.

    FWIW. Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth movie came out in 2006 – nearly twenty years later – and Asimov was hardly the first to mention the idea which dates back to Svante Arrhenius saying in 1896 that rising human-made carbon dioxide would warm our planet & also earlier work by Tyndall and Fourier and among others.

  88. MKS

    *giggle* awe-some, culture is indeed turning to steam :3

  89. Messier Tidy Upper

    @42. James : “Wow. You Yanks really don’t like Fidel Castro, eh?”

    Nor do many Cubans! Y’know all the ones oddly fleeing his socialist Paradise / dictatorship. ;-)

    @36. Ori Vandewalle :

    It amuses me that they felt the need to identify the photo as being of Ted Kaczynski – Unabomber. I think it demonstrates the level of intelligence they expect their target audience to have.

    OTOH, in fairness, the Unabomber was a long time ago – he was arrested in 1996 – and isn’t immediately somebody who springs to mind or whose image is automatically recognisable. Say “Kocinski” and I’m as likely to think of a former MotoGP racer as I am the unabomber.

    @ 13. Derrick :

    I think this will backfire, because Ted Kaczynski was basically right about everything he wrote. Industrial “civilization” is a horror and needs to be dismantled by any means necessary.

    Wait, what!? :-o

    No. The unabomber was wrong about a hell of lot of things, industrial civilisation is what you are using when you made this comment on a computer and has delivered a better life for almost all its citizens than they could have imagined before. This “horror” (really? :roll: ) has brought us wonders and knowledge and understanding and, oh, the little things like hospitals, running water and flushing toilets. Want to live without those and computers too – well, go be my, well *not* guest because I don’t live like that & wouldn’t want to and nor does anybody else I know.

  90. Duncan

    It amazes me that something that should be a reasonable scientific discussion degrades to these levels. And that goes for both sides. In science it should never degenerate to name calling, straw man arguments and general silliness. This ad campaign is disgusting.

    That said, this article also plays the game:

    “The Earth is warming up. The rate of warming has increased in the past century or so. This corresponds to the time of the Industrial Revolution, when we started dumping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.”

    Not true. At the start of the Industrial Age we were at the bottom of a mini ice age. The planet warmed till the 1930′s, then cooled till the 1970′s, then warmed again till 2000 when it leveled out. I don’t know the stats for the last year year or two. The argument that more CO2 = more warming is simplistic since plants take CO2 out the atmosphere. You have to account for how much more CO2 plants are capable of extracting form the air.

    Lets make honest arguments. All this science partisanship embarrasses science and makes it harder for laypeople like myself to know who to believe.

    Why does Al Gore blatantly distort the facts and evidence – if the case is so clear then just use the facts. Why are ALL the errors re anthropomorphic global warming ALWAYS alarmist – they never go the other way. Why does the Hartland Institute resort to this kind of propaganda if the facts are on their side?

    This whole debate is an embarrassment. I say lets stop focussing on Global Warming and focus rather on the 1000 reasons to clean up our act that affect us now and have nothing to do with whether China or India co-operate. Global Warming is a convenient way for politicians to look like they are green without having to actually be green.

  91. Messier Tidy Upper

    This parody :

    http://cubist.on-rev.com/stuff/unabomber-breathe-o2.jpg

    from here :

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/dispatches/2012/05/04/ladies-and-gentlemen-i-give-you-demagoguery/#comment-96510

    is pretty much spot on.

    Also for those who might be wondering about this :

    Say “Kocinski” and I’m as likely to think of a former MotoGP racer as I am the unabomber.

    See this :

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Kocinski

    for the soundalike John Kocinski. :-)

    [Goes back to watching the MotoGp qualifying from Estoril - Lorenzo fractionally ahead of Stoner for pole but still fifteen minutes left in the session if anyone's interested.]

  92. Franklin

    Can someone tell me why people defending right-wing POS’s always go first for the tu quoque fallacy? Because when they do that, it makes it seem like they have no other arguments.

  93. Yggy

    When you realize people can’t tell reality from absurd lies, you just go all the way with it (if you’re soul-dead, that is).
    It is ironic the TK was right. Too bad he lost it with the terrorism thing.

  94. dcurt

    Is the earth really burning?

    Oh….the irony.

  95. Agrippa

    The disturbing thing is that they’re winning. More Americans today than a decade ago believe climate change is fake. It’s so frustrating. Even people I consider reasonable rational people have said it’s nonsense and I just… I don’t even know how to respond to them.

  96. Dutch Railroader

    @98 – Duncan

    I’m sorry, but you misunderstand the very basic fact that the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere dictates the radiative transfer that is in large part responsible for GW. It matters not how much plants use, how much dissolves in the ocean, etc., as long as the actual atmospheric abundance remains high.

    Further, there was no cooling until the 70s, nor leveling out in 2000.

    GW was predicted way in advance as a consequence of rising C02. The predictions have come true. That is the real oiwer of science.

  97. Mike G

    Why are ALL the errors re anthropomorphic global warming ALWAYS alarmist – they never go the other way.

    They aren’t, but the ones that the denialists choose to highlight ALWAYS are simply because it suits their narrative. They ignore things like models underestimating the rate of CO2 increase, sea ice loss, and sea level rise because those don’t fit the story they’re trying to tell.

  98. TheBlackCat

    Why are ALL the errors re anthropomorphic global warming ALWAYS alarmist – they never go the other way.

    Not only is this not true, the erros have actually been in the exact opposite direction. The predictions have either been true, or things have gone worse than the predictions.

    The denialists have tried to make it seem otherwise by dishonestly excluding data. For instance they exclude what scientists presented as the most likely scenarios, instead presenting the extreme, unlikely scenarios as the only one, then claiming that the real measurements did not meet this extreme predictions, when scientists said all along they didn’t expect it to.

  99. Chris Winter

    L5Rick wrote (#48): “Too bad that Heartland has decided to stoop to the level of Bad Astronomy, Climate Progress, Skeptical Science, 350.org, 1010.org and other pro-catastrophe sources by calling people names.”

    How would you define referring to those organizations as “pro-catastrophe sources”?

  100. Ron1

    @ 48. L5Rick said:

    (1) “… catastrophic anthropogenic (global warming/climate change/climate disruption), has been dis-proven in detail. ”

    (2) … “The fact that you guys can’t/won’t look at the evidence you are mistaken is more telling than an organization you are attacking reacting to your attacks in kind. Group-think is a destructive thing folks. Test your beliefs and see if they stand up to a skeptical examination.”

    ……………………………………………….

    OK, I’m intrigued.

    I’ve been following the AGW discussion since the seventies and only today, on BA, have I learned that, conclusively (ie. 5 sigma conclusively) that AGW is de-bunked. Wow, just wow.

    Of course, and please forgive my presumption, you will provide the appropriate citations to support your claim and, by the way, when can I expect publication of your conclusion in the major scientific publications.

    PS. Shouldn’t you consider changing your user name to L1 or L2Rick given the delusional nature of your post indicates some instability?

    Cheers

  101. #90 Messier, do a search for the word “denier” on this site. 186 results last I checked. That isn’t none. It isn’t skepticism to question why the industrialized West should send trillions of dollars in “carbon credits” to other parts of the world in exchange for … what exactly do carbon credits improve? It isn’t skepticism to note that the models don’t match reality? Or that Climate is the only subject of scientific study in the world where “the science is settled”? Or that noted skeptic and debunker Phil Plait doesn’t see gigantic red warning flags instead of quotes around “the science is settled”?

  102. Ron1

    @110 Ed Minchau

    Really, what is your point? I think MTU told it pretty much as it is, although he was being nice about it. Personally, as you can probably tell from my 109, I don’t like deniers — they tend to be obsessive morons prone to repeating, ala Michelle Bachmann, the last moronic thing they’ve heard.

    In your case, you could at least try to appear intelligent by stating something new, or interesting, which you have not. You’re boring.

  103. Duncan

    @ dutchrailroader: there was cooling from the late 1930s to the late 1970s and a leveling off over the last decade or so:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Global_Temperature_Anomaly_1880-2010_(Fig.A).gif

    This is what I mean by we should have honest arguments on both sides, or at least one side. But distorting facts and simplifying complex issues doesn’t help. That’s just partisanship.

  104. Duncan

    The black cat: I’m not talking about predictions, but about errors. Ever scandal has to do with errors, sometimes in orders of magnitude : how fast the glaciers are melting, the polar bears are dying out.

    Every time that it turns out to be an error it is an error in favor of alarmist global warming. With all the partisanship people pick sides and that is notngood for science. This goes for both sides of the debate. I think this field has become a disgrace in terms so the principles of science

  105. Ron1

    Duncan

    “This whole debate is an embarrassment. I say lets stop focussing on Global Warming and focus rather on the 1000 reasons to clean up our act that affect us now and have nothing to do with whether China or India co-operate. Global Warming is a convenient way for politicians to look like they are green without having to actually be green.”

    …………………………………

    While your posts are rife with right wing lingo, denier BS and false equivalence, you do make a couple of valid points in the above quote. For example, many, although by no means all, politicians do use green policies as a mere political tool, and I consider them worse than the deniers. Second, the increasing carbon footprint of China and India is a big problem, but the carbon footprints of the US and Canada are also Big problems. Third, the very public debate between science and belief, Heartland might describe it as a debate between alarmists and skeptics, is embarrassing because, from my perspective, it clearly shows that the forces that have attacked science since the days of Galileo are still firmly at work. As then, the motives today are largely selfish on the part of those opposed to change, while the motives of (most) AGW supporters are neutral or altruistic.

    Regardless, I am curios about what you think should be done now and I ask this question honestly.

  106. Lars

    “Every time that it turns out to be an error it is an error in favor of alarmist global warming.”

    I’m not sure what you mean by this, but AFAIK, most predictions by climate scientists seem to have been too optimistic.

    In other words, global temperature is rising quicker than predicted. Ice caps are melting quicker than predicted. Sea level is rising quicker than predicted. CO2 levels are rising quicker than predicted.

    Was that what you meant?

  107. flip

    @48 L5Rick

    Interesting that whenever someone pops up to announce global warming has been disproven they never manage to link to said evidence. How can one ignore evidence when it’s not even there to look at?

    @98 Duncan

    The argument that more CO2 = more warming is simplistic since plants take CO2 out the atmosphere. You have to account for how much more CO2 plants are capable of extracting form the air.

    You have to wonder just how ignorant you are if you think no one thought of that before. Or that no one has accounted for it.

    “Why does Al Gore blatantly distort the facts and evidence – if the case is so clear then just use the facts”

    Why is Al Gore only brought up by people who are anti-AGW?

    The rest of your comment is typically fact-less.

    @110 Ed Minchau

    It isn’t skepticism to question why the industrialized West should send trillions of dollars in “carbon credits” to other parts of the world in exchange for … what exactly do carbon credits improve?

    What? Since when do carbon credits get sent anywhere overseas? Got any cites for that?

    PS. As said millions of times here and elsewhere, policy is not the same as science. You can disagree with the actions taken, but that’s not the same as disagreeing with the science.

  108. Messier Tidy Upper

    @110. Ed Minchau :

    #90 Messier, do a search for the word “denier” on this site. 186 results last I checked. That isn’t none.

    It also isn’t the same thing as calling you a Holocaust denier.

    We’re NOT, repeat *not* calling you a denier when it comes to the Shoah.

    You are, however, denying reality as understood by the vast majority of experts in the relevant field. When 97 to 98% of climatologists – the experts who have studied and published about and dedicated their lives to understanding Earth’s climate say X is real are you really going to quibble with them and, if so, what is your basis for doing so?

    The word “Deniers” covers people who deny a lot of things and that word covers a lot of territory. Holocaust deniers are one specific and particularly disgusting sub-set of Deniers but they are NOT the only ones to whoem that word is applicable. Just as “Americans” covers people who live in Texas and also people who live everywhere from North Dakota to Indiana to California to Arizona to New England. Capiche?

    Also with all the evidence that is available and has been offered to you and others here and in so many other places, no it isn’t reasonable to call yourself a “skeptic” – skepticism is one thingand is admirable, denialism , shutting your mind to the facts and opting for an alternative you prefer to reality is something else again.

  109. Ron1

    @116 MTU

    I know that I can sometimes ‘yank your chain’ about being reasonable with the deniers, but, I think your 116 is one of your best. You’ve spanked the deniers firmly, without being a dick (mea culpa).

    Cheers, and good evening.

  110. Ed Minchau: Messier, do a search for the word “denier” on this site. 186 results last I checked. That isn’t none.

    If the shoe fits, wear it. Even Wikipedia has entries on denial and denialism. Interestingly, they list climate change denial as the first example, not Holocaust denial. The fact is that there are many kinds of denialism – AIDS denial, vaccine denial, germ theory denial, even “Osama bin Laden denial”. If you stubbornly refuse to accept a massive preponderance of evidence, that’s denial, period. That’s not a value judgement, just a definition.

    It isn’t skepticism to question why the industrialized West should send trillions of dollars in “carbon credits” to other parts of the world in exchange for … what exactly do carbon credits improve?

    That’s an entirely different issue. The stance that carbon credits are a dumb idea is a valid opinion: there isn’t a whole lot of evidence showing that they actually reduce CO2 emissions, and questions of what actions a government should or shouldn’t take are themselves quite valid debates to have.
    The issue of whether or not anthropogenic climate change is happening (it is) is a factual discussion, not a policy question.

    It isn’t skepticism to note that the models don’t match reality? Or that Climate is the only subject of scientific study in the world where “the science is settled”? Or that noted skeptic and debunker Phil Plait doesn’t see gigantic red warning flags instead of quotes around “the science is settled”?

    The models do match reality quite well. That’s one of many lines of evidence (but by no means the only one) that ACC is real.
    In any case, the question of “settled science” is nothing but a semantic game. Yes, science is never technically settled, as per the scientific method. New evidence always must be examined. But at some point the evidence becomes so overwhelming that for all intents and purposes, you can bet your life on something, even if the details are still being worked out. Gravity, for example. We may in the future make discoveries determining whether gravity is mediated by subatomic particles or if another mechanism entirely is responsible for it, but if you jump out a 12th story window, you’re still guaranteed to accelerate downward at a predictable rate. The science is damn well settled enough to make important decisions based on what we already know.

  111. Ron1

    @103.   Agrippa Said, “The disturbing thing is that they’re winning. More Americans today than a decade ago believe climate change is fake. It’s so frustrating. Even people I consider reasonable rational people have said it’s nonsense and I just… I don’t even know how to respond to them.”

    ………

    Now that sounds familiar, it’s where I was at about a year ago. However, a lot can change in a year.

    In particular, two movements have given me hope: (1) the Arab spring and (2) OWS. To make a long story short (ie. let’s not talk about the Islamists high jacking the gains in Arabia), these movements have clearly show that the youth of our societies have had enough of the status quo. Further, recent polling has clearly shown that a majority of American youth are progressive, non-religious and more globally aware than their middle aged parents.

  112. Gegenschein

    109. Ron1 Said:
    “PS. Shouldn’t you consider changing your user name to L1 or L2Rick given the delusional nature of your post indicates some instability?”

    ROFLMAO!

    93. Messier Tidy Upper

    Nice riposte there to L5 (P)Rick’s blather, MTU :)

  113. Ron1

    @103.   Agrippa

    This was meant to be part of my @120 but was cut off. So ….

    Have faith in two constituencies; (1) reasonable people and (2) youth.

    Conservative over-reach is finally beginning to be framed as such in the mainstream media. Even an increasing number of conservative talking heads are starting to address the over- reach. On the Democratic side, Blue Dog democrats are being slowly shown the door in favor of progressive rivals, and change is slowly happening. People are beginning to wake up to the adverse impacts resulting from political and financial domination by corporations and the extremely wealthy.

    Recent polling is starting to show some movement toward AGW support as fear (as a result of the significant number of recent deadly weather events) starts to open people’s eyes about how global warming might affect them personally.

    So, have hope.

    Cheers

  114. Steve Metzler

    @Joseph G (#119):

    Well said on all 3 counts.

    @MTU (#117):

    Also very well said, and point further embellished by Joseph. The fake skeptics love to go on about that ‘denier’ label, because they imagine that we’re trying to link them with Holocaust deniers. But that’s just it: it’s a figment of their collective imagination – a product of the right wing authoritarian mindset – and the anti-science echo chambers they hang out at. They play on the imagined Holocaust link, because they think it will bring them attention through pity.

    Oh, yeah… what’s a right wing authoritarian, you might ask? And not a lot of people may know that. Well then, you must read this. It only takes an evening, and explains a lot about what’s happening to America lately:

    The Authoritarians [PDF]

  115. @Ron1: Now that sounds familiar, it’s where I was at about a year ago. However, a lot can change in a year.
    In particular, two movements have given me hope: (1) the Arab spring and (2) OWS. To make a long story short (ie. let’s not talk about the Islamists high jacking the gains in Arabia), these movements have clearly show that the youth of our societies have had enough of the status quo. Further, recent polling has clearly shown that a majority of American youth are progressive, non-religious and more globally aware than their middle aged parents.

    This! ^

    @123 Steve Metzler: Very good point. A persecution complex like that allows them to safely ignore the world outside their bubble. It’s a lot easier to dismiss reality when you’re a plucky oppressed minority (instead of a wingnut repeater of a well-funded meme).

    Regarding that book, The Authoritarians, I second that recommendation!!! I read it a few weeks ago, and I’ve spent the time since telling my friends about it. It’s amazing how many “Ohhhh! Now, THAT explains a lot!” moments there are to be had when reading it :)
    It’s also quite entertaining and engagingly written, especially considering the somewhat academic (and depressing) subject matter ;)

  116. Ron1

    @123 Steve Metzler & Joseph G Re The Authoritarians

    I third your recommendation. Also, check out his work on the Tea Party.

    Unfortunately, any extensive discussion of The Authoritarians will ultimately fall afoul Godwin’s Law.

    Cheers

  117. Messier Tidy Upper

    @123. Steve Metzler & #121. Gegenschein & #118. Ron1 : Cheers! :-)

  118. Nigel Depledge

    Thopter (6) said:

    Isn’t this the opposite of the Appeal to Authority logical fallacy? If someone really bad believes something is true, then that something must also be really bad?

    IIUC, it is the “Poisoning of the well” fallacy.

    The Heartland is dancing with Godwin’s law.

  119. Nigel Depledge

    Duncan (113) said:

    I’m not talking about predictions, but about errors. Ever scandal has to do with errors, sometimes in orders of magnitude : how fast the glaciers are melting, the polar bears are dying out.

    Every time that it turns out to be an error it is an error in favor of alarmist global warming. With all the partisanship people pick sides and that is notngood for science. This goes for both sides of the debate. I think this field has become a disgrace in terms so the principles of science

    Without actual citations, this comment is almost meaningless.

    What do you mean by “errors”?

    Do you refer perhaps to the deliberate distortions of the denialists?

    Or do you perhaps refer, as one commenter suggests, to the fact that predictions made in the 1980s have broadly come true, but have slightly under-estimated the rate of warming?

    Or do you refer to the discovery of new feedback mechanisms that have the potential to amplify warming?

    Or do you perhaps refer to a very famous error made in an IPCC report in relation to the Himalyan glaciers (where the rate of melting was hugely over-estimated, to the immense embarrassment of the IPCC)? But this was a genuine error that overblew the magnitude of the threat posed by AGW, so it kind of destroys your contention that “Every time that it turns out to be an error it is an error in favor of alarmist global warming”.

  120. Nigel Depledge

    Duncan (112) said:

    @ dutchrailroader: there was cooling from the late 1930s to the late 1970s and a leveling off over the last decade or so:
    [url omitted]
    This is what I mean by we should have honest arguments on both sides, or at least one side. But distorting facts and simplifying complex issues doesn’t help. That’s just partisanship.

    And where is your statistical analysis to show that the cooling trend you claim exists is of statistical significance. It seems to me, from the data to which you link, that the data are very noisy, so any claim of a trend must be shown to be significant as opposed to a mere product of that noise. The warming over the whole 20th century, and in particular since about the mid-70s has indeed been shown to be statistically significant.

    It seems to me, however, that if one took only 1939 – 1975, one could fit any trend (cooling, warming or constant) to that subset of the data but that no such trend would be statistically significant. Therefore, it is inappropriate to draw any conclusions from this subset of the data.

    If there were significant cooling trend in that time, however, it could easily be explained by the increasing levels of sulphate aerosols in the atmosphere as a result of various industrial processes and that were more or less abolished by legislation to curtail acid rain.

  121. Nigel Depledge

    Duncan (98) said:

    It amazes me that something that should be a reasonable scientific discussion degrades to these levels. And that goes for both sides. In science it should never degenerate to name calling, straw man arguments and general silliness. This ad campaign is disgusting.

    Agreed, but since only one side in this “debate” has actually done what you deplore (the label “denier” is factually accurate), why do you make such an even-handed declaration?

    That said, this article also plays the game:

    “The Earth is warming up. The rate of warming has increased in the past century or so. This corresponds to the time of the Industrial Revolution, when we started dumping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.”

    Not true. At the start of the Industrial Age we were at the bottom of a mini ice age. The planet warmed till the 1930′s, then cooled till the 1970′s, then warmed again till 2000 when it leveled out. I don’t know the stats for the last year year or two. The argument that more CO2 = more warming is simplistic since plants take CO2 out the atmosphere. You have to account for how much more CO2 plants are capable of extracting form the air.

    Your understanding is over-simplistic.

    In the 1970s, it was predicted that plants would absorb the extra CO2 emitted by increasing human-caused CO2 emissions. They were wrong. It turns out that plants do grow a little bit faster in slightly elevated CO2, but with larger increases of CO2, it inhibits plant growth. And this is all aside from the fact that, worldwide, plant growth is most often limited by the availability of nutrients such as magnesium, potassium, nitrogen and iron, not by CO2.

    Lets make honest arguments. All this science partisanship embarrasses science and makes it harder for laypeople like myself to know who to believe.

    Scientists have been making honest arguments since the mid- to late- 70s. This tactic has had, at best, partial success, largely due to the framing of the “debate” in the US.

    Why does Al Gore blatantly distort the facts and evidence

    Citation needed.

    – if the case is so clear then just use the facts.

    Erm, yeah, that’s what the IPCC has been doing.

    Why are ALL the errors re anthropomorphic global warming ALWAYS alarmist – they never go the other way. Why does the Hartland Institute resort to this kind of propaganda if the facts are on their side?

    Well, you said it yourself – If.

    The Heartland Institute clearly does not have facts on their side. Further, Heartland knows well that facts don’t matter in shaping the opinions of 90% of the US public.

    This whole debate is an embarrassment. I say lets stop focussing on Global Warming and focus rather on the 1000 reasons to clean up our act that affect us now and have nothing to do with whether China or India co-operate. Global Warming is a convenient way for politicians to look like they are green without having to actually be green.

    Well, there are plenty of other reasons to clean up our collective act, but actually AGW is about the strongest argument to do so. And, believe it or not, there may be politicians who act on AGW (or who promise to do so) because they perceive that the voting public demands action. But then, what politician ever publicly does anything for any other reason?

  122. Mickey Reno

    If a skeptic calls you an alarmist, this is not an insult, because it is honestly descriptive, and cannot be conflated with some other horrific historical political movement.

    To those of you here who fling the label “denier” while asserting that it contains no linkage to deniers of the Holocaust, you’re either very stupid or intentionally lying. Each person may not personally believe it that way, but you certainly intend for uninformed people to interpret it that way. That’s the power of that word, and I’m 100% sure that’s why you use it. Being politically correct, you understand this (and are therefore lying if you say there is no linkage) or you SHOULD understand it (and so are so ignorant that your opinions in this debate need not be respected).

    Also, to call us skeptics deniers also implies a falsehood, that all the science that’s necessary to prove a case has been done. Even YOUR side of the debate no longer asserts this silly absolute.

    So, if you intend no such insult, then simply call the skeptics what they want to be called, “skeptics.”

    Our side of the debate could have given your side a more derisive false lable, like Saviors (used ironically, of course). We don’t do that. We call you warmists and alarmists, which is generally accurate, and implies only the arguments your side makes.

    As for all the outrage here about Heartland’s stupid blunder (and their use of the logical “guilt by association” fallacy), have any of you expressed any outrage for the exact same behavior by Climate Progress? A year ago, they posted their almost identical smear by comparing “deniers” to Norwegian mass child murderer Andrew Brevik. I did a text search on this thread, and saw not one mention of this inconvenient bit of omission or hypocrisy (depending upon whether or not alarmists were aware of their own side’s extremism). ClimateProgess had that prominent page displayed for a year, and only recently and very quietly removed their insult. Heartland was shamed by it’s own side of the debate into pulling down their stupid billboard within days.

    Read about it here:
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/05/07/climate-progress-disappears-their-own-climate-ugliness/#more-63054

  123. Ron1

    @132 Mickey Reno

    Sorry, but the party has passed you on. Get used to it, moron.

  124. Chris Winter

    Mickey Reno wrote (#132): “Also, to call us skeptics deniers also implies a falsehood, that all the science that’s necessary to prove a case has been done. Even YOUR side of the debate no longer asserts this silly absolute.”

    So you contend that the scientific case for the reality of global warming has not been made? Fine. All your side has to do is tell us how it falls short. Show us the evidence. I, in fact, have been requesting such evidence for some time now.

    Hint: Simply saying over and over that mainstream climate science is bogus won’t cut it. So, to quote the late Clara Peller, “Where’s the beef?”

  125. @ 132 To those of you here who fling the label “denier” while asserting that it contains no linkage to deniers of the Holocaust, you’re either very stupid or intentionally lying.

    Simply asserting something does not make it true. Both “denial” and “denier” are perfectly appropriate words. They’re in the dictionary, and their definitions don’t even include the word “Holocaust” (at least Merriam-Webster). If you don’t like the stigma that comes from stubbornly denying a well-documented fact, don’t do it. Whining that some uninformed people may not be able to distinguish global-warming denial from Holocaust denial is like complaining about how people think you’re a flasher because you decide to whip out your junk and urinate on a wall in public.

    Read about it here:

    Sooooo… a blog post about a Fox News report about a blog post that was factually accurate, if inconvenient? Of course, the fact that Breveik holds many nutty views doesn’t mean that climate change deniers share all of those same (other) nutty views, but at this point we’re about half a dozen degrees of separation from anything approaching a scientific refutation. As Chris Winter says, assertion isn’t enough. Tens of thousands of scientists have worked for decades to compile a huge body of converging lines of evidence. Nitpicking media coverage of an issue doesn’t do a thing to disprove it. If you really believe in good faith that anthropogenic climate change theory is wrong, we’re going to need some evidence (a badly worded public service ad or a single error in a multi-thousand page IPCC report doesn’t constitute evidence).

  126. Nigel Depledge

    Mickey Reno (132) said:

    If a skeptic calls you an alarmist, this is not an insult, because it is honestly descriptive, and cannot be conflated with some other horrific historical political movement.

    Show me an honest “skeptic” who calls people accepting the reality of AGW alarmist.

    Reasonable AGW-scepticism ended some time around the mid-1990s. That’s the time around which the AGW conclusion gradually transitioned from “probable” into “so close to certain you might as well accept it as truth unless new evidence contradicts it”. Thus far, all of the new evidence has supported that conclusion.

    All of the sceptics who have honestly assessed the data are now more focussed on what we might do to mitigate the impact of AGW. The only people who don’t accept the conclusion are those who have either been fooled by the deniers or are themselves actively denying AGW as a valid conclusion.

    So, what exactly is an “alarmist” in this context?

    Because it sounds to me like pure rhetoric. Whether AGW is a challenge to meet or something about which we should be alarmed is a value judgment, and is open to debate. What is perhaps truly alarming is the amount of money the fossil-fuel industries are spending on perpetuating the denialist mindset, where they should instead be focussing on how to transition to a low-carbon and (eventually) carbon-free energy economy.

    But the term alarmist sounds like it is intended to polarise the issue and shut down rational debate.

    To those of you here who fling the label “denier” while asserting that it contains no linkage to deniers of the Holocaust, you’re either very stupid or intentionally lying.

    Rubbish!

    Anyone who denies any aspect of reality in the face of overwhelming evidence is a denier. What they deny varies from denier to denier, but the fact of denial of humanity’s best understanding of reality links them all, at one level. Having said that, there is a significant difference between deniers of history (such as Holocaust deniers and 9/11 “truthers”) and deniers of relatively newly-understood facts (such as AIDS deniers and AGW deniers).

    The former are largely certifiable, while the latter are more often misguided and / or deluded, apart from an activist core, who are outright liars serving an obvious agenda.

    To answer your assertion – that calling an AGW denier a “denier” links them to Holocaust denial – is trivially easy. While the nomenclature denier labels them outright as a reality-denier, there is no specific link from AGW denial to any other category of denial.

    Each person may not personally believe it that way, but you certainly intend for uninformed people to interpret it that way.

    Poppycock!

    Who the hell do you think you are to read the intentions of a whole group of other people without bothering to pay attention to what they are saying?

    The use of the term denier is factually accurate – and what else can you call someone when they insist that an entire branch of science is either perpetrating the biggest and most implausible fraud in history, or is collectively deluded about its core conclusion?

    As I understand it, the intended impact of the term denier is to highlight that the person is denying the accuracy of humanity’s best understanding of a phenomenon : a phenomenon that the denier typically has not taken the trouble to understand in any depth.

    That’s the power of that word, and I’m 100% sure that’s why you use it.

    Well, you are 100% wrong. I, for example, have never encountered Holocaust deniers, and I assume that their view is a minority one. I have, OTOH, often encountered reality-deniers in the form of creationists, antivax advocates, AGW-deniers and homeopathy-sympathisers. To be brutally frank, I don’t give a toss about Holocaust deniers, because I don’t see them having any impact on society. Whereas the other deniers are having an impact that I can see.

    When I use the term “denier”, I don’t mean to associate that person with denying the Holocaust. I mean it to indicate that the person is denying the validity of a whole branch of human intellectual achievement.

    Being politically correct, you understand this (and are therefore lying if you say there is no linkage) or you SHOULD understand it (and so are so ignorant that your opinions in this debate need not be respected).

    You have yet to demonstrate that your contention has any crumb of truth. How do you know that the term makes people think of Holocaust deniers? How many people have you asked? Have you asked your questions in a sufficiently neutral way as to not sway the result? Have your findings been confirmed by independent surveys?

    So, before you lay into Phil, or me, or anyone else who uses the term “denier” in relation to the denial of AGW, first you must show that there is a real issue to address.

    Also, to call us skeptics deniers also implies a falsehood, that all the science that’s necessary to prove a case has been done.

    This is also wrong.

    As you would understand if you knew the first thing about science, with empirical phenomena there is no such thing as absolute proof. All of the science to “prove” that AGW is real is not possible. What has instead been done is enough science to demonstrate that the AGW conclusion is overwhelmingly likely to be correct – or, at the very least, a very good approximation to the truth.

    So, what makes you a denier and not a sceptic is that you persist in rejecting the conclusion that AGW is real despite the overwhelming preponderance of evidence that indicates AGW to be the only logical conclusion from the data.

    Even YOUR side of the debate no longer asserts this silly absolute.

    Who ever did?

    So, if you intend no such insult, then simply call the skeptics what they want to be called, “skeptics.”

    But to call an AGW-denier a sceptic is false, because it is no longer reasonable to doubt the conclusions that AGW is real. Sure, 25 years ago, it was reasonable to entertain such doubts. But it is no longer. To call an AGW-denier a sceptic would be to falsely dignify the arguments that that denier makes.

    Our side of the debate could have given your side a more derisive false lable, like Saviors (used ironically, of course). We don’t do that. We call you warmists and alarmists, which is generally accurate,

    Nope.

    The terms “alarmist” and “warmist” carry a false connotation of exaggeration (if not of outright falsehood), whereas, if anything, the opposite is true. Many climate scientists have accused the IPCC reports of being too conservative, of toning down the magnitude of the issue in order to make it more palatable. According to some climate scientists, there is a very real possibility that what we have done and are continuing to do to the climate will – in perhaps the next 100 years – have dramatic consequences for our way of life.

    Given that this is the best understanding of reality arrived at by a sizeable number (I don’t know how many, but it is more than just a small handful) of the people who have dedicated their lives to understanding Earth’s climate, is it appropriate to call this view “alarmist”?

    When there really is a fire, do you call the guy who raises the alram an “alarmist”? No, you don’t.

    and implies only the arguments your side makes.

    It’s not a question of arguments any more. While the science is far from “settled” – there are many details still being filled in – the evidence has been strong enough for at least a decade to indicate three broad conclusions:

    1. Earth’s average temperature is rising;
    2. Human activity is largely responsible;
    3. From the point of view of human societies, this is a bad thing.

    This is not a set of tentative hypotheses, or unsupported theory : these are firm conclusions, supported by almost all of the world’s climate scientists, and supported by a huge range of different types of data. In other words, it is humanity’s best understanding of reality.

    As for all the outrage here about Heartland’s stupid blunder (and their use of the logical “guilt by association” fallacy), have any of you expressed any outrage for the exact same behavior by Climate Progress? A year ago, they posted their almost identical smear by comparing “deniers” to Norwegian mass child murderer Andrew Brevik. I did a text search on this thread, and saw not one mention of this inconvenient bit of omission or hypocrisy (depending upon whether or not alarmists were aware of their own side’s extremism). ClimateProgess had that prominent page displayed for a year, and only recently and very quietly removed their insult.

    Is ClimateProgress representative of the majority of climate scientists? No. Has it ever been? No. That role is held by the IPCC.

    In short, how much does Climate Progress matter? In the broad picture, not very much really.

    By contrast, is the Heartland Institute representative of the majority of AGW-deniers? Well, perhaps not any more. Has it ever been? Oh, yes, until (more or less) yesterday.

    Heartland was shamed by it’s own side of the debate into pulling down their stupid billboard within days.

    This is also wrong. It was “shamed”, as you say, not at all. If the Heartland Institute had been “shamed”, it would have issued an apology. No, instead it was pressured by the publicity generated by the pro-reality lobby, and by pressure applied to the funders of the Heartland Institute, who seem to have realised that, while they seem to be happy to fund anti-reality campaigns, they have no wish to be associated with such blatant crassness.

  127. Nigel Depledge

    Joseph G (135) said:

    If you don’t like the stigma that comes from stubbornly denying a well-documented fact, don’t do it.

    Yes. This.

  128. flip

    The sad thing about this whole ‘debate’ is that it’s now been reduced to an argument of semantics, rather than policy or science.

    And this is the first time I’ve ever used “both sides” on this site… but I wish both sides would just shut up about ‘denier’ or ‘alarmist’ and just get back to policy and science. Although I know which one is more prone to doing it than the other, and it isn’t the one with science on their side. They know it’s a distracting tactic and so they keep harping on about it. Accurate or not, perpetuating discussion on semantics is just plain getting in the way of everything else.

    I think this is why AGW is the one science topic that I quickly tire of reading about. It’s become so bogged down in circular semantics that one can’t get past it to discuss real issues or plans. At least creationists and anti-vaxxers move on past the name-calling onto other points of discussion.

    And in actuality, I’m willing to bet that most skeptics would agree with me on this one.

  129. Steve Metzler

    And in actuality, I’m willing to bet that most skeptics would agree with me on this one.

    Don’t bet on it :-) The fake skeptics will do everything in their power to maintain the status quo, because that means that (in their own fantasies about how the world works) they don’t have to give a flying f#ck/lift a finger to do anything about the mess we all now find ourselves in.

    And that’s what it all comes down to. I’m a baby boomer myself, and who knew we would be paying the price of our collective indulgences, a la American Grafitti, just a few decades down the road?

    ETA: and it’s not just the AGW, which is probably the most pressing issue of our time. It’s also the rampant consumerism. It’s not sustainable.

    ETA deux: Nigel’s post above is probably the best one I’ve ever read concerning a rebuttal to the AGW deniers. Saving that text for a rainy day.

  130. Ed Minchau et al:
    As several have said already, there is no connection whatsoever – either real or imagined – between AGW deniers and Holocaust deniers. To answer Ed’s specific question, Dr. Plait has never once made or inferred any such association. He has in fact done the exact opposite.
    As far as I can recall, the only context in which he has ever mentioned the latter group of disgusting morons is in a couple of comments to the following effect ( this is not an actual quote; it’s me paraphrasing off the top of my head ):
    “Some people claim that ‘denier’ is not an appropriate word, because of the emotional association of the term ‘Holocaust denier’” – followed by a statement that he intends no such association, but that “denier” is indeed an appropriate word for those who literally deny reality.
    Get it now?

  131. flip

    @139 Steve Metzler

    It wasn’t all that obvious but I was trying to avoid a logical fallacy by saying “skeptics”. What I should have written, and wanted to write, was “real skeptics”. So let me try again…

    “And in actuality, I’m willing to be that most real skeptics – aka people who agree with the climate science – would agree with me on this one”.

    In other words, you and I would agree that semantics is not worth debating and that we should get on with discussing policy. On the other hand, the deniers won’t because they know that semantics is a great way to spread FUD.

    However, I find that sometimes the people on the side of science forget that and let themselves be led around into arguments on semantics instead of just ignoring it and moving on to discussing the actual science.

NEW ON DISCOVER
OPEN
CITIZEN SCIENCE
ADVERTISEMENT

Discover's Newsletter

Sign up to get the latest science news delivered weekly right to your inbox!

ADVERTISEMENT

See More

ADVERTISEMENT
Collapse bottom bar
+

Login to your Account

X
E-mail address:
Password:
Remember me
Forgot your password?
No problem. Click here to have it e-mailed to you.

Not Registered Yet?

Register now for FREE. Registration only takes a few minutes to complete. Register now »