Monday, May 7, 2012

The Heartland Institute and Deception

From the 1960s through the 1990s the tobacco industry funded a group of people that worked to deny any research linking smoking to lung diseases. As it turned out, the tobacco companies all knew this, they just didn't want anyone else to know. There is a good book about this called 'The Merchants of Doubt.' It was very effective, too. I remember talking to a guy and when I said smoking causes lung cancer this guy went berserk and screamed in my face about how I didn't know what I was talking about. Funny thing about this incident was the guy was a non-smoker.

Now, we find that the same players are using the same tactics when it comes to climate change. The fossil fuel companies all know climate change is real, this is obvious in their actions. At the same time, they are funding climate change deniers to prevent reform measures that might cost them money. One of the principle players in both the tobacco cover-up and the climate change deception is The Heartland Institute.

The Heartland Institute recently came to media attention when Peter Glieck was able to obtain documents from the Institute itself showing how its is funded by fossil-fuel companies and, in turn, funds climate change deniers. Glieck initially obtained some documents from an anonymous source and then obtained others directly from the Institute using an assumed name. The Heartland Institute has been furious about how the mask was ripped off and state the documents were stolen and forged. Neither claim is true. Glieck obtained the documents legally and the Instituted willfully turned them over. The use of an assumed name doesn't change that fact at all. This is done all the time. The police do this frequently to get information from criminals and that is no defense for the bad guys in court. And, we now know the Institute itself hides its name and involvement from the public.

The Institute and its paid climate change deniers have worked at selling to the public the story that climate change isn't valid. But, in every head-to-head event the deniers have lost. It is simple, the only way you can be a climate change denier is to reject science. And, when you reject science it will become pretty obvious when you are held to scientific scrutiny.

I challenge anyone to provide even one single instance when the climate change deniers have not been found to be scientifically invalid. Pure and simple. Just one.

Instead of focusing on valid science, The Heartland Institute has focused on personal attacks on climate change scientists. The most recent example of this was billboards comparing climate scientists to the Unabomber. But, this apparently went too far even for the Institute's supporters and the billboard was removed after one day. Their excuse? They now claim it was merely an experiment. One of their public supporters claimed it was 'battle fatigue.'

I, and many others, have to wonder. If there was any truth to the message of The Heartland Institute, why does it have to resort to these vicious, personal attacks? That does nothing to address the science. Why is it the deniers are unable to refute the science in a valid manner? Could it be that there is no valid science to their claims?

The answer to the last question is, 'Yes.'

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