« »

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Griper Blade: As Science is Politicized, One Scientist Thinks Politically

As shocking revelations go, it wasn't much of one; leaked documents showed that a rightwing thinktank had a detailed PR strategy to get everyone to believe that global warming is a hoax. Among other things, the Heartland Institute would produce "modules for Grades 7-9 on environmental impact," with the goal of teaching the controversy, not the science.

"The scientific debate remains open," one memo reads. "Voters believe that there is no consensus about global warming within the scientific community. Should the public come to believe that the scientific issues are settled, their views about global warming will change accordingly. Therefore, you need to continue to make the lack of scientific certainty a primary issue in the debate, and defer to scientists and other experts in the field."

It's a strategy pioneered by creationists, which really ought to tell you all you need to know about its educational and scientific value. At first, the climate deniers claimed that the documents were forgeries. But then environmental scientist and writer Peter Gleick came out as the leaker and put that lie to bed. Gleick says he first received a document in the mail from an anonymous source, then requested more documents from Heartland using a fake name. He got them.

Given the potential impact however, I attempted to confirm the accuracy of the information in this document. In an effort to do so, and in a serious lapse of my own and professional judgment and ethics, I solicited and received additional materials directly from the Heartland Institute under someone else's name. The materials the Heartland Institute sent to me confirmed many of the facts in the original document, including especially their 2012 fundraising strategy and budget. I forwarded, anonymously, the documents I had received to a set of journalists and experts working on climate issues. I can explicitly confirm, as can the Heartland Institute, that the documents they emailed to me are identical to the documents that have been made public. I made no changes or alterations of any kind to any of the Heartland Institute documents or to the original anonymous communication...[CLICK TO READ FULL POST

Search Archive:

Custom Search