where we find John Humphreys in the graveyard resurrecting this unkillable climate denialist zombie. Tim Lambert, thermometer in hand tries to bludgeon the poor beast into eternal peace (and quiet). For those of you fortunate enough not to know what the hell Eli is babbling about, go, leave, get hence from this post, lest the spirit of love and kindness curdle in our season of good will and you try to stiff your loved ones (Ms. Rabett has informed Eli that any such attempt would be a health contraindication).
On the other hand, if you wish to plumb the depths of depraved indifference and greed, stay tuned. To come up to speed on this delightful tale, we recommend this merry case study on Source Watch. Another place to learn all about it is Myanna Lahsen's article on deceptive climate politics tactics (see this previous comment at the Rabett hutch). Under the rubric
The Example of the 1998 Petition Campaign
In 1998, tens of thousands of U.S. scientists received an envelope containing a bulk-mailed letter, an article, and a petition form. The letter was signed by Frederick Seitz, former president of the National Academy of Sciences and chairman of a think tank, the George C. Marshall Institute. Seitz’s letter asked recipients to join a campaign urging the U.S. government to reject international efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through the Kyoto Protocol.......Seitz, of course, learned the trade from the tobacco lobby, and certainly received wonderful fellowship support from them while studying. Lahsen continues
Accompanying the petition package was an article referred to as a “scientific summary.” It was authored by Arthur and Zachary Robinson, as well as two Ph.D. astrophysicists, Sallie L. Baliunas and Willie Soon. The former two were once again affiliated with their “Oregon Institute,” while Baliunas and Soon were listed as affiliated with the George C. Marshall Institute. ......As to the Oregon Institute for Science and Medicine
The “scientific summary”was another instance of deceptive manipulation of recognized symbols of science: it was formatted such that it looked like an article that had appeared in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a renowned and peer-reviewed scientific journal issued by the prestigious U.S. National Academy of Sciences. Yet the summary was not peer reviewed and, according to recognized climate experts, contained numerous inaccuracies and one-sided presentation of the scientific evidence—what one climate expert referred to as the “cherry-picking of facts.”15 According to the National Academy, many lay persons and scientists were indeed misled, as indicated by the many calls it received from persons wanting to know whether the Academy had indeed taken a stance against the global warming theory (Science 1998)......
Additional examples of “conjured” scientific authority emerged around the petition campaign. The letter asking people to sign the petition was accompanied by a copy of the Wall Street Journal editorial article by Arthur and Zachary Robinson, the two “chemists” quoted above. “Science Has Spoken,” read the title (Robinson and Robinson, 1997). The prestigious sounding institution with which they were affiliated — the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine—was elsewhere revealed to be a one room operation located on a farm on a rural road in the forested foothills of the Siskiyou Mountains. It consisted only of Arthur B. Robinson, a chemist with a Ph.D. in chemistry from the California Institute of Technology, and his 21-year-old son, who has no advanced degree (Hill 1998).Where do they get their funding from you ask, well in a 1998 article by Hill in the Oregonian, Robinson says that their income was ~$200K, split between donations and payments for home schooling material, but in 1999 their income was $400K, which gives us some idea of what their little project cost.
And what about our friends at the Marshall Institute
The George C. Marshall Institute, which was central in the 1998 Petition Campaign, presents itself as an objective source of policy advice on matters related to science, the environment, and national defense...... It offers itself as an alternative to a general trend toward politicized scientific appraisals.16
The claims to objectivity of think tanks such as the George C. Marshall Institute emerge as another obstacle for lay recognition of bias in scientific information. The Marshall Institute was established in the 1980s to influence opinion and policy. It was established and continues to be run by means of money from wealthy conservative elites, including the Mellon Scaife’s family foundation (McCright 1998; Sarah Scaife Foundation 1996). Between 1992 and 1994 alone, the Marshall Institute, which is part of the conservative antienvironmental movement (McCright and Dunlap 2000), received more than a million dollars from just twelve influential private foundations supporting the conservative movement (McCright 1998, 62). Despite the institute’s self-description, it is not unbiased. It shows a consistent bias toward free-market forces unfettered by regulation, which it also promotes.Now I know Anonymuse, and lord knows, the bunny ain't a poet, but I do remember the songs of my youth. As Tom Lehrer said
You are no doubt familiar with songs about the old lamplighter and the old umbrella man and the old garbage collector and all these lovable old characters who go around spreading sweetness and light to their respective communities. But, it's always seemed to me that there is one member of this happy band who does an equally splendid job, but who has never been properly recognized in song or story, and this is an attempt to remedy, at least in part, that deplorable situation.
When the shades of night are falling,
Comes a fellow everyone knows.
It's the old dope peddler,
Spreading joy wherever he goes.
Every evening you will find him,
Around our neighborhood.
It's the old dope peddler
Doing well by doing good.
He gives the kids free samples,
Because he knows full well
That today's young innocent faces
Will be tomorrow's clientele.
Here's a cure for all your troubles,
Here's an end to all distress.
It's the old dope peddler
With his powdered happiness.
Feel free to take liberties.