Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Oregon Deception Project . . .

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

Defining Science in Public Relations Campaigns: The Role of Nonscientists and Simulated Scientific Authority
Lahsen describes a noxious example
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. ......

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 Yet the summary was not peer reviewed and, according to recognized climate experts, contained numerous inaccuracies and one-sided presentation of the scientific evidence—what one climate expert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)......
As to the Oregon Institute for Science and Medicine
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.


Anonymous said...

When the windowshades are falling,
cuz it's hotter'n hell outside,
the think tank wank comes calling,
to take you for a ride.

In the local paper you will find him,
and on blogs and websites too,
it's the AGW denier
getting rich while your grandkids get screwed.

He tells you "No need to worry
'Bout drillers and polluters."
cuz he knows those kids in car seats
Will be tomorrow's gas-guzzling commuters.

Here's a cure for that guilty conscience,
Here's an end to all distress.
It's the old oil peddlar
With his gas-powered happiness.

carnaby said...

Is it really fair to call Robinson a "scientist"? He studied under Linus Pauling and worked with him. IIRC, it was Robinson who pointed out to Pauling that Pauling's theories about vitamin C were groundless, at which point Pauling tried to blackmail him.

Also, Robinson makes a lot of money with his homeschooling materials business, and that is his source of funding for his institute. So what?

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...


Your 'so what' casually casts off the fact that they are trying to deceive.

You may feel comfort in knowing that someone is out there using deception to tell you what to do, and you submit to that authority so you can pretend you are safe, but others don't have that mindset. Lots of folks think being deceived, well, s*cks and seek to end it.

If someone were to deceive you in a way that you can perceive directly by, oh, leading you into the basement of your building and dunking your head in the cooling water, you'd be mad. Why aren't you mad now when someone tries to deceive you in a different way?



Anonymous said...

Oregon doesn't deny AGW. Is that a lie or ignorant error? Not good either way. Lambert has been consistently misleading. You seem to like that.

The funding isn't relevant. Most people who signed the petition still seem to agree with the petition, including more than a few climate scientists. This is relevant, ergo petition isn't dead.

You can keep saying Oregon is dead... but saying something 100 times doesn't make it true. Of course, your group-think buddies will always agree with you.

Anonymous said...

Oregon is dead,
With a bullet to the head,
It's history, my son,
It's all been said and done.

Now time to run along.
And Let us dedicate this song,
To those who would deny,
The very earth and sky.

EliRabett said...

Well, who could pass up an opportunity to make a dollar or two. John H, how much do you want to bet that the Oregon Petition project "paper" by Robinson, Baliunas, Soon and Robinson specifically contradicts the central idea behind anthropic global warming emissions of fossil fuel will significantly raise the temperature of the atmosphere.

Wadard said...

"where we find John Humphreys in the graveyard resurrecting this unkillable climate denialist zombie."

nice turn 'o phrase there Rabett.

"John H, how much do you want to bet that the Oregon Petition project "paper" by Robinson, Baliunas, Soon and Robinson specifically contradicts the central idea behind anthropic global warming emissions of fossil fuel will significantly raise the temperature of the atmosphere."

JH, I have just discovered Rabett's blog so offer myself up as an impartial and unbiased judge who knows little of the Oregon petition other than the fact that most who signed it were not climate scientists. This last factor was the reason I did not look into it further as all I felt it told me all I needed to know. I hope this offer can help facilitate the betting.

EliRabett said...

Well, to be honest that should have been emission of CO2 from burning fossil fuels will significantly raise the temperature of the earth. But Eli was so anxious to get my bet down...:)

Anonymous said...

Listen... The fact is, major and mainstream scientists are divided about the issue of global warming. There are reputable researchers and studies on both sides of this issue.

What this shows is that no "scientific consensus" exists, and this fact needs to be realized, when assessing what to teach students, and the public, about this controversial issue. It must also be taken into consideration, before any legislation is passed, that would violate individual liberties and property rights, in the name of protecting the environment.

EliRabett said...

Aakash, as Ian Gould pointed out to you on Deltoid

From Askash's own link:

'For example, there appears to be a strong scientific consensus on the causes of global warming. The historian of science Naomi Oreskes published an article in Science claiming that a survey of the abstracts of 928 science articles published between 1993 and 2003 showed none which disagreed explicitly with the notion of anthropogenic global warming.[2] In an editorial published in the Washington Post, Oreskes claimed that those who opposed these scientific findings are amplifying the normal range of scientific uncertainty about any facts into an appearance that there is a great scientific disagreement, or a lack of scientific consensus."

(Hint, in future Askash, before citing a source you might want to check that it doesn't directly contradict the claim you're attempting to make.)

Posted by: Ian Gould | December 19, 2006 08:07 AM

And as I added:

Actually Ian, it is an old tactic that anyone who has marked papers is familiar with. Very few people check references or follow links. Therefore you put the link out there and nine times out of nine, people accept what you say without checking. That, combined with the data dump or the 110 references you must read before you reply, are very effective and simple tactics. This is one of the weaknesses of debates, there is no way of checking the veracity of what the opponent says.

On the other hand, you occasionally run into people like Tim, you and others who post here, who follow up. That is unfair.

Posted by: Eli Rabett | December 19, 2006 09:12 AM

Eli is a RTFR kind of coney himself nothing better than reading a reference while munching on the organic food pellets.

Anonymous said...

They are still at it! I received a packge today (October 5, 2007). You would think that they might do a little research before mailing -- clearly they have $$ to waste. I will have to spend some time thinking about what to return in the postage-paid envelope.

Anonymous said...

The effects of forcing agents on the climate are complicated by various feedback processes.

One of the most pronounced feedback effects relates to the evaporation of water. Warming by the addition of long-lived greenhouse gases such as CO2 will cause more water to evaporate into the atmosphere. Since water vapor itself acts as a greenhouse gas, the atmosphere warms further; this warming causes more water vapor to evaporate (a positive feedback), and so on until other processes stop the feedback loop. The result is a much larger greenhouse effect than that due to CO2 alone. Although this feedback process causes an increase in the absolute moisture content of the air, the relative humidity stays nearly constant or even decreases slightly because the air is warmer.[35] This feedback effect can only be reversed slowly as CO2 has a long average atmospheric lifetime.

Oregon Alcohol Addiction Treatment

Anonymous said...

"Eli is a RTFR kind of coney himself nothing better than reading a reference while munching on the organic food pellets."

Strangely enough so am I. Google "CASM John Kane" for an example of how bad a paper can be.

Mind you it was not peer-reviwed, heck I doubt if the authors even reviewed it before posting it.

It has nothing to do with AGW, etc, but it shows that one should always check the references...

Oh, and don't trust the abstracts all that much. I have seen a couple of papers where the data presented in the paper directly contradict the conclusions presented in the abstract.