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A Black Hole of Denial?

February 29th, 2008 · No Comments

Black holes collapse on themselves, with a such a density that they http://www.bpsdb.orgchange the path of light with no light escaping them.  In coming days, the Global Warming disinformation organization, the Heartland Institute (“the leading propaganda mill sowing confusion about climate science“), will convene a Global Warming skeptic/delayer/denier coven with the 2008 International Conference on Climate Change.  RealClimate asked a great question:

What if you held a conference, and no (real) scientists came?

For anyone concerned about a polite (an overly polite) shredding of a front organization’s event, take the time to read it.  

Heartland was a centerpiece of tobacco industry efforts to deny linkages between smoking and cancer. many of the same “scientists’ and Heartland have been involved in seeking to confuse the public’s understand of Global Warming.  In face of the reality that skeptics and denialists can’t stand up to scientific scrutiny and are unable to get published in peer-reviewed literature (since the work can’t stand up to review), Heartland intends to create a “peer reviewed” journal that will give a stamp of approval for these people who are so intent on rejecting reality. In short, Heartland is trying to coalesce enough bodies, enough energy, to create a dense pack to have a black hole to bend and distort the light when it comes to Global Warming issues and the public understanding/discussion of them.

And, sadly, without a doubt there are going to be “journalists” at this coven who will be confused, who will report on it in complimentary ways, who will (knowlingly or unknowlingly) contribute to the Black Hole’s effectiveness. 

To understand reasons why journalists should be wary, join the discussion after the fold …

Back to RealClimate’s excellent laydown:

“A number of things reveal that this is no ordinary scientific meeting:”

Normal scientific conferences have the goal of discussing ideas and data in order to advance scientific understanding. Not this one. The organisers are suprisingly open about this in their invitation letter to prospective speakers, which states:

“The purpose of the conference is to generate international media attention to the fact that many scientists believe forecasts of rapid warming and catastrophic events are not supported by sound science, and that expensive campaigns to reduce greenhouse gas emissions are not necessary or cost-effective.”

So this conference is not aimed at understanding, it is a PR event aimed at generating media reports. (The “official” conference goals presented to the general public on their website sound rather different, though – evidently these are already part of the PR campaign.)

This is amazing.  The event is absolutely not focused on science, but on the public relations. Perhaps it is held in New York so as to attract media attention, far more than it is to attract scientific knowledge and discussion.

RealClimate notes that Heartland is paying honorium for any/all who are willing to give a talk.  And, related to this, there is a selection process where those funding these honorium are choosing the speakers — rather than a scientific panel.

The Heartland website is seeking sponsors and in return for the cash promises “input into the program regarding speakers and panel topics”.

And, to add to the truthiness “influence” focus, rather than meaningful look at the science, Heartland is offering a free weekend at a good New York hotel, all expenses paid, to any/all elected officials who are willing to attend.

Now, the RealClimate had over 350 comments to this post. Many from denialists complaining about RealClimate’s politization of the issue.  The best response to this came from Joe Romm with this post.

There are those who believe in the IPCC and peer-reviewed science, and those who don’t. Those who don’t aren’t real scientists — they can’t be convinced by any evidence. Their conclusions aren’t tentative and testable.

Conservatives and fossil fuel companies have politicized this — not RealClimate or the IPCC.

Back to the “conference“, as DeSmogBlog notes

If you doubt RealClimate’s analysis, you can look to Heartland’s program and participant list for confirmation. It’s a who’s who of apologists for tobacco, coal and oil; a long list of people like Christopher Monckton, who don’t mind when they lie, or like Bob Carter, who don’t make any sense when they are telling their truth.

Also there, of course, is Marc Morano, who is the communications director for the MINORITY side of the US Senate Committee on Public Works and a key player supporting Senator James Inhofe (R-EXXON).  Morano was key to the writing and timing of release for Inhofe’s Peerless Work just before Christmas, with a truthiness embodied misleading (and dishonest) “report” of “over 400 Prominent Scientists Disputed Man-Made Global Warming Claims”.  While without an ability to stand up to serious scrutiny, the deft handling of this report got it a lot of attention and fostered confusion.   What do we think Morano and Heartland expect from/hope for the coming few days of their “conference”, their coven?

Sadly, expect to see this blasted gleefully in the right-wing blogosphere.  Even more sadly, expect to see this reported in the traditional media.  Yes, “objective” reporting requires giving attention to the 21st Century Flat Earth Society’s coven of Global Warming Denialists.

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Tags: environmental · Global Warming · global warming deniers · Heartland · skeptic

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