The Crichton Club
May 14, 2008
The flat-earthers of the Crichton Club arguing against the evidence for global warming and climate change are fond of posting long lists of “skeptics” in the scientific community, like the Heartland Institute and its “500 Scientists with Documented Doubts of Man-Made Global Warming Scares.” The sheer number of names is meant to be intimidating, and it is. After all, the oil companies can’t have that much money, can they? Surely there must be some honest doubters in there, right?
Ah well, it’s always premature to give conservatives the benefit of the doubt. Turns out Heartland has been misappropriating the research of legitimate scientists, without contacting them, and summarily enlisting them in its denialist jihad. Many of them, in fact, were furious to see their work misrepresented:
Dozens of scientists have demanded that their names be removed from the list and that they be issued an apology, but the Heartland Institute opted instead to simply change the name of the study from “500 Scientists with Documented Doubts of Man-Made Global Warming Scares” to “500 Scientists Whose Research Contradicts Man-Made Global Warming Scares.” In a release accompanying the name change, Heartland Institute’s Joseph Bast said the scientists “are embarrassed — as they should be — to see their names in a list of scientists whose peer-reviewed published work suggests the modern warming might be due to a natural 1,500-year climate cycle.”
“I suppose the list included anyone who had published on past climatic changes as inferred from the dated geologic record, even without reference to human factors,” said Wright, who did not seem the slightest bit embarrassed.
In other words, a scientist who conducted research into past climate shifts was automatically assumed to be a skeptic about current global warming, and identified as such in the Heartland list. And when the scientists demanded that the institute stop lying about their work, Heartland simply changed the name of the list and tried to make the scientists look like simps.
This kind of sleaze is part and parcel of the conservative jihad against science, but a bigger question remains: how did surly, petulant denial of the abundant evidence for climate change become such case-hardened conservative doctrine? I realize that the petrochemical companies have plenty of shills on their payrolls, and that they are determined to hold back anything that might affect their historic profit levels, but what motivates the likes of Glenn Beck, WingNutDaily, NewsWhacks and the freelance frothers on the Internets to such intense opposition? Even wingers with enough sense to roll their eyes at intelligent design creationism will turn bright red at the mere mention of global warming, and start muttering nonsense.
I mean, we’re all supposed to cower in fear at every terror alert because even a one percent chance of something happening must be treated as a rock-solid certainty, even if the alleged terrorists plotting to blow up the Sears Tower are a bunch of mental patients who couldn’t even afford new sneakers. And yet even as the glaciers are melting and chunks of Antarctica have started sliding into the ocean, the members of the Crichton Club will scowl and say all the evidence isn’t in, can’t be too hasty, let’s not be rash. After all, the ice caps on Mars have shrunk a bit, so obviously this global warming business is just a lot of liberal fear-mongering.
Do they really hate Al Gore that much?