Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Birthday Cheer for Ricky the Special-Needs Monkey

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  • Andrew Smith,

    I guess it was inevitable that the Heartland Institute was mentioned and used as an example of 'climate sceptics gone mad'. Don't, however, let that get in the way of good argument and good facts. All in short supply in this climate debate. Let's not forget that there is unsettled science on both sides of the argument (and lies and distorted truth for that matter). Furthermore, in regard to Jim Salinger, he co-authored a study on the glaciers in the South Island and found that while some were retreating, others were increasing. Perhaps these are the views that Heartland are referring to? Anyone know?

    Since Jan 2007 • 150 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Withers,

    No surprises the "case" against global warming from the Heartland Institute is ethically challenged. But I'm left wondering WHY, if they have a solid case, these people need to be misleading and deceitful?

    The case either sands up or it doesn't. If it doesn't, then why be dishonest about it? Where is the "win" in deceiving people about climate change?

    I can understand owen mcShane or anyone else having honestly held views and making their case....however one-eyed or wrong-headed it may be. But to misrepresent the level of support for your implies that you're aware you don't have the support you're claiming. So would not a rational person re-examine their claims if the support isn't there?

    Lying about it doesn't make it real. Maybe it worked for George W Bush for a while, but it ends up badly for those who knowingly follow that path.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 280 posts Report Reply

  • Lyndon Hood,

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1096 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    I guess it was inevitable that the Heartland Institute was mentioned and used as an example of 'climate sceptics gone mad'. Don't, however, let that get in the way of good argument and good facts.

    If Heartland wants to be taken seriously -- and given the money it lavished on its bogus conference, it does -- it needs to conform to basic standards of ethical behaviour. And it's really not doing that.

    As I pointed out, this kind of PR-driven "list of scientists" is a core feature of the way the denial lobby operates. And it's risible.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 19019 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Scoop got a special response to greenpeace from the heartland institute.

    I love the way they're demanding apologies for this "vicious smear" while continuing to flip the bird to all the scientists whose names they've misused. They're quite an outfit.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 19019 posts Report Reply

  • Gareth Ward,

    I love the way they're demanding apologies for this "vicious smear" while continuing to flip the bird to all the scientists whose names they've misused. They're quite an outfit.

    I ADORE the "real scientists don't complain" call...

    Auckland, NZ • Since Mar 2007 • 1722 posts Report Reply

  • Andrew Smith,

    Heartland have explained themselves, quite well actuslly in a just released press statement. You would be more aware, Russell, than I would ever be of the need to get ones head around spin in some news sources (in this case the NZ Herald). Never let the facts get in the way of a good story...the old cliche. Heartland have issued a repsonse to Angela Gregory's story which appears very reasonable. I suggest it be read before jumping all over them.

    Since Jan 2007 • 150 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Heartland have explained themselves, quite well actuslly in a just released press statement.

    I've read it. Apart from rollling around playing victim, Heartland doesn't provide any real justification for its actions. It really just makes it worse.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 19019 posts Report Reply

  • Andrew Smith,

    Worse? Well, I think not, but I guess we don't want to go down the road of inerterpreting what we think these people may be saying.

    Again, we could argue ad finitum about the funding and idealogy and conspiratorial nature of leftist and conservative groups. No doubt, they have agendas that we can only guess at. This all makes for good lively (and weird) debate, but the facts get left in the dust. I wonder of a society that cannot have debate on facts because they don’t know how and resort to trashing each other instead. This may be partly caused by dumbed down education or they fear their peers and the possibility of being isolated from their relational communities (pub friends/work colleagues) because of their contra views. Ah well, back to work.

    Since Jan 2007 • 150 posts Report Reply

  • cindy baxter,

    check Heartland's references - most of the NZ scientists they cite they refer to as working for the - erm - DSIR? So the scientific papers would be more than 20 years old.

    One of the NZ scientists was a student at Waikato and hasn't been seen in the climate science world for 25 years.

    auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 94 posts Report Reply

  • MikeE,

    Firstly - I'm in no way trying to justfy what the Heartland Institute did, I'm fairly agnostic on the science, more interested in the policy responses and whether they are linked to achieving outcomes or simply exporting pollution.

    But didn't the IPCC get caught up doing the same thing, listing loads of scientists that apparently supported their findings, only to fidn out that they didn't (or something along those lines, its been a while since I either read or watched it)...

    Kingsland • Since Nov 2006 • 138 posts Report Reply

  • Neil Graham,

    Kicked a migrant 1041km

    They all seem exceptional individuals, if they are representative then They're doing very well. If they are not representative they'll do more harm than good with the game.

    It puts me in mind of drugs campaigns that are worthless because they depict the extremes as the effects if the mainstream.

    I guess for those, and indeed the global warming issue, they should just stick to the real evidence. If your view has a case it will reveal itself. If you can only make it by looking at little portions and generalising to the whole, maybe you just might be wrong.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 111 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    I've read it. Apart from rollling around playing victim, Heartland doesn't provide any real justification for its actions. It really just makes it worse.

    I read it too. I don't know how they've used their original statement, but just reading it I didn't have a problem with it. They've compiled a bibliography of 500 scientists whose research, they claim, indicates something. They were quite clear that they were doing a survey of the research, and that the scientists didn't support Heartland's position. It might have been slightly misleading, but it didn't strike me as grossly misleading or completely dishonest.

    Scientists compile these types of research surveys all the time. This one might be not very well done, but I don't see why scientists are demanding not to be on the list. Surely they should just point out what their research says, and if the research that Heartland is promoting falls over because it's badly done, that's life.

    You can't publish something and then demand that people not use it in their work. You can just counter them when they use it badly.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6221 posts Report Reply

  • Lyndon Hood,

    I think part of the point is one compiles bibliographies of research, not bibliographies of scientists.

    (If they did that, I'm sure that some scientists would feel their research was being misrepresented and be upset too - and I assume they would know best.)

    But if you download the Heartland pdf it's nothing but a list of names. It doesn't actually mention what papers their conclusion might be based on.

    It's pathetic veneer of a bibliography and it's obviously personal.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1096 posts Report Reply

  • James Green,

    Scientists compile these types of research surveys all the time. This one might be not very well done, but I don't see why scientists are demanding not to be on the list.

    I haven't ever seen one. Care to cite an example? It seems very weird to me. I would accept a meta-analysis or a review paper which collated references to the work. A list of 'co-authors' tells me very little. I can't easily find the specific paper that apparently meets one of the 7 criteria, or indeed see which of the 7 criteria it apparently supports.
    It is certainly possible to re-interpret the findings of others, but without providing any context, just a long list of people, it seems very much a 500-strong 'appeal to authority'. I don't profess to know anything about climate science, but as a scientist, I would place no credence in such a list.

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 691 posts Report Reply

  • Brent Jackson,

    Heartland's claim that the list is a bibliography is patently false. It is a list of names, not of research papers.

    Cindy wrote :

    check Heartland's references - most of the NZ scientists they cite they refer to as working for the - erm - DSIR? So the scientific papers would be more than 20 years old.

    One of the NZ scientists was a student at Waikato and hasn't been seen in the climate science world for 25 years.

    And these are the 500 best bits of research that Heartland can find to support their position ? Out of how many hundreds of thousands ? That says a lot for the strength of their position.

    Cheers,
    Brent.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 427 posts Report Reply

  • cindy baxter,

    exactly, Lyndon.

    But going back to their "unstoppable global warming..." book - let's have a wee look at the authors of this un-peer reviewed work:

    Fred Singer: rent-a-contrarian.
    He has been cited as a scientific expert - supporting industry and no action - on the following issues:

    * second hand smoke (no problem)
    * ozone depletion (at one point he suggested mirrors in the sky to solve the problem, but still said there was no problem).
    * nuclear waste (good for you, apparently)
    * nuclear power (he was hired by the nuclear industry in 1998 to talk about the scientific case for how safe it was).
    * toxic waste (also no problems)
    * he has even been cited as a WHALING expert.

    Singer is not a climate scientist - hasn't published a peer reviewed paper on climate for at least 20 years - if ever (am still trying to find one). He has received money from various oil and coal companies for his work in the past.

    Denis Avery: Studied Agricultural Economics at the University of Michigan. Sigh. Works for Hudson Institute. Apparently an expert on food issues there.

    So these guys are better climate experts than NIWA? yeah right.

    auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 94 posts Report Reply

  • Shep Cheyenne,

    Advancing Glaciers can be proof of warming, with the melt happening upstream rather than at the face. Same end point of no more glacier, it's just happening a different way.

    Since Oct 2007 • 927 posts Report Reply

  • Terence W,

    <b>What Lyndon said<b>

    This isn't some sort of annotated bibliography. It's not *even a bibliography* (struggling not to lapse into caps here). <i>It is a list of names.</i>

    No details of particular publications are listed meaning that there is no way of checking the actual work in question. Nor are we able to check which names correspond to which of the seven (quite different) claims they are purportedly associated with.

    It's just utter nonsense. It's misleading (they call them co-authors FFS!), it's unscientific, it's unethical, it has no scholarly merit and the scientists involved are well within their rights to ask for their names to be removed.

    That some people here can't see this leaves me utterly puzzled.

    YesWeCanberra • Since Mar 2008 • 41 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant,

    Kicked a migrant 1041km

    Damn, I could only get 567.

    It's a subversive little game, and we need an NZ version to annoy Winston.

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1667 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    I think part of the point is one compiles bibliographies of research, not bibliographies of scientists.

    (If they did that, I'm sure that some scientists would feel their research was being misrepresented and be upset too - and I assume they would know best.)

    But if you download the Heartland pdf it's nothing but a list of names. It doesn't actually mention what papers their conclusion might be based on.

    This page has a link to the list of scientists, and a link to the articles with the scientists listed underneath the references. I don't know where it fits in their original release of information, but it's the page linked to by their response on scoop.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6221 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    I haven't ever seen one. Care to cite an example? It seems very weird to me. I would accept a meta-analysis or a review paper which collated references to the work. A list of 'co-authors' tells me very little. I can't easily find the specific paper that apparently meets one of the 7 criteria, or indeed see which of the 7 criteria it apparently supports.
    It is certainly possible to re-interpret the findings of others, but without providing any context, just a long list of people, it seems very much a 500-strong 'appeal to authority'.

    The list is taken from the book written by Singer and Avery, which cites the work of the 500 scientists (note it's not 500 articles, it's 500 authors who have contributed to a much smaller number of research pieces). I haven't read it and know nothing about it, but I'd be dubious as to its quality.

    No doubt Heartland are using it to their political advantage, but I presume the people to attack there are Singer and Avery, who made the original claims.

    The list on the Heartland web site isn't the original work, or even the full reference list, which is what some people here have claimed.

    (Note, please don't take me as a climate change denialist or supportive of it. I just think when we shoot them down, we should do it based on what they've actually done).

    Since Nov 2006 • 6221 posts Report Reply

  • James Green,

    Thanks Kyle, I kept clicking links and eventually managed to find the bibliography. That is acceptable, but I find the alphabetical 500 list very distasteful. I also find it interesting that they only managed to dredge up 4 papers for the sea-level rising.

    Some of the references come from pretty prestigious peer-reviewed periodicals, viz
    Cara Lowe, graduate student at Canterbury University in New Zealand, who reported on warm-water survival of an Antarctic fish species at the New Zealand Antarctic Conference at Waikato University in 2004. See “Antarctic Fish Set to Survive Warmer Seas,” New Zealand Herald, April 16, 2004.

    You have to wonder why Singer and Avery didn't find and cite this. Or perhaps this didn't fit with their thesis?
    Seebacher F, Davison W, Lowe CJ, Franklin CE, BIOLOGY LETTERS 1(2):151-154. 2005 .
    Specialization to a particular environment is one of the main factors used to explain species distributions. Antarctic fishes are often cited as a classic example to illustrate the specialization process and are regarded as the archetypal stenotherms. Here we show that the Antarctic fish Pagothenia borchgrevinki has retained the capacity to compensate for chronic temperature change. By displaying astounding plasticity in cardiovascular response and metabolic control, the fishes maintained locomotory performance at elevated temperatures. Our falsification of the specialization paradigm indicates that the effect of climate change on species distribution and extinction may be overestimated by current models of global warming.

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 691 posts Report Reply

  • Terence W,

    Thanks for the second link Kyle - it's helpful to see the actual papers being cited.

    All my other criticisms stand though. And, explain to me again, why we shouldn't be criticising the Heartland Institute? They're the ones with it on their website.

    YesWeCanberra • Since Mar 2008 • 41 posts Report Reply

  • Terence W,

    Oh this is just sad. One of their experts is a dead astrologer...

    YesWeCanberra • Since Mar 2008 • 41 posts Report Reply

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