Peter Sinclair attends a Heartland Institute conference


Quick summary: the event is sparsely attended, full of nuts, everyone who isn’t there is a communist, and it ends on a note of desperation. A right-wing think tank seems to be dying. Hooray!

Comments

  1. Brownian says

    It’s too bad Breitbart didn’t live to see this.

    Probably would have given him a heart attack.

  2. says

    Good one, Monckton, it’s very difficult to deny science when you’re ignorant of it. Seems the usual, and in fact I think that Jonathan Wells has managed to be ignorant in spite of credentials that say otherwise (Behe’s either amazingly capable of denial, or just lying).

    Ted Kaczynski’s still an American. Are you? (more like Hagee’s line, I know)

    Glen Davidson

  3. says

    Love how the climate change deniers say they want to get “objective and knowledge-based” science back in the classroom. See, they agree with PZ.

    Oh, wait …. they are incapable of recognizing “objective” or “knowledge-based” when it’s right in front of their faces.

    Also love the shot of the empty tables in the conference hall.

  4. says

    Christopher Hitchens, writing in Vanity Fair, highlighted Lord Monckton’s connections to the Tea Party:

    Again, there is a real debate about the pace and rhythm of global warming, and about the degree to which it has been caused (or can be slowed) by human activity. But at the first Tea Party rally I attended, at the Washington Monument earlier this year, the crowd—bristling with placards about the Second Amendment’s being the correction—was treated to an arm-waving speech by a caricature English peer named Lord Monckton, who led them in the edifying call-and-response: “All together. Global warming is?” “Bullshit.” “Obama cannot hear you. Global warming is?” “bullshit.” “That’s bettah.” I don’t remember ever seeing grown-ups behave less seriously, at least in an election season.

  5. says

    So, the Heartland Mindfuck Institute is an organization to which one can give tax deductible donations?

    Why are these doofuses granted non-profit status?

  6. mikmik says

    Comяades! The pяoletaяiat is welcome at this is the gяeat news! The kapitalist bouЯgeoisie Heaяtless Institute stumbles gяeatest today – Яejoice!

  7. victimainvictus says

    @mikmik

    You do realize that “я” is “Ya” not “R,” right?

    Yaejoice!

  8. Janine: History’s Greatest Monster says

    Why are these doofuses granted non-profit status?

    It is a great money maker for the Heritage Institute and the American Enterprise Institute.

  9. says

    You do realize that “я” is “Ya” not “R,” right?

    Of course, this is just a matter of teasing people with the backward R because we vaguely recognize it as Cyrillic (but really faux Cyrillic), without necessarily knowing the English R corresponds better to Cyrillic P.

    It really bugs me (probably more than it should) when “arty” efforts at text substitute uppercase lambda for A (I’m looking at you, NASA!) and uppercase sigma for E. Aggravating!

  10. Brownian says

    This reminds me: I’ve got to pick up a birthday gift for my niece at Toys “Ya” Us.

    Don’t let me foyaget.

  11. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    This reminds me: I’ve got to pick up a birthday gift for my niece at Toys “Ya” Us.

    Don’t let me foyaget.

    Stop that right now.

  12. kayden says

    Wonder why they held their convention in the city where the Kenyan, socialist, communist, atheist thug comes from. I will weep at their funeral.

  13. robro says

    Lord Monckton!? So close to “Mocktown”. He’s certainly cartoonish, a sort of parody of an English peer. Monty Python couldn’t do better. Anyway, love the American flag shirt. IIRC, Jerry Rubin got slammed by conservatives for wearing an American flag shirt during the 60s. Surprising the Tea Baggers didn’t run his lordship’s ass out on a rail. Oh well, times change.

    I guess Bast may have to get a real job soon. I wonder if the Koch brothers are there for him.

  14. nooneinparticular says

    “Good example of Hitchens taking down ideological bullshit all the while spewing it humself.”

    We Are Ing can you elaborate? Not trying to pick a fight. Just curious about where you were going with that.

  15. says

    @nooneinparticular

    The opening of Hitch quote presented is him bending over backwards to present a denialist position in the most favorable light, before attacking a version of the same position.

    Again, there is a real debate about the pace and rhythm of global warming, and about the degree to which it has been caused (or can be slowed) by human activity.

    This debate is nigh entirely political, he’s basically using the same weasel tactic as saying “there is a real debate about evolution”

    He’s not an expert, is going against the consensus of the field, and is trying to dress that up in a veil of ignorance to make a position argued entirely from ideology defensible.

    The evidence is so that he can’t reasonably deny warming, so he just denies anthrogenesis…an almost equally absurd denialist position. Global Warming is real, it is almost definitely caused or compounded by human action and if it can’t be reversed than the least we can do is CAESE ADDING TO THE PROBLEM. However, the actual chances of either putting on the breaks or shifting to reverse is retarded by people like Hitchens who seek to give a intellectual authenticity to anti-scientific bullshit. Hitchens and his kin denies AGW not because the science isn’t in, or because the results aren’t scarry, but because the truth is inconvenient.

  16. nooneinparticular says

    Thanks for the clarification, We Are Ing. I thought that might be what you were referring to. I don’t see the quote the way you do. I read it as Hitchens going for something like “climatologists do not agree, sensu stricto, on how fast or to what extent the globe is warming nor how much of the warming is directly anthropogenic”. Meaning, I suppose, that there is real debate about how warm it will get and what those effects will be. Mealy mouthed perhaps but not, to me, denialist. YMMV

  17. says

    “climatologists do not agree, sensu stricto, on how fast or to what extent the globe is warming nor how much of the warming is directly anthropogenic”. Meaning, I suppose, that there is real debate about how warm it will get and what those effects will be. Mealy mouthed perhaps but not, to me, denialist. YMMV

    Except that reading would be factually incorrect. There isn’t a fucking debate at this point outside of politics. It is denialist.

    Let me recontextualize it for you

    “biologists do not agree, sensu stricto, on how fast or to what extent speciation occurs or how much of it is due to natural selection”

    You’re not helping anyone, not even Hitchens or Penn or those assholes, by pretending that their denialism is within reasonable skepticism.

  18. says

    This is what turned me against, Hitch; noone. No offense to you but I keep seeing people defend him for beliefs or actions that they would criticize an ‘enemy’ for. If the same thing was said by say Glenn Beck or Pat Robertson would you see it the same way?

  19. nooneinparticular says

    “biologists do not agree, sensu stricto, on how fast or to what extent speciation occurs or how much of it is due to natural selection”

    Actually, I think you will find that second part of this statement is true. Natural Selection, as I know you know, is not the only means for speciation to occur.

    Again, I think Hitchens was alluding to the uncertainty inherent in the models of climate change. The scientists making those models debate their relative utility as they are refined, is what I think he means. I don’t think he was denying that the climate is warming nor that it is caused to some degree by humans. In fact I think he was suggesting that denialists are using the very uncertainty in these models to prop up claims that the models (and the data itself), and the scientific consensus derived from them show to be false.

    You take a different meaning from his words than I. I understand that you do.

  20. nooneinparticular says

    We Are Ing @27. That’s a good point. If Glenn Beck had made that quote I’d start looking around for Donald Sutherland, gape-mouthed and pointing.

  21. kingcanute says

    Alright, so we have Birthers, Denialists, McCarthyites, RWAs, fundies, Republicans and assorted blithering idiots.
    How the fuck do people get to be this way?
    I’d really like to know.

  22. nooneinparticular says

    “Birthers, Denialists, McCarthyites, RWAs, fundies, Republicans and assorted blithering idiots.”

    I think putting “Republicans” in that list is redundantly redundant.

  23. says

    The scientists making those models debate their relative utility as they are refined, is what I think he means. I don’t think he was denying that the climate is warming nor that it is caused to some degree by humans. In fact I think he was suggesting that denialists are using the very uncertainty in these models to prop up claims that the models (and the data itself), and the scientific consensus derived from them show to be false.

    You are going out of your way to add more to what was said than what he said. You should rather look into what Hitch actually thought and defended on such issues (like Gillette) and take it on those terms. This was not an issue Hitch/a lot of skeptics was/are strong on due to his political/economic ideology. Don’t bend over backwards to reinterpret an idol’s words as positive or defensible. If you’re not sure what they said don’t guess, look into other things they say on the topic to build up a context.

  24. nooneinparticular says

    He’s not my idol. I respect his writing skills and some of his ideas but reject others. I am aware of his political/economic ideology and I think I am interpreting what he wrote in the way he meant it.

  25. kingcanute says

    Yeah, Ing. I hate to agree with you but I must. It’s bloody depressing.
    noone, I know. But were they always so intellectually bankrupt? …”how about Teddy Roosevelt?”…”No comment.” What an utter twat.

  26. says

    What an utter twat.

    People are now going to yell at you, but before you respond to them please read this link explaining “splash damage”

    he concept of splash damage is a term of art both for warfare and for gaming. When you throw a grenade at a target, if your allies are near that grenade when it goes off, they’ll be damaged too, even if they weren’t the intended target. In Dungeons and Dragons, big spells or dragons’ breath will do more damage to more people than just the focal point because the attacks have range to them. People on the outskirts of that range will take less damage — “splash” — than they would if they were at the epicenter. Video games imported the concept pretty heavily, and RPGs like World of Warcraft will often include area of effect attacks that do splash damage to people semi-distant from the centre. A few games make sure that this splash damage was also done to your allies. This is why in debating we refer to accidentally hurting one’s friends instead of one’s enemies as “splash damage”.

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/lousycanuck/2012/06/08/you-must-always-be-nice-why-im-not-being-nice-to-dj-grothe

    This is why people would rather you not use those terms.

  27. Brother Yam says

    It’s interesting that there were no other people but white, old guys there at the conference. Heartland is dying because its members are dying, or so it seems…

  28. kingcanute says

    Oops…abject apologies! I absolutely did not mean to offend and can understand why that term would do so. I am English and sometimes my boyhood slang comes unbidden to the surface. I’m sorry if anyone gets upset by it.

  29. Ogvorbis: Ignorant sycophantic magpie. says

    kingcanute:

    That was refreshing. Thank you.

    Now, can you do something about the frickin tide coming in? I mean, really!

  30. kingcanute says

    Ing, my Brit linguistic grenades often don’t translate very well so I’m never surprised when someone gently (or not) points out that I’ve gone and offended someone again. I find a quick apology is best.
    I suppose “arsehole” would have been more appropriate in this case?

  31. kingcanute says

    Ogvorbis, I try to tell them they’re going to get wet but then they do something incredibly asinine like legislating extrapolation.

  32. Ogvorbis: Ignorant sycophantic magpie. says

    Ogvorbis, I try to tell them they’re going to get wet but then they do something incredibly asinine like legislating extrapolation.

    Ah. You are a North Carolinian?

  33. Ichthyic says

    “biologists do not agree, sensu stricto, on how fast or to what extent speciation occurs or how much of it is due to natural selection”

    Hitch was indeed playing politics, and not representing climate science accurately.

    …but what you wrote here actually IS the state of affairs in evolutionary biology.

    Haven’t you noted David M. constantly haranguing on even what defines a species?

    He’s right. While many of us accept the functionality of the biological species concept, it does have some significant issues with it, and there are in fact, major debates over when and how speciation occurs. Moreover, as was noted by others, there is still disagreement over how important selection is in driving speciation within any given population. Sometimes selection is the major driving force, sometimes drift, sometimes other mechanisms (polyploidy, horizontal transfer,etc.).

    just saying, what you wrote above isn’t a good comparison to what Hitch wrote.

    FWIW, Allen Orr is a big name in discussion.

    http://www.genetics.org/content/149/4/2099.abstract

    I’ve seen molecular data (typically microsatellite) used by grad students here in NZ to test the ideas laid out in that very paper, and successfully, to show that certain phenotypic variation in salmonids here is in fact, due to selection events since their populations were transported from the States.

    even so, there is just as much evidence indicating other traits have changed due to drift. Then one still has to decide at what point there is sufficient genetic difference overall to define a salmonid variant as, say, a new subspecies, and that will engender new heated discussions, no doubt.

    meh, probably too much information, but it just happens to be an area I’m working in atm.

  34. Ichthyic says

    oh, so, if I had to compare this to what Hitch said, I might reword what you said like this:

    “biologists do not agree, sensu stricto, on whether species evolve, or whether natural selection is a supported mechanism driving speciation”

    because that would of course be utter bullshit (they is universal consensus on evolution, and on selection being a mechanism of it), and is close to what Hitch was claiming for climate science there.

    it of course IS clear that warming is occurring, and is irrefutably clear that anthropogenic factors are involved in driving it.

  35. truthspeaker says

    I’ve never understood people who equated environmentalism with Communism. Communist countries weren’t exactly known for controlling pollution.

  36. kemist, Dark Lord of the Sith says

    I’ve never understood people who equated environmentalism with Communism. Communist countries weren’t exactly known for controlling pollution.

    Well, they also tend to equate nazism/fascism, socialism as well as anarchism with communism. And atheim with islam.

    It’s not like they know what these terms actually mean. They live in a black and white world where communism = evil.

    Anyone doubting this can just look at any protest against Obama with their ample supply of banners portraying Obama as a nazi. These people are so fucking dumb they’re able to accuse you of being a nazi communist with a straight face.

  37. says

    It really bugs me (probably more than it should) when “arty” efforts at text substitute uppercase lambda for A (I’m looking at you, NASA!) and uppercase sigma for E. Aggravating!

    Not to be too much of a pedant, but NASA only used the “worm” logo with the missing cross-bars on the A’s from 1975-1992, when they switched back to using the Star Trek-style swoopy red-white-and-blue logo they had used from 1959-1982.

  38. ckitching says

    I’ve never understood people who equated environmentalism with Communism. Communist countries weren’t exactly known for controlling pollution.
    Simple.

    Communists were known for passing laws that limited how companies could operate. Environmentalists want to pass laws that limit how companies operate. Liberals pass laws that limit how companies can operate. Therefore, they are all the same thing.

  39. w00dview says

    “Teddy Roosevelt? No comment.”

    What opinion do modern Republicans have on Roosevelt’s environmental legacy? Do they just sweep it under the carpet and not talk about it (FFS, as if it was a dirty secret!)? Or do they openly screech and shriek about how he was actually a Democrat and a God hating, anti-american, tree hugging communinazi?

    Oh, and no surprise on Monckton being a birther.

  40. adobo says

    “Communists were known for passing laws that limited how companies could operate. Environmentalists want to pass laws that limit how companies operate. Liberals pass laws that limit how companies can operate. Therefore, they are all the same thing.”

    Yes, kinda like….

    Shitheads want to pass laws that say Evolution is not true.
    Republicans actually do pass laws that say Evolution is not true.
    Therefore, they are all the same thing.
    Republicans are Shitheads!!

  41. ckitching says

    Yes, kinda like…

    Exactly. See how easy that is, and how it makes all your decisions so simple? This way you have simple answers to the difficult, complex questions without having to bother yourself with actually thinking about it.

  42. StevoR says

    Cheers for this!

    Good clip with good news from a great source – I love those ‘Climate Denial Crock of the Week’ youtube videos and would recommend watching the whole series. It played a big role in shifting my earlier views on the topic although arguing on another blog or two helped also.

  43. StevoR says

    PS. Does anyone still take Lord Monckton seriously – even the ultra-far loony right? (Or maybe just anyone outside of them?)

    The man does seem to be a a Real Life Poe to me and, I’d think, most others.

  44. StevoR says

    PPS. A bit like Donald Trump. Even the mainstream right wingers sorta edge away from them and roll their eyes at them because teh stoopid is too strong and they do just seem ridiculous.

  45. says

    “biologists do not agree, sensu stricto, on whether species evolve, or whether natural selection is a supported mechanism driving speciation”

    Yeah that’s what I was getting at but I just did a lazy find/replace and make sure the grammar still worked :-p

    The point was that Hitch was spewing bullshit for an agenda and then rather hypocritically was snubbing his nose up at the people with the same agenda for basically being honest about what they believe.

  46. James Stuby says

    After watching the video I was disappointed to see that Harrison Schmitt was a speaker at the conference. He’s the only Apollo astronaut that happened to be an actual scientist – a geologist in fact (lucky bastard!). His writings on the origin of the moon are pretty sound, so I don’t get it why he’s shacked up with these loons. Alas, my opinion sinks.

  47. MetzO'Magic says

    James Stuby, hi,

    After reading up the climate change science, and those who dissemble against it, very closely over the past 2 years or so (which is why I don’t post as much here as I used to. Busier elsewhere on AGW-related fora), it has become obvious to me that the lines are drawn more or less according to one’s ideology, even among people with a strong science background like Schmitt.

    The free market/libertarian crowd apparently can’t deal with a ‘tragedy of the commons’ problem like AGW that requires international cooperation and (clutching of pearls) governmental intervention to solve. So they prefer to blind themselves to the externalised economic problems caused by mankind’s CO2 emissions. The fact that the deleterious effects of what we are doing to the environment now won’t be evident until another 20 or 30 years down the pike isn’t helping to drive home the seriousness of the situation we find ourselves in either :-|

  48. MetzO'Magic says

    After reading up *on*. OTOH, a large-ish El Niño, were one to develop in the latter part of this year, may help to sway the opinion of a few fence-sitters.

  49. KG says

    jonjermey,

    You give us a link to an organisation of professional liars and expect us to take it seriously? Pfft. It is simple fact that multiple large donors have cancelled their donations since the disgusting Heartland “Unabomber” campaign; and we can see for ourselves how empty the so-called conference was. I condemn Gleick’s actions unreservedly; but there has been no proof he forged anything (although one document does not appear to be authentic); and Heartland had no scruples whatsoever in using stolen and quote-mined emails in its own campaign of lies.