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Gullible-gate

February 19th, 2012

There’s not a lot new to be said about the leak of documents from the Heartland Institute, revealing that the Institute was channeling funds from far-right billionaires and corporations to a large number of self-described sceptics, notably including our own Bob Carter, who’s apparently on a monthly retainer, despite his prior claims of independence. Carter is of course, linked to the IPA, which has a long history of rejecting science for cash, most notably in its decades of work (still continuing) for the tobacco industry.

A few points might be worth restating, though:

* As regards the way in which the documents came into the public domain (still unclear, but Heartland alleges they were tricked into emailing them to the wrong person), Heartland and most of their supporters have shown themselves, unsurprisingly, to be stinking hypocrites. Heartland was among the leaders in publicizing and promoting the use of misleading excerpts from private emails in what they and others called “Climategate”. Now they scream about “stolen” documents, backed up by lots of the usual suspects. There’s an amusing response, with which I agree entirely, from some of the scientists victimised by Heartland and its criminal allies in the past.

* There is no such thing as an honest climate sceptic. Those who reject mainstream science are either conscious frauds or gullible believers. I can confidently predict that of the thousands of “sceptics” who made great play of the CRU email hack, no more than a handful will change their views, either on the substantive issue or on the credibility of people like Carter and institutions like Heartland, over this. Those who aren’t, like Carter, on the payroll are credulous dupes. While many low-information “sceptics” have simply been misled by reading the wrong material on the Internet, or trusting the wrong sources, the great majority of active opponents of climate science are complicit in their own deception, preferring to believe obvious lies because it suits their cultural and political prejudices.

* It may be worth restating the absurdity of the claim that genuine scientists (unlike Carter) are motivated by money. Leaving aside the absurdity of the suggestion that the scientists make their career choice because they were after a highly-paid job, there’s the fact that mainstream climate science has the overwhelming endorsement of scientists in all fields. It’s certainly true that the global warming problem has meant more funding for climate science, but there’s only so much in the budget, and much of this money has come at the expense of other fields which are no longer given priority status.

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  1. Donald Oats
    February 19th, 2012 at 13:00 | #1

    Climate Scientists are working experts in climate science: ergo, they are the go-to people for understanding climate. It should be so obvious that whatever us outsiders may think—in our ignorance of the subtlies of climate science—that climate scientists and their institutions are the most credible sources of knowledge about climate pertinent to making decisions about human impacts upon climate. The person on the street may think they know more than the scientists; it obviously doesn’t follow that they do know more than the climate scientists. The more the person on the street knows, the better, but unless their day-job is “climate scientist,” their credibility is generally way less than that of climate scientists.

    Even if we think that climate science is too uncertain, too new, too lacking in data, it is still the climate scientists who are best situated to explain the current state of the science, and what is a reasonable interpretation of the data. However much a person might disagree with the interpretations of the data, as provided by climate scientists, it doesn’t change the fact that climate scientists are the most reliable source of climate science. It should be a no-brainer piece of logic, but somehow the conservative right miss it (eg Tea Party followers are overwhelming rejectionists of climate science, but why is that?).

    To push this to the limit: even if the climate scientists are fundamentally wrong about a cherished, well examined/tested theory, they’re still the people who know the most about climate science. It is actually quite rare for a novice or an amateur to overturn an established theory strongly held to be true by the scientists in that field. Strongly held conjectures and hypotheses have been overturned by amateurs; strongly held theories with a vast amount of supporting evidence, not so much.

    To put it another way: even if the climate scientists are in error on a fundamental theory, the person on the street is no better situated than the climate scientists to know what is in error and what is not; in fact, the person on the street is most usually far less likely to be able to beat climate scientists at their own game.

    Why the conservative right cannot accept this, I do not know.

  2. Ikonoclast
    February 19th, 2012 at 16:55 | #2

    JQ does not mince words. “There is no such thing as an honest climate sceptic…. the great majority of active opponents of climate science are complicit in their own deception, preferring to believe obvious lies because it suits their cultural and political prejudices.”

    Bravo! Merited criticism. Climate sceptics (if they are adults of at least average intelligence or better) are either liars or dupes. We would say the same of any one who sold or bought snake oil.

    Mind you, our society has failed to educate the bulk of the populace so that they have some basic scientific literacy. That failure plays a role too. In addition, some simple introductory philosophy centred around the very basics of understanding empiricism and epistemology should be part of all Grade 11 and Grade 12 education.

    “Epistemology from Greek ἐπιστήμη (epistēmē), meaning “knowledge, science”, and λόγος (logos), meaning “study of”) is the branch of philosophy concerned with the nature and scope (limitations) of knowledge.[1][2] It addresses the questions:

    What is knowledge?
    How is knowledge acquired?
    To what extent is it possible for a given subject or entity to be known?
    How do we know what we know?

    Much of the debate in this field has focused on analyzing the nature of knowledge and how it relates to connected notions such as truth, belief, and justification. Another perennial concern of the field is the possibility that there is very little or no knowledge at all—skepticism. The field is sometimes referred to as the theory of knowledge.” – Wikipedia.

    Of course, there is a great difference between justifiable scepticism and obtuse, denialist scepticism.

  3. February 19th, 2012 at 17:00 | #3

    I think this is interesting:

    “I can confidently predict that of the thousands of “sceptics” who made great play of the CRU email hack, no more than a handful will change their views, either on the substantive issue or on the credibility of people like Carter and institutions like Heartland, over this.”

    One of the documents mentions mobilizing supporters to comment on blogs and in letters to media. In other words, they have an army of “trolls” and probably use “persona management” (ie: sophisticated trolls) to make the perception of a lot of noise. Like all devious propaganda techniques the purpose is to create the illusion of a crowd with the purpose of attracting “real” people to join this illusory crowd.

    I believe that they are actually terrified of “real” people working out that there is no crowd and that is why they put so much effort into getting media space to which they have no right (eg: IPA on the ABC and in Fairfax: on any given topic they are disproportionately chosen to comment over impartial, honest and genuine experts).

    Of course nobody is going to read any of their favourite trolls from around the web changing their mind on ANY topic let alone the evidence about Heartland’s tactics and agenda. But it isn’t the trolls they are worried about it’s real people. That’s why I whinge so long and loud about our woeful media and disgraceful journalism, it is so important in informing real people that it must be kept to some standard – much higher than it is now!

    Ben Cubby has done some good stuff in the SMH on this story.

  4. drpage
    February 19th, 2012 at 17:45 | #4

    Well done. A long post on this issue without mentioning that one of the documents were faked.

    I can think for myself John. The dismissive arrogance with which “skeptics” are dismissed does no favours to the cause of “warmists”.

    You don’t have to believe that scientists are only motivated by money to believe that they can be led astray by groupthink. It’s a pretty natural human phenomena and scientists aren’t immune to our foibles. Dismissing those who disagree with you as “not honest” simply confirms that diagnosis.

  5. drpage
    February 19th, 2012 at 17:46 | #5

    Megan, that is standard operating procedure for Green groups! I think you might be a little naive.

  6. John Quiggin
    February 19th, 2012 at 18:06 | #6

    @drpage
    The unproven claim that one of the documents was faked appears entirely beside the point (since no factual claim based on the document in question has been denied), but of course typical of the desperation tactics of the delusionists. Your posts makes it clear that your capacity to “think for yourself” amounts to a willingness to deceive yourself in order to maintain a view of the world consistent with your own cultural prejudices. Dismissal is the only justifiable response to such wilful stupidity.

  7. Ikonoclast
    February 19th, 2012 at 18:51 | #7

    Sorry drpage but you are the naive one.

    You mention scientists being led astray by groupthink. Scientists practice the disciplines of empirical observation and research, cross-checking of data, verification of results and repeatable verifiable experiments backed by methods of quantification and probability assessment in mathematics, all said disciplines being developed by hundreds of years of intellectual work since the beginning of the scientific and mathematical revolutions. On the other hand, amateur “sceptics”, usually with no scientific or mathematical training, follow no discipline or method at all, share unsubstantiated prejudice and opinion with like-minded unobjective people and listen to ideologically driven “think-tanks” funded by corporate money and with a proven track record of issuing falsehoods and propaganda (about tobacco for instance). Really, which group do you think are more likely to be lead astray by groupthink?

    Scientists can make mistakes. These are corrected by further scientific work by themselves or by others following the scientific method. Amateur “sceptics” make howling mistakes, have no formal discipline by which to rectify their mistakes and then simply entrench themselves in their mistakes by denialist thinking (in its broadest sense which means denial of empirical and objectively verified evidence).

    I can much better say that the dismissive arrogance with which 1,000s of PhD scientists, hundreds of university schools of science and a whole body of modern science itself (drawing on the established fields of physics, chemistry and mathematics) are dismissed by people with no qualifications in the relevant fields and usually no qualifications at all in science, philosophy or logic does no favours to the cause of “sceptics”.

    A “sceptic” of this ilk pretending he can educate us about climate science is about as convincing as Charlie Chaplin’s tramp claiming he can perform brain surgery.

  8. February 19th, 2012 at 19:22 | #8

    I could be mistaken, but having periodically stopped by this blog for many years, I don’t recall ever seeing “drpage” here before.

  9. Fran Barlow
    February 19th, 2012 at 19:22 | #9

    @drpage

    The dismissive arrogance with which “skeptics” are dismissed does no favours to the cause of “warmists”.

    Tone troll. Those of us who support evidence-based policy do not give a fig whether those who want policy to be based on ignorant angst or the convenience of the privileged see us as polite. Your kind are not merely wrong on the science but enemies of human wellbeing. Dismissing you with a wave of the hand and a derisive snort is entirely apt.

    You do not “think for yourself”. You borrow the stupidity or deceit of others and call it your own conception. Why you do that is entirely a matter for you.

    {groupthink} a pretty natural human phenomena (sic)

    Strawman. Multiple lines of independent data corroborate the key theories underpinning the industrial era climate anomaly. No other excluding body of theory predicts the data. “Groupthink” has nothing to do with it.

    No serious scientist could examine that data and attribute it to “groupthink”.

    For the record, the conception, “Groupthink” is itself of very dubious standing — and quite possibly unfalsifiable. Not the least of the things genuine sceptics might do is to question whether it exists at all and if it does, how it might be falsified. That those self-describing as “climate sceptics” have appropriated this concept utterly uncritically attests to their credulity when their culture demands it. Indeed, if they do believe in “groupthink” they might apply Irving Janis’s tests to their own behaviour in relation to mainstream science and public policy. I suspect they might well go close to meeting Janis’s tests.

  10. John Quiggin
    February 19th, 2012 at 19:50 | #10

    @Megan
    AFAIK, drpage is either a new visitor , a “lurker” whohasn’t previously felt the need to comment but is hooked into the delusionist talking point network, or a regular troll using a sockpuppet. As this post hasn’t yet shown up on Google blog search, at least for me, I think “new visitor” is least likely.

  11. iain
    February 19th, 2012 at 20:17 | #11

    waiting for terje to pop up re : point 1

  12. John Quiggin
    February 19th, 2012 at 20:23 | #12

    @iain
    Indeed, I was tempted to call him out on this

  13. Ken Miles
    February 19th, 2012 at 20:45 | #13

    There is no such thing as an honest climate sceptic. Those who reject mainstream science are either conscious frauds or gullible believers.

    Amen. I can’t see how somebody can be a climate skeptic and not be some combination a) delusional b) a liar and/or c) ignorant.

    An amusing example is this is at Open Mind. A skeptic presents evidence for decreased droughts. It turns out that he (+ the skeptic site that he copied it from) was literally 180 degrees wrong. And then suddenly the graph doesn’t matter.

  14. February 19th, 2012 at 20:53 | #14

    Even though these days the usual approach is “DNFTT” (Do Not Feed The Troll), I always prefer Edward Gibbon’s wisdom:

    “I never make the mistake of arguing with people for whose opinion I have no respect.”

    Nobody has ever learned anything useful through an argument on a blog with a troll, other than perhaps the rhetorical wonder of the “Gish-Gallop” and how pointless it is to civil and reasoned debate.

  15. Alister
    February 19th, 2012 at 21:29 | #15

    “drpage” posts at Ricardian Ambivalence. The most recent post I’ve seen there was a piece of egregious stupidity regarding Alcoa’s possible shutdown, blaming it on the yet-to-be-implemented carbon tax, as opposed to the combination of Alcoa’s ineptitude and the exchange rate.

  16. TerjeP
    February 19th, 2012 at 21:42 | #16

    John Quiggin :
    @iain
    Indeed, I was tempted to call him out on this

    I posted a reply. I assume it is in moderation. If not I can repost.

  17. Donald Oats
    February 19th, 2012 at 22:14 | #17

    As I’ve already said: it is possible that the climate scientists have it wrong, but how is someone such as drpage going to figure it out before the climate scientists do? Unless [s]he is a climate scientist, it isn’t real likely. Next, we’ll be hearing about how the Moon landing was faked by money-hungry NASA scientists…

  18. rog
    February 19th, 2012 at 22:23 | #18

    “drpage” reminds me of doctors within my social circle, rigorous about medical scientific evidence and peer review yet dismissive of the evidence of climate change.

  19. February 19th, 2012 at 23:41 | #19

    @Alister

    So ‘troll’ is the most likely answer.

  20. John Quiggin
    February 20th, 2012 at 07:20 | #20

    Terje, your reply appears to have been lost

  21. Ikonoclast
    February 20th, 2012 at 07:28 | #21

    It is very clear that Heartland Institute has been given enough rope and has hung itself.

    http://www.desmogblog.com/heartland-confirms-it-mistakenly-emailed-internal-documents

  22. Happy Heyoka
    February 20th, 2012 at 08:40 | #22

    Those who aren’t, like Carter, on the payroll are credulous dupes.

    I have been guilty of overestimating people before, but I’ll add one more: Cowardice.

    I’ve seen a lot of smart people dither even when the evidence is in front of them… “well, maybe it’s warming”, “perhaps we’re contributing to it”. I’m sure these people change opinions depending on which dinner (or boardroom) table they’re at.

    It’s these people that the Heartland Institutes of the world need to keep spinning their wheels – another year another dollar saved on mitigation efforts.
    “penny wise and pound foolish” as my grandmother would have said.

  23. Freelander
    February 20th, 2012 at 08:57 | #23

    When you’re young, and read history, you wonder how people can be so dumb. When you’re older, you realise stupidity is not confined to the past. Climate change will be only the last saga of stupidity if it manages to finish us off. Whether it doesn’t might only be a matter of luck.

    Heartland and associated ‘clever’ ‘individuals’ ‘who think for themselves’ must already have cost lives. Lets hope those who eventually pick up torches and pitchforks have their addresses.

  24. Tom
    February 20th, 2012 at 10:29 | #24

    @Ikonoclast #2

    In my opinion knowledge certainly is important but not the most important thing the education system should concern. In fact in the recent decades, the education system of the world has focused so much on knowledge (right or wrong) they have ignore (intentionally?) the need of logical and critical thinking of the students.

    Why I think the education system might have done that intentionally in the above paragraph is the manipulation of human brain exercise. When people use so much of their brain for remembering exercise they will have less tendency in their free time to do critical thinking or researches because they feel tireness. Overtime people will just believe in everything they are told by “general authoritive figures” or the media. At least I found this pattern happens on almost if not all asian overseas students that lived in their country for their high school education period that pressures them to wakeup at 6am finish at 5pm and attend tutoring until 8pm and finish homework at 10 and sleep for 6 days a week.

    When I saw the public’s response to the poker reform I’m already hugely disappointed by the general public of Australia to think logically. They believe the statement “it will not work” when club spent millions to advertise against the reform; they believe it will cause doom to the economy when they ignore people can spend money elsewhere. If I take into the fact that the percentage of the population who supported the proposed reform unaffected by information because of hate of poker machine, then there seriously aren’t much who actually thinks deeply into matters that affects the environment surrounding them (economically or ecologically).

  25. TerjeP
    February 20th, 2012 at 10:50 | #25

    John Quiggin :
    Terje, your reply appears to have been lost

    No problem, I’ll say it again.

    It is not entirely clear how the CRU emails or the Heartland documents came to be in the public domain. It seems reasonably likely in both cases that theft was involved. In both cases if the thief can be found I have no objection to legal action being taken against them. However in both cases I now regard the documents as public domain. I think we should be feel free to discuss and debate their substance.

    There may be some hypocrites out there in this regard. Those that think that the CRU documents were fair game for discussion but who think that the Heartland documents should not be discussed or circulated because they are stolen property. If so then it should be a simple matter to name and shame them. I won’t stop you. However individuals simply claiming that the Heartland documents were stolen isn’t in and of itself hypocritical. They probably were stolen or else obtained using deception. Just as the CRU climategate emails were probably stolen.

    Iain – I hope that satisfies your curiosity regarding my opinion on this matter.

  26. Socrates
    February 20th, 2012 at 11:30 | #26

    As an outsider, I would add one criticism of academia in cases like Carter. These days the only form of academic misconduct that seems to get punished is criticising the management. Surely if “Prof” Carter has secretly taken a retainer to promote unscientific views then “his” university, James Cook, should dismiss him or prohibit him from claiming any association?

  27. Jim Birch
    February 20th, 2012 at 12:25 | #27

    I’m not sure that taking a retainer is academic misconduct but I’m pretty clear that failure to disclose is, or, if not, it really should be. Personally, I’d be very happy for failure to disclose to be criminalised for anyone attempting to influence public opinion. It’s intensely corrupting to public discourse, which is necessarily based on trust.

  28. Fran Barlow
    February 20th, 2012 at 12:39 | #28

    @TerjeP

    It seems reasonably likely in both cases that theft was involved.

    In the case of Heartland, it seems not. They admitted to mistakenly emailing the documents.

    The other difference between the CRU case and Heartland is that in the latter case there is a bona fide public interest involved — whereas examination of the CRU documents showed there wasn’t. They were merely some emails showing that scientists don’t like being trolled and abused.

    It is hypocritical of course for Heartland to cry foul, having made such a song and dance about the CRU hack and its value to the denier cause. What’s sauce for the goose and all that …

  29. Dan
    February 20th, 2012 at 12:45 | #29

    Jim, it’s pretty easy: anyone taking a vocal and public position on anything – especially when the position is patently horsesh*t and potentially extremely deleterious as in the case of climate change denial – is probably being paid to do so.

    It makes sense – who’s going to be held to be a dangerously idiotic clown unless they’re making a buck in the process?

    Remember all the ‘scientific research casting doubt’ on the links between smoking and cancer? Guess who bankrolled that ‘research’? (Incidentally, a lot of the same groups and individuals are involved in the current confected controversy about climate change.)

    I think just a basic citizen awareness of the fact that people are paid to run lines should suffice.

  30. rog
    February 20th, 2012 at 12:50 | #30

    Terje equates CRU with Heartland – a fail on many counts.

    The free market Heartland is now threatening legal action against those that publish those same documents

    “We realize this will be portrayed by some as a heavy-handed threat to free speech,” announced Heartland president Joseph L Bast in a press release. “But the First Amendment doesn’t protect Internet fraud, and there is no right to defamatory speech.”

  31. Dan
    February 20th, 2012 at 12:51 | #31

    Not to put too fine a point on it, the world would be a better place if institutions like Heartland didn’t exist. They are irredeemably dishonest shills who would sacrifice their grandchildren’s planet to make a buck in the here and now.

    The fact is, of course, that they do exist. So I guess it’s good that things like this happen from time to time to remind everyone that they have no scruples, no principles, and no claim to call anyone else out on right conduct.

    As Animal Kingdom put it, crooks always come undone.

  32. John Quiggin
    February 20th, 2012 at 12:52 | #32

    Carter’s adjunct position at JCU is a very marginal affiliation. He was being pushed out when I was there fifteen years ago – that was before he emerged as a delusionist.

  33. Socrates
    February 20th, 2012 at 13:11 | #33

    JQ

    Thanks re JCU and Carter. Even so I wish any credible university would sever links with such people. They do great harm to the university’s reputation as well. Here in Adelaide it frustrates me that the management has done nothing to Ian Plimer.

  34. Troy Prideaux
    February 20th, 2012 at 13:31 | #34
  35. Hector
    February 20th, 2012 at 14:41 | #35

    I’m personally shocked and surprised that the Australian has omitted to report on the story about Bob Carter.

  36. rog
    February 20th, 2012 at 14:50 | #36

    Things are really hotting up, apparently you can be sued for even commenting on Heartland docs

    the individuals who have commented so far on these documents did not wait for Heartland to confirm or deny the authenticity of the documents. We believe their actions constitute civil and possibly criminal offenses for which we plan to pursue charges and collect payment for damages

  37. John Quiggin
    February 20th, 2012 at 14:56 | #37

    @Terje I’ve already named the hypocrites, starting most obviously with Heartland. What people are interested in, I think, is whether you are willing to shame them. I’m betting not, but I’d be happy for you to prove me wrong.

  38. rog
    February 20th, 2012 at 14:58 | #38

    According to @crikey_news NYT to publish the name of the $13.7M donor tomorrow.

  39. John Quiggin
    February 20th, 2012 at 14:59 | #39

    To spell it the charge of hypocrisy in painful detail, Heartland made free use of stolen documents in the CRU case, and now threatens to sue anyone who refers to (allegedly) stolen Heartland docs

  40. February 20th, 2012 at 15:00 | #40

    Perhaps we have always lived in “communication” silos. Our ability to self select news and information, not just in the way that information in itself but the way it is framed.

    I thought this video- Climate Change Communication: Focusing on Public Engagement – in the NOAA series is at least informative. Interestingly if American research is a guide the public is not divided into “alarmists” and “deniers”, but spread across a six group audience segmentation.

    I notice the comment about scientific consensus as a form of group think. On a practical level consensus is very useful for scientific research. I assume that credible research should have integrity and ask open-ended questions. For example, there is not a very high level of scientific literacy to appreciate that the troposphere – the atmosphere’s living space – is warming while the layer above it, the stratosphere, is not warming, is a big deal.

  41. Tom
    February 20th, 2012 at 15:05 | #41

    @rog

    Should Heartland succeed in pursuing legal actions; Kevin Rudd can go and sue every single media company in Australia for reporting on possible come back of Kevin Rudd because they used so called “evidence” without his approval

  42. rog
    February 20th, 2012 at 15:34 | #42

    There is an amusing piece by retired Colonel Tom Walmsley,

    http://t.co/SziaDhPG

  43. Mel
    February 20th, 2012 at 15:50 | #43

    Actually, John, I think it is has been pretty well established by various studies the greater scientific knowledge and numeracy skills are positively associated with a denialist position on climate change. See for example Kahan’s study, which had an impressive n=1540.

    It’s all very well to carry on about everyone telling lies but to do so means ignoring the power of a strongly held ideology to skew one’s vision. To give another example, when I was a member of the Greens I met several otherwise well educated and intelligent people who thought vaccines and fluoridated water were wicked corporate state conspiracies. Such is the power of ideology to trump reason.

    I also think it is silly to claim AGW is a rolled in gold, immutable !!!FACT!!!. Surely it would be more sensible to view action on AGW as a prudent insurance policy given the current weight of scientific opinion and to not go beyond that.

  44. Dan
    February 20th, 2012 at 16:10 | #44

    *facepalm*

  45. John Quiggin
    February 20th, 2012 at 16:24 | #45

    Mel, it’s well established that the more educated *Republicans* are, the more strongly they hold stupid and false beliefs, and the more confidently they assert them.
    http://desmogblog.com/little-knowledge-why-biggest-problem-climate-skeptics-may-be-their-confidence
    This is indeed an example of “the power of a strongly held ideology to skew ones vision.

    The second part of your comment is a silly exercise in false equivalence. False beliefs about vaccination and fluoridation aren’t part of the policy position of major leftwing parties and are in fact more common on the right – Michelle Bachmann being the obvious example

    The third part (including the AGW acronym) reads like a standard piece of delusionist rhetoric. The IPCC gives probability ranges for the fact of warming (95 per cent IIRC), and the primary role of humans in causing it (more than 90 per cent). That’s not an all-caps “FACT”, but it’s a lot more certainty than we have about most of the issues on which we have to make policy decisions. If all you meant to say was “AGW is not absolutely certain, but it would be stupid to make the long-odds bet that it will go away, and especially to pay any attention to the liars and fools making this claim”, then i have no problem.

  46. rog
    February 20th, 2012 at 16:26 | #46

    Mel is arguing against some guy he met in the pub, nobody in authority has said AGW is solid rolled in gold etc.

  47. TerjeP
    February 20th, 2012 at 17:33 | #47

    John Quiggin :
    To spell it the charge of hypocrisy in painful detail, Heartland made free use of stolen documents in the CRU case, and now threatens to sue anyone who refers to (allegedly) stolen Heartland docs

    Yes on those terms there does seem to be a significant element of hypocrisy. I doubt their legal threats will ultimately achieve much but it is a case of do what I say not what I do. What form would you like their shaming to take? Should I wave my fist?

  48. TerjeP
    February 20th, 2012 at 17:45 | #48

    In the case of Heartland, it seems not. They admitted to mistakenly emailing the documents.

    They were tricked into sending the email and tricked out of the documents. If somebody tricked your grandmother out of her life savings most people would say her life savings were stolen. It’s a bit like how you keep telling me the PM didn’t break a promise in regard to the carbon tax. It goes beyond mere pedantry to a form of wilful blindness. However it’s a semantic point you make and if the word “stolen” doesn’t work for you then fine.

    As for the public interest comment I’ll just have a quite little chuckle.

  49. February 20th, 2012 at 17:52 | #49

    I’ve got a wonderful idea: let’s contact Heartland and ask them much they charge to change their minds on climate change. A win/win situation, as they say.

    We could collect some money or something.

  50. Dan
    February 20th, 2012 at 18:03 | #50

    Re: stolen documents, I keep coming back to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gk4Ntcq5uNg

    @Magpie – I think it’s one of those things where if you need to ask, you can’t afford it.

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