Monthly Archives: February 2012

The Warmists vs. Heartland Institute

Heartland Institute is an American Libertarian think tank. It has a wide mission which includes attempting to debunk junk science.

Over the past month someone managed to get hold of some documents via fraudulent means (Dr. Peter Gleick has confessed to obtaining the documents by fraud) and crafted a memo that was meant to harm the Heartland Institute. The fake document went viral and the little watermelons, following the call of their masters via a meme went into overdrive. They rounded on the Heartland Institute based upon the made up information in the fake document. (If you want to know the details you can check out any number of blogs including Watt’s Up with That).

What I want to cover here is considered off-topic elsewhere, but it is the thing that is one of the smears against the Heartland Institute. It is indeed false to claim that HI was in the pay of big tobacco when it released a paper that debunked the notion that second-hand smoke causes lung cancer. Is this assertion true?

The paper can be found on the HI site and having skimmed it, I can say that I agree with the conclusions of the author for some very good reasons. This was another case of a declaration that “the science is settled” and “there is a consensus” when in fact there was a study with a very small participation when it was concluded that there was a link between second-hand smoke and tobacco. On top of that there was what I consider to have been a false conclusion with the extrapolation that over 5000 people per year were dying as a result of second-hand smoke. The original study seems to be the one that is smoke and mirrors.

Now I am not a smoker, and I do think that second-hand smoke is detrimental to the health of other people. However, it is not lung cancer that is of concern, but things like asthma and possible problems with the throat of non-smokers. I wonder if an investigation might have found a link between throat cancer and second-hand smoke…. I really would be interested in seeing if that link exists.

The author of the HI study was looking at the original studies that brought about a decision by the EPA and the FDA regarding what was claimed to be a link between second hand smoke and lung cancer. His aim was not to endorse smoking, but to show that the science in the study was in fact junk science. As he stated in that report the conclusions were based upon a very small sample, there was no real replication.

What is disturbing is that the Warmists (or perhaps they should be called the Gaians) are putting around a false meme about that particular report and then claiming that HI is unreliable, in the pay of big tobacco and that they cannot be believed because these people disagree with the author of the study. It is a typical reaction to anyone having the termerity to rebut false conclusions that have been drawn with the intention of allowing even more Big Government intervention.

Disclaimer: as a non-smoker I welcome the opportunity to be able to visit a club, a restaurant or even a bar without having people blowing smoke in my face. This is because when I was younger I was affected by cigarette smoke, but in particular I was affected by cigar smoke. I do not have asthma, but an asthma like condition and cigarette smoke actually affected that condition.

Now let me return to the actions of the perpetrator of the fake HI memo. The man who is at the centre of the whole controversy is a well-known Warmist. He was invited by someone at HI to participate in a debate. He actually demanded a list of HI donors and the HI said No… he then chose to take actions where he obtained the documents by deceit. Since there was no smoking gun, he then wrote a fake memo based upon the documents and then spread the fake memo to Warmist sites. The content of the fake memo was easy to determine that it was fake, especially the bit about the school project that is being written by Dr. Wojick. 

The meme that the HI is anti-science is a false meme. Yet this is the meme that is being spread around the globe. There are some people who have been paid for their work for the HI, including Professor Bob Carter who has been working as an editor of a newletter that is put out by the HI. As a result of the monthly pocket money that Professor Carter has received some of the watermelons here in Australia have been literally wetting themselves in glee, and have been quick in their condemnation. Yet they seem to not understand that the pittance that is received is in fact for services rendered. They do not take into account that Tim Flannery, the Flim Flam man gets a much larger monthly sum for working 3 days a week as a climate change commissioner, where he spouts nonsense, and has yet to be correct in any of his statements.

It should be pointed out here that the HI budget is a fraction of the budget that is received by the watermelon NGOs such as WWF and Greenpeace, and a fraction of what is given in grants to people like Michael Mann.