Just listened to the podcast, and all I can say is "wow." Rebecca really is a walking, talking logical fallacy. First of all, let's set aside the incalculable uses of "guilt by association" as it relates to Heartland, rather instead we should focus on the fact that there is not a shred of critical thinking going on throughout her monologue.
It is important to use critical thinking.
Heartland thinks that intermittent exposure to second hand smoke will kill you, so they must be wrong about everything?
No, Heartland are paid to spread doubt that the science shows that intermittent exposure to second hand smoke is associated with a drop in life expectancy.
They are certainly not alone in that observation, btw, as much as I hate cigarette smoke.
It's not about being alone or not. The point is that they are a group that is paid to disseminate counterscientific misinformation.
Not everyone who questions epidemiological studies like this are paid hacks, many simply are statisticians who are angered by politically motivated science.
This is true, but Heartland isn't a research institution, and it doesn't publish papers on epidemiological studies. Their interest in the matter is as paid hacks.
It seems that Heartland is rather attracted to the idea of debunking science that is deemed too "politically correct" to question.
Scientific debunking is done through the scientific process, and political correctness has very little to do with it. If there is a flaw that you have spotted in the published literature, or the current understanding, demonstrating this is a paper is a good and useful thing to do. Heartland does not do this. They are not debunking science. They are taking unscientific opinion directly to the unscientific public, and, it seems, into schools.
Does this indict them as liars?
Rebecca didn't offer an opinion on whether they are liars, so I won't in this defence of her position. But certainly what they are saying is not the scientific mainstream.
Rebecca insinuates that being funded by "corporations" somehow condemns an organization to deceit.
I don't think that that's the insinuation. I think that because they are popularising ideas about climate change and smoking that are counter to the scientific evidence, they are an organization of falsehood.
The corporate sponsorship is merely the motivation.
This is funny, because most NGOs receive massive donations from corporations. Is Greenpeace corrupt by virtue of the fact that it receives corporate donations?
No. But I don't think that that's the line of evidence that has been applied to Heartland.
(And while Greenpeace is opposed to Nuclear power, and I think there's not a lot of scientific basis to that position, the basic tenet that we should be trying to preserve biodiversity does have a strong scientific backing).
Or anonymous large donations?
Again no, and Greenpeace is very careful to screen its donors.
"The organization does not accept money from governments, intergovernmental organizations, political parties or corporations in order to avoid their influence. Donations from foundations which are funded by political parties or receive most of their funding from governments or intergovernmental organizations are rejected. Foundation donations are also rejected if the foundations attach unreasonable conditions, restrictions or constraints on Greenpeace activities or if the donation would compromise the independence and aims of Greenpeace.
" - Wiki
Rebecca is full of woo.
If this is the conclusion that is supposed to flow from what you have said, its a non-sequitur.
Steve is downright gullible, but the rest of the crew is playing the role of the silent majority.
Steve is an experienced skeptic and an academic. I'm sure he makes thinkos, but I don't think you could correctly classify him as more gullible than an average man. What do you think makes him gullible in this case?
Evan did not say a word, to his credit.
An unusual thing to give someone credit for.
"Never be a spectator of unfairness or stupidity." is ethical advise from the late, great Hitch.
Rebecca clearly believes that it is not possible for someone to honestly have doubts about the Global Warming industrial complex.
I don't think that that's correct. And I think that she also made it clear that she doesn't have enough information to know if Heartland are dishonest.
Their positions, and their PR activities, however, are to propagate a view that is counter to the scientific understanding.
Despite the fact that we are regularly seeing credible scientists breaking with the dogma, including those that defected from the APS over abolutist climate change dogma.
There will always be dissenters in science. However, dissenters in this field make up about 0% of published papers
, 0% of scientific organisations
, and 3% of publishing climatologists
Those "defecting" from the APS don't, of themselves, show that climate change is not anthropogenic any more than the existence of scientists at the discovery institute show that evolution is not real. The way to decide that is not to point at individuals, but the main body of scientific evidence. Individuals are often wrong, but the scientific process corrects errors.
I have never seen a serious discussion of the failings of the climate change lobby, nor consideration of the fact that perhaps a slight majority of the skeptic community thinks that the climate zealots are full of bunk.
Probably true, but also irrelevant to the state of the science.
You cannot deny the fact that 19 of the 20 models that the IPCC uses are outide of their confidence intervals, on the high side.
The IPCC doesn't use models, because they don't do research. They merely publish a summary of what the scientific community has learned about climate change.
They simply have failed to predict anything related to climate over the past decade.
Actually there are many papers that show that the past decade is perfectly in line with current understanding.
Have you read this one?: Reconciling anthropogenic climate change with
observed temperature 1998–2008
...so how does a legacy of failed predictions grant them absolutist trust? It should not. It should warrant them scrutiny from true skeptics.
I think that in the face of bodies arguing against the scientific understanding, but not using science, our first reaction is quite rightly to question the counterscientific group before the scientific one. Extraordinary claims and all that.
Especially in a field as prolific as climate science. It's not at though there are huge gaps that haven't been considered or tested. There are certainly unknowns, but with over 100,000 papers published there is also a body of evidence.
I do not think Rebecca is a true skeptic. After all, ThinkProgress confirmed it, right? That is roughly like saying the Huffington Post confirmed it.
I'm sure that even the best skeptics make thinkos. But if you're argument is that no true skeptic would back the science on global warming, you're making the no true Scotsman fallacy.
Close your eyes and listen to her monologue again.
It's a podcast. Closing your eyes doesn't make any difference.
Imagine that she is, in fact, talking about Gleick et al "trying to create confusion...trying to create controversy where there is none...using PR tricks." It is hilarious. She is, to a word, describing the desperate tactics of the climate alarmists.
It is a common practise for pressure groups such as Heartland to accuse the scientific side of the same tactics that they engage in. It leaves the impression with the public that since everybody said everybody was using PR tricks, so they probably both were, so there's two sides to the argument.
In actual fact science isn't much motivated by PR tricks. Pressure groups are though.
It is a pretty crude indictment of her thought process, and ability to shed critical thinking when the moment requires.
I think that you're mistaking her analysis of the situation with a description of why we believe the science. It wasn't a step-by-step for how we know that Heartland are spreading misinformation, but a description of how. Most skeptics already know that a science or evidence basis is generally the correct one.
It is widely accepted among the rational community that Gleick forged these documents. It was such a low IQ hack job that only a hack zealot would fail to see the signs....
Heartland says one was forged. (The original one that motivated Gleick to seek verification by human-engineering Heartland). But Rebecca's talking points were substantiated by documents that were not claimed to be forged.
Rebecca failed every test of a skeptic...too bad.
I didn't even know a full set of tests for being a skeptic had been published, so I can't comment on which ones she has passed or failed. Do you have a link to this list of "every test of a skeptic"? Thanks.