Heartburn at the Heartland Institute

This morning, the Santa Fe New Mexican published an opinion piece I wrote, in which I pointed out that Harrison “Jack” Schmitt–the self described global warming “denier” who has been appointed to a cabinet position by New Mexico’s new governor–is involved with the Heartland Institute.

Here’s what I said about Heartland:

“The authors of Heartland Institute publications, including Schmitt, refuse to play by the rules of science, which include integrity, honesty, and peer review. Heartland does no research, but generates reports containing, among other things, fabricated temperature data and doctored graphs that are intended to undermine evidence-based science.”

Here’s what I said about deniers of human-caused climate change:

“Because they can’t win an actual scientific debate based on facts, they have resorted to making stuff up and smearing honest scientists.”

As if on queue, Heartland Intitute’s hired gun, James M. Taylor, quickly made some stuff up to smear me in an article he wrote for their “Global Warming Facts” blog entitled “Physics Hoaxster Spews Hateful Rhetoric Against Climate Scientists.”

[Note: Mr. Taylor has now changed the title due to my tongue-in-cheek shock and objection to the wrong classification of my Alabama Pi hoax, which he didn't recognize as an attempt at comic relief.  His reaction is consistent with a someone who thinks the best description for my famous April Fool's joke is, "inventing an Internet hoax lying about laws passed by the Alabama state legislature."]

Here is the first sentence of Taylor’s article:

“Mark Boslough, a non-Ph.D. physicist with no formal training in climate science, published a hateful and vitriolic editorial in the January 24 Santa Fe New Mexican smearing climate science professors and researchers at some of the world’s most prestigious science institutions by accusing them of dishonesty simply because they disagree with Boslough’s own pet theories regarding global warming.”

Frankly, I’m shocked that Taylor characterizes me as a “physics hoaxter,”  It is very a well-known fact I am actually a mathematics hoaxter.  Presumably Mr. Taylor got his information about my hoaxes from an earlier story in the New Mexican called, “Sandia labs prankster unleashed cyberstorm of laughs.”

According to that story, ‘Boslough just couldn’t help himself with that one, which he let loose on cyberspace back in 1998 — he said he just had to spread the word about Alabama legislators trying to change pi, an infinite number that begins with 3.14159, to the more “biblical value” of 3.0.’

It really doesn’t bother me that Mr. Taylor refuses to recognize my Ph.D., and calls me “Mr.”  After nearly 30 years, I’m pretty secure in the academic credentials I earned.  I don’t even mind that he expunged the graduate transcripts showing my formal climate science curriculum.

But it’s insulting that he calls me a “physics hoaxter” when my hoax was clearly about mathematics!

With respect to being hateful, my philosophy about hoaxes was also reported in the New Mexican two years ago:

‘”I do have some rules for hoaxes,” Boslough said. “Don’t be mean, don’t humiliate people — you want them to laugh.’

The Heartland Institute has a different approach.  Their hoaxes, like their phony and defamatory “climategate” claims about Michael Mann, Kevin Trenberth, and Phil Jones, are intended to be mean and to humiliate people.

I don’t think it was intentional, but James M. Taylor got one component right.  His hoax made me laugh.

Note:  Mr. Taylor has now edited his original article without comment, removing his statement that I am a “non-Ph.D. physicist.”    Here’s a link to his comment on the SF New Mexican web site, in which he makes the same false claim.  Notably, he doesn’t reveal that the Heartland Institute pays him to lead their well-funded smear campaign against mainstream scientists.

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11 Responses to Heartburn at the Heartland Institute

  1. James M. Taylor says:

    The irony here is quite rich. Mr. Boslough writes a deliberately mean-spirited, unprovoked, factually inaccurate smear job on climate scientists with whom he disagrees, and then he whines and whimpers about the response he gets. I’m sorry that when I checked a number of your webpages I did not notice your non-climate Ph.D. But if you really seek to advance productive scientific discussion and cooperation, you really shouldn’t go out of your way to direct unprovoked, mean-spirited insults at actual climate scientists who disagree with your opinions.

    • bjedwards says:

      Unfortunately, Mr. Taylor, your denialism is no different than any other form of denialism that has plagued mankind whether it is Creationism, round-earth denial, 9/11 Denial, Holocaust Denial, or climate science denial. The methodology and tactics are the same, the motives are always political.

      You and your group have earned no right to pretend to have any scientific legitimacy. You have none and your blatant attempt above to pretend otherwise only reflects the intellectual dishonesty inherent in all denialist movements.

      The editorial was spot on.

    • Paul Braterman says:

      Mister Taylor, when you’re in a hole stop digging.

      You can’t even check out a published vita, you can’t tell pi from apple pie, you violate Godwin’s rule (if you don’t know what that is, look it up), and like a true Heartlander you can’t tell disagreement about opinions from fabrication of facts.

      You then accuse Professor Dr Boslough of mean-spirited attacks and lack of credentials.

      The irony is, as you say, quite rich.

  2. Dave Thomas says:

    Mr. Taylor:

    In your Heartland article, you attack Mark Boslough, saying “Indeed, the same ideologues that began labeling global warming skeptics as ‘deniers’ have repeatedly called for global warming skeptics to be punished for crimes against humanity and subjected to Nuremburg-style trials, which is the same treatment that was deservedly
    imposed on the Nazi perpetrators of the holocaust. Boslough uses this hateful ‘deniers’ term repeatedly throughout his editorial, and repeatedly makes the hateful and unsubstantiated claim that all climate scientists who disagree with him lack integrity and are lying about the facts
    .”

    A few centimeters to the right of these charges, however, the sidebar has an ad for a Heartland video called “I’m A Denier“, with this description: “It’s a parody of ‘I’m a Believer’ written by Neil Diamond and performed by the Monkees. This version was written by Elmer Beauregard and Brian D. Smith and performed by Elmer and the M4GW players. This song is in honor of all the new Republican Freshman entering Congress and the Senate most of whom are Deniers and proud of it.”

    Interesting that Boslough’s use of “denier” is “hateful”, while a few centimeters away, your site proclaims you’re “Deniers and proud of it.”

    Cognitive dissonance, anyone?

    Smells like polemics to me!

    Dave Thomas

  3. Ken Whiton says:

    Mr. Taylor:

    I have known Mark Boslough for ten years. He is a person of high integrity who is greatly respected by his peers. I have never known Mark to be anything other than honest and straightforward in everything he does even when it might benefit him to be otherwise. Sadly, your screed demonstrates that you have chosen a different path. I suggest pulling your head out of your politics long enough to learn something about intellectual honesty. Mark Boslough would be a great role model for you, if you’re smart enough to learn from him.

  4. toby says:

    What a joke! Taylor wrapping himself in the mantle of “defender of climate science”!!!
    He and the Heartland Institute have been trying to undermine climate science for years, because its findings are inimical to their rich backers.

  5. M. Kim Johnson says:

    You know, James, you seem to think that there are two sides to Global Warming, when in fact, there may be two political sides, but the consensus science from mainstream scientists is that there is only one scientific side. I have no idea what climate scientists you think disagree with Dr. Boslough on any of the fundamentals of global warming, but you won’t find many, if any at all. There is really only one mainstream scientific viewpoint, and you are not in that mainstream. In fact, you are only in the political business. You attack, yet cry and whine when defended against.

    You are nothing but political, so please quit trying to worry about April Fools jokes, and being called out for your upside down scientific views. Go back to Heartland where your paycheck comes from. Do law (oh, wait – I don’t think you can, because of your apparent lack of ability to do due diligence so necessary in both law and science.) Just go away. You really don’t seem to have the credentials in this arena that you would need to speak intelligently, as does Dr. Boslough. Stick to politics where you don’t need credentials. And, please, quit whining. You are mildly annoying.

  6. John Mashey says:

    Folks:
    1) Heartland is an entity that grew up helping tobacco companies.
    try search @ Tobacco Archives. Taylor’s boss, Joseph Bast is also listed as a global warming expert.

    See CCC, p.112 on Bast, which also quotesTaylor:

    “There is one empirical study claiming to support a consensus that global warming is man mad e. It is a widely cited (but seldom examined) study by Naomi Oreskes, a history professor in the Department of Gender Studies at the University of California -San Diego. Starting with the odd credentials of its author, this study falls well short of showing that a scientific consensus on global warming exists.”

    The study has been heavily examined, and it is truly bizarre to characterize geoscientist/science historian Oreskes as a ―Professor of Gender Studies‖ … for having included (relevant) gender issues occasionally among her many talks and papers on history of science. Oreskes CV.

    On the other hand, Taylor has a law degree and works for Heartland:
    http://www.globalwarmingheartland.org/experts.html
    http://www.heartland.org/publications/environment%20climate/article/22363/Anatomy_of_a_Fake_Consensus.
    html
    Non-degreed tobacco-advocate Bast repeated the words later in 12/01/07.

    2) Once you’ve bought into helping tobacco companies addict children to smoking (since if you miss getting them during age 12-18, it’s much easier for them to stop, and you’ll lose lifelong customers), confusing people about climate is child’s play and clearly poses no further moral hazards.

    3) Anyway, being attacked by Taylor puts Mark in good company with Naomi.

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