So, is it a fake?

Not to spoil the surprise, the answer is: I dunno, but the Arbiter is [was] bored.

This is a follow-up to the Heartland Leak stuff, which ended up posted in various places but (apparently most notably) DeSmogBlog. Heartland have (I think; perhaps only implicitly) admitted to all of them, except the Climate Strategy which they declare to be faked.

Various people have done various bits of textual analysis, which may or may not have been convincing to them, but I can’t see anything that convinces one way or another. Heartland still says its fake, DeSmog says “The DeSmogBlog has no evidence supporting Heartland’s claim that the Strategic document is fake” – which isn’t exactly strong evidence for its genuineness (update: but they have now bumped that up to Evaluation shows “Faked” Heartland Climate Strategy Memo is Authentic). It looks like their stern resolve to expose The Truth is going to be tested: Heartland are sending out legal-looking emails (and possibly letters too; there is some suggestion that their legalese isn’t very good, but their intent is clear). Would Heartland really want to fight this through the courts? Imagine the dialogue:

H: this memo is a fake! You can tell it is, it says things we’d never do, like we’re anti-climate.
D: of course you’re anti-climate. Everyone knows that. Look at this, and this, and…

And so on. Would that play well? Dunno. But, probably H have no choice: having called it a fake, they have to act like it is.

Meanwhile, no-one has questioned John Mashey’s stuff, and that may in the end be more important.

[Update: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/peter-h-gleick/-the-origin-of-the-heartl_b_1289669.html. JA has changed his mind. Its now exciting, and PG is a complete and utter twat of the highest order. The Watties are having fun with PG running the AGU ethics committee.]

[Update: so, PG leaked it, but I still haven't seen anything definitive on whether its a fake or not.]

Refs

* Fakeducation For Years From Heartland
* WtD
* Keep your eye on the ball says Brian.
* A Heartland Institute statement raises questions about “climate strategy” memo’s origin
* WtD
* Nature says he was naughty, but have the grace to wonder In a much-quoted Editorial in March 2010 (Nature 464, 141; 2010), this publication urged researchers to acknowledge that they are involved in a street fight over the communication of climate science. So would it now be hypocritical to condemn Peter Gleick for fighting dirty?
* What people think about the Heartland leaks

Comments

  1. #1 Eli Rabett
    2012/02/20

    Probably a pastiche. The interesting point that the Moshers are missing is that whoever did this was way inside or very close to someone who was. Eli parses that the statements are real or at least damn close, but were never in a single document. Put that in parentheses.

    The Bunny cannot wait until Anonymous is done with HI

    [Ah, you are too modest to link to yourself so I will. Speaking of which: I think you ought to suppress your troll(s) a bit -W]

  2. #2 Martin Vermeer
    2012/02/20

    > (I think; perhaps only implicitly)

    Yep. More explicitly as days go by

    > no-one has questioned John Mashey’s stuff

    Hear hear. Can you say ‘actionable’?

  3. #3 Sam-Hec
    2012/02/20

    I’ve mentioned it elsewhere, but it is easily in the power for H.I. to show their innocence with either a screenshot of the sent email; which presumably would or would not show the attached Strategy document. Also the email provider can confirm the exact size of the email and quantity of the attachments; any discrepancy would show the lack of a document…or show it’s presence.

    The lack of such evidence from H.I. renders the argument …not in their favor.

    [Yes. This is an interesting argument. I think (as I said elsewhere :-) that they are still trying to have it both ways and leave open the option of denying all the documents, if they think they can. But their claiming, even now, not to have got round to verifying the rest just isn't believeable, so I think they may as well admit to the rest. OTOH - if they provide a screenshot, it wouldn't mean much, because it is trivially fakeable -W]

  4. #4 grypo
    2012/02/20

    I’m 90% sure it’s fake. I’m one of the people who looked at the metadata, which makes it likely that the document was created in the Pacific time zone the day before the items were leaked (knowing when Heartland sent the email to “insider” would confirm another question!). It also has the inaccuracy of the Koch funding year and amount, while copying a sentence from the funding almost word-for-word about that Koch funding. This does not mean that it is definitely a fake.

    I suppose it is possible that a hardcopy was faxed from the west coast to Heartland, so that it could be emailed to the “insider” (or the meta data is faked or wrong) AND the person who wrote made mistakes while copying sentences from another document AND some high level person at Heartland really does want to stop teachers from teaching science (lol maybe), but this combination of events seems unlikely. With all that said, I’d need to see that initial email to the “insider”

  5. #5 SCM
    2012/02/20

    Weird that the document is maybe fake but the contents appear to be true. Is there anything in the memo which hasn’t been verified elsewhere?

  6. #6 Neven
    2012/02/20

    If I’ve understood correctly the allegedly faked document was scanned, right? Is there a particular reason for the faker to do it like that? And vice versa.

    [Well,its trivial to think of a reason. But not one that makes a convincing case either way -W]

  7. #7 grypo
    2012/02/20

    This is not true

    We will also pursue additional support from the Charles G. Koch Foundation. They returned as a Heartland donor in 2011 with a contribution of $200,000. We expect to push up their level of support in 2012 and gain access to their network of philanthropists, if our focus continues to align with their interests.

    According to the Fundraiser Plan, Koch actually gave $25,000 in 2011, but the projected 2012 contribution would be $200,000. The 3rd sentence is taken from another doc, almost directly:

    We expect to ramp up their level of support in 2012 and gain access to the network of philanthropists they work with.

    [I haven't checked. But assuming you're right, what does that show? That, obviously, a faker wouldn't be so careless as to get that wrong? Or something else? -W]

  8. #8 grypo
    2012/02/20

    [a faker wouldn't be so careless as to get that wrong?]

    It doesn’t show anything positively, but I would bet a faker would more likely get that wrong than a high ranking official with Heartland. Although, the opposite presumption (faker would be extra careful) may make sense also. I’m just trying to figure out which is closer to the truth, as it seems HI isn’t going to capitulate a simply release the verifiable header from the email (but still somehow expect people to stop talking about it).

  9. #9 crf
    2012/02/20

    It would be pretty easy for someone in Heartland to get it wrong.

    The “confidential” stamp doesn’t mean much. It could be pro forma.

    The Document could have been written by some staffer in the office of a higher-up in Heartland, who didn’t know all the details, and was working from documentary sources (emails or word of mouth) they were not initimately familiar with. This draft may have passed, by email or hard-copy, to various other people in Heartland for comment or editing or correction. (One of those people may be the source of the leak.)

    That would explain, at one go, the apparent errors, the ease of it leaking (and perhaps even the simple language its written in). It may also explain Heartland’s denial of it being a policy document. If it were a draft, it may not have been vetted by Heartland higher ups, and may not genuinely reflect the precise details of Heartland policy.

    So it could be genuinely leaked, be a genuine Heartland document, and genuinely NOT reflect Heartland’s policy. Something for everyone.

  10. #10 Neven
    2012/02/20

    I’m definitely not ruling out the memo is faked (some alarmists are stupid enough for a stunt like that). But if someone is smart enough to trick Heartland into sending documents, why would s/he be so stupid to f**k it up by faking a memo?

    I know, another question that doesn’t lead to anything conclusive…

    Either way, I hope we find out. I think Heartland is acting a bit weird, or maybe they are preparing some sort of mega-spin. You never know with people who are not interested in reality, but only in other people’s perception of reality.

  11. #11 David B. Benson
    2012/02/20

    All most amusing.

  12. #12 Michael Hauber
    2012/02/20

    Maybe the original document said something like ‘… to stop teaching incorrect science’ and the faker got rid of ‘incorrect’, but everything else is real.

  13. #13 grypo
    2012/02/20

    Gleick admits obtaining documents under false pretenses, says he didn’t alter any documents, says the “fake” climate strategy document was sent to him early 2012.

    So the strategy doc was sent at different time, which makes sense for the metadata. This would be very interesting if Gleick can prove this is true because then someone with inside information wrote that strategy document.

    Otherwise a sad story for Gleick.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/peter-h-gleick/-the-origin-of-the-heartl_b_1289669.html

  14. #14 Boris
    2012/02/20

    Revkin is reporting that Peter Gleick has admitted to getting Heartland to send him the documents. He claims the original “fake” memo was mailed to him.

    I think it’s more likely than not the memo is a fake. But it probably is not provably fake, and that is important.

  15. #15 Anonymous
    2012/02/21

    It will be interesting if Glieck can supply some evidence that shows the memo was really sent to him by an anonymous email and what the date was.

    [He doesn't say that. He says "I received an anonymous document in the mail". Which I would interpret as snail-mail. Which would explain why it was scanned -W]

    It seems more likely (as analyzed in The Atlantic) that the strat memo was drafted from the obtained docs, by Gliek.

  16. #16 Nicolas Nierenberg
    2012/02/21

    So now the guy has admitted it. It seems obvious most of the documents are real, and the “anonymous” document is a fake. What I enjoy about this is how all the usual suspects line up on each side.

    [Ah, you mean http://www.huffingtonpost.com/peter-h-gleick/-the-origin-of-the-heartl_b_1289669.html? -W]

  17. #17 Phil Hays
    2012/02/21

    I’m bored with emails.

    Can we talk about sea ice? Area is still below 13 million km^2.

    http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/seaice.area.arctic.png

    But freeze has roughly two weeks more to go. Will it be another winter with record low maximum sea ice area?

    Sea ice volume also looks more interesting than emails:

    http://psc.apl.washington.edu/ArcticSeaiceVolume/images/BPIOMASIceVolumeAnomalyCurrent.png

    [Since the nice IJIS interface went down I've been missing my seaice shot. Does anyone else draw pix as nice as they did? -W]

  18. #18 Lars Karlsson
    2012/02/21

    Climate scientist Peter Gleick admits he leaked Heartland Institute documents

    [Why do you call him a climate scientist? He looks like a water guy, from his pubs -W]

  19. #19 Neven
    2012/02/21

    Well, the fact that the deniers surmised it was Gleick from the forged memo, and it indeed turns out to be Gleick, makes it very probable that the memo was forged. Or am I missing something here?

  20. #20 Martin Vermeer
    2012/02/21

    Neven, consider how Gleick likely succeeded in posing as a member of the Heartland board: because he had inside information only a board member could know. The only source for that I can think of is the strategy document. Meaning that whoever wrote (or faked) that, had access to some pretty good info — before Heartland was tricked into providing any further documents. Hmm.

    And, if Gleick did not draft/fake the memo, then how could Mosher and that Kaminsky fellow conclude ‘from the style’ that it must have been Gleick? Hmm.

  21. #21 Boris
    2012/02/21

    And, if Gleick did not draft/fake the memo, then how could Mosher and that Kaminsky fellow conclude ‘from the style’ that it must have been Gleick? Hmm.

    Gleick was mentioned in the memo, so they could have started with that name and gone post hoc. But it would still be a large coincidence.

  22. #22 bigcitylib
    2012/02/21

    Grypo,

    1) the questionable doc came by mail. I’m not sure what an email from HI would prove; we all know the other stuff that DID come by email is real.

    2 re #19. The style analysis was arm waving nonsense. What I would imagine is that HI traced the email that Gleick used to trick them back to Gleick, maybe with Mosher’s help.

  23. #23 grypo
    2012/02/21

    Mosher at Blackboard:

    http://rankexploits.com/musings/2012/tell-me-whats-horrible-about-this/#comment-89992

    Steven Mosher (Comment #89992)
    February 16th, 2012 at 4:03 pm
    err Duke
    I dont think I got it. Kinda busy now, may get the leaker IP.
    fingers crossed.

  24. #24 Cmon
    2012/02/21

    Yeah, it’s a fake, and it’s not even a very good one. It reads like Snidely Whiplash wrote it. Sure, the HI guys are bad guys, but they’re not the kind of bad guys that think they’re the bad guys. They’re not sitting around twirling their mustaches and shooting off confidential emails to each other about how they’re going to crush science teaching. It’s like Gleick intercepted an internal memo from the Legion of Doom. That’s not quire right, though. It reads like Gleick (or his source) was trying to imagine the sorts of things his arch-nemeses would say in a confidential memo and wrote it himself.

    There’s not even very much confidential in the memo. The details — the numbers and names — are all confirmed in the documents that Gleick probably actually received. None of those documents are marked confidential. The only new information that the memo reveals is a few conveniently sinister agenda items, written in a tone that suspiciously doesn’t match anything else Gleick published.

    It doesn’t even look like a real memo. It has no author. The supposedly “confidential memo” is addressed to a weirdly broad group of people (“a subset of institute board and senior staff.”) It’s not confidential, its confidential-ish. If “confidential memo” is really a designation at HI, I doubt they just slap it at the heading of the memo like a short story title (which is what the heading actually is). But maybe it is real. Maybe the source is a disgruntled employee, fired for writing a really crappy memo.

    Whatever. People who want to believe will believe. Maybe I’m wrong. I just hope climate science proponents are really confident about its authenticity, because they’re going to look pretty stupid if and when more rigorous analyses start popping up, and that’s going to do more damage to public perception of climate science than HI could hope for in their most confidential memos.

  25. #25 bigcitylib
    2012/02/21

    Grypo,

    that’s interesting. Presumably that would be the IP from whatever account Gleick used to email HI. Although when he says that, it looks as though Mosher has already started to wonder about Gleick as author based on stylistic concerns.

  26. #26 Cmon
    2012/02/21

    Oops. Never mind the bit about “if and when” at at the end of my post. I’m way behind the times. Turns out Megan McArdle already covered this in painstaking detail in her blog at the Atlantic days ago. If anyone can read her piece and still think the memo is likely to be authentic, I’m seriously worried about the state of skepticism.

  27. #27 MMM
    2012/02/21

    “climate science proponents are really confident about its authenticity,”

    What climate science proponent has stated confidence in its authenticity? Most of what I’ve heard ranges from “it hasn’t been proved to be forged yet, so it might still be real”, to “likely forged even if not definitive yet”.

  28. #28 afeman
    2012/02/21

    The memo being fake isn’t the same think as it being Gleick’s fake.

  29. #29 grypo
    2012/02/21

    “Although when he says that, it looks as though Mosher has already started to wonder about Gleick as author based on stylistic concerns.”

    Yes, this is true, one comment did come a few hours before the other. And what does that tell us?

  30. #30 Neven
    2012/02/21

    First I thought it was Heartland having to prove whether the memo was fake or not, but now the onus is definitely on Gleick. I hadn’t read through the thread at Lucia’s at the time (because of the many comments), but Mosher definitely has some good arguments. Useful idiot deniers might write that way in the memo, but not the professionals. Useful idiot alarmists probably think they do and give themselves away when trying to fake a memo.

    But Gleick can still prove it went the way he says it went. Or the person who snailmailed him the memo might come to his rescue (unless it’s Heartland ;-) ).

  31. #31 Danko
    2012/02/21

    Oh, it’s so simple.

    An anonymous person, which is probably the real Heartland Insider with access to HI e-mails, composed the strategy document, probably using quotes from different HI e-mails. They printed it and posted it by snail (traditional mail) to Peter Gleick.

    Peter Gleick took notice of the printed document and scanned it into a PDF. He also, on his own initiative, performed some good investigative journalism and obtained more documents from Heartland that corroborate the story of the Strategy document.

    Finally, Peter Gleick e-mailed anonymously his stash of documents (the Strategy and the rest he managed to get by himself from Heartland) to about 15 blogs.

    Is the Strategy document a fake? It looks like a fine real document. It was probably composed from different emails that have been sent within Heartland. And Heartland really does not believe that crap they are supposed to spew.

    When this gets to court, I hope that Heartland’s email archive does not mysteriously get erased as it often happens.

  32. #32 bigcitylib
    2012/02/21

    Grypo,

    Well, its a problem for my theory that it was the IP of the email Gleick used to contact HI that led them to suspect him. Mosher is a tech guy, and it wouldn’t surprise me if 1) HI shared some info with him 2) he did some scrounging around on-line to tie the IP to Gleick’s location. But if he already had suspicions…

    Mind you, maybe Mosher already had the IP info he says he’s waiting for…

  33. #33 bigcitylib
    2012/02/21

    Grypo, it is a problem for my theory that what led HI to Gleick was the IP from the email he used to contact them, not some silly stuff about the way he uses parentheses. But then where did Mosher get the original suspicion previous to having the IP?

    Now that I think of it, if Gleick DID in fact try to confirm the memo by phone or email previously (he says he did), that might have made HI suspicious when things hit the fan. I am still assuming he and Mosher were swapping info.

  34. #34 Holly Stick
    2012/02/21

    Another possibility: Mosher has the Heartland info one way or other, then Mosher concocts the memo using a few stylistic devices that Gleick uses, sends it to Gleick, waits for it to be publicized, and poses as the Great Detective deducing the culprit from the writing style.

    At least that’s how a good crime show would twist it. Suspect everybody.

  35. #35 The Bishop of Stratocaster
    2012/02/21

    @33, “But then where did Mosher get the original suspicion previous to having the IP?”

    Could knowledge have circulated within HI before the announced leaks, that the original memo was sent to Gleick?

    It’s not too farfetched to think HI knew earlier about the memo sent to Gleick, especially if it was leaked from inside. If so they’d have good reasons to keep it quiet. They wouldn’t want to admit there was a dissenter within their ranks, or that such a document existed. After the whole package was released the presence of the memo amongst the other documents would make Gleick the obvious suspect.

    Another possibility is that Gleick was set up. That one doesn’t make a lot of sense. But then there are plenty of other things in this episode that don’t make sense either, foremost being the actions of Gleick himself. He had to know how it would turn out.

  36. #36 Eli Rabett
    2012/02/21

    Bremen, but you didn’t like that

  37. #37 Hank Roberts
    2012/02/21

    “Meanwhile, no-one has questioned John Mashey’s stuff, and that may in the end be more important.”

    Yup.

    Discussion of those documents gets loaded up fast with “Anything but Mashey” distractions.
    One has to wonder.

  38. #38 bob
    2012/02/21

    nice theory holly,

    except for one problem. What if Gleick had published the fake memo online first and said “I received this from an anonymous source. Can someone please verify this?”?

    Now you have a disaster situation for Heartland. A few facts in the memo would have been verified and with no explanation how Gleik could know that it would be widely considered to be a genuine memo and none of Heartland denials would work as they wouldn’t be able to explain how Gleik could have faked information he didn’t know.

    So would anyone really try to pull such a gamble that banks on Gleik obtaining the substantiating documents by deception?

  39. #39 TheGoodLocust
    2012/02/21

    I’ve been a bit too busy to follow everything, but I’m rather shocked that people still believe this document is genuine.

    Honestly, who would say something along the lines of “we need to get the teachers to stop teaching the science?”

    That sort of ideologically-driven myopic incompetence reminds me of some neo-Nazi hoaxes I’ve personally disproven.

    IIRC Peter Gleick also gave a 1 star review to Donna Laframboise’s book without even reading it. Add that to identity theft to obtain documents to release with an, at best, document of unconfirmed authenticity, and you have a man with serious credibility issues.

    If he hasn’t confessed to forging the document himself then it would be only because he is finally showing some good sense. Several of the donors, who were supposed to be anonymous, like Microsoft, have already been threatened or pressured to stop their support of Heartland. That is a direct financial consequence to them with measurable damages.

    Thanks for at least mentioning that the document may be fake. Some of the other websites I’ve looked at have made Gleick out to be a hero without any mention of the likely fakery.

  40. #40 carrot eater
    2012/02/21

    On Gleick, regardless of whether the one memo is faked: While what he did is clearly unbecoming of an academic, and he’ll rightfully suffer some reprimands for it – is this tactic really out of bounds for, say, a journalist? It’s not as if investigative journalists never pose as somebody else, in order to uncover information. A reputable media outfit might do it more thoughtfully than a freelancer, with more awareness of ethical bounds, but still – for a journalist, would the basic idea be totally ruled out?

  41. #41 The Bishop of Stratocaster
    2012/02/21

    Oh, and I almost forgot. Peter Gleick is a tosser. (Did I get that right?)

    First, stuff like this is wrong. Not in the grand moral sense, of which I am not qualified to speak. Go to a philosopher or ethicist for that. I’m talking about how we have to behave as scientists. Read Feynman’s “Cargo Cult Science,” or re-read it. When we put on our scientist hats we have to be utterly honest or the wheels fall off. No shortcuts, no shading the facts, no deception even if it’s supposedly for a good cause.

    Second, we’re the good guys, dammit. We’re supposed to be above such underhanded tactics. It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking it’s unfair that Wegman’s plagiarism or the shenanigans of other contrarians barely get noticed while the rest of us are put under the microscope. But there’s a good reason for that. “Climate change contrarians lie, behave unethically” is what journalists call a “dog bites man” headline. Nobody sensible expects any better from them. So let the contrarians be the ones to hack email accounts and lie and mislead. But we can do better. And it’s actually a compliment that we’re expected to. It’s a sign of trust.

    OK, I’ll try to calm down now. But this makes me angrier than anything has in a long time.

    ["Is a tosser tends to be reserved for a slightly different class of folk, generally involving malicious behaviour. But the "how could he do this" feeling is what James Annan felt. Maybe PG has become too much journo / advocate an too little scientist -W]

  42. #42 Dhogaza
    2012/02/21

    Holly Stick … Mosher’s certainly devious and evil enough to want to do such a thing, but why would he have internal Heartland info?

  43. #43 Martin Vermeer
    2012/02/22

    Holly Stick: a bit far-out. I don’t think Heartland would voluntarily share anything about their operations with anyone with as big an ego as Mosher, who BTW technically is an ‘alarmist’ by HI standards… but being an IT guy, it is credible that he was given the original leaked email(s) for forensics afterwards.

  44. #44 Holly Stick
    2012/02/22

    bob, I assume the strategy would have been to call it a fake and maybe to prove it was, or at least raise enough doubt to discredit him (the other documents being an unexpected complication).

    Well, was there any factual information in that document that might not have already been known from other sources? The flashy bit about discouraging the teachers would just take imagination. Are the amounts paid to individuals accurate?

    I haven’t studied the details that closely, so I may have it wrong; I’m just theorizing (and watching too many cop shows).

    One thing interesting though is that Ross Kaminsky of Heartland pointed to Gleick; and in the comments to one of his posts (which I can’t find now, maybe deleted?) he said he did not know Mosher (thus implying he had not stolen Mosher’s theory.) I wonder about that…

    http://rossputin.com/blog/index.php/theft-and-forgery-of-heartland
    http://rossputin.com/blog/index.php/gleick-cops-to-heartland-theft

  45. #45 Holly Stick
    2012/02/22

    Found the post with the comments, I was looking in the wrong place:

    http://spectator.org/blog/2012/02/21/gleick-confesses-to-heartland#commentform

  46. #46 John Mashey
    2012/02/22

    I heard my name, so the latest is Fakeducation For Years From Heartland.

    Many were surprised at Heartland’s plan to affect K-12 education. I wasn’t, because I’d studied them trying to do it for years, with serious ineptitude. Wojick was a *big* step up.

    Read that and for sure, watch the 5-minute trailer. Trust me, it is a must-see. Then, for more delights, you can read the 8-pager, and learn of the backgrounds of some ofthe folks in the video and about other things Heartland has tried. Anyone who has ever seen Jo Nova’s Skeptics Handbook might assess the reception by the 14,000 school board presidents who were mailed copies.

  47. #47 Steve Bloom
    2012/02/22

    “Maybe PG has become too much journo / advocate an too little scientist”

    Or maybe it’s just that he figured out he’s in a knife fight.

  48. #48 Gator
    2012/02/22

    I think Steve Bloom has it right.

    When Peter Gleik did what he did, he was not acting as a scientist. So comparisons to standards and ethics from science are not really applicable. What he did is similar to what Steve McIntyre does when he claims he is not releasing IPCC drafts in his “capacity” as a reviewer. These are political acts. Most scientists do not want to be involved in this but we all should realize that politics != science.

    PG may have done something unwise/unethical/illegal in obtaining the Heartland docs, but he didn’t fake them. He just released them. Even if you want to view his actions through scientist rose-tinted glasses, what he did was to bring out the true situation of what is really going on in US politics. There was no deception in the actual information released by him. Despite the allegation by HI that the strategy memo is fake, the information in it seems to be substantially accurate.

  49. #49 J Bowers
    2012/02/22

    Brian Angliss has taken an interesting and close look through Heartland’s statement about the strategy memo, with comment from S&R’s PR guy.

    A Heartland Institute statement raises questions about “climate strategy” memo’s origin

    [Yes, interesting language. Given that they have been very careful with their language before - viz, the "no single corporate donor" stuff - its worth noting -W]

  50. #50 Holly Stick
    2012/02/22

    After taking a close look, Desmogblog thinks the memo is authentic:

    http://www.desmogblog.com/evaluation-shows-faked-heartland-climate-strategy-memo-authentic

  51. #51 TheGoodLocust
    2012/02/22

    @Gator “Despite the allegation by HI that the strategy memo is fake, the information in it seems to be substantially accurate.”

    So why do you assume it is accurate? The burden of proof would be on proving its authenticity. Gleick himself said he did not get that document from Heartland.

    I’ve heard the claim before that the information in it is “substantially accurate” but I’d like to get more details on how exactly it is accurate and how those details wouldn’t be known.

    It seems to me that if you are able to confirm the accuracy of those details then that information could’ve been derived from that same outside source and used to construct the document instead of allegedly authenticating it.

    The ridiculous language of the memo makes it clear that it is a fake – as long as you aren’t biased. Similarly, neo-Nazi’s still think the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion” is a real document despite the ridiculousness of the language – that is because the document tells them everything they want to believe about the Jews.

    Similarly, this document tells some people everything they want to think about Heartland – thus the confirmation bias and blind-spot with regards to the silliness.

  52. #52 dimwit
    2012/02/23

    William are you saying that Peter Gleick is on the
    AGU Task Force on scientific ethics?

    The EOS abstract only says that the task force started work, and Peter Gleick authored it with Randy Townsend.

    http://www.agu.org/about/governance/committees_boards/scientific_ethics.shtml

  53. #54 Holly Stick
    2012/02/23

    This analysis shows Bast as more likely to be the author than Gleick: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/shawn-lawrence-otto/joe-bast-fake-document_b_1297042.html?ref=tw

  54. #55 Gator
    2012/02/23

    TGL — read the desmogblog analyis Holly Stick linked to above; or simply read the docs yourself.

    If HI wanted to really blow up this “fake” strategy memo, they would simply release their current “real” strategy memo. I am sure it is full of “we just want to tell the truth” type language, right? Right.

  55. #56 KingOchaos
    2012/02/23

    @ Gator

    I would imagine, whoever writes the memo’s for the HI climate strategy meetings, would have some idea, if not intimate knowledge about the backing of the venture. Whoever wrote the memo, did not. They mistakenly attributed contributions to the koch’s, got the sums wrong on what they had contributed, and obviously didnt understand the coding from the donation lists in the other documents. The Koch contribution was ear marked for medical, not climate, it was 25k, not 200k.

    It is simply not believable, that anyone intimate with the program would make these mistakes.

    Alternatively, as i saw posted else where, maybe the memo was written by an ex intern who got fired for writing really bad memo’s.

  56. #57 TheGoodLocust
    2012/02/23

    @Gator “TGL — read the desmogblog analyis Holly Stick linked to above; or simply read the docs yourself.”

    I had already scanned through it and I literally laughed at segments of their “analysis” like the use of the word “alarmist” as being proof that it was genuine.

    If there is some smoking gun that I missed then please point it out to me, but everything I read of theirs was not convincing in the slightest.

    “If HI wanted to really blow up this “fake” strategy memo, they would simply release their current “real” strategy memo. I am sure it is full of “we just want to tell the truth” type language, right? Right.”"

    You assume there is a real “climate strategy memo.” I assume those at DeSmogBlog would simply call any such release a fake.

    Gleick clearly cares more about his cause than even his career – it isn’t surprising that he hasn’t confessed to forging the document yet. From their actions DeSmogBlog and others will also fight tooth and nail to defend the claim that it is legitimate because their cause trumps everything else.

    I admit that I’m biased in favor of Heartland, but even with that bias the strategy memo is the one document we know did not come directly from Heartland. The burden of proof is on those claiming its authenticity – and using the word “alarmist” doesn’t cut it.

  57. #58 Quiet Waters
    2012/02/24

    “I had already scanned through it and I literally laughed at segments of their “analysis” ”

    Have you looked at this one?

    http://www.shawnotto.com/neorenaissance/blog20120223.html

  58. #59 Carl C
    2012/02/24

    I don’t think it’s a fake – and Heartland is just heavily spinning it to seem a fake. It reads like a dull planning paper one would expect. If anything I’m surprised that Fred Singer only gets $60K a year ($5K a month) — imagine how cheap that is to sell one’s soul, and I wonder how much he got from the tobacco industry way back when he was saying cigarettes are just fine & dandy for your health?

  59. #60 TheGoodLocust
    2012/02/24

    @QW Yes I have; I’m not terribly convinced that a computer program can tell me the authorship of an item – especially if that item is being intentionally forged based on material not written by the forger, which also implies that a person would be intentionally writing in a different voice.

    Apparently ( http://maxwellinstitute.byu.edu/publications/jbms/?vol=6&num=1&id=136 ), the Book of Mormon differs from John Smith’s personal writing if you measure it using “word pattern ratios” and other methods, but if you go by vocabulary richness it appears to be the same author – they theorize it is because he writes in his “prophet” voice for the BoM.

    To be clear, I’m not familiar with this program, nor does the author of that blog post appear to be especially familiar with it. I do not know how strong the correlations it shows are – I can only look at the context provided.

    I did notice one interesting detail though, in the initial analysis, he compares the document with itself which the program analyzes to be a “0″ – basically a correlation coefficient of 1.

    However, when he deletes a single sentence from that document and again compares it to itself it jumps from 0 to a 2, 3 and a 4 in with its various methods.

    Looking at the maximums we see then, that implies, for this example anyway, that a single sentence can account for 20-25% of the “similarity” according to the algorithm.

    Additionally, the fact that one of Peter Gleick’s writings is a stronger hit than one of Bast’s further implies that this is not a terribly robust analysis.

    Of course, part of the reason I’m skeptical of AGW is my distrust of computer analysis.

    If you are curious, here are some of the sentences in the climate strategy memo that imply, to me, that it is a fake:

    “I propose that at this point it be kept confidential and only be distributed to a subset of Institute Board and senior staff.” (Sentence put in by forger to explain the lack of this document’s existence on the email accounts of all Heartland staff/board members)

    “Other contributions will be pursued for this work,
    especially from corporations whose interests are threatened by climate policies.” (Implying existence of evil fossil fuel conspiracy not shown to be in existence in the actual funding document, but whose existence is canon among some AGW supporters.)

    “…two key points that are effective at dissuading teachers from teaching science.” (Clearly nobody on my side believes we should stop teaching science.)

    “…WUWT and other groups capable of rapidly mobilizing responses to new scientific findings…” (see above)

    “This influential audience has usually been reliably anti-climate and it is important to keep opposing voices out.” (Fails on two counts – the “anti-climate” bit is clearly not language we use and skeptics very much want open debate – not shutting people down. Heartland itself invited Gleick to a debate recently.)

    “Efforts might also include cultivating more neutral voices with big audiences (such as Revkin at DotEarth/NYTimes” (I don’t think Revkin is considered neutral by anyone in the skeptic community. He is certainly more reasonable than the fringe on the pro-AGW side, but he is certainly not neutral – I could see how Gleick would see him that way though.)

    These are of course in addition to the other problems like mistakes in the budget that others have pointed out.

  60. #61 crandles
    2012/02/24

    >[Since the nice IJIS interface went down I've been missing my seaice shot. Does anyone else draw pix as nice as they did? -W]

    http://gfspl.rootnode.net/klimat/arcticice.png
    ?
    from http://gfspl.rootnode.net/index.php/arcticiceart

    That stopped updated around the time I suggested it to you, but has updated again now.

    [Aha, that will do nicely! -W]

  61. #62 crandles
    2012/02/24

    >”[Since the nice IJIS interface went down I've been missing my seaice shot. Does anyone else draw pix as nice as they did? -W]”

    Perhaps
    http://gfspl.rootnode.net/klimat/arcticice.png

    (It stopped updating around the time I suggested it, but has updated again now.)

  62. #63 Martin Vermeer
    2012/02/25

    > skeptics very much want open debate – not shutting people down

    Yeah sure. The only debate you do not want is with the evidence.

    > Clearly nobody on my side believes we should stop teaching science

    Yeah sure. That will just be a completely unintentional side effect, right?

    Can you say “argument from we’re-reasonable-folks-really-and-wouldn’t-do-things-like-that”?

  63. #64 Sesli Chat
    2012/02/25

    The only debate you do not want is with the evidence.

  64. #65 TheGoodLocust
    2012/02/25

    @Martin “Yeah sure. The only debate you do not want is with the evidence.”

    And how do you suppose that? As with everything people look at evidence, and interpret its accuracy, weight, and meaning accordingly.

    “Yeah sure. That will just be a completely unintentional side effect, right?”

    If the concept of global warming should be taught then it is probably best done as an elective. It is far too complicated, too specialized, and too meaningless for general education.

    [I certainly don't agree with that. It is much simpler than the "skeptics" like to claim. Indeed, if WUWT, Curry, etc would stop muddying the waters with fake science it would be easier for people to learn the real science -W]

    There are far better subjects for students to spend their time on.

    So in this regard, I find it pointless for Heartland to provide modules about the subject, just like I find it equally pointless to propagandize children on the subject with inadequate knowledge.

    “Can you say “argument from we’re-reasonable-folks-really-and-wouldn’t-do-things-like-that”?”

    You clearly do not understand how skeptics think about the subject. We do not think “Yes! We must stop people from learning science! Then we can win and make lots of oil money!”

    [From my time over at WUWT I've found it is clear that there is no unified "skeptic" movement; there is a wide variety of opinion from the wild-eyed wackos who don't believe in the GHE at all, to the merely wacko who don't believe CO2 is natural, past a long progression to the very few who take the correct skeptical position: accept the science, worry about the economics and ecology. But you're not there yet - or at least, you weren't before you were banned from wiki. You certainly can't claim to speak for other skeptics -W]

    It would be preferable if they learned the science in more detail, but most people lack the ability, time and/or motivation to do so properly.

    As of now, most people simply understand it as:

    1. People make greenhouse gases
    2. Greenhouse gases make it hot

    That is far too simplistic an understanding, but that’s what people get taught – along with any evidence, regardless of reliability, that would lend weight to that line of thinking.

    [I think you're wrong again. Your two points are simple and essentially correct. If that is all they can get, it will have to do. As I said above, if the "skeptics" would stop deliberately muddying the waters there would be room for more -W]

  65. #66 TheGoodLocust
    2012/02/25

    “[I certainly don't agree with that. It is much simpler than the "skeptics" like to claim. Indeed, if WUWT, Curry, etc would stop muddying the waters with fake science it would be easier for people to learn the real science -W]”

    Well, I certainly don’t think some of the alternative theories are especially probable, but they are sometimes interesting to read and debate about.

    Teaching global warming still seems like it should be a low priority. I’d rather they teach logic, statistics, O-chem, math, geology, etc, etc. We simply don’t have the time or inclination for those subjects though.

    “[From my time over at WUWT I've found it is clear that there is no unified "skeptic" movement; there is a wide variety of opinion from the wild-eyed wackos who don't believe in the GHE at all, to the merely wacko who don't believe CO2 is natural, past a long progression to the very few who take the correct skeptical position: accept the science, worry about the economics and ecology. But you're not there yet - or at least, you weren't before you were banned from wiki. You certainly can't claim to speak for other skeptics -W]”

    There is no unified skeptic viewpoint, just like there is no unified xtian viewpoint, but there are some things that largely cross denominational barriers. I’ve never spoken with a single skeptic who says we need to make sure kids don’t learn science.

    “[I think you're wrong again. Your two points are simple and essentially correct. If that is all they can get, it will have to do. As I said above, if the "skeptics" would stop deliberately muddying the waters there would be room for more -W]”

    The two points are inadequate though. The correlation between CO2 and temperature is poor both in the ice core record and in the modern era where sulfates must be used to explain the lack of explanatory power of the hypothesis.

    Additionally, the IPCC’s scenarios rely almost exclusively on positive feedback effects.

    [There you go again - more muddying of the waters. Sigh; perhaps more basic science training would be useful -W]

    I’d love it if kids, of appropriate mental age, were taught these and other facts because they naturally lead to skepticism and doubt which the simple explanation leaves no room for.

  66. #67 INGRAM18LILIA
    2012/02/25

    Didn’t determine whether to purchase middle east essays or to complete that your own? I could recommend to receive essays from the experts writing corporation, if you were pressured by time.

  67. #68 Marco
    2012/02/25

    TGL, you’re trying hard to make a sentence understood in such a way that you can ridicule it. So, let me offer an alternative interpretation:
    what is meant with teachers not teaching science is the science as offered by “the consensus”.

    The statement in the supposed fake document makes sense: provide teachers material that claims there is a lot of uncertainty, and they do not even want to discuss the science! It is also the tactic that creationists have tried in the quite recent past, to varying success. For example, a certain Harun Yahya sent out thousands of free copies of a booklet contradicting evolution. Since he did it in Europe, he had little chance of succeeding. In the US courts are needed to keep intelligent design out of the class room, after attempts to get evolution out had failed. Talking to teachers, and I know several, you will find that they will not teach evolution if they also have to teach intelligent design. Not just because they think the latter is wrong, but also because they would have to teach conflicting ideas and use a lot of time guiding students through the two conflicting ideas. Moreover, as soon as their own opinion on one or the other shines through too much, they may get fired.

  68. #69 HensonMarie29
    2012/02/25

    In the long way to the academic grade you should order thesis papers referring to this topic at thesis writing service or dissertation writing.

  69. #70 TheGoodLocust
    2012/02/25

    @Marco “TGL, you’re trying hard to make a sentence understood in such a way that you can ridicule it. So, let me offer an alternative interpretation:
    what is meant with teachers not teaching science is the science as offered by “the consensus”.”

    Then that is what it would’ve been said. The only people I’ve ever heard talking about how to “stop teaching science” have been proponents of AGW – and always as an accusation towards skeptics.

    This is why so many on your side are willing to believe it despite its many flaws – it confirms your prejudices.

    And yes, I think the intelligent design stuff is quite stupid, but it is also quite irrelevant, unless you are willing to accept the comparisons between global warming and Lysenkoism.

    It should be pointed out that the USSR, like the US, was technologically and scientifically very advanced, but for decades they suppressed real science, due to their Marxist ideology, in favor of absolute and unequivocal junk science.

    If widespread and damaging junk science could take hold there then it certainly can here as well.

    In any case, Gleick releases this memo, which he didn’t get from Heartland, together with legitimate documents he did obtain in order to lend it a false air of authenticity, which just happens to use those words which I have never heard from skeptics and repeatedly from AGW believers.

    And you are telling me the writer of these words, despite the history of their use being on your side, is coming from my side?

    This strains credulity.

  70. #71 Martin Vermeer
    2012/02/26

    [I think you're wrong again. Your two points are simple and essentially correct. If that is all they can get, it will have to do. As I said above, if the "skeptics" would stop deliberately muddying the waters there would be room for more -W]

    That’s an interesting point to make. The other day I got into a discussion where somebody pointed out that almost all people believe that the Earth orbits the Sun, but they’d be at a loss to explain what evidence they personally have access to that make them accept this simple truth. Certainly very few people have ever observed stellar annual parallaxes.

    [And, of course, we went heliocentric long before anyone could observe stellar parallax -W]

    So, usually scientists can be, and are, trusted to tell the truth about reality around us. Only exceptions are climatologists, evolution biologists, and the obstretician that signed Obama’s birth certificate. I wonder what they did wrong :-)

  71. #72 Marco
    2012/02/26

    Well, TGL, since you make the claim, I am sure you can come with evidence that “AGW believers” have said this. Links, please!

    I would like to point to the prior teaching material from Heartland:
    http://hot-topic.co.nz/heartland-on-education-theyd-like-to-teach-the-world-to-lie/
    (follow the various links if you want to see the original materials).

    Nice, isn’t it, teaching children NOAA and NASA committed data fraud. That surely is teaching them the science!

    And how about Wojick’s own comments:
    http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/ticket/heartland-institute-activist-climate-change-curriculum-teach-controversy-174255402.html
    Note Wojick’s statement that he wants *the controversy* to be taught. Yep, let’s teach them children Da Science!

  72. #73 TheGoodLocust
    2012/02/26

    @Marco I’m sorry, I didn’t see the phrase “stop teachers from teaching science” or anything similar in the link.

    If you can tell me approximately where you found it then that would be great.

    Alternatively, if you google “stop teaching science” and “global warming” and try to find some quotes of skeptics saying we need to stop teaching science. I waded through it and mostly found that as an accusation against skeptics.

  73. #74 Marco
    2012/02/26

    TGL, you are once again trying the “it’s not literally there” approach. That’s not surprising, coming where you come from. However, when an organisation wants to replace a certain curriculum with something that “teaches the controversy” and sends out material that simply claims NOAA and NASA commit data fraud, it is clearly out to prevent teaching the science. Few teachers want to touch something that is controversial or that is based on data fraud. They have trouble enough getting the kids to listen.

  74. #75 Rob Dekker
    2012/02/27

    @TheGoodLocust I didn’t see the phrase “stop teachers from teaching science” or anything similar in the link.

    Well, for starters : the “Fundraising” document has a section called “Center for Transforming Education”, which mentions “a full-scale PR and GR campaign for “transformational” school reform”.

    And a “national effort to implement “Parent Triggers”
    Ah ! We have seen the efect of these Parent Triggers. It’s right here :
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2012/02/so-whats-a-teacher-to-do/

    ““Mrs. Brown! My dad says global warming is a hoax!”

    OK. That’s one PR effort that paid off.

    But besides that, what kind of “Education” needs to be “Transformed” by the Heartland ? Luckily, that is clearly explained in the section “Global Warming Curriculum for K-12 Schools” :

    Dr. Wojick proposes to begin work on “modules” for grades 10-12 on climate change (“whether
    humans are changing the climate is a major scientific controversy”), climate models (“models
    are used to explore various hypotheses about how climate works. Their reliability is
    controversial”), and air pollution (“whether CO2 is a pollutant is controversial. It is the global
    food supply and natural emissions are 20 times higher than human emissions”

    Now, did anyone keep track of how many simply false statements there are in that paragraph ? And how many mis-leading statements ?

    What would be some explanations for the Heartland to work on creating “Parent Triggers” and promote bollucks into the K-12 curriculum ?

    (1) The Heartland pushes a campaign that works on two fronts simultaniously to set up BOTH parents AND students against any teacher that still dares to use science as an argument against the opinion of the Heartland’s “anonymous” donors.

    (2) The Heartland sends this mis-information out to test the the ability of K-12 students to critically examine the scientific basis on which both their teachers and their parents base their opinions.

    Either way, does this help to explain that “to stop teachers from teaching science” appears to be actually kind of an understatement of the Heartland’s plans to “Transforming Education” as elaborated in the Fundraising document ?

  75. #76 Rob Dekker
    2012/02/27

    @TheGoodLocust I didn’t see the phrase “stop teachers from teaching science” or anything similar in the link.

    Well, for starters : the “Fundraising” document has a section called “Center for Transforming Education”, which mentions “a full-scale PR and GR campaign for “transformational” school reform”.

    And a “national effort to implement “Parent Triggers”
    Ah ! We have seen the efect of these Parent Triggers. It’s right here :
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2012/02/so-whats-a-teacher-to-do/

    ““Mrs. Brown! My dad says global warming is a hoax!”

    OK. That’s one PR effort that paid off.

    But besides that, what kind of “Education” needs to be “Transformed” by the Heartland ? Luckily, that is clearly explained in the section “Global Warming Curriculum for K-12 Schools” :

    Dr. Wojick proposes to begin work on “modules” for grades 10-12 on climate change (“whether
    humans are changing the climate is a major scientific controversy”), climate models (“models
    are used to explore various hypotheses about how climate works. Their reliability is
    controversial”), and air pollution (“whether CO2 is a pollutant is controversial. It is the global
    food supply and natural emissions are 20 times higher than human emissions”

    Now, did anyone keep track of how many simply false statements there are in that paragraph ? And how many mis-leading statements ?

    What would be some explanations for the Heartland to work on creating “Parent Triggers” and promote bollucks into the K-12 curriculum ?

    (1) The Heartland pushes a campaign that works on two fronts simultaniously to set up BOTH parents AND students against any teacher that still dares to use science as an argument against the opinion of the Heartland’s “anonymous” donors.

    (2) The Heartland sends this mis-information out to test the the ability of K-12 students to critically examine the scientific basis on which both their teachers and their parents base their opinions.

    Either way, does this help to explain that “to stop teachers from teaching science” appears to be actually kind of an understatement of the Heartland’s plans to “Transforming Education” as elaborated in the Fundraising document ?

  76. #77 TheGoodLocust
    2012/02/27

    @Rob The “Center for School/Education Transformation” has nothing to do with global warming. It is basically the efforts of Heartland to implement libertarian ideas into the education system.

    An education system that has been dominated by liberal unions and ideas, has received enormous amounts of money, and had little to negative to show for it. Libertarians like myself think the education system would be vastly improved if it worked more like a free market – if parents had a choice and their choices had significant meaning.

    School vouchers are one method of giving parents the tools to provide the best education for their kids.

    The idea of the “parent trigger” is certainly an interesting one as well. I suspect many parents in urban/high crime areas, who no doubt feel powerless and in fear for their kids, would love the chance to change their failing schools for the better.

    Quite simply you are linking things that are not linked and ascribing nefarious motives.

    Back to Marco – please show where skeptics refer to how they can “stop teachers teaching science.” If you googled the phrase like I suggested you will see where that terminology has come from.

  77. #78 Marco
    2012/02/27

    TGL, the exact quote you provided just pops up with cites referring to the supposedly fake document. Now, if you take the document as NOT fake, you will note that it was not meant to be out in the open. So, the fact that in public an organisation or a person does not use a particular phrase does not mean it/he/she would not do so in private. You will not hear Ben Santer say in public that he wants to hit Pat Michaels. But he did express that sentiment in an e-mail he considered a private communication.

    The fact remains that “teaching the controversy” is not teaching the science. Nor is smearing two of the top research organisations in the US “teaching the science”. The sentiment is clearly there.

  78. #79 TheGoodLocust
    2012/02/27

    I apologize; my second post about suggested terms was not tested. Try my first suggested terms which I looked at:

    http://tinyurl.com/7azgoqt

    You have to wade through it a bit, but the pattern is fairly clear.

    Again, the document has many problems, I’ve pointed out a few, but there are others….like not being signed like the documents Gleick got directly from Heartland.

  79. #80 Rob Dekker
    2012/02/28

    TGL
    The “Center for School/Education Transformation” has nothing to do with global warming. It is basically the efforts of Heartland to implement libertarian ideas into the education system.

    Global warming versus libertarian ideas may be much more related than you believe.

    An education system that has been dominated by liberal unions and ideas, has received enormous amounts of money, and had little to negative to show for it. The idea of the “parent trigger” is certainly an interesting one as well. I suspect many parents in urban/high crime areas, who no doubt feel powerless and in fear for their kids, would love the chance to change their failing schools for the better.

    Predudice assumptions, unsustained by evidence, based on some already disproven ideology.

    I am a father of 4 kids into the Oakland Unified School District, and I’m telling you, you have no clue what you are talking about.

    Unregulated free-market education creates winners and loosers. Urban/high crime areas with poorer population will always be the loosers in such a scenario. Creating only more extreme differences between neighborhoods. We’ve seen it all here in Oakland, and it led to an educational system breakdown in 2005.

    It’s not about Parent Trigger, nor about competition, nor about choices for parents, nor about ‘feeling powerless’ nor about charter schools versus ‘regular’ public schools.

    It’s about teaching our kids, and giving every kid, and every parent, and every teacher, and every school a fair chance to perform, and creating a system of accountability that allows them all to improve, providing MORE to the disadvantaged, rather than LESS as free-market would do.

    Please check out the OUSD adopted the ‘Expect Succes!’ program in 2005.
    http://www.urbanstrategies.org/programs/schools/documents/FAQonES.pdf

    Sorry, I guess I got side-tracked.

    Point was that, as a parent, you have the right to help to improve the performance of your school, and schools should embrace parents to engage in the learning process.
    But when it comes to deciding WHAT they learn, as a parent, you can’t decide which science is right and which is not, and you should not have the right (as Parent Trigger does) to dismiss teachers that teach your kids things you don’t like, nor should you have the right to “transform” your school into a charter school if they don’t teach what you want them to.

    Science is not a democracy.

    School vouchers are one method of giving parents the tools to provide the best education for their kids.

    Sure, that can work, as schools that accept vouchers (public money) are not allowed to also charge tuition. I think Sweden has such a system and it works well.

  80. #81 TheGoodLocust
    2012/02/28

    @Rob Global warming versus libertarian ideas may be much more related than you believe.

    They are related, but not in this context.

    Predudice assumptions, unsustained by evidence, based on some already disproven ideology.

    I come from a long line of teachers both in Britain and the US. It is not a prejudiced assumption.

    I am a father of 4 kids into the Oakland Unified School District, and I’m telling you, you have no clue what you are talking about.

    Wasn’t that the school district that wanted to recognize “Ebonics” as a language? Tell me, was that the result of free market forces or entrenched bureaucracy trying to explain away the massively famous failings of the Oakland school district?

    If I had kids in that school district I’d either move or teach them at home – both for their safety and their education.

    It’s about teaching our kids, and giving every kid, and every parent, and every teacher, and every school a fair chance to perform, and creating a system of accountability that allows them all to improve, providing MORE to the disadvantaged, rather than LESS as free-market would do.

    Ah, well we have a different philosophy here. I believe keeping criminals in school who won’t graduate creates a horrible learning environment for the kids who want to learn. I believe they will bully, sell drugs and encourage them to join gangs.

    I think our future would be best secured by focusing on the gifted rather than spending vast amounts of money dragging “special needs” kids along who will never make it.

    If you want a system of accountability then let the money follow the kids for home schooling, charter schools, private schools or public schools. If a school insists on keeping gang members in school instead of expelling them then they should expect consequences – like the responsible parents taking their kids, and their money, to better shores.

    A system with more free market principles would provide far more accountability.

    How can you say you want both accountability and don’t want “winners and losers” being created? You can’t have one without the other.

    Winners and losers are created in life, but trying to abolish that in the school system simply creates a system of all losers – the lowest common denominator wins out.

    But when it comes to deciding WHAT they learn, as a parent, you can’t decide which science is right and which is not, and you should not have the right

    Actually as a parent you do get to teach them what they learn. If some parents want to teach their kids to be Catholic then they can. If they want to teach them to believe in Santa then they can. And yes, they can teach them not to believe in global warming too.

    You may not like it, but when people have freedom some people will always do things you don’t like.

    What a horrible precedent it would be if government starts telling people what sorts history, science and politics are mandatory for children to learn.

    Well, we sort of have that now, which is why people believe in Keynesian economics.

    Science is not a democracy.

    Science doesn’t work by consensus. Gotcha.

    Sure, that can work, as schools that accept vouchers (public money) are not allowed to also charge tuition.

    No, charter schools take public money, are still over-regulated, and underfunded compared to public schools.

    Free market is about choice. If someone wants to spend more of their money for a different school then they should have that right. Why do you keep wanting to limit people’s choices? Why should your personal belief system override other people’s options?

    Again, this goes back to our separate philosophies, you seem to believe we should spend vast amounts of resources on “special needs” children (we already spend far more on them than other students), while I believe we should give the gifted all the tools need to excel so that when they grow up they will start businesses and make discoveries that will make life better for everyone else.

  81. #82 Rob Dekker
    2012/02/29

    TGL, This is an interesting discussion, and believe it or not, I don’t think that you and me are really not that far apart in our opinion. As a successfull business owner, I understand the strength of competition and free-market principles in obtaining superior results for an end product. But I also recognize the limitations of free-market policies, the point where it starts to break down. And that is where we probably differ in philosophy.

    I understand that we are venturing way off topic here, so before we proceed, I’d like to ask William if you are still OK with this discussion on educational systems on a thread that discusses the Heartland Institute’s documents and which one is fake and which ones is not.

    [I had been going to delicately hint that it was time to close down this discussion. But OTOH you're both being polite and it is, as you say, interesting; so pray continue -W]

    If so, I’d like to proceed at the point where TGL mentions :

    Actually as a parent you do get to teach them what they learn. If some parents want to teach their kids to be Catholic then they can. If they want to teach them to believe in Santa then they can. And yes, they can teach them not to believe in global warming too.

    where I think the issue is not if you have that choice (you do, already, right now) but if public money should be spent on teaching issues that have no scientific facts as basis, or even teaching issues that are clearly contradicted by scientific findings.

  82. #83 Rob Dekker
    2012/02/29

    One more note, on this :
    Science is not a democracy.
    Science doesn’t work by consensus. Gotcha.

    Sorry, by science DOES work by consensus, because science presents only a model of reality, and we can only disprove the model, never prove it. And even if we disprove the model, it can still be usefull.

    Newton’s law of gravitation is a good example. Even though we know it is false (e.g. it fails badly to explain observations like Mercury’s precession) we still use it to calculate exactly how long and in which direction spacecraft need to fire their engines to assure a safe return to Earth, or a decent on Mars. Only on some occasions (like GPS satellite positions) do we use special relativity theory. Which may also be incorrect, but so far we did not observe anything that disproves it. So the consensus is that special theory of relativity is correct, and that Newton’s law of gravitation is correct within certain boundary constraints.

    [It is a good example for another reason: when the precession of mercury was discovered, people didn't just throw away Newton's theory on the grounds that "one counterexample disproves a theory". They spent ages looking for other explanations (mods to the theory, other planets not yet seen, etc). Only when all that was exhausted and (crucially) a new theory was available was Newton's theory accepted as only-an-approximation -W]

    Same thing with AGW. The consensus is that basic physical laws encoded in our climate models (such as radiative transfer theory amd the Stefan Boltzmann equation and the Clausius–Clapeyron relation) are correct, since so far we have not found any observations that disagree with these theories.

    So far, the models we have project changes that are not disproven by observation, so the ‘consensus’ prevails that the theory is correct.
    So much for your “Gotcha”.

  83. #84 TheGoodLocust
    2012/02/29

    @Rob But I also recognize the limitations of free-market policies, the point where it starts to break down. And that is where we probably differ in philosophy.

    Oh no, I do recognize its limitations and while I fancy myself a libertarian I’d probably anger other libertarians in my view of energy policy.

    Basically, I think there are times, analogous to tail risks, where the free market can’t adequately protect society due to a lack of motivation and/or predictive ability.

    From this viewpoint I perfectly understand the motivation for wanting to stop CO2 emissions, via non-free market methods, for those who believe catastrophe will result if we don’t.

    where I think the issue is not if you have that choice (you do, already, right now) but if public money should be spent on teaching issues that have no scientific facts as basis,

    It is a good argument. One could use the same argument to completely abolish public education.

    I think where it fails is that if someone wants their kids to be taught something then a diversity of options is provided which allows that choice – including your choice. One person is not going to be negatively affected if another’s kids aren’t taught about global warming.

    In fact, a diversity of opinion will allow them to debate it as adults and modify their views. If the opinion is homogenous and wrong then how does it get fixed? If it is homogenous and correct then that is dandy, but I don’t think we have a foolproof “fact detector” yet.

    Of course, if an educational institution consistently teaches their students incorrectly then those students will have difficulty succeeding in the real world. The school will have parents flee from its failings to schools that will better prepare their kids for success.

    The free market principles work quite well in that regard.

    or even teaching issues that are clearly contradicted by scientific findings.

    Well, I clearly disagree. I think students can wait a few decades, when the hypothesis is more clearly proven or disproved, to learn about AGW. After all, kids have done fine for centuries without learning about the topic – a few decades more will make little difference.

    On the other hand, I actually hope quite a few children of left-leaning parents are taught AGW and believe it wholeheartedly – when it is shown to be false maybe they’ll start questioning other left-leaning ideologies.

  84. #85 TheGoodLocust
    2012/02/29

    @Rob Sorry, by science DOES work by consensus,

    Just ribbing you a bit. ;)

    Science works via the scientific method. Consensus has shown itself to be flawed on multiple occasions – 100 scientists against Einstein, Lysenkoism, plate tectonics, etc. It can sometimes take many decades for these things to get rectified.

    I believe that is the case with AGW.

    So far, the models we have project changes that are not disproven by observation, so the ‘consensus’ prevails that the theory is correct.

    The correlation between CO2 and heating is not strongly shown in the instrumental record. There are better explanations for the observed period of heating.