New Oregon Petition Promoter "Not Sufficiently Rational" to Advise Tobacco Industry

Fri, 2007-10-12 08:07Richard Littlemore
Richard Littlemore's picture

New Oregon Petition Promoter "Not Sufficiently Rational" to Advise Tobacco Industry

Early reports that a new “Oregon Petition” is now circulating are now confirmed. Attached to this post, you can find a copy of the pitch letter, the petition statement and the heavily manipulated “science” article on which it is all based.

This exercise is so flawed that it's hard to know what demands criticism the most. First, the whole exercise is being pushed by Arthur B. Robinson, the survivalist, Darwin skeptic and proprietor of something called the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine. The “scientific” article on which the petition rests is authored by Robinson, his son Noah, and the American Petroleum Industry-funded Willie Soon, none of whom could hope to get their climate work published in a peer-reviewed science journal.

Apparently bent on meeting the same high standards as the last petition (which included “signatories” ranging from fictional TV character Perry Mason to Spice Girl, Geri Halliwell), the promoters have broadcast this version far and wide.

“It's pathetic that they're so desperate to show that any scientist supports their position that they're even contacting random graduate students in tangentially and unrelated fields.” - Sean Lake, graduate student in the UCLA Department of Physics and Astronomy.

But most offensive is the use, once again, of the 96-year-old Dr. Fred Seitz as the lead signatory. Seitz was once a widely respected scientist; he's a former President of the National Academy of Sciences and a one-time President of Rockefeller University. But he fell from grace in the 1970s when he signed on as chief scientist for the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco company. He fell then further in 1989 when Alexander Holtzman at Philip Morris complained in an internal memo that “Dr. Seitz is quite elderly and not sufficiently rational to offer advice.”

So, 18 years ago, Seitz was “not sufficiently rational” to meet the lenient scientific standards of the tobacco industry, but today, Art Robinson still feels it's ethical to send out a petition over Seitz's signature on one of the most pressing current scientific issues of the day.

Clearly, shame is a concept still unexplored by the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine.

Comments

“Apparently bent on meeting the same high standards as the last petition (which included “signatories” ranging from fictional TV character Perry Mason to Spice Girl, Geri Halliwell)”

Perry Mason is a verified PhD Chemist. “Geri Halliwell” was obviously a prank name, and was eliminated very early on. You’d know that, had you bothered to check the publicly available list of signatories.

Clearly, shame is a concept still unexplored by the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine.”

Clearly, truthfully reporting the facts is a concept still unexplored by Richard Littlemore.

The original Oregon Petition was little more than a crude hoax. Rather than defend it, Rob engages in smear tactics, which is the typical disinformation technique employed by denialists.

Scientific American contacted a small portion of the purported signers of the original petition in an attempt to verify its validity, and their investigation revealed the deceptive nature of the petition, which can seen in the following article.

http://www.sciam.com/page.cfm?section=sidebar&articleID=0004F43C-DC1A-1C6E-84A9809EC588EF21

Clearly, truthfully reporting the facts is a concept still unexplored by Rob. And it’s not hard to figure out why.

“The original Oregon Petition was little more than a crude hoax. Rather than defend it, Rob engages in smear tactics, which is the typical disinformation technique employed by denialists.”

So now pointing out a brazen omission of fact is a “smear tactic”? Uh, okaaaaay …

Begging you pardon for assuming that “Perry Mason,” was not, like “Geri Halliwell,” an “obvious prank name.” (I must be more careful about what I read on the internet.) Score one for Rob, (though I recommend colinski’s link for a fuller and more forthright accounting of the “obvious” prankiness of that original petition.

Still, I’m curious Rob: what do you think about the Robinsons holding Fred Seitz 96-year-old hand over this new version? Is that good science? Ethical PR? Honest in any way? Or - oh what’s the word? - brazen?  

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People miss so much by not watching CSPAN Rep. King of Iowa was giving a speech and he would make some good points. Then make a statement that made every good point overshadowed by a stupid point.I cracked up when he said about the new deal that by the Government putting some many of the unemployed to work. chiropractic

I’ll take that as a “no”. You can’t name a single working climatologist who signed this petition.
Thanks

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As widely respected as he may be, the guy is 96 years old. I at imagine that he can possibly be up to par or up to current events at that age. I’m sure I could be wrong, but all indications are he’s probably too old too handle this one.

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