The Heartland Institute has withdrawn its claim of having identified “500 Scientists with Documented Doubts about Global Warming Scares,” but is refusing the demands by dozens of those scientists to be removed from the Heartland's original offending document.
Heartland President Joseph Bast rationalizes that aside from the misleading headline, “none of the articles and news releases produced by The Heartland Institute or the Hudson Institute (the original source of the lists) claims that all of the scientists who appear in the lists currently doubt that the modern warming is man-made.”
Sure Joe. Even in its redacted form, the Heartland “paper,” written by Dennis T. Avery, says of those scientists that “the peer-reviewed studies they have published in professional journals provid(e) historic and/or physical proxy evidence that:
1) Most of the recent global warming has been caused by a long, moderate, natural cycle rather than by the burning of fossil fuels: (and seven other equally off-base conclusions).”
Scientists have responded by saying things like, “I have been spent the last 20 years arguing the opposite,” and “I don't believe any of my work can be used to support any of the statements listed in the article.”
Bast also argues that the paper merely listed the scientists in its “references,” citing their work, rather than claiming their personal cooperation. Once again: even if you look at the “paper” as it remains today , the implication of endorsement is overwhelming.
Bast finally points out that the DeSmogBlog and the “disgruntled scientists” waited seven months before complaining about Heartland's shoddy work, and he wonders why.
Well, two possible reasons. One is that Heartland just doesn't rise very high on the scientific horizon. Legitimate scientists appear not to read the stuff that Heartland writes. The other reason is that, even among us skeptics at the DeSmogBlog, we tend too frequently to make the mistake of believing what we read. If the Heartland says they have a list of people who contest the science of climate change, we sometimes try to figure out who those people are and who's paying for their opinions, but we don't generally assume that Heartland is just making it up.
It took us too long to figure that out this time. We'll be more careful in the future.