Heartland Institute Accomplishes Act To Self Once Thought Physically Impossible

Heartland BillboardAt the risk of losing the argument before it begins, let me ask you two questions. Number One: What do Adolph Hitler, Mao Tse-tung, serial killer and eater Jeffrey Dahmer, and Barack Obama all have in common? No, really. Think about it.

Answer: they all believe in gravity. They all hold (or held) the view that what goes up must come down.

Number Two: Do you, in the company of these men, also believe in gravity? No, really.

The two fallacies are blatant. Just because a man unworthy of emulation holds a truth is no reason for you not to believe that truth. All truths should be believed regardless who believes or disbelieves them. And to put Mr Obama in list implies he is just like the other vile men—although, to be fair, Mr Obama’s views on state control are said to be “evolving.”

The two fallacies would still be present if “gravity” were swapped with “bigfoot” or “equality.” A bad person holding a falsity is not an additional reason to disbelieve the falsity, though it is a good argument to further dislike the bad person. All falsities should be disbelieved regardless who disbelieves or believes in them. Plus, in Mr Obama’s defense, many good people believe wrong things; cf. atheism or diversity.

Another point, which flows from these: it is rational for you to distrust anybody who advances fallacious arguments of this (or any) type.

These logical facts being obvious, it is a mystery why Heartland Institute would choose to run the billboard pictured above (image from Boing Boing).

I fear Heartland, which had public opinion in its favor after being scammed by academic environmentalist Peter Gleick, will lose whatever goodwill it had gained. They not only ran the billboard using the Unabomber Ted Kaczynski, but they aslso cycled the images of “Charles Manson, a mass murderer; and Fidel Castro, a tyrant.” The career paths are tacked on in case you have forgotten who these men are. Heartland said future billboards might have included “Osama bin Laden and James J. Lee (who took hostages inside the headquarters of the Discovery Channel in 2010).”

They did not include Barack Obama, but they used, in their non-apology (“We do not apologize for running the ad…”), in the same sentence with Kaczynski, Al Gore’s name, the inference being clear. And then they said this:

The people who still believe in man-made global warming are mostly on the radical fringe of society. This is why the most prominent advocates of global warming aren’t scientists. They are murderers, tyrants, and madmen.

Alas, this is false, unfair, unsympathetic, and, worst of all, ungentlemanly. I gather this statement is what is known in modern political terminology as “doubling down.” This is when you make an error but do not admit it. Instead, you bluster and puff out your chest and dare people to cross the second line you drew in the sand, while secretly hoping they do not.

Once more: “We do not apologize for running the ad, and we will continue to experiment with ways to communicate the ‘realist’ message on the climate.” But this phantasmagorical billboard can scarcely be called “realist.” And it worsens the situation when they claim “what these murderers and madmen have said differs very little from what spokespersons for the United Nations, journalists for the ‘mainstream’ media, and liberal politicians say about global warming.” This is an open acknowledgement that they do not understand the fallacy they committed—and unfortunately still cling to.

Pretending they are a befuddled citizen, they ask their selves, “Are you saying anyone who believes in global warming is a mass murderer, tyrant, or terrorist?” And their answer, “Of course not.” But my dear Heartland, while you might not being saying it you have very clearly implied it. And this will certainly be the impression of nearly everybody who hears of your deed.

Yes, it’s true that the “other side” routinely calls skeptical scientists “Nazis or declare they are imposing on our children a mass death sentence”, but two wrongs, etc.

My suggestion to you is to do the manly thing. Apologize—at the least!—for being distasteful. If you do not, you will lose the public argument.

Comments

Heartland Institute Accomplishes Act To Self Once Thought Physically Impossible — 28 Comments

  1. Some who believe in global warming are devastating the poor and middle class with grotesque prices in basic needs like food and electricity just because environmentalist chicken littles are claiming the world will come to an end.

    It is unnecessary cruelty and is definitely a form of terrorism.

    Some who believe in global warming hire famous actors and actresses to make commercials about their sick twisted fantasies to blow up children who do not drink the global warming kool-aid.

    That too is a form of terrorism.

  2. The liberals & alarmist believers thing that ad was very bad…

    …but…

    The ad involving exploding children & others was ok: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zR73mcZW7B4

    Or the following ad is ok: http://www.jillstanek.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/hangin-girl.jpg

    The “bottom line” seems to be that its “good” (or at least tolerable) if it agrees with your viewpoint (if you’re a liberal) but “bad” (or despicable) if it disagrees with your viewpoint…even if it applies comparable communication/marketing tactics.

  3. One of the liberal blogs (http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2012/05/04/the-heartland-institute-sinks-to-a-new-low/) noted the ad involving the unabomber was applying POES LAW:

    From Wikipedia: “Poe’s Law is an axiom suggesting that it’s difficult, if not impossible, to distinguish between parodies of religious or other fundamentalism and its genuine proponents, since they both seem equally insane.”

    SO, there you have it, since Poe’s Law applies then Global Warming, if not a religion outright, is a type of fundamentalism that is fundamentally like a religion. A Leftist mouthpiece has so proclaimed, if unwittingly.

  4. They showed their true colors with this situation. I don’t have any sympathy left for them. Apologize all they want, their money is going down on the hole now with backers (Diageo liquor company; State Farm) going away… and now people are making campaigns for more donors to leave this “institute” in ruins (like making lists and stuff).

    So this was the nail in the coffin for HI. Its fame was quick and notorious and grabbed a lot of public support. It was on the cusp of getting a major scientist and advocate trialed for crime, and then it made a move like this.

    Then we get people like Lubos Motl making posts like this and I just facepalm. I guess people just love to make silly games of bad marketing gimmicks. I thought outrageous indignation was the land of the liberals. At least that’s what my right wing friends constantly tell me on the internet…

  5. I don’t think heartland should be calling those who believe and AGW a “fringe”, because they are not. They don’t get credibility by spouting fiction.

    I do find it very hypocritical that the same folks who refer to skeptics as holocaust deniers get so uppity about a smear campaign.

    Where was the open minded one, Tamino, when David Suzuki called for climate “criminals” to be jailed? Where is the public outrage from the warmest camp regarding the unnamed journalist who asked that our homes be burned to the ground?

    The warmest camp has been running a propaganda campaign for years. It’s unfortunate the truth gets muddied up by both sides…

  6. Luis, the “true colors” you object to is their ability to call a spade a spade. AGW is a crazy, dishonest cult out to destroy the civilized world in the name of saving it. The Unabomber is more sane than the AGW cult leaders.

    What offends you is the truth. I applaud Heartland for saying what is so obviously true.

  7. The hippies involved are liars. Fact. They are responsible for driving policies that aim to LOCK poor countries into their being poor (which I am sure you know, means lots of extra misery and death, and mostly both) – how far this has progressed, I do not know, but whether Hitler was successful in killing lots of Jews was very much secondary to his intent to do so. Fact.

    How is comparing them, morally, to Teddy Dearest ‘distasteful’?

    Why consider the spiel of ‘we all believe in gravity’ at all?

    What IS unforgivable is the refusal to, when asked, say: “Sir, Hitler is a cad, and should be shot in the head. He is, sir, a devil walking this earth as a man, and those who knowing full well his ways and yet support him should be lined up and shot as well. And given that you wear his badge, sir, and seem an educated man, understand that I include YOU in that statement.”

    (Change ‘sir’ to ‘you f-k’, and that would be me talking. Of course, I must at this point disclaim any intent to actually kill hippies, and I do not want anyone to do so. You may very well ask why: well, the Living God said that Justice is His, and I care about what He wants. Also, He has both infinite power and infinite intelligence, and so can f-k them over more and better than I could literally hope to do – yes, I am that nasty.) (Hi there, Mr. Homeland Security blog-reader dude! Up yours, you prat!)

    Anyway. The word is ‘cowardice’. Being polite seems to very often be a cover for it.

    And as for the ‘public argument’, I believe that would be a thing ruled by the MSM, yes? Are you really giving that any value at all? Isn’t the very success of the blogs, yours included, predicated on the average person having realized, to their horror, that really VILE people (i.e. hippies) have taken it upon themselves to select what may and what may not be disseminated?

    Sorry, you may be a very smart dude, but you are wrong. I would go so far as to say that you are obviously wrong.

    =

    As for Dias: “I don’t have any sympathy left for them.” I am utterly certain you never had any to start with. Liar. You are a leftist-hippie. You are filth. Your opinion matters nothing. Apart from being an irritation quite similar to dog-poo on the sidewalk, you have no meaningful existence. But since I am a loving Christian, read (KJV) Rom 1:21+ for what the Lord thinks of you – I really enjoyed it, oh yes I did.

    And yes, I take great joy in repeating these things (and similar) to hippies, every single damn time (unless I forget, or some other reason) I deign to address them: all other communication is pointless, since they are liars, and liars are incapable of engaging in un-corrupted communication. Point.

  8. “Yes, it’s true that the “other side” routinely calls skeptical scientists “Nazis or declare they are imposing on our children a mass death sentence”, but two wrongs, etc.”

    An admirable, sensible and balanced reaction. One that means you will continue to lose.

  9. No Bruce, their true colors are a mix of blatant logical stupidity, a general douchebaggery taste of marketing ideas, plain old ignorance coupled with arrogance.

    Not saying their counterparts are any better, which is also an hilarious story of hypocrisy itself (I agree with that 100%), but Tu Quoque and all. HI goes badly with this, but didn’t 10:10 go down badly as well?

  10. So, the idea of fighting fallacies with fallacies is beyond the bounds of taste. Just how do Manhattanites call an asshole, and asshole?

    I am not trying to justify the Heartland Institute’s reasoning, but somehow, somebody has to fight the fallacies the Alarmies and MSM types heap upon the public.

  11. “but didn’t 10:10 go down badly as well?”

    Are you equating fantasies about slaughtering children with mockery?

  12. As for Dias: “I don’t have any sympathy left for them.” I am utterly certain you never had any to start with. Liar. You are a leftist-hippie. You are filth. Your opinion matters nothing. Apart from being an irritation quite similar to dog-poo on the sidewalk, you have no meaningful existence. But since I am a loving Christian, read (KJV) Rom 1:21+ for what the Lord thinks of you – I really enjoyed it, oh yes I did.

    This cb guy makes my day. Poe Law be damned, it’s hilarious!! :D

  13. No, Bruce. I’m saying that poor taste campaigns backfire as they should.

  14. “I fear Heartland, which had public opinion in its favor after being scammed by academic environmentalist Peter Gleick, will lose whatever goodwill it had gained.”

    Yes.

    Perhaps the larger point is that this is how the Gleicks of the world ultimately drag us down. They provoke actions that people and groups normally would not take.

  15. Mocking the crazy people in AGW is not equivalent to fraud. And I don’t think it backfired. The “No Pressure” video is being passed around again. AGW is exposed as humorless crazies.

    Heartland should do it again.

  16. The ad is obviously not targeting people like R. Lindzen and G. Schmidt. Why Ted Kacynzki? Wouldn’t Messiah Glenn Beck or Pat Robertson or Rush Limbaugh more efficient? There is no point in trying to convince conservatives because they are mostly on the denier side anyway. Just like Romany need not to cater to Republican base who never votes Democrat.

    Oh.. the Heartland Institute would probably have to pay Beck, Robertson and Limbaugh but not Kacynzki for using their photos.

    Another sunny but grey sky day in ShenZhen according to my sis-in-law. *sigh*

  17. JH,

    Now, now. You know you’ve admitted that you’ve never watched or read Limbaugh or Beck or Hotair, etc., etc. So we can only wonder how you know what these folks opinions genuinely are.

    Ah, to be in ShenZhen!

  18. Does it mattter how many times MacIntyre drives a wooden stake through the heart the CAGW – Zombie Science (TM)? The science has been debunked and continues to be debunked (more good news on a recent post at CA). There are still plenty of science sites out there like CA, WUWT, BH, and BRIGGS that will burst the bubbles of this CAGW sham. I think that there needs to be a more political and PR side to this campaign like the HI took.

    To use a sort of sports analogy. It’s the NHL playoofs, and your team is getting hooked, tripped and interferred. You know it’s not right, but if you have an instigator out there who can do the same thing back, then maybe you’ll throw someone off their game. Think of the Bruins last year playing tough, and Vancouver trying to be all nice and draw penalties. Look how that turned out. In the end nobody cares how you won. All anyone cares about is who has their name engraved on the cup.

  19. You know you’ve admitted that you’ve never watched or read Limbaugh or Beck or Hotair, etc., etc. So we can only wonder how you know what these folks opinions genuinely are.

    I know? I have? It’d be really helpful if you could provide me with some evidence to refresh my memory. Have I claimed that I know what their opinions are? Does my suggestion of using their photos trigger the above comment?! I don’t get it. It’s not a secret that people on the left dislike and are against Limbaugh and Beck, is it?

    Mr. Briggs, wonder no more… I don’t care to know about their opinions. I rely on you for right-wing propaganda. ^_^ Seriously, two hours of Sunday-morning political news programs are just fine for me.

  20. This is an open acknowledgement that they do not understand the fallacy they committed—and unfortunately still cling to.

    Is it possible that they do understand the fallacy but choose to ignore it? Sometimes it’s the shocking value that counts. You fell for it! It got your attention!

  21. Howard, as a loyal Vancouverite and Canucks mourner, your argument strikes unerringly at my very soul.

    But not at my mind. We know HI committed an error of logic, the very error with which we skeptics and/or realists have been smeared countless times. Despite the momentary thrill of vengeance, the very next moment forces the realization that the ad really does make us look like addled fringe-dwellers. It was very bad PR. Don’t let the spectre of the hockey stick fool you: this is not a hockey game. If it were, we would have just scored an own goal.

    By contrast, I offer you an alternative ad. Picture James Hansen being led away in handcuffs by the police, beside the banner, “James Hansen believes in global warming. Do you?”

    I love this in so many ways. First, it is impeccably accurate. Second, almost none of the AGW true believers know who James Hansen is; they just sort of amorphously believe. Third, it make James Hansen (whoever he is) look like an underwear bomber or something. It elicits this response: if the likes of James Hansen believe in AGW, I sure don’t.

    I think that might have been quite effective. And a great laugh for our side.

  22. Hi Richard,

    As a loyal Oiler fan all I really care about now is a parade in downtown Edmonton.

    I don’t disagree that HI made a mistake of sorts. They had built up credibility which has now been flushed away. I also agree that they could have made Hansen and Gore billboards (someone at WUWT suggested a picture of Gore’s new mansion on the coast easily within reach of his 60′ sea level rise prophecy). HI could have done these ads with humour and made some gains.

    My guess is that most folks don’t care enough about CAGW and they certainly aren’t engaged enough to read, understand, and keep up with it.

    We know that the HI billboard arguments aren’t valid, but there are a lot of people out there who probably don’t understand that. I’d be okay with some PR group to counter the equally invalid ads that the CAGW side puts out. It would have been better for HI to stay out of that though.

  23. I’d support a Gore ad standing with his fat belly in front of his beach mansion smoking a cuban cigar.

    Now THAT’s good billboarding.

    What a shame.

  24. I wholeheartedly agree with you Briggs. It was a dumb idea to which HI should admit. We “skeptics” (or, derogatorily, we “deniers”) are winning the battles and the war. Sites like Briggs and WUWT have been doing it by taking the high road. Just think back ten years. Look at the progress. Slowly, yet inexorably.

    There are strong military analogies in this war against bad science and politics. Almost always you want the high ground, whether it be physically as in war, or morally as in the AGW debate. The low road is usually the easier route to take, but many a general has ended up dead that way. HI riskily chose the low road. However, war is funny and as the ad is cited by the CAGWers, it may have an effect on those dumb enough not to recognize the illogic. However I fear this is like seeing an ill-equipped army capture a supply of ammunition – it will prolong the war.

  25. “We know HI committed an error of logic”

    No we don’t. You may think so. But you don’t speak for me. I think they were right. AGW cultists are dangerous kooks out to kill countries, corporations and people.