[Coral-List] Heartland Science

Walter Goldberg goldberg at fiu.edu
Tue May 20 14:27:31 EDT 2014

Gene argues that regardless of who is writing and what we may think about them from a political viewpoint, the literature cited is peer reviewed and therefore has equal validity, and is comparable with reports from the other side. No, I disagree. The problem with the Heartland Institute is that they take positions on issues that are consistent with their funding sources. This is the same outfit that took money from Big Tobacco in the 90s and then began a campaign denying that second-hand smoke was associated with cancer.. The anti-global warming messaging is only the latest of such activities, and here is an outline of what they do to legitimize their version of science: 1) quote the literature by focusing on one conclusion in several papers without ever addressing the broader context in any of them, 2) focus on what is not known,  3) fold in papers on subjects that are only superficially or tangentially related to the main topic, 4) draw conclusions that are based on 1-3. It's really a very simple formula, which I illustrate below from their chapter #6 that deals with coral bleaching. I have excerpted the following primarily by quoting topic sentences in different paragraphs, with my notations in brackets.

Podesta and Glynn (1997) provided further evidence seawater temperatures per se are not the critical factors in coral bleaching. Another prominent cause of coral bleaching is solar radiation. A number of laboratory studies have provided additional evidence for a link between intense solar irradiance and coral reef bleaching, but identifying a specific wavelength or range of wavelengths as the cause of the phenomenon has proven difficult.
[Note here the emphasis on what is not]

Researchers have found a number of situations, for example, in which corals underwent bleaching when changes in both of these parameters combined to produce particularly stressful conditions...such as during periods of low wind velocity and calm seas, which favor the intense heating of shallow waters and concurrent strong penetration of solar radiation. The story is considerably more complicated than that [this is the set up line]. In a review paper on coral bleaching, Brown (1997) listed several potential causes, including elevated seawater temperature, decreased seawater temperature, intense solar radiation, the combination of intense solar radiation and elevated temperature, reduced salinity, and bacterial infections. [Note the attempted conflation of different causes for coral bleaching]

[Ready for the punch line?]  Taken together, these findings identify a number of sources of stress on coral survival and growth that have little or nothing to do with rising CO2 concentrations or temperatures".

So here the the problem. The authors of this report improperly and superficially use the scientific literature so that makes their claims appear to be legitimate. This is sophistry, not science. Rather than take the position that we're all tainted, so there is no difference between Heartland Science and real science, all you have to do is read their report. Speaking of deception, there is a lumping of authors and reviewers so that it becomes unclear who did what. I recognized a legitimate scientist from UCSB and sent him an email informing him that he was on the list with all the "CO2 is good for you" crowd. The scientist then demanded that his name be removed. And who could blame him?

eMessage: 5
Date: Mon, 19 May 2014 10:42:10 -1100
From: Douglas Fenner <douglasfennertassi at gmail.com<mailto:douglasfennertassi at gmail.com>>
Subject: [Coral-List] political arguments on coral-list
To: Eugene Shinn <eugeneshinn at mail.usf.edu<mailto:eugeneshinn at mail.usf.edu>>, coral list
<coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov<mailto:coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov>>
<CAOEmEkG8-xPU+93H7krPrsntwzNntuY8jrKH+0JvFtDRO9kRHw at mail.gmail.com<mailto:CAOEmEkG8-xPU+93H7krPrsntwzNntuY8jrKH+0JvFtDRO9kRHw at mail.gmail.com>>
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I have come to believe there really are two kinds of people and it is not simply
Male and Female. We are wired differently from birth and yes it helps to
follow the money. Education seldom changes the wiring.
Regardless of what one might feel about Craig Idso people should
evaluate the papers he cited in the Heritage website I posted and stop
the ad hominem/kill the messenger attacks. Those were peer reviewed
papers. IPCC papers are peer reviewed (mainly by each other). An IPCC
member writer would not send his coral reef paper to Idso for review and
visa versa. The lines have been drawn. Gene"
No Rocks, No Water, No Ecosystem (EAS)
------------------------------------ -----------------------------------
E. A. Shinn, Courtesy Professor
University of South Florida
College of Marine Science Room 221A
140 Seventh Avenue South
St. Petersburg, FL 33701
<eugeneshinn at mail.usf.edu<mailto:eugeneshinn at mail.usf.edu>>
Tel 727 553-1158
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