Sunday, April 23, 2017

Connecting the Denial Dots

Photo from Eugene, Oregon March for Science.

By Bob Ferris

It is interesting that when you look at the continuing comments from science teachers on the recent The Sustainable Schoolteachers blog (i.e., the target audience), there is a theme of understanding, respect and appreciation for what Brandie Freeman has done. And rightfully so.  This is a lot like what many of us in science experienced during the Marches for Science yesterday (see photo above and video below from Chicago).

But then there are a handful of detractors jumping in to prop up the subject of the blog: a self-published, indefensible piece of propaganda from a specious, Libertarian, think tank—The Heartland Institute (1,2,3). (Yes, this document is identified as coming from the Non-governmental International Panel on Climate Change but all the scientist authors s are linked to Heartland and Heartland holds the copyright for the document.)

Me standing behind friend Jim Litts at Eugene March (photo by Ali Litts)
But who are these folks?  We see, for instance, Radical Rodent who offers up defense of the document along with giving us yet another conservative think tank, Global Warming Policy Foundation, that is, surprise, surprise, allied with Heartland.

Then we have Gordon Fulks who despite all of his protestations has operated more in the political arena (1,2,3,4,5,6) than the science pathway which he jumped off in the early 1980s.  He has in comment promoted both the Heartland Institute and the International Climate Science Coalition another off shoot of Heartland.  He is also science advisor for the free-market/Libertarian, think-tank Cascade Policy Institute which interestingly is an organization that past state Libertarian party director Jim Karlock (another critic on the Schoolteacher blog) frequently plays “disinterested” wing-man for (see this thread), while trying to block things like public transportation because “cars are better.”

Folks assembling in Eugene.
Stir into this attacks on the regulation of particulate matter in California by Fulks and that Jim Karlock makes videos of Gordon Fulks and we see obvious patterns and connections.  Taken in total we are left with a bunch of free-market Libertarians who do not want to see fossil fuels regulated because of their ideology.  And they would like us to think that they represent a broad coalition but they do not.

When Jim Karlock (see above video) ran for office he drew about 11 percent of the vote and the following criticism from a columnist in the Oregonian “His opponent is Libertarian Jim Karlock, a fellow who has lots of unusual ideas, many of which would destroy everything that makes his Northeast Portland district so eminently livable.”   This seems harsh but not inappropriate given Jim’s contrarian positions and attacks on others.

But dealing with these “gentlemen” takes a toll and it is helpful to bathe in a little sanity.  A good place to start is to look at the coverage from the March for Science in Chicago and realize that on this single day, in this one city of 600 or so events, more people marched than signed the highly criticized Oregon Petition (1,2,3,4,5) that was pushed by Gordon Fulks in his comments.

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