The Heartland Institute has received a lot of attention for their anti-science positions regarding global warming and generous funding from a few major corporations. Even the journal Nature has discussed Heartland's activities and published an admission by Joe Bast of Heartland that the science is not on Heartland's side. Other bloggers (check out Openmind on my blog list) are sharing details of Heartland's recent billboard implying that activists like me have a lot in common with terrorists like Bin Laden and Ted Kaczynski.
Rather than retell this story, I wish to share a local variation. Four years ago a sixth grade class from Wildomar Elementary wrote "shame on you" letters to the Heartland Institute. The Heartland Institute, not otherwise engaged in valid research, found time to criticize the teacher and incite anger through a local paper's community forum. The forum article from Heartland, published in the Press Enterprise on 14 April 2008, is how I know of the sixth grade class's activities.
Maureen Martin of Heartland criticized the students for numerous errors on the science, which fair criticism; for example, quotes from the letters showed confusion between between greenhouse gases and other forms of air pollution. She went on to say the letters demonstrate brainwashing and ended with the statement "If my children attended this school, I would be outraged".
Rather than be outraged, I was impressed that 6th graders were aware that there are organizations who manipulate public opinion using disinformation. I think Heartland's latest tactic, the billboard, vindicates the teacher, if there had been a need for vindication.
3 days ago