"The primary purpose of Phase II is to prepare the popular reception of our ideas. The best and truest research can languish unread and unused unless it is properly publicized. For this reason we seek to cultivate and convince influential individuals in print and broadcast media, as well as think tank leaders, scientists and academics, congressional staff, talk show hosts, college and seminary presidents and faculty, future talent and potential academic allies. [...] This combination of scientific and scholarly expertise and media and political connections makes the Wedge unique, and also prevents it from being "merely academic. [...] We intend these to encourage and equip believers with new scientific evidence's that support the faith, as well as to "popularize" our ideas in the broader culture. " - Excerpt from the Discovery Institute's "Wedge Strategy" document.
"Identify, recruit, and train a team of five independent scientists to participate in media outreach. These will be individuals who do not have a long history of visibility and/or participation in the climate change debate [...] Develop a global climate science information kit for media including peer-reviewed papers that undercut the "conventional wisdom" on climate science [. . .] Develop, disseminate radio news releases featuring scientists nationwide, and offer scientists to appear on radio talk shows across the country . . .Develop and implement a program to inject credible science and scientific accountability into the global climate debate, thereby raising questions about and undercutting the "prevailing scientific wisdom". The strategy will have the added benefit of providing a platform for credible, constructive criticism of the opposition's position on the science [...] Organize under the GCSDC a "Science Education Task Group that will serve as the point of outreach to the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) to develop school materials that present a credible, balance, picture of climate science for use in classrooms nationwide." - Excerpt from Exxon's 1998 "action plan" on global warming.
While the overlap between anthropogenic global warming (AGW) skeptics/deniers and creationists isn't complete, there's a startling similarity in tactics being employed by both groups, especially as you approach the AGW denier-fringe. Let's look at some of the tactics and arguments being used. I'm not going to delve into whether these arguments have any merit or not (that would involve a hell of a long post), but, as Glenn Beck says: I just find it interesting.
1. Claim that there's a scientific conspiracy responsible for suppressing dissenting points of view.
Exhibit A for the creationists: Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed.
"If Darwin wanted to challenge the consensus today, how would he do it? Science is not a hobby for rich aristocrats anymore, it’s a multi-million-dollar industry. And if you want a piece of the pie, you’ve got to be a good comrade." - Ben Stein
Exhibit A for the AGW deniers: The Great Global Warming Swindle.
"climate scientists need there to be a problem in order to get funding." - Roy Spencer
Coincidentally, Roy Spencer had this to say about Intelligent Design:
“Twenty years ago, as a PhD scientist, I intensely studied the evolution versus intelligent design controversy for about two years. And finally, despite my previous acceptance of evolutionary theory as 'fact,' I came to the realization that intelligent design, as a theory of origins, is no more religious, and no less scientific, than evolutionism. . . . In the scientific community, I am not alone.”
2. As a result of this conspiracy to keep dissenting opinions out of the peer reviewed literature, start your own "peer reviewed" journal instead.
Exhibit A for the creationists: Creationist Research Society Journal.
Exhibit A for the AGW deniers: Energy and Environment, which has been edited by Sonja Boehmer-Christiansen since 1996. She is quoted as saying "I'm following my political agenda -- a bit, anyway. But isn't that the right of the editor?" and "It’s only we climate skeptics who have to look for little journals and little publishers like mine to even get published"
Exhibit B for the AGW deniers: The Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons. What, you say? That was where the paper "supporting" the infamous Oregon Institute of Science & Medicine petition was published. The journal is published by the American Association of Physicians and Surgeons, which has this to say:
"Humanists employ the slight of hand linguist trick of substituting the religion of evolutionary humanism for the creation religion of Jehovah by tagging the latter “religion, forbidden by the First Amendment” and the former “scientific fact.” Both labels, like humanism itself, are conspiratorial fabrications."
3. When the science doesn't swing your way, start a petition that claims to represent scientists.
Exhibit A for creationists: The Discovery Institute Petition.
Exhibit A for climate deniers: The Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine Petition
Exhibit B for climate deniers: Back in March 2009, CATO was fishing around for signatories for its own petition.
4. Start your own counter-culture "conferences" to get the skeptics together.
Exhibit A for creationists: Answers in Genesis Conference.
Exhibit B for creationists: The Discovery Institute's Legacy of Darwin Intelligent Design Conference.
Exhibit A for climate deniers: The Heartland Institute's International Conference on Climate Change. They're up to #3 now. Now if only they could get people to show up.
5. Cherry-pick quotes from your opponents out of context, especially if you can make it look they said the opposite of what they actually said.
Exhibit A for creationists: quoting Darwin on the evolution of the eye.
Exhibits B-L for creationists here.
Exhibit A for climate deniers: Steve McIntyre quote-mining the stolen Hadley e-mails to make it look like the IPCC was nefariously "hiding the decline" in instrument data.
Exhibit B for climate deniers: All manner of denier blogs and major media outlets such as the WSJ quote-mining the IDL computer code behind some of the climate models without having the first clue what it actually means.
6. Offer a reward to anyone willing to dispute the science.
Exhibit A for creationists: Er, I can't find one.
Exhibit A for climate deniers: The American Enterprise Institute offered $10,000 to scientists and economists to critique the IPCC's Fourth Assessment Report.
7. Compare your opponents to fascists (or communists, whatever you prefer).
Exhibit A for creationists: Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed. (see my previous post for more on this).
Exhibit A for climate deniers: Lord Monckton calling young climate activists "Hitler Youth" at Copenhagen.
Exhibit B for climate deniers: a Wall Street Journal editorial calling climate scientists "closet Stalinists". (again, see my previous post for more on this)
8. Split hairs in the face of overwhelming evidence that your central thesis is untenable.
Exhibit A for creationists: creating a false dichotomy between microevolution and macroevolution in the face of overwhelming evidence that changes in gene frequency happen with startling rapidity.
Exhibit A for climate deniers: finally admitting that the earth is warming (although a significant contingent is still in denial over this), but denying that humans have anything to do with it.
9. If all else fails, sue (or threaten to sue) them.
Exhibit A for creationists: Roseville woman sues UC Berkeley over its website claiming that evolutionary theory is compatible with religious belief. She loses.
Exhibit B for creationists: A group of California Christian schools sued the University of California for failing to recognize their pseudoscientific curricula.
Exhibit A for climate deniers: Noted climate crank John Coleman has been threatening to sue Al Gore (?) for years now.
Exhibit B for climate deniers: Lord Monckton wanted in on the Gore action as well.
Exhibit C for climate deniers: The Competitive Enterprise Institute sues NASA.
Exhibit C for climate deniers: In 2000, the Competitive Enterprise Institute filed not one, but two lawsuits to suppress and delete the National Assessment on Climate Change. These lawsuits were later dropped.
10. Blame the gravy train for the lack of research supporting your position.
Exhibit A for creationists:
"Evolution is the dogma of the scientific and educational establishments. Many millions of dollars from government sources are spent each year on research that is oriented and correlated within the framework of evolution theory. On the other hand, as far as I know, not a single tax dollar has been available, or is available, for research by scientists who openly attempt to correlate their results within the concept of special creation. Perhaps this virtual "shut-out" is due in part to lack of ingenuity and aggressiveness on the part of creationists, but there is little doubt that the most ingenious and sustained action of creationists would do little to weaken the stranglehold evolutionists have on public funds."- Duane Gish
Exhibit A for climate deniers:
"The US government has spent over $79 billion since 1989 on policies related to climate change, including science and technology research, administration, education campaigns, foreign aid, and tax breaks. Despite the billions: “audits” of the science are left to unpaid volunteers. A dedicated but largely uncoordinated grassroots movement of scientists has sprung up around the globe to test the integrity of the theory and compete with a well funded highly organized climate monopoly." - Joanne Nova, Science and Public Policy Institute
Exhibit B for climate deniers:
"Describing those funding levels as "alarming," Kueter argues that the agencies might be pushing the universities to take a pro-regulatory approach to climate-change research. "I'm very concerned that our university system may be losing some of its creative edge because it has these critical dependencies on a single source of funding.""- Jeff Kueter, George C. Marshall Institute
Exhibit C for climate deniers:
"More than anything, it's about money, it's about research grants, it's about power, it's about socialism . . .The incentives to do this are huge. It's absolutely the neatest thing if you want to have bigger government and greater control." - Jay Lehr, Heartland Institute
I'm open to suggestions of other parallels in tactics and strategies.
Addendum: I missed this gem of an op-ed piece by Rick Santorum - complete with an argumentum ad populum. Apparently, AGW is exactly like evolution. Santorum manages to cram ten pounds of stupid into a five pound bag.
"Why? Well, maybe because Americans don't like being told what to believe. Maybe because we have learned to be skeptical of "scientific" claims, particularly those at war with our common sense - like the Darwinists' telling us for decades that we are just a slightly higher form of life than a bacterium that is here purely by chance"
Americans don't like being told what to believe? Are you serious?
Addendum #2: Now even the creationists themselves are drawing an explicit parallel:
"The public has been intimidated into thinking that “non-experts” have no right to question “consensus” views in science. But the scandal in at the University of East Anglia suggests that this consensus on climate may not be based on solid evidence.
But what about the Darwin debate? We are told that the consensus of scientists in favor of Darwinian evolution means the theory is no longer subject to debate. In fact, there are strong scientific reasons to doubt Darwin’s theory and what it allegedly proved."