The NY Times, LA Times and many others criticized Heartland’s inept plan to hire David Wojick to create an alternate-reality K-12 climate science curriculum. But Heartland’s school ground attack on science is nothing new, as is evident in the organization’s own commentary: “Heartland has tried to make material available to teachers, but has had only limited success. Principals and teachers are heavily biased toward the alarmist perspective.”
One of the best known Heartland incursions into the schoolyard occurred in 2008, when the institute mailed teaching materials to 11,250 schools in Canada. In 2009, Science derided Heartland for sending copies of The Skeptic’s Handbook to 14,000 US school board officials. Heartland’s Environment and Climate New mocked one school board president for his refusal to use it.
But Heartland began its classroom misinformation campaign much earlier. During 2002-2003, E&CN ran ads exhorting readers to “discuss an E&CN article with your school-age child… and his or her teacher.” I hope parents avoided the common “Smoker’s Lounge” ads in those issues.
Al Gore’s Nobel Prize for An Inconvenient Truth caused a scramble at E&CN, as in 2007’s “Alaska Teachers Indoctrinated with Misleading Global Warming Materials” and “Gore Film Is Partisan, Riddled with Errors, U.K. Court Rules.” During 2007-2011, Heartland produced at least 25 related articles, reviews of children’s books and advertisements. These are documented chronologically in Fake Science (attached), but have been gathered together in the 7-page attachment, Appendix Y.3.
Heartland ran variations of the “Indoctrinated” ad six times 2008-2009.
“The most powerful DVD available today that explains the science of global warming and the political agenda driving the man-caused hysteria. … This video is converting former man-caused believers into skeptics.”
But SI messed up on the messaging: Heartland prefers “alarmists,” so “man-based believers” got changed. Finally, this evolved to a new presentation, with a different website, but by the same people, especially Michael Coffman and his assistant who hosts the movie. The Trailer is a must-see, jamming many standard fakexperts and bad arguments into just five minutes. It starts:
‘Hi! I’m Kristie Pelletier. Like you, I’m not a scientist, but I have worked for one, so I’ve been following the global warming story for many years. And I want to share with you what I believe is an amazing breakthrough in the science of global warming and climate change. It has certainly changed my understanding of the subject.’
(The amazing breakthrough? “It’s the sun!”)
Fakeducation (faked you kay shun) is an organized form of Everyone is Now Dumber, of which Heartland has long history, from tobacco to climate anti-science.
These attacks tend to fail in the long term, but it only takes one intensely-motivated parent to hassle a decent science teacher. There is, however, help for teachers and schools facing Heartland’s anti-science bullying:
The National Center for Science Education (NCSE), which is a real public charity – and not, as Heartland, a PR agency faking it – has long helped teachers defend science against creationism. In response to teachers’ complaints about getting hassled on climate, NCSE has broadened its scope and added Mark McCaffrey to address climate science education.
Josh Rosenau writes of the parallels, which also appear in the attachment.
UPDATE: In comments, LIonel A points to a fine list of videos involving Ms. Pelletier, starting with “the IPCC Fraud.”
UPDATE 02/26/12: Gareth Renowden explores the “lesson plans” in Heartland on education: they’d like to teach the world to lie.
UPDATE 03/05/12: Richard Littlemore had in 2008 covered the video sent to Canadian schools. YouTube has copies of Unstoppable Solar Cycles, with Willie Soon. This was done via the Palmer R. Chitester Fund, run by Bob Chitester, who helped Barre Seid (who some allege is Heartland’s likeliest Anonymous Donor) try to take over Shimer College.