Ottawa & the Ultra-Right’s War Against Science

You should really read this article, by Tom Harris, executive director of the International Climate Science Coalition (sounds very sciency, doesn’t it?)

I’ll just quote Tommy: “Was it “Titanic” that made [DiCaprio] an expert? Leonardo DiCaprio speaks at the State Department’s “Our Ocean” conference earlier this year.”

Now here’s the funny part: Tommy is nothing but a mechanical engineer–not a climate scientist. In fact, not a scientist at all.

Here’s the funnier part. The ICSC “calls itself ‘a non-partisan group of independent scientists’, but has been described as having ‘less to do with science than with public relations’.  <Wikipedia>

The ICSC is in fact run by the High Park Group, a right wing lobbying firm.

*** *** ***

Ignorance is when you just don’t know something. Stupid is when you don’t want to know something. Evil is when you act willfully and with only self-interest against the right thing. The first can be cured with education. The second and last have no cure.


I received a reply to this post very quickly from Tom Harris, aka Captain Climate Science Denier, who was apparently a bit miffed by my critique of his latest attempt at propaganda.  That alone tells me several things.  The ICSC is probably using bots to scour the internet looking for critique of its activities.  And that indicates what I thought: the ICSC (and Tommy himself) is a propaganda machine.  But back to that later.

Tommy was quick to point out that everything in my critique was erred and my sources poor. So I looked up some of Tommy’s replies to other writers and critics. Tommy was quick to point out that all their facts were erred and their sources poor. So I looked up Tommy’s replies to some newspapers and such. Tommy was quick to point out that all their facts were erred and their sources poor.

Hmmm . . . do you see a pattern here? This style of argumentation is called obfuscation, and skipping the fancy philosophical terms for classifying argument fallacies (which nobody except philosophers bother to remember anyway), Tommy’s style of arguing is fairly simple and vapid: “Your argument is worse than my argument, so I must be right.” Of course, Tommy’s job is just seeding doubt. He doesn’t have to show proof, he only needs to seed doubt in order to keep people wondering and doing nothing as they wonder. For Tommy’s ilk, that’s a win.

Tommy seems to think I don’t understand how the game of rhetoric is played. Or he mistakes me for one with the slightest interest in debating with a person who is a con with an agenda.  You see, real science doesn’t have agendas; it’s about facts.  There is utterly no purpose in debating with a con with an agenda.

Tommy seems to think I care a wit about the opinion about a money-sucking corporate shill. Tommy is the Exec. Dir. of ICSC, a puppet organization of pretend scientists. (Look up his credentials–I did. He holds a masters in engineering. He’s no scientist, nor qualified in climate science in any way, yet he bills himself as a climate science expert.) The ICSC is a front for big business lobbying. (Do you smell the ilk of the Koch Brothers or some other big business interest?)  And, as Tommy is going all uber-paranoid and watching for those who critique him, I think all of you should pop over to his FB page and take a look at his hobby. He reminds me of those glassy-eyed souls who knock on doors: “Hi, I’d like to talk to you about our lord Propaganda. Did you know your fiscal salvation depends on accepting him?”. And, hey, Drs and naturalists and critical thinkers, analysts and investigators, don’t take my word for it. Go ahead, check out his website. Google Tommy and the ICSC. If you happen to see any good science happening there, grab a screen shot. I was starting to feel it was as elusive as Big Foot after meandering a bit through that tanglewood of rhetoric.

Here are some links on Tommy and the ICSC. Again, don’t take my word for anything.  Be a critical thinker.  Screen and check for yourself:

Here’s a really great one which I’ll quote: “Tom Harris spent much of his career acting as a PR consultant for fossil fuel companies. Today he directs the International Climate Science Coalition (ICSC), an advocacy group closely tied to the Heartland Institute. In fact, Harris is listed as a Global Warming Expert on Heartland’s website, and spoke at their 2008 conference. However, with a background in mechanical engineering, Tom Harris is hardly qualified to comment on climate science.”…/international-climate…/

Right from the Heartland Institute:

This one below was a cute one, written by Tom Harrish himself: “Mitchell’s speculation that the International Climate Science Coalition (ICSC) “has a vested interest” is also unfounded. ICSC has never received financial support from corporations, foundations or governments. ICSC operates as a non-partisan, worldview neutral entity, independent of political or commercial vested interests. We will not accept donations that are contingent on ICSC promoting a point of view in favor of, or against, any philosophical, political or commercial interest. If ICSC tried to influence the public statements made by the professors and other experts we work with, they would likely resign from our advisory bodies”

The link is below, and if you believe it, go over to FaceBook and pop onto Tommy’s page and read his posts.  It reads like a tabloid parody of science, and every single article is about the fallacies of climatologists and the conspiracy to address climate change.

earth mother resist 2

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4 thoughts on “Ottawa & the Ultra-Right’s War Against Science

  1. I love it when our opponents cite Wiki as an authority, assume I made up captions to images in newspapers, or say things like “The ICSC is in fact run by the High Park Group, a right wing lobbying firm.” since it completely destroys their case when they make such stupid mistakes.

    • Tommy, we are not opponents. The idea presumes you have a valid platform. Opposing you on this would be rather like investing effort to argue with a medieval fundamentalist that Earth isn’t flat. It’s not something I am willing to bother with. I know what you and your organization are. You are not lobbyists–that would be too honest (which is a sad statement). You are a propaganda machine, undoubtedly funded by big business interests and perhaps by certain private individuals affiliated with ultra conservative or religious interests who benefit from appallingly low environmental standards. You are an unconscionable wannabe pundit who’s only aspiration is t feed misinformation to the public to line your pocket. This is not something I will waste time debating with you on. Discussion closed.

      • BTW, statements like “Tom Harris spent much of his career acting as a PR consultant for fossil fuel companies” destroy your credibility. Anyone who bother to research me can see quickly that I spent most of my career as an engineer and have never been “a PR consultant for fossil fuel companies.”

        I wish I were “funded by big business interests.” You must be “funded by big business interests”

  2. That’s really amusing, Tommy. See, I’ve read your replies to writers far and wide who’ve stated you’ve functioned as a PR man–though your title may be “engineer”. But you and I both know, being experts in our respective fields, how organizations like to hire experts for the PR effect, don’t we? And if that organization can get a conscienceless yes-man-expert–well that’s the cat’s meow for them, n’est-ce pas? Anyway, I’ve read your replies to many writers who’ve cited your questionable history, ethics and appalling understanding of scientific process and interpretation. Your strategy to all such critique has been poor attempts to discredit the writer with vague assertions of incompetence. But I also understand that in your line of work, simply implying doubt is a win. I think the Russians used to call that strategy “disinformatzia” in the old Communist Bloc days.

    But you have found me out. I make all kinds of money in environmental stewardship. There is so, sooo much money in running a small farm and writing on environmental matters. It is such big business, you know, saving the rainforest, working to preserve the oceans, acting against your own neighbors to protect the forests from the depredations of loggers.

    Naturally, that is ludicrous and deserves no more commentary. So I’ll just make you the Pepsi Challenge: I fully and freely give anyone anywhere the right to see just how I earn my living, to investigate my books for any kind of special interest funding, and even to see if my reported taxable finances don’t match my actual earnings. I fully and freely allow anyone anywhere to search my finances in entirety for special interest, corporate or government funding for any cause whatsoever that I may be involved in. In fact, I hereby commit myself to total public financial transparency.

    Now, Tommy, how’s about you and the ICSC do the same? Hmmm?

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