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Grant McDermott

Assistant Professor
Dept. of Economics
University of Oregon

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Given my previous discussion of the Heartland Institute and climate change, I feel to compelled to comment on this latest development. From The Guardian:
Heartland Institute compares belief in global warming to mass murder 


Billboards in Chicago paid for by The Heartland Institute along the inbound Eisenhower Expressway in Maywood, Illinois. Photograph: The Heartland Institute

It really is hard to know where to begin with this one. But let's start with: "What on earth were they thinking?" 


The Heartland Institute, a Chicago-based rightwing thinktank notorious for promoting climate scepticism, has launched quite possibly one of the most ill-judged poster campaigns in the history of ill-judged poster campaigns. 

I'll let its own press release for its upcoming conference explain, as there's simply no need to finesse it further:
Billboards in Chicago paid for by The Heartland Institute point out that some of the world's most notorious criminals say they "still believe in global warming" – and ask viewers if they do, too…The billboard series features Ted Kaczynski, the infamous Unabomber; Charles Manson, a mass murderer; and Fidel Castro, a tyrant. Other global warming alarmists who may appear on future billboards include Osama bin Laden and James J. Lee (who took hostages inside the headquarters of the Discovery Channel in 2010). 


[snip] 


The people who still believe in man-made global warming are mostly on the radical fringe of society. This is why the most prominent advocates of global warming aren't scientists. They are murderers, tyrants, and madmen
As argumentation via guilt by (extreme) association goes, I would place this in the "WTF" category. Still, if this is the way Heartland want to play the game, I have some suggestions for future campaigns:

- "CHARLES MANSON BELIEVED IN THIS SO-CALLED THEORY OF EVOLUTION. AND HE WAS A MURDUUUUUUURERRRR." [Note: This argument has already been made.]

- "POL POT ALSO LIKE THIS 'GRAVITY' IDEA. THINK TWICE BEFORE YOU USE THOSE FANCY NEWTONIAN MECHANICS."

- "KARL MARX THOUGHT THAT BABIES CAME FROM A MAN'S PEE-PEE. ARE YOU A FREEDOM-HATING COMMIE? (www.heartlandforstorks.org)"

- etc.

For the record, I've double checked that the campaign and associated evidence were sourced from Heartland's official website and Twitter feed. Barring some extraordinary hack, I think that we're on safe ground in saying that this is legit.

So, Bob (Murphy), if you happen to be reading this, I guess my question to you is: Does this "reveal that these people really have no idea how their opponents on the climate issue actually view the world?"