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The Sciences

Why Reason Loses

The IntersectionBy Chris MooneyMarch 31, 2009 7:04 PM

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Get this: Funded by an anonymous donor, the anti-global warming Heartland Institute has created a climate change "Skeptic's Handbook" for mass dissemination, "helpfully printing 150,000 copies...for distribution across the US including 850 journalists, 26,000 schools, '19,000 leaders and politicians.'" Over at DeSmogBlog, Mitchell Anderson convincingly debunks the nonsense contained in this Handbook--but, not exactly for the same sized audience. This has long been my problem with the defenders of science and reason on issues like global warming. The other side is playing to win, spending a vast fortune to sway public opinion. But where is the example of people on our side supporting good books about global warming (of which there are many), trying to get them widely disseminated, into schools and classrooms and the hands of journalists and leaders? Publishers do this to make money--and often fail. Talented individuals do their part by starting blogs, and so on. But I'm not aware of many parallel or systematic efforts by major philanthropists or donors. For the most part, they'd rather give their vast fortunes to think tanks and research institutes that do tons of high quality studies that, um, don't reach large audiences. We do research, conservatives do propaganda. Try doing a national radio show on the subject of global warming sometime, and the tenor of the calls will make it obvious to you who is winning.

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