Friday, February 17, 2012

We Have The Fraser Institute, They Have the Heartland Institute

Adding the word 'institute' into one's 'think-tank', a measure devised to give the patina of legitimacy to what is frequently simply a right-wing propaganda machine, is nothing new, given their ubiquity on both sides of the border, the Fraser Institute and the Macdonald Laurier Institute in Canada, the American Enterprise Institute and the Heartland Institute in the U.S. being but four examples.

For whatever reason (and a lower collective intelligence may be one of them, he opined snarkily - my abject apologies to any intelligent Americans who might read this), American citizens seem to be more easily swayed by the blandishments masked as researched offered by these organizations.

As reported in today's Star, the Heartland Institute has plans to push for a public school curriculum questioning climate change. The leaked papers from the Heartland Institute has created a controversy within the scientific community as the American Association for the Advancement of Science gathers in Vancouver. This is the first time it is holding its annual meeting outside of the United States:

The documents, which were released via email and then reposted on blogs, say school teachers and principals are “heavily biased toward the alarmist perspective.”

Scientists say it is a frightening sign that much of the public remains skeptical about global warming.

“There are forces at work,” said Nina Fedoroff, president of the AAAS. “The polling data show that the fraction of citizens who believe that climate change is real has declined since 2006. Even as the scientific consensus has increased, the belief in it has declined.”

One can only hope that American teachers are able to put up a strong resistance to this well-funded propaganda machine.

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