I got a weird mailing yesterday from The Heartland Institute: a little pamphlet titled “Scientific Consensus on Global Warming: Results of an international survey of climate scientists.”

Amazingly, there is a price list on the inside cover; this little gem could be yours for only $5.95. I looked all over the Institute’s website but couldn’t find the darn thing, until finally I thought to look under “Books,” and lo and behold — the 5″ x 8″, 23-page pamphlet was listed there.

I’d say one for everyone in your family … and you could probably spring for one for everyone at work. Heck, you might just get up into discount territory (101 copies or more for $2.95 each)!

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You could teach an entire class in propaganda with this jewel as your only example — a master class in careful statements designed to strongly suggest without ever quite making a clear statement.

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Memo to Heartland Institute: a survey comparing responses to surveys in 1996 and 2003 doesn’t have a hell of a lot to say about today, when we’re daily setting records for Arctic ice loss and other climate-induced issues.

But, that aside, the survey purports to report on “more than 530” climate scientists’ responses to an anonymous survey, once in 1996 and then again (this time online) in 2003, after notice of the survey was posted in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, on Climlist, and to “institutional lists” in Denmark, the U.K., and Germany.

There’s a weird strain of populism and elitism running simultaneously through the thing — after first trying to qualify the respondents as “climate scientists,” the booklet leaves out any information that would help the reader understand something about the standing and stature of the respondents. No breakdown of responses by number of publications, or frequency of citation, or even whether their work involves climate change.

The whole thing reminds me very much of the creationists who handed me a pamphlet that explained that we should teach creationism in school because polls show a majority of Americans favor doing so.

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Heartland’s authors say that consensus has no place in science, so I expect that they’ll be firing up the investigation into the faked Apollo landings anytime now. It would produce just as much value as this little piece of crap.