OISM Petition Project

Scott Church
The Wall Street Journal Blurs the Lines Between Science, Opinion, & Politics on Global Warming
Joseph Armstrong, University of Illinois
This article from Joseph Armstrong of Illinois State University (and a recipient of the original Petition Project mailing) discusses one of the more fanciful and poorly researched claims of the paper that accompanied the Petition—that rising greenhouse gas concentrations will not only have no adverse consequences, they will make the Earth a lush Eden-like paradise of increased crop yields, forests, and fruited glades which the OISM calls "a wonderful and unexpected gift from the industrial revolution". Armstrong, a botanist, discusses the numerous scientific blunders in this analysis as well as the deception and unprofessional manner in which the petition was circulated.
Op-Ed Science A Myth: Global Warming is Happening
Thomas Karl, Kevin Trenberth, and James Hansen
The original Petition Project mailing was accompanied by a Wall Street Journal editorial proclaiming that "Science has spoken - global warming is dead". This is a response to that editorial that was sent to the WSJ by Thomas Karl, Kevin Trenberth, and James Hansen—three of the world's leading climate scientists - discussing the errors and omissions in the paper accompanying the petition (Robinson et. al., 1998). It is significant that although these men are among the most respected and published climate change researchers in the world, the WSJ refused to print their response to this editorial for some time, and when they finally did consent to, they edited out large and significant portions. Given its ties to business interests and ultra-conservatism, the WSJ has a long and well documented history of substandard environmental reporting, particularly where science is involved. Their handling of the Petition Project affair and this letter is yet another example.
The National Academy of Sciences responds to the Petition Project
When the National Academy of Sciences learned of the Petition Project, and that a former NAS president and a counterfeit of their own journal's publishing format were being used to give credence to it's faulty science and ideologically motivated agenda, they were understandably alarmed. On April 20, 1998, they issued this press release disassociating themselves from the Petition Project and strongly criticizing both it's conclusions and the accompanying paper's deceptive use of a letterhead mimicking their own.
Jokers add fake names to warming petition
Seattle Times, May 1, 1998
This 1998 Associated Press story discusses the numerous bogus signatures the Petition Project had accumulated after it was put on the Internet where literally anyone could sign it and no adequate verification measures had been put in place to insure the credibility of its signatories.
Climate of Uncertainty - Oct. 2001 Scientific American examines the Petition Project
This is a Sidebar from an Oct. 2001 Scientific American article on climate change uncertainties that discusses the status of the Petition Project as of late 2001. In it, SA reports the results of their informal poll of some of the Petition's signatories—most of whom had little or no formal training in any climate change related field, had done any more than casually glance over the accompanying paper prior to signing, and many of whom said that they would not have signed it had they known then what they know today.
Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine
PR Watch
This review from the corporate watchdog group PR Watch examines the OISM in depth. A short biography of founder Arthur Robinson is presented, including his early collaboration with Nobel laureate chemist Linus Pauling to research Pauling's bizarre theories about vitamin C (which Pauling believed would cure a host of diseases, including mental illness). The institute's organization and finances are examined to some extent though not surprisingly, the OISM has been tight lipped about where they come from. The Petition Project is discussed at length, as are the institute's other questionable and even comic endeavors. Examples include their home schooling kit which in their words, is intended to "teach your children to teach themselves and to acquire superior knowledge as did many of America's most outstanding citizens in the days before socialism in education". The kit is based largely on the 1911 (!) Encyclopedia Britannica and the old McGuffey Reader.


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