AEI's Gambit

A reader dissents:

You're being a little naive if you think that AEI's goal is truly to inspire a real debate about the veracity of claims about man-made climate change.  This is right out of the theocon playbook on evolution.  The goal is not to have a real debate, because a real debate is something you can (and in both cases, when talking about scientific evidence, will) lose.  The goal is simply to muddy the waters, try and get the media to portray climate change as a 'he said, he said' kind of issue.  The fact is, there are a lot of scientists. You will find contrarians to any position imaginable.  For an ideologically-inspired organization to cherry-pick a few who are willing to say what they want to hear (especially for a fee!!) and publish those reports, instead of those scientists having to go through the peer-review process, reduces the scientific rigor of the debate.

Many people don't have the time or interest to sift through the actual evidence, so they'll see one story that says yes, and another that says no, and throw up their hands and say 'oh well, whatever, who can know?' That has real-life consequences. So work like this really has a disproportionate effect, in the sense that 5 scientists who say 'man doesn't cause climate change' and are funded by oil companies can counteract the effect of hundreds or thousands of scientists who say 'man does cause climate change', but operate through the usual, scientifically-accepted channels. That's why shenanigans like this have to be see the light of day, so at least everyone knows who's pushing the pieces around.