A science presenter, writer, speaker & former TV host; author of The Skeptic's Handbook (over 200,000 copies distributed & available in 15 languages).



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Michael Kundu Censors Science

For the record, so historians 300 years from now can soak in how deeply the exaggerated enhanced greenhouse gas theory was embedded in ‘popular culture’ and our education system. Here are the emails from Michael Kundu, Board President of Marysville District #25, which has around 11,000 students. I’ve commented on them on a blog post here.

Kundu’s email to colleagues

Bob Carters Reply

Kundu email’s back.

Joseph Bast’s Reply

My Reply

Kundu’s last word

Kundu’s original message to colleagues

Date: Thu, 28 May 2009 16:16:19 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Junk mailing from Heartland Institute to School Board Presidents
To: Long list
Cc: Bob Carter

School Board Presidents – this last week, I’m guessing some of you also received a dubious junk mail item from the Heartland Institute, regarding global warming.  I would encourage all of you to stuff that junk mail directly into the recycle basket.

One of the pitfalls of being a school director is that we are often the target of propaganda from a variety of non-credible sources; since our opinions often become reflected in policies adopted within our districts, it is important that we develop a judicious ability to make intelligent decisions about data that is presented to us as fact.

The publication recently sent out by the Institute is precisely the type of junk, pseudo-science publication that should be filtered out by all thinking school administrators.  Please take a moment to visit Wikipedia and learn about the Heartland Institute’s radical, negative reputation yourselves (the group is also known for trying to deny that second-hand tobacco smoke is harmful, and was involved in fraudulently and unethically misrepresenting the opinions of independent scientists on major international polic matters) – in fact, on second thought, a better educational use of their publication might be to direct it to your high school Mass Media/English department heads as a study aid to teach students how unethical groups attempt to spread propaganda and misleading information to mass public audiences.

As board members, one of our main priorities should be to promote the use of accurate, legitimately scientifically-based information in our schools. We’ve seen the efforts by radical creationists, anti-evolution activists, anti-union, white separatist and other fringe groups to subversively infiltrate public education – this mailing from the Heartland Institute is on a similar level.

Each of us has an obligation to try and improve the academic environment for our students – we need to have the ability to tell fact from fiction.  This last mailing is an excellent example of ‘fiction’.

Thanks for your attention.

Michael Kundu, Board President
Marysville School District #25

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Professor Bob Carter replies

From: Bob Carter
Sent: May 28, 2009 2:26 PM
To: M Kundu
Cc: Joseph Bast , Joanne Nova
Subject: Re: Junk mailing from Heartland Institute to School Board Presidents

Dear Mr Kundu,

Thank you for your courtesy in copying to me your letter to others regarding the Heartland Institute. You must, however, be aware that the letter is offensive in tone, inaccurate in content, and manages in spectacular fashion to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

I presume that your letter concerns a copy of Joanne Nova’s “Skeptics Handbook” that you have been provided with.

The Heartland Institute is – despite your baseless allegations –  a high quality independent think tank for which I, and many other professional persons, have the highest regard. They have accomplished a considerable public service in providing you and other educators with Ms Nova’s document, which summarizes complex and controversial science matters in a highly suitable form for school pupils.

As the president of a school district board, you have a particular responsibility to encourage informed discussion on controversial matters of the day, rather than to denigrate in ignorant fashion one aspect of a complex, multi-sided argument of which you happen to disapprove.

The Skeptics Handbook is a carefully and accurately written account of matters to do with contemporary climate change. Every statement in it is founded in data contained in numerous research papers in refereed scientific journals. This is, of course, in great contrast to the unvalidated computer speculations that form the basis of the IPCC’s global warming alarmism that have so affected public – and, seemingly, your – opinion.

I take offence not only at your unjust remarks about the Heartland Institute, and imputed slander of Ms Nova, but also that you imply that I would in any circumstances associate myself with the propagation of “junk science”.

Should you care to consult them, you will find my listed scientific research papers here:


In addition, many useful articles on global warming are listed here (articles 92, 95 and 115 being particularly suitable for persons who manifest scientifically erroneous views such as those that you appear to espouse):


In the interests of balance, I would appreciate your circulating this letter to the same group of persons to whom you sent your original letter.

Yours sincerely,

Bob Carter

Professor R.M. Carter, Hon. FRSNZ
Marine Geophysical Laboratory
James Cook University

Web home page:

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Kundu replies to Bob Carter

Date: Fri, 29 May 2009 13:22:43 -0400 (EDT)
From: Michael Kundu
Subject: Junk mailing from Bob Carter & Heartland Institute to US School Board Presidents
To: Bob Carter

Bob, first of all, I see far too many irreconcilable differences in our opinions to think that any conversations would be useful; that being said, I will add that the Heartland Institute – despite what you and Joe Bast may believe – is definitely not regarded as an objective, nor credible ‘think tank’, as you assert.  I’m in no mood to debate that issue; it (and the Institute) are simply irrelevant in my eyes.

You may be interested in knowing that, in my two terms as an elected school trustee, I have come to know a large number of educational administrators across the United States.  After I sent out my missive, I have since received many, many responses from others who agree that anti-warming propaganda is misdirected, financially motivated, and simply not worth acknowledging.  I received only one response (out of more than fifty) to the contrary. Fortunately, it seems that most educational decision makers in our country are able to see through the fog of propaganda by groups like Heartland – and as long as I am a board president here in Marysville, my 11,000+ students will be exposed to your group (at best) as an example of organizations that manipulate science for the benefit of unethical industries pursuing capital gains.

As for your assertion that any real scientific rigour is being applied in your publications – I have yet to see anything compelling published in the Journal Nature or any other legitimate, peer-reviewed periodical validating any of your questionable ‘science’.

As thus, I am sure that history will file your names alongside such ‘credentialed luminaries’ as Hwang Woo-suk, Luk Van Parijs, Jon Sudbo, and William Summerlin – I am sure you and Joe Bast will be proud of that legacy.  I am sure that the progressive leaders at James Cook University there in Queensland will be very ‘proud’ of your ‘international contributions’ to the global warming debate.

Finally, I will certainly not forward your response to my large list of recipients – if you want to continue spreading your propaganda, I am sure the oil industry (I understand that they had another year of record profits) can provide you with significant funding, and you can purchase you own commercial ‘advertising’ here in the United States.

Caveat emptor,

Michael Kundu

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Joseph Bast replies

Mr. Kunda:

Since you mentioned me by name in your message above, I’ll take a moment to set straight some of your many mistakes.

First, The Heartland Institute received less than 14% of its income in 2008 from corporations, and less than 5% from all energy industries combined. Your allegation that we are financially motivated to take the positions we do is false, and you ought to retract it.

Second, none of our work is “propaganda.” More than 100 academics and 150 elected officials participate in our research and education programs. The work of Joanne Nova and others is fact-based and accurate. If you know otherwise, please give a specific example or two and I’ll be happy to respond.

Third, if you ever actually read an issue of Nature, Science, Geophysical Research Letters, International Journal of Climatology, Journal of Meteorology and Atmospheric Physics, or any of scores of other scientific journals in which Heartland’s authors have appeared many times, you would know that there is a robust debate taking place over the causes, extent of, and consequences of climate change. The following links are to a bibliography that identifies just a few hundred articles question your dogmatic views on the subject:

1. More Peer-Reviewed Studies Contradict Global Warming Alarmism – by

Aug 1, 2008 Author: Peter Risdon, Publication: Environment & Climate News, Issue: August 2008, Published: August 01, 2008, Publisher: The Heartland

2. Still More Peer-Reviewed Studies Contradict Global Warming

Sep 1, 2008 Author: Compiled by Peter Risdon, Publication: Environment & Climate News, Issue: September 2008, Published: September 01, 2008

3. Scores of Peer-Reviewed Studies Contradict Global Warming Alarmism

Jul 1, 2008 Author: Compiled by Peter Risdon, Publication: Environment & Climate News, Issue: July 2008, Published: July 01, 2008,

On Tuesday, Heartland is releasing an 880-page book on climate change that cites thousands of peer-reviewed articles while arriving at the conclusion that global warming is not a crisis. The entire book will be available at

Experience suggests your reply to this email won’t be any more civil than your earlier messages to Prof. Carter, but I’m not discouraged. It’s clear who occupies the high ground, ethically and academically, in this dialogue. Crescat scientia, vita excolatur.


Joseph L. Bast

President ,  The Heartland Institute

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My reply to Kundu

Dear Michael,

Thanks for your thoughts. Like you, I’m passionate that our educators use accurate scientific information and be able to help our students tell fact from fiction. That’s exactly why I wrote The Skeptics Handbook. The climate, the fauna, our kids; it’s too important to get wrong.

That’s why I know you will be as concerned as I am that your recent emails failed to pass the test of basic reasoning and thus qualify as Junk-emails. Unfortunately you were not only unable to come up with any logical reason to back up your exhortation to censor a free scientific resource, but it appears you didn’t even read the booklet you call ‘propaganda’. If you had, you’d see I’ve already described most of rules you break.

Michel Kundu’s Scorecard for Logic and Reason

……………………………. Argument from Authority 1
Ad Hominem Attack 3
Conflating irrelevant issues 1
Baseless assertions 3
Selection bias in survey 1
Argument from Ignorance 1
Bonus point for breaking the first amendment 1
Total -11

First up: The ‘ad hom’. Your method for analyzing Earth’s climate by looking at the history of a particular think tank is doomed to fail. There has never been a single instance of a think-tank induced climate change. For a better way to analyze the climate, scientists use thermometers and weather balloons. Fraudsters use bluff, bluster and censorship. Is it not fraud to act as an authority on science education if you are unable to reason?

Second: Baseless assertions. It’s “junk mail”, from “non-credible sources”. Somehow you appear to have missed that the data comes direct from the IPCC, US Climate Change Science Program, Hadley Meteorological Centre, Goddard Institute of Space Studies, and University of Huntsville Alabama. No doubt these veritable institutions will be dismayed that the data they produce has been pronounced ‘Junk Science’ by the Board President of Marysville School District #25.

Third: You have no evidence. You mistakenly believe that the hypothesis of the Enhanced Greenhouse Effect is proven unless you notice a compelling paper against it published in Nature or another esteemed journal. As attractive as it sounds, this is argument from ignorance. In science, theories are vindicated by evidence, not by a lack of it.

There are over 115 scientific journals on earth and atmospheric sciences. So it’s no wonder you’ve missed so many papers that don’t support your unresearched position. My links and sources are here.

Furthermore: you claim most educational decision makers agree with you and are able to “see through the fog of propaganda” because only 1 in 50 responses disagreed with your email. However your study suffers from a crippling flaw. You assume that those who disagree with your loaded inaccurate letter would bother to reply. All you have proved is that people who disagree with you will ignore you. I respectfully point out that by not replying to you they can save themselves time and avoid your bullying, baseless allegations, and pompous tone.

Likewise you claim that you can see through propaganda yourself, but have not given a single example of how the booklet is wrong, misleading, or incorrect. If you could provide any examples I would be most happy to issue an immediate correction. I await your response keenly.

Based on your reasoning so far, the fog of propaganda you speak of not only does not exist, but you could not spot a real fog if you were surrounded by it, which indeed you are. I sympathize.

As for your libelous insinuations that I must be paid by oil companies – that’s not only a meaningless Ad hom attack, it’s also wrong. I wrote the entire Handbook pro bono with no financial assistance from anyone. It was finished before I had any contact at all with The Heartland Institute (and 95% of their funding comes from non-energy sources anyway).

It is a remarkable un-coincidence that Heartland approaches people who independently hold similar views.

Being a reasonable man, concerned about your 11,000 students, I know you will want to rectify your lack of training in logic immediately. A good place to start is The University of Washington Philosophy Unit which has a course on Aristotle.

To rectify the unwarranted censorship and libelous claims – all you need to do is send this email around to your mailing list. If I am as fringe and junky as you make out, they will all recognize your skill, and my flaws immediately. Right?

That’s free speech.

Please CC me your mass-correction and I'll pass it on to my lawyers.

Most sincerely,

Joanne Nova

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Kundu replies with more irrelevant comments, false ad homs:

From: Michael Kundu
Subject: Junk mailing from Bob Carter & Heartland Institute to US School Board Presidents


Clearly Joanne, you have much too much free time on your hands. But I am sure you can bill the Heartland Institute some consulting time for this verbose response, which (I am sure) they will consider drawing from their ‘independent’ oil industry coffers to reimburse you with.

It’s ironic, we just hosted an exchange student from Inverloch – bright kid. I’m confident that the majority of Australian educators have more integrity than do the few industry-backed, self-marketing lobbyists that try to infiltrate the system.

Aeternum vale.


And so the slurs, the illogic, the baseless accusations continue…


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