The Heartland Institute Exhibits “Bad Judgment”

For some years now I have publicly praised the work of the Heartland Institute for leading the attack against the fraud of the anthropogenic global warming movement.

Based on criticism the Space and Science Research Corporation (SSRC) received from Heartland the day after our June 8, 2015 press release, it would seem my praise has been misdirected.

The June 9, 2015 ‘shoot-from-the-hip’ opinion by members of the Heartland Institute (HI), about the important SSRC press release, demonstrates what I believe is a patent lack of credibility and bad scientific judgment on the part of the institute.

The article was written by HI ‘expert’ Alan Caruba with comments by HI Science Director Dr. Jay Lehr. See the article at Mr. Caruba’s site at Facts Not Fantasy. They jointly recommended that people be “extremely skeptical” of the SSRC press release.

The SSRC Press Release 3-2015 was titled “Earthquake and Volcano Threat for USA Increases.”  The release referenced new research that was subsequently published in the SSRC’s Global Climate Status Report (GCSR) on June 10, 2015. See the report at the GCSR page of the SSRC web site.

The SSRC press release and the semi-annual GCSR were a culmination of a number of other papers from the sister company of the SSRC, the International Earthquake and Volcano Prediction Center (IEVPC).  As well, leading edge climate research from the SSRC over the past eight years was included. Several PhD experts in seismology and solar induced climate change were directly involved in the research in the GCSR that supported the assertion of the press release – that a potentially dangerous era of increased geophysical activity – major earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, has begun.

The press release not only contained a general U.S. wide alert, but also referenced a letter sent to FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate, asking that he begin to prepare the US for what the science says is coming. In these documents, the SSRC specifically indicated another major earthquake is highly probable in the New Madrid Seismic Zone (NMSZ) between St. Louis and Memphis. The time frame for the next catastrophic quake to strike was determined to be 2017 to 2038.

The Caruba-Lehr explanation seems to be that they have accepted the current USGS position that no one can predict earthquakes. The USGS position was born out of their singular attempt and failure to predict an earthquake in Parkfield, California between 1985 and 1993. This has led to a global scientific barrier to advancements in earthquake prediction based on the belief that if the USGS cannot do it, then no one else can, or should try!

Beyond that, the HI article has many fundamental errors that should not go unmentioned:

  1. Neither Mr. Caruba nor Dr. Lehr have any research background in seismology or climate science and are thus unqualified to render such important opinions as they have about the SSRC press release. Though a well published author in ground water hydrology, the public record shows Dr. Lehr has done nothing in the relevant fields of seismology, or climate science, much less solar effects on the Earth’s climate. Mr. Caruba’s choice of someone with no apparent credentials or history of scientific achievement in the fields being discussed is like asking a brain surgeon to do his first heart transplant operation on you. Everyone should demand a ‘second opinion’ here.
  2. The criticism by HI completely ignores the decades of experience and success achieved in the fields of seismology and climate science found within the careers of the authors of the research cited.
  3. The HI assault on the credibility of the SSRC and the IEVPC comes from Dr. Lehr and Mr. Caruba without either of them even reading the research! The research was not posted in the GCSR until two days after they issued their critical article. This is an unforgivable failure in making a scientific decision on any subject, especially one where so many lives are at stake. This is de facto bad scientific judgment. One has to ask is this typical of how decisions at HI are normally conducted?
  4. If Caruba and Lehr had done their homework first, they would realize that what the press release said was nothing new but merely an independent research company confirming what is already widely known by the USGS and experts who study the NMSZ, namely: The approximately 200 year pattern of major quakes in the NMSZ is already well established. The work by the SSRC shows the pattern is identical in periodicity to a 206 year solar cycle. We merely confirm what is already known from a solar-climate perspective.
  5. The geology community and the USGS are keenly aware that there has been a dramatic increase in earthquakes and volcanoes worldwide and in the US. Our press release and GCSR just gives a new rationale, highly correlated to climate change, for why this is happening.
  6. The expected quake for the NMSZ mentioned in the article is not a prediction for an earthquake per se since it lacks a specific magnitude, epicenter location, depth and day (s) expected. Neither the SSRC nor the IEVPC currently do earthquake predictions. The press release is, however, a reasoned long range warning of a highly likely event based on past history and now linked to naturally caused climate variation.
  7. The criticism by HI misses the point altogether of both the press release and the more important GCSR, the latter of course no one read anyway. Specifically, the last four devastating quakes in the NMSZ struck at the bottom of a solar hibernation, a period of dramatic reduction in solar energy output. Now that the next solar hibernation has begun, common sense dictates that major preparations be made in the interest of public safety.

The present state of preparation by the federal government and the state governments involved for another major NMSZ quake can be described as token at best, and otherwise abysmal in all categories. A human catastrophe is highly probable based on the best seismic and climate research available. Yet what do we see from the Heartland Institute and the federal and state governments? Nothing, except heads buried in sand or else criticism of those who wish to give the public the information they deserve.  Is it any wonder why so many Americans distrust the US government and political organizations?

In the absence of any government and media interest in properly educating our people on the increased risks they face, the SSRC has issued the appropriate press release and notification of the FEMA Administrator.

The Heartland Institute article by Caruba and Lehr is a clear example of shooting the messenger. Except this time, many citizens may pay with their lives for following such uninformed, incompetent advice.


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EDITORS NOTE: After this column was published we learned that Alan Caruba had passed away. Alan was a friend, colleague and contributor to this publication. We will miss his daily commentary and analysis of the issues. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.

To read all of Alan’s contributions to this publication please click here.

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