Feb 25

Beware of Government-Funded Attacks on Privately-Funded Science


The government-worshipping Salon.com website is reporting that certain manmade-global-warming-skeptical scientists who have testified before committees of Congress regarding the (non)threat of manmade climate change are now under investigation by the government for being nongovernmentally funded.

As most Lysander Spooner University students know, the vast majority of what passes for scientific research in the area of climate change is government funded and promoted. Government research money floods through the channels of scientific research, scientific journals and research-grant “peer review.” This explosion of government money produces a steady stream of alleged science which supports demands for more socialism and government power.

Salon.com is reporting that U.S. Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ), the top Democrat on the House Natural Resources Committee, recently sent letters to seven universities, requesting information on professors who have testified before Congress on global warming. The letters are designed to intimidate as much as to request information. They speak of “external funding” in a near-perjorative sense, suggesting that good, government-approved scientists should never accept private research grants or support.

Under particular fire is Wei-Hock Soon, a scientist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. According to Salon.com, “Soon claims that variations in the sun’s energy are likely to blame for global warming.” (Shocking!) “It turns out,” says the pro-government website, “that he has been paid over $1.2 million by the fossil fuel industry to have these views. He has also failed to disclose the conflict of interest in the majority of his scientific articles, according to the New York Times.”

Such language sounds as if Professor Soon has been accepting “fossil fuel industry” research support in secret and then deceiving scientific journals regarding such support. However, anyone familiar with scholarly publications knows that most of the journals do not request acknowledgments of all sources of funding in an author’s life, but merely request sources of funding that directly supported the study or studies being submitted for publication. This concerted effort to taint Professor Soon’s research can be viewed as part of a large-scale government agenda to discredit all but government-funded scientific research.

Of course, the vast majority of important scientific discoveries and inventions have come from private funding, while government-funded science is notoriously inefficient and unproductive. During the period when the Wright Brothers were privately inventing aviation, the U.S. military was directing hundreds of thousands of tax dollars into unsuccessful research aimed at producing a steam-powered airplane.