Congressional subcommittee on the Investigation of Proper Science.
Please help publicize this calumny.
Agree with me about this. If—and I only say if—the global-warming-of-doom we have been promised is false, then there is nothing for government to do about it. Yes? (The ability to assent to this proposition will separate the men from the boys.)
The government, then, has a tremendous, almost overpowering conflict of interest in encouraging belief in global-warming-of-doom. Note very, very carefully that it doesn’t actually matter to government if global-warming-of-doom is true, only that a sufficient number of people believe that it is.
Now what would happen if some scientists publicly declared, using argument, equations, and all that standard sciency stuff, that global-warming-of-doom was probably false?
You guessed it. Government would seek to discredit, demean, defrock, and destroy those scientists. The government cannot bear to think of itself as unwanted and unnecessary, and so it must strike with all its might and vigor when challenged.
The witch hunt has already begun, both in the House of Representatives and the Senate, and, if a mysterious character named Gollum is right, then in the Department of Justice, too.
It started with the wholly artificial, politically manufactured attempt to take down the four authors of “Why models run hot“, a paper which challenges global-warming-of-doom based on the commonsense argument that lousy predictions are proof of false theories, and climate forecasts have been routinely lousy. The paper offers a suggestion why the models are lousy. The authors are Lord Christopher Monckton, Willie Soon, David Legates, and me.
The attack on Soon gained traction. True Believers ignorant of physics are trying to have him fired.
Nowhere was the panic clearer than in the opprobrious opportunism of Senators Edward Markey, Barbara Boxer, and Sheldon Whitehouse on the Committee on Environment and Public Works (guess their political party). They issued a press release about how they were going after 100 “fossil fuel companies, trade groups” and “Climate Denial Organizations” for their role in funding research these Senators disliked.
The Senators accused private groups of funding “scientific studies designed to confuse the public and avoid taking action to cut carbon pollution”.
This is either immoral thuggery or these Senators evince a collective mental acuity well below the historical average of that august body. My guess is the former, which is worse. Why? “[D]esigned to confuse the public”. This assumes it is government, not scientists, who gets to define and broker scientific truth. Results other than those amenable to increasing government control are marked as “confusing”; research into areas uncomfortable to regulation are to be made anathema. This is intellectual terrorism.
The government demands the names of every researcher who received funding from an organization on the hit list, how much money they got, copies of private documents, and more (the list is here).
Congressman Raul Grijalva from Arizona, ranking member of the House Committee on Natural Resources, compiled a suspect list of seven scientists, some of whom even support global-warming-of-doom (Roger Pielke, Jr). Grijalva sent letters to the employers of these scientists (example) demanding they turnover material related to “external funding”, which includes “consulting fees, promotional considerations, speaking fees, honoraria, travel expenses, salary, compensation and other monies…that did not originate from the institution itself.”
Enter “Gollum”, a mysterious person who spoofed Soon’s name and who sent us a series of messages. Gollum is how this person alluded to himself, referring to a cryptic poem from The Hobbit.
Before every turn of the screw on Soon, Gollum sent an email gleefully anticipating it. He even knew the names on Grijalva’s enemies list in advance. On the 25th, he emailed “What will presdent [sic] say next? What will department of justice do?”
The president’s actions we already know. Mr Obama recently released a list of “deniers” and asked citizens to “join the team” in “calling” them out. Charming.
Gollum is likely an insider of some kind, perhaps a member of the cult-like Greenpeace, or maybe a reporter who received Willie Soon’s emails, or even a government functionary. At any rate, unlike global climate models, Gollum’s forecasts have never erred. So although his DOJ warning could be bluster, given what we’ve seen elsewhere, it probably isn’t.
Good thing there are still some of us—like we who wrote “Why models run hot”—can do research without funds of any kind. But ironic, is it not, that an “investigation” into the funding of science could get started by a study that used no funds.
Senate EPW Republicans Take a Stand for Academic Freedom
WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OKla.), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW), today led all EPW Republicans in a letter promoting scientific discovery and academic freedom. The letter was sent to the same 107 recipients of letters sent earlier this week by Congressional Democrats to universities, private companies, trade groups, and non-profit organizations, asking for detailed information on funding climate science. As explained in the EPW Republican letter sent today, there is a real concern the Democrats inquiry may impose a chilling effect on scientific inquiry and free speech.
“Rather than empower scientists and researchers to expand the public discourse on climate science and other environmental topics, the [Democrats] letter could be viewed as an attempt to silence legitimate intellectual and scientific inquiry,” said the Senators in today’s letter.
There has been a public outcry in response to the Democrats letters. Noted climate scientist, Dr. Michael Mann spoke of the letters calling them “heavy handed and overly aggressive.” Earlier today the American Meteorological Society warned that the letters sent by Congressional Democrats send a “chilling message to all academic researchers.”
“At the end of the day, those disagreeing with certain scientific findings should judge them based on whether or not they are sound and transparent,” said Chairman Inhofe.
The full text of the letter is as follows:
February 27, 2014
We write in regards to the recent request for information on your support of scientific research initiated by several of our colleagues in the United States Congress. At the outset, we are deeply concerned the letter calls into question the importance of scientific discovery and academic freedom. Rather than empower scientists and researchers to expand the public discourse on climate science and other environmental topics, the letter could be viewed as an attempt to silence legitimate intellectual and scientific inquiry.
Federal government-sponsored research is good and necessary, but such funding has limits. The federal government does not have a monopoly on funding high-quality scientific research, and many of the nation’s environmental laws require decisions be based on the best scientific information available—not just federally funded research. At the core of American ingenuity are those researchers who challenge the status quo whether in matters of climate, economics, medicine, or any field of study. Institutions of higher-learning and non-governmental funding are vital to facilitating such research and scientific inquiry. Limiting research and science to only those who receive federal government resources would undermine and slow American education, economic prosperity, and technological advancement.
The credibility of a scientific finding, research paper, report, or advancement should be weighed on its compliance with the scientific method and ability to meet the principles of sound science; in short, it should be weighed on its merits. The scientific method is a process marked by skepticism and testing, rather than dogma. If the work can be reproduced and independent experts have a fair chance to validate the findings then it is sound, irrespective of funding sources. Science the federal government uses to support regulatory decisions should also comply with the integrity, quality, and transparency requirements under the Information Quality Act and Office of Management and Budget Guidelines.
Indeed, science is only one criterion we must take into consideration when developing laws and regulations. Credible deliberation requires thoughtful analysis and an understanding of the economy, policy, and legal framework in which we function. Dissenting opinions fostered through the encouragement of all ideas is what truly facilitates intellectual prosperity and political discourse.
The letter you received from our colleagues is a wholly inappropriate effort to challenge these well-accepted truths. We ask you to not be afraid of political repercussions or public attacks regardless of how you respond. Above all, we ask that you continue to support scientific inquiry and discovery, and protect academic freedom despite efforts to chill free speech.
Sen. Jim Inhofe, Chairman
Sen. David Vitter
Sen. John Barrasso
Sen. Shelley Moore Capito
Sen. Mike Crapo
Sen. John Boozman
Sen. Jeff Sessions
Sen. Rodger F. Wicker
Sen. Deb Fischer
Sen. Mike Rounds
Sen. Dan Sullivan