Human Exceptionalism

Another Example of How Science is Being Corrupted by Politics and Desire for Funds

George Bush was often accused of politicizing science. But the real truth is that science has been corrupted from within by too often slouching into blatant ideological advocacy or money-driven agendas.

And here’s an unintended admission of that very point. The New York Times Magazine ran a story a few weeks ago on a global warming skeptic named Freemon Dyson called “The Civil Heretic.” The current edition’s letters to the editor are all opposed to Dyson’s view–a standard approach for the NYT that I believe uses its letters-to-the-editor pages as another way of editorializing (in addition to editorials, imbalanced op/ed pages, and news stories). But one letter stood out in its clear admission that the “science” of global warming is not science as much as politics. From the letter by Monika Kopacz, a Ph.D. candidate in applied mathematics and atmospheric sciences, Harvard University:

It is no secret that a lot of climate-change research is subject to opinion, that climate models sometimes disagree even on the signs of the future changes (e.g. drier vs. wetter future climate). The problem is, only sensational exaggeration makes the kind of story that will get politicians’– and readers’– attention. So, yes, climate scientists might exaggerate, but in today’s world, this is the only way to assure any political action and thus more federal financing to reduce the scientific uncertainty.

Whoa: Now there’s an admission worth noting! Clearly, we should put little stock into what these “scientists” tell us about the global warming because they are not providing objective facts from which we can glean proper policy options. Rather, they are intentionally and sensationally exaggerating their findings to win political points, promote their favored policy outcomes, and get more money for research.

I doubt she meant it this way, but Kopacz’s letter is as pure and succinct an indictment of the ongoing corruption of science as I have yet seen.

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