At the age of twenty-seven, Dr. Robert Stadler had written a treatise on cosmic rays, which demolished most of the theories held by the scientists who preceded him. Those who followed, found his achievement somewhere at the base of any line of inquiry they undertook. At the age of thirty, he was recognized as the greatest physicist of his time. At thirty-two, he became the head of the Department of Physics at Patrick Henry University, in the days when the great university still deserved its glory. It was of Dr. Robert Stadler that a writer had said: “Perhaps, among the phenomena of the universe which he is studying, none is so miraculous as the brain of Dr. Robert Stadler himself.” It was Dr. Robert Stadler who had once corrected a student: “Free scientific inquiry? The first adjective is redundant.”
At the age of forty, Dr. Robert Stadler addressed the nation, endorsing the establishment of a State Science Institute. “Set science free from the rule of the dollar,” he pleaded. The issue had hung in the balance; an obscure group of scientists had quietly forced a bill through its long way to the floor of the Legislature; there had been some public hesitation about the bill, some doubt, an uneasiness no one could define. The name of Dr. Robert Stadler acted upon the country like the cosmic rays he studied: it pierced any barrier. The nation built the white marble edifice as a personal present to one of its greatest men.
[From Atlas Shrugged.]
There are days I find myself wondering if Ayn Rand had a device that allowed her to view the future. I have a few differences with her, of course, but on subject after subject she seems incontestably prescient. Government funded, government managed “science” is one such.
Governments are not altruists. Neither are those that vie for control of their powers. A government that funds anything – the sciences included – will eventually develop an agenda for it. That agenda will have little to do with “scientific inquiry.”
In all probability, my Gentle Readers being bright and well informed sorts, you’ve already read about climate-science whistleblower Dr. John Bates:
In an exclusive interview, Dr Bates accused the lead author of the paper, Thomas Karl, who was until last year director of the NOAA section that produces climate data – the National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) – of ‘insisting on decisions and scientific choices that maximised warming and minimised documentation… in an effort to discredit the notion of a global warming pause, rushed so that he could time publication to influence national and international deliberations on climate policy’.
Dr Bates was one of two Principal Scientists at NCEI, based in Asheville, North Carolina.
A good scientist – a good man – would have nothing to do with such a scheme, or with any organization that would countenance it. Apparently Dr. Bates’s conscience led him to such a conclusion, as his career is in jeopardy for having “spilled the beans.” I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that he’s received death threats.
Australia’s chief scientist has slammed Donald Trump’s attempt to censor environmental data, saying the US president’s behaviour was comparable to the manipulation of science by the Soviet Union.
Speaking at a scientific roundtable in Canberra on Monday, Alan Finkel warned science was “literally under attack” in the United States and urged his colleagues to keep giving “frank and fearless” advice despite the political opposition.
“The Trump administration has mandated that scientific data published by the United States Environmental Protection Agency from last week going forward has to undergo review by political appointees before that data can be published on the EPA website or elsewhere,” he said.
Mind you, of the largest scientific and environmental scandals of the past century, a healthy fraction have involved the EPA – as a perpetrator. It’s overstepped its statutory authority on too many occasions to enumerate here. But demanding that the administration that funds and oversees that agency have the privilege of reviewing its publications before they’re foisted upon the public with the authority of “science” is a step too far for those...persons, including their government-funded allies in the Land Down Under.
[And while we’re here, three cheers for the indispensable Joanne Nova for her fearless and relentless reporting on these subjects. If I weren’t old and long married, and didn’t resemble something left over from a mortuary fire...but perhaps we shouldn’t go there.]
The irony of Finkel’s diatribe is overwhelming. The man holds a position whose very title is absurd. His salary, and no doubt the funding for whatever activities he oversees, come from a government. Governments have blatantly used environmental scare propaganda as a vehicle with which to pursue absolute control of their nations’ economies...and some have largely gained what they sought. But for the government of another nation – one on the other side of the world – to do what a government can only be expected to do with the opinions of an agency it funds strikes him as beyond the pale.
I know, I know: it’s only the cumulative effect of a set of incentives over time. But today, with human freedom endangered everywhere, the moral must be drawn.
Allow me to be maximally plain about the matter:
Scientists whose livelihoods and researches depend upon the blessing of the State are beholden to that State. They can be coerced into supporting the State’s agenda more easily than any other species of creature. Therefore, their pronouncements cannot be trusted until entirely private researchers provide peer review and confirmation of their results.
We would be far better off had the notion of government funded science never been conceived. It should have been treated as a hybrid between propaganda and witchcraft. The trap it provides for potentially honest, potentially productive scientists is attractive beyond belief. Worse yet, it snares the beliefs and attitudes of non-scientists with its veneer of “scientific authority” – yet another internally contradictory idea – more effectively with every passing year.
It’s one of the most lethal weapons in the arsenal of the State. It must be brought to a halt before it destroys everything we hold dear.