One of the functions of the university to explore ideas, foster debate, encourage vigorous scholarship, and in so doing, push forward the breadth and depth of human knowledge. That universities have never done this perfectly should not deter them from pursuing these goals. After all, a healthy democracy needs institutions that put clarity of thought and integrity of scholarship above whatever ideas or ideologies are currently in vogue.
Unfortunately, our universities have been doing just the opposite in selected disciplines. In fact, if a faculty member wishes to receive tenure, certain beliefs had best not be expressed. Nowhere has this been more clear than in the debate over what is called “climate science.” Or to be blunt, “global warming.”
There is obviously a bias in academic circles in favor not only of climate change being real and measurable, but also that man is the definitive source of this phenomenon. Depart from this view, and you are basically locked out of the debate — and possibly your job. However, this may well be changing under a Trump presidency, and climate change skeptics have reason to be encouraged by the following news.
Breitbart reports that “Georgia Tech scientist Judith Curry, for instance, labelled a ‘climate heretic’ by Scientific American for her contrarian views, sees a light at the end of the long Obama tunnel.”
As Galileo discovered centuries ago, there can be a terrible price to be paid for holding the “wrong” views.
Dr. Curry is looking forward to better times: “’Here’s to hoping the Age of Trump will herald the demise of climate change dogma, and acceptance of a broader range of perspectives in climate science and our policy options,’ she wrote last month on her popular blog Climate Etc.”
How many “climate heretics” are out there? Difficult to count because, “Part of the problem is that no one really knows how many climate change skeptics there are among scientists because of the high personal and professional cost of heterodoxy.”
What we have here is nothing complex. It just a matter of big government financing research that is politically motivated. So if you want to get more grant money, it’s a good idea to make sure your findings fit the prescribed dogma. Otherwise, no cash for you or your research organization.
As William Happer, professor emeritus of physics at Princeton University and a member of the National Academy of Sciences points out, “’Government actions have corrupted science, which has been flooded by money to produce politically correct results,’ said Happer. ‘It is time for governments to finally admit the truth about global warming. Warming is not the problem. Government action is the problem.’”
Better days are ahead for unbiased and vigerous scholarship in the area of climate science, and this is just what we should expect for our universities, research centers, and government.
“President-elect Donald Trump’s choices for key cabinet posts have exhilarated climate scientists tired of being black-balled as “climate change deniers” just because they raise uncomfortable questions. Tapping former Texas Gov. Rick Perry to run the Energy Department, Attorney General Scott Pruitt of Oklahoma to run the Environmental Protection Agency, and Exxon chief executive Rex Tillerson as secretary of state signals a radical change from Obama’s conforming climate alarmists.”
It is far past time to free climate science from being required to kneel before politics. After all, if this is such an important issue, who would want to discourage quality scholarship?