Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Where is Horatio When Eli Needs Him

Eli has been searching for the right song for Soongate and he thinks he has found it

The lyrics just scream out for a rewrite by Horatio Algeranon, but Eli will not go there.  No indeed, the Bunny has been a lot harder in this mess on the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics than on the good Dr. Soon, who, as Eli has pointed out and Dr. Soon has said, has had a hard time keeping body and soul together since his mainline grant funding disappeared before the end of the last century.

Now Eli is not going to link to the many, many comments, posts, and newspaper articles on this issue, nor is he going to discuss much who and why Rep. Raul Grijalva sent letters to various worthies' institutions.  That is been best left to others, but a few words on Rep Grijalva's motivation.

From many sources, it is well known that science obfustication has been well funded by industries who have found research conclusions uncomfortable.  As shown by the Tobacco Legacy Archive, this funding has been both direct and indirect.  Astroturf was invented by those guys well before the Astrodome opened.  For such issues as lead, tobacco, asbestos and of course tobacco, advertising agencies, public relations companies, think tanks and various other pass throughs have been used.  There is no doubt that the hiding of such connections has become more professional, the latest variation being Donor's Trust,

So one may ask, who has been paying the academics testifying before Congress, state legislatures, and local government organizations on these issues and what have they bought?  Further, what are the ethical issues about accepting the Exxon's shilling?  What about other writings designed to influence public opinion such as op-eds or reviews, should a conflict of interest be declared when the writer has been monetarily encouraged?

Based on past history, Rep Grijalva is right to ask these questions. Did he ask for too much?  He agrees
The communications back-and-forth is honestly secondary, and I would even on my own say that that was an overreach in that letter," Grijalva, the top Democrat on the Natural Resources Committee, told National Journal on Monday. "I want the disclosure [of funding sources]. Then people can draw their own conclusions.
Does the funding of testimony given by academics have value?  The funders think so.


Russell Seitz said...

So much for the professional PR flacks , now what about the amatuers?

Climate cranks are no more in it for the money than Deep Ecologists.

Fernando Leanme said...

I sure wish I could get funded by a powerful outfit. Looking at the butt kissing going on in congress this week, it sure seems israel funding is having really good results. They treated Netanyahu as if he were royalty, when his purpose was to undermine President Obama.

Grijalva's background tells me he is a pretty radical dude. And he sure takes no prisoners. But the same way the Israeli right shot itself in the behind with Netanyahu's speech Grijalva has managed to make the science community his sworn enemies (most scientists aren't pleased with the witch hunt).

And I take it Grijalva had no trouble accepting IPCC sources even though poor Rajendra acknowledged to him he was involved in a religious act during his tenure as chair of the IPCC. That sure went over like a lead balloon.

Susan Anderson said...

I grieve for the loss of Horatio. Agreed, one must move on.

Thanks for this. It's a tough call; intelligence and ethics only work amongst the intelligent and ethical. Unfortunately, far too many of these are more eager to quibble with people like themselves than to get into the dirty field of opposition and it's sneaky tactics.

Hank Roberts said...

> it for the money

We Shallow Ecologists are in it for the ecosystem services to be paid to our (or, for those of us who eschewed descendants, all of your) grandchildren.

Yeah, we're taking IOUs as payment for our work. It's a question of choosing who you trust. Ecosystems will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no ecosystems.

Russell Seitz said...

Does this mean Horatio gets to run for IPCC Chair on the all of your grandchildren are belong to us ticket?

Pinko Punko said...

Wait, what happened to Horatio? He is a genius.

EliRabett said...

Don't know. Be happy if he showed.

Colleen Burke-Hill said...

@Hank Roberts:
"Ecosystems will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no ecosystems." Excellent!

Also, not the topic of this post I know, but the lyrics are "...buys an 8 by 12 four-bit room" (as in 50 cents).