Andy May's opinion
I wrote my last book, Politics and Climate Change: A Story, because I realized that government funding for scientific research was corrupting science. We have been warned that this could be done by President Eisenhower in his farewell address to the public in which he said:
"The prospect of national scholarly supremacy through federal employment, project allocation, and monetary power is always present and must be seriously considered." (Eisenhower, 1961)
How right he was.
With federal funds, unelected and protected public service bureaucrats can control scientific research. You dictate the projects and often the results. They use selective leaks to the press to embarrass elected politicians who try to compromise their control over research. The bureaucrats act in fear and enjoy it. Politicians who disagree with them suppress or ignore "science". For them science is not a search for the truth, but a dogma that one has to believe in. Worse, they believe expert consensus is a scientific fact. Science is a method of refuting consensus opinion with observational facts, analysis, and reasons. It is a method refined over centuries that enables one person to show everyone else that they are wrong. Science is the opposite of political consensus.
Government funding clearly does not improve research. Theoretical estimates of the effects of man-made CO2 have not decreased in 41 years, as we discussed in our last two posts here and here. Despite billions in government spending, the IPCC AR5 report (IPCC, 2013) still states that the effects of doubling CO2 are between 1.5 ° C and 4.5 ° C, exactly the same range as the Charney report is indicated (Charney et al., 1979). . Empirical observation-based estimates such as those by Nic Lewis and Judith Curry (Lewis & Curry, 2018) have narrowed but have not been government funded. Funding didn't improve science, it shouldn't improve science, it was political.
The bureaucrats use ignorant and conformist news media to demonize privately funded scientific research as being "corrupted" by "evil" corporations. The bureaucrats enlist the help of nonprofit activists backed by huge foundations owned and controlled by billionaires. These billionaires seek influence and political power. The nonprofits, in turn, campaign for the press to get their version of the story out. Any company that does independent research is compared to an evil tobacco company and accused of lying to the public. The book contains many examples of this.
This demonization is an attempt to deny businesses, farmers and workers a voice in debates about government regulations and environmental issues. The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) is a left-wing, non-profit advocacy group that pretends to be scientific. It is known to skew its "research" to get the results it wants (Activist Facts, 2020). Her report "Heads They Win, Tails We Lose" (Grifo, Halpern & Hansel, 2012) is an obvious attempt to suppress any scientific debate about government regulations by private companies. The science is not discussed or explained, you can think of journalists and nonprofits funded by billionaires and saying, "The public doesn't have to understand, we tell them what to think!"
In the words of Australian word smith Joanne Nova:
“A trial without defense is a delusion
Business without competition is a monopoly
Science without debate is propaganda "
Remember the next time someone says the science is done.
Grifo et al. complain that there is "an undue influence from companies that have a financial stake in the result". If companies have a financial stake in the result, they should be included in the regulatory debate. How can it be different in a republic? These companies have an initial right of amendment to participate. Grifo et al. demand what President Eisenhower fears, "public order itself could become the prisoner of a scientific and technological elite" (Eisenhower, 1961).
President Eisenhower had two fears, he feared that scientists would take over public order and government officials would control scientific research and results. We now have a diabolical combination of the two.
Why privately funded research?
UCS fears that companies will be dishonest. They don't believe that companies should use litigation to threaten opponents, keep silent, change their minds, or destroy their reputation. They also fear that companies will not be transparent (Grifo, Halpern & Hansel, 2012, p. 45). As explained in Chapter 3 of our book, UCS did all of these things when it attacked ExxonMobil in the ExxonKnew campaign. We expect people to be aggressive in a debate, but we need the debate and we need both sides to participate. If either side is excluded or suppressed in any way, our republic is gone and a dictatorship or oligarchy is formed.
During the 19th and prior to the Second World War of the 20th century, universities and private sector companies and individuals worked closely together on research and academic programs. It was a good combination; The universities have tailored their courses and research to the needs of industry. This provided the companies with well-trained employees and helped develop new products that made the world a better place.
The post-war explosion in federal research funding is beginning to slow, and at the same time corporate funding has increased since around 2005. This is a good trend, but unfortunately federal spending on research is still almost double that of corporate spending (Mervis, 2017). As a result, university research is still more focused on government projects than business, and government projects tend more towards scary projects like climate change than projects that create new products and a better society. We believe that government funding for research should be nothing more than corporate funding, and ideally zero, as government tends to fund projects that are political, destructive, and divisive.
Japan (Kazuyuki & Shingo, 2011) and China have many business-oriented university projects with American companies. However, the projects in China are often carried out by American companies such as Microsoft or Google and are intended to steal US technology (Song, 2008). Estimates vary, but intellectual property theft in China ranges from $ 225 to $ 600 billion per year, according to many sources (Huang & Smith, 2019). According to the National Law Review:
"China's typical course of action is to steal American intellectual property, replicate it, replace the US company that has that intellectual property in the Chinese domestic market, and then displace the United States in the global market." (Laufman, Casino & Kasdan, 2020)
In the United States, liberal nonprofits, the news media, and some government officials have struck a wedge between the natural collaboration of universities and corporations by demonizing corporations and any funding they provide to universities. This has hurt businesses, universities, and research in general. It only helps our global competitors. University climate change research is geared towards creating sophisticated scenarios that predict the end of the world. The scenarios will be used to shed millions of jobs in the fossil fuel industry. They want to create fear in public and make it more manageable. This increases the power of government as the public often gives up their rights and jobs in order to gain security.
In the 1970s, the news media predicted that we would all die from the global cooling, as explained in Chapter 6 of our book. Some scientists even blamed human CO2 emissions for cooling. The media loves good disaster prediction, and if it's people's fault, the story is even better. Then the warming started and again CO2 was the reason. Now we are all going to die from global warming caused by CO2. The shameless media didn't apologize or even blink, they published it. When the global cooling starts again, as it will be inevitable, rely on the media to find a compliant scientist who blames CO2.
It's not just government funding. Media attention motivates universities to come up with scary stories about the end of the world, rather than products that improve and save lives. Media attention means more government money. When government funding drives university research, universities become more isolated from the companies for which they are supposed to train employees. Students want high profile government jobs so they can save the world and ignore the more beneficial and productive jobs in industry. These jobs are going overseas.
Tuition fees and costs have increased, but even considering rising college costs, on average it is still worth going to college (Abel & Deitz, 2014). This may not be the case in the future. Technology can undermine the premium that college graduates can ask for in the marketplace (Staton, 2014).
This is all happening because the US has allowed our technology to be stolen by China and other countries. Uncomfortable regulations, justified by sketchy and secret EPA-funded research, have forced high-paying, high-value manufacturing overseas. Other excessive regulations, often drafted and justified by secret government research, have made some production operations (mining, oil and gas) in the United States excessively expensive or economically impossible.
Not only are we sending technology, manufacturing and mining overseas, we are killing them in the US and Europe at the same time. When high value jobs and high salaries are lost, the value of university education diminishes. Service industry jobs like lawn mowing, waitresses or shop clerks pay less, and these are the jobs that laid-off technology, manufacturing, and recruitment workers are forced into. No college degrees are required for these jobs, but many with college degrees are forced to do so as the sectors in which they work disappear. Universities helped shape the decline of Western technology, manufacturing, and extraction, and now they are planning their own decline.
Companies have far less confidence in higher education because they are less involved in degree programs. Students end up with more debt as costs rise and earn less income to repay them. Many degrees have become worthless. It has been estimated that U.S. student debt exceeds $ 1.5 trillion (Hanson, 2020). This debt is slowing home buying, marriage, and raising children, the main stimulants to our economy.
Victor Davis Hanson speculated in National Review that universities are sowing the seeds of their own obsolescence (Hanson, 2020). He is right. To make universities more relevant to our nation, youth and economy, we need to drastically reduce or eliminate government-funded university research.
Defense research must necessarily remain under state control and be conducted in secret. With the exception of defense, however, the government should withdraw from research funding. Universities need to reform and develop their relationships with the private sector. A cut in government research funding would force this. They need to focus their research on productive areas that create new products, improve our well-being, and expand the economy. Your faculties will be forced to move in the same direction and produce better workforce for industry. The Doom-and-Gloom alignment of much of our geoscientific research at university today is toxic and destructive.
The media has turned scientists into gods who tell "truth" and "prove" things. As we have seen, neither is possible. Scientists only propose temporary ideas and then try to refute them. Truths or specific facts only exist until they are refuted. Politicians choose scientists who “prove” things that are convenient for politicians. Experience the corruption of scientists in the IPCC as described in Chapter 7 and elsewhere in the book.
Socrates was a scientist who lived in 399 BC. Was killed by politicians. Socrates believed that people should question everything. His discussions were full of questions, the questions led to more questions, it was his way of learning and teaching. He never proved anything, but he learned. Eventually he was killed by consulting the local gods and religion. With his skepticism, he defied the consensus and died for it (World History Edu, 2020). Scientific debates are essential, and the less popular debater should not be imprisoned or killed.
The public and the news media, which should be asking exploratory questions, believe they cannot understand the science. You're limited to asking scientists to spoon-feed them healthy bites. With a little work, most lay people can understand scientific papers and should try. It is not acceptable to rely on politicians, scientists and the media to tell us what is happening. Scientists should write more that can be understood by laypeople, as did John Tyndall and Svante Arrhenius. Scientists should move from writing plots for disaster movies to working to improve our lives. The news media are terrible at writing about science because they often have no interest in what's true, they just want attention.
This opinion is summarized from Chapter 8 of Politics and Climate Change: A History
The bibliography can be downloaded here.