I have a few pro-GMO posts on this blog and in every one of them, you will find someone accusing me of being a corporate shill. Someone who takes or accepts money to promote a particular position on a subject.
Whenever you find an idea that is tied in any minuscule way to a corporation, then you will find people who claim that the corporation unduly influences scientists one way or another.
But when people really start looking into where the money is going, it’s not the people who are supporting solid science that are taking money. In general, it’s the people who are rejecting solid science. This is true in vaccines, GMOs, and now, it’s been shown true in global warming circles as well. I’ll take a minute to talk about all of these.
In 1998, Dr. Andrew Wakefield published his infamous (and since retracted) study that purported to show a link between vaccines and autism. What he didn’t in his paper or during his research was that he had filed a patent on a new measles vaccine (instead of the measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) and that he had been working with lawyers for the past two years on a way to discredit the MMR vaccine in order to sue the manufacturers.
In other words, his paper linking autism to the MMR vaccine was a direct result of his desire to make money.
Likewise, we have similar cases in the anti-GMO arena. There have been multiple bills filed by states to require labeling of GMO products. Yet, as I have shown in two of the cases, those bills were heavily sponsored by organic growers. One of them even boldly stated that the bill was to increase the production of organic produce in the state.
Over the last few decades, the scientific consensus on global warming has been solidified. There is no doubt that human caused global warming is real and directly changing our weather and climate.
Today, I read the New York Times expose of one of those climate denier scientists. I have to say, much of this is directly out of the creationist playbook. But the modern denier groups have done so much better than the creationists.
Dr. Wei-Hock Soon has been cited by congressmen and legislatures as being the one guy that rejects all that sill climate change nonsense (talk about cherry-picking). He has written 11 papers rejected human caused climate change. He is often described as a Harvard astrophysicist.
In reality, he has a doctorate in aerospace engineering from Harvard, but is a part-time employee of the Smithsonian Institution. He is also responsible for bringing in his own funds, including salary. What he doesn’t disclose in any of his papers, is where his funding comes from and that violates the ethics guidelines of at least 8 of the journals he published in.
Over $400,000 over the last decade came from Southern Company Services whose parent corporation (Southern Company) has huge investments in coal-burning power plants.
Another $230,000 comes from the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation.
That’s not a killer though. Most scientists are willing to take money from corporations. The problem is when that corporate money changes the science. (Well, the not disclosing the sponsorship is pretty killer.) No, the real killer comes from Greenpeace’s FOIA request.
The documents show that Dr. Soon, in correspondence with his corporate funders, described many of his scientific papers as “deliverables” that he completed in exchange for their money. He used the same term to describe testimony he prepared for Congress.
Combined with his complete failure to disclose such sponsorships, this is compelling evidence that he has thrown science under the bus for a pay check.
Gavin Schmidt, who is a climatologist, say this…
“The science that Willie Soon does is almost pointless,”
This morning, Dr. Schmidt also tweeted the following.
One of the great things about research in US is the multiplicity of funding sources. A soft money career isn’t easy, but it is possible 1/2
— Gavin Schmidt (@ClimateOfGavin) February 21, 2015
But you really need to declare your sources to avoid appearances of conflicts of interest 2/2
— Gavin Schmidt (@ClimateOfGavin) February 21, 2015
Considering that no actual climate scientist agrees with Dr. Soon, Dr. Soon isn’t a climate scientist, and he is not disclosing money for “deliverables”, I find it easy to dismiss his work. But there are so many people who disagree… and those people are in charge, have the money, and are in the legislatures.
One person (and for the life of me I can’t find it on my usual haunts) stated that this is the same thing that doctors say. “I base decisions on medical science, not on who pays me the most.” While that sounds good in theory… we know that’s bullshit too.
I partially agree with Dr. Schmidt. It’s hard to get a soft money career… but it’s much easier if your willing to discard ethics, morals, science, and truth in the name of the all powerful dollar.
A commenter, here, accused me of attacking Casey Luskin cause he has one of those soft money jobs and I don’t. I don’t attack Casey’s ideas because of that, I attack his ideas because they are wrong. Unlike Luskin and Meyer, I have ethics and try my best to tell the truth. I don’t lie for a buck.