News of the Day ... In Perspective12/27/2006
Government tries to gag dissenting scientists
Senators Olympia Snowe and Jay Rockefeller recently issued a “gag order” against ExxonMobile in the form of a letter to Rex Tillerson, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. The letter demands that ExxonMobile stop funding a small cadre of scientists who question current global climate change dogma, “publicly acknowledge both the reality of climate change and the role of humans in causing or exacerbating it,” and spend money on “global remediation efforts.”
Although the Senators did not spell out the “or else,” they have enormous power to punish Exxon if it does not kowtow to them. “A windfall profits tax is in the air, and we’ve seen what happens to other companies that dare to resist Congressional intimidation” (Wall Street Journal 12/11/06).
Exxon responded that it will continue to fund free-market research groups because “there is value in the debate” that helps to promote “optimal public policy decisions.”
According to Paul Driessen, senior policy advisor for the Congress on Racial Equality, Senator Barbara Boxer “shamefully treated physician-scientist-author Michael Crichton like a child molester during a congressional hearing” for suggesting rigorous scientific studies of global warming theories. Al Gore seeks to muzzle anyone who “raises inconvenient truths about climate alarmism.” Ross Gelbspan stated that journalists have a responsibility not to report what dissenting scientists say. And Grist magazine wants “Nuremberg-style war crimes trials” for climate disaster skeptics.
Attempts to intimidate and silence scientists with politically incorrect views are not, of course, limited to climate change. After permitting publication of an article critical of evolutionary theory in a scientific journal for which he was an editor, Richard Sternberg was subjected to abuse and discrimination in an effort to get him to resign his position as Research Associate at the Smithsonian. A staff investigation for the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Government Reform concluded in a December 2006 report that Dr. Sternberg’s free speech and civil rights had been violated.
While radical Islamists threaten to kill scholars or even popes who disrespect the Prophet, the threat of corporate or professional death is increasingly being wielded by the U.S. government and government-funded or dependent organizations.