“When scientific views come under political attack, so too does independent thinking and good policy-making”
Over the years, I have applied for several federal grants. Two in particular, submitted to NASA and the USDA (the latter involved using precipitation estimates by weather radar to enhance agricultural planning which had nothing to do with climate change), were never reviewed. It is not that I have received bad reviews; indeed, I have received no reviews at all. Program officers refuse to provide reviews and even to respond by e-mail or telephone. My understanding is that this is related to Anderegg et al. (2010) which often is used as a type of ‘black list’ to identify “researchers unconvinced of anthropogenic global warming,” to use their terminology.
As existed in the case of Lysenkoism in the Soviet Union, a healthy scientific discussion is being subverted for political and personal gain. With the recent case of Professor Lennart Bengtsson and the story I have told here, scientists who deviate from the anthropogenic global warming playbook are likely to be harassed, have grants and proposals rejected without review, be treated more harshly than their peers, and be removed from positions of power and influence. I would have hoped that in the past decade, the discussion has become more civil. Indeed, a civil discussion can be had with some scientists that believe in the extreme scenarios of anthropogenic global warming. But too many in places of prominence and with loud voices have made this a war zone. Scientists like Bengtsson and myself have tenure or its equivalent and are somewhat insulated from the extreme attacks. But young scientists quickly learn to ‘do what is expected of them’ or at least remain quiet, lest they lose their career before it begins.
I leave you with this thought: When scientific views come under political attack, so too does independent thinking and good policy-making because all require rational thought to be effective.