Saturday, January 29, 2022

How much does it cost to buy a scientist? Less than you would imagine, and it is perfectly legal




Not a long, long time ago, in a region not so far, far away, a private company decided to set up a CO2 extraction plant. The idea was to extract carbon dioxide from the ground and to use it to make effervescent soft drinks and things like that.  Yes, exactly the opposite of the "carbon capture and storage" (CCS) that we are supposed to do to combat global warming. 

When the story became known, the debate flared on the media. People and associations took sides against the new plant. The university was involved, and several scientists released interviews where they noted the contradiction of extracting CO2 instead of burying it. Fortunately, the public outrage was sufficient to force the regional government to stop the plan. The plant was not built and, with some luck, never will be. 

All is well that ends well, but there is a detail in the story that you may find interesting. It happens that I know very well the university of the region I am talking about. In particular, there was a faculty member, a geologist, who was supposed to be an expert on the geological properties of the area where the CO2 extraction was supposed to take place. He was a person who could criticize the story from a soundly based scientific viewpoint. But, during the debate, curiously, he remained silent. And, perhaps not so curiously, I discovered that he had accepted a research grant from exactly that company planning to extract CO2. 

Mind you, it was all perfectly legal and public: the grant was approved by the university's administration, it was legitimate scientific research, had no strings attached, nor it prevented the scientist from saying what he thought. And I am sure that the colleague who accepted that grant didn't think he was selling himself to a company: research was his job and that was what he was doing. But, of course, once you accept a grant from a company, it is hard to go public and say that that same company is destroying the environment. But since it was all legal and public, anyone interested could find out how much money the grant involved: about 25,000 euros. Yes, you can buy the silence of a scientist with that kind of money. At least in Italy, where researchers are normally poor and underfinanced. 

On the opposite side of corruption, I could tell you the recent case of a virologist who was initially critical of the government. Then, at some moment he told me that he was very happy because he had obtained a big research grant on vaccines. I don't know how much, but it was surely over one million euros. Curiously (not so curiously), he rapidly changed his position, becoming a supporter of the government's policies.

These are just personal recollections and have no value in statistical terms. But corruption in science is a well-known story, especially in medicine. You may know John Ioannidis's article "Why most published research findings are false." This title is a little hyped, but Ioannidis is one of the best-known and most cited epidemiologists in the world, and I think it is reasonable to believe that it is a valid statement in medical research. Read also Malcolm McKendrick's book "The Clot Thickens" and it will give you plenty of food for thought on how the pharmaceutical industry can pervert entire scientific fields. 

The two cases I am reporting may be two extremes of the same story. Buying a scientist or, at least, a scientist's silence, may cost anything between a few tens of thousands of dollars to a million and even more. It depends on the rank of the scientists and on the amount of money available. Surely, extracting CO2 is good business, but it does not involve such enormous budgets as those of pharmaceutical companies. Think that a company such as GAVI (Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization). It has a budget of several billion dollars to be used for no other purpose than promoting vaccines worldwide. You can understand how they can direct research in their field in certain directions rather than in others. 

Let me repeat, it is all perfectly legal. Not only it is legal, but all research institutions encourage their employees to get grants from private companies. And don't think that scientists pocket that money. That would be against their own interests. The grant money is mostly used to pay the overexploited and underpaid young scientists who actually do the research work. The boss is mainly interested in the "prestige points" that the research provides in order to promote his/her career. That does not exclude the possibility that a scientist could actually cash in by consultancies or shares in companies. I am sure it happens, too. 

That doesn't mean all science is corrupted. It depends on the field of study. For instance, climate science is nearly free from corruption, as far as I know. It is simply because studying climate does not involve selling products directly to the public. Of course, there is an active greenwashing industry that proposes bogus products based on the results of climate science -- the hydrogen lobby is a good example. But it is not equivalent to the pharmaceutical industry in terms of sheer lobbying power and, besides, they have no direct economic interest in corrupting climate scientists.   

At this point, I am sure you want to ask me, "Ugo, aren't you a scientist, too? Are you corrupted?" I am a normal human being and if someone were to offer me a million dollars for my silence (or worse) on some scientific question, well, I am not sure of what I would do (Mr. Gates, are you reading this blog, by any chance?). Fortunately for my soul, for most of my career I have been working in a field that was free from corruption: materials for the aerospace industry. There, you are not supposed to sell hyped products to a gullible public. You work with things used on real planes that carry real people around. No propaganda tricks allowed: planes must fly and no plane ever could fly just because propaganda said it could. Maybe I should have become a virologist, but it is a little late for me, now. 

This said, it should be clear that we have a big problem of corruption whenever science deals with something that is sold to the public and provides large profits. Not just big. It is enormous. Things have changed a lot from when scientists could win their battle against a powerful industrial lobby. The story of how the Tobacco industry lobby was defeated in the 1950s and 1960s looks like a fairy tale, today. 

So, why this disaster? In many ways, it is the result of misguided policies aimed at improving efficiency, a rush to create a more and more competitive environment in scientific research. The best scientists are supposed to be those who can publish more papers in reputable journals, but publishing papers is expensive, especially in reputable journals. So, the highest rank scientists are those who can collect the fattest research grants. The competition is truly brutal and you may imagine how scientists may be tempted to allow themselves a little leeway with truth in exchange for resources to carry on with their work. 

So, having a Ph.D., or being a distinguished professor is no guarantee of not being a liar or, worse, a criminal. Yet, our public dialog is operating on the basis of exactly this assumption: that scientists are supposed to be honest because they are scientists. Unfortunately, this is not the way the real world works. 

Remedying this disaster will take a lot of time, and "Science" may never recover from the blows it has taken with the recent events. As a general comment, in the following, I am reproducing an article by Stefano Carusi, a theologian. Mr. Carusi's views of what science is are clearly limited. But it is an interesting document on how science is seen from the "outside." If Carusi misunderstands science the way he does, it is a fault of us, scientists, not of his. 

And Carusi clearly understands where the real problem is: it is a moral problem. If you prefer to use another term, you can say it is a question of integrity. It is the same thing. This text is worth reading for everyone, even just for this paragraph:

...... the reliability of the witness in this matter is capital. Therefore, since there is no evidence, for the one who, like Aristotle, keeps his feet on the ground and wants to make a morally good choice it is also necessary - and it is truly "scientific" - to ask: is the witness interested? Has he shown me in full the studies that led him to such conclusions? If he were to argue the opposite thesis, would he be kicked out of the university or his job? Is he proposing as "certain" what is in still "uncertain", therefore he is intellectually dishonest? Is it possible that some scientists, even if they are numerous, can be conditioned, especially if considerable interests are at stake, or succubi of power? Have there ever been repressions that may have conditioned the freedom of the scientist? Is the so-called consensus of the "scientific community", especially if the study is in its embryonic stage, real as a result of unimpeachable studies, or is it also the result of those who control the "emotional consensus of the masses"?


The Morality of "believing" scientific data

By Don Stefano Carusi, January 17, 2022

"I believe in science", "you have to believe in science", are the phrases that resonate today at every turn to request or justify their aprioristic assent to a set of "scientific" data, including those that sometimes can not be known except by very few experts and perhaps with certainty even by them. As a matter of fact, today we are witnessing, on a background of stratospheric interests, the fusion of a supposed "Faith in Science" with the emotionality wisely led by the Media, which in turn is given a blind assent. And it is precisely that same media consensus, which does not spare the use of hysterical irrationality, to invoke incessantly the coverage of "science" in which "we must believe". The same sophisticated people who had taught us until recently that "Science" (the one with a capital letter) excludes any belief, least of all in God, tell us today that we must "believe in science" and some ecclesiastics have even arrived to say, in the prevailing subservience to worldly powers, that it is a grave sin not to obey the current theses of "science".

How is it possible that scientism of rationalist matrix is marrying so well with the emotionality of immanentist inspiration and therefore very little "rational"? The profound reason for this marriage lies in the death of the philosophy of reality, that of common sense on which classical metaphysics is based, and in scientism which, after all, since its birth, needs to survive immanentism, that is, a fervent activity of the ego, creator of reality, which replaces metaphysics by reinventing reality, perhaps using mathematics where mathematics does not have much to say. It is in this way that the connotations of scientism become those of a real religion, a religion revealed in addition, certainly not by God, but by the organs that "reveal" the correct thinking, demanding assent and creating consensus. This process, which is logically anti-scientific, deserves a long study, in this article we focus for the moment on the almost dogmatic assertion "I believe in science" and its moral implications.

I believe...

First of all "I believe". What does "believe" mean? Remaining at a natural level and without wanting to enter into the discourse on infused faith that is not our object, we can say that "to believe" means to submit the intelligence to an object not evident in itself or evident in itself, but not to the one who believes.

To make some examples we can think about our date of birth, my mother has evidence that it happened on January 3rd, I do not. I believe her word because she knows that with certainty and I am sure she does not deceive me. This certainty is called "evidentia in attestante". I trust the one who attests, who has direct knowledge and evidence of what he says. In the scientific field, this type of assent is the one that comes from those who believe a scientist who has done an experiment that with absolute certainty has given a result, an evident and certain result for the scientist, but not for the student who "believes" him, because he "has faith in him", in this case prudently. Different is the case in which there is no certain evidence even from the scientist who studies, in that case, the certainty decreases, because the "evidentia in attestante" is missing. It is the case, for example, of what is at the center of the earth, a fact that is not evident to anyone and will not be for some time. If I affirm that there is an incandescent nucleus I do it out of faith, natural faith in a scientific hypothesis that, present in all school books, has become "consensus", perhaps even credible, but that remains a hypothesis for the scholar who has invented it and who believes in it, not for "science" in the strict sense, as we will see. An assertion that remains hypothesis for the scientist and for the student who has decided to believe it. In this case, compared to the previous case, the acts of faith are at least two, the first is that of the scientist to his own theory - be it well founded - the second is that of the student who in turn believes the scientist. If there is a chain of intermediaries, acts of faith multiply. If then all a "scientific community" decided to believe to the hypothesis not proved by anyone, there are as many acts of faith as scientists "believing" to the incandescent nucleus that no one has ever seen, nor drilled with coring experiments, but only hypothesized because of some "effects". Here, for completeness, it should be remembered also a phenomenon that has very little that we can define as "scientific", in fact the claim of scientism to give answers to everything suffers from having to remain silent on fundamental issues, so in front of some mysteries of nature not yet clarified prefers to have faith in a hypothesis and if necessary to standardize the consensus of faith. A bit like some scientists admitted some time ago: "We must believe in Darwinism - even if the evidence is poor - because otherwise there is nothing left but creationism", but since the Creation is a "heresy" condemned by their dogma, we can not even think about it ...

Simplifying we could say that when I do not have evidence of a hypothesis that I have not seen, known, studied and demonstrated personally, when I do not have therefore direct access to the veracity of such statement, I can choose to "believe it". It is not obvious for my sense to believe it, but my intelligence, most of the time because of the authority and the truthfulness of those who propose me to believe such a thing, for an intervention of my will, submits and says - without having evidence or without having demonstrated - "I believe", "I believe you", "I believe". Believing by natural faith, placing faith in such a witness who tells me something that is not evident to me, is a process that is not only legitimate but necessary to daily life and praiseworthy, if prudent, just as it would be absurd to verify every time with chemical analysis what I buy from the baker: I trust him to be trustworthy both because he knows what he has put in the bread and because he has always acted well and without deception. The reliability of the witness is obviously a fundamental premise of a belief in every field, including the "scientific" one.

..in science"

What is meant by "science"? For Aristotle, who starts from the so-called "philosophy of common sense" (see "For the revival of perennial philosophy"), science is the certain knowledge by means of the necessary cause. Science means knowing the proper causes of things. In a judgment of science therefore properly so called one does not "believe". One does not believe because either one has immediate and evident perception of the truth or one has a rational demonstration that excludes all doubt. I know through necessary causes, I know that that a thing necessarily is the cause of that other thing and not of another. In this case, we speak of science proper, not of faith. I know, I do not believe. Although not excluding different levels in the rigor of the demonstration according to the different fields, in Aristotelianism the properly scientific procedure is when from a known thing I come to the knowledge of another thing that before was not known to me and I know the relationship of necessary cause-effect between the two things.

For the vision of some moderns, but it would be better to say for the nineteenth-century scientist positivism, largely outdated, but hard to die in its rhetoric, science is only the description of phenomena through the so-called "scientific method". That is, wanting to reach objectivity, once a phenomenon is observed we try to create a mathematical model that describes the operation of the phenomenon under certain conditions, then we go to verify this model with experiments to verify its validity. It is clear that such "scientific knowledge" is not an object of faith. I do not believe it, I demonstrate it. No one disputes that it is true, it is only disputed that given the "mathematical limits" that is imposed, underestimates too much the abstract capabilities of human intelligence in front of other types of knowledge and, being "laboratory science", it is valid only when certain precise conditions can be reproduced.

It is true, however, that not all sciences, while remaining true sciences according to their graduation and in relation to their object and method, are attributable sic et simpliciter to the evidence of truth or to the necessary rational demonstration, as Aristotle would say, or to the experimental scientific method with its reversibility of verification, reproduction in the laboratory, linearity and clarity of the use of mathematics, as the scientist would say. Not only the same modern experimental physics reminds us today that we cannot know directly many phenomena, but only describe approximately their effects (think of the description of the behavior of the electron), but there are sciences such as experimental medicine and biology, for example, which can not be handled only with criteria of necessity of the conclusions. In fact they are not able to trace the "causes" of all "effects" and often they can only hypothesize, without being able to "reproduce the phenomenon" also because it has often too many "variants". There are more plausible explanations, so when we are in the need to choose or to build a system of study, can also legitimately intervene in the process of study the statement "I believe". It can intervene precisely because there is no absolute science in the sense described above, and it is also necessary to assume in specific cases the assent of "I believe". This is not at all uncommon in this type of study, since in order to proceed it may also be necessary to assume a truth. In such a case it is "an active attitude of the mind that formulates to itself the adhesion given to an utterance, where one or other of the elements required for scientific knowledge is lacking", that is, it lacks precisely "perfect certainty, which excludes the risk of error" and lacks "evidence, capable of imposing itself on all minds "(1).

Therefore we repeat what happens: "the mind formulates to itself the adherence to this statement", in other words, "it believes it", the process is therefore internal to us, it is not an unquestionable constatation of certain facts totally external to the ego. So the more it is necessary to claim that "we believe in science" to defend the given opinion, the more we are stating that the thesis does not enjoy at all the scientific certainty properly said, that is the knowledge through the necessary causes if we are Aristotelian or the verification with the scientific method if we want to limit ourselves to the old positivist model. In both cases, having to say "I believe in science" means to affirm that the certainty that one has in other fields of science is lacking.

The assent given in such a case "expresses a choice between possible affirmation and negation, or between several possible statements". It thus becomes forcibly the voluntary choice of an opinion. Let us emphasize that voluntary does not mean arbitrary, but that the intelligence alone, in this case, is not simply ascertaining an evident truth, but the will must intervene, which, having evaluated a set of factors, makes its free choice in a sense. And this is because we are in the field of belief-opinion, which "involves for itself the risk of error, insofar as it is insufficiently founded from the experimental or rational point of view, and this risk is necessarily recognized by the one who opines. "(2) One must therefore recognize this, not lie to one's intelligence and admit the non-obvious nature of the statement.

Morality of "believing" scientific data

Even in the "scientific" field, therefore, it is often a matter of the opinion of such and such a scholar, who - if he is honest - must admit that he himself made a voluntary choice in favor of an opinion, even if it is the most probable; The scholar's opinion is then proposed to the person who, not having directly studied the hypothesis, can in turn (not being a dogma of infused faith necessary for eternal salvation) choose whether to believe or not, based on criteria that rest on the competence of the discoverer, on the intellectual honesty shown during his life and also on his economic disinterest, on his immunity from the logic of career, prestige or blackmail, all factors that increase its credibility.

And this because the reliability of the witness in this matter is capital. Therefore, since there is no evidence, for the one who, like Aristotle, keeps his feet on the ground and wants to make a morally good choice it is also necessary - and it is truly "scientific" - to ask: is the witness interested? Has he shown me in full the studies that led him to such conclusions? If he were to argue the opposite thesis would he be kicked out of the university or his job? Is he proposing as "certain" what is in still "uncertain", therefore he is intellectually dishonest? Is it possible that some scientists, even if they are numerous, can be conditioned, especially if considerable interests are at stake, or succubi of power? Have there ever been repressions that may have conditioned the freedom of the scientist? Is the so-called consensus of the "scientific community", especially if the study is in its embryonic stage, real as a result of unimpeachable studies, or is it also the result of those who control the "emotional consensus of the masses"?

These questions certainly can not enter into a "mathematical model" or an "index of positivity", but they are truly scientific because my knowledge through the causes, if it must "believe" a scientific fact, must also question the credibility and therefore the disinterest of the witness. Only in this way will my act of believing be prudent. What has been said - for those who have remained anchored to the realist philosophy and do not dream of a scientific knowledge that has answers to everything and immediately in the form of an algorithm - is even more true in the early years following a discovery. Particularly in medical experiments, remembering that our knowledge of the functioning of the human body has limits, let alone the immune system. Some discoveries acquire if not absolute scientificity, at least more credibility when they have been screened by time. My "faith" is not in science - which means nothing - but in that specific medical treatment now established because it has borne good fruit in the long term, has also become over time "reasonable faith". Or even "so reasonable" that it would be even imprudent not to believe in it because of the many confirmations received over the years. But the contrary is also true: from a moral point of view it could be seriously imprudent, and it could also be a serious sin of credulity - if there is full warning - to give one's assent imprudently, that is without the necessary verifications. Especially if we have roles as scientists, doctors, or rulers, with serious responsibilities on those who listen or obey us.

In conclusion, I can believe in this or that scientist for well-founded reasons and not emotional or convenient, but to say "I believe in Science" means nothing. There is not a belief in Science, there is a possibility to attribute lesser or greater credibility to a scholar or another regarding a specific statement. The rest is only that irrational emotionality intimately connected to the above-mentioned nineteenth-century positivist scientism, which, having repudiated the classical metaphysics, when lacking certainties tries to impose them "by majorities" real or fictitious.

1 R. Jolivet, Psicologia, Brescia 1958, p. 569.

2 Ibidem.


 

  

11 comments:

  1. "In my view, there are three ways a growing economy can be sustained:
    1. With a growing supply of cheap-to-produce energy products, matched to the economy’s energy needs"


    Lifting up a glass of water from thousands of feet-deep in the ground to the surface takes a certain joules and calories to perform, this is regardless of if a man is paid pennies to do that work or his weight in gold...

    1. With a growing supply of cheap-to-produce energy products, matched to the economy’s energy needs - [even when there is no such thing as cheap-to-produce Energy products - is an invitation for the world to loot the produced-energy needed]

    A growing supply of cheap-to-produce energy products, matched to the economy’s energy needs - is practically a call to loot the finite Energy products needed for the sake of Economy...

    "How much does it cost to buy a scientist" is a derivative of this very same reality - the whole system is ethically, morally and intellectually unreal - claiming itself a closed-system, when actually it is really a system of looting...

    In a System that is looting-based at its foundation, no honest work becomes rewarding - buying people and looting nations - become the System....

    Scientists cannot be blamed for the corruption of a system that is determined by its elders to be corrupted at foundation - no matter how scientists themselves become corrupted - living inside the system.

    Watch "Paul Davies: What's Eating The Universe" [, Scientists and Humanity ] - where nobody can tell from his statements what is and is not bought in his speech for money...

    From now on, and as humans have destroyed all fossil fuel reserves - for good, philosophers will start the long journey of trying and fathoming how low and primitive man is, how humanity is deeply immoral, unethical and behaves no better than the lowest IQ members of the rest of the animal kingdom.

    "No Energy store holds enough Energy to extract an amount of Energy equal to the total Energy it stores.

    Energy, like time, flows from past to future".

    Wailing.

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  2. 20 years go I worked with a certain California university dentistry dept. and put together a clinical trial. I helped design the protocols, worked with many of the groups, and help compile data.

    When it was all over and the people incharge, the university representative from the dept. and I met and she asked me "ok, how do you want this to read?".

    Honestly I was a little flustered by this question and was unsure about what was actually meant so I ask her to clarify. She said that at this point it could go several ways. I asked in her experience what it was that seemed to stand out to her about this trial, thinking I knew the answer because I thought it was very positive. She said that it went like most trials and could be interpreted in many different ways and she didn't want us to be disappointed or disillusioned so she was asking directly what it was that we expected. This actually seemed to be an almost reasonable response and I laid out what it was that I thought I saw in the process. She nodded her head and we parted ways, and she put together the report.

    The whole thing was disconcerting for me. I did not expect the process to be like that. When I related this all to a good friend who was one of the major investors who was also an award winning medical professional and multi-millionaire he said that I was being naive.

    Nothing bad or evil occurred but it wasn't exactly science either.

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  3. Hello Ugo,

    I love your sequence of articles about the religion of Scientism and Growth, in the church of the Holy Progress.

    As you have mentioned before, the cleanup of the indulgances of the Catholic Church in the 1500s led to a breakdown of power in many parts of the world.
    Let's see when the factions of Scientism start their own 30-years-war.

    I have worked in academia and industrial R&D and corruption is rife. Most people are well-intended, but moral fortitude is not always there. Shortcuts are tempting, and as Solzhenitsyn pointed out - the line between good and evil runs through the middle of all our hearts. It is indeed a moral problem.

    I think that the risk is extra high where the grant money is significant and/or where the commercial interests are strong and wealthy, like you say.
    A beautiful example is shown in the infotainment documentary "Inside Job" about the financial crisis and a "scientist" from an American university talks about a report he wrote, claiming that the Iceland banks were solid. (which they were not. And the researcher got paid by the same banks. Without divulging this in the paper. (watch clip here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yygWXpYoab4)

    At present, there is a lot of money flowing into the "Green Growth Industries", e.g. solar PV, wind, carbon credits, carbon sinks etc.
    That is pushing many researchers to claim all kinds of statements, in order to get grants.
    I suspect that many of the individuals kind of believe what they are saying, even when it makes no sense.
    (Upton Sinclair -- 'It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.')

    Relevant to the Seneca Cliff, there was an exchange of "opinions" in reaction to the excellent paper by Rees and Seibert (https://www.mdpi.com/1996-1073/14/15) about seeing climate change as a symptom of overshoot.
    Here is a link to the "reactions" and "rebuttals": https://shoutout.wix.com/so/31NwXFHwM?languageTag=en&cid=722f3b74-8e36-4326-9880-e62d7cb8f456#/main
    I think this is very interesting reading, since the arguments are not at all about the main premise of the article, but details that would endanger the professional prestige of the "reactors". Please note the tone of the different people as well. Who sounds afraid to be exposed?
    Even though it is not a black-white example of quid-pro-quo corruption, I think it is a very similar dynamic to the main point of your article.

    Let's hope you get bribed well, and soon, so that you have good funds to setup a Seneca Effect Institute. ;)


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    Replies
    1. Thanks, Goran, I am waiting for a phone call from Mr. Gates.....

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  4. I don't think it's a coincidence that most of the great scientists were "gentlemen of leisure" and amateurs (from "amare" meaning "love"). Once upon a time, the university provided an environment that promoted both of these things but, as you point out, it's now a cuthroat world of grant money and peer reviewed groupthink.

    Scientists are not alone, of course, in choosing money over morality. Here in Australia, at the start of corona doctors and nurses were explicitly told to stay silent or they would be de-certified. No surprises then that we have heard nothing from them except a few whistleblowers here and there who have been easily swept under the rug.

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  5. I've long thought there ought to be a divide between govt and science, the way there is (however imperfectly) between govt and religion. Those that think any of current science and medicine can be trusted are kidding themselves.
    Vera

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  6. El gato malo on substack has just published on this topic. Here is an excerpt:

    "the government picks scientists who tell it what it wants to hear. these are elevated. others are starved. soon, anyone entering a field knows that “if you want have a career, you need to study X and your conclusions must look like Y.” this is not exploration, it’s justification. this, in turn, supports the “right sort of government,” a technocratic government, not one pushing choice or a small state. that’s no use to the grant grabbers and subsidy snufflers. so “the science” always comes down on the side of fascist systems because that’s where the gravy train is.

    and this is a bad, bad cycle for those in search of personal rights and agency, for the whole point of a technocratic state is to tell you what to do for your own good and get rich and powerful while doing so.

    so it all comes down to money and who gets to hand it out.

    the grant and subsidy system for american science has become VAST and this vastness poses several problems:

    1. it crowds out private science. you cannot compete against those getting free money with money you have to raise, pay back, and provide return upon. this is especially true in basic science whose time to return is longer and outcomes less certain. this pushes the private sector out of entire fields.

    2. it allocates funding based on non-market considerations. there is no valid system to compare alternative uses of scarce capital. it is instead allocated using patronage and the preferences of bureaucrats aspiring to be princes. this becomes both self serving and self supporting. it results in deep and enduring regulatory and public choice capture.

    3. this concentrates the power of the purse and thereby the power to literally direct and shape the sweep of scientific endeavor into the hands of a small, unaccountable aristocracy who in turn, feed a set of select universities, ideologies, and organizations drawing them into their financial and dogmatic orbits. and the gravity of such systems comes to dominate everything."

    Vera

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  7. " And, perhaps not so curiously, I discovered that he had accepted a research grant from exactly that company planning to extract CO2. "
    I do not see any persuasive argument for allowing this purchased silence 'scientist' to be entitled to anonymity. And the moral and ethical lines of difference between purchased speech and purchased silence I'd like to hear the arguments on.

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  8. "Climate research" is nearly free of corruption? Here in the US, just the opposite is true...Billions are spent on largely bogus climate research and the doctoring of temperature records to support it..Hundreds of billions are spent on wasteful and largely useless "green energy" schemes backed up by that "research", some of which I have worked on as a lawyer...It's the most profitable scientific scam going...,

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  9. Hi Prof. Bardi, "Climate research nearly free from corruption"? Give me a break.
    Much established academic climate science give us fragmented middle-of the road bits of the situation carefully ignoring the overall practical calamity we are in. With the help of thousands of scientists this is further watered down into politically correct IPCC reports which are consistently far too optimistic and border on lies if they are not outright lies.

    What mostly not discussed is
    1. The complete lack of effect of all climate politics on the rising greenhouse gases.
    2. The compound effect of the many positive feedback loops, e.g. the methane bomb.
    3. The significant acceleration of the warming caused by 1 and 2.
    4. The further acceleration te expect with certainty.
    5. The collapse of the biosphere possibly in decades if not years.

    If scientists would discuss all this explicitely they would risk losing grants and acceptance in the public and political world as James Hansen did (or Semmelweiss or Galilei). While I concede that it would need the qualities of a saint or a martyr to resist, I would not go so far as to say that this politically domesticated science is free from corruption. Indeed it seems to me a model of carefully concealed corruption by the powers that be.

    Always inspired by your contributions

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