Friday, July 08, 2011

Academics Against Accountability

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) thinks the law demands excessive transparency:
Reports of harassment, death threats, and legal challenges have created a hostile environment that inhibits the free exchange of scientific findings and ideas and makes it difficult for factual information and scientific analyses to reach policymakers and the public. This both impedes the progress of science and interferes with the application of science to the solution of global problems.

AAAS vigorously opposes attacks on researchers that question their personal and professional integrity or threaten their safety based on displeasure with their scientific conclusions. The progress of science and protection of its integrity depend on both full transparency about the details of scientific methodology and the freedom to follow the pursuit of knowledge. The sharing of research data is vastly different from unreasonable, excessive Freedom of Information Act requests for personal information and voluminous data that are then used to harass and intimidate scientists. The latter serve only as a distraction and make no constructive contribution to the public discourse.
AAAS apparently equates FOIA with death threats--both are harassment. Of course, the data requested under FOIA were taxpayer funded. Thus, they potentially are subject to disclosure--and might contain evidence of government ethics violations.

Worse yet is AAAS's conclusion:
[W]e think it would be unfortunate if policymakers became the arbiters of scientific information and circumvented the peer-review process. Moreover, we are concerned that establishing a practice of aggressive inquiry into the professional histories of scientists whose findings may bear on policy in ways that some find unpalatable could well have a chilling effect on the willingness of scientists to conduct research that intersects with policy-relevant scientific questions.
In another statement, the AAAS amplified:
Especially when the health of our planet and its stewards are at stake, decisions should be grounded on facts and science not faith and politics.
This sounds like bad science fiction: a global government of wise scientists.

The notion that science should trump democracy, policymakers, and the people, is particularly deranged. Plus, it seems that disclosure of information is essential only when Republicans are in charge. Now, silencing of dissent is golden.

Academic freedom isn't an immunity from law. But scratch a liberal, find a fascist.

(via New York Times)


OBloodyHell said...

>>> that question their personal and professional integrity or threaten their safety based on displeasure with their scientific conclusions.

Gee, where were they when various anti-AGW people were getting pilloried?

Funny how libtards want protection only for their own oxen.

Lame-R said...

Welcome to the dawning of the new age of "Evidence-based Tyranny"!

No longer is it about who controls the vote-counting, but who controls the scientific consensus; after all, what good are votes when the world is coming to an end and only science can save us? If we can suspend habeas corpus to save the union, we can surely suspend FOIA to save all of life as we know it...

A_Nonny_Mouse said...

AAAS says "... decisions should be grounded on facts and science not faith and politics ..." -- and then proceeds to bitch and moan about FOIA requests because, dayyum, they don't WANT anybody who's not an acolyte to see and question the "facts" they've been using.

Apparently freedom and facts go only one way in America's various Lib-Prog milieus: "We're free to invent the facts and you're *not* free to challenge them."

Don't these poor fools realize that, no matter how tightly they close ranks, Reality-with-a-capital-R will never yield to "consensus"?

The Pro-Con Disagreement said...

>> Reality-with-a-capital-R will never yield to "consensus"

Actually, I believe Reality-with-a-capital-R has already provided us all with one great big Honkin' "Con Census".... It's been playing off of everyone's "Con Senses" for a good bit now. Now if only the green libbies were afflicted with an attack of their "Con Shenses" we'd be a lot better off.