Right-Wing Funded Universities: Do Things Go Better With Koch?

Gaius Publius at AMERICAblog lists a few universities bought and paid for by right-wing funders… and the list may surprise you. Among the ones that surprised me is MIT, a school I seriously considered attending until Rice University made me a scholarship offer a poor kid couldn’t refuse; MIT, a school with a heretofore sterling reputation for integrity and quality engineering education.

So why is MIT’s Alfred P. Sloan professor of meteorology an outspoken climate change denialist? Could right-wing funding of the Heartland Institute, a major backer of university faculty members who deny global climate change, have anything to do with his position? I don’t know, and I’m not quite prepared to accept the worst about MIT yet. There was a time when climate change skepticism was appropriate for a serious scientist, but that time is a decade or two in the past now: climate change is real, and it is underway right now. That position from a distinguished faculty member at MIT is the last thing I would have expected.

As for American education in the sciences and engineering, if faculty positions are being filled by the choices of the Koch brothers (as happens at Florida State University, for example), America’s day in the sun in scientific and technological research is coming to a close. Science and technology do not follow the axioms of political hacks of any stripe, and those who insist on pretending they do are doomed to ignominious failure… no matter how many professorships they buy.

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  • jams o donnell (Shaun Downey)  On Sunday February 19, 2012 at 10:15 am

    While we have our fair share of arseholes here, I get the feeling that a substantial minority of Americans won’t be happy until they live in a christian version of Iran. To the Talibaptists I say “stick your creationism, climate change denial and other anti science views up your collective arses”. Even the Catholic church embraces science and I have few kind words for the faith I was brought up in!

    • Steve  On Sunday February 19, 2012 at 11:34 am

      Shaun, I’ve come to see that these extremists mistake the First Amendment’s assurance of unbounded freedom of belief… the true meaning of freedom of religion in America… for a kind of freedom of action on behalf of religion that is simply not guaranteed. As I noted on one of NTodd’s threads recently, one may believe firmly in the necessity of practicing ritual human sacrifice to propitiate the gods, but if you actually perform such, you’re still guilty of murder. If the current bunch of crazies seem less extreme than that right now, I think it’s just a matter of time before they come out for enforcement, with violence if necessary, of their particular religious practices in American society at large. Just look how far they’ve come in the past decade. And I’m sad to report that lately, the US Council of Catholic Bishops is as extreme as any of them.

      I see a lot of references to Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale lately, and while I don’t see our circumstance following that particular path, I do think America is in real danger of succumbing to the insanity of the Talibaptists. As for me, to paraphrase the NRA, they’ll take away my condom when they pry my cold, dead, fingers… oh, wait, that parallel doesn’t work, does it? 😈

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