On the corner of 12th Street and New York Avenue, conveniently located midway between the White House and Congress, sits a slate eminence housing the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). It's not there because science bureaucrats enjoy Washington's unbearable summers.
The Guardian got it right last week, in its coverage of the latest AAAS screed on the horrors of climate change, mistakenly calling it the American Association for the Advancement of Scientists. How fitting, for that is what it is, the lobby for Big Science that behaves as all good DC lobbies do, which means kissing up to the Administration in return for taxpayer largesse. In the most recent example, AAAS has just released an awful report on climate, “What We Know: The Reality, Risks, and Response to Climate Change.” Bad grammar, even worse science.
AAAS and Big Science have been in the Washington tank since the end of World War II, when President Roosevelt recognized the utility of addicting scientists, via their academic institutions, to federal money. The blueprint for this artifice was a report he commissioned called “Science, the Endless Frontier,” which proposed the nationalization of science. Even when it first came out in 1945, wags labeled it “Science, the Endless Budget.”
Addiction often causes co-dependence, and so the Universities, which rake off 50% of the research money as “overhead,” became politically correct, espousing everything believed in Big Washington and punishing those who deviate.
Universities pretty much do anything they want with this vigorish, but sometimes they go a bit far. Stanford used it to buy walnut paneling for its yacht, and for literally feathering its president’s bed. The ensuing scandal cost Donald Kennedy his job. Not to worry though, as he was hired as the chief editor for Science, the influential weekly journal published by AAAS. That made him the biggest gatekeeper in American science, and Science quickly became known for its one-sidedness when it came to publishing and reporting on climate change.
In 2007, the senate was debating whether to force Americans to burn up a substantial percent of the world’s food supply by converting corn to ethanol. Even at the time, there was a plethora of scientific arguments noting that this was silly, but instead, AAAS draped a huge sign from the side of their building.
The sign featured an ear of corn morphing into a gas pump, backgrounded by a deep blue, unpolluted sea, and read “Fuel for Thought on Alternative Energy Sources.” Such a pretty picture! Who couldn’t drive by and believe that AAAS thought corn-based ethanol was a wonderful idea? Not much different than hanging a “SOCIALSMO O MUERTE” sign from the Cuban Academy of Sciences.
Its recent report takes the cake. According to AAAS, everyone agrees that climate change is real, is terrible, is going to get worse, and that we must do something about it. Now.
The first one is right, but one out of four is mediocre for baseball, and horrible for science. AAAS has conveniently ignored the two hottest topics in climate change today—1) that climate models have done remarkably poorly in replicating the evolution of global temperature during the past several decades , and 2) that high-end climate horror stories emanating from these lousy models are largely unsupported by observations. Further, they managed to ignore a spate of published science demonstrating that the sensitivity of temperature to carbon dioxide changes was substantially overestimated in those models, shown here.
Being somewhat bereft of pertinent facts, AAAS instead resorts to pounding the table, in this case with the good old appeal to (self appointed) authority:
“We’re the largest general scientific society in the world, and therefore we believe we have an obligation to inform the public and policymakers about what science is showing about any issue in modern life, and climate is a particularly pressing one,” said Dr. Alan Leshner, CEO of AAAS. “As the voice of the scientific community, we need to share what we know and bring policymakers to the table to discuss how to deal with the issue.”
Has anyone noticed that the Administration is obsessed with climate change and that Congress is not? Obama promised before the 2008 election that his policies would “necessarily bankrupt” anyone who built a coal-fired power plant, and the day after the 2010 election (the day he lost control of the House because of his cap-and-trade bill) that he would bypass our elected representatives to fulfill his heated campaign promises.
This power grab, and others like it (see Obamacare), is increasingly distasteful to the American people. But, as I’m sure the AAAS would agree, desperate times call for desperate measures, so, if things are as bad as AAAS says they are, well, so much for your silly separation of powers.
You’d expect better of the nation’s premier scientific organization, but it drank the ethanol years ago. Socalismo o muerte!