Monday, May 10, 2010

Virginia AG Cuccinelli is not only trying to kill Academic Freedom, he is trying to kill America's economic advantage

Mark Thoma sends me to Barkley Rosser:

This is in today's daily links, but I think it deserves a bit more notice:
Virginia AG Cuccinelli Out To Kill Academic Freedom, by Barkley Rosser: Friday's WaPo reports that Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, following up on his efforts to end efforts by state universities and colleges to avoid discriminating against GLBT folks, has decided to interfere directly in scientific research in a criminal way. In particular, Cuccinelli is claiming that climate scientist, Michael Mann of hockey stick fame, engaged in billing fraud with the state while working on this subject while a professor of environmental sciences at the University of Virginia, where he has not been located for some years (now at Penn State). Cuccinelli is demanding all kinds of emails and other materials from the university, apparently attempting to imitate the climategate gang that did this over at East Anglia, only to end up with no fraud being discovered.

I think that some of the critics of Mann's work were correct, but this is an outrage. There is no evidence at all of fraud (and those claiming the email in which he spoke of using a "trick" as evidence for this do not understand or are willfully misrepresenting how this term is used in these situations) on his part, whatever errors he may have made in his study of the hockey stick (and it really does not matter exactly what the temperature was 1000 years ago; I have posted on this here previously). ...

Beyond the fact that I find Cuccinelli's attacks to be morally repugnant, they are also aiming for the heart of what remains of America's economic advantage: its ability to innovate. One of the reasons we are so good at innovation is because we have a research culture like no other nation, a culture that comes from universities that are, by world standards, intellectually free and well supported. The smartest people from all over the world come to the US for its universities, and then they stay to do research and to start businesses. Does the Ayatolla Cuccinelli really want to undermine this? Wait, don't answer that...


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