As many of you are aware, astrophysicist and paid climate change denier Willie Soon was recently exposed as the sell-out of the century, having received 100% of his research funding from fossil fuel companies in exchange for writing bogus scientific papers denying the validity of anthropogenic climate change.
Soon was able to publish under the moniker of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and, as such, some of his emails and correspondence were made available to Greenpeace under the Freedom of Information Act (since the Smithsonian Institution is a government agency). After Soon’s “deliverables” (as he called them) and dodgy funding agreements were made public, the Smithsonian issued the following statement, clearly trying to cover it’s arse. Did they know what was going on with Soon and his contractual obligation to fulfill certain publication requirements for gas and oil companies? Absolutely. They signed the agreements. Did they allow him to carry on with his damaging charade until they were “outed” by Greenpeace? Yes they did. STRIKE ONE.
One would think that, given the negative publicity of the recent Soon incident, and in an attempt to heal a bruised reputation, the Smithsonian would clean up its proverbial act. Nope. It even appears that they are doubling down on their bad alliances. The Smithsonian, much like our politicians, just can’t seem to say “no” to petrodollars, which they apparently accept to the tune of over $35 million dollars in donations from Koch brother, David in exchange for their intellectual and/or scientific integrity. When clicking on the ThinkProgress article (linked above) be sure to watch their YouTube video which has a running commentary by the author, Joe Romm, as he walks through the Smithsonian exhibit in question. The showcase about human evolution manages to somehow glorify (bizarre) “benefits” of a warming planet, among many other inaccuracies, however, for me as a parent, and also as someone who went to graduate school in Washington, D.C., and who visited Smithsonian exhibits for years, that is not the most disturbing thing about the video. It isn’t Romm’s reaction and comments about the inaccuracies and misconceptions being presented as fact. For me, it’s the sound of school children rustling about the museum, excitedly viewing the intentionally misleading and factually incorrect exhibit. Essentially, they are being brainwashed at a young age to instinctively feel that a) the climate innocuously changes all the time, and b) it is precisely BECAUSE of this change that humans have even been lucky enough to have evolved, and c) therefore, it won’t be a problem when the climate changes again because we’ll all just change along with it. Wrong, wrong, wrong. Evil, really.
Just as the Susan G. Komen Foundation sold it’s soul to it’s petroleum-soaked Board of Directors last October when it launched it’s much maligned campaign advocating fracking (“Drilling for a cure”), the Smithsonian has become intellectually and “morally” bankrupt by those same petrodollars. STRIKE TWO.
This one feels like more of a betrayal than the Komen incident, but maybe that’s just because it’s fresher. And now scientists are demanding the Smithsonian divest from fossil fuel industry donations in exchange for some semblance of credibility. If you would like to write to the Smithsonian, asking them to decline further funding from the fossil fuel industry and (especially) to correct or remove the Koch exhibit, please send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
You don’t have to be a baseball player to know what STRIKE THREE means.