A World Without Experts

Published July 28, 2006

Dear Editor:

Isn’t it a bit disingenuous to attack climatologist Patrick Michaels [“Utilities Pay Scientist Ally on Warming,” July 28] for taking money to fund his ongoing research and advocacy?

Are scientists supposed to work for free? Is any payment from an interested party a “conflict of interest?” And don’t all donors have an “interest”? Foundations have ideological commitments. Corporations (including alternative energy corporations) have financial commitments. Even the government has commitments: the perpetuation of bureaucracy requires urgent problems in need of solution. Who’s left to fund scientific research?

Qui bono (“who benefits”) criticisms are low-hanging fruit for lazy minds. Taken to their logical conclusion, we’re left in an absurd world where the only people qualified to talk on an issue are those with nothing on the line, no credibility, no reputation, and certainly no funding.

Is that a world we want to live in? I don’t think so.


Michael Van Winkle ([email protected])
Research Assistant
The Heartland Institute