Saturday, 10 October 2009

Universities : freedom of speech or politics ?

When being pointed out that the well known climate sceptics often are funded by Exxon, the answer often heard from sceptics side is "yeah, but all scientists are funded by the government and writing whatever politicians want to hear”.
While it is possible to demonstrate that this kind of reasoning is weak, p.ex. by pointing out that a libertarian like professor Frank Van Dun is working for the government (lol ?) , it is impossible to take away the deep mistrust behind such a claim.Unless maybe a sceptic himself testifies the paranoia is unjustified ?
On DGR’s klimatosoof, the latest post is a video-interview emeritus Ton Begemann. One of his claims is that emeriti have the freedom to say what they want, while scientists belonging to universities don’t have the possibility to say what they think, as it would cause them to loose their funding.
This resulted in this comment from Bas van Geel :
Professor Begemann’s claim in universities it is not possible to present a different opinion about climate change - certainly isn’t true for the University of Amsterdam. In my professional environment nobody has ever tried to "correct" me (a sceptic with an opinion based on strong arguments)
In the past 10 years,  i never have had a problem with finding funding either for my research on the role of the sun on climate changes in the past. It is (also) because of this research i started having an alternative opinion on what’s going on with the present-day climate : i still believe that natural variability is much more important than changes caused by mankind.
Dr Bas van Geel, UvA

In a case of extremely good timing, just today Labohm on DDS wrote an article stating scientists are threatened to loose their funding if they don’t follow the masses :-)


  1. Good find! Will you let Labohm know what Bas van Geel said about this? Not that he would change his opinion in the slightest, but still.

    I've heard Bas van Geel speak (in a debate form, against Bas Eikhout). Both were good speakers. Van Geel trumped 1998, Mars, and some more skeptic claptrap, besides his own research into very specific events.

  2. Emeriti do have more freedom to voice their ideas. What people forget, however, is that they (also) have more freedom to voice ideas for which they do not have a proper scientific argumentation. Many claims by (sceptic) emeriti are so unscientific, making similar claims in a grant application would lead to some really nasty comments from the reviewers, and rightfully so. But since they don't deal with such scientific reviewers anymore, they can do whatever they want. Including do lousy science.

  3. Whow. So You have proven that two climate scepticists don't think the same about the same subject. One is contradicting the other. Would that mean that climate scepticism isn't a religion like climate alarmism sometimes seem to be? That you can actually have a different political background and still both question the global warming scenario? I think so.

  4. Bart,

    i haven't contacted Labohm, nor will i do so, as he doesn't want to talk to me any more unless i reveal my identity. Or at least, that's the reason he's giving.

    Nor can i comment on DDS, as Livestro banned me after i posed some questions he didn't seem to wanna answer.

    Above that, that topic on DDS meanwhile has evolved in a way i wouldn't want to answer anymore, as the latest comment is from a climate sceptic quoting Hiteler's Mein Kampf. Sigh.

  5. Gerard,

    I's not soimply a case of two "different" opinions.

    you have given the clou yourself : "One is contradicting the other." or maybe a better way to paraphrase it : one is FALSIFYING the other.

    Van Geel's comment clearly demonstrates that the claims of Begemann and Labohm are INCORRECT.