Bad for science and academic freedom: harassing Kevin Folta

If you don’t know about the case of anti-GMO activists harassing Dr. Kevin Folta, Professor and Chairman in the Department of Horticultural Sciences at the University of Florida, I’ve written about it extensively over the past few months.

Dr. Folta  is considered to be an expert in plant genetics including genetic modification of plants. He has been studying this field for nearly three decades, published extensively in real peer-reviewed journals, and has trained legions of graduate students. He should be considered a real authority figure in GMO research.

In 2012, Dr. Folta was “targeted” by a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request from an activist to get all of Dr. Folta’s emails about GMOs. If you are unfamiliar with this particular tactic, it is used frequently by climate change deniers to harass and bully climate change scientists.

This will be a repeating theme of this article – the science deniers who are harassing Kevin Folta are almost exactly the same as the science deniers who attack climate change scientists. They must be proud of this.

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Creationism legislation–Oklahoma update 3

One of the two anti-evolution and anti-climate change bills, introduced into the Oklahoma legislature earlier this year, died in committee.  The remaining bill, HB1551, was passed by the Oklahoma House Common Education Committee in February, so may be scheduled for a floor vote soon.  The surviving bill is modeled upon the Louisiana Louisiana Academic Freedom Act, which states:

…the teaching of some scientific subjects, such as biological evolution, the chemical origins of life, global warming, and human cloning, can cause controversy, and that some teachers may be unsure of the expectations concerning how they should present information on such subjects.

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Academic freedom prevails over Republican “witch hunt”

When Republican climate change denialist, Ken Cuccinelli, was elected as attorney general of Virginia, he decided that his position entitled him to squash science that didn’t meet his limited, and clearly anti-science, viewpoint of the world.  Just three months after being elected, he decided to go after Dr. Michael E. Mann, at that time, a University of Virginia geophysicist and world-renowned climatologist.  In other words, Dr. Mann, a real scientist with numerous studies published, offended the Republican anti-science and global warming denialism credo.  That must have spurred Cuccinelli to use his vast powers to suppress such knowledge from the world. Continue reading “Academic freedom prevails over Republican “witch hunt””