28 February 2008

Hurt feelings? Are you kidding me?

Hurt feelingsThis story is weird.

The Minnesota Soybean Growers Association and the Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Council funded research on biofuels.

The research resulting from this came out in Science, about as high-profile and as prestigious as scientific research gets, indicating that biofuels made the carbon emission situation worse rather than better.

The organizations pull their funding.

"The university hurt the farmers' feelings, OK? That's probably the best way to say it," said Jim Palmer, executive director of the two groups.
Wow. Just... wow. "Kill the messenger," anyone?

There seems to be a misunderstanding about the difference between giving money to researchers and giving money to, say, PR firms. Researchers have the obligation to publish their results regardless who paid the money.

Can the people in these agencies not see how this kind of action would tempt researchers to do bad science? To withhold information? How taking this action makes them look even worse?

I'm totally gobsmacked. Again, just... wow.

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