Stand with the #Science14

science14_2Biology Fortified is pleased to co-sponsor this important open letter with the Cornell Alliance for Science. I encourage academic scientists and anyone who values academic freedom to stand with the fourteen academic scientists and professors who have been targeted to turn over their correspondence.

Stop the next Climategate: Stand with public sector scientists and show them your support against agenda-driven bullying

It’s a tactic pulled straight from the climate change deniers’ playbook — and now an anti-science, agenda-driven organization is using it to bully another group of scientists.

In early February, 14 senior scientists at four U.S. universities received requests under the Freedom of Information Act (FoIA) to turn over three years worth of e-mail correspondence with a handful of agricultural companies, trade groups, and PR firms.

All of these scientists have proactively engaged with the public to raise scientific awareness about agricultural innovation and contributed to the scientific consensus about the safety of GMOs.

FoIA requests are a vital tool for a transparent democracy. However, this FoIA is clearly a last ditch witch-hunt by an anti-GMO group to mislead the public and keep scientists from doing their work.

We’ve seen this anti-science bullying tactic before in Climategate, where academic discussion was taken out of context to mislead the public.

Broad anti-science campaigns like this are hurting our society.

At a time when the world’s population is expected to rise to more than 9.5 billion by 2050, we need more science, not less, if we are to feed the world without destroying fragile ecosystems and driving more species to extinction.

These scientists need the support of allies like you to protect scientific freedom.

Please join the fight for academic freedom by signing our letter to support the scientists under attack and urging them to stand strong in the face of anti-science bullying.

Letter

Dear Science 14:

To the 14 public sector scientists who are being harassed by agenda-driven, anti-science FoIA requests, I stand with you.

This is a tactic taken directly from the climate deniers’ handbook: to mislead the public on an issue of clear scientific consensus with personal communications taken out of context.

You were targeted because of your engagement with the public on key scientific issues and I don’t want your voice to be silenced. This is the latest step in a broader anti-science campaign that is hurting our society.

The Freedom of Information Act is essential for a healthy democracy, but this request is not in the public interest. This request is clearly a witch-hunt by an anti-science organization with the goal of chilling academic discourse.

I stand with the 14 targeted scientists and urge them to stand up for academic freedom and the protection of scientific discourse.

I urge you to stay strong in the face of anti-science bullying and not compromise your important work.

Sincerely,

Go sign the letter! Send a message to these scientists that you stand with them against this attack, and that you stand for academic freedom in every field. Even if you disagree with any of their views – if you are an academic scientist you owe it to them and yourself to stick up for what is right. Because if the role of public scientists in society continues to become a target for private and political interests, you may be next.
Follow Karl Haro von Mogel:
Karl earned his Ph.D. in Plant Breeding and Plant Genetics at UW-Madison, with a minor in Life Science Communication. His dissertation was on both the genetics of sweet corn and plant genetics outreach. He recently moved back to his home state of California. His favorite produce might just be squash.