Friday, November 11, 2011

Penn State's Other Disgrace: Academic Department For Sale

I've not written on the horrible events that have been uncovered in State College because I've no idea what to say other than how absolutely horrible it all is. A reporter this morning discussing the internal committee at Penn State that would be investigating the matter, said that the goal would be both to uncover the truth but would include high profile names in order to protect the reputation of the institution. The host remarked that the scandal itself came in part from the desire to protect the institution's reputation.

But for those who live in parts of Pennsylvania, Penn State's reputation is already sullied. When a geologist steps forward as an expert and identifies himself as being from Penn State, locals know not to take him at his word, words that have been bought and paid for, words that he could lose his job if he does not utter. The geology department at Penn State is a model of the lack of academic integrity we expect from researchers. If you've not listened to this program, please do:

What we see in the financial sector, the banks controlling government and using "deregulation" as a means of shifting wealth from the rest of society to the richest is no longer subject to the Willie Sutton rule -- banks aren't the only places where the money is. The Mafia knows to get its fingers in all sorts of pies and the banksters are like the gangsters; they branch out when there's money to be found elsewhere and that has meant science.

I'll comment more on this issue in the coming weeks (I'm reading David Michaels' book Doubt Is their Product, a must-read), but here I just want to carve out a first spot to begin to reflect on the corrupting influence of corporate money in science.