DC courts are becoming the place to muzzle scientists

by John McGlothlin | Nov 22, 2017, 12:01 AM

Science is mostly known for groundbreaking discoveries, quirky characters, and complicated theories. But there is another tradition which has long been part of the field — scientists being incredibly mean to each other.

Few professions are as inherently competitive as science, where one researcher can completely invalidate the work of another. The resulting rivalries are fierce and emotions often run high. One botanist named foul-smelling weeds after a rival who called his work “loathsome harlotry.” Another storied dispute gave rise to the epithet “disgusting old fart neoliberal hypocrite.”

These arguments are usually settled with a witty reply or more research, but a misguided decision by the D.C. Court of Appeals is now prompting scientists to file lawsuits instead. If not corrected, this mistake will pose a serious threat to scientific inquiry, free speech, and the status of the nation’s capital as a place where open debate is protected.

Read the full article at The Washington Examiner