A science journal funded by Peter Thiel is running articles dismissing climate change and evolution - 2019-01-29
Last summer, I noticed a peculiar email in my inbox. It was from someone I didn't know, addressing me as "Professor Becker" (a misnomer), and asking me to write for an online publication called "Inference: International Review of Science." Like hundreds of other emails, this one had languished in my inbox for months while I was busy promoting my first book—an in-depth look at the persistent mysteries of quantum physics. Now I was trying to catch up, which involved deleting a lot of spam. As I read through Inference's email, I nearly deleted it too.
But Inference, which bills itself as a "quarterly review of the sciences," was offering me a chance to write about a topic of my own choosing (subject to their approval). They also promised to pay me "appropriately" for my work, and the timing would have been great for book promotion. So I replied. While I waited for an answer, I went to Inference's website. It looked like a real science publication — featuring the original writing of scientists and other thinkers I respect, including MIT's Noam Chomsky and George Ellis at the University of Cape Town. There were 13 issues ranging back to 2014, covering a mix of subjects including physics, biology, and linguistics. But as I clicked around, I began to think that Inference wasn't what it appeared to be.
Several articles on the site argued against the theory of evolution, for example, and at least one dismissed the overwhelming scientific consensus on global warming. Later, through tax documents and interviews, I would learn that all of Inference's funding came from a surprising source: Peter Thiel. Since Inference's start, Thiel, a prominent Silicon Valley venture capitalist, has donated at least $1.7 million to the outlet.