Science for Sale

It was hard to fit all the relevant details into this cartoon, so I suggest reading this ThinkProgress article for background on the questionable Smithsonian exhibit, which reportedly presents a far too cheerful and uncomplicated view of the challenges posed to humanity by climate change.

An interactive game in the Koch Hall actually asks visitors to design a future human body adapted to “really hot” temperatures. “How do you think your body will evolve?” it asks. “Will you have a tall, narrow body like a giraffe? Or more sweat glands? Touch to choose the one you want.” This phrasing seems to imply that your own body is capable of magically transforming itself into a sweaty giraffe-person. This puts an awfully nice spin on the “death” part of natural selection. Moreover, dramatic temperature changes are predicted well before we’d be seeing those extra glands dominating the gene pool.

David Koch sits on the boards of both the American Museum of Natural History and the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. Laughable exhibits aside, our scientific institutions should avoid even the appearance of corruption by mega-polluting donors such as the Koch Brothers.



  • alphahelix

    Great comic. I went to see it a month or two after it opened, and the propaganda was just blatant. They even threw in a hefty dose of economic scaremongering (because Koches gotta Koch): Another of the interactive games at the end put you in charge of the country’s economy, making a series of decisions that reduced to three choices:

    1. Pollute the most, make the most money.
    2. Preserve the environment, sacrifice profits.
    3. Wishy-washy middle-ground choice.

    After just a couple playthroughs, the outcome was clear: even if you picked #3 only once, your final score/game over screen said the following (and I am not exaggerating very much): “Uh oh! The Chinese outcompeted you economically and now all our American children are reading little red books and getting their fingers blown off in their fireworks factories! Guess these decisions aren’t so simple, are they, HIPPIE?”

    I couldn’t keep the gorge down long enough to see what happened if you answered straight #1s.

Jen Sorensen is a nationally-published political cartoonist. She is a 2017 Pulitzer Finalist and recipient of the 2014 Herblock Prize and a 2013 Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award.