Tea Party funder David Koch also spends big on his passion for dinosaurs
Although the Koch brothers help fund Republican candidates, who often express creationist beliefs, they promote more mainstream scientific endeavors through their charitable foundations.
Billionaire industrialist David Koch indulges his fascination for paleontology through massive contributions to museums and research, reported Salon, despite relying on lawmakers who are hostile to science to advance his pro-business libertarian agenda.
Koch, who developed a passion for dinosaurs during a boyhood trip to the American Museum of Natural History in New York, donated $35 million in April to the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C.
That’s the largest single gift in the museum’s history, and it pays for most of the museum’s $45 million renovation project to expand its paleontology exhibit space.
Koch and his brother, Charles, spend much more than that campaigning against environmental regulations, unions, and other threats to their corporate profits.
But unlike fellow conservative Michael Peroutka – who donated unusually well-preserved allosaurus fossils to the Creation Museum – David Koch trusts the scientific view on evolution.
“What’s amazing is how much Darwin got right 150 years ago,” David Koch said in a 2009 interview with Archaeology. “It’s staggering what he got right. He got enormously more right on evolution than what he got wrong.”
He told the magazine that science teachers, not lawmakers or school boards, should decide what gets taught in science class.
“I think politicians should really stay out of it and allow scientists to present the facts and discoveries,” David Koch said. “I hate to see it politicized.”
He suggested this view was in line with his strong libertarian beliefs.
“It’s like saying what role should politics play in, for instance, religion?” David Koch said. “I think it should be up to individuals to decide what they believe. So often politicians are totally uninformed about scientific facts.”