Sunday, May 20, 2007

The Trouble With Government Grants

There are many ideas that many people put a great deal of faith in, with the justification being "A majority of scientific organizations say..." A majority of scientific organizations say the current global warming is caused by increased CO2 emissions. A majority of scientific organizations say that AIDS is caused by HIV. A majority of scientific organizations say even tiny amounts of certain substances can harm certain people. The thing people fail to realize is that a majority of scientific organizations can be wrong.

However, it isn't enough to say "truth is not established by a majority." These are, after all, scientists, and scientists are expected to know about these things. Lately, I've taken to responding to the "a majority of scientists say" comment with "A majority of scientists are selected and funded by politicians." The article linked goes into great detail as to how they are selected and funded, by whom, and how this entrenches a dogmatic orthodoxy within the "scientific community." It calls for new kinds of funding with less government control.

Of course, my solution is to end government funded scientific funding altogether, other than funding designed to produce results for specifically governmental use, such as military research. Never mind the tax dollars that would be saved; cutting off funding for an entrenched, hierarchical model of scientific research would do a great deal of good in and of itself.

read more | digg story

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