Friday, December 04, 2009

The More Traditional Use of Death Panels

Francis W. Porretto writes in a post on Eternity Road titled Crackademia that relates science, government funding, and scientism.

Science is dead. [...]

The euthanizing drug was money from the public till. [...]

The State will always prefer scientific "findings" that provide a justification for increasing its power. Inversely, it will frown on discoveries that undercut its rationales for power. [...]

When government began to fund scientific research in nominally private institutions, it changed the dynamic that directs researchers into particular channels. Worse, it changed the dynamic that determines success in the sciences, and what sort of person will pursue a career in them. Today's typical chief investigator is a master of grantsmanship: the fine art of:
* Writing a grant proposal that will catch the eye of a bureaucrat with funds to disburse;
* Maximizing the flow of funds made available through that grant;
* Keeping the grant alive, and the funds flowing, by never, ever conceding that his research has reached a definite conclusion. [...]
A positive feedback loop connects advanced grantsmanship and frequency of publication. The ability to get funded correlates positively with the ability to get published in prestigious scientific periodicals, which in turn steers the attention and respect of grant-making bureaucracies to the more published investigators, and round and round it goes.
(H.T. John Hudock, Commonsense & Wonder.)

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