Skip to comments.Questions for Scientists/Researchers/Engineers/Doctors and other supporters of science on FR
Posted on 10/26/2012 11:20:22 PM PDT by emax
This inquiry ideally meant for anyone here who is a research scientist or engineer in the STEM disciplines and who has a Master's or a PhD or a Doctor or current graduate student and/or anyone who has genuine knowledge of Democrat and Republican, in particular Obama and Tea Party Republican, policies of research and development.
The main question is this : How do we address those within and outside the scientific community who insist we must have Obama and fellow militant leftist Democrats in power otherwise STEM research and development and cancer and other medical research in this country will decay and that with TEA Party leaders in charge, science in America will die ? I raise this question because I interact with members of the science and research community fairly regularly and I hear this rather often. I hear about how the Conservative Republicans plan to eliminate support for medical and cancer research labs, physics labs like Oakridge National Lab or Jefferson Lab and chemistry labs as well. Physics and Chemistry professors have actually said that the Tea Party plans to eliminate and gut their funding so they can't get any research done. And the thing is, this is issue that Conservative Republican leaders often loss critical votes over since this is one of the most important issues for a nontrivial segment of the American population. For the Conservative community, insisting this issue is unimportant is not going to do any good.
So the key questions are as follows : What is an accurate description of the Conservative/Republican and or Tea Party plans when it comes to support for public labs in cancer research, nuclear and particle physics, chemistry and other sciences ? Are they for simply slashing budgets for any science research in these or any other STEM discipline ?
And also, if you are in the science research community and you are told by liberal coworkers that an important reason to reelect Obama is because we need to keep public support of science research alive - and if you work in science research fields, chances are you will hear this being said - what you you say in order to effectively counter this point ? What would be your counterargument ?
Thank you for any support and useful advice you can provide.
Not sure what all this means, but I would sure question the premise that the government has to drive all medical research that is worth a hoot.
The point is that the conservative/Republican/Tea Party movement, I feel, needs a set of counterarguments and perhaps a debator’s guide when dealing with the issue of public support of science and public attitudes towards science and research. The issue is that Conservatives/Libertarians and/or Republicans really do lose critical votes over this issue and so it has to be dealt with. A nontrivial number of people may look to re-elect Obama predominantly, or even solely, because they feel that is necessary to make sure public support of science research does not get slashed. And I feel that the Conservative community needs a set of counterarguments, perhaps based in knowledge of Democrat and Republican plans for public support of science research.
Get government out of it and we’ll still have cures for cancer, but no one will ever know whether bald-headed Mongolian dwarves have better sex lives than Norwegian rats.
Science, Technology, Engineering, Math - STEM
Not sure why you think that scientists and engineers are all lefty. The majority are not. When you start talking PhDs...if they are still in academia that answers your question they will always be left. If they are the working folks (even in labs) then they know what the score is and are more conservative than you may think.
Chu is the example of an academic type. Bill Wattenberg is the example of a hard working scientist.
the answer to your question really is obvious. liberals you cannot help so put them out of their misery. the rest know where to find supper
Just point out that while liberal politicians give lip service to STEM, the reality is that STEM is being cut on their watch. Case in point, Gov Jerry Brown is always talking STEM at the same time cutting STEM classes in California. Untouched are classes in feminist, Hispanic and African studies. Science classes at both the UCs and Cal State Universities are so impacted it is taking science students 6+ years to get a Bachelor of Science degree.
Ask them if they live in reality or in a fantasy world. It’s just like how Obama claimed to be for gay rights at the same time he was slashing the AIDS research budget that existed under George Bush. But ask any liberal and they will tell you that Bush hates gays and Obama loves them.
Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics....it is the hot new buzz phrase...I hate it
Well, it’s really part of the fundamental question of whether capitalism is capable of bringing forth a cornucopia of scientific and technological progress without government grants out the wazoo. The answer of most of the 20th century is not just yes, but hell yes. The grant stuff started small, and was doubtless meant well. And for a very few things (the space program) it helped create a head start. But it has turned the whole enterprise into a matter of political winners and losers, and enslaved people to the notion that there is no other way to do things.
We don’t need counter arguments. I think you underestimate the folks in the hard sciences. They know how to analyze. Look no true scientist likes what the O administration has done in re:science (Chu’s green energy wet dream; the gutting of NASA; and on and on). Don’t sweat the minutia... focus on the things that tried and true conservatives have always focussed on.
Tell them that too many years of failure by both parties to agree on long-term research needs (replaced instead with the cyclical pursuit of pop-science directed largely by the President’s OSTP), and the research community’s willingness to go along with it for fear of lost funding has led to the current situation... one in which science and technology research is no longer viewed as an essential element to future economic growth, but rather as a tool to sway the electorate. As such, all of the research is subject to review... as it should be. If a strong case can be made that current efforts are toward ensuring our future prosperity, safety or security... there is nothing to fear. If however, programs were instituted for political purposes, they WILL be cut. There are many examples of R&D in the government that get bipartisan support... where there is lack of agreement, one should rightly ask the question “Should we be borrowing from China to fund this work knowing that our kids and grandkids will pay for it?” Essentially, is the potential reward worth the risk? If they cannot understand this, and are not comfortable with it, they should be scared about a Republican trifecta.
It’s a handle by which government in yet another way wants to pick up and pet the golden goose... and feed it some tidbits... and eventually chain it heavily if not strangle it utterly to death.
There are 4 categories of spending.
Cat 1 is spending you do for yourself. You care about value, and about cost.
Cat 2 is spending you do for a present. You care about cost, but not so much about value.
Cat 3 is spending on you from someone else. You care about value, but not so much about cost.
Cat 4 is spending Peter’s money on something for Paul. You care neither about cost, nor value.
Category 4 spending is inefficient.
Government research funding is assigned as Cat 4 spending. People given government research funding spend it as Cat 3 spending, once they get it.
By contrast, private research spending is Cat 1. You care about cost, and about value. It is efficient. consider the Moon landings. We went there, picked up 800 lbs of moon rocks, most of which collects dust, and don’t own anything as a result. The Apollo missions are a monument, as useless today as the Pyramids. Perhaps someday the Apollo site will be a tourist attraction, like the Pyramids.
Imagine the hundreds of thousands (or millions) of dollars passed through the government that was wasted on Michael Mann- who produced a Global Warming hockey stick that doesn’t agree with past known temperatures, and has no ability to predict future states. Predicting future states from a finite number of past states is not possible for any equation that is nonlinear, chaotic, and exhibits sensitive dependence on initial conditions. This last has been known since Edward Lorenz’s paper on “Deterministic Aperiodic Flow” in 1963. Still, millions of dollars have been wasted on Michael Mann et al. After all, it was only government money.
The following is just a short bit that I found on private donations with companies/schools that I am interested in. At my alma-mater (an engineering school), most of the big research was supported by private industry. And I know that Microsoft is VERY big into supporting education as they are seeing the results of poor education in the U.S. right now.
Sept. 3, 2012: SD School of Mines Receives $49 Million Schlumberger Gift ...
Dec 6, 2010 ... Washington State University has received a $26 million gift from its richest dropout, Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, the Seattle Times reports.
WVU Department of Geology and Geography receives $10.2 million ...Dec 2, 2011 ... This in-kind gift supports important work in the energy field that WVU is ...
Research and development at the university level is a critical component of energy ... Halliburtons repeated commitment to our research and teaching ..
I'm sure they see their pursuits as more noble than other subsidized activities, but the fact remains that if their work truly benefits people, someone would fund it voluntarily.
Consider heavier than air flight. The government arranged for Langley to perform research, and he demonstrated feasibility with an unmanned system, but his expensive manned demonstrations failed. He scaled some parts wrong, and gave up.
The Wright brothers had to perform research economically, and invented the wind tunnel, developed coordinated control laws using kites. Their propeller efficiency was within 5% of that used even today. Their methods worked. they filed their patents, and made millions, if not the “1/3rd of the value of any aircraft made using their methods”. They had incentive to not give up, incentive to cut costs, incentive to assure their research time and dollar was efficient.
Oh, they said, but we still have our robotic probes. I have a friend who bought into the Obama hype. "The manned missions are too expensive; we can do it better/faster/cheaper with robotic probes." Ok, I'm not against that, per se.
Not a year later, his select advisory committee, which was less interested in actual science and more interested in eviscerating NASA so as to fund his pet project (health care and wealth redistribution) also gutted the robotic end of exploration. Now, we're left with nothing but the missions already started under prior presidents.
Although I live in Nevada, I'm aware that a LOT of unemployed engineers along Florida's "Space Coast" are looking at retirement after having lost their jobs, with no prospect of employment before they're too old to work. All those engineering skills, LOST.
NASA is now a Muslim outreach agency, to make them feel good about Islam's historical contribution to science. NO JOKE, Google "Bolden" and "NASA" and "Muslim" or watch Bolden (the NASA Director) say it himself.
Easily verifiable, share this with your liberal scientist friends. If they feel that a leftist president puts science first...have them watch the YouTube, and look you in the eye afterward.
You know, this entire "Bush and the Republicans are anti-science" is a liberal trope. Time we tackled it head-on, put it down openly. It's well past time to concern ourselves with feelings or courtesy.
This president has gutted the F-22 Raptor. NASA. The armed services. And more.
So...NO, Obama hasn't championed engineering. He's imposed a tax on medical devices, which impacts companies that make them. He's no friend to the science and engineering communties.
This was actually very helpful, actually every response so far has been very helpful but I found this one particularly interesting. Theoretically, your premise would be that research in cancer, microbiology, medicine and in nuclear physics - for example research in Los Alamos, Jefferson or Oakridge National Lab - would overwhelmingly be safe since it is overwhelmingly research that is useful for our security, safety and prosperity. It is people siphoning off federal research for such subjects as gay and lesbian behavior in mountain goats or the sex lives of people in ancient civilizations or useless energy sources who would have reason to be concerned. And that since they are essentially a more sophisticated form of freeloaders, they SHOULD be worried over this. Is that an accurate assessment of your position ?
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