The Motives of Scientists

Alexander Berezin berezin at MCMAIL.CIS.MCMASTER.CA
Sat Oct 28 09:56:41 EST 1995

On Sat, 28 Oct 1995, Michael Kagalenko wrote:

> You wrote:
> ] 
> ] Your contention about prisons is more interesting. Suppose you
> ] are right and prison spending (and apparently, prison population)
> ] is rising. So, what are your conclusions ?
> ] For all the flaws of this (Western) society it does NOT appear 
> ] that here you can normally get to the prispon unless you IN FACT
> ] have committed a crime (yes, cases of mistaken convictions do,
> ] of course, occur, but they are rare). Therefore, putting 
> ] more criminals behind the bars may not be that socially 
> ] unreasonable. Yes, better to have fewer of them, but at least 
> ] for now all who should be isolated should at least have a room
> ] under the (protected) roof. Sad, but better than any imaginabe 
> ] alternative.  
> ]
>  Significant majority of prisoners are non-violent, first-time
> drug offenders who are serving mandatory sentences (while bosses
> plea-bargain out of mandatory sentences)
> ] Now go to your next premiss (reduce funding for research,
> ] technology and education). Pity that you bulk them all 
> ] together, because all 3 items are utterly different.
> ] (1)  "Education": I can perhaps agree with you. 
> ] (2)  "Technology": this is a much less clear cut - it is a 
> ] highly non-uniform term in many ways, primarily due to its 
> ] commercial aspects. (e.g. is IBM a technology ? If so, is
> ] Bill Gates also a technolgy ?, etc)
> ] (3) "Research". Disagree in substance. At least as far as the
> ] university ("academic") research is concerned, the system 
> ] is GREATLY overheated and OVERfunded. Overproduction of PhDs
> ] and oversupply of posdocs in almost all areas is obvious. 
>  "oversupply" ? You justify cutting the funds by the fact that
>  no sufficient funds are available at present ? I think you have
>  serious problem with your logic.
> ] Grantsmanship and "emrire building" (working for my
> ] "boss") proliferates beyond any shame.
> ] Professors are hired by universities to do teaching AND
> ] research, not to be managers t hire cheap (mostly 
> ] imported) research labor to do the work thay are supposed
> ] to do themselves. Should there will be LESS overall funding
> ] available, researchers at least can concentrate on the top 
> ] priority projects and perhaps we would ALREADY have had cure 
> ] of AIDS and/or cancer.
>  And perpetuum mobile, too, you forgot this one.
>  In science more is the ENEMY (not an
> ] ally) of the better.
> ] Due to the OVERfunding the efficiency of
> ] science is, in fact, quite low (per dollar, per person). 
> ] Faraday did ALL electricity and magnetism with just one
> ] single lifetime technitian.
> ] If you NOW ask what physics, chemistry, etc did for the 
> ] last 20 years, than (despite few toys) you will find rather 
> ] little.
>  This is ridiculous. Majority of US industries would not be possible
> without science. Semiconductor industry, to name the most obvious example.
>  The best things (like chaos, buckyballs, quantum 
> ] nonlocalities, etc) 
>  These are by no means "best things", nor were they discovered recently
>  (apart from "buckyballs"). These are pop-culture icons, not science 
> mainstream.
> ]were found almost exclusively 
> ] in LOW funded areas.  
>  Scinece which can and will make contribution to the technology and economy
>  (such as laser trap, or atomic interferometry) are very labor-intensive
> and require costly equipment. You, quite simply, don't know
>  what you are talking about.
> ] > 
> ] > ](3) The fact that the US murder rate is primarily caused by black-on-black
> ] > ]crime is a fact beyond rational dispute.  If the US murder rate is 
> ] > ]re-computed
> ] > ]with black-on-black crime removed, the US suddenly appears as peaceful as
> ] > ]Switzerland.  If it is racist to point out this fact, I suppose 
> ] > ]I AM "Racist slime".
> ] > ]How can mentioning facts be "racist"?  Facts are facts.
> ] > 
> ] >  No, I did not call you racist for stating the fact. I called you racist
> ] >  for implying that the black-on-black killings are more acceptable.
> ] 
> ] Regardless who is "right or wrong" in the above, you should be 
> ] utterly careful in using the word "implying". In the above he just 
> ] says certain things which are stated as "facts" (how disputable 
> ] they are as "facts" is another matter). It is YOU who "imply" that
> ] he is "implying".
>  Please, explain to me, are you really idiot, or just pretending really 
> well ? 

Dear Michael (Kagalenko),
Most of the points you put as objections to mine are certainly
disputable and deserve further discussion, etc. However I must
refrain from answering you for as long as you are using words
like "idiot" in replying your opponents. I think your first
problem is to learn how to conduct what is called an educated
and professional dispute. 
Your sincerely,
Alex Berezin

> Soemone listed problems Am. society has. Glass came up with
> the reasons why are those problems are not really problems. His responce
> to the "high murder rate" was "blacks killing blacks". I realize that
> majority of emigrees from SU are most appalingly racist, but sharing
> the country of origin with you doesn't make me sympathetic to such
> sentiments.

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