TRUTH about US R&D SPENDING from BRITISH NATURE

Troy Shinbrot shinbrot at nwu1.edu
Sun Apr 21 22:06:22 EST 1996


In article <4ld4d1$23gm at b.stat.purdue.edu>, hrubin at b.stat.purdue.edu
(Herman Rubin) wrote:

This is like shooting fish in a barrel -- easy, but pointless.  I think I
fairly characterized your views, and they consist more of contradictions
than anything else.  I'm not going to itemize every contradiction for a
third time.  Three particularly glaring inconsistencies deserve mention.

==========
Shinbrot:
> >(2) Now that you have gone through public-funded primary and secondary
> >education, you feel that the public should stop funding these things.

Rubin:
> I suggest you reread what I wrote.  I wrote that I probably would have
> received a better education if those public-funded schools had not 
> existed.  I also stated that the publicly funded schools have become
> worse.

What you wrote was: "As for elementary and secondary education, I am of
the opinion that it would have been better without the public schools." 
If this means something other than that it would be a good thing to get
rid of public schools, then I don't know what it does mean.

==========
Shinbrot:
> >(3) You think that your (college) education "would not have been affected"
> >by removing government funding for research and education. 

Rubin:
> On this, I am almost certain.  I attenced a private college, and government
> funding for this was extremely low.

I too attended a private college.  And in my private college I took such
courses as Physics.  And in my Physics courses I learned things about
Nuclear Physics, knowledge of which would have been 40 years retarded
without government funding, and Astronomy, knowledge of which would have
been crippled without government funding, and Quantum Physics, and Fluid
Mechanics, and Radio Carbon Dating, on and on -- all of which would have
been stuck in the 1920's without government funding.  Yes, Mr. Rubin, your
education WOULD have been affected, and strongly, without government
funding.  If you think otherwise, your education must have been dismal
indeed.

==========
Shinbrot:
> >(7) You imagine that particle accelerators and the Hubble Space Telescope
> >were not funded by the government.

Rubin:
> You will not find any such statement in anything I wrote.

It is true that I take the following two sarcastic questions, from you, in
defense of the position that research does not depend on government
funding, to mean precisely that.  I would say, from what you wrote, that
you either are ignorant of who funds what, or you deliberately write in
such ambiguous terms that it is impossible to discuss your opinions in a
sensible fashion.

Rubin:
"Do you think that the cyclotron was funded by the government?  Do you
think that Hubble was funded by the government?"

==========
Shinbrot:
> >(9) You think that medical research was better off in the 1920's than it
> >is today.

Rubin:
> I never said any such thing.  

What you said was: "The American universities did not really get into
research before the last quarter of the 19th century, but was well
established in it by the end of the first quarter of this century.  There
was little federal funding, and the state funding was to keep the state
universities competitive with the private universities."

I take this to mean that you think that by "the end of the first quarter
of this century" there was "little federal funding [for research]" and
that is the situation you would like to return to -- elsewhere you termed
this "status quo ante".  If this does not mean that you think that
research was better off in the 1920's than it is today, then you and I
obviously are not speaking the same language.  As Tom Lehrer once said,
"if people cannot communicate with one another, ... the very least they
should do is to shut up."

I am shutting up now.

-Troy



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