TRUTH about US R&D SPENDING from BRITISH NATURE

Herman Rubin hrubin at b.stat.purdue.edu
Sun Apr 21 05:58:41 EST 1996


In article <shinbrot-2004962203310001 at aragorn180.nuts.nwu.edu>,
Troy Shinbrot <shinbrot at nwu1.edu> wrote:
>In article <4la5ta$aiu at b.stat.purdue.edu>, hrubin at b.stat.purdue.edu
>(Herman Rubin) wrote:

><snip>

>Excellent.  So let's just summarize what we've learned so far.

I suggest you stop jumping at conclusions.

>(1) You believe that the government should stop spending money on
>research, but you see nothing contradictory with using things that came
>from government-funded research.

Why should anyone be expected not to use what has been produced, 
however it was produced?

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

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.

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

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

>(4) You believe that the government has spent "darn little basic cancer
>research."

There is a big difference between basic research and applied research and
development.  None of the large amounts of money spent on groping for
improved chemotherapy went to basic research.  Basic cancer research 
is the uncovering of the underlying biochemistry.

>(5) Your position is that more money should be spent on basic research,
>but that the government should spend less.

So what is inconsistent about that?

>(6) You think that disease research should be provided by private
>organizations such as the March of Dimes, annual budget generously in the
>millions, rather than the National Institutes of Health, annual budget
>exceeding $10 billion.

We need to RESTORE the private funding of research.  Research universities
used to, and still do, spend a significant portion of their budget on
research.  But now a large part of the money designated as "research" 
goes to bean counters, and another large part is involved in the writing
of grant proposals.  Grantsmanship and secrecy have replaced the research
atmosphere.  NIH could defund an area of research on the grounds that they
do not consider it promising, or even without any reason.

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

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

>(8) You believe that the government "eradicated [the] long term base" of
>research.

I see no question with this.  We have ONE overwhelming funding source;
the government.  I do not think that you will quarrel with this.  To 
keep research going, this means that we have to convince a majority of
the electorate that the funding of this should take precedence over other
uses for the same money.

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

I never said any such thing.  But the proportion of "research" money
going to research was certainly greater.  And the researchers in the
1920's did not have to convince an army of bureaucrats that the research
should be done, or even would be allowed to be done.

>(10) You believe that the US government would "bring in troops" to stop a
>private company from participating in "real space activities" and that
>"government regulations" prevent "tens of millions" of people from funding
>these activities.

I suggest you read the space newsgroup, and look up the regulations on
space activities.

>So you have shown yourself to be ignorant of the basics of logic (1),
>fairness (2), fiscal reality (3), cancer research (4), simple addition
>(6), historical fact (7),(9), and law (10).  Is there anything else that
>you want to show us, or do you think it might be smart to quit while
>you're ahead?

I suggest you look up the history of government involvement, the relevant
legislation, and look at the budget of research proposals.  I also suggest
you consider the difference between research and development, and notice
the American involvement in research before the big funding, which was
introduced by the military after WWII, for military reasons.

-- 
Herman Rubin, Dept. of Statistics, Purdue Univ., West Lafayette IN47907-1399
hrubin at stat.purdue.edu	 Phone: (317)494-6054	FAX: (317)494-0558



More information about the Bioforum mailing list