TRUTH about US R&D SPENDING from BRITISH NATURE

Alexander Berezin berezin at MCMAIL.CIS.MCMASTER.CA
Sun Apr 28 00:00:25 EST 1996


< some prev. deleted >

On 27 Apr 1996, Gregory R. Harriman wrote:

> 
> Try reading my reply again.  I said nothing about whether research is
> easier or harder now than in the past.  Even if progress has made things
> easier to do (and that is certainly debatable in some respects), the ease
> of doing something has little to do with the cost of doing something. 
>  My comments supported the position that in many fields of 
> science today the equipment and reagents needed to perform 
> research are more expensive. 

Most of these costs (especially chemicals) are artificially
blown up many times over what it really costs to produce
them. This happens PRECISELY because producers/suppliers know
how much money are already in a system and how much researchres
can pay for them. They simply up-adjust their prices to the
capacity to pay to maximize their profits. Same is with almost 
all hard-core equipment. Plus you seem to omitting that there is 
shamefully low level of sharing or equipment (and other resources)
between research groups due to the culture of 'competition'
as opposed to cooperation.

> Notwithstanding your suggestion that things are "almost invariably LESS
> expensive now", I stand by that statement.

Agree to disagree.

> 
> You seem more intent of disparaging scientists, and especially
> "biomedicals", who you believe are only interested in getting more money. 

The word which you arbitary insert in my position is 'only'.
I nowhere said or saying that biomedicals are ONLY intersted
in getting more money. However, the ruling elite largely IS. 
And because they run the show all others are forced to dance 
the same musical apart from rare exceptions.

> Your arguments betray what appears to be simply anger and resentment at
> the establishment rather than a desire to address real issues.

Why I should be nice to those who I believe are
betraying the ideals of science as intellectual
enterprise ? 
   
> You feel little or no progress has been made by
> science in the last 50 years (ever since the great scientists, such as
> Faraday died). 

You again extrapolate my words well beyond what I am
actually saying and assiging me the above nonsense. 
Being a theoretical physicist for the last 30 years, I have 
heard a little bit about the physics after Faraday and even 
heard about DNA, neurotransmitters with along peraphs 
some 600-700 other terms from biology/biomedicine.  

However, this does not deny all the problems with the
establishement, granting system, peer review etc 
I am discussing.
  
> 
> With such a negative opinion of science and such a bleak perspective on
> research funding and the research enterprise in general

Don't mix these two issue (science and funding system). I don't 
have 'negative opinion of science' or even of 'research 
enterprise'. I am talking about the difficulties which SCIENTISTS 
experience because of the existing funding system. 

> one can only hope
> that you find some other sources of enjoyment.

I very much enjoy this discussion because I believe
that it is highly useful discussion for the whole
community, never mind the controversy of views.
Therefore, I welcome your comments even we sharply
disagree.

Alex Berezin

> Greg Harriman
> 
> 



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