STRATEGY TO PROMOTE FAIR PLAY AMONG SCIENTISTS.
bgold at itsa.ucsf.edu
Sun Jun 9 15:35:44 EST 1996
+ is Alex Berezin at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, CANADA
o is Bert Gold at University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine
- is Patrick at the University of Utah, School of Medicine, Salt Lake City Utah
On Sat, 8 Jun 1996, Bert Gold wrote:
o I've edited your note to me quite a bit.
o You are trying, in this letter to me, to make some important points.
o I respect them and want to be clear about what you are saying before
o I let others see these opinions on strategy.
o Please look at what I have done below carefully and see if there
o is anything that I've misconstrued sufficiently so that you would
o not want anybody to see it.
o If what we've written together below (with Patrick) meets with your
o approval, I will post it.
o But, first, I want to be certain that it says what you've
o intended to say, and not what I've imagined you saying...
o San Francisco
o Editing provided by Bert in <>.
o Remember, english is not Alex's first language,
o and I assure you that I would not do as well
o as he does if I were to work in Eastern Europe.
+ Here I provide some comment and/or
+ clarifications. If you wish to repost
+ it all on bioforum, etc please feel
+ free to do so.
+ Alex Berezin
o On Sat, 8 Jun 1996, Bert Gold wrote:
o Don't get so defensive, I also read your remark as 'tossing
o out the baby with the bathwater'. NIH runs a clinical, experimental
o hospital which tests most new drugs and medical treatments. The
o clinical center is still perhaps one of the best in the world.
o On that basis alone, NIH will not fold.
+ I hope you all don't literally take that I say
+ that NIH is useless and should really be shut
+ down, that American biomedical research is altogether
+ all waste, etc. There <are> varying degrees
+ of hyperbole, rhetoric, etc. in essentially
+ everything we are saying. What I DID find out from
+ all my experience <is> that if you really want to move
+ things, you have to overstate the issue.
+ Overwise, people simply don't get what you are
+ trying to say.
+ <The> research funding system in the USA <and> Canada is so flawed
+ that there <is> absolutely no way to correct it as long as the main
+ underlying message is 'they don't give us enough money'.
+ I am 100 % certain that unless (we) are able to convince
+ people-in-charge that this message is a fallacious,
+ smoke screen <for wide-scale inequities in the distribution of
+ funding>, there will be absolutely no progress
+ <toward correcting those inequities>.
+ Only if <the funding distribution disequilibrium> becomes clear
+ to many and that the overall research budget is NOT the #1 issue,
+ can we move <toward> peer review reorganization.
+ <I have discussed with you many details of the creative solutions
+ to these difficult problems which both I and Forsdyke have proposed.>
+ <These include a> sliding scale, funding caps and other stuff.
+ <If we do not adhere to a discussion of the redistribution of
+ funds in a more equitable way, then our discussions become>
+ ... a theology lecture for athiests.
o Also, sometimes scientific discovery does require significant
o additional funding (More MONEY). If I don't admit this, my adversaries
o down here will pinion me as being unrealistic, then they can discredit
o everything else I have been saying on that basis.
+ Yes, I understand this (that some things need 'more
+ money' etc).
o BERT's EDITORIAL COMMENT: Readers, Please note that Alex Berezin
o above acknowledges that sometimes RESEARCH costs ALOT of MONEY!
+ But the problem <for those of us who are proposing reform> is that when
+ <we suggest that there is a need for more funds, those in charge of
+ science immediately catch us on this <harp on this issue alone> and force
+ us into a <Catch-22>. All the rest of our message is dismissed and we are
+ forced to play on their ground. <So> our game is lost <before> we've even
+ started <to propose funding reforms>. In short, they use OUR protest to
+ strengthen THEIR platform.
+ ALEX: NEW ADDED:
+ We have to understand that the outcry 'Give us more
+ money' is precisely what _they_ (the elite, landed
+ gentry - whatever term you choose to use) want to hear
+ from us. When we say it, its music for their ears,
+ that's exactly what they want US to say.
+ ( 'Look politicians: we have a lot of poor people
+ among us. We are poor scientists, we need more').
+ And when it works they, of course, grab all the
+ extras, so the beggars will keep screaming, fueling
+ the spiral over and over. That's how they keep
+ us in their Catch-22-trap. Make no mistake
+ about it.
+ And also, once we said what _they_ want us to say
+ (that the problem is money), it immediately nullifies
+ all the rest of our message (about selectivity, NILs,
+ etc), because after _not enough money_ nobody is
o N.B. - Bert did not edit the paragraph below:
+ On the contrary, if we start with what I suggest
+ as an anchor formula ('there is too much money in
+ the system, rather than too little'), you at least
+ start from your own territory. Politicians LOVE
+ when they are asked for 'more money' (all like to
+ say no). And beggars by definition can't win.
o Alex, your suggestions and ideas are WONDERFUL; you just sometimes
o get carried away...
o NIH is not going to disappear (at least quickly) and the US is not
o going to stop doing research.
+ I hope you are right. But I won't sing my blood under
+ the above. I've been hearing for my first 33 years of
+ life that USSR will NEVER break down, communism with
+ triumph the world and this swill. And the most
+ surprising lesson of 1989-92 that it all melted
+ even WITHOUT any major havoc (will all imagination
+ Chernoble did not amount to the world scale calamity).
o Probably we will end up with some
o form of National Health Care, but it might not be for 10 years or so.
o What we can do now is to just level the playing field so that the
o best young people of the next 10 years can at least be part of the
o If we do not succeed, it will be a much poorer world (for everybody)
o including Patrick.
o Send him this note.
o Tell him what you think about what I've said privately.
o He is in an important place and knows important people.
o Watch, the US can change, but it always takes too much time...
o Bert Gold
o San Francisco
- In article <Pine.SOL.3.91.960607153509.14439A-100000 at mcmail.CIS.McMaster.CA> you wrote:
- : On Thu, 6 Jun 1996, Patrick wrote:
- : [ prev.garbo deleted ]
- : >
- : > The NIH does MUCH more than simply dole out grant
- : > funds...without them the world
- : > and the nation would be a less healthy place.
+ : If you believe what you are saying then please
+ : explain specifically:
+ : What EXACTLY NIH is doing EXCEPT giving out
+ : grants ? Apparently, these (other) activities
+ : must be truly important. Then we would like
+ : to know about them. Please list them, let briefly
+ : and give us ideas why and in what way they
+ : (this 'other' activities of NIH) are useful
+ : for the society.
+ : This may enlighten our ignorance.
+ : Alex Berezin
- No need to toss the baby.
Bert Gold, Ph.D. "Seeing much, Suffering much,
University of California, San Francisco and studying much,
School of Medicine These are the three pillars
Program in Medical Genetics of learning." -- Benjamin Disraeli
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