Thursday, January 30, 2020

The Awful State of Governmental Research

An important article on the deplorable state of scientific research in the United States is here. A brief excerpt:

My experiences at four research universities and as a National Institutes of Health (NIH) research fellow taught me that the relentless pursuit of taxpayer funding has eliminated curiosity, basic competence, and scientific integrity in many fields.
Yet, more importantly, training in “science” is now tantamount to grant-writing and learning how to obtain funding. Organized skepticism, critical thinking, and methodological rigor, if present at all, are afterthoughts. Thus, our nation’s institutions no longer perform their role as Eisenhower’s fountainhead of free ideas and discovery. Instead, American universities often produce corrupt, incompetent, or scientifically meaningless research that endangers the public, confounds public policy, and diminishes our nation’s preparedness to meet future challenges.
This is especially true in global warming research. Climategate should have resulted in the firing of many of the more prominent researchers. Instead, their wrongdoing was covered up by phony investigations. As the article goes on to say,

One reason non-government organizations lead the battle to improve science is that universities and federal funding agencies lack accountability and often ignore fraud and misconduct. There are numerous examples in which universities refused to hold their faculty accountable until elected officials intervened, and even when found guilty, faculty researchers continued to receive tens of millions of taxpayers’ dollars. 

I don't know how to fix the problem. But, if your local newspaper reports some scientific finding that sounds nonsensical, it probably is.

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