The controversy surrounding the $400-million Encode project’s dubious public relations claims surrounding the function of ‘junk DNA’ and the Battelle Institute’s defense of the $3-billion Human Genome Project (HGP) as economically beneficial (as cited in the recent State of the Union address) make this a good time to examine President Obama’s attempts to bring more of American science under centralized direction and control. [. . .]
The burden of proof for proposed mega-projects should be high, because for every research team working on a billion-dollar, centrally planned National Institutes of Health program, there are hundreds of independent scientists who will go begging. This is a tragedy, as the bulk of our scientific progress—especially in the life sciences—comes not from sclerotic bureaucracies following 10-year plans, but from the genius of independent scientists challenging the status quo.