Obama brain map and the sovietization of science

From Junk DNA to Junk Economics: Beware the Inexorable Sovietization of Big Science

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.

1 comment:

Pat Boyle said...

This reminds me of Nixon's War on Cancer.

I fought in that war. I was a recent graduate. It was my first job out of grad school. I had taken a lot of math and stat in school but my only medical training or experience had been as a medic in the National Guard. I learned how to treat sucking chest wounds and how to empty bed pans. I never even had taken a biology class since high school.

Yet among my coleagues at the consulting firm I was the medical expert. Everyone had been hired for their expertise in math.

There were a lot of Catholics and Jews. The main Catholic advantage was Latin. We could figure out medical terminology. In those days there were no blacks or Hispanics - probably because of the math requirements.

This was in the seventies. You may have noticed that cancer remains today. It seems that the idea of hiring math whizzes who knew nothing of medicine wasn't the best way to find a cure after all.