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    Congressman Seeks to Destroy Scientific Peer-review

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    "A draft bill obtained by Science Magazines blog ScienceInsider, sponsored by Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), would strip the peer-review requirement from the National Science Foundation (NSF) grant process, inserting a new set of funding criteria that is significantly less transparent and not inclusive of the opinions of independent experts."

    "In addition to the problem of stripping out a transparent, peer-review process, the new standards also discount the importance of research duplication, an important part of the scientific process. Without overlapping research, scientists cannot independently verify experimental results from other laboratories."
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    Representative Lamar Smith -- the Tea Party's finest

    How much longer until these rubes go way?
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    mind = blown.
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    Methodological Naturalism tk217's Avatar
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    NSF actually does peer review?

    Tell that to the engineering community in regard to H1B Visas.
      
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    Registered User aaron2686's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by tk217 View Post
    NSF actually does peer review?

    Tell that to the engineering community in regard to H1B Visas.
    I don't really know about H1B's except that there are problems regarding their availability to potentially valuable, immigrant scientists. Regardless of what's going on with that, you have to realize how ****ed up it would be if this bill actually went to a vote and passed.
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    Lamar Smith is a dill weed. He was behind the internet censorship bill two years ago. I really have no idea why Texans vote this retard in.
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    Originally Posted by aaron2686 View Post
    I don't really know about H1B's except that there are problems regarding their availability to potentially valuable, immigrant scientists. Regardless of what's going on with that, you have to realize how ****ed up it would be if this bill actually went to a vote and passed.
    NSF is the reason we have SO many H1B's they did a completely fraudulent "study" on this and caused this problem. They're just another political football organization. Science shouldn't be a political tool corrupted by bad studies. I don't see how NSF actually does Peer Reviews anyway currently -- I think this politician is actually trying to make a point that if they don't already do it why not pass a law and push as much bull **** as they can into the organization with the law since they can't do it themselves already and destroy the what ever credibility this thing claims it has for good.
      
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    Originally Posted by aaron2686 View Post
    I don't really know about H1B's except that there are problems regarding their availability to potentially valuable, immigrant scientists. Regardless of what's going on with that, you have to realize how ****ed up it would be if this bill actually went to a vote and passed.

    The issue with H1B's is that there are so many people in India and China that want to come here that it's just not feasible since it will put American workers out of work. H1B's will typically work for a lot lower pay.

    A lot of them are very intelligent people, but H1B's are limited from China and India but less so from other nations. H1B's are really only granted to bright people from a STEM major, none of that underwater basketweaving junk.
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    Registered User aaron2686's Avatar
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    If you are in the US, I hope you will contact your Representative and urge them to kill this bill, if it gets any further. This is simply the dumbing down of America.
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  10. #10
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    Originally Posted by MuscleXtreme View Post
    The issue with H1B's is that there are so many people in India and China that want to come here that it's just not feasible since it will put American workers out of work. H1B's will typically work for a lot lower pay.

    A lot of them are very intelligent people, but H1B's are limited from China and India but less so from other nations. H1B's are really only granted to bright people from a STEM major, none of that underwater basketweaving junk.
    Except there are lots of STEM Americans -- they just won't work for 20 dollars an hour like the Chinese counterparts.
      
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  11. #11
    Registered User aaron2686's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by tk217 View Post
    NSF is the reason we have SO many H1B's they did a completely fraudulent "study" on this and caused this problem. They're just another political football organization. Science shouldn't be a political tool corrupted by bad studies. I don't see how NSF actually does Peer Reviews anyway currently -- I think this politician is actually trying to make a point that if they don't already do it why not pass a law and push as much bull **** as they can into the organization with the law since they can't do it themselves already and destroy the what ever credibility this thing claims it has for good.
    The NSF grants funding to Universities when they want to do research. Under the terms of this bill, that funding would have to be politically approved on a case-by-case basis, which means some Congressman who may have failed every science class they've ever taken would be deciding which studies get funded and which don't. As it currently stands, that decision is made by a panel of scientists involved in the relevant fields.
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  12. #12
    Methodological Naturalism tk217's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by aaron2686 View Post
    The NSF grants funding to Universities when they want to do research. Under the terms of this bill, that funding would have to be politically approved on a case-by-case basis, which means some Congressman who may have failed every science class they've ever taken would be deciding which studies get funded and which don't. As it currently stands, that decision is made by a panel of scientists involved in the relevant fields.
    And if it blows money on non-sense slush-fund research project and pushes fraudulent studies already?
      
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    Originally Posted by tk217 View Post
    And if it blows money on non-sense slush-fund research project and pushes fraudulent studies already?
    That sounds like a hypothetical. Do you have any specific cases? Are you an expert in any particular field in which you can point to specific examples of "slush-fund research" and explain why it isn't valuable to it's branch of science?

    A lot of what people think of as bull**** research, like when someone made a big deal about the federal government funding research into the mating habits of snails, is actually very necessary. In the case about the mating habits of snails, the research was specifically looking at a parasitic worm that gets passed between snails and can kill children.

    Other than that specific example, a lot of people don't seem to understand the value of pure research.
    Last edited by aaron2686; 04-29-2013 at 07:56 PM.
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    Registered User tnel00's Avatar
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    Considering the clusterf*ck the whole peer review process has become, why not? Not like academic research papers could get much less credible anyway
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    Methodological Naturalism tk217's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by aaron2686 View Post
    That sounds like a hypothetical. Do you have any specific cases? Are you an expert in any particular field in which you can point to specific examples of "slush-fund research" and explain why it isn't valuable to it's branch of science?

    A lot of what people think of as bull**** research, like when someone made a big deal about the federal government funding research into the mating habits of snails, is actually very necessary. In the case about the mating habits of snails, the research was specifically looking at a parasitic worm that gets passed between snails and can kill children.

    Other than that specific example, a lot of people don't seem to understand the value of pure research.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_Fleece_Award

    Award winners

    Winners of the Golden Fleece Award included governmental organizations, including the United States Department of Defense,[12] Bureau of Land Management,[13] and National Park Service;[14] research projects have been particularly well represented.[15] The National Science Foundation (NSF) won the first Golden Fleece Award, for spending $84,000 on a study on love.[1][4] Proxmire reasoned that:[16]

    I object to this not only because no one—not even the National Science Foundation—can argue that falling in love is a science; not only because I'm sure that even if they spend $84 million or $84 billion they wouldn't get an answer that anyone would believe. I'm also against it because I don't want the answer. I believe that 200 million other Americans want to leave some things in life a mystery, and right on top of the things we don't want to know is why a man falls in love with a woman and vice versa.

    The Federal Aviation Administration was named for spending $57,800 on a study of the physical measurements of 432 airline stewardesses, paying special attention to the "length of the buttocks" and how their knees were arranged when they were seated.[17] Proxmire gave the Massachusetts Institute of Technology a Golden Fleece Award for the Aspen Movie Map, a predecessor to Google Street View.[18] He also gave the award to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) for their Search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI) program, supporting the scientific search for extraterrestrial civilizations.[19] Proxmire later withdrew his opposition to the SETI program.[20]

    Other award winners included:

    Paul Ekman's research that led to the development of the Facial Action Coding System[21]
    National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) funded project by psychologist Harris Rubin for $121,000, on developing "some objective evidence concerning marijuana's effect on sexual arousal by exposing groups of male pot-smokers to pornographic films and measuring their responses by means of sensors attached to their penises[22][23]

    The NSF for spending $103,000 to compare aggressiveness in sun fish that drink tequila as opposed to gin[24]
    National Institute for Mental Health for spending $97,000 to study, among other things, what went on in a Peruvian brothel; the researchers said they made repeated visits in the interests of accuracy[1]
    Office of Education for spending $219,592 in a “curriculum package” to teach college students how to watch television[4]
    United States Department of the Army for a 1981 study on how to buy Worcestershire sauce[4]
    United States Department of Defense for a $3,000 study to determine if people in the military should carry umbrellas in the rain[1]
    United States Department of Justice for conducting a study on why prisoners want to escape[4]
    United States Postal Service for spending over $4 million on an advertisement campaign to make Americans write more letters to one another[25]
    Executive Office of the President of the United States, for spending $611,623 to restore a room in the Old Executive Office Building with gold trim[26]
    Ronald Reagan's 1985 inaugural committee, for spending $15.5 million of taxpayer money on the Second inauguration of Ronald Reagan[27]
    Your blind faith in the NSF is strangely amusing while also disturbing.
      
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    I object to this not only because no one—not even the National Science Foundation—can argue that falling in love is a science; not only because I'm sure that even if they spend $84 million or $84 billion they wouldn't get an answer that anyone would believe. I'm also against it because I don't want the answer. I believe that 200 million other Americans want to leave some things in life a mystery, and right on top of the things we don't want to know is why a man falls in love with a woman and vice versa.

    The above is the quotation given to explain the awarding of the first Golden Fleece Award to the NSF. I don't understand why anyone wouldn't be intrigued about the science behind the processes of human emotion.

    Honestly, if you don't see the value in research for it's own sake, knowledge for it's own sake, then I really do not understand you.
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    Originally Posted by aaron2686 View Post
    The above is the quotation given to explain the awarding of the first Golden Fleece Award to the NSF. I don't understand why anyone wouldn't be intrigued about the science behind the processes of human emotion.

    Honestly, if you don't see the value in research for it's own sake, knowledge for it's own sake, then I really do not understand you.
    There is a basis for research and a waste of public tax funds too.

    The public doesn't just research for the sake of research they want goals such as advancement and they want efficiency such as tangible results.

    It is fine for the philosopher or scientist to muse in their own personal time as they can expend their own personal monies anyway they see fit - but this is the public's monies. Wasting it is corruption.

    As to the results of "love" we still don't ****ing know -- we understand hormones and we understand arousal but we don't understand why someone will "stick it out" what chemical is honor?
      
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    It's a battle of the trolls, some of the science that recieves taxpayer support is ludicrous, but putting the decisions in the hands of Congress? No thanks Jeff.
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    Originally Posted by tk217 View Post
    There is a basis for research and a waste of public tax funds too.

    The public doesn't just research for the sake of research they want goals such as advancement and they want efficiency such as tangible results.

    It is fine for the philosopher or scientist to muse in their own personal time as they can expend their own personal monies anyway they see fit - but this is the public's monies. Wasting it is corruption.

    As to the results of "love" we still don't ****ing know -- we understand hormones and we understand arousal but we don't understand why someone will "stick it out" what chemical is honor?
    Research for research's sake leading to unexpected discoveries, leading to unexpected consequences has achieved far more actual results than top-down-goal driven research leading to intended discoveries and consequences

    as someone whose life has been saved by both penicillin and x-rays, i'm very glad for tax dollars spent on research for research's sake...
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    Originally Posted by tnel00 View Post
    Considering the clusterf*ck the whole peer review process has become, why not? Not like academic research papers could get much less credible anyway
    And yet peer review is what has allowed gun advocates have an uncrackable statement that reduction of guns or automatic weapons has no discernible effect. Peer review is a process of refining and refining, it is a good thing. Sometimes peer review spirals into ego driven semantic arguing (yet the end result is still superior either way) but this bill is insane.
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    Originally Posted by Penile_Dementia View Post
    Research for research's sake leading to unexpected discoveries, leading to unexpected consequences has achieved far more actual results than top-down-goal driven research leading to intended discoveries and consequences
    Fine -- do it with private monies or on your own time. Not with the government's public coffers. This is the epitome of government waste. No different than a bridge to no where, slush funds in general, and graft.
      
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    Originally Posted by tk217 View Post
    The public doesn't just research for the sake of research
    You don't speak for the public, and certainly not for me.

    Publicly funded research tends to be 'basic science' which may not have a short-to-medium term financial payoff. This tends to be too abstract and basic to attract the interest of private investors.Think early research into semiconductors and miniaturization.

    Private research is treated more as an investment. Think the Personal Computer and smartphones.
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    Originally Posted by betaphaggler View Post
    And yet peer review is what has allowed gun advocates have an in-assailable statement that reduction of guns or automatic weapons has no discernible effect. Peer review is a process of refining and refining, it is a good thing. Sometimes peer review spirals into ego driven semantic arguing (yet the end result is still superior either way) but this bill is insane.
    The problem is that the NSF doesn't do Peer Review it just claims it does hence the H1B Visa affair.
      
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    Originally Posted by tk217 View Post
    Fine -- do it with private monies or on your own time. Not with the government's public coffers. This is the epitome of government waste. No different than a bridge to no where, slush funds in general, and graft.
    No, your suggestion of goal driven research as opposed to research for research's sake is the epitome of government waste. That's the entire point.
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    Originally Posted by JB05 View Post
    You don't speak for the public, and certainly not for me.

    Publicly funded research tends to be 'basic science' which may not have a short-to-medium term financial payoff. This tends to be too abstract and basic to attract the interest of private investors.Think early research into semiconductors and miniaturization.

    Private research is treated more as an investment. Think the Personal Computer and smartphones.
    Hence I would support this congress person because he is actually being logical and pragmatic while loonies who want to blow money on "love" studies are more than willing to waste public money just as these same lunatics would waste money bailing out corrupt banks, endless wars of drugs, and other fanatical zealous and logically blind venues.
      
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    Originally Posted by Penile_Dementia View Post
    No, your suggestion of goal driven research as opposed to research for research's sake is the epitome of government waste. That's the entire point.
    And the NSF does waste money and is a political shill of an organization.
      
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    It's all a ploy to prove creationism "scientifically" so they can finally start vomiting that stuff into classrooms.
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    Originally Posted by BeefyMcNasty View Post
    It's all a ploy to prove creationism "scientifically" so they can finally start vomiting that stuff into classrooms.
    More than likely you're right but the NSF still pisses me off for being a shill for big business to foster in cheap labor and wasting money on bull chit.
      
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    If you don't think basic research (i.e. research done for its own sake) is worth while, throw away your computer, cell phone, television, radio, and just about every other electronic device you own, because it all was made possible by government funded, basic research. After all, if you can't appreciate what it took to make those things, you don't really deserve them.
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    Originally Posted by tk217 View Post
    Hence I would support this congress person because he is actually being logical and pragmatic while loonies who want to blow money on "love" studies are more than willing to waste public money just as these same lunatics would waste money bailing out corrupt banks, endless wars of drugs, and other fanatical zealous and logically blind venues.
    Well, don't expect me to defend the liberal arts...
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