The trillion-dollar plus porkapalooza Wreak-America Bill just passed by Congress will throw a huge amount of money into scientific research. This will be a good thing for certain scientists, but a very, very bad thing for science.
Young scientists do most of the great science. Einstein was 26 when he published his relativity theory. In 1980, when I got my first government research grant at the age of 33, some 22 percent of National Institute of Health (NIH) grants were given to scientists under the age of 35. In 2005, only three percent of NIH grants went to those under 35, while the percentage given to those over 45 increased from 22 to 77.
Increasingly, government grants are used to defend dogma, not discover new truth: 28 percent of the scientists supported by NIH admitted recently to cooking data to support establishment theory, and 66 percent admitted to cutting corners to achieve the same end. I myself no longer trust the data claims appearing in the leading science journals.
The United States and the European nations have spent billions of dollars to build the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) outside Geneva, Switzerland. The new bill will spend more. The Standard Model of particle physics predicts that the central particle of the Standard Model, the Higgs Boson, must have a mass-energy of around 220 GeV, an energy well within the range of the LHC. But the particle physics establishment does not want the Higgs Boson to exist, because if it does, then particle physics would be complete, and the particle physicists would be out of a job. Gary Taubes, in his book Nobel Dreams, has documented that the same people now in control of the LHC tried years ago to cook the data to refute the Standard Model. Can they be trusted now?
The new Wreak-America Bill will throw billions of dollars more into global warming research, a field in which data cooking has become an open scandal. Once again, the data is being adjusted to confirm the establishment theory: humans are responsible for global warming. In actual fact, satellite observations show that the Earth is now cooling, and has been cooling for about 10 years. This confirms the anti-establishment theory that the Earth warmed prior to the late 1990s due to the then-increasing number of sunspots, and is now cooling due to the now decreasing number of sunspots. The Wreak-America bill contains funds to “adjust” those pesky satellite observations, so that the data will confirm what powerful politicians wish to be true.
Universities have essentially been nationalized, like the banks. For years, government research grants have been pork grants: between 30 and 50 percent of all grant money is for “overhead,” which is spent at the discretion of university administrators. Surprise, surprise: administrators always decide that more administrators are needed, and administrator salaries increase. Over the last 50 years — the period of increasing government grant money — the administrator-student ratio at universities has increased more than 100 percent, while the faculty-student ratio has stayed the same or decreased. Today, a science professor cannot get tenure unless he has a government grant. A scientist’s teaching skills, her contributions to scientific knowledge, are irrelevant.
The hallmark of a nationalized industry is degraded production, and we can already see this happening in physics. In his book The Trouble with Physics, the physicist Lee Smolin divided up the past two centuries into 25-year intervals, and listed the great breakthroughs in physics that occurred in each. Rather, in all intervals but one: the past 25 years, within which there have been no physics breakthroughs.
Nationalization of medical research has slowed the advance of medicine. The U.S. cancer death rate is actually higher today than it was decades ago, before Nixon launched his War on Cancer. NIH cancer researchers are given grants to “make progress toward curing cancer,” not curing cancer. If someone found a cure for cancer, there would be no more grants for making progress toward a cure for cancer. Gary Taubes, in his most recent book Good Calories, Bad Calories, has shown how the American obesity epidemic is a consequence of government control of nutrition research, which has lead to poorer nutrition standards and guidelines than we had in the 1950s.
The great classical liberal economist Milton Friedman pointed out that, “Einstein didn’t construct his theory on order from a bureaucrat.” If this Wreak-America Bill becomes law, the only theories created will be those created on order from a bureaucrat. And the theories will be wrong. Scientific truth cannot be established by government degree.