Is the Republican FIRST Act Really “Anti-Science”?

Research in science and technology costs money. Lots of money. And in recent American history, much of that money has come from the civil government. The National Science Foundation gives out millions of dollars a year to different research projects. Those projects are all determined by a peer-review process. But that could change soon thanks to the FIRST Act:

[Republicans] have recently proposed a bill — titled the “Frontiers in Innovation, Research, Science, and Technology (FIRST) Act of 2014” — that would cut foundation spending for research in the social, behavioral, and economic sciences by more than 40 percent. The bill would shift some $160 million that the federal government has allocated for the social sciences and geosciences toward Republican priorities in the physical and biological sciences, as well as engineering.

Republicans defend the FIRST Act by explaining that it is not “anti-science” as such, but that it would direct the majority of limited government funds to those sciences that are most beneficial to our national interests: “harder” science that might lead to technological breakthroughs.

Democrats criticize the bill particularly because they think it targets research on “climate change,” sociological issues like poverty or healthcare, and other politically inflammatory arenas not favorable to the typical Republican agenda.

In the end, there is one main solution: just cut government funding from all of science. The fact is that no matter what the National Science Foundation purports, science has been heavily politicized because of the civil government’s involvement. They hide behind the apparently neutral peer-review process, but when government funds are involved, it isn’t possible that government strings aren’t attached. The solution is not to transform the now liberal leaning process into a more conservative-leaning process.

Science should not be politicized. It should be allowed to run its course with as little intervening ideological and political influence as possible. It’s not possible for science to be entirely objective or neutral. Not ever. But we could move it much further in that direction by cutting its currently massive ties to the civil government.

76 responses

  1. The anti science, anti-intellectual, party of the flat earth society officially declares war on science!!!

    • Do you realize that when the Old Testament Prophets railed against “witchcraft” back in the day, THEY WERE ACTUALLY ANTI-SCIENCE? After all, ‘science’ is nothing more (AND NOTHING LESS) than man’s attempt to explain (AND CONTROL) the natural world by NATURAL MEANS. The God of the Bible wants His people (the true Israel — who are NOT the Jews, BTW) to explain and control the natural world through SUPERNATURAL MEANS (i.e., PRAYER and the Bible). Thus to be “anti-science” is actually to be PRO-GOD!

      • Of course it is!!! Science & religion are incompatible. That is why the American Taliban (aka tea party) has declared war on it!

          • Do you think it’s just a coincidence that the very same dimwits who believe the planet is 6,000 years old also believe climate change is a hoax? I’m here to tell you, it’s NOT!

      • Who were the Old Testament prophets if not Jews? If God wants the natural world explained via the Bible and prayer how does that explain the advances in medicine that came by scientific research?

        • Basic scientific principles are included in the Bible, including that the earth is round and revolves around the sun.
          But shawnfahrer’s comment makes no sense.

          • The bible doesn’t include scientific principles. The earth isn’t flat, the moon isn’t a source of light, the earth isn’t Stationary, The Sky and Atmospheric Conditions are all wrong as are the The Sun, the Moon, and the Stars

          • Your right, the earth isn’t flat. You insinuate that the Bible says it is. Prove it. Cite the book, chapter, and verse.
            Also, Christians in the dark ages did not believe the earth was flat or that Columbus would fall off the earth when he sailed to America. That was made up by someone who played fast and loose with the facts.

          • really? the bible says the earth hangs on nothing. most thought the gods held it in their hands,like atlas. get a clue, man! that was before gravity was ‘discovered” look at the health laws of the old testament. long before ‘germs were discovered, it taught washing kept you clean. think about it, before asking any more lame questions. thanks.

          • The Bible is not a science text, but it IS constant with science. It DOES NOT make any of the claims you attribute to it.

          • The people that wrote the Bible did the best they could with
            the information and abilities they possessed at that time. There is no need to ridicule them for what they did not know. My issue stems from the apparent inability to accept new knowledge from the research of scientists (who may be Christians!) concerning ideas not mentioned in scripture. Is the idea that God created humanity with the ability to try to come to understand the magnificence of the Universe so difficult to accept? If so, why?

          • I would never even consider ridiculing the authors of the books of the Bible. They are 100% accurate in prophecy and in science. The Bible is God’s Word. The authors were inspired by God to write it. God is never wrong.

          • Stephanie, I am not talking about where our ability to do the research came from, but that the Bible does not give specific information about discoveries in medicine, physics, and other areas of intellectual study.

      • Your post is beyond doubt, the stupidest statement of the day!!

        I think you you have beaten labotomy hands down!!

    • its morons like obama who are anti science. right now he is pushing on w/ his climate change agenda, despite having NO evidence for global warming. you can call us all the names you want, it wont change the facts.

          • Can you please explain to me why you would think an uneducated person with below average intelligence that has not studied the issue of climate change for more then 30 minutes (like you) would think they know more about the issue than the vast majority of the most intelligent & highly educated scientists on the planet that have PHD’s from schools like Harvard, MIT, Yale & Oxford & have spent their entire lives studying the subject?

          • i have studied it longer than you think, moron! try 25 years. if i were you, i’d look in the damn mirror b4 calling .somebody, uneducated!!!! YOU ARROGANT LITTLE LIBERALS THINK YOU KNOW IT ALL!! well you don’t!! there used to be a ”consensus” that the world was flat. so do NOT give me that ”there is a consensus’ crap either!! so, labooby,i suggest YOU get educated!

          • Tell me you’re a scientist with a PHD from top college that has been researching this issue for the last 25 years & not some uneducated dimwit that’s read some right wing blogs & thinks you got the answers & I will listen to what you have to say on the subject

          • art thou a moron? can you not read? i have spoken, thou hast not understood. admit it, i just schooled you! lol. Lord, you have given him ears, he cannot hear. you have given him eyes, but he cannot read. please help labobbee, amen.

          • Why is it that the very same people that think the planet is 6,000 years old think global warming is a hoax?

          • where in the world did you get that number?? out of your anus? i believe it is more like 10,000 years give or take. it may be older. who knows except our Creator. besides, who the hell cares? what matters is who i put my faith in. it sure as hell aint man! he is fallible. God is not. i will pray for you, since you are lost.

          • Why do you ASSUME you know which people believe what. For the record, belief that the planet is 6000 years old is generally attributed to a literal interpretation of the Genesis creation account. The Bible CLEARLY refers to the earth as a sphere. That makes is unlikely for someone that takes it literally to believe the earth is flat. HOWEVER, making the claim reveals YOUR bias.

          • Try convincing anyone YOU would recognize a scientist if you read everything they ever wrote. I can point to PHDs that know LESS about real science than a typical 4th grader in 1950.

          • You realize that There isn’t a national or major scientific institution on the planet that disputes the theory of anthropogenic climate change. NOT ONE!!!

          • Which only proves politics and money can buy anything they want………………..except the truth

          • And there isn’t on actually test that ATTEMPTS to PROVE anthropogenic climate change. Please learn the BASICS of science. The burden of providing evidence rests on those making the claim. It is no ones job to disprove anything until supporting evidence is presented. Computer models that can’t ‘predict’ the past are not evidence.

          • Do YOU realize that at the first Earth Day in ’69 0r ’70 these “climate specialists” were prediciting an ICE AGE? WHY do people like you think these scientists are right about global warming when meteorologists, with FAR more accurate models and tools can’t predict the WEATHER accurately a week out?

            Temps on Mars have been rising too? I suppose all the SUV’s we are using there are responsible? More than this we have just had one of the COLDESTS winters in recorded history! May 1st and 2nd here in Central Indiana we had temps in the low 40s!

            What do you have to say about the Warming rersearch ice breaker getting stuck for weeks in the ICE and Polar Bears possibly starving due to their main prey (seals) not being able to make breathing holes (due to ice that is uncharecteristically THICK) and having to move further from the polar bear populations? What about all the proof we have of all these “hard scientists” conspiring to supprress data and research that doesn’t fit their bias? Guess that is par for the course….

            Ends justify means right? Global warming is a scam desigend to get people to sacrifice their rights and standard of living to “save the Earth”… No one has a single model that is agreed upon that ANYTHING man can do would reduce temps by a SINGLE degree… Guess the REAL solution is not so far from Hitlers final solution… He just didn’t think big enough and didn’t realize that what he was doing was better for the Earth! When all humans die then the world will be safe for all the animals and plant life I guess?

        • There is more ice in the arctic and Antarctic, average temperatures are WNL when viewed over a few centuries. The polar bear is not going extinct.

        • They always told me that it took a fool to recognize a fool, but I believe you are wrong, you are looking within your self and that is where the ignorance lies.

          • You were LIED to. It doesn’t take a fool to recognize a fool. In reality a fool is the LEAST qualified to recognize a fool. That explains why YOU think everyone else is a fool.

    • As a person with a BA in psychology and economics (among a couple of others I got thanks to the US Navy and the GI Bill) I heartily agree that some of the soft sciences are far less science and far more politics than they should be. However, there are certain solids in economics that should be considered science. That said, the Marxist-Keynesian concepts are much more wishful thinking than reality based – and as such should NOT be called science at all.

      • Democracies are a combination of socialism and capitalism. A balance of both works better. There’s no such thing as a pure market-driven economy.

        • True, but America is NOT a Democracy, it is a nation of laws. A Constitutional republic. Democracy bascially means majorit or mob rule and that is NOT how America was designed to work. There COULD be a purely market driven economy if we had less interventions of many kinds. i.e. Crony capitalism, excess regulation, manipulation of currencies and interst rates etc.

          • A republic includes everyone. Republicans like to use propaganda and code words. We are a nation of capitalists and socialists. If you have a problem with that check the internet or ask a historical scholar.

            There’s such a thing as good regulations and bad regulations. Regulations that save the environment are the good ones. If you’ve ever seen an episode of Planet Earth you might understand why. There are incredible aerial shots of forests. The face of the planet has been scarred by reckless industrialization. There’s a place for forests and a place for man. It shouldn’t be decided by the richest people on the planet.

          • The entire earth was provided as a source of sustenance for mankind, not something to look at and go wanting for what it can provide. There is a developing body of scientific evidence that the belief that decaying vegetation creates oil is false and that it is a purely chemical, and renewable process that takes place deep within the earth and works its way to near the surface where we obtain it by drilling. If this evidence continues to play out, then most of the arguments regarding “renewable” energy go right out the window. Using the resources available wisely is one thing, but taking away the rights of private individuals because some turtle might be injured in some obscure way (cow might step on his?) is insanity and is not about protecting the turtle, but rather controlling or otherwise restricting or eliminating property rights entirely. The states (in writing) objective of Agenda 21 is claimed by many to be the protection of wildlife and maintaining the planet in a “sustainable” manner. What it actually states is that private property rights should be eliminated in the name of social justice and that is nothing more than communism in disguise. The environmental movement is so infiltrated by Marxists that those who began it with a noble motive have been hijacked to the extent that the original intent is no longer an issue for consideration. It has been turned into a battering ram for the progressives who want to re-distribute wealth. Equal opportunity, not equal results is what freedom is all about.

          • I’m so glad to have a DEMOCRAT to explain to me all the ‘code words’ you claim I like to use. Have you noticed EVERY Democrat and ONLY Democrats seem to have the code book?

            Preacher Cruz did NOT claim no regulations should exist. He ACCURATELY referred to excess regulation. Socialists don’t believe there is such a thing as sufficient, much less excessive regulation. They also refuse to acknowledge that the VAST majority of regulations actually CAUSE the problems the claim to address.

          • The proper term is crony STATISM. The FALSE term crony capitalism is a political weapon of socialists. Cronyism is ANTI-capitalist.

        • There is CURRENTLY no pure market driven economy, and hasn’t been during the lifetime of most people living today. There CANNOT be a combination of socialism and capitalism. As soon as socialism is introduced, the result is NOt capitalism, by any accurate definition. Partial socialism is socialism. Partial capitalism is not capitalism.

    • That argument aside, it is NOT the governments job to fund science.

      Article 1, Section 8, Clause 8 of the Constitution authorizes Congress to: Promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, BY SECURING FOR LIMITED TIMES TO AUTHORS AND INVENTORS THE EXCLUSIVE RIGHT TO THEIR RESPECTIVE WRITINGS AND DISCOVERIES.

      Note: The text specifies HOW Congress may promote the progress of science. Congress is authorized to make copyright and patent law, but actually funding research is unconstitutional.

  2. If it will make money some company are person will invest in science to make the profit. But like the drug company they expect a profit. But thats how new drug come about. No telling how long they have to work on something before they find something the government will ok for use

  3. Economics is most certainly a science. There are many well defined cause-effect paradigms, the most important being that the best way to stimulate an economy is give money to poor people. This is based on Utility Theory and Multiplier Effect. End of argument, scientifically speaking anyways.

  4. Only a fool would ever say that Republicans are against science. It was given to us by GOD, BUT GOD comes first, he is the one who created science when HE created the rest of everything in existence. HE gave man the mind to study and to build on science, the same way he gave theMmability to do any thing else that we do, IT ALL CAME FROM THE LORD GOD ALMIGHTY. It is not GOD, but man that gives science a bad name, that tries to make it “GOD HIMSELF” AND SCIENCE BELONGS TO GOD, it is not separate from GOD..

    • making up a magic story with an invisible magic man to explain things you do not understand is NOT science

          • Your ignorance of science is beyond that. Those who claim science is apart from intelligent design are most hypocritical. If everything in the universe faithfully follows the “physical laws” of science (and they do), then something that precise and orderly (which the universe is) could never have been created by some random explosion. It is simply impossible without the hand of an intelligence of some kind. Christians have a detailed record of mankind’s history that has been proven accurate over thousands of years and continues to prove accurate to the present day. Science is nothing more than mankind’s continual effort to understand what God has done and why. Unfortunately, mankind, regardless of what he might think of his intelligence, will never be a match for God’s. Once you accept that man is not the ultimate intelligence (a position of complete arrogance), then belief in a higher intelligence is no longer so difficult for rational minds to accept. I pray your eyes will someday be opened to the fact that scientific inquiry has the goal of understanding and cannot disprove the existence of the One who made it possible in the first place.

          • Yours is even more astounding. You consistently claim everyone else is ignorant of science, while never demonstrating you have a CLUE what the word means.

            Hint: Observe phenomenon. Formulate hypotheses (proposed explanations of observances). Test hypotheses. Adjust hypotheses to fit test results.

            Note: Using the scientific method, there CANNOT be conclusive proof of a theory. It is ALWAYS possible that unknown facts are in play. No less a scientific authority than Albert Einstein stated that no amount of experiments could prove him right, but ONE experiment could prove him wrong.

  5. Science suffers when the religious nuts take over. If it weren’t for religion over the centuries we would have a cure for cancer by now. Religion accompanied by superstition has held back intellectual pursuits. The “straw man” of the past has been replaced by tin foil hats. Who would have thought that a Pope would talk about greed and the poor who suffer because of it? Republican politicians are fuming because the Pope is raining on their parade of suffering and death.

    • Another lib rewriting history. Medicine and hospitals came from the Catholic Church. Universal education came out of the Catholic Church. Early universites were Christian institutions. Historically, the Church has often been a patron of sciences. It has been prolific in the foundation of schools, universities and hospitals, and many clergy have been active in the sciences. Historians of science such as Pierre Duhem credit medieval Catholic mathematicians and philosophers such as John Buridan, Nicole Oresme and Roger Bacon as the founders of modern science

    • Science owns its very EXISTENCE to those you call religious nuts. Monotheism provided the basis to believe the universe operated under uniform rules that COULD be understood by man. Without that foundation, the entire concept of science is more absurd than you believe religion to be.

Leave a Reply