Home » Culture, Darwinism, Intelligent Design » Scientists, including evolutionary biologists, carry coffin through streets in Canada, to protest cuts to funding?

Scientists, including evolutionary biologists, carry coffin through streets in Canada, to protest cuts to funding?

Bio_Symposium_033.jpg In “Scientists march on Canadian parliament” (Nature, 10 Jul 2012) Ivan Semeniuk/Jennifer Carpenter report,

To the mournful tune of a lone saxophone scientists marched through the streets of Ottawa and onto Canada’s Parliament Hill to protest a glut of cuts to government research labs and — they say — a lack of evidence-based decision making in the Canadian government.

The 10 July rally drew an estimated 2000 scientists, graduate students and their supporters to the sunny capital, many of them dressed in white lab coats; smaller protests took place in other cities across the country including in Regina, Guelph and Calgary.

They are protesting cutting funding to some programs. What you don’t hear in this report is that many of the main Ottawa contingent may have been drawn from an evolutionary biology conference meeting there. (See University of Toronto evolutionary biologist Larry Moran’s blog, for details re their complaints.)

Two things most readers won’t necessarily know: Darwin’s boys have been after science minister Gary Goodyear for years, believing him to be a “creationist.” He says he does believe in evolution, but what they really want , of course, is tax dollars to study whatever they feel like studying. In these times, that is a lot to ask for, and he demurs. So from their perspective, he doesn’t believe in it nearly enough.

Second, smaller tax base countries like Canada must make narrower decisions about what to fund than large tax base ones. We made the Canadarm work, but we didn’t try to fund a whole national space program. Any time we must make those decisions, some people will be screaming. And marching. And carrying a coffin through the streets. (NatureNews did not mention that stunt.)

We simply can’t afford to fund all available good ideas. At the end of the day, we must be judged on the achievements we have chosen to focus on, not those we left to others. Some decisions will be right, others wrong. That’s life. That other stuff is just street theatre.

See also: “Canadian science minister vs. the puff dino suits: A story with, um, legs?”

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5 Responses to Scientists, including evolutionary biologists, carry coffin through streets in Canada, to protest cuts to funding?

  1. Darwin’s boys… what they really want , of course, is tax dollars to study whatever they feel like studying. In these times, that is a lot to ask for, and he demurs.

    Really? Then Denyse can cite a reference proving that. And I hope she can explain to us how grant applications are reviewed in Canada.

    In the USA, grant applications are 25 pages long and only the best 8% are funded. That means that on average, the average scientist must write 12, that’s twelve, grant applications 25 pages long before, on average, one of them will be funded.

    And in every one of those grant applications, the scientists must write a section called “Preliminary Results” where they describe how they have already done two-thirds of the research toward achieving their goal. After doing two-thirds of the research, and writing it up with graphs, tables, protocols and references, the grant will be rejected 92% of the time.

    I am wondering if anyone at UD has ever written a research grant application, and written the section called “Preliminary Results.”

    Anyone?

    (chirp) … (chirp)

    But, judging from Denyse’s comments, I guess in Canada scientists have a faucet in their labs where they turn the valve and money comes out.

    What if ID proponents treated everyone the way they treat scientists?

    Examples:

    Policemen… what they really want , of course, is tax dollars to catch whatever criminal they fell like catching. In these times, that is a lot to ask for, and he demurs.

    Firemen… what they really want , of course, is tax dollars to put out whatever fire they feel like putting out. In these times, that is a lot to ask for, and he demurs.

    Construction workers… what they really want , of course, is tax dollars to build whatever road they feel like building. In these times, that is a lot to ask for, and he demurs.

    Nurses… what they really want , of course, is tax dollars to treat whatever sick child they feel like treating. In these times, that is a lot to ask for, and he demurs.

    How many variations can you imagine?

  2. Diogenes,

    Quick question. Do you deny the Law of Non-Contradiction? ;)

  3. Diogenes, go have a cup of hot coffee and a bear claw. All the job descriptions you cite are hired locally or in the private sector to do non-speculative jobs, and the science minister is not involved. Funding science research is a different animal.

  4. Denyse,

    All the job descriptions you cite are hired locally or in the private sector to do non-speculative jobs

    But this distinction is irrelevant to your assertion, which was:

    Darwin’s boys… what they really want , of course, is tax dollars to study whatever they feel like studying. In these times, that is a lot to ask for, and he demurs.

    Where is your evidence that “Darwin’s boys” want “tax dollars to study whatever they feel like studying”? The local vs. national distinction does not prove that they want “tax dollars to study whatever they feel like studying.”

    I am not sure what you mean by “speculative.” Please clarify how scientists are paid to “speculate.”

    To submit a grant application, scientists must do two-thirds of the research and describe their results in the application to get paid for work they already did for free.

    I am wondering if you have ever written or read a grant application.

    Have you ever seen a grant application where a scientist writes: “I wish to to study whatever I feel like studying”?

    If you have not, then what do you base your claim upon?

    Scientists put an enormous amount of thought into choosing their projects, and yes, they certainly do consider the practical benefits of research. And then the applications are turned down 92% of the time.

    It seems you are choosing your words based on their negative connotations, not reality.

  5. I don’t know if Goodyear is a creationist.
    I wish he was but Harpur is no friend to true cAnadians or good guys anywhere.
    They take our money and give it to the rich.
    they take from hard working creationists but deny us same rights to rise to high positions because of our beliefs.
    Why does Canada deserve God’s blessing on our ‘researchers”

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