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  1. #1
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    Congress proposing to cut NSF funding for Political Science

    The issue: http://www.aip.org/fyi/2012/074.html

    Nature's take.
    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal...l/487271a.html

    NSF's description of the political science program.

    The Political Science Program supports scientific research that advances knowledge and understanding of citizenship, government, and politics. Research proposals are expected to be theoretically motivated, conceptually precise, methodologically rigorous, and empirically oriented. Substantive areas include, but are not limited to, American government and politics, comparative government and politics, international relations, political behavior, political economy, and political institutions.

    In recent years, program awards have supported research projects on bargaining processes; campaigns and elections, electoral choice, and electoral systems; citizen support in emerging and established democracies; democratization, political change, and regime transitions; domestic and international conflict; international political economy; party activism; political psychology and political tolerance. The Program also has supported research experiences for undergraduate students and infrastructural activities, including methodological innovations, in the discipline.
    Thoughts?

    I think it has nothing to do with the merits of the political science program but the views being espoused within the political science program. After all, it's only a couple million dollars out of a very large billion dollar budget. For example, Coburn had a problem with the NSF funding the Human Rights Data Project which found that US interrogation tactics led to increased human rights violations around the world.
    Last edited by Trace; 08-01-2012 at 03:42 PM.

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    I'm against defunding science in general. But I am not a unconcerned party. The studies he's mentioning are as is always done in hack pieces like this. say one sentence to make things sound crazy.

    ie. $301,000 to study gender and political ambition among high school and college students

    Is it not valid for us to know why so many more men the women desire to go into politics?

    And it's not like that 300,000 is going off into the either. It's paying a professor's salary, along with a couple grad students, and probably an administrator. It's part of the engine of our great secondary education system. We loose that we lose the one thing we are actually #1 in the world at.
    Last edited by flips333; 08-01-2012 at 03:57 PM.

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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by flips333 View Post
    I'm against defunding science in general. But I am not a unconcerned party.
    I think it could set a dangerous precedent by allowing layman to decide what is or isn't good science.

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    I don't have a problem with them cutting this particular program. It seems odd to me that it would be funded in the first place. But I support the purpose of the NSF as a whole. I think we would be benefitted by it funding more biology or astrophysics projects though.
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    Quote Originally Posted by dbroncos78087 View Post
    I don't have a problem with them cutting this particular program. It seems odd to me that it would be funded in the first place. But I support the purpose of the NSF as a whole. I think we would be benefitted by it funding more biology or astrophysics projects though.
    They're not reappropriating the funds, they're cutting the funds altogether simply because the GOP is at odds with their research and projects. It has nothing to do with the rigor of the program itself. By allowing layman to decide what is or isn't good science sets a dangerous precedent.

    As well, politicians could very well benefit from research based policy making instead of the traditional trial and error or 'follow your gut' characteristic in American politics.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dbroncos78087 View Post
    I don't have a problem with them cutting this particular program. It seems odd to me that it would be funded in the first place. But I support the purpose of the NSF as a whole. I think we would be benefitted by it funding more biology or astrophysics projects though.
    and they do fund those to a much greater extent... Why does it seem odd that they would fund the social sciences?

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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trace View Post
    They're not reappropriating the funds, they're cutting the funds altogether simply because the GOP is at odds with their research and projects. It has nothing to do with the rigor of the program itself. By allowing layman to decide what is or isn't good science sets a dangerous precedent.

    As well, politicians could very well benefit from research based policy making instead of the traditional trial and error or 'follow your gut' characteristic in American politics.
    When you say layman, what exactly do you mean? Are you and I funding science research that I don't know about? People who aren't in the government fund research because they think they can make money off of it. Is that what you mean by layman?

    But one of the most basic "layman" fundings of science that I can think of is the Komen Foundation. I think those "laymen" are doing a pretty good job of deciding what is and what isn't good science.
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    Quote Originally Posted by dbroncos78087 View Post
    When you say layman, what exactly do you mean? Are you and I funding science research that I don't know about? People who aren't in the government fund research because they think they can make money off of it. Is that what you mean by layman?

    But one of the most basic "layman" fundings of science that I can think of is the Komen Foundation. I think those "laymen" are doing a pretty good job of deciding what is and what isn't good science.
    The Komen Foundation assigns personnel with a PhD degree in a relevant field to oversee the grant review process. They're not layman.

    *By layman I mean someone who does not have the expertise in the relavent field of knowledge.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Trace View Post
    The Komen Foundation assigns personnel with a PhD degree in a relevant field to oversee the grant review process. They're not layman.

    *By layman I mean someone who does not have the expertise in the relavent field of knowledge.
    Then where are the laymen that will be giving this money coming from? I can't think of too many institutions or organizations that just let random people give out their money, at least not ones that stay in business very long.

    I can't think of too many people foolish enough to give people without knowledge in that field the authority over granting any money. Could you please point out an example of where this happened?
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    Quote Originally Posted by dbroncos78087 View Post
    Then where are the laymen that will be giving this money coming from? I can't think of too many institutions or organizations that just let random people give out their money, at least not ones that stay in business very long.

    I can't think of too many people foolish enough to give people without knowledge in that field the authority over granting any money. Could you please point out an example of where this happened?
    All reputable grants undergo a peer-review process. Congress is not a peer-review process nor are their constituents 'experts' by any means.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dbroncos78087 View Post
    When you say layman, what exactly do you mean? Are you and I funding science research that I don't know about? People who aren't in the government fund research because they think they can make money off of it. Is that what you mean by layman?

    But one of the most basic "layman" fundings of science that I can think of is the Komen Foundation. I think those "laymen" are doing a pretty good job of deciding what is and what isn't good science.
    The Komen Foundation is perhaps not the best example of people doing a great job with their funds.

    So much money spent on raising awareness for a disease you can't possibly be unaware of if you buy anything anywhere ever.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trace View Post
    All reputable grants undergo a peer-review process. Congress is not a peer-review process nor are their constituents 'experts' by any means.
    I don't think Congress has ever been responsible for grants. They either leave it to an executive agency (which does peer reviews).

    It seems to me that you are using the word "layman" in place for "politician you disagree with". The GOP, as you put it, wants this particular spending cut still doesn't qualify as a layman deciding what is good science, or even science regardless of quality. It is a politician making a decision on how taxpayer money is spent, which is why we elect them.
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    Quote Originally Posted by dbroncos78087 View Post
    I don't think Congress has ever been responsible for grants. They either leave it to an executive agency (which does peer reviews).

    It seems to me that you are using the word "layman" in place for "politician you disagree with". The GOP, as you put it, wants this particular spending cut still doesn't qualify as a layman deciding what is good science, or even science regardless of quality. It is a politician making a decision on how taxpayer money is spent, which is why we elect them.
    Their reason for cutting the program was because they did not think 'political science' had any merit. How is that not a case of layman deciding what is or isn't good science?
    Last edited by Trace; 08-02-2012 at 12:43 PM.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trace View Post
    Their reason for cutting the program was because they did not think 'political science' had any merit. How is that not a case of layman deciding what is or isn't good science?
    It seems to me that they are making a prioritization over what our government funds. This is what we elect politicians to do. You can't know their morives any more than I can but what you are callig layman sounds like politicians elected to make such cuts to me.
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    Quote Originally Posted by dbroncos78087 View Post
    It seems to me that they are making a prioritization over what our government funds. This is what we elect politicians to do. You can't know their morives any more than I can but what you are callig layman sounds like politicians elected to make such cuts to me.
    It's not 'prioritization' when the person that wrote the amendment basically called the political science program a joke and made several remarks denigrating the rigor and merit of the program. This is a clear case of layman deciding what is or isn't science.

    This is why several scientific publications and scientists are opposing this move despite not being affected by this change at all.

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