Now, in addition to controlling who you are allowed to have sex with and how long you are supposed to be pregnant, the Republicans want to make sure science goals are short term and in the “national interest”.
Key members of the US House of Representatives are calling for the National Science Foundation (NSF) to justify every grant it awards as being in the “national interest”. The proposal, which is included in a draft bill from the Republican-led House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology that was obtained by Nature, would force the NSF to document how its basic-science grants benefit the country.
Yeah, OK, so how does working out the interactions in the hedgehog signaling pathway “benefit the country”? How does measuring the lipid composition of neurons in the substantia nigra “benefit the country”? How does documenting the identity of waxes on the abdomens of fruit flies “benefit the country”? Shall we just stop all research that doesn’t make a profit, doesn’t improve the range of cruise missiles, and doesn’t directly improve heart disease treatments for sclerotic old conservatives?
This is a first step in imposing a patriotism requirement on science…and a first step in killing the enterprise altogether.
It’s also terrifying that judging the worth of science is being put in the hands of Republicans — the know-nothing party of ignorant Jebus-lovin’ buffoons. (It would also be terrifying to see it under the thumbs of the credulous new-agey clowns in the other party — how about keeping science apolitical?)