razzleccentric: (Penn: Shut The Fuck Up)
[personal profile] razzleccentric
The American Anthropological Association reports that the National Science Foundation's authorization bill for FY2008 is imminently scheduled to come up for debate on the House floor. Two proposed amendments – introduced by Reps. John Campbell (R-CA) and Scott Garrett (R-NJ) – would prohibit further funding of nine currently funded NSF grants in the Social, Behavioral and Economics Science Division, based on their quote "silly titles" unquote. Not surprisingly, five of the nine grants targeted fall under the research realms of anthropology or archaeology (the others appear to be behavioral psych and primatology).


Offered by Mr. Garrett of New Jersey
At the end of section 3, add the following new subsection;
(h) LIMITATION.-None of the funds authorized under this section may be used for research related to

(1) The reproductive aging and symptom experience at midlife among Bangladeshi Immigrants, Sedentees, and White London Neighbors

(2) The diet and social stratification in ancient Puerto Rico

Offered by Mr. Campbell of California
At the end of section 3, add the following new subsection;
(h) LIMITATION.-None of the funds authorized under this section may be used for research related to

(1) archives of Andean Knotted-String Records

(2) the accuracy in the cross-cultural understanding of others’ emotions;

(3) bison hunting on the late prehistoric Great Plains;

(4) team versus individual play;

(5) sexual politics of waste in Dakar, Senegal;

(6) social relationships and reproductive strategies of Phayre’s Leaf Monkeys; and

(7) cognitive model of superstitious belief. [!!!!!!!!!]



Whatever anyone may or may not think of knotted-string records, since when is it the job of a couple asshat politicians to decide what is worthy of scientific research and what is not? I think the National SCIENCE Foundation should keep making that call. SCIENCE. That's their JOB.

What I'd really like to do is take a hardcopy of these republicans' cognitive model of superstitious belief and stick it up their asses. Sideways.

Date: 2007-05-03 01:44 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] humanhabitrail.livejournal.com
Wow? Is the war over? Has terrorism been defeated? Have the debt and the deficit been tackled? Are our representatives seriously so on top of things that they have time to waste micromanaging the goings-on at the NSF?

Also, if we're going to cut funding of research relating to the superstitious beliefs of other cultures, I say we take it one step further - cut the indirect funding of America's superstitious beliefs by eliminating the tax exempt status of our own religious institutions. After all, one man's faith is another man's superstition.

Date: 2007-05-03 01:44 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] plaid-hatter.livejournal.com
Wow, that's stunningly ignorant.

And now I'm intrigued, yet afraid, of "sexual politics of waste in Dakar, Senegal".

Date: 2007-05-03 08:42 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ellison.livejournal.com
I'm with you. WTF indeed!

Date: 2007-05-03 11:46 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] altamaha.livejournal.com
Some (most?) politicians are stunningly stupid. It's part of the pervasive utilitarian mindset that is in vogue now, you know the same one that labels college students "consumers" as though education were a product to be formed, extruded and packaged up in little yum-yum kibble bits for wee Jason and Madison to crunch up while texting their friends for the test answers.

Date: 2007-05-03 03:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sarahmichigan.livejournal.com
I think an argument can be made that the social sciences are "soft" sciences and that some funding probably goes to stupid studies that shouldn't get funded. But I agree that politicians shouldn't be the one making that call and cherry-picking studies they think are silly.

Date: 2007-05-03 03:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] beldar.livejournal.com
If there is harm or irrelevence in studying any of these items, I'd like to see the details on that, from the Congressmen's own scientific experts. I more suspect this is from a philosophy that government funding of research is a waste of taxpayer money. Turning something down just because the title sounds funny is no way to decide these things. What if I gave one of their defense appropriations bills a funny name, would they vote "no" on that?

But if they are philosophically against tax money for research, then they should act against the entire NSF budget, which they apparently don't have the stones to do. Either fund it all (and let qualified scientists decide how to dole up the money) or none of it.


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