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Re: Dino sex and therm tally rant



On Mon, 14 Jul 1997 22:13:40 -0500 Joe Daniel <jdaniel@aristotle.net>
writes:
>jamolnar@juno.com wrote:
>
>  Despite what the media may
>> think, or what they want the public to think, a scientific 
>hypothesis is
>> not tested by taking a poll of scientists to see who agrees with it. 
> The
>> strength of a hypothesis is determined by the amount of data that
>> supports it.  Period.
>
>Oh really.  Maybe in a perfect world things might be that way.  Not in
>this one.  An idea not seen to be en vogue with the establishment will
>have a hard time finding grant money in today's climate.  If the new
>idea contradicts what the big name boys in the field say, then it has
>about as much chance of getting published and accepted no matter the
>evidence as I have of winning the lottery.  Possible but not too 
>bloody
>likely.  Paleontologists have it easy compared to a lot of fields
>because it is so poorly funded that everyone starves and there are so
>few (relatively) that are making a living at it academically that it 
>is
>easier for newcomers to say new things.  Try it in, say, biomed
>research, and you will find your funding disappear like an ice cube in
>summer.  And in biomed research, without funding you don't do much
>research at all.  At least in paleontology, you can still do 
>something. 
>You're not spending a couple of grand a day every day in the lab.  I
>sometimes want to cry when I think of the paleo research that could be
>done with the money I spend in the lab every day as a simple biomed
>tech.
>
>Sorry to sound bitter but that's just the way it is in the labs I am
>familiar with.

Your bitterness is recognized, and empathized with, believe me.  I was
jealous of all the bio grad students in fields that were well funded,
while animal behavior and other fields went scraping for cash for
post-docs.  And if the government decides that one scientific theory is
worth funding, then the other politically incorrect one languishes in the
climate today.  

I recognize that science has gotten more and more politicized.  I was
speaking in the ideal that science should hold.  Perhaps if governments
were not funding so carelessly, real science could go forward.

Judy Molnar
Education Associate, Virginia Living Museum
vlmed@juno.com
jamolnar@juno.com
All questions are valid; all answers are tentative.