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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>
>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 
>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 
>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 
>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
>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
All questions are valid; all answers are tentative.