Coburn anti-NSF report misleading, factually incorrect

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18 Responses to “Coburn anti-NSF report misleading, factually incorrect”

  1. Nick Kenda says:

    This is an attack on the National Science Foundation and the American science as a whole. Its intent is to convince the US public (or at least its right wing) that US should significantly cut the funding to NSF and other similar programs.

    If it happens, it will only hurt the United States. US no longer has a monopoly on science. Brazil, China, EU, and many other places are growing in science. A few more attacks like these, and the tide will turn for US. First the prominent scientists from these countries, that would otherwise stay in US, will go back to their home countries. Next, it will start happening to US-born scientists, who will be forced to take positions abroad due to funding shortages. This is already happening today on a small scale, but reports like these will help making it commonplace. The final result will be that US will lose its #1 spot in science and technology.

  2. harkinna says:

    I take his points…but good to get it all right. The Social Security Administration was formed in 1935, so the SSA could not have been publishing the names since the 1880s. :)

  3. Anonymous says:

    People! I implore you! Do not let FACTS get in the way of POLITICS. Now if you need me, I’ll be consulting my menagerie of birds.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I am so proud of these scientists for standing up to politically-motivated anti-intellectualism! The USA needs more funding for math, science, and engineering — not less!

  5. nlinear says:

    I think the pre-1935 data is drawn from the Civil War Pensions program (America’s first “Social Security” program).

    http://www.ssa.gov/history/briefhistory3.html
    http://www.ssa.gov/oact/babynames/background.html

  6. Anonymous says:

    “The Social Security Administration was formed in 1935, so the SSA could not have been publishing the names since the 1880s”

    Presumably, however, many of the people signing up for social security cards in the 1930s were born in the 1880s. It’s ambiguous what “since the 1880s” actually modifies in the original post.

  7. A. B. Itch says:

    “Did Coburn or his staff even look at the scientific paper in question?”

    Of course they didn’t. Scientific papers are hard and scary!

    Once again, I apologize for the ignorant Okies.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Who can blame the young interns and staffers working for Coburn and writing the report? They are clearly not scientists, nor do they even know enough about science to know that the research resulted in an actual paper which can be found online. One of the many problems here is a problem of poor journalism on the part of Sharon Jayson of USA today who did not put a link to the study in her article. Journalist, especially science journalists, should always link to their sources especially when it is as easy as linking to a scientific article. If she had then Colburn’s team would be even more culpable for failing to even scan the article. I know this goes against the truncated half citation style taught at J School, but j Schools have made a number of errors which leave todays reporters ill prepared for the real world.

  9. Anonymous says:

    I have come to expect our legislative representatives to be misleading and flat-out inaccurate.

    It still disappoints me though.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Tom Coburn is a dishonest piece of crap. Here’s a good rule of thumb for anyone who’s talking about fiscal responsibility: if their plan doesn’t start with defense, medicare, or social security, they’re not trying to fix anything. They’re trying to use our nation’s budget troubles to advance their agenda.

  11. Jewels Vern says:

    The fallacy of science is that it has to be supported by somebody, and a wise student will not offend his benefactor even if it means compromising his studies. For a long time science was supported by the Catholic church, and we all know how well that worked. This is not much different.

    BTW, the US government has supported science only since WW2, and only because they really wanted that bomb. All inventions prior to that were developed to commercial readiness at no cost to the government.

    • Ugly Canuck says:

      Sheer nonsense, when it comes to military-grade munitions and armaments – the Government has ALWAYS had an active hand in such manufactures.

  12. jphilby says:

    Umh. When are we going to take the zoo back from the monkeys?

  13. Anonymous says:

    “misleading, factually incorrect”

    Come on, let’s call this what it is. It’s a lie. When are we going to start calling these guys out?

  14. pushmonk says:

    Just sent him the link to this FAQ. I’m sure it will go unread.

  15. emmdeeaych says:

    Our paper reports novel findings which suggest a refinement of leading theories of cultural transmission of ideas.

    Your research is only useful if it can be weaponized. And when it is, it will only be used by Tom Coburn to shout “Punch The Hippies” even louder than he can in USA Today.

  16. Anonymous says:

    I have a gripping expose in the works: scientifically illiterate US senator and staff use gobs of taxpayer money to write misleading summaries of research based on third-hand information.

  17. Anonymous says:

    “there is no company out there trying to convince you to name you child something in particular”

    Not yet.

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