One institution after another fails to impress or lately even live up to basic mandates. Pieces of broken pieces; a government that tries to groom scientists at every level has produced a climate of desperation and timidity.
The culture of science has become sensationalized. It's now something for the elite alone. The closed circle of arm chair "experts" managing public funds like it's their personal piggy bank. How many rounds of grant application should an obviously qualified citizen go through before they are approved for even the most modest project? Doesn't matter...unless that citizen is part of the approved class. A proper degree with an esteemed institution.
Gotta be responsible with the peoples money. The classic justification for these bureaucratic tyrannies, yet we all know that Canada is one of the most resource rich countries on earth with the population of a small island nation. We also know that our government spends like drunk sailors on every other day. We have the money, we just don't have the balls and every time something gets going, the forces that be "Avro Arrow" that awesomeness into oblivion.
The government... has made a thorough examination in the light of all the information available concerning the probable nature of the threats to... North America in the future years, the alternative means of defence against such threats, and the estimated cost thereof. The conclusion arrived at is that the development of the Arrow aircraft and Iroquois engine should be terminated now.
- Prime Minister Diefenbaker addressing the House of Commons, 20 February 1959
The Canadian governments various funding institutions are mandated to support the efforts of citizens to explore the scientific frontier. Yet in practice they have become monolithic dragons breathing fire at anyone who comes around as if they are thieves, or worse, beggars in the night. Our bureaucrats forget it's not their money.
Heaven forbid some crazy lay scientist build a lab and make a discovery out side the control of the economic overlords. Look how conveniently "uncommercial" climate science has become in this country. Too many scientists can't even tell the difference between empirical and statistical results. The politics makes it so easy to spend credit gained by empirical to prop up statistical conclusions. Just trust us they keep saying, we've been right before. No, you've also been wrong. Show me the evidence.
Government has learned all the wrong lessons from business.
They saw creative people break through glass ceilings so they installed shatter proof glass. The biggest risk from over funding science is that we make the world a better place a little bit faster. By under funding we hand science over to the low hanging interests or the socialist corporations who muscle it into an intellectual property scheme; fencing it off from the rest of us. Or worse using science as a wedge toward some social engineering program. What do you think a "managed economy" is really all about? Control.
Don't be fooled by science popularists such as Bill Nye or even a more respectable Neil deGrasse Tyson. If they use an argument like "99% of scientists agree." then they are not being scientific. They are being political. They aren't backing up their assertion with facts; they are propping it up with an appeal to authority. This is lazy and it keeps good researchers out of the game. We have genuine problems to solve and we're just dancing around like idiots. The nerds are still chasing the jocks and their cute girlfriends.
We need to get some work done before everything we do is pushed into the fringe by an established political power. The best stuff will be "discovered" by their friends in the companies that bought their loyalty in the first place. Is this what you want? Is this what Newton and Galileo envisioned while they stared up at the sky in wonder and curiosity?
Science is supposed to be free from interference like a judicatory of knowledge. Honest and neutral, but the call of TV land was just too seductive. The promise of a network show...they all want to be like Carl Sagan, a true scientist, but only in the most superficial way. It's ruined the integrity of the system. Socialism is creeping into the lab by using fame and human weaknesses. We need to push back against the politicization of science.
There is always an election coming up. Please keep science in mind when you vote this year.