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(This is a guest post by Trina Hoaks. Trina is the Atheist Examiner at Examiner.com.)
For some time I was convinced that it was important for our government to support the sciences by way of funding. Among other things, I had seen pleas from the likes of Michael J. Fox, who suffers from Parkinson’s disease, imploring people to support politicians who fight for government funding of science.
Admittedly, I didn’t give the issue much consideration and nonchalantly threw my hat in the ring of support. However, because I really had never explored the issue on my own, as it didn’t seem to touch my life directly, it was never anything about which I had any strong opinions. The extent of my concern was to say, “Yeah, it’s a good idea.” I really didn’t think it through much more than that because, on the surface, it made sense.
Then, I read something recently written by Frank Tipler (who, in general, I take with a grain of salt), which made me wonder if, perhaps, I had rushed my opinion without considering all sides of the issue.
In response to a request from William Katz, of Urgent Agenda, to express his views on the global-warming controversy (more on that topic later), Tipler discussed what can be described as the perversion of science when government becomes involved financially.
… We had better science, and a more rapid advance of science, in the early part of the 20th century when there was no centralized government funding for science…
He went on to say:
Science is an economic good like everything else, and it is very bad for production of high quality goods for the government to control the means of production…
So, here I am, exploring the aspects of the issue of government funding for scientific exploration. I absolutely believe that scientific research is important and necessary for a number of reasons, but as it stands now, I am stuck somewhere in the middle wondering which is worse: to have a government funded science initiative or to have science that has no government funding at all.