- Posted October 16, 2013 by
Buffalo, New York
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Shutdown over: What next?
Should we lead the world in science and discovery?
Unfortunately, if left to the free market, scientific advances such as vaccines would not be pursued. Purely profit driven decisions actually favor developing a product to treat an illness, not to completely eradicate the illness. That is one of the many reasons that academic primary discovery for discovery's sake is such an important role for the federal government.
Luckily I work on human health related research so the importance translates to the lay-reviewer of my work. However, the funding of some research projects are singled out since they make fun headlines. However, without knowledge of the specific intricacies, this does injustice to those researchers and their colleagues who likely approved such a project. It is important to remember that the funds are not only for the project itself, but much of the monies are often used to support the training of the next generation of scientists.
This shutdown and similar sequestration adds to the already difficult research climate that is being established in the United States. Frankly, there is an anti-science movement ongoing. One just has to look at the discontinuation of our space shuttle program and the lackluster support for NASA as a prime example. There is a significant number of individuals who are pursuing research positions in other countries due to the anti-science attitude that is becoming pervasive in our society.
Why this is becoming more pervasive is a difficult issue. The lack of federal scientific teaching standards and an assault on science in the classroom in some states is surely a significant part. Unfortunately, in the media's pursuit of non-biased reporting, giving credence to 'fringe-science' groups such as global warming deniers and creationist science believers has also had a negative effect.
Overall, this shutdown for me is a nuisance which pales in comparison to individuals that can't return their loved ones remains to America or are left hungry or homeless. However, thinking more globally on how this reflects on our attitude for science and research in this country, I fear that if we continue as we are, we will soon find ourselves following and not leading in research and discovery.