Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Feed Me! For Some Bioetech Scientists It is Never Enough

The sense of entitlement is so thick, so embedded within the genome of the biotech research community, that apparently no matter the extent to which they are catered, it is never, ever enough. Only days after they got virtually all they claimed they wanted from President Obama, some scientists are already whining that they might receive less money from other sources that have so far bounteously funded ESCR. From the story, "Stem Cell Descion Worries Some Scientists" in the New York Times:

While praised by scientists, President Obama's decision to lift restrictions on federal financing of embryonic stem cell research could cause state governments and philanthropists to pull back on billions of dollars they have pledged for such work.

A number of states and philanthropies rushed in to fill the gap after President George W. Bush imposed the restrictions in 2001...
"If the federal government starts meeting its responsibilities, then there's really less reason for the state governments to step in," said Dr. John A. Kessler, director of the stem cell institute at Northwestern University.

Fiscal headaches have already caused New Jersey to reduce planned spending on stem cell research, and Massachusetts has trimmed overall life-sciences spending. And California's program may run out of money by the end of the year because the state, hurt by turmoil in the financial markets and its own budget crisis, cannot issue bonds at a reasonable rate. Further, portfolios of wealthy individuals and philanthropies are suffering from the pounding taken by the stock market, a development that could mean a decline in donations from those sources as well. "Hopefully that won't happen, but we have to be ever vigilant, especially at this time where there are fewer and fewer dollars," said Susan L. Solomon, chief executive of the New York Stem Cell Foundation. Because it takes time to win a federal grant, scientists who have access to donated money often achieve research results more quickly, Ms. Solomon said.

Well, then they should have defended the Bush plan! They were overflowing with money and they had a convenient scape goat on which to blame their every failure. They had the best of both worlds!

And here's an interesting note: This is the first time I have seen the billions in funding received by embryonic stem cell scientists reported in a major news outlet. All we have heard before now has been the meme that the industry was staaaaaarving on the vine for cash because of Bush's heartlessness.

Perhaps these scientists haven't noticed but the financial structure is crashing around all of our heads and everyone faces cutbacks. Why should they be exempted? Honestly. They remind me of voracious baby birds always screaming, "Feed Me!"

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6 Comments:

At March 11, 2009 , Blogger Dana said...

This raised an interesting question for me that I had not considered before. I'm curious if there is a study demonstrating that when federal basic science research grant money decreases, does private/state basic science research grant money increase? If so, is this increase usually GREATER than the proposed or previously distributed federal money? Following that to its end, if the NIH budget was heavily trimmed to eliminate much of the nonsense, would there actually be significantly more money available for solid, basic science research (more than what was just trimmed or re-allocated)? The nonsense at NIH I'm referring to is stuff like Complimentary and Alternative Medicine, the countless funded studies showing that, gasp, eating too much causes obesity, and some teenagers will use pot regardless of how much DARE they encounter. I question how much we truly learn from such studies and how beneficial they are to society and science; and, in various cases, if such work should even be considered science.

I recommend checking NIH's website and viewing the various centers and institutes.

http://www.nih.gov/icd/index.html

Anyways, if anyone can help with these questions about funding, it would be much appreciated.

 
At March 11, 2009 , Blogger Ianthe said...

They didn't make those adorable little birds, now, did they. Or the principle of flight. For heaven's sake why would anyone be surprised; they're in it for the money and feel entitled because others "respect" their "degrees, achievements, dedication," etc. Others who are smarter, wiser, and more honest, ethical, trustworthy, and capable then they, just mistaken and not sharp enough to see through the baloney. Somebody feed those little birds, they're hungry. With money that wasn't wasted on "scientists" who are "too good for" (and wouldn't be any good at) real work and who care more about their own careers and material success than anything else.

 
At March 11, 2009 , Blogger SAFEpres said...

"they remind of voracious baby birds screaming, 'feed me!'"

Even better: They remind me of the monster plant from "Little Shop of Horrors," that eats people. "Feed me, Seymour, feed me..." I think that this analogy is more fitting because baby birds are cute and innocent, and there is nothing "cute" or necessary about these scientists' demands.

 
At March 11, 2009 , Blogger Wesley J. Smith said...

SAFEpres: I have used that metaphor before. But I think the picture of the baby birds is apt.

 
At March 11, 2009 , Blogger SAFEpres said...

true-maybe LSH not better,but 1st thing that came to my mind!

 
At March 12, 2009 , Blogger Robert B said...

Stimulus $$$ can go to ASC - if WE'RE good salesmen!!

Excuse my little brainstorm

I think its all about the money. And that this economic crisis actually provide us "ethicals" with an advantage. To explain. NORMAL grants are bureaucratic, nobody much follows its cost / benefits, only its "potential" which is ESCs selling point.

On CA level, hey it would be nice, it would be more than nice that the Regeneration thing paid by our bonds was producing. $40 bil state deficit adds to the accountability factor. Same with Federal except the stimulus gives us more advantage. Adult Stem Cells are almost "shovel ready" meaning more clinical funds, more money to save cord blood could not only mean research but real benefits, and steady jobs in an orderly fashion. Can ESC match that, NOPE!!?

With the end of the ban moreover, aren't all the research facilities going to have justify the "dual" equipment of fed, non-fed, ESC, non-ESC. Continuing "Basic research" into making those darn ESC behave and not cause tumors will not cut it on $ grounds!!!

 

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