Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Now Nature Medicine Admits: US Not Falling Behind in Science

The RAND report demonstrating that contrary to the warnings of some among the blank check crowd, the USA is not falling behind in scinece (which I referenced here at SHS) is now the subject of a Nature Medicine editorial (no link available). Despite years of moaning that the Bush Administration is ruining science in the USA, RAND demonstrated--and Nature Medicine admits--that the USA remains the world's leader in scientific research. From the editorial:

Threats to the US scientific dominance notwithstanding,the authors of the RAND report are right in concluding that a changing of the guard is not imminent. As they remind us,to perform well in science and technology, a country needs at least three elements to be in place--infrastructure, workforce and education. Decades of investment have led the US to develop a very strong foundation for these pillars, ruling out the possibility that its research system is in danger of collapse. At the same time, the report includes plenty of data to show that the rest of the world has a lot of catching up to do before it seriously threatens the scientific position of the US,and that different regions need to tackle different problems if they want to become more competitive in R&D.
Yet, that doesn't stop the editorialist from continuing the fear-mongering and whipsawing about how we could lose our supremacy:
And while the report concludes that the US is not at immediate risk of losing its scientific supremacy, the advances made by other countries should be taken seriously as indicators of their potential for scientific leadership. It is indeed possible that, if the same report were written in five years' time, a very different picture might emerge--a reminder that complacency has no place when you want to stay at the top.
Ah, that old blank check mentality. You see, no matter what investments are made into science research, and no matter how open the ethics, I have concluded that for some among "the scientocracy," it will never be enough.