HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Main » General Discussion (Forum) » School Shootings question » Reply #8
In the discussion thread: School Shootings question [View all]

Response to Nailzberg (Reply #5)

Sun Feb 25, 2018, 10:54 PM

8. We can. Lots do.

But the NIH can't.

It's not "can we study it?" but "can we get the government to pay us to study it?" Many faculty only want to study things they can get grant money to study. University grants are special, and they get graded on their grant-pulling abilities.

I don't know that I have a big issue with the NIH grant limitation. I was around in '91 when the USSR flopped. I watched a panel that fall of all kinds of people who got grants based on the continuation of the USSR as a viable threat. Their analyses over the previous 5 years said the USSR had 20, 30 years, at least. Yet at the podium they all said they didn't say it was impossible. If you look on page 393, footnote 121, they allowed for the possibility--and one guy up there called them out on it. And he said that the scholars who had the opposite view were ignored, often had trouble getting their analyses published, and certainly weren't funded to produce the analyses.

So the collapse caught almost everybody by surprise, because the NHS and other governmental funding sources funded the appropriate research that seemed likely to the grant reviewers to provide correct and valid results. In other words, there was bias built into the system, a rather severe institutional blindness.

After that, the correct and appropriate research on Russia said that "if we do X, Russia will become a liberal democracy." Many thought otherwise. I thought the very idea ludicrous. But the "right-thinkers" got the grants. Those who were obviously so wrong as to not be worth funding didn't get funding--a tautology, to be sure. Oddly, very few products from grants yielded anything that predicted the current Russia, except maybe on page 591, footnote 238, where "it can't be completely ruled out that a strong nationalistic leader appealing to arch-conservative ideas of religion and grievance might come on the scene." (I'm mocking these works. They deserve to be mocked. Or studied for how *not* to build bias and blindness into the grant-funding process. Grants still work the same, by the way. Having decided that they weren't really wrong, the institutions moved on to additional inanity.)

In a field close to my heart the grant funders got it horribly wrong, and made sure that "right-thinkers" got the money, the professorships, the PhD funding, tenure, and promotions. If you were correct in hindsight, you found alternative uses for your Slavic degree, like maybe teaching high school.

The real question is, What's the appropriate gun-violence/public-health research that grant reviewers will think likely to provide correct and valid results? Because the answer to that question is the answer that the grants that get funded will produce, and it's a waste of money to pour money into a research program just to justify the foregone conclusion. This isn't science, which is less subject to this kind of bias (but still not completely immune).

Reply to this post

Back to OP Alert abuse Link to post in-thread

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Please login to view edit histories.