Shrug, this is just what establishments do

Once you control the purse strings:

Academics warn they are facing “woke gatekeepers” to get taxpayers’ money for research, as they are told cash could be withdrawn if they offend anyone.

Equality and diversity guidelines have been drawn up to cover nine major research bodies, including the Arts and Humanities Research Council, the Medical Research Council and Research England.

The documents by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), which oversees the most prestigious research councils and handed out £3.2 billion in funding last year, include “constant criticism” of someone or “bad name calling” as potential reasons for funds to be blocked.

Academia definitely has a certain mindset to it these days. Scientific enquiry – “you’re wrong because this fact, new theory needed” – isn’t quite the current style. And as with any establishment that controls the purse strings those who err from the received wisdom aren’t going to get funded.

Ragging on Ritchie is science – this theory is wrong because this fact. Wouldn’t get funded though.

20 thoughts on “Shrug, this is just what establishments do”

  1. Hasn’t this always been true? Just that the criteria for funding decisions has changed.

    On the subject of funding, where did the funding for the research established the current global warming paradigm come from. Back in the 70s the “we’re headed for another ice age” paradigm was the standard. “Climate science” was an academic backwater. The global warming thing is supposed to be based on a whole lot of research. Tree ring counts, ice cores, isotope ratios … Doing none of that stuff is cheap. Who paid for it? It’s hard to see any of the vested interests had incentives

  2. Being an “academic” has always involved not upsetting the ones holding the purse strings.
    Be they the rich aristocrats of old, or the modern petty Wokeians infesting anything and everything that even smells of the possibility of “control” to pass on their pet peeves.

    There’s a solid reason most actual research is done by “startups” financed by the New Aristocracy. Reduces the whole mess to: “Where’s the results?” , and does away with all the guff that’s poisoned academia and the large corporations.

  3. Rob has it. What’s the risk that Murphy’s grants are withdrawn because of how he abuses people on his blog? Ziltch?

  4. “There’s a solid reason most actual research is done by “startups” financed by the New Aristocracy. Reduces the whole mess to: “Where’s the results?”, and does away with all the guff that’s poisoned academia and the large corporations.”

    Exactly. What’s the “arts and humanities research council” actually delivered? When you see staggeringly good effects in Avengers Endgame, or even just watch new ideas in a weird little art house movies, none of it comes about because of these people. The technology to simulate the battle scenes in Lord of the Rings was built for that movie (and the guy who did it spun it off into a company). You know the money is going on some paintings which are a white canvas with a dot on them that means something about capitalism and feminism or something.

    Even in the non-profit sphere, private foundations work better because the people who run them want results. Bill Gates doesn’t want the money he put into a foundation pissed away on crap.

  5. @BiS: Back in the 70s the “we’re headed for another ice age” paradigm was the standard.

    Yes, but not in the way the general public interpreted it. You have to remember there’s science and there’s the reporting of science, and the latter is all that non-specialists see and it emphasizes hyperbolic headlines to sell tomorrow’s chip wrappers rather than focusing on accurate reporting.

    Towards the end of the 70s I worked as a climatologist, doing research for the US Navy. In the 70s we’d got enough of the geological record to say that for the last few million years the Earth had been in an icehouse phase, with glaciation punctuated every few 100,000 years by interglacial periods that lasted 15-25,000 years on average, and that the current interglacial had been ongoing for maybe 12-13,000 years.

    From this it’s just common sense (and simple arithmetic) to say that *if the current interglacial was like the previous ones* then glaciation would return, somewhere between 2,000 and 13,000 years in the future. The papers reported this but the headlines just said “Ice Age to return!” which is all many people took away. The broadsheets pointed out in the main text that it wouldn’t happen for 60-400 generations but missed out the caveat, the tabloids went totally over the top and implied that London would be ground flat by ice by next Thursday week. A few SF writers jumped on the bandwagon and wrote stories in which the glaciers returned at the ludicrous speed of 10s or 100s of miles a year, and as a result many people were left with the impression that the ice would return in their lifetime, which was never the forecast.

    We know enough about our planetary history and the physics of the Sun to say that ice will return someday, and that somewhere between ½ and 2 billion years in the future the place will be so hot that the seas will boil dry. However, neither are going to affect any of us or our grandchildren.

  6. @BiS:

    As for funding, much science research in this country was and is funded by the various research councils, with the emphasis varying between long term blue sky and short term practical research depending on the flavour of government. Dendrochronology (tree rings) was very cheap – back then it mostly consisted of a few postgrads wandering round the countryside drilling holes in trees and then laboriously measuring the rings. Ice cores were done by groups like the British Antarctic Survey in Cambridge. Isotopic analysis wasn’t common in the 70s – like gene sequencing the cost has plummeted over the decades.

    The US Navy funded my research because obviously all flavours of military have an interest in climate prediction in so far as it affects their operations. The Navy was specifically interested in the future state of Arctic and North Atlantic ice because a) it determined possible access to the north of the USSR by both US and USSR warships and b) ice coverage affects the Earth’s wobble, which impacts on the accuracy of targeting ballistic missile warheads.

    Oil and gas companies were also interested and funding their own research, because it determined whether or not offshore drilling in the Arctic and northern seas was viable – rigs don’t like being hit by great lumps of ice.

  7. Let me speak up for the British Antarctic Survey in Cambridge: I used to find it a convenient place to park. Unfortunately it now has a barrier at the entrance – not very inclusive, that.

    “You have to remember there’s science and there’s the reporting of science”: you also have to remember that much of the latter is based entirely, and uncritically, on the Press Releases from the scientists involved, or at least from their employers.

  8. BIS,

    “Hasn’t this always been true? Just that the criteria for funding decisions has changed.”

    New quasi-religion is the similar to religion. Going and hearing Greta speak is like people in the 60s going to a Billy Graham event. Eco doom=eternal damnation. Posters of women without much clothing in has gone from encouraging fornication to objectifying.

    Go back to the 1950s and there was funding around electro-shock therapy to convert homosexuals when the religion was Christianity which said that gays were deviants. Now that we have woke religion that says that men who chop off their cocks are women, we fund sympathetic research into the lives of cockless men.

    If you’re the sort of person who wants to milk the state, to jostle your way into pointless jobs, part of the deal is that you have to accept the state religion. See, these bullshit armies are all about creating the aura of intelligence and respectability, based on the current religion. Because they know that if they get in the news for something, that can snowball and pretty soon, the press are all over them. And the public might realise that the whole place is a giant holiday camp. So, they are overprotective of the institution’s image.

    I don’t have a great deal of sympathy for people who complain about getting hit by the woke because most of them are already parasites. How much value do feminist lecturers in university add? How many DJs at Radio 2 are actually worth their pay? How many senior civil servants are not utter wasters who can be replaced by another utter waster? If you do a useful thing that people want to pay for, no-one gives a shit about what you think. Does anyone ask an escort whether she believes in intersectional feminism? Or a plumber? Or a welder? Or a salesman.

  9. I wonder if anything funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council has ever resulted in the slightest benefit to humanity?

    Actually, why ask when you can look? Research funded by this august body includes:

    Empowering women and increasing chicken production in Ethiopia
    Matching the skills of asylum seekers and refugees to volunteering opportunities
    Exploring and Explaining Jews through Film
    Arab Shakespeare
    Using multimedia to enrich public and specialist perceptions of immigration detention

    Jesus wept.

  10. @ MC
    Increasing chicken production in Ethiopia is/was of benefit to humanity.
    Since refugees and asylum seekers are not allowed to take up any paid employment, matching their skills to volunteering opportunities – which is the sort of task I might have done towards the end of my period in short trousers – is worthwhile, but hardly merits the description “research”.

  11. @Arthur
    My memories of climate predictions for the long term were what you say for the 70’s. Planet in a mid interglacial, expect heavy glaciers sometime on Tuesday morning 11219 AD. As they say, these days, THE SCIENCE WAS SETTLED! Wasn’t that based on things like the Antarctic Survey ice cores? Scientific paradigms don’t get overturned that easily. There’s a lot of scientists have stake in them. Global warming research was against the grain. Who funded it? The scientific evidence of the time would have been indistinguishable from noise.

  12. “It did get going before the USSR collapsed.”
    There’s little doubt there was Russian money going to environmental activist groups. But groups like that are a black hole for money. Like any political group, they’ll spend it on themselves rather than use it to further the “cause”. They don’t want whatever they’re in favour of/against to happen because that would remove their reason for existing. The “struggle” should always be eternal.

  13. Maybe they had squeezed as much as they could out of new ice age coming so switched tack which also meant a whole round of funding on stuff that was already ‘settled’
    No doubt when the money is drying up as it’s all settled a new issue will come along, we have already had to switch from warming to change

  14. Bloke in Spain,

    I assume that there’s Russian money getting to green politics, and the thing is that they’ll never succeed, because they are batshit crazy, but all the Russians really want is for Europeans to be anti-nuclear and anti-fracking. If the greens can keep pushing unreliables they are worth the money.

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