We support separating church and state for two ready reasons: For one, separatism was decreed from the get-go. The First Amendment in the Bill of Rights leads with prohibiting Congress from establishing a state religion. From a pragmatic point, a state-stamped theology strangles liberty and diversity of thought. It homogenizes the culture while trampling the rights of the non-state-supported religious minorities. We can say the consensus, if not the “science”, is settled on the matter of church, state, and separation.
How about the matter of science, state, and separation? The “science” also appears settled, but in reverse. You will find few supporters of science-state separation. I surmise that science-state opponents exceed only marginally the number of church-state proponents. The vast majority are fine with government taxing and funneling production to science as government defines it.
If we are unified on separation of church and state, why are we less unified separating science and state? When government subsidizes one religion, it is one religion. When government subsidizes science, one approach to science prevails. Unbiased free inquiry, the foundation of the scientific method, is compromised. The man paying the piper calls the tune, and that tune is sure to be agenda driven, with the man paying setting the agenda.
Climate change is the obvious example. Think tanks, universities, GSOs dissolve to bleating sycophants when state funding is the primary funding source.
Stephen Moore, reporting for the Heritage Foundation, tells us that “federal funding for climate change research, technology, international assistance, and adoption increased from $2.4 billion in 1993 to $11.6 million in 2014, with an additional $26.1 billion for climate change programs and activities provided by the America Recovery and Reinvestment Act in 2009.” A 2018 GAO report found that the federal government spent $154 billion on climate-change activities since 1993, as reported by the fivethirtyeight.com (The spending covers a cornucopia of activities that extend beyond scientific research).
The federal government spends a heap of your money on climate-change science. Conveniently enough, the science bypasses the primary drivers of climate change, beginning with the sun. Without the sun, the earth would be a ball frozen near absolute zero. Solar flares and sunspots are ready drivers of a changing climate. Let’s also not discount the impact of cosmic rays, changes in the earth’s orbit and tilt, the solar systems rotations around the galaxy, and scores of other cosmic factors.
These spaced-based variables -- all beyond our control -- are the climate-change elephant in the room, so better to squander trillions to squash the mosquito in the room (which might be beyond our control anyway). I refer to the essential and inert element – carbon dioxide.
Why expend trillions of dollar globally to roll a boulder up a hill? No surprise here: to poke, prod, nudge, and coerce the great mass of powerless humanity to generate less carbon dioxide.
What about government-funded research that appears more altruistic, medical research for instance? Do expediency and self-interest prevail here, as well?
John Iaonnidis, Stanford medical professor, published “Why Most Published Research Findings Are False" proffers yes. Ioannidis writes that “a research finding is less likely to be true when studies conducted in a field are smaller, when effect sizes are smaller, when there is a greater number and lesser presentation of tested relationships; where there is a greater flexibility in design, definitions, outcomes, and analytical modes; when there is a greater financial and other interest and prejudice; and when more teams are involved in a scientific significance.”
David Berlinski, author and prominent Darwinism critic, thinks the persuit of government funding is an end in itself. “What is so striking is the tendency of the scientific community both to an extravagant boastfulness and to a barely conceded eagerness to help itself to an ever larger portion of the national wealth," so Berlinski opines.
Berlinski goes on to assert that the rapacity to divert government largess toward science is nothing new. Worse, the rapacity adheres to an upward trend. “It is across the board since 1950, " Berlinski says. "The dominating motivator of the scientist is to help himself to evermore swag. In biological sciences, 90% of the time is spent on grant renewals.” No surprise here: you increase the odds of gathering ever more swag by appealing to the prejudice and agenda of the paying party.
Government funding is authorized by politicians who are motivated mostly by political gain. To qualify for funding, the scientist is motivated to produce results that are politically acceptable, which itself is the best reason for eliminating government funding. Most government science spending is necessarily misallocated. The increasing political nature of science funding has served to discredit science itself. The emergence of "pretend science" has inspired a new neologism, scientism, the use of the vocabulary and trappings of science for inappropriate subjects.
You can see scientism in action where government funding serves as the primary funding source. Scientism -- the pretense of scientific inquiry -- is always used to legitimize state intervention. The world of scientific modeling is scientism incarnate.
Biased, agenda-contrived, government-funded models have been used to mandate everything from lockdowns (see Neil Ferugson) to fossil-fuel bans (see Michael Moore) to population control (see Paul Ehlich). All too frequently these "scientistic" models have proven to have been imbued with the predictive accuracy of the average sports-betting handicapper.
It is all wrong in the long-run. The more government spends on science the more it discredits the idea of science as a truth-seeking, knowledge-promoting pursuit.