Announcement

Announcement Module
Collapse
No announcement yet.

Is there any legitimate reason to prohibit research?

Page Title Module
Move Remove Collapse
X
Conversation Detail Module
Collapse
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Is there any legitimate reason to prohibit research?

    Other than health and safety of the subjects?

    One of da most fascinating issues to me is that da lobbyists have succeeded in getting Congress to outlaw both data collection and research on gun safety. As a result, there's no real way to tell if more guns make for less crime, if CCW carriers are safe and help save lives, if "assault weapons" are really a problem. We are left relying on news reports from what many consider a liberally-biased media.

    JMHawkins in da previous thread complains that it's just because the funding would run through the Center for Disease Control or the NIH. I expect that's because he doesn't really understand how federal grant funding works, where da department just acts as a clearinghouse for distributing grants to non-governmental (private, free market) groups to do the research. The CDC happens to be da agency that maintains the data center for the Consumer Product Safety Commission, but da CPSC is a regulatory agency not a research agency, and doesn't have da expertise to fund research. So all of da funding for consumer products research is funneled through the CDC. That avoids da inefficiency of creating ANOTHER government agency. In da same way, the National Science Foundation is da clearinghouse for stuff like science and math education research, because they have more expertise dealin' with science than da folks in the Department of Education.

    What JMHawkins is missing is that Congress under lobbyist pressure has systematically prevented all agencies from funding research or gathering data on guns or gun safety. Not just the CDC.

    That means that nobody is gathering systematic, nationwide data. Researchers are left with state-by-state data, if da state collected any, and usually all of it incompatible with other states.

    That means that da only people doin' "research" are funded by private, special-interest lobbies or news media outlets doin' expose pieces.

    Most of da issues surrounding firearms I think there are legitimate arguments or at least things to consider carefully on both sides. I have to admit, that on this particular issue I think this is just stupid and irresponsible. No other important public policy area is devoid of data and research. We want research to guide and inform our public policy choices.

    What's more, it's a horrifying precedent to allow any special interest group to do that. Imagine the auto makers blocking research on transportation safety, drug makers blocking independent research on the long-term effects of their drugs, teachers' unions blocking research on teacher effectiveness - all because they want to preserve the status quo and their profits.

    If nothing else gets done, this set of prohibitions has to be lifted in a permanent way.

    Beavah

  • #2
    >>What's more, it's a horrifying precedent to allow any special interest group to do that. Imagine the auto makers blocking research on transportation safety, drug makers blocking independent research on the long-term effects of their drugs, teachers' unions blocking research on teacher effectiveness - all because they want to preserve the status quo and their profits.

    Comment


    • #3
      Imagine the auto makers blocking research on transportation safety, drug makers blocking independent research on the long-term effects of their drugs, teachers' unions blocking research on teacher effectiveness - all because they want to preserve the status quo and their profits.

      Don't need to imagine. Once upon a time, the research center I was with had a follow-up data that countered some of the short-term results favoring a medical device. It should have been written by a prestigious MD. However, all of the other more senior collaborators had connections to the device manufacturer and had moved on to other "whiz bang" promotional research. My boss told me to write it, so I did. (There was a personal angle to this, I had a friend who was treated successfully, and I remember telling my wife "what matters is 6-12 months from now." He died at month 7.) Eventually, the device (and the indications for selecting patients for its use) was improved to ensure more favorable long-term results.

      I could have cranked out a few more independent reports in that area, but federal money dried up. So I moved on.

      Private sector is great for the "instant gratification" kinds of things. For decisions with distant horizons, it needs a lot of help.

      Comment


      • #4
        Let me ask a different question Beavah. Is there any legitimate reason to exercise budgetary control over public money?

        Eagledad already answered your main complaint. I'm not missing anything.

        Comment


        • #5
          "One of da most fascinating issues to me is that da lobbyists have succeeded in getting Congress to outlaw both data collection and research on gun safety."

          So lobbyists get congressmen to write and PASS legislation in both houses that can't go into law without the president's signature, correct? I'm curious, how long have the Republicans held the house? How about the senate? Who is president? Why weren't they doing their job?

          Comment


          • #6
            Why waste tax dollars on research designed to prove an outcome the government wants? Don't they have more important things to spend money on like how fast shrimp can run on a treadmill

            Comment


            • #7
              "So lobbyists get congressmen to write and PASS legislation in both houses that can't go into law without the president's signature, correct? I'm curious, how long have the Republicans held the house? How about the senate? Who is president? Why weren't they doing their job?"

              Good question. Who was in office in 1996 - 1998 when much of the CDC funding into this research was cut off? Who was in office when this little tidbit was added to CDC funding,

              SA

              Comment


              • #8
                Let me ask a different question Beavah. Is there any legitimate reason to exercise budgetary control over public money?

                Of course it is. It's also justified to criticize allocations as pork barrel for special interests, or as special privileges for special interests. Especially when da congress critters pushing it are themselves da beneficiaries of special interest funding. That is what we are talking about here.

                It's really hard to comment on da fear stuff, eh? Folks don't want to fund research out of fear that da research may be "biased" (which in this case seems to mean "the research may provide evidence that I'm wrong"). Eagledad, saying "I don't trust anything coming out of the APA" is like saying "I don't trust anybody affiliated with the BSA." Da APA is a very large membership organization like the BSA is, or any national organization. It contains all kinds of folks. It does not do any research itself, it's just an association of researchers. Da federal government does not fund the APA.

                Yah, sure, there's good research and mediocre. Just like there's good road crews and mediocre. That doesn't stop us from building roads.

                Yah, sure, lots of medical research is weak, but as qwazse points out, da weakest is the short-term stuff that is funded by drug companies and medical device manufacturers. Typically it's only da federally-funded research which catches problems in the longer term which (surprise, surprise) did not come out in da studies funded with a bigger conflict of interest.

                And yet, despite da mediocrity and fear of bias, cancer patients are surviving longer than ever before, and medicine continues to advance. Because of research.

                These funding restrictions on firearms impacts are even worse than all that, because they not only don't fund research, they block collection of raw data.

                And do we really think that President Obama is directly interfering with research reports? Really? Da closest we came to that was when a few in the GWB administration were tweaking Climate Change reports, and folks were all over that pretty fast. Most research funded now wouldn't even come out until da next administration.

                This stuff is the stuff that cements da position of da Republican party as the anti-science, anti-reality party of the past in the minds of the young folks who will be the future. It's just toxic to credibility.

                Beavah

                Comment


                • #9
                  Let me point out the obvious fact that not all research is scientific. As Beav notes, there is good research and there is crap (ok, "mediocre"). Lots of research is conducted to support a previously selected opinion. In contrast, scientific research is always subject to falsification. The public doesn't seem to grasp this point (how many people subscribe to 'Intelligent Design'?) and neither does Congress.

                  OTOH, the wholesale banning of ANY research throws the baby out with the bath.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    But of course they didn't ban any research. They just banned spending tax dollars on it.

                    There's a world of difference.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      "But of course they didn't ban any research. They just banned spending tax dollars on it.

                      There's a world of difference."

                      Not in the minds of collectivists, unfortunately.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Practically speakin', with restrictions on medical and law enforcement records, a lot of data can't be legally gathered by private researchers. Without someone mandating common reporting standards across states, yeh wouldn't get usable comparisons between states or districts with different approaches. So yah, in some ways, this does severely handicap research in this area, and does prohibit certain kinds of studies.

                        It's funny how we extol da private sector for its virtues, but what major private sector corporation doesn't do research before it takes major action in some way or another? That would be just stupid, eh? You would never invest your money in a company that wasn't willin' to gather and act on the best data it could.

                        So tell me why it's a good use of our tax dollars?

                        Do yeh really think it's a great thing to be proposing assault weapon bans without any research? Is that good use of your tax dollars?

                        We have 30,000 deaths and far more injuries from firearms each year. It costs us billions in law enforcement and health care. We routinely have research programs for diseases and other things which affect fewer people. But on this issue, nope! We want nuthin' but random uninformed opinion in makin' decisions!

                        Really?

                        That is what yeh consider keeping ourselves mentally awake?

                        Beavah

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          "But on this issue, nope! We want nuthin' but random uninformed opinion in makin' decisions!"

                          That is an interesting point. And it's not just Marc-Antonian funeral orators burying assault weapons bans that raise it.

                          There are folks who prefer rule by some wise authority to our messier democratic republican system. Random, uninformed opinion can be a scary thing. Look who it put in the office of the executive. But not all opinions are random and uninformed and there has already been research - must the research be government controlled in order to be valid?

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            "Look who it put in the office of the executive." Yeah, 2000 was a bummer wasn't it?

                            Ideally, I'd like for the research to occur in more than one transparent step. For something like this there will be powerful interests trying to influence the results so it would be best for the entire process to be completely open, the data freely available, and then, regardless of the report conclusions, anyone will be free to use the data in order to complete their own analysis.

                            That, of course is just for starters. Once the initial study is completed I would hope for long-term monitoring to continue to collect this kind of data, kind of like the DOE does for various statistics for the energy sector. Long term trends for multivariate data could be useful. I doubt that we will ever be able to conduct a controlled experiment for this kind of problem.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              So what you're sayin Beavah is that since the government created rules that effectively block private organizations from engaging in potentially beneficial research, the obvious solution is for the government to get bigger, spend more money, and acquire a monopoly on that particular type of research. Research which, by the way, is assumed to be important to answering the question of whether the government should assume even greater power and control by restricting what has been - since the founding of the country - considered a fundamental right.

                              Now I may be a simple workerbee, but it seems like there might just be a teeny bit of conflict of interest somewhere in there.



                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X