Human Exceptionalism

Gee, Whaddya Know: USA Not Falling Behind in Science

We have seen much wailing and gnashing of teeth in recent years by the usual suspects who repeatedly have insisted that the USA is falling behind in science due to President Bush’s stem cell funding policy and the supposed anti-intellectualism that they claim permeates society because many citizens disagree with their ethical values. It was always bunk, of course, or more precisely, politicized bunk.

And now a RAND Report has a study demonstrating that we are doing just fine, thank you very much. From the story in the Chronicle of Higher Education (no link):

The authors of the RAND study said they went into their project assuming that the warnings of a decline were true. “We expected that our assessment of U.S. science and technology would be more pessimistic than what we found,” said James R. Hosek, a senior economist at RAND. The RAND study suggests that by almost all measurements, the nation maintains a strong position in science and engineering.

In terms of publishing, the report says, the United States accounts for nearly two-thirds of the highly cited articles in those areas. It employs 70 percent of the Nobel Prize winners and has 30 of the world’s top 40 universities. Other nations are not outspending the United States in science and technology in any significant way, and there is no evidence that universities are producing too few workers in those areas, says the report. “We find that the United States leads the world in S&T and has kept pace or grown faster than the rest of the world in many measures of S&T,” write Mr. Hosek and his coauthor, Titus Galama, a management scientist at RAND.

Don’t expect to see this widely or prominently reported in the MSM. The conclusions don’t further their bias. So, they will ignore it–or downplay it with very faint coverage–even though they have parroted the false line about our science leadership prominently.

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