When Scienceocrats Attack!

A new study questions whether conversion of corn into ethanol actually expends more energy than it stores. When confronted with contrary data, modern scienceocrats do the obvious: they attack the study on merits other than scientific:

    Researchers at the National Corn-To-Ethanol Research Center at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville said there are several federal studies that cite the opposite and said the recent study is harming their ability to reduce the United States’ dependence on foreign oil.

    “It discourages me,” said Martha Schlicher, director of the research center. “People tend to remember negative news instead of becoming educated in what may not be as interesting. I worry that in a time so critical for energy security and the environment that this detracts from getting accurate information to consumers.”

Forget about the data. How do you feel? The director of the research center nust feel discouraged, because if scientists cannot disprove this data, then something more important than truth lies at stake:

    At a time when businesses, state officials and farmers are investing millions of dollars in ethanol research, researchers at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., and the University of California at Berkeley found it takes 29 percent more energy to turn corn into ethanol than the amount stored in the resulting fuel. [Emphasis mine]

If ethanol proves to as effective as mixing snake oil with banana oil, who’s going to want to pay to maintain research facilities to studying the proper ratios, and more importantly, to keep directors salaried?

Allow me to quickly consolidate the new, revised, and more better

Twenty-First Century Scientific Method

  1. Observe some aspect of the universe.
  2. Determine that the aspect of the universe impacts some large corporation, public policy initiative, or both.
  3. Write grant proposals and get funding for research into the aspect of the universe.
  4. Organize and attend conferences to confabulate with others who are thinking about the aspect of the universe, or perhaps just related fields, or perhaps unrelated fields–after all, the universe is holistically interrelated.
  5. When funding is about to run out, invent a tentative description, called a hypothesis. You can make it all up if you want; it only needs to be believeable enough to warrant more funding.
  6. Use the hypothesis to make predictions and as progress report or new grant proposal fodder.
  7. Receive more funding.
  8. Test those predictions by experiments or further observations and conclude you need more funding to conduct further research.
  9. Repeat steps 6 through 8 until retirement age.