The risks of breeding cynicism

As a scientist whose professional life is dedicated to funding and advancing science – particularly biomedical science serving society- I have been appalled at the rhetoric in play regarding the supposed “lack” of funding for science.    To say that flat budgets or slight budget cuts is decimating knowledge generation in the US is completely ridiculous.     For prominent researchers to claim that every experiment of every stripe is curing alzheimer’s or autism should cause embarrassment.   To say the cuts are causing the US to  “lose a whole generation of scientists” is, quite simply, untrue.    I have seen no shortage of bright, young scientists entering PhD programs.    The overproduction of biomedical scientists has been true for at least several decades so blame the lack of career paths on the sequester is pure PR.      Academic scientists know the truth.  Much of basic science research is unlikely to move the needle on treating devastating, complex diseases sny time soon.    For example, recent studies have shown that many neuroscience findings are unreplicable and non-translatable.   In part this is contributing to the slow development of new treatments for neurological disease.   There is danger with tying basic, discovery science to treatments or economic development, or any or the other rationalizations I hear.   Searching for knowledge is a core human trait.   Seeking the truth about our natural world is why most of us are drawn to science.   To reduce truth-telling to “say anything” breeds cynicism.    My fear — it is the cynical twisting of reality that will lose us the best and the brightest.