Damien Broderick (
Sat, 08 Aug 1998 11:03:11 +0000

At 05:36 PM 8/7/98 -0700, Max More wrote:

>>For a decade, Paul Davies has been an Australian national treasure. Before
>>that, he was a British national treasure who fled Thatcher's UK because its
>>scientifically trained Prime Minister was so mean to science (and to
>>everyone else).

>I find this an odd use of "mean". Thatcher was mean only in the sense that
>she wanted to steal less money from tax-payers to give to scientists
>feeding at the public trough.

Take it up with Prof Davies. This is his opinion, paraphrased. I'm not a scientist. It's true, though, that I find this `public trough' rhetoric jejune; as I understand it, Watson and Crick cracked the DNA code while gorging at that trough.

>On the other hand, perhaps I should complain about how mean the government
>is not to hand out free money to philosophers.

I'd have thought that nearly all the philosophers in both the UK and the USA are state funded, except for those in seminaries, private universities, and a few self-funded people like Max. I get by that way myself, at least to the extent that my meagre earnings from numerous books, reviews, etc get topped up by the odd grant. If I were an anarcho-capitalist, I suppose I'd have to go off and hang myself in remorse. Since I'm not, and since I am ceaselessly productive in several useful genres that don't yet attract enough income by direct sale of rights, private donation or subsidy, I'm grateful for the mediated support (modest though it is, compared with what I could be earning if I spent my time instead on TV sitcoms or advertising geegaws) from the taxpayers of my nation. I believe I pay them back more than adequately in my productivity. But I see that we venture here on the forbidden ground of Basics, so I will say no more.

Damien Broderick