Rand Paul’s Goldfish Story

Rand Paul - asimov quote : http://mariopiperni.com/

Conservatives prove Asimov right every time they delve into their twisted understanding of science. The latest example is Rand Paul’s rant on Fox where he tried to make the case that the military and government are wasting $5.2 million for what he called “goldfish studies”.

“In the military they have $5.2 million they spent on goldfish — studying goldfish to see how democratic they were and if we could learn about democracy from goldfish,” Paul said on Fox. “I would give the president the authority to go ahead and cut all $5 million in goldfish studies.”

If Paul is right and the military is spending millions to “learn about democracy from goldfish“, then he has every right to bitch to his heart’s content. In fact everyone should be complaining of such a waste of public funds.

But Paul is not right. His take on the $5.2 million goldfish study comes from a faulty report issued by Republican Sen. Tom Coburn last November. The report dealt with how the Pentagon could save billions by cutting out specific non-defense programs. One of the suggested cuts by Coburn was the “fish” study.

“Fish could show the nation how to overcome political polarization and promote democracy, according to Pentagon-funded research,” Coburn’s team wrote. “The Pentagon claims the research provides ‘a better understanding of how individuals with low stake impact achieve a democratic consensus’ and this ‘effort supports Military Information Support Operations (MISO) mission area.’” In learning as much, though, the Defense Department blew through a $5.2 million grant from DARPA.

The tiniest bit of research by Paul and Coburn would have shown them that the project has nothing to do with how goldfish handle democracy. In fact it has nothing to do with goldfish. The four year project uses a different species of fish and studies robots and how they can help in dealing with deep oil spills and radioactive leaks. As Princeton science professor Iain Couzin explains:

“Our work aims to understand the principles of collective control in animal groups and what this can inform us about collective robotics. It has nothing at all to do with human politics.”

[The research has] “direct applications to human security and collective control of robots.”

Has Coburn issued a correction to his November report? No.

Has Paul issued a statement on Fox correcting his statement? No.

Will either man do so? No.

Why not? Because no one on the right ever admits to “mistakes” they make in presenting “facts”. They just don’t because everyone knows that true conservatism is never having to say “I’m wrong.”

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Comments

  1. alwaysoccupy says:

    They love us too and true conservatives never have to say their sorry. Bunch of b….

    Never would I have thought that any american would wish harm or discomfort to another american. This is historical and I hope the price to pay is to fill the vacuum with another party that knows how to compromise. Where is that leader ?

    Looks like politics is a chess game where human kind can be discarded for the benefit of a political point so that a politician can be reelected. They have changed the rules and Americans don’t know who they are electing.

  2. Arthur L. says:

    One of two things is at play here. Either these people and their staffs are so incompetent that they are unable to fact check anything or they willfully lie. Either way, they come off as fools.

  3. fidlerten says:

    Rand Paul is just another Tea Party favorite whose brain is fried on hubris. This guy thinks he’s going some place and he’s going to be one of those type who “also ran” for president soon, perhaps next election. It only takes a good general election to put these kind of guys in their places and Rand Paul is just not presidential material and likely will never be unless through some great experience he becomes less of an asshole than he is now.

    Those type also have their own set of facts. They think anything that comes out of their own mouths becomes fact if it wasn’t fact before they spoke it.

    Yes, the military overspends for a great deal of nonsense but then, that’s a sort of a bipartisan issue, isn’t it. I am sure I can sit down with any of my conservative friends and they would agree with me about the same thing. So he’s just riding on an easy issue among most voters to get himself a few brownie points.