Sorry sociologists, playing Everquest is not science. And OK Cupid knows everything they need to know about their audience, that is what they do, so you spending NSF money to sift through some data and making weak observational claims isn't really a valid use of research funding.

As academia lurched violently out of the mainstream it has become reflex to disagree with anything a Republican says, but Senator Tom Coburn is no ordinary politician (and won't be for much longer anyway, he is retiring.) He knows the value of science and medicine as well as anyone, he's an M.D. and a cancer patient. And unlike most politicians, he does not just go after the opposition. He is a fiscal hawk when it comes to the military and not just sociology, psychology, astrology, homeopathy and all of the other stuff Democrats more than Republicans embrace.

If the inefficiency is as endemic as his analyses show, researchers don't need an increase in funding, they just need to be given the money earmarked for them. That means cutting the waste, the duplication, the "outreach" (come on, NSF, giving two scholars hundreds of thousands of dollars to create a "Science 2.0" site years after it already existed is not helping your case - no really, they even intended to call it Science 2.0) and the political science stuff and giving it to actual scientists.

Henry Miller in a Forbes blog network post brings up Coburn again and adds in a quote which lends itself to a blanket disqualification grant committees can use - if the word 'narrative' appears in the proposal, throw the proposal out. Yes, I know science gets a lot of funding and it infers legitimacy so political science, sociology, etc. will want to be in that pool, but scientists should be first in line to balk at their money being squandered on silliness, rather than embracing silliness because of the 'they are on our side against the Republicans' thinking that has taken hold.