Eyes Above The Waves

Robert O'Callahan. Christian. Repatriate Kiwi. Hacker.

Friday 11 November 2016

Welcoming Richard Dawkins

Richard Dawkins wants New Zealand to invite Trump/Brexit-refugee scientists to move here to create "the Athens of the modern world".

I appreciate the compliment he pays my country (though, to be honest, I don't know why he singled us out). I would be delighted to see that vision happen, but in reality it's not going to. Every US election the rhetoric ratchets up and people promise to move here, but very very few of them follow through. Even Dawkins acknowledges it's a pipe-dream. This particular dream is inconceivable because "the Athens of the modern world" would need a gigantic amount of steady government funding for research, and that's not going to happen here.

To be honest it's a little bit frustrating to keep hearing people talk about moving to New Zealand without following through ... it feels like being treated more as a rhetorical device than a real place and people. That said, I personally would be delighted to welcome any science/technology people who really want to move here, and New Zealand's immigration system makes that relatively easy. I'd be especially delighted for Richard Dawkins to follow his own lead.


I'm coming there next year! Just for a visit, though. :)
Sadly, NZ is terrible place for science. Almost no funding for postdocs, and very little for anything else. We're not even in the top 40 by proportion of GDP for spending on R&D. We're a joke.
#35 according to Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_research_and_development_spending While I wish there was more money for research, a lot of what is accounted for as "R&D" worldwide is a complete waste of money in my opinion, so I'm not focused on those numbers alone.