I take exception when people cry "Science! Science!", but then portray their own subjective opinions that have absolutely nothing to do with science as scientific canon.
Case in point: this thread.
The draft pledge suggested that we owe much of our prosperity to science, and you chose to interpret that as meaning that science was a panacea to solve all of our current problems.
Science, broadly defined, put a man on the moon and this computer in my lap. Science has cured disease, increased productivity, and straightened my hair this morning. Science is freaking great.
Will science solve our current problems? I don't know. Probably some of them. Probably some we don't even know about yet. Will it keep us from going over the fiscal cliff? No. That's mostly going to be about negotiation. But technology may make some of the cost-cutting strategies less painful than others.
Will science get us out of Afghanistan? No. But it will help keep our guys safe until we bring them home. And it will help patch up the ones who get hurt.
Will science save the manufacturing sector? I don't know. But I heard an article on the radio this morning about how robots could be used to replace unskilled labor and keep the costs of manufacturing here competitive.
Why does it matter whether policymakers understand basic scientific principles? Well, as noted in the article, so that we can stop talking about whether or not global warming is happening and start talking about what (if anything) we should do about it.
You dismissed vaccines as individual decisions, but SCOTUS has repeatedly upheld police powers for protecting the public's health. Travel restrictions, quarantines, mass vaccination programs all involve policymaker decisions. I know we have had an outbreak of pertussis in my state because of inadequate immunization rates. States are currently trying to decide if they should require schoolchildren to get the HPV vaccine.
Science should be informing decisions about our energy supply, pollution, workplace safety, research funding, defense spending, health care, education standards...
Post by Virgil Syquil on Dec 11, 2012 21:45:41 GMT -5
Well, as noted in the article, so that we can stop talking about whether or not global warming is happening and start talking about what (if anything) we should do about it.
We've been doing this for the past sixty years. The solutions are painful, expensive, invasive, and nobody likes them. Beyond that, it's a subjective matter of which is worse: the disease or the cure.
Science should be informing decisions about our energy supply, pollution, workplace safety, research funding, defense spending, health care, education standards.
Science has informed decisions about these things for all of human history. We may not have called it 'science', but architects, engineers, teachers, bankers, politicians, foremen, researchers have existed for millennia. They didn't need to make pointless "scientific pledges" to balance the books, construct an aqueduct, or wage war.
Moreover, where do you get the impression that the public is broadly opposed to science in the military or science in the manufacturing sector? I should think that the "pledge" pertains mainly to issues of broad disagreement between the public and the scientific establishment.
Given the unique role science has played in American history — securing our prosperity, ensuring our defense and allowing us to push back the frontiers of knowledge in ways which will echo through future generations — I craftysarah, representative/senator of really, just my house, pledge my support to the great American enterprise in science and technology.
In particular I pledge to make no statements in flagrant contradiction to the foundational principles of basic science, nor will I support others who make such statements. Understanding the importance of science to the next generation of Americans, I pledge to uphold the integrity of basic scientific research and take no actions to undermine the broadest public education in empirically verifiable scientific truths. I further acknowledge that such education must include an understanding of the methods science deploys in its investigations, as well as the limits of those methods.
In making this pledge I affirm that an absolute respect for both science and a personal commitment to divinity (in whichever form) are not incompatible.